REVIEW: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ is a Cyberpunk Action Ride

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Alita Battle Angel

For the past few years, Hollywood has taken their shot at several live-action anime adaptations. Some include Ghost in a ShellDragonball: Evolution, and Speed Racer. As much as many people don’t like to talk about those films, they’ve served as an influence for this trend to continue. The most recent attempt is Alita: Battle Angel, which is based off the manga series Battle Angel: Alita, written by Yukito Kishiro.

I have to admit, I’ve only read the first few chapters of the series, so I don’t have much to go on in terms source material. However, as a cyberpunk action film, I had a blast watching this from start to finish.

Alita: Battle Angel, which is directed by Robert Rodriguez and stars Rosa Salazar as Alita, Christoph Waltz as Dr. Dyson Ido, Jennifer Connelly as Chiren, Mahershala Ali as Vector, Ed Skrein as Zapan, Jackie Earle Haley as Grewishka, and Keean Johnson as Hugo.

It follows Alita, a deactivated cyborg, who is revived by Dr. Dyson Ido after being found in the Scrap Yard. When she awakens, she realizes that she does not remember anything about her past life or her name. Seeking answers, Alita embarks on a journey that will change her life forever.

Since I wasn’t too familiar with the series, I wasn’t sure what to really expect. I was aware of the basic premise of the series, which helped me understand some elements of the film. I have to acknowledge and give props to the fantastic job that the film did at world-building and the visual effects.

Every aspect introduced in the film was explained well and exceeded my expectations. The small glimpses that were given about Alita’s past and the history of Iron City were just enough to make me want more in future films. Even if all of this wasn’t done to set up future films, the dedication that went into these aspects shows how much this movie meant to those who worked on it.

The fight scenes were incredible to watch. From the trailer, I knew the fight scenes would be great, but the fight choreography blew me away. Rodriguez is able to bring the anime and cyberpunk aesthetics to life within every fight scene. I wouldn’t be against the future films having more fight scenes if they were like the ones in this film. They were just so aesthetically pleasing to look at. My one complaint in these fight scenes would be the sound editing. It could just be the theater hall I went to, but certain parts of the fight scenes were a bit too loud.

I walked out of the film being as a fan of Salazar and loved her portrayal of Alita. I do understand people’s critiques that she falls under certain tropes, but she quickly grows out of them. By the end of the film, I felt like Alita had gone through tremendous growth and had become a fierce warrior. It felt like I was re-reading the scrapyard arc from the manga all over again.

One of the things I didn’t like about the film was the relationship between Alita and Hugo. I understand that they have a relationship in the manga series, but I’m just not a fan of how it was done in the film. With the movie possibly getting two more sequels, it would’ve been better for this to be developed throughout the other films as well.

Even if the other films don’t happen, the romance was rushed and dominated the film more than I thought it would, part of the problem being the pacing of the film. There were times were the pacing was wasn’t handled well. However, it makes sense since this is a film and not a manga series, but given the run time it could have been handled better.

I really enjoyed watching Alita Battle Angel. This is by far one of the better American live-action adaptations that’s been done. I’ll definitely head back and watch this at least one more time before it leaves theaters. Fans of the original series and fans of the cyberpunk genre will surely walk away with things they enjoyed about the film.

Alita Battle Angel is in theaters NOW! Make sure you check out the film at your local theater.

Alita: Battle Angel
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

I really enjoyed watching Alita Battle Angel. This is by far one of the better American live-action adaptations that’s been done. I’ll definitely head back and watch this at least one more time before it leaves theaters. Fans of the original series and fans of the cyberpunk genre will surely walk away with things they enjoyed about the film.