One of the movies I was most excited to see but ended up missing this year was Alita: Battle Angel. For a couple of years now I have been seeing the teaser trailers and they have all excited me to the point where this was one of those films I really, really wanted to see. And to hear that James Cameron, the man behind genius cinematic creations like the first two Terminator movies and Avatar, was helping bring this story to life I had to check it out. Unfortunately, the film turned out to be way lamer than I expected.
When thinking about a movie that compares to Alita: Battle Angel I immediately am drawn to Ready Player One. Steven Spielberg, like James Cameron, is a master filmmaker and this was an interesting science-fiction story adapted from a popular YA novel to bring to the big screen. Unlike Alita: Battle Angel though, Ready Player One wasn’t disappointing.
Like Alita: Battle Angel it follows the story of a young hero trying to make his way in a near-apocalyptic future to take down a great evil. There’s romance, there are fantastic action scenes designed to make you say “Wow” when you see it in IMAX, and the characters are just lovable enough for you to get invested in the story.
To be honest, the only reason why I finished Alita: Battle Angel is to write this review.
Alita: Battle Angel is supposed to be the story of a young female cyborg warrior who learns to fight back against her oppressors and defy the system but this storyline is watered down by her infatuation with a human teenager named Hugo.
Like Wonder Woman, this movie decides to water down the fierce young heroine’s story to focus more on her love story with Hugo. In Wonder Woman, Diana fell for Steve Trevor after she danced with him and experienced the beauty of snow for the first time with him swaying her to the lovely music in a very romantic fashion. In Alita: Battle Angel young heroine Alita falls for Hugo after he gives her chocolate for the first time.
And another similarity these two films had was that each movie chose to undermine the heroines’ strength by having them wrapped up in the men in their lives. And both characters became powerful because of the men they loved dying.
Captain Marvel proves that a woman doesn’t need a man to become powerful or to realize what it means to be powerful.
She isn’t shown having an infatuation with any man and when she does eventually become a powerful superhero it’s not because of the death of a man she loves. It’s because of her own will.
Neither Alita or Diana are afforded this respectful storyline.
With a cool concept, plenty of interesting villains, and a heroine to root for, Alita: Battle Angel could’ve been an AMAZING film but it instead chose to highlight the slow evolution (that revolved heavily around her relationship with a boy for the first time) into her becoming this incredible futuristic warrior. Plus the story was very simple and predictable, which is fine…until it isn’t.
I guess I now know why people always bring up the Bechdel Test.
Honestly, I wish I could say Alita: Battle Angel was a true sci-fi gem. Another James Cameron hit. It wasn’t.
3.5/5 stars (and only because the action scenes were pretty good.)
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.