Spy thrillers have been done many times over the years, and, fact is, there are plenty of scenes and parts of Atomic Blonde that we have seen before.
However, there are several parts of Atomic Blonde that are really good as well.
Lorraine (Charlize Theron) is a British MI6 agent sent to Berlin in 1989, just prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall to find a list. This specific list has the names and basic information for all of the countries double agents and spies on it and plenty of people want to get their hands on this list.
Does that sound like a familiar trope in the spy movie genre? Ever seen that plot element before? Yes you have.
Once Lorraine arrives in Berlin, she meets up with David Percival (James McAvoy), another agent whom wants to aid her in the attempt to recover this list. The Russians are also after it and so… action scenes.
Yes, the plot is fairly basic, although, it does become quite convoluted here as well. I think the film wants to be more than just an action flick, but it tried to hard to make itself into a spy thriller. In fact, there are some things that happen in the ending of the movie that do not work, twists that feel as if they were added on for some reason.
Now, the action scenes are tremendous and Charlize Theron is magnificent as this kick ass Lorraine. Something I really liked was that the makers of Atomic Blonde allowed Theron to look like she has been through these hellacious fights. She has bruises and scars and the signs of war that most spies and heroes in this type of movie seem to recover from without any trouble. Showing Lorraine wearing the results of her battles really helped me believe that this woman was a bad ass and someone to reckon with.
By the way, there are many great action scenes here, and the action scene in the hallway int he third act is edge-of-the-seat dramatic. One of the best, hardest hitting, brutal fight scenes you are going to see this year.
James McAvoy is also great in the movie, as an agent that you are never quite sure about. Whose side is he on? Also, Sofia Boutella arrives as Lorraine’s love interest and French spy, Delphine. The scenes between Lorraine and Delphine are very hot, but they are also included to humanize Lorraine. The time with Delphine is the one time that Lorraine allows herself to be normal, not constantly lying and covering up. Honestly, there could have been more between these women, because Boutella is not used as much as you would hope.
Let’s talk music. The film is full of great 1980s songs that I had an awesome time singing along to in my seat. However, there were some times that I found myself more invested in the music than what was going on in the scene. This would be an issue, so, although I did enjoy the selection of the different songs, I am not sure they were used as effectively as they could have been. The music was not as effectively weaved into the story as it was in Baby Driver or Guardians of the Galaxy, that is for sure.
Atomic Blonde is based on a 2012 graphic novel entitled The Coldest City, and the film does feel very stylish like a graphic novel might. With the action set pieces and the look of Theron and McAvoy, there are plenty of imagery that would appeal to action fans. Theron is not only an action hero, but she also looks absolutely gorgeous and does most of this action in some serious heels. The story itself is not as strong, and I do not think it can be categorized into the realm of a classic spy thriller, despite it wishing that it could. Still, I did have fun watching the film and the action is top notch. This is one that could have been really fantastic with a little bit of adjustment.