Make the Sequel Totally Different: What I liked most about this movie was something that was equally true of Apes: It was sequel that bore almost no resemblance to the original.
Where do they get this notion that we want a retread? As I wrote about with Pacific Rim, setting the dial back to
zero before the credits roll sabotages the first movie and the second one. This
movie, I’m glad to say (as opposed to Iron Man 2 or Thor 2) doesn’t have the slightest bit
of retread to it.
The previous movie created a pure hero for a pure war, and it
must have been very tempting to inject cynicism or subversion into that
narrative, but instead, they set themselves the challenge of playing it totally
straight, and knocked it out of the park. When I heard that the first movie was
going to be set entirely in World War 2, I was baffled, because that would miss
half of the appeal of the character: the “man out of time” aspect. But as it turns out, that was exactly
Marvel plays the long game, and by devoting a whole movie to
half the appeal, they guaranteed one hell of a sequel once they finally cashed
in all of that potential energy three years later. This movie mercilessly
plucks that idealistic hero out of his place, time, and comfort zone, thrusting
him into a new world that makes his code, his methods, and his beliefs appear
to be totally obsolete.
Refreshingly, the goal is not to impeach or degrade those ideals (as many modern movies do) but to put them to the ultimate test, which makes it all the
more thrilling to see the hero win.
It’s hard enough to fight true evil over there, but it takes so much more
courage and cunning to fight true evil over here, which made this the ultimate
Tomorrow: A movie that really, really should have sucked.