If you consider yourself a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then you’re going to love this film because this movie has the MCU fingerprints written all over it. It starts with the screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, a duo that is known for their work on such films as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Avengers Endgame”, and “Avengers Infinity War.”
Whenever Marcus and McFeely are paired up as the screenwriters for a film project, Anthony and Joseph Russo are not far behind on the directing chair. The Russo Brothers have parlayed their Avengers success into a multitude of action spin-offs over the last few years such as “Extraction”, “Cherry”, and their latest film “The Gray Man”. Given their close ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they are also given the luxury of working with MCU actors such as Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, and one of their personal favorites Chris Evans.
Netflix is a streaming platform that is known for its quantity rather than the quality of its original content. Unless you’re a big fan of “The Kissing Booth”, “The Kissing Booth 2”, or “The Kissing Booth 3”; you’re not going to find much that’s worth the $23 a month up-charge. Hoping that they can get some of that MCU rub from the Russo Brothers, Netflix moved forward with a project that was in development hell for over 10 years in hopes to gain new subscribers and look past their 65% drop in stock price for 2022.
One look at this film and you can tell this is not your typical Netflix production. This is a big-budget action film that cost upwards of two hundred million dollars to produce. The film does not skimp on big stunts and colorful and expensive locations, and it has a cast of well-known actors from around the world.
Ryan Gosling has a knack for taking emotionless characters in somehow bringing personality and Charisma to the role. His performance in the movie is the one consistent piece of this puzzle that makes the entire film work. Ana de Armas plays a secondary role in this film, but she has proven herself to be more valuable in every role that she has been a part of by being a reliable yet charismatic character actress. If you love espionage thrillers, this film will be right up your alley. There are many notable characters here that do a good job of keeping the film engaging till the very end.
The film is fleshed out enough so that the key components of the story work from the conflict, the plot, and the conclusion. The Gray Man is a film that gets all the basics right, but when you start combing through the finer details of the story, the film isn’t as strong as it should be.
One of the weakest aspects of this movie is actor Chris Evans playing the role of a sociopath. The problem comes down to the fact that it is clear that Chris is told to play a character that simply doesn’t care for anyone but himself. What he ends up doing is playing a character that turns out to be a complete cartoon that is in a narrative conflict with everyone else in the story.
Like most MCU films, this movie also has a villain problem. In the first act of the movie, the film establishes that there is a CIA suit who is looking to cover up and clean up the ranks in the agency in a move that is portrayed as a power grab. As we get deeper into the story the villain that was set up in the first act disappears throughout the rest of the movie. It is later explained that there could be another more powerful operative that’s pulling the strings, however, the film drops the ball on the reveal of who this person could be.
When we get to the conclusion of the movie, we’re given the takeaway that one character has been the antagonist all along. This leaves the audience unfulfilled given the two-hour ride that they have been on up to this point.
The Gray Man is one of the better films if you’re going to find it on Netflix this year, making it a rare diamond for a subpar streaming service.