After what feels like years of hype, Hamptonite Scarlett Johansson’s new action flick Ghost in the Shell is in theaters everywhere. Does it live up to the buzz it’s garnered?
The short answer is “not exactly.” The film—based on the manga (Japanese comic book) and anime of the same name—currently has a 46% on the Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer,” which is considered pretty mediocre. Rotten Tomatoes’ Critical Consensus says that “Ghost in the Shell boasts cool visuals and a compelling central performance from Scarlett Johansson, even if the end result lacks the magic of the movie’s classic source material.” Ghost in the Shell has been heavily marketed as a Johansson vehicle, and in that regard it appears to have succeeded. Unfortunately, the rest of the film appears to be style over substance.
Ghost in the Shell tells the story of The Major (Johansson), a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier dedicated to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. But when Major takes on a dangerous new threat, she learns that she’s been lied to. She then embarks on a journey to discover the truth behind who she really is and take down those that betrayed her.
Johansson’s very presence in the film was originally met with criticism, since the character she’s playing was Japanese in the original story. Despite the accusations of whitewashing, director Rupert Sanders said during an event in Tokyo that “There are very few actresses with 20 years’ experience who have the cyberpunk ethic[sic] already baked in. I stand by my decision—she’s the best actress of her generation.”
Of course, Johansson is no stranger to the action genre, starring in various Marvel Cinematic Universe films as KGB Agent-turned-hero Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. Fans have been vocal in their wish for a solo Black Widow film. This may be the next best thing for now.