Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a weighty movie made weightier in lieu of Trump

Without Denis Villeneuve the film lacked cohesion and vision, but that doesn’t keep its message from coming across entirely.

Most who saw Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario seemed to enjoy it. Then there were a select group of people who loved it, of which I would include myself. It’s a difficult movie to simply say you loved because its layered with difficult messages and complexes but is filled with a cohesive vision. Which makes discerning the difficulties that the movie presents you with a bit easier.

Soldado doesn’t get close to hitting the same marks as the first movie. I’m not even sure if that makes it a bad movie, it just feels weird to say this movie was enjoyable. Because it really wasn’t, the material in the movie was hard to consume, and made even more difficult in the face of immigration and how we’re wrestling with it as a country.

It’d be easy to sit here and say that the only difference between Soldado and Sicario was the absence of the Emily Blunt character. Someone to help explain things to us. In reality, even though I did miss Emily Blunt in Soldado, what left me confused with this movie was its strange opening half hour and ending half hour.

I still don’t understand why it was necessary to thread travel to different parts of the world into the movie. You could argue that travel was in the movie to track the terrorists that came and blew up the grocery store, which is a weird thread in of itself. I don’t get why adding ISIS to the entire mess of a plot line was a needed vehicle to get things rolling.

If anything the ISIS attackers and travel was there as something to feed the need to “unleash” the death monsters that are Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. But what it came across as was a strange thread to how we’re wrestling with Muslims in the United States. How Muslims are perceived in the south is already complicated enough, so seeing this movie in a largely conservative area made it feel even more odd because I see how marred the perception of Muslims are already. To add ISIS bombers as a thread in a movie about drug cartels felt unneeded.

Watching this opening half hour knowing that the majority of the people in the theater with me thought of Brolin and Del Toro as the heroes of this movie made the entire ISIS aspect feel even more unnecessary. There’s nothing a certain group of right-wing conservatives loves then a negative perception of immigration and Muslims.

How the film fuels that thread of thought in the opening half hour is weird and left me wanting the Emily Blunt character to wrestle with the difficulties for the audience, but the director of Soldado, Stefano Sollima, didn’t want that character in this movie. He wanted the audience to wrestle with everything themselves.

Personally, I’ve liked working through everything in my head. I’m still struggling to work through what the first half hour of this movie means considering the rest of the movie. It doesn’t do much to serve the overall storyline and there could have been a less confusing opening to setup Del Torro and Brolin taking off the kiddie wheels.

The worst character of this movie is Brolin and the best parts are Del Torro and Isabela Moner. Brolin is a walking meme in this movie. I really enjoyed his performance in the first Sicario, but he’s strangely funny in this movie without really knowing it. His layers of evil and cynicism weren’t all that intricate and his personality sucked if I’m being honest.

Del Torro was immaculate in every scene he was in. It wasn’t his fault that the script entailed him getting a massive hole in his cheek, crawling to escape, and then crappily setting up a third movie. Or maybe it was his fault since he and Brolin apparently messed with the script.

I saw this movie because of Del Torro. The lack of cohesion and Brolin being a buzzkill didn’t change my enjoyment of Del Torro, it simply changed how I view this movie.

In the end, I’m glad they made this movie. Even though the first movie is a work of art and one of my favorite movies ever, I still see a place for this movie. I don’t know where that place is, but the strange artistic nature, or lack thereof depending upon the scene, is a nice watch.

It’s pretty obvious that this movie isn’t really rewatchable like the first Sicario. It’s not rewatchable in a different way than the Revenant. I’ll see this movie again, but I won’t be super excited once it starts. The first Sicario felt like it flew by, this movie felt slow moving and unintentional in much of what it did.

I’m conflicted about this movie. It was heavy film and much of what drove the overall plot left much to be desired. But this movie was also a Del Torro master class and saved by some of the soundtrack and weird cinematography that I found enjoyable despite some scenes feeling rushed and unintentionally thoughtless.

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