This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Watched at 1am in IMAX with a bunch of guys for a bachelor party. Prime conditions for success. We were laughing and quoting all the dumbest lines late into the morning. Also I drifted off a few times so I literally have no idea what the plot was or how anything with the latest McGuffin made sense.

This is definitely the most Torretto-centric FF movie (it basically treats them like a line of gods) which is hilarious and also it has a parallel “flashback timeline” b-plot going on which is a little different for the series and feels surprisingly earnest, more in line with Fast Five than F8. MASSIVE WIN for casting younger Dom instead of de-aging Vin Diesel. It’s interesting to me how this franchise has brought Dom into the spotlight as the “protagonist” in the wake of Paul Walker’s death; it’s kinda like how Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow became the main character after Will Turner left the Pirates franchise. It’s less interesting and down-to-earth but it’s also much better camp energy.

The funniest addition is John Cena - literally anytime he was onscreen it was such a meme that I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. Kinda wish he’d gotten more chance to ham it up and banter back and forth, but the notion that “he was a young street racer and now he’s a secret agent who wants to blow up the planet or something” is the funniest thing in the universe so it’s all good. The action is fun although there’s a lot more hand-to-hand than in the last few movies, most of which is shot with so much shaky-cam that it’s impossible to follow. That might have been because I was seeing it on such a massive screen, though. The magnet stuff is creative (and the space stuff, oh my god what a meme) but in general I’d say there are less “iconic/memorable sequences” than usual here. I remember the prison fight, the car harpoon scene, the remote-control zombie card, and the submarine battle from F8 pretty distinctly. There were definitely some moments where it felt like something was missing, and then I realized I was kinda longing for the energy of The Rock and Statham in the last two. I hope they come back soon instead of living in their spinoff-verse. Also, I don’t think Brian Tyler’s Fast and Furious main theme made an appearance, which is disappointing because it’s been in the last few movies consistently. Still, it was nice to have something focused more intimately on “The Torretto story” and the earnestness really sells it. The theater applauded whenever Dom said family, Cardi B somehow showed up for no reason unless I dreamed that part, several characters shouted “NOOOO” with maximum cheeseball energy, and Roman tried to make the movie have a self-aware thematic takeaway about nobody being invincible, so it’s a 10/10 nonetheless.

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