After a hot streak of projects, Ryan Gosling likes to take a break from acting. During this time, he carefully chooses his next projects and comes out of this hibernation with another string of undeniably compelling decisions. After starring in ‘La La Land’, ‘First Man’, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and ‘The Nice Guys’, four projects which when put together sound insane, he is now tackling a new line of movies that are perhaps just as unhinged, if not more. This new lineup consists of ‘The Gray Man’, ‘Barbie’, The Wolf Man’ and ‘The Fall Guy’. An action blockbuster, a camp comedy, a horror movie and a stuntman drama. Do you see what I mean? It is the reason he is one of my favourite actors, I have a massive spot for the Gos and I am going to just admit it, he is the only reason I watched this dumpster fire. I don’t care that I’m just mentioning the movie now but ‘The Gray Man’… I can see why he chose it and I’m happy he’s getting back into the mainstream in an action movie but goddamn was it a chore to finish this thing.
It took me three days to finish ‘The Gray Man‘, I watched the first half in two days and then it took me a week to decide to finish it. Let me just say right now, the best part of this entire movie is Ryan Gosling doing press for it, that’s it. I don’t care, this might be the least I talk about an actual movie in a supposed review for it. Yes, I chose to put myself through it but what really is there to say about ‘The Gray Man’ that warrants multiple paragraphs? Well, actually as I was typing that I remembered certain elements that did indeed warrant a lot of talking.
Yes, obviously Gosling of course elevates the movie, just like the others, he does the most with this horrendous script. He actually managed to get a few chuckles out of me. Opposite him is Chris Evans whom I just spent an hour and a half listening to as Buzz Lightyear so this movie really offered quite the contrasting performance. His moustache is an offensive crime, I could not look away despite how off-putting it was. He plays a menacing villain quite well considering he was Captain America for almost an entire decade. Ana de Armas is again, really charismatic and likeable and she should be featured in more action-heavy projects like this. It is these three that give the movie a sense of credibility, they are what make it tolerable enough to sit through it. Well, if you somehow survive the first half, the second half should be smooth sailing as it is mostly action sequences. The actor that doesn’t however contribute anything to this movie is surprisingly Regé-Jean Page whom I’ve heard nothing about but praise. I haven’t seen Bridgerton so this is my first time watching a project of his and I was genuinely shocked at how awful he was here. The other three more or less know what type of movie they’re in, they have fun with it. Page however takes it a tad too seriously and his line delivery and actions come off as laughable. I was laughing at him, not with him.
THE RUSSO BROTHERS
If you had asked me what I thought about these two back in 2018, I would’ve said they’re two of the greatest blockbuster directors at the moment. If you asked me today, I would say they’re incapable of holding a movie together unless it has superheroes in it but even then that’s not entirely true as they made ‘Avengers: Endgame‘. Having seen ‘Cherry‘ with Tom Holland and now ‘The Gray Man’ it is clear as day that they do not know how to direct a movie. These two could be used as examples of what bad directing is, at least in the non-action sequences. The emotional weight is as present as a steady camera here and knowing how these two like to film movies, it’s basically nonexistent. This movie lacks so much personality and creativity, it’s actually insane. Even ‘Morbius‘, yes fucking ‘Morbius‘ looked like it stuck to an idea and look better than what is happening here. You could say oh it’s an action movie, it doesn’t need to be creative and that would be a whole lie because the most successful action movies of the past couple of years were very inventive and original. Think of the ‘John Wick’ franchise, hell, even the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise has extremity going for it. The drone shots are random as hell, they don’t fit in with how the movie is filmed and it honestly feels like I’m watching an ‘Evil Dead’ movie, only Sam Raimi actually knows what he is doing and he does it quite perfectly might I add. In ‘The Gray Man’ however, the Russo Brothers go for whatever they think looks cool and most of the time it doesn’t stick.
It is also disheartening to hear two of the guys who produced and financed ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ speak so lowly about the theatrical experience even calling it an “elitist notion“. Not to mention ungrateful considering how much money their Avengers movies made. Even if I didn’t particularly care for ‘Avengers: Endgame‘, sitting in a crowded theatre when Captain America lifted Mjölnir was something I will never forget. That’s what theatres are for, that shared experience and those occasional life-affirming moments. It speaks levels that that is how they decide to reflect on the theatrical experience.
The moral of the story is, do not watch movies or shows for celebrity crushes unless you are totally unhinged and do not care about wasting two hours of your life. Also, support movie theatres if you can, it’s a great experience, it’s a goldmine for fond memories with friends and family and it can make smaller movies get the attention they truly deserve.
‘The Gray Man’ is now streaming on Netflix.