Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper is the type of film that proves exactly why I could never be a bona fide movie reviewer: I loved it. Judging by its scores on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes (6.2 on a 10-point scale; and 49%, respectively), that is not the general consensus.
Then again, I do wonder, at times, whether or not the whole concept of movie reviewing needs a shake-up. Judging Skyscraper on its artistic merits – comparing it to, say, A Quiet Place, or even Black Panther, which probably sits closer to Skyscraper thematically and in terms of genres than the former – is clearly going to result in Skyscraper coming out somewhere close to the bottom of the pile. But, when it comes to time (and money) spent at the cinema, the biggest question for me is: did I enjoy that? And, honestly, I would defy anyone not to enjoy their 102 minutes spent marvelling at former war hero Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson)’s determination, ingenuity and sheer heft.
Skyscraper is a snacks-required movie
There are certain films that require reverence and concentration – and there are other films that require snacks. Skyscraper falls neatly into the latter category. (I ate M&S white chocolate chip cookies and drank Diet Coke.)
Dwayne Johnson (The Rock, duh) plays Will Sawyer, an army vet who has lost his leg in Tragic Circumstances (these require capital letters because they are referred to and remembered by Will – you can see it in his heartbroken eyes – over and over). Plot-wise, this limb loss doesn’t seem hugely crucial; it’s almost as if they thought, “hang on, having Dwayne Johnson catapult himself five metres across an abyss, 93 storeys in the air, isn’t impressive enough – let’s have him do it with a prosthetic leg!” I’m not complaining; it is impressive, and he also gets to make good use of his prosthetic leg later on in the film, which I’m sure makes him think, “everything really does happen for a reason!” I’m sure.
The important parts
Let’s be clear; the plot of Skyscraper is not important. If you really require a summary, imagine a kind of bizarre, modern mash-up of Jurassic Park, Die Hard (complete with evil Germans) and Dwayne Johnson’s other excellent will-he-make-it-out-alive disaster movie, San Andreas (also, a very good time).
Things that are important: Neve Campbell plays his wife! That’s nice. We haven’t seen Neve in a big-budget film in a while, and she seems nice. She was nice in Party of Five, and she was also nice in Scream, and I will even forgive her for looking pretty much the same as she did in Part of Five, back in (what?!) 1994. Kill me now.
Neve and Dwayne really love each other. We know this, because they tell each other so at least 15 times. This is important because, later, when Neve is stuck in a burning skyscraper (I would add a spoiler alert here, but it’s in the trailer, so, y’know, it’s spoiled already), this love is truly what motivates Dwayne – I mean Will – to scale that crane and leap back into the burning building.
Germans are bad. (We already knew this.) Much as I hate to criticise Skyscraper as, honestly, I would give it five stars, I’m ready to see some other nations be the bad guys. What about English people? I’ve met many a conniving and rude Englishman in my time. Scottish people? They always get to be lovable. I bet there are loads of bad ‘uns. It’s been 70-odd years since the second World War; I think we can move on from the Germans. (I am not, however, ready to move on from the Russians – they’re still pretty bad IRL.)
The only important women in life are wives and daughters. (We already knew this too, I guess.) It’s a good thing Dwayne loves his so much! There is one other female character who seems slightly thrown in place as a nod to feminism. (Spoiler alert: she’s a cop. “We’re all for equality! We have a female policeman!” I can just hear it now.)
Should you wait for it to come out on DVD?
OBVIOUSLY NOT! This is a movie to see in IMAX, in 3D – hell, even in 4D, if possible (although, would all that fire mean they’d heat up the room? I would hate that – I love a cooling cinema screen). This is a film that would most definitely suffer from compression on to the small screen. I give it five stars. I order you to go see it. (Unless you have vertigo, or are the type of person to go, “that would never happen”, when something ridiculous happens in films. You should stay at home.)
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