Aside from the so-so action, what is there to like about this movie... Plot? Convenient and contrived. Characters? Incredibly shallow, to the point that good actors can't even make them feel any more than cardboard cutouts. Acting? Pretty tough to pull memorable performances out of thin air when the writing is this poor. So--we've got a few cool action sequences with choreography ripped directly from John Wick (sorry, but Keanu did it better, with 1000% more style). Great to see Netflix make such an effort to cast Black actors in starring roles, but c'mon, can't we see all that money directed towards better screenplays please? This film tries very hard to be intelligent but instead just bludgeons you unconscious with ham-fisted moralism. Despite the high concept, commendable cast, and decent action scenes, this is just a plain bad movie.
Certainly a feat of cinematography, though 1917 lacks the character depth and examination that would have made this a truly unforgettable film. The depiction of WW1 was raw and immersive, but the decision to kill off Corporal Blake so early in the narrative was a giant misstep. The climax and denouement was mostly devoid of any emotional impact, because the breakneck pace and isolated protagonist never gave us a chance to really connect with our main character. Still worth watching for the visuals alone, but one can't help feeling like this film could have been so, so much better.