Alright, so. American Ultra. Much to the surprise of people who were excited to see it from the trailers, American Ultra received mixed reviews. And I mean mixed, because the film managed an average rating of exactly 50% according to Metacritic. But despite some people really liking it and it being easily the most well-received movie to come out that weekend, it finished dead last in the box office. Writer Max Landis argues that this is proof that original films are dead. Is he right? Nah.
I think the main problem American Ultra faced at the box office is that it labelled itself a comedy in the trailers. It dug through the film to find every semblance of humor and strung them together in rapid-fire fashion to convince people that this was the latest Rogenesque stoner comedy of the year. In reality, it’s more of a Wrightian genre-bender, swerving the line between romantic comedy and superhero movie. And it’s amazing.
The film is directed by Nima Nourizadeh, fresh off the unappealing trainwreck we call Project X. Double N comes back in a major way with one of the most visually interesting movies of the year. I especially dug the black light action scene in the drug dealer’s basement. I also especially dug the whole movie. But of course, visuals aren’t everything. The entire cast of this movie is exceptional. Special props to the two leads, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, who are often stereotyped as bad actors despite constantly proving otherwise.
I’m not really sure why the movie is called “American” Ultra. From what I understand, every Ultra is American. It’s still a really cool title, but in context, it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Jesse Eisenberg’s character, Mike, draws a comic called Apollo Ape about an ape astronaut. This is brought up continually, but has no significance to the plot, symbolic or otherwise. My one other complaint is that the last scene of the movie sort of comes out of nowhere. It really interrupts the flow of what was otherwise an awesome ending.
So overall, I give American Ultra an A-. I can totally understand why a more cynical individual wouldn’t like it, but I personally had a lot of fun with it. Like this post if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, you can also follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and be on the lookout for some more super duper cool articles coming soon.