‘Alita: Battle Angel’ is all flash but no substance


Rosa Salazar stars as Alita, a female cyborg, in “Alita: Battle Angel”. IMDb website photo

“Alita: Battle Angel” attempts to compensate a flawed narrative with stunning visuals.

The film, directed by Robert Rodriguez, takes place in the year 2563. A cataclysmic war, known as “the fall,” has left Earth devastated. While salvaging through the scrapyard of Iron City, Ido (Christoph Waltz) finds a cyborg with a fully intact human brain. After being resurrected and rebuilt by Ido, Alita (Rosa Salazar) has no recollection of her previous life and begins to learn about the new world she has found herself in. However, after fighting against some of Iron City’s worst criminals, Alita begins to recollect memories of her former life and begins her journey to learn the true purpose behind her conception.

Right off the bat, the visuals caught my eye and kept me captivated until the end.

Though the use of the cyberpunk aesthetic in sci-fi/action films may seem a bit run-of-the-mill, “Alita: Battle Angel” was able to use this aesthetic well to create a visually stunning world. Since there is a lot of attention to detail in the settings and environment, it’s evident that a lot of effort was put into the overall production design of this 26th century Earth.

The action and battle sequences were executed quite well. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) never felt overdone and was utilized to create sequences with very fluid, yet intense character emotion.

However, where this film begins to suffer is in its narrative structure and dialogue.

“Alita: Battle Angel” was absolutely littered with clichés, both in its plot and dialogue.

There were many instances where the main characters would say some of the most overused one-liners in the most dramatic scenes of the film. It’s clear that in these crucial scenes, the writers attempted to establish a poignant mood, but in turn, it came off as overdramatic and “cheesy,” for lack of a better word.

The romantic arc between Alita and Hugo (Keenan Johnson) was out of place and felt forced into the film’s narrative. There was little to no character development between these two main characters. Any chemistry between Alita and Hugo was nonexistent.

In addition, the film had too many plotlines for one movie to carry. The numerous plotlines created consistency and continuity issues within the overall narrative of the film and led to plot holes.

I understand that the director wanted to leave loose ends in the film to set up the sequel. However, the plot holes in this film are hard to overlook and are a clear flaw in the writing of “Alita: Battle Angel.”

Though this film has its fair share of flaws, the visuals in this film are reason enough to watch this movie while its still in theaters. Narratively, it’s not the most perfect film, but it certainly is an entertaining and captivating one.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] and @AngelOrtegaNews on Twitter.