3 April 2011 | imdb2-556-923983
Original, creative, enjoyable
I feel it needs to be said that this is a superhero movie. We've had a myriad of superhero movies in recent years, but only a handful (e.g. the first Iron Man) were films where it seemed to me cast and crew were not fast asleep but actually cared about what they were doing. This is definitely an example of that rare breed. It is one of those movies where you spend the entire length of the film NOT noticing that it is a superhero movie, and quite possibly this will not dawn on you even on the ride home, because the subject matter is handled seriously: the characters are 3d life-like people; the plot has life-like complexity; there is ambiguity and room for interpretation. Somebody cared. I had my doubts, going in, whether Bradley Cooper can pull this one off. He sure can. Other actors are also at the top of their game. (I don't feel I need to pick out De Niro in particular, here.)
So, the good: Original, creative writing. Original, creative, beautiful cinematography. Original, creative direction. Interesting throughout. Believable, except when it isn't trying to be. Good pacing. Well acted.
The bad: Some scenes stretch credulity. Most by just a little. The fore-last scene is over the top. I loved it. (My wife said: "They're trying to pull a Tarrantino. Right?" and they were.) I can't blame anyone who says this scene ruined the movie for him. It isn't believable. It isn't consistent with the rest. But it's definitely where the roller-coaster that is this movie is at its most extreme. By contrast, the last scene left me with a feeling of something missed. It's like the script saves the best for the sequel.
So, unfortunately, this movie doesn't have an ending that makes you forgive it for everything else. Quite on the contrary. It just happens to be so good that I was willing to forgive it its bad ending.