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Since it began branding its logo on original films in 2015, Netflix’s primary goal has been to divorce itself from the “digital dollar bin” reputation it established upon first pivoting from the snail-mail service, now an unsettlingly faint memory, to streaming.It was not so long ago that the service formerly known as “Netflix Instant” well, sucked; it was a repository for direct-to-DVD sequels, little-seen stand-up specials, and candy-colored kiddie cartoons seemingly plucked from Lisa Frank’s more vivid night terrors.Netflix has spent the last few years and several billions of dollars on a crusade to be taken more seriously.The online video-streaming platform first got some hair on its virtual chest in September 2013, when it racked up a whopping 14 Emmy nominations in its first year of eligibility, minting as a bona fide contender and proving once and for all that computer-native programming was here to stay.And then later on, when he uses a handy knife given to him by his good pal Anton Chekov in the first act, why does Mc G throw the phrase “POCKET KNIFE … ” Why, after getting shot in the chest, is Bella Thorne unconcerned about her own health and wholly preoccupied with her cans no longer being perfect? The primary utility of this rinky-dink attempt at a superhero movie (I’ll say this but once: Do not produce an effects-driven action film if you do not have the budget to make those effects look good) is to determine star Maisie Williams’s viability as a big-screen quantity.That’s really the only intriguing question in this unattractive, rote squandering of a neat concept, namely, a crime-fighter with the power to interface with all electrical devices.Though the Sandman does not show his face in this feature — a dime-store espionage flick that casts Blart as a spy novelist who stumbles into one of his own stories — his authorial fingerprints of passive chauvinism and total stylistic indifference have been smeared all over the frame.
A flimsy scheme to reinvent their lives by pinching a pair of dead guys’ identities goes about as poorly as one could reasonably expect, and mostly just cues up tired gags about being tired.
They wouldn’t roll their eyes at Amber’s conniving brunette-haired foil, or the last-minute deus ex machina that brings the leads — who met director Mc G is an inexplicable Satanic-panic flick that pits a nail-biting kid against his hottie coed caretaker and the rest of her death cult.
Why, when he first catches an eyeful of the group (which also includes Bella Thorne, suddenly everywhere) turning a game of spin the bottle into a bloodbath, do the words “WHAT THE FUCK” suddenly fly onto the screen in giant red text? Why does the film break up its PG-13 comedy with geysers of gore that John Woo might call “a little much?
And so Sarandos made a dignified selection for his first narrative go on the silver screen: The second film they released was the one where a donkey explosively sharts all over Adam Sandler.
Since then, Netflix has bagged an Oscar, elbowed its way into Cannes, and spent more than Panama’s gross national product on content.