When I reviewed Captain Marvel, I mentioned that one of the competing films released at the same time was Alita: Battle Angel. It’s not a movie I’d ordinarily watch, but because Brie Larson was such a pain in the butt about “Oh, look at me, I’m a powerful female warrior with a lot of victim issues,” I decided to view and compare the two works of art. In my view, Alita wins by a huge margin.
The really big issue is that Alita (voiced by Rosa Salazar) doesn’t have to rise to power by tearing men down the way “Captain Marvel” does. Her “father” Dr. Dyson Ido (voiced by the amazing Christoph Waltz), was a wonderful and flawed father figure. I would have loved a Dad like him, but he’s only a couple of years older than I am.
Everyone in the movie is complex and sometimes difficult to understand, especially Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly) and Alita’s love interest Hugo (Keean Johnson), unlike in “Captain Marvel” where we’re playing to very specific progressive stereotypes (all women good, all men bad or at least silly, even Nick Fury).
The game “Motorball” reminded me of the 1975 film Rollerball starring James Caan, but a lot of movies since then have featured games that supposedly allowed ordinary people to advance into a “heavenly” society, in this case called Zalem.
Hundreds of years in the future, the shell of a cyborg is thrown to Earth as junk, where Dr. Ido finds and resurrects her. Then, through a series of trials, where Alita, named after Ido’s dead daughter, acts like a teenage girl trying to discover herself, evolves to become a warrior with a cause.
Sadly, Hugo, due to his crimes, must fall, literally, and die, Alita rises, also literally, to become on the verge of finding out who she really is. The film ends on a cliffhanger, with Alita ready to ascend up to and challenge the powerful elite.
Compared to “Captain Marvel,” but even if it isn’t, this is one of the most human movies I’ve ever seen in 65 years of life. As a Dad and a Grandpa, I so want to take care of Alita. She is hurt and wounded, but so courageous, that I can’t imagine not loving her. She is amazing, not just because of her power, but because of her compassion. A girl who has nothing, realizes she is everything. If she were real, I’d be honored just to know her.
She is the hero in all of us. If you haven’t seen this movie, see it. I promise, it doesn’t disappoint.