Despite being based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde has nothing in common with the current generation of comic book movies. Instead, Charlize Theron’s Lorraine Broughton is more likely to be compared to brutal action heroes and spies such as John Wick, Jason Bourne and James Bond, as Atomic Blonde spins a high octane web of intrigue and violence between the British, Russian, American and French intelligence agents in 80s Berlin.
The Coldest City itself isn’t a particularly well known or critically acclaimed graphic novel, but as a movie Atomic Blonde has plenty to get excited about, so let’s break it down.
Not necessarily a mind-blowing or genre-defining story, the twists and turns of this espionage tale are well crafted enough to keep things interesting without becoming too predictable or too confusing to follow.
Charlize Theron and James McAvoy are particularly excellent in their roles, so full points for portrayal in that respect, however Atomic Blonde's blistering pace of action and intrigue never really allow any of the characters to become relatable enough for us to learn who they are or to care about them beyond their role in the plot.
Atomic Blonde is definitely entertaining. One hell of a ride from start to finish, this is a movie best enjoyed on the biggest screen and the loudest speakers available to you. The espionage story is interesting, but it's the action and soundtrack that make it so much fun to experience.
Proof that a movie can have great visual style without CGI or over the top special effects, this is a very nice movie to look at. The costuming is fantastic, the framing of the action sequences are as clear as they are thrilling and every character and location is immediately recognisable as unique.
The fight choreography in Atomic Blonde is on par with John Wick and the Netflix Daredevil series in terms of making violence equal parts realistic and visually stunning.
Not since Guardians of the Galaxy has an 80s mix-tape soundtrack made so much thematic sense and been used so perfectly as an emotional score to each scene rather than just an excuse to sell OST albums. This soundtrack is definitely one of the best elements of Atomic Blonde.
An action-espionage blockbuster with a female lead, kicking every kind of crap out of Russian thugs in East Berlin, unable to trust anyone around her? Yeah, it doesn't need much more than that to be a fantastic concept.
Although there were no major flaws, plot holes or issues, I did feel that the ending could have been a little stronger. For all the high stakes, the pay-off felt slightly underwhelming.
Other than that, extremely well executed across the board.
By no means reinventing the spy genre, but for a female protagonist to be given the spotlight for such a brutal role as this, without pulling any punches or undermining her capabilities or strength makes this movie stand out as something unique anyway.
Probably not a movie for every demographic, it's very violent, it's potentially confusing and there's a good sprinkling of nudity, sex and profanity just to make sure it's an adults only affair, but it definitely ticks all the boxes for anyone that doesn't take issue with dark and gritty adult content.
I'd love to watch Atomic Blonde again, I really enjoyed it, but the ending didn't leave me hanging out to see more and there weren't really any burning questions as to what will happen next or what's in store for characters I care about.
I'd absolutely be down for a prequel though...
I don't think Atomic Blonde is the best movie of the year by any means, but the action and the soundtrack alone make it a must-see for anyone who shares my tastes in such things, and Theron and McAvoy really are excellent, warts and all.