Too measured and sedate for a post-apocalyptic thriller, yet too barren for a Christopher Nolan-style space and time travel epic, IO appears most akin to The Martian in that it focuses primarily on one person’s grit and resourcefulness to endure and grow plants in an unforgiving place.
Like so many of Shyamalan’s adventures, Glass starts strongly and fizzles, a dramatic droop which is initially camouflaged by the escalating grandiosity of visual rhetoric, something febrile and high-concept that is visionary in everything except having vision.
Ronan is just so good in this movie – so intelligent, so passionate, but she upstages Robbie, and Robbie’s parts of the film, often lumbered with leaden historical exposition dialogue, especially from Pearce, don’t have the same snap.
Upper-middle-class white privilege does not exempt you from drug problems, but it looks as if it rates you a premium kind of respectful and sorrowing film treatment, something to do, I suspect, with the tremulous father-son ownership of this narrative.
The camera roams this way and that in the media scrum, and as in subsequent scenes, the dialogue is overlapping and borderline unintelligible. It is bravura work in its way, but unconnected to any real dramatic energy or political point.
Wilson is just, frankly, dull. He is not allowed to develop an interesting character and he suffers from the obvious comparison with Loki, Thor’s adopted brother played with relish by Tom Hiddleston as a velvety-voiced villain. But then Momoa’s good-ol’-boy characterisation of Aquaman itself only goes so far. This is a film that never quite comes up for air.
There are some lively things about Mortal Engines, and the performances are game enough. Yet in all its effortful steampunkiness, Mortal Engines isn’t a film which is particularly exciting or funny, and the idea of the “traction city” is a stylistic and visual design tic that you just have to take or leave.