Movie #103 2020: Atomic Blonde (2017)

God damn it, I really wanted to like this more.

Atomic Blonde had one of those trailers that I saw in the cinema and thought ”I need to see that”. Then, one thing lead to another and I didn’t see it until now. I mean, it has Charlize Theron as a bisexual super spy, why wouldn’t I want to see it?! Sadly, what I got was way more average than I was anticipating.

Let’s start with the positives. The colour palette of this film is great. It’s full of neon goodness; pinks and blues that are far from what you’d expect in a spy movie. The only other movie it is comparable to is John Wick, which is without doubt because David Leitch directed it (and produced all of the Wick franchise). You’d think that I’d enjoy this more than John Wick though – it has a female character at its forefront, which is completely up my alley. Unfortunately, there were too many negatives and ‘meh’ moments for it to be better.

Thankfully, Charlize Theron continues to be magnetic. She and Angelina Jolie are the queens of action sequences, and that’s the truth. I’m not sure I fully bought her English accent but it’s good enough to not be distracting. The final fight sequence was extremely good too, again showing similarities to John Wick. This isn’t surprising when the stunt coordinator is Sam Hargrave of Avengers Endgame and Captain America: Civil War fame.

Somehow, on the negative side, Atomic Blonde‘s plot is both flimsy and complicated at the same time. It is a prime example of a movie trying to include too much detail. Who’d have thunk it? For once, there needs to be less plot. You have to understand though that this is based off a graphic novel, so it seems they have fallen victim to trying to cover the entire book in too short a space of time.

To summarise Atomic Blonde briefly, when it’s good, it’s very good. But when it’s bad, it’s boring. It’s too long, too complicated, and annoyingly not what I expected from a movie with a queer hero at the helm. Average at best.

I caught Atomic Blonde when it was on Film4, but you can rent it on the Google Play Store for £2.49.

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