I spent large sections of this film with a daft smile on my face. Very likable, brilliant cast (yup, even Affleck - who proves that he doesn't have to mumble his way through a film if he doesn't want to), and occasionally funny. A slight tale, but a warm and cuddly one too. Not the painful slow burn of Lowery's last effort.
This left me exhausted and a little disappointed (after all the smash reviews I'd read). As directorial debuts go, it's an absolute barnstormer. But, my god, there is so much thrown on screen that it becomes a little too much. It's less "rough around the edges", more "jaggy as fuck" - which may well be Riley's intention. The satire drowns out everything else, I was hoping to laugh a little more. Not sure what Detroit's art performance piece was all about. The cast are uniformly outstanding.
The production design and visual effects/CGI are superb. The world created is beautifully realised (I'd love these guys to have a go at China Mieville's Bas-Lag novels - The Scar is essentially Mortal Engines on water).
The opening half-hour is fantastic, thrilling stuff, reminded me a little of the Mad Max movies. The early establishing scenes on "London" are also great, and there is a brilliant gag in the London Museum about protecting a couple of "American deities" that has…
As angry, bludgeoning, preachy and in-your-face as they come. No pussyfooting around here and rightly so. The absurdity of the situation and the KKK characters is beautifully shown, it gets the balance of humour and horror just right. The cast are perfect and I loved the music too, but the real star here is Spike Lee. Probably his best since Do The Right Thing.
Its powerful and somewhat dispiriting epilogue frames the whole film in a new light, and is what tips it into five-star territory.