100 Days of Superheroes- Day 57: Legend of Zorro (2005)
Awesome! Zorro was trained by both Hannible Lector AND Odd Job!
“California does not need Zorro. You need Zorro!”
At long last we come to Director Martin Campbell, long anticipated and much delayed sequel to his first film the Mask of Zorro. Except this time around it seems that Campbell forgot to pick up a history book before okaying the script.
Somehow this film all takes place in a parallel world where the laws of history do not apply. The American civil war is bounced up by about twenty years, a drop of Nitroglycerine is apparently the strength of ten pounds of dynamite. Pretty much the makers took all the liberty they wanted when it came to physics, science and a little thing called a timeline of human history.
Lets get started with the plot of this thing. We open with Zorro and his wife having a little spat on Alejandro failing to give up his duel identity. Already we arrive at the first problem in the film. The constant mood swings of “I hate you! I hate you! Never mind… I love you”. They are so swift and extreme that they seem to come out of left field. Also why is his wife Elena so hell bent to get him to stop being Zorro? Especially when that is what attracted her to him in the first place?
Well the easy answer to that is in the form of a small obnoxious little boy. Apparently during this gap of time from the Mexican war to the American civil war they managed to raise and eight year old boy. This brings me to another major point. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP PUTTING STUPID LITTLE KIDS IN MOVIES! They can’t act and no, I do not find scenes were they sword fight with their teachers endearing. This is pandering to a younger audience at it’s worst. Where the writers/makers feel they have to toss in a little kid in order for children to relate to the movie.
Then there is what I hoped would be the meat of the story (despite it’s stupid simplicity). Where a rich bureaucrat is simply shipping Nitroglycerine by train to DESTROY THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES!!!! Overdramatized much? But hey, western terrorists, that’s topical right? Feels like it works very hard to pat America on the back by taking every other scene to show Zorro beating up those evil villains so California can finally be “real people” as members of the USA. Everyone in the movie from the main characters to the crowd act like California will sink into the ocean if they don’t sign up to join the United States.
The unfortunately reality is that the villain show in the opening scene is a million times more dynamic and interesting than the one we are forced to follow for the rest of the film. Nick Chinlud does a great job as that opening, wooden jawed villain until he is shoved in the back of the film as a side villain. Instead Count Armond (Rufus Sewel) takes the center stage as the boring man who mostly spends his time bickering with Banderas’ character over his wife. I think the writers where originally making Wife Wars the movie but changed it last second and readapted it for Zorro. Count Armond is boring, generic and every time he came on screen I was that much closer to falling asleep.
Speaking of which, this film suffers from the same issue as the fantastic four in the fact that it nothing happens in the middle of it. Mostly it is Alejandro and Armond up to competitive shenanigans involving a competition for Elaine affection. I take it back. This isn’t Wife Wars, this is the Bachelorette! As seen in such film as Iron Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, when you make your hero dance around drunkenly to impress someone…it’s not as funny as the makers seem to think it is.
But this is really the main problem with the film. Something I like to call subplot galore. Where the makers toss in so may different story threads that it becomes a tangles up mess of a film. One of the worst and unneeded side plots was with Zorro’s wife working for the wannabe CIA (before they existed) who talk like men in black coats from the 21st century. Especially with lines such as “we’ll have to keep in contact in order to extract her should she become compromised.” Who the hell in the 19th century talked like that?
Now there is no denying that Legend of Zorro is just as visually impressive as the first film. The fight scenes are legitimately cool when we finally get to them. It is still a very pretty movie. The soundtrack is also well done. It may feel a little rehashed from the first film but that isn’t much of a complaint.
Yet in the end the greatest sin of this film was to sacrifice their likable characters from the first film for forced drama and comedy. Honesty you can watch the first opening scene and then skip the rest, because you have already seen the best of the film and it’s only down hill from there.
FINAL RATING: 2/10- (20%)
Previous DAY 56- Fantastic Four
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