Comic-Con 2017: Charlize Theron & ‘Atomic Blonde’ (Movie Review)

I guess for the past couple of years now Entertainment Weekly has put on a Women Who Kick-Ass Panel at Comic-Con International.  This year’s panel featured a single woman, Charlize Theron, showcasing her most recent work Atomic Blonde, which dropped in theaters this week finally and her involvement in Fate of the Furious and one of my personal favorites Mad Max: Fury Road.  This year Entertainment Weekly senior writer Sara Vilkomerson was chosen to sit down with Theron in front of a captive Saturday Hall H crowd that was just rendered speechless by the previous panel, the Justice League.  While I wasn’t impressed with the lack of enthusiasm and knowledge  Vilkomerson employed in her interview of Theron, the latter woman wowed me a lot.  She’s beautiful, yes.  However, she’s also very humble and gracious, but make no mistake about it you don’t want to pick a fight with her.  The proud mother went into detail regarding the endless, grueling hours of training she endured for her role in Atomic Blonde as well as the injuries she was subjected to.  I mean good God she clenched her teeth so hard that she broke two of them.  I wouldn’t mess with a woman like that.  LOL.

Charlize Theron

During the Hall H panel we were treated to some fantastic clips of Charlize Theron’s  newest feature Atomic Blonde, which we will deep dive more into down below as well as one of the most spectacular fight sequences in Fury Road between Tom Hardy and her. The purpose was two-fold, to show how ferocious she is within her respective action roles and of course how she can kick ass as a woman.  Duh!  That’s the whole purpose of this Comic-Con panel.  From what she claims she did all her own stunts in Atomic Blonde with the exception of one, jumping out of a building.  She regrets not doing it, but it’s understandably so why she didn’t.  While talking exclusively about Fury Road Vilkomerson slipped and asked her if there would be a sequel to “Furious 7.”  Argh!  Did she really just say that?  Apparently she did!

So Charlize Theron not only stars in Atomic Blonde, but she produced it as well.  She had been hungry in finding a protagonist who was unapologetic.  After years of searching she found Atomic Blonde’s Lorraine Broughton.  “I saw great potential in this character,” Theron said.  “She had the ability to live and breathe in a world where she could play by the same rules that men get to play all the time, and that was something that I really loved.”  Interesting to note Theron explained that she wanted her character to seem real.  While mapping out fight-scene choreography, she said it was important for Lorraine to fight like a woman would fight.  During this once in a lifetime Hall H panel I was able to take the shots you see here in this post, but good God again does Charlize Theron ever like to blink a lot.  Ha ha.  However, I digress because now all I want to do is talk the film itself, Atomic Blonde!  Follow me down below to my review of it all below the rest of the Comic-Con images here.  Enjoy!

Atomic Blonde finally sees the light of day!  After debuting this past March at SXSW (originally covered here by Bron Anderson) the film now sees a nationwide release.  So other than a woman, Charlize Theron, kicking ass John Wick style, what’s it all about?  You’re in the right place to get that question answered, but before we spill any proverbial beans let’s get the housekeeping out of the way first.  Atomic Blonde is very much an action spy thriller flick.  Its directed by David Leitch and written by Kurt Johnstad.  They take their direction form a 2012 graphic novel called The Coldest City.  You can kind of call it a Cold War story based upon its 1989 setting and synopsis of a spy who has to find a list of double agents who are bingo smuggled into the West on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall.  In addition to Charlize Theron it stars James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones.  And yes, it does contain that female on female sex scene!  Ha ha.  Now let’s dive deeper!

It feels like I have been waiting forever for this movie’s nationwide release since it’s March 12th debut at SXSW.  That’s a long time to pass because what I originally saw material-wise completely whet my appetite very much.  I mean who doesn’t love a beautiful, strong female protagonist that doesn’t need a man to kick everyone’s ass?  Let’s be honest with ourselves too.  That’s the reason why Wonder Woman is so successful this year.  Atomic Blonde has a lot of good things going for it that red blooded male fans of John Wick will probably eat up such as its action sequences, Charlize Theron’s overall cool demeanor and performance and even the musical score/soundtrack selections.  It also has one more thing going for it that even the John Wick series doesn’t have.  It has a hot girl-on-girl sex scene between Charlize Theron and the equally stunning and quite action capable herself, Sofia Boutella.  It looks like John Wick: Chapter 3 is going to have to find a way to top that one for sure.  However, with the good there’s most likely always some bad and that has a little to do with a weak story and some slow pacing choices.  In other words, it’s not all action all the time boys and girls.  There’s some drudging lulls and an imperfect story to contend with here.

Atomic Blonde is all about double crossing.  So although you’ll be inclined to snooze a few times throughout I encourage you to pay as much attention as possible because no one is whom they seem.  That’s actually one of the very first directives given to MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) in her mission to Berlin, which as we already established takes place in 1989 right around the time the Wall is coming down.  She’s sent there to recover a stolen list of undercover Western operatives.  Her objective is to find it before the Russians do.  I kind of got off the point I was trying to make here so let me back it up.  She’s told not to trust anybody and once you’re in the world of Atomic Blonde you’ll realize why that’s the case.  It kind of makes matters hard too when you’re forced to work along other spies that are supposed to be on your side, including the likes of Boutella, Goodman and McAvoy.  That’s just it though.  The gist of the story revolves around this list and figuring out who’s telling the truth and who’s backstabbing you.  That’s all there is, but thankfully Charlize Theron delivers so much more.

So if you’ve seen the trailers for Atomic Blonde, then you probably already have a good idea of what I mean when I say Theron delivers.  In fact I don’t know what’s sexier, watching her kick ass so bluntly and brutally or all her black garter outfits.  They both turn me on.  LOL.  Don’t let the haters tell you that there’s really only one action sequence.  It’s true there’s an absolutely bonkers of a stairway brawl half way through, but trust me when I say there’s plenty of other moments for Theron to flex her muscles and break some bones.  Speaking of muscles she’s also in impeccable shape here.  There’s several shots of her bare back and wow you can tell she has been training hard.  Forty is the new twenty something as far as I’m concerned.  Now getting back to that stairway brawl, just wow.  Not since Mad Max: Fury Road have you been this out of breath from an action sequence.  The way they brutally choreograph things and the performances given sell you on the fact that it’s cardio draining to say the least.  I even felt tired watching by the end of this aforementioned fight sequence.  That’s what I call being in the moment!

If there’s one thing you can’t ding Atomic Blonde on, it’s style.  Because of the weak, uninteresting story at times it’s actually all style over substance here.  I can’t even imagine how beautiful the HDR is going to look on this one on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format given the many instances of blue and pink neon lights littered throughout against the dark backgrounds.  Not only is Atomic Blonde a blast visually with its bright spray paint super titles, but audibly too.  It’s like the 80’s remix soundtrack of my childhood mixed with some pretty badass moments of score too that even rivals some John Wick selections in the first film.  The editing is quick and erratic when provoked, but boring and dull when the lackluster story manages to drudge things down a notch.  It’s like partaking in eating a can of mixed nuts.  You may not like all the selections inside, but I’d bet it’s pretty good overall or else why would you be here?  Even though I never been to Berlin personally myself I can’t imagine the late 80’s being recreated anymore authentic than what’s on display here. Heck even David Hasselhoff makes an offscreen appearance here and if you know anything about his popularity out there, he’s as important as the invention of sliced bread.  That’s the kind of authenticity on display recreated here.

Now I’m not one to overly gush about Cold War thrillers.  I usually find them an absolute bore.  Atomic Blonde is no exception to that boring rule, but overall I have to hand it to the filmmakers here and of course Charlize Theron.  She is a goddess throughout here and owns her role as uninteresting as her character may be at times.  I never really felt like I knew her at all.  It’s no John Wick tale that’s for sure, but she makes the most of what she has to work with here and the style/vibe of the world she inhabits and conquers shines through because of her performance.  I don’t expect Atomic Blonde to get better with multiple watches.  It may even get worse.  I don’t know, but I do know this.  To each their own.  I am expecting the story to make a bit more sense to me a second and third romp through.  I just hope I don’t fall asleep.  There’s a lot of filler for such a simplistic tale.  I doubt we’ll be seeing a sequel at all.  It’s kind of like a one time Salt kind of thing if you know what I mean.  There’s room for more, but I doubt many will be that interested for it and Charlize Theron isn’t getting any younger.  As I can attest we don’t heal that fast in our forties anymore.  I feel like old man Logan.  Ha ha.  Enjoy!



Charlize Theron Atomic Blonde


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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