The Great Wall movie review

Ben Lewis, Staff Writer

With a $150 million budget, The Great Wall had to be good. So how did it fall flat? The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon and Jing Tian, is exciting and action packed. Following the exciting life of a wandering mercenary, The Great Wall begins with early action scenes and little to no explanation. William, played by Matt Damon, fights off a mysterious monster along his journey to China in search of black powder. When he arrives in China however, things are far from how he expected them to be.

The Great Wall was packed with intense battle scenes and constant fighting. This movie is meant for movie watchers who just love a good fight scene. That being said, where action scenes were abundant, plot and character development were scarce. The movie seemed to throw you right in, taking very little time to explain what was going on, and giving little to no introduction to the main characters. Although there were glimpses of the theme of trust, it was only mentioned in two scenes and was ignored for most of the movie. Although themes were not identified or made obvious in the movie itself, this does not mean none were present. I will try and say this without spoiling anything. In the last action scene, there was a critical moment where something must be done to save the world and William, Matt Damon’s character tries and fails several times. It is not until Jing Tian’s character tries that the deed is accomplished. This is interesting because throughout the years, movie making, book writing, and photography has changed its style over time according to the beliefs and issues of that date. It is possible that this theme of “a man cannot do it alone, men and women must work together” is a part of a new developing theme since we are currently facing a lot of issues concerning division and this may offer a solution. Apart from that, I also noticed the theme of “accepting an outsider”. William, a wanderer claiming no nationality, and Tover, a spaniard, are imprisoned by the chinese upon arrival. After learning that their skills in fighting would help their survival, they mercenaries work together with the chinese and are accepted into their metaphorical society. I saw this a blaring example that preaches the message of acceptance.

The Great Wall is filled with action, but lacks the development and plot planning necessary to make it stand out. Characters are hardly introduced and little is explained about them; they are just there. This movie may come off as having no purpose because only one theme was identified or brought forward in the movie. This style of film rewards those who dig deep into the symbolism and themes present in movies, but leaves out  those who watch movies at face value.