The first hour of Friday director F. Gary Gray’s debut into the Fast franchise is among the saga’s most painfully boring (which is unfortunate, given this series consistence in the realm of pacing, save for the fourth). However, once the second half kicks into gear, it doesn’t stop.
In fact, it doesn’t even tap on the break petal.
Hell, I’ll even say that I think I may have enjoyed the second half of this film more than the entirety of the sixth and seventh.
Fate is, above all, a movie comic-book, and not a “comic-book movie” as we know them, but a true-to-form movie comic-book, complete with absurd world-building and absurd treatments of previously villainous characters with hopes of accelerating the current plotline. The plot in question, which centers around the Fast crew as we know them teaming up with a certain someone who they may not want to team up with in an effort to defeat a new threat, is pretty much a carbon copied plot from some of comics’ most dynamic storylines.
There are two *really* terrific sequences here, one of them involving a prison break (which is wildly entertaining and crowd-pleasing) and the other involves a shit ton of cars in New York. After all is said and done, this scene in New York is essentially the Fast series’ answer to the final battle sequence in The Avengers . It all feels the same, and it’s every bit as fun. And while it’s unclear whether or not Gray’s intention was to make this feel like a superhero movie analogy with muscle cars, there is never going to be another way in which I decipher it.
The superhero team-up stuff is at its best when we see the team adjusting to each other, and this comes into play when Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s characters clash. All of these scenes are golden, even though it’s apparent that writer Chris Morgan is winging all of this as he goes along (just as they do in the comic industry).
Even the reveal of *why* Dom has turned his back on #family is something straight out of a comic book, and while most critics would be right to criticize a plot device such as the one used here, it’s impossible to do so with this franchise. We know what this series is about. Sure, the first few were not good and were clearly made to satisfy a street-racing crowd, but after Fast Five, the market changed. These are now soap operas with muscle cars and big (and I mean BIG) action set pieces, some of which aren’t good and are clearly computer generated, but still maintain enough energy and stimulation to be entertaining in the in which they’re intended.
I walked out of this eighth entry thoroughly impressed, and while the franchise seemed to be losing its steam during the first half, the second half (which, by the way, is totally fucking bonkers) and the sincere attributions to its longrunnig theme of #family restored my faith in this ridiculous, stupid franchise.
This will no doubt be the best Justice League movie of 2017.