An action-packed story of one young woman’s journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world
For a film occupying itself with themes of identity and true self, Alita: Battle Angel could afford to take a look at itself in the mirror. There is something classic in the film—beyond good and evil, beyond comic books and action and smashing things. Certain sights and sounds recall filmmaking pioneers such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, from the grandiosity of the city (the evening sites are particularly noteworthy) to the concepts of everyday cyborgs and the greater corporate evils. Sadly, Alita gets too simplified with obvious do-gooding and a more athletic-related main storyline. Still, a curious sense of wonderment lingers throughout the film.Said wonderment belongs to director Robert Rodriguez in credit, who does offer a light enough touch and dance in his step. Complaints aside, the film is largely watchable, and a spectacle for its visual effects and sound design in particular. The script even touches base with angels and demons—discussing them in place of terms like “good and evil.” Still, the film too often feels like it doesn’t want to take itself seriously; in the end, it could have completely cashed in on its potential, becoming the film it truly should have been. The film does not receive Dove approval for its heavy action.