The last time I went to see a movie because I really really wanted to see it (and not just because I simply needed something to write about) was Hell or High Water. That’s been almost a month.
Watching the trailers for this film did seem to promise some chance that it would be an exceptional movie, and if it wasn’t exceptional, at the very least it would be fun.
So was The Magnificent Seven exceptional? If I were to be completely honest with myself, no. Was it fun? Sweet mercy, it was grand fun. It was quite possibly one of the most fun movies I’ve seen this year.
Now to be honest, the fact that I had so much fun with this movie makes me want to give it additional fun points, but then I had to constantly remind myself, “Steve, you enjoy objectivity, you need to be objective Steve, you always droll on about objectivity don’t be a hypocrite Steve. You don’t want to be like that charlatan on Youtube who gave The Force Awakens a perfect score, do you Steve?” This nagging voice got even louder when my wife and my youngest brother both informed me that they didn’t like it as much as I did, and it forced me to do some soul searching (then again, my brother did give the scathingly bad “Suicide Squad” a 6 out of 10, so what does he know? Damn it, Steve, OBJECTIVITY!).
So this movie is centralized around Denzel Washington’s character “Sam Chisolm”, who the trailer claims is a bounty hunter, but Chisolm had a much more elongated definition for himself, but I forgot what it was. Perhaps I became distracted by how much fun I was having…
Anyway, he is asked by a disenfranchised widow to save her town from the evil “Bartholomew Bogue”, a business man of sorts who loves money and capitalism and also God but only as long as God loves capitalism as much as he does.
Admittedly, I did find it slightly difficult taking the bad guy seriously at first. But Bogue doesn’t really appear in the movie all too frequently, so anyone who seems to think he’s a lame villain, he’s not in the movie for long enough for you to hate the entire movie because of him. Bogue really only serves to give our magnificent seven a purpose.
Back to the seven, so Chisolm decides to accept the widow’s payment and then sets out to build an elite force of men that are either his friends, friends of friends, known acquaintances, people he was planning on collecting a bounty on anyway, or just people that appear out of nowhere and decide to tag along.
Now in movies that have a cast of heroes this size, it can be easy to fall under two equally bad directions: not being able to properly utilize your time to develop anybody at all (like Suicide Squad), or only developing one or two characters and have the rest of the cast be fancy background decorations (like X-Men: Apocalypse).
Thankfully, The Magnificent Seven was able to make all of their characters stand out enough to be useful and interesting, and that was all I could ever ask for. Granted, some obviously get more development than others, but there wasn’t any character in there that felt like dead weight. Each one had scenes where they were differentiated and interesting, and aside from the Mexican one, each one has their moment to shine. There’s even one or two characters that actually go to a place of real depth.
In fact, the aforementioned disenfranchised widow is also good in the movie as well.
The movie does a decent job at building tension. There were times where I unknowingly drifted to the edge of my seat because I was on pins and needles waiting to see what happened next.
But, of course, what the movie does best is initiate massive shooting battles with blood, death, and explosions, and I had a blast watching it all go down. Thankfully, all the tension they built up wasn’t for nothing. Now, all seven of our heroes are fantastic shots, some better than others, but I cannot remember a time where one of them ever missed their target. This was one of the biggest gripes that my brother had with the movie, but I don’t personally consider this a big deal unless the person in question was never characterized as a skilled sharpshooter, and honestly, I was able to find myself believing that all seven of them had this background.
The problems I have with this movie are relatively minor, but they aren’t small enough to go unmentioned: I did think all seven characters, while properly developed in my opinion, really do not have a lot of uniqueness to them. I’ve seen a crazy burly man before, I’ve seen a troubled sharpshooter, a quiet Japanese assassin type, a stoic tribal war hawk, etc. Chris Pratt basically plays Star Lord with a hat and spurs. But like I said, considering this film actually had that many characters and were able to differentiate them all, I am willing to forgive the fact that they’re slightly generic.
Some of the dialogue was a bit one-liner-ish too, but most of them came from Pratt’s character, but that’s his character.
I could have also gone without the last thirty seconds of this movie; it’s like the movie couldn’t even help itself but end on a cheesy note. If they got rid of that last bit, nothing would have been lost except the cheesiness.
Basically, The Magnificent Seven is likely the most fun you’ll have with a movie all year except for maybe Civil War. It may be a bit generic here and there, but I believe that the positives firmly outweigh the negatives. As long as you’re not expecting too much from this film, I would highly recommend it as some good old fashioned fun.