Film Review: Atomic Blonde

Man, this summer just keeps getting better and better for woman. As Wonder Woman shoulders the burden of a genre that has been carried forward largely by male superheroes, as a long running show finally passes the sonic screwdriver to a female Dr., Charlize Theron smokes the boys out of their exclusive action/espionage club with Atomic Blonde. Move over James Bond, Jason Bourne and John Wick, the future is female.

(Yes, I know Wick isn’t a spy, but Atomic Blonde throws him into the mix as well when creating its heroine. Why stop at two men when you can do the job of three?)

Alright, now that all the misogynists are gone, let’s talk about what I really want to: hair. Now hear me out. You know the old adage, “blondes have more fun”? Never has that applied more so than it does with Atomic Blonde.

Fun is the one word that kept coming up when listening to the other viewers while leaving the screening. Atomic Blonde is full of catchy pop tunes of decades past, colorful lights saturating the sets, and some of the best action sequences I’ve seen in awhile (one of my favorite fight scenes ever, matter of fact, which shouldn’t be too surprising given that the director’s IMDb page is filled mostly with stunt credits), which is why it’s easy to assume that it’s not just the audience that’s having fun with this one, but everyone involved in the making of the movie as well. The actors, stunt coordinators, the music supervisor, the steadicam operator, the editor… I can’t imagine anyone of these people doing their job without a smile on their faces.

When viewers weren’t talking about how fun the film was on the whole (fun is to this movie what tense is to Dunkirk), a few other descriptions that popped up were about how the movie is slightly confusing, and that it dragged a tiny bit in the middle. Ok, the first thing was actually just me. There was more than one occasion that I felt a little too dumb for the plot as all the moving parts danced around Theron’s character as she hunted down a rather important list of spy identities, and if you too feel a tad confused by the guessing game when the distractions of the flashing lights and hits of the 80s die down, just know that it all comes together in the end. Until then just focus on Theron kicking butt and enjoy the ride.

When you get down to it, if “slightly long” is the main complaint about a movie then it’s clearly doing a ton of stuff right. Matter of fact, Atomic Blonde does so much right that it makes my “Top 5 Movies of 2017” list easily. Yes, there’s still plenty of time left in the year and plenty of movies I’ve missed so far, but Atomic Blonde won’t budge without a fight. So get out there and see it. Do it for yourselves, and do it for Theron. She deserves a franchise with this one.

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