The Good Place
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Perhaps my tethered was somewhere above me watching a good movie while I was stuck below watching this surprisingly disappointing film? With thickly veiled parallels and odd references, Peele seems to have gotten caught up with the symbols and underlying tones that he forgot to write a good movie. This film doesn't work particularly well as a horror, with just a few creepy bits, or as a psychological thriller, with its flimsy plot and many unanswered questions. The positives are the score, decent performances, and the handful of chuckles, but that is it.
Going into this film I had questions about Brie Larson's casting but expected a great story that fed off the current state of the MCU. Turns out I had that back asswards. Larson fit the role perfectly and puts on a great performance, but the story is pretty lazy and the humor is disappointingly corny, especially when you consider how surprisingly funny Marvel movies are capable of being. I also hope future movies include a "patch" that sees a "Captain Marvel nerf" just to keep things interesting, but at the same time, I enjoy watching action sequences of her overpowering everything in her way. this film is like a cheese platter; the Brie almost saves it, but in the end it's just an average appetizer to the main course that is End Game.
Phil Lord continues to hit, particularly on the animated front. This film is wonderfully original, which is important after the number of Spider-Man movies I've seen in my lifetime, it's also beautifully animated and just as heartfelt as it is funny. The actual plot is a bit lacking, and when you're dealing with a story about multiple dimensions there's bound to be some frustrating plot holes and questions, but the other aspects of this film are so great that they nearly completely cover up this film's flaws.
I really enjoy Adam McKay's writing and directing style, and while he doesn't do as well on this film as he does on The Big Short, his writing and directing styles are on full display. Part of me wishes he toned that style down a little bit to better balance the humor with the truths in this film, but to ask that of him is to ask him to go against his natural directing techniques. Pair this with possibly the best performance given from one of the best actors in Hollywood, Christian Bale, and you'd think this film would be amazing, but a lot of little problems like pacing issues, over-the-top directing decisions and lulls in the story keep this film from reaching the heights it could have reached, but it is still an enjoyable film nonetheless.
This film strangely bounces back and forth from a period piece to a parody, making it very unique in many ways, but holding it back in others. Since it never dives into its comedic side, this film doesn't claim any laugh out loud moments, and since it never fully embraces its dramatic side, the storyline involving the power struggle between Sarah and Abigail never feels fully fleshed out. Coleman, Weisz and Stone all do good jobs with their characters, and the strange blend of absurdity and historical accuracy is very interesting, but the screenplay feels a little too simple and falls short of this film's full potential.