Tenet ★★★

Tenet is an entertaining two and a half hours that honestly can't help but feel like a missed opportunity to be something deeper and high-minded. Due to all the hype and press, I expected the film to be something so complicated, complex, and intricate that I would have to watch it multiple times and that the action scenes would be game-changers. I agree that the action sequences are incredible and truly eye-opening but I found the story to be much more deficient and rote than I would've liked. The characters of Tenet are, to be blunt, thinly written and skin-deep with the exception of Pattinson's charismatic and enigmatic cipher. Denzel's son is adequate in the main role but he doesn't excel like how he did in Black Klansman because his part generally only consists of running around, doing double takes on exposition, and occasionally shooting a gun. The poor guy, like many an actor when stuck with a thin part, has to fill in the blanks. The romantic angle between his 'protagonist' and the villain's wife is cringe and the duo have absolutely no chemistry. The two of them seem to act as chaste and muted as if they were trapped in a monastery wherever they go (If this were a Bond movie, the audience would never forgive Bond for being such a simp). The villain's wife's subplot is also half-assedly done, often derailing the central narrative at hand with its abridged and de rigueur, bourgeois nature. What holds the film together is Pattinson and the main story seems to excel whenever he's around. I think it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say he's the real protagonist of the story since all of the key narrative decisions and stakes revolve with him and his choices; making it all the more baffling that Denzel's son's character is the main character. Perhaps this decision was made because Nolan wanted an easy twist with the finale rather than telling a straight forward story that was able to be satisfying as a stand alone entry. Instead, Nolan set up the narrative in a way that has unnecessary left over strands that were clearly done to make way for a sequel to tidy them up. Ironically, Nolan is guilty of the very thing that 'shoot on film' auteurs like him hurled at Marvel and other film studios for flagrantly making films in order to start a film franchise for solely commercial purposes. I personally don't a give shit, I love franchises, but here Nolan botches his origin story for a sequel that will never come due this film's financial failure. Perhaps releasing a tentpole blockbuster in the midst of a mass murdering pandemic wasn't the greatest idea on the planet. At least the action scenes were great and the 'save the world' plot is inspired in this go around (albeit not nearly as complicated as many believe), it's worth rewatching for that I'll say but definitely not worth risking death for a viewing in the movie theater. Walk, don't run, to see Tenet or just wait for it stream.