Alita: Battle Angel - The Justice League of Anime?

In case you've just watched Alita: Battle Angel, and have found this review while searching in the cinema 'does this film have an end credits scene', it doesn't. You're welcome. Preface: This is a review of 2019's Alita: Battle Angel, and contains no opinions on any other facet of the Alita franchise.

Now, to lay all my biases out on the table before we get into the review: 1. I have a slight personal grudge against James Cameron because of his flagrantly dismissive comments on comic book movies 2. The opinion the trailers gave me before going into this film was 'this is probably going to be another smudgy-looking CGI blockbuster with a loose plot and poor character development 3. The eyes are still a little distracting All that being said, I quite enjoyed this film. Most of the characters were believable and enjoyable to watch, the plot was much better than I expected it to be, if a little convoluted, and I finally got used to the eyes (either that or they changed them after the backlash from the trailers). The visual effects really worked quite well for the vast majority of this film, which came as a shock to me, as I've been calling it "b i g eye, lil toof" anytime a trailer played.

One way I would recommend this film to someone is: imagine Ghost in the Shell, but better. GitS isn’t awful, but this is even further away from awful, I would probably even go so far as to say it’s 'pretty good', despite several flaws and weird aspects, which I will be getting into, but GitS works as a good comparison to this as they’re effectively the same film. They’re both stories of a young, amnesiac robo-women, who go on journeys of self discovery and massive violence, in order to learn what it really means to be human in a dystopian cyberpunk future earth.

They’re also both Western live action adaptations of animes/mangas, a subgenre that, until their arrival, was dominated by films so aggressively terrible that they practically tainted the source material. In my opinion, b i g eye, lil toof has raised the bar for these films, as well as special effects.

It's not all praise though, as I do think the movie is overlong. It's what I'm calling a ‘TARDIS film’ - felt like it went on longer than the running time. I got out of my showing thinking “this was better than I thought it was going to be, but it could have done with being cut down to two hours,” only then to find out the running time was two hours and two minutes. It just seemed to go for ages.

To summarise, Alita is a worthwhile watch, with its stellar cast, groundbreaking visuals, and intrepid use of punctilious violence but would probably benefit from a streamlining of the script. Sure, there are tropes, like the cliché pretty boy love interest and his 'best view in town' scene; and yes, there are oddities, like Ido's assistant, who gets a surprising amount of screen time despite little to no dialogue (seriously, she was like sign language interpreter). But on the whole, defied my expectations and left me interested in a sequel. In a way, it's the Justice League of anime movies: still a mess, but a step in the right direction.

Thank you very much for reading. If you enjoyed my ramble, feel free to follow me on Twitter @Mooscittles, for similar such ravings. And of course, follow the wonderful @superinkarts to be kept abreast of all the latest views & reviews.

Written by Kyle J.

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