Many issues squarely fall on Rian Johnson's shoulders. He delivers more head-scratchers as his telegraphing is so blatantly obvious that the film was actively painful to watch. It became a checklist as I was looking for elements that were spotlighted and communicated to the audience as being important. Johnson suffers from using too many close-ups as his only tool to say "this is important". His desire to have every element in the movie connect probably comes from a good place, but that doesn't excuse the monotony of the entire ordeal.
The picture reeks of someone thinking they are telling a clever story, something that defies expectations. Some might describe the sequence of events as "twists and turns", but they feel more like a kid going, "and then, and then". It relies heavily on humor to keep the pace moving since there is no suspense to drive the movie forward. For me, much of the humor felt like the film asking the audience to laugh rather than being genuinely funny. Everyone seemed to fall for it as the rest of my theater did laugh a lot.
The only praise I can offer to the film is the performance by Ana de Armas. As the focus of the movie, she does a great job acting like someone that doesn't know what's going on. It's a significant departure from her work in Bladerunner 2049 and is probably much different than her work in the upcoming Bond film. While the challenges she faces in the story are not that strong, thanks to Johnson's script, she adds validity to them through her performance.
So Knives Out wasn't for me, precisely because its construction was broken from the start. It reminds me of Christopher McQuarrie's comments on how he worked as a script doctor on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. His job there was to reveal the things that drove plot and hide the emotional beats to encourage curiosity. Nothing resembling that is present in Knives Out, it just fumbles about until it's over.
After rereading that review, its seems definitive, but seeing the film again changed my mind. Knowing the plot from the start and forgetting about the marketing material helped to ease my frustrations. I laughed at more of the jokes, was more intrigued by the plot, and overall felt a little happier. There are still plenty of issues I have with the movie, but it's undeniable that this fun romp is cozy. I'm still a little hesitant on what score I think it deserves, somewhere in the 5-6 range, but it seems better than an average picture, so it'll be a 6 for now.
There was one shot where the camera was on a tripod and then ripped off of it to transition into handheld and it was very distracting
or the neon green of LEDs, he always finds an excuse to add it. On top of that is the great shot composition; there are many perfectly centered wide shots, mediums, and creative use of capturing the action taking place. It's honestly really great stuff that tells the audience that someone is paying attention to all the details.
Where the movie falls apart is pretty much everywhere else. When you go to see John Wick, the only things you should be expecting are action, a little bit of story, and more action. So when I say that I wanted to fall asleep during action sequences, this becomes a really big problem. For unknown reasons, the action is slowed down compared to the first two. Instead of the lightning-fast reaction time and beautifully choreographed fight sequences, all of that was replaced with slow and clunky movement. There were too many moments where good ideas were overused and I couldn't savor any of it. Instead of being delighted by what was going to come next, I could see it. Opponents slowly striking Keanu Reeves so he had time to block it or gags used one too many times. You never get to relive the feeling you from watching John Wick or Chapter 2 as he expertly takes out waves of enemies. Instead, it looks like everyone is letting him win, or more accurately, the choreography just wasn't as good.
There was also a really annoying use and lack of music. In a growing trend to be more like Steven Speilberg, the first three fight scenes do not include any music whatsoever. Relying solely on sound effects and grunts made by the combatants to fill out the sequence, this attempt at making the combat more "artsy" doesn't work. Even in later scenes when there is music to accompany the action, it doesn't make a difference since the choreography is so slow. There were also stretches of the movie where the same sound effects were used over and over which was really jarring. You have characters crashing through glass and hear the same glass sound over and over. Then in one fight, the wrong hit sound effect is used, making a slap sound like a full on punch.
Then comes the complete 180 that is the plot of Chapter 3 - Parabellum. It's obvious that there was a large story reduction in the sequel compared to the first, so this installment layers it on thick. It's not just that there are more story elements than before, its how they're used and which ones are thrust into the spotlight. Instead of John Wick being in a world that has a seedy underbelly with its own rules, the whole franchise becomes about that ecosystem. The garnish has become the meal as events in this movie happen just to set up things for a potential fourth installment. It seems characters are motivated by magic as people break rules established in the first two films as law. Logic and character development are thrown out of the window as John Wick scrambles to become a franchise of its own. It does do a good job fleshing out more of the world, but not for its own sake.
John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum is the most disappointing experience I've had in entertainment. One character says you have to kill what you love to protect it, which made The Last Jedi comparison much easier. It seems that a lot of critics really enjoyed this movie, and I've outlined some areas that it does excel in, but they are mistaken. This film is a string of disappointments that don't stop after you leave the theater. I don't want a sequel, I don't want to see it again, but I will watch the planned spinoff. The extra world building done here did a great job potentially setting that up and I am curious to see more of that setting. So you should not see this movie if you haven’t seen the other ones. You probably shouldn’t see it at all, but if you do plan on seeing it eventually, it might be better in a theater. The visuals are too gorgeous on a large screen to pass up… maybe.
With characters wasted, relationships thrown by the wayside, I am ready to do the same with this franchise
anyone thought it would be okay to rip off plot points, scenes, action set pieces, and editing styles wholesale. When the movie wasn't ripping off Skyfall, it was trying to be The Dark Knight; while it was focused on being a worse Guy Ritchie movie, it made all of its characters one dimensional. There is no shortage of tropes or cliches that this movie uses to achieve mediocrity.
This is a point of contention for me with this movie. There is a scene really early on that depicts one of the Crusades. It has a small team of archers trying to infiltrate a city and they eventually fall into an ambush. It’s directed like a modern day military movie; complete with being pinned down by enemy fire, moving through hallways, and general modern military tactics. That is not how wars were fought in the 11th century. They didn't have small archer squads go into a city that could call for catapult support and rain rocks from the sky. The addition of a fancy party at a casino didn't rub me the right way either. There were too many modern tropes that didn't belong in a medieval time period.
This is not a movie you should see, full stop. It honestly offers nothing new or fun to the audience. You would have a much better time seeing the movie it takes all of its style queues from, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. But just like that movie, it tries to set up a franchise that will never see the light of day. Like I said before, none of the modern fairy tale movies are that good; though Robin Hood is in a league of its own at the very bottom of the list.
"I’ve been robbed of my time and money" - Anonymous
The first two-thirds of this movie is fine. Starts off strong, dips a little in the middle, but its the end that grounds the movie to a halt. The situation that the story comes up with to resolve the movie is straight up dumb. It even has the nerve to have white text over a black background like its some real story movie. It just felt silly and cheap the way it ended and doesn't end with the best last impression.
If you haven't been to the theater in months and depending on what your local theater is showing, this might be the best thing to watch. It works when it does and you cringe when it doesn't. If someone were to want to watch it after it comes to streaming, I wouldn't mind watching it again.
Snarky comment here