If there is one thing that is certain it's that Matt Damon loves starring in epic films with big journeys and action. From NASA constantly having to rescue him from space or him fighting for his memory and his country is the Jason Bourne franchise, it is clear he likes going big or going home. He latest film The Great Wall is no exception. This massive undertaking brings us to China where William (Damon) and his friend Tovar (Pedro Pascal) are trying to steal black powder from China. Things quickly get out of hand when their camp is attacked by some unknown monster. before long they realize that there may be even scarier reasons China constructed such a massive wall and the threat that lives on the other side of it.
There are a lot of things to both love and hate about this film, but I would like to start off with the things I loved. First I have to say this film is cinematically stunning. the beautiful sweeping scenery and amazing camera shots during the battle scenes are very impressive. The Chinese army is nothing short of damn cool. From the second the war drummers start their playing (With nunchucks, they are playing drums with freakin nunchucks...so cool) it is hard not to get sucked in as we meet each section of warriors as the first big battle begins. The Archers are sick and nothing is cooler than the all female ariel squad. It is like if a cast of any Cirque Du Soliel show had to go to battle with anyone, it would be this band of warriors. They are so cool to watch. The costumes are all brightly colored and intricate. These things are what kept me with this movie.
Now let's move on to the bad. I spent so much time semi blown away by the political parallels in the film that reflex some of our country's current situations. We have a country that built a big wall to keep any and all undesirables out. When the attack begins, these highly trained warriors are suddenly unable to fight off the crowd, but one out of town white guy is going to be their savior? I don't think so. It comes off as ridiculous. Especially when you find out that many of these soldiers have never known a life outside of that wall. They were raised for the sole purpose of protecting the wall and their country. That is all they do all day long is prep for this fight and when it finally happens, suddenly they can't perform even basic fighting skills, but Matt Damon who just met these monsters 48 hours ago is suddenly a master monster killer? It just doesn't add up.
This film is set up as one of the legends behind the building of the great wall. The creatures that have it under attack are ones that don't come around except for every 60 years. They are commanded by a giant queen, who can communicate with them through vibrations. She commands her army with skill and is next to impossible to kill thanks to the help of her guards. If a shot is taken at her they rally together like a shield to protect her and their "armor" is nearly impossible to penetrate. This doesn't leave a lot of hope for the Chinese Army until they remember that have Matt Damon who comes in to save the day.
The film has a lot of moments that drag on in the middle and about halfway through I kept finding myself wanting this movie to hurry up and get on with it already. When people asked me after if I liked it, it was hard to say, because it is not hands down terrible, but I have a hard time calling this a good movie either. it falls into the hand category of 'meh'. Would I rush out to see this one? probably not. Where there people in our theater that loved it? Absolutely. This feels like a film that will divide you friend groups on whether you should like it or hate. Personally, I would wait to see this one, but if you are just itching for an action flick The Great Wall might be just the one for you.