As arch as this is at times, Cameron definitely understands how the conventions of action cinema have shaped the views of all of us who have been reared on these kinds of films with regards to geopolitics, gender relations, and basic physics. We may recoil at the jokey tone with which cruelty and violence are dispensed in this film, but it’s all there in a million other films; here it’s all on the surface. Also, this is just a masterclass in classic Hollywood filmmaking in terms of editing and cinematography. I dig it.
On a rewatch, the things that are great about this film are still great, and it ranks among the top 2-3 of Marvel Cinematic Universe films for sure. The production design is gorgeous (reminiscent of the most creative bits from the Star Wars prequels) and Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger remains the most compelling and well-realized Marvel villains, akin to my very favourite, Magneto.
But the weaknesses—a saggy screenplay, dragged out, boring fight scenes, and the unfortunate MCU visual template that…
Rian Johnson commits the ultimate act of reverence to Lucas’s films with this seeming subversion; he ensures that no one can ever repeat or add to the Skywalker legacy, but everyone can tell their own story “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away.” The Last Star Wars film.
Carpenter's film is such a wonderful science fiction horror, building the suspense to a perfect ending. The setting is sublime in its isolation. The creature effects remain deeply disturbing and uncanny. I can't think of another film that captures Lovecraftian horror as well. A truly great film that stands up to repeat viewings.