The movie was very... expected. The plot was based on the standard "people with superpowers trying to outsmart the Secret Government Agency" formula. The acting was good, the action was... over the top in both humorous and annoying ways. One of the producer's little techniques to make the fight/flight scene more interesting was to have it in an aquarium/fishmarket type of store. Glass and water make explosions interesting without requiring actual structural damage to the building. Etc. Anyway, it was fun in a bloody, psychologically damaged, action-flick kind of way.
I do not do well with things "jumping out at me." I have to now expand that to include "flashes" too. When the movie jumps between what is happening and what an actor thinks will happen (precognition), with spooky and/or pulse-pounding music, I start flinching before the action happens. By the time the guy actually jumps out of the shadows, I'm all ready too wound up to react properly in startlement, and go straight to panic. In this movie, there are quite a few scenes that are either fore- or back-casting in flashes of scene that could be simple recognition of someone. But the atmospheric music and sections of the plot make them almost as upsetting as the ones where I already know it is either the bad guys or a bad thing being shown. ::sigh:: My brain is weird that way.
One enjoyable part about seeing this particular movie in the theater was that there was a woman a few rows behind us who was verbally channeling my inner snark. The only time she was so loud that everyone heard her was at a quiet moment in both plot and theater, when she made a sarcastic crack about the "nice acting!" one character wasn't accomplishing. My absolute favorite comment from MST3K-gal was "Damn, she needs a haircut!" You'll understand if/when you see the movie. The other comment I remember coming at exactly the same time as I thought it was in regards to a gun firing a few too many times before conveniently running out of ammunition.
The movie was produced by people who had internalized a few 80's movies without knowing it. The touch-healer was a vamped-up Ms. Hannigan. The Chinese Restaurant fight scene had more than a little Big Trouble in Little China action going; other scenes towards the end of the movie included some sprinklings of the Rain-patented hair swing. When the superpower fighting-action wasn't out of Big Trouble I didn't have far to go to find it in Willow.
As achaosofkitten pointed out, the rules of this particular universe changed between the first fight scene and the last. I let that particular discrepancy about superpowers go because I never got more than one pier of my suspension bridge of disbelief built before I couldn't sustain it. ::shrug:: Big deal. There were parts of the superpowers concept that may have been developed as they went along, since more than once what took a lot of effort at the beginning didn't make a blink at the end.
This was not an epic film, nor was it particularly good acting, but it was fine enough for an action flick. I must say that Dakota Fanning did a great job, and was the most well-rounded, interesting character in the bunch.
For the genre it was in, I appreciate that the casting was done to make it incredibly obvious who the various groups of good and bad guys were. Bald-headed black guy who dresses really well and wears his sunglasses inside of buildings was the leader of bad guy Group 1. Triangle-headed asian guys with short hair and buggy eyes were the bad guys, Group 2. and so on.
Ok, conclusion. Was it a great movie? No. Was it an interestingly presented movie with some fun sprinkles of smart-ass-kid humor? Yes. And I found the ending to be highly satisfactory, even if it was a tad predictable.
Oh, and don't take your kids to see this. Nope nope nope.