When I first heard about the book released in 2010 by Seth Grahame Smith, my initial thought was that with everyone cashing in with the likes of True Blood and Twilight that a book like this was ridiculous. When I heard that not too much longer afterwards, that this book was being turned into a movie, I just KNEW that this movie would be a dog. Even seeing the trailers, I knew at best it would probably rank down there with maybe Ghost Rider or some other throw away summer movie. Not so! Surprisingly, this was a well put together movie that, while it’s an alternate and wholly fictional take on Civil War history, finds ways to entertain and educate at the same time.
This movie follows Lincoln, played by Benjamin Walker, through his life as he discovers evil supernatural forces from his childhood well through his adulthood. When he becomes of age, he vows revenge upon those who harmed his family and through a stranger named Henry Sturges, played by Dominic Cooper, who teaches Lincoln the ways of the For…wait wrong movie…who teaches Lincoln the art of Axe-Fu.
Throughout this movie, we follow Lincoln as he studies law and runs a store during the day and hunts his enemies at night and his wooing of Mary Todd, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. In my opinion, the casting of this movie was good. Walker as a young Lincoln started off a bit shaky but as the movie went on, he gets comfortable in the role. Cooper gets more screen time in this role than he did in Captain America did well as Yod…wait, wrong movie again as Sturgess. For a bit it almost seemed like his role could have fallen into a bit of Johnny Depp eccentricity but it’s deftly avoided. The rest of the cast rounded out pretty well especially Rufus Sewell who is just plain evil as Adam and Anthony Mackie was excellent in his role.
The main thing that I liked about this movie was at so many points when it seemed like it was about to get absurd, it would find ways to pull you back from absurdity. With the exception of one point, when this movie seemingly was about to leave a plot hole open, it closed it no matter how farfetched or ridiculous it was, it was closed. This movie finds ways to play on your suspension of belief but as soon as you are about to say that is total BS, it brings you back and grounds you again. There is just enough meat here for a few historical buffs to bandy around with but one must remember to not take it seriously. I also enjoyed the fact that in very few places did this movie meander and slow down and kept a quick pace without getting too bogged down with melodrama or trying to scare you.
I also loved the fact that this was an R rated movie and there is just enough blood and gore that one couldn’t possibly get from a PG 13 movie and this is not a flick that you want your little kids to see. Too many movies like this cop-out and try to tone things down so that ‘everybody can see it’. Not in this movie. This one is all about giving you enough gore to make you jump and good action to entertain you and it’s a good romp and is over with at 105 mins. It’s not going to make you think deeply nor does it try hard for cheap thrills.
Do I have any gripes? The only one I may have is that the color palette is a bit more soft and pastel-ish than I think a movie like this should be, but it doesn’t distract too much from the story. Also, I don’t think that it’s a necessity to see in 3D. But please don’t let that deter you from seeing this sleeper of a film that many will pass over while waiting for bigger films that are due out later.
On a scale I give it a 4 out of 5 stars as it’s a good popcorn film that will entertain…and sometimes that is all you need.