So this is what happened to all the tightly constructed thrillers that we used to have twenty years ago. They just became the Funny Movies. Like, since the original Hangover they’ve both been cribbing from the same playbook, except instead of waking up with a cadaver and whatever local mob boss gunning for you, it’s just replaced with a series of spiralling comic hijinks. Game Night even draws up its own convoluted web of organised crime, shadowy masterminds who ain’t all that they seem, hard pressed paranoia. The only thing that makes it a comedy is that it’s about the Funny People.
I think I habitually overrate Marvel movies. I mean, I’m pretty sincere when I consider them just about the most important contemporary releases. A decade seems to have been the right amount of time for these movies to mutate, a hybrid combination of pap and prestige. They are the most honest reflection of our culture and politics that is being created right now. You can feel it in the struggles, the barbs present in these films’ souls. What they see in society, what they want to be seen, and what remains conspicuously absent from their tapestries.
Den of Thieves has all the makings of a fun cops and robbers, cat and mouse heist film. A scrappy bunch of ne’er do wells with an elaborate plot to jack the United States Federal Reserve. The bunch of hard working dicks dedicated to tracking them down. Sure it might end on a totally bone-headed twist that is completely undeserved but aside from that the bones are functional.
I didn’t see either of the other two Maze Runner films. That’s my own fault, the due diligence that I never bothered to perform. I was ready to go into the film ready to dismiss it, not in an asshole way, just a piece of YA-pop-trash arriving a couple of years after its time.
Now, the film is straight-up, legit goofball nonsense. Neeson plays a man who has rode the same train every day for ten years and on the day he’s laid off from work a mysterious woman boards with him and offers him $100,000 to identify and track a mystery passenger. Just from the premise it feels a little goofy.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a nowhere movie. It isn’t set anywhere, doesn’t have any real characters at all, nor does it have literally anything to say at all.
There’s a whole lotta movie in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It doesn’t all work, it can feel muddled and disparate at times, the wild variety of tones that it tries to capture don’t quite settle into a script that feels far more invested in being funny.