Alita: Battle Angel Movie Review

Image Courtesy of GeekTyrant.com

Christopher Ocker, Staff Writer

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Alita: Battle Angel follows the story of cyborg Alita in the year 2563. Over three centuries before, there was a war between the people of Earth and Mars, leading to “The Fall” of the planet. The only places that remain are the floating city of Zalem—where the upper class lives—and the rustic Iron City below. After Alita’s partially destroyed body is recovered, and she is given a new body by Dr. Ido, Alita begins to learn more about this world and about her past. The world that Alita creates is one that feels very deep and lived in without the need to explain absolutely everything. There feels like there are an established culture and law along with the dark underworld that naturally would exist. There is prejudice that exists, cliches, and gangs that stick together. Despite how grandiose this future is, it always feels very grounded. This is all associated with the fantastic lore that is briefly mentioned that fully builds up the two cities.

Alita really exceeds in two areas: action and characterization. The actions scenes feel incredibly frenetic, exciting, and well-shot. The fast pace Motorball chase that occurs at the midpoint of the film is a particular standout, filled to the brim with intense moments of suspense mixed together with stylish actions. The fight scenes with Alita’s martial arts also subvert expectations, leading to one of the most satisfying moments I have seen in quite a while. I was also shocked to see how well all of the characters are developed. Dr. Ido, in particular, had a very interesting backstory that made his relationship with Alita even more special. Even the smallest of characters have fully fleshed out arcs. In a movie that has a lot going on within it, these two factors play a large role in why Alita never feels too long or drawn out.

The biggest fault of Alita is the final act feeling very anti-climatic. Another villain is introduced into the plot within the final hour, so the entire climax involving the main villain of the film fails to carry any weight that the rest of the movie set up. The most interesting ideas present within Alita all occur towards the end of the film but never get the amount of screen time they deserve. While other films do a decent job of setting up sequels while still feeling like complete stories, this one feels very rushed and unfocused. If they chose to take the focus slightly away from building a cliffhanger, the filmmakers would have more screen time to dedicate to the more enjoyable aspects of the story.

Although the finale falls flat in many areas, Alita: Battle Angel is still an enjoyable experience, especially for this time of the year. It builds a very compelling world and the themes it presents are very subtle and relevant. If you’re looking for a fun time at the movies, you cannot go wrong with this one.

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