I’m not sure what the point of this movie was. It actually does act as a sequel, it follows Charlie several years after the events of the first film, so at least it doesn’t completely ignore them in order to tell the story of her cousin or daughter or something to that effect. On the other hand, the movie goes out of its way to contradict the events of the aforementioned film. I guess you could call it a “re-imagining” but it doesn’t really work on that front either. It tries to mix a retelling of the story in with a sequel and it succeeds at neither.
I went in expecting this to be pretty bad, but I figured that Malcolm McDowell and Dennis Hopper would be the film’s saving grace. While they are the two best actors in the movie, in comparison to some of their other performances, what we see here is pretty underwhelming so it doesn’t even have that going for it. Hopper’s character was mildly amusing, if for no other reason than the fact that he reminded me a lot of Dr. Manhattan from “Watchmen”.
The movie tries to keep you interested with three different climaxes, but I still felt bored through a vast majority of it. The movie’s long too, it’s just under three hours and it doesn’t have the story or character development to back it up, “The Dark Knight” it isn’t.
Speaking of which, one of the highlights was a scene where Vincent and Charlie start talking comics after Vincent makes a reference to Kryptonite and Charlie has to correct him on the color he is referring to. Charlie points out that she likes Batman better because he’s normal and because he kicked Superman’s butt in “The Dark Knight”. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that she was referring to Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” because Nolan’s film hadn’t been made yet and even if it had, Superman didn’t appear in it.
I’m torn on Vincent’s character. On the one hand, he was flat and uninteresting, but it was hard to dislike him, mostly because he did generally mean well. He’s still an idiot though. At one point, he’s reading Charlie’s file and notes her nickname as “the firestarter” only to ask, not five seconds later, what pyrokinesis meant. I facepalmed.
There’s some pretty gratuitous fanservice as well. At one point, the sprinklers in the building Charlie is trying to infiltrate go off so she spends a scene running around in a wet tank top. There are also two love making scenes that don’t really drive the plot forward. OK, I’ll buy the one with Vincent. They bonded and have a connection, fine I’ll humor you with that one, but there’s an earlier scene where she’s in a club and some guy comes up and just randomly starts grinding on her, they than decide to go make out on the hood of his car. Things get pretty intense until Charlie gets a little too hot under the collar and has to leave (same thing happens with Vincent). If she knows she can’t handle stuff like that, why does she do it? The guy from the club gets mad and insults her as she walks off. I guess it’s meant to show him as a jerk, but I can see why he’d be frustrated. Oh, and then she lights a bunch of boxes and plywood on fire and just leaves it there so that it can spread.
The one major difference between this movie and its predecessor is that where the first movie pit Charlie against an army who stood no chance against her, this one brings in other metahuman children to even the odds. Sadly, it’s underwhelming, they fight once at like the one hour mark and that’s about it. The final confrontation is also pretty anti-climactic. I don’t get why Charlie ended up destroying the town when they had nothing to do with what had happened. You’d think she’d focus on her target and not just hit stray buildings, but whatever.
I wouldn’t recommend this. It’s not good. When you get to a point where Malcolm McDowell and Dennis Hopper can’t save your movie, that’s it, you’re done.