What we have here is a standard-issue comedy-tinged crime thriller indifferently directed by Tim Story (the “Think Like a Man” and “Ride Along” movies). Its nothing-special plot, the product of writers Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow, features ill-defined villains and briefly touches on Islamophobia and military veteran PTSD and drug abuse — and never follows up on any of those issues.
Oh yes indeed. Avengers: Endgame brought it...This film had an insanely difficult job to do — to gracefully and tidily wrap up a 22-movie Marvel Comics cycle with a cast list bigger than the Hulk, and to do so with both poignancy and hold-your-breath action — and it delivers.
Even with that major miscue, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase works well for its target audience. It shows that anyone can stand up to peer pressure, bullying or even a ghost if they are smart and strong enough. As for the mystery of how good the movie is, the case is closed on a positive note.
There’s a lovely sense, throughout the film, of how real life sometimes interrupts things, the way a child’s prattling disrupts the pretty wedding ceremony, or how even in the midst of grief breakfast must be made.
It’s a bunch of plastic blocks that have an adventure, and it’s basically insane; not quite as pleasantly so as the first movie (the element of astonished surprise isn’t there), but hey, that’s a high bar. Everything is … oh, damn it, there I go again.
No previous screen rendering of the Rudyard Kipling classic — not the 2016 Disney live-action epic and certainly not the jaunty, tuneful 1967 Disney animated version beloved by generations — has been so very dark and wild and, surprisingly, thoughtful.