I’m not really sure what is is about The Losers, but they seemed to be doomed from the start. Shifting release dates, mediocre buzz coming out of Comic-Con, huge competition in the form of The A-Team and The Expendables. Yet there was a certain entertainment value to the trailers. A popcorn fluffiness that could just amount to a great night at the movies. Does the film deliver? Find out below:
It just doesn’t quite work… Let me rewind a bit. I enjoy action movies. I enjoy comic book movies. I very much enjoy the combinations between the two, and have even been known to appreciate those prior attempts which have frustrated and angered others. Let’s face it, I’m the target demo for movies with one-liners and stuff blowing up. So when your entire movie hinges on the two above concepts, and I still can’t decide whether it was worth my time, you have serious problems.
For starters, the production team is phenomenal. You’ve got a script by James Vanderbilt and Peter Berg, based on a recent hit comic series. You’ve got Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Evans among your supporting players. You’ve got a pretty expansive budget, and the full weight of Warnerbros. post-Clash of the Titans marketing. Sure the release date has been juggled more times than I can remember, but that’s just a sign of how good the film is depending on the competition, right? Right? Hmm. Maybe somebody up the line realized that it just wasn’t going to be the next Dark Knight and tried to slide it in under the radar before Iron Man 2 blows everyone away to start off the summer. All I know, is as polished a film as The Losers is, your satisfaction isn’t going to be based as much on the movie as on your own personal biases coming in.
The movie is extremely straightforward. In some ways that’s a good thing. It goes direct to the point, doesn’t dilly-dally in territory where it clearly is out of its depth, and doesn’t try to paint the world with anything other than an overly stylized popcorn brush. Problem is, when everything is this clear cut, it’s hard for an audience to find stuff to care about. The bad guy is bad. The good guys are good. Innocent people die. The plot structure revolves around different variations on revenge. Scenes just sort of happen, not because they’re particularly motivated, but because it seemed like the place in the story where a scene like that one should occur. You watch it all unfold on the shallowest of levels, though that allows you to appreciate the visual style more. The comic book flourishes are a nice touch, but they’re starting to feel almost cliché, and where Kick-Ass was fresh, The Losers is decidedly bland. I like cell shaded title sequences as much as the next guy, they just didn’t earn the connection to the source material this time around.
The funniest part of the film is the way it grows on you. The first 20 minutes feel like they should have been preceded by an introductory act, as all of the jokes make reference to character traits the audience isn’t familiar enough with to get. By the middle they start finding their mark, and the script reveals a much more sophisticated level of witty repartee than had been previously believed. By the end, it’s actually really funny, and most of that has to do with Chris Evans. I don’t know how much humor they’re going to be able to work into Captain America but if you imagine a more energetic and enthusiastic version of his work as Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four, you understand some of what you’re getting here. His humor is hard to imagine working with anybody else playing the part, and I’m interested to know how much of it was created on set. In any event, he’s clearly a highlight of the film, and almost reason enough to shell out the matinee ticket price.
At 98 minutes, it’s a quick trip into the world of The Losers this time out. The film does what all comic book movies seem to do these days and leaves itself open for a sequel. Had it developed a more satisfying conclusion and bulked up to a 2-hour runtime, it might have made a great standalone film. As it stands now, it’s fast, light, and overall not very satisfying. I’d equate the experience to a Krispy Kreme donut. It won’t fill you up, but by its very design leaves you wanting more. Will the vast majority of American men pay to see Zoe Saldana’s ass for an hour under any circumstances? Probably. So in that case, I’d say go nuts. But as a piece of cinema… this isn’t something you’ll be talking about with your friends. With any luck, this’ll be the weakest of the 3 superspy team movies coming out this summer season.
Sorry, comments are closed.