Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Mr. Nolan I am a big fan, but I think you are starting to go too far with these overly complex time focused sci-fi action films.
(A snapshot of my experience watching Tenet)
Opening action scene:
Neat, there is some of that 'inverted entropy' (aka backward action) stuff which is the signature aspect of the movie, I wonder how it works?
Midway through the movie:
Wow, they do a lot of explaining about this 'inverted entropy' stuff, and I still only kind of get it. I guess it looks cool, but at the same time totally sucks all the tension out of the action, and is keeping me from caring about any of the chaos that is unfolding and refolding on screen
OMG this 'inverted entropy' crap is getting so annoying, and there is all this stuff on screen, and I am not sure what any of that has to do with them saving the world or whatever.
"This reversing the flow of time, doesn't us being here now, mean it never happened?"
(Quick Hits) ... Spoilers:
- After being underwhelmed by Tenet I checked out some of those 'Tenet Explained' videos to see if they could turn my opinion around. I admit the concepts of time travel and the implications it has on the characters was pretty intricate. But unfortunately, I did not get invested enough in the story or action for any of that to really matter to me
- John David Washington is easily the best part of the movie based on his screen presence alone, but did they really have to call him the Protagonist???
- Typically I don't mind a bunch of exposition, but wow does Tenet pile it on, and understandably so with the plot just being a giant paradox
- I try to avoid using this criticism, but the dialogue comes off so pretentious
- There will be conversations that take place where a concept is explained to the Protagonist ... just for it to cut to another conversation with him name dropping the concept to someone else. For instance the 'Grandfather Paradox'
- Nolan's signature cool-sounding bombastic soundtrack --- check
- What was the point of seeing that huge tanker ship moving backward? Did they invert that somehow??
- Why didn't they have some cool machine to invert themselves in? Instead, they just lay down and breathe carbon dioxide from what I recall
- So they have to find a bunch of hidden MacGuffins before the bad guy can end the world?? O good, they already found all of them. And they kind of look like something you would find underneath your car
- Why does the Protagonist care so much about this damn lady and her kid? OOOO, because she has to distract the bad guy later on, plus it plays into the twist
- The whole two-group invasion with all the Chinook helicopters at the end felt so unnecessary, other than to have a big action scene with soldiers running around backward explosions. In comparison, I bought the big random action set pieces in 'Inception' because those were meant to be elaborate dreams
Bottom line: I typically look forward to seeing Christopher Nolan movies, so it was disappointing that I did not enjoy Tenet more after all those delays. But I do think it is about time Nolan got to direct some Bond and Mission Impossible films. He has certainly proved he would do an amazing job, and it might help encourage him to be a little more grounded with his approach, like he was for 'The Dark Knight'.
Thanks for reading.
Happy movie watching ... Skål!