Alita: Battle Angel ★★★½

Somehow both a lost Disney Channel original movie and the only proper PG-13 we've gotten since The Mummy. It's a film made for teenagers, in all the right ways.

I love that it drops you in without a big prologue action sequence. Those have their place, but it made a lot more sense for this story to start in medias res on the domestic life in Iron City and reveal things as Alita discovers them.

The direction is Rodriguez's best since I don't know when, and synthesizes his Spy Kids sense for weirdness with his Desperado eye for action. He manages to take a long-dead slow-motion dodging of projectiles Matrix cliché and turn it into a visual motif.

I don't like the sequel hook ending, but (unlike some franchises I could care to name) the rest of the movie is good enough and the rest of the payoffs are satisfying enough to prevent it from being too destructive to the catharsis.

I watched this on a 13-hour flight and—while this might sound like a dig, it's not—this is the ultimate plane movie.