none of the feels (but one of the clicks)

I have a high resistance to click bait headlines that contain phrases like:

  • “You’ll be amazed…”
  • “You won’t believe…”
  • “Fans are convinced…”
  • “____ will give you all the feels” (I never click on anything that uses the phrase “all the feels”)

Also, any article that claims to be able to say what some famous person is (or was) like based on body language and/or handwriting analysis.

But this headline seemed calculated to get me to click on it: “Is ‘Shadow in the Cloud’ ‘insanely entertaining’ or ‘deeply, deeply dumb’?

It may be a forlorn hope, but maybe, just maybe, it will be both? A movie that’s simultaneously “insanely entertaining” and “deeply, deeply dumb”? That’s worth a click.

And this particular one stars ChloĆ« Grace Moretz? And it’s often described as “bonkers”?

I had to see it, so I did (not in a theater, of course).

Here’s the trailer.

It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s definitely insanely entertaining, and completely of a piece. For the last fifteen minutes I wondered if it would actually end with the image it was obviously heading toward.

And it did. If there had been a focus group, that ending might not have made it. But it did.

Tone makes a lot of difference. The thing that made Kick-Ass (also starring Moretz) work, and its sequel fail so completely, was tone. Every frame of Kick-Ass felt like exactly the movie that Matthew Vaughn wanted to make, and that can be huge, especially these days.

As Vaughn put it, every studio insisted that this scene had to be cut, but he knew that it had to be there, so he paid for the movie himself, finished it, and then sold it as-is to a studio.

X-Men: First Class, which Vaughn directed later, never had that consistency, though it had some good parts. Actually, it was pretty good until halfway through when obviously someone pointed out that an “X-Men” movie needed to have some X-Men in it, at which point things began to go downhill.

These days, no big blockbusters have that consistency of tone, though the original Tim Burton Batman movie did, and I was recently reading an article which made the case that the Lord of the Rings movies did, too.

Not that this is always the index of a successful film (Zach Snyder’s movies are always — at least the ones I’ve seen — consistently Zach Snyder movies, but I’ve never really liked any of them). But when it clicks, as it does here, it’s a joy, even if it defies the laws of physics (as the Fast & Furious movies have cheerfully done for years).

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