Alita: Battle Angel ★★★½

A friend highly recommended this, but I suppose I was already aware of this through a pretty major marketing campaign (during the football season? I don't know).

So where that tripped me up is that I thought it was sort of a cheap fantasy thing that was heavy on effects. Then it was clear that no expense was really spared with the technology - it's gorgeous. Then all these extremely good actors starting showing up and I really couldn't figure out what they were doing in this cheesy mess. Then the plot got more serious and I had to reset my expectations again, and when it ended I saw who was involved in the production and had to reset my expectations all over again.

Although that's overstating it - Connelly in a film is a warning sign (sorry!) and I thought Walz was a little silly (sorry!) and there's entirely too much MachineBall or whatever they call it. (Starship Troopers had the sense to limit the arena football nonsense, but Alita is very invested in MachineBall.)

And honestly I should start the whole film over again. This is a serious attempt to start a new franchise and it should be understood on those terms.