★★★ Watched 03 Jul, 2022
Mostly a paint-by-numbers action-adventure adaptation of a video game franchise by the same name. Action sequences are a bit too conveniently choreographed and therefore look too much like a video game, which in a movie format makes them too formulaic. The game is not hiding its Indiana Jones inspiration, but now going in reverse that muse starts falling apart at the seams. There are moments it’s trying too hard and others, not enough, making it overall just an ok experience.
Tom Holland did a good job as Drake. I can see his heart in all of the films I have seen him in so far. Mark Whalberg on the other side does not fit into the character from the games nor does he try to make it his own. I also dare to say he left his acting heart somewhere else a while ago as he’s simply there to do the work and pick up the paycheck. From what I’ve seen he has fingers in so many (business) pies, that it’s hard to expect him to be fully present.
I love this game franchise and I have enjoyed completing all four main games as well as the expansion The Lost Legacy. Adapting it to the big screen sounds easier than usual because it is inherently a very cinematic game franchise. I feel it fails due to the fact that the director is not a gamer and can’t connect to the property on that level. I don’t think this is always necessary as the opposite example of Tony Gilroy, who was brought in to rewrite and polish Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and ultimately made it into a better movie in spite of the fact that he’s not a Star Wars fan at all. He’s just a good filmmaker.
As an end note, there are some nice nods for the fans of the games in a form of visual easter eggs and quick lines (including a Stan Lee type cameo by Drake’s voice actor from the games). Let’s see if they make enough money to be worth a sequel. Honestly, I do expect much more from The Last of Us series (based on the games from the same developer Naughty Dog).