Atomic Blonde is a film directed by David Leitch and stars Charlize Theron and James McAvoy.
In short: Not a fan. Story is beyond bad. Like bad bad bad. No good action can redeem this hot mess.
To elaborate, Atomic Blonde has some really great moments. Okay one really really good moment, for those who have already seen the film, the staircase sequence. It’s one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen in a long time, but a single scene does not a movie make ya know? This one marvelous moment wasn’t enough to compensate for the total and unapologetic mess the story and characters were.
I say unapologetic here because I really think the movie thought it was being very clever and smart with all of the mystery and double crosses and it sorta makes sense at first, but then you start to think about it and it’s just makes absolutely no sense. It’s like the actual characters were changing their motivations and behaviors as the audience learned plot details. Like it feels like a paper you’d write after downing like four or five red bulls and furiously mashing at a keyboard for eight hours through the night. It all made sense as you were writing it, but when you go back through it you realize that it’s all over the place and doesn’t have any consistency to it. It’s a hot mess that only loosely represents what you were actually trying to achieve.
Now I should clarify, my first impression was that the performances in this film were lackluster, but the more I think about it the issue of the characters is really on the writing. It’s not that they didn’t try their best to make their characters believable it’s just the actual actions and words they spoke made no sense. Like if Charlize Theron is gonna convince me that she’s a top notch spy her accent game needs to be better, but that again is really on the story and not her if you ask me.
Also side note, I know that Charlize Theron is like a really attractive woman, but that doesn’t mean the movie needs to try and shove that in my face at every possible moment that it can. She’s a spy, maybe she could try blending in and not wearing really fancy and skimpy dresses kinda like the other spy characters? Nah right I forgot, young men my age and younger aren’t gonna see it if we don’t show off how hot Charlize is, it’s not like there was another action movie that she was in where she wore outfits that blended in well with the rest of the cast and I don’t know… maybe she cut off all her hair too? I’m sure that movie wouldn’t make any money.
Last thing before I wrap up non-spoiler thoughts territory. Neon lights, Cigarettes, 80’s Music, They’re like cool and an essential part of the aesthetic of the film, I get it. You can overdo these things though. Just saying.
Remember a while back when I talked about how Baby Driver made style over substance work? Atomic Blonde is a great example of why that rarely happens. Atomic Blonde wants to be John Wick and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy at the same time and ends up being neither. I recommend a hard pass until this movie comes to something like Netflix and you don’t have anything better to do with an afternoon. Peace.
OK SPOILER TIME
Story point that makes no bloody sense #1: Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is revealed at the end to have been working for the CIA the entire time. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Like I get why they did it, apparently in the original graphic novel, Lorraine is actually working for the KGB the whole time and since it’s an American film we couldn’t have that ending, even though it makes like 1000x more sense, but you could’ve tried to to like alter the rest of the plot to make the ending work instead of just tacking it on and expecting audiences to roll with it because “Murica” or something.
Story point that makes no bloody sense #2: Percival not only acquires the list and finds out that Lorraine is the double agent satchel, but then makes a call to MI6, and like doesn’t bring it up. Like I get that he really loves his life in Berlin, but couldn’t he sell the list to the Russians, kill Lorraine and then with the hard proof that she’s the double agent prove that she was the one that leaked it to the Russians? The photos Delphine (The french girl) took you say? Oh yeah, because he couldn’t just stroll in and kill her whenever he wanted to oh wait that is already what he did in the movie and it would have made total sense to the higher ups if he again said Lorraine did it since she had a connection to say the least with Delphine. Percival only does what he does the way he does it because it allows the opportunity for Lorraine (the protagonist) to later outplay him. Not at all because it’s actually a smart thing to do.