Jack Reacher

Technically, Jack Reacher was a 2012 release (December 21st) but I didn't see it until this year, so there you go.

This was a surprisingly adept film. Thoughtful. Tense. Terrifying, even, at least at one point, assuming you're not a desensitized monster. It was also pretty formulaic, a little predictable, and while not outright misogynistic or racist, it certainly has its problems in that territory.

But hey, I had fun. Not "clears the threshold of awesome" fun, but I did enjoy myself, even if I did come out of the theater at night worrying about who might have cross-hairs on me for no good reason.

Now, as to my earlier statement about "problems." Spoiler alert! The only women with significant roles in this film, Rosamund Pike and Alexia Fast, end up either dead or needing to be saved by our hero. Both their characters were very well portrayed, however, and nothing about their victimization took me out of the story, but taken as a data point this is problematic. Or at least trope-ish

Bigger spoiler! The only black person with a speaking part, David Oyelowo, is our turncoat. And yes, he dies before the end of the movie. Again, this played out very naturally, only seeming problematic in retrospect. I think the fact that this character, the lead police investigator, was black made me want to trust him more, especially since he was surrounded by, and in command of, white officers. The folks in charge of writing and casting probably did this on purpose.

I would probably feel differently about this movie if I were black, or female, or both, but that road is fraught with so much "feel differently" I can't even begin to walk it. All I can do is point and say "Hey, there's a road there. Maybe somebody on it has, like, a map or something."

Jack Reacher is #2 for me for the year so far, but it's going to drop pretty fast. There are awesome things coming in March...