The Super Bowl is known for its commercials and its trailers. In a time where a “tweetable moment” is just as valuable as any other marketing campaign, The Super Bowl is the perfect place to make a splash. That is exactly what Universal tried to do with the debut of its trailer for Skyscraper. This was certainly an effective strategy because the trailer got people talking. A lot of the talking came from it being surprising, this movie came out of nowhere. The last thing anybody was expecting was another movie from Dewayne Johnson. This trailer was coming off the heels of Jumanj: Welcome to the Jungle (which was still in theaters), and shortly ahead of his next movie Rampage. Even though it was effective in making a splash there was a problem with the teaser trailer, it was awful. My initial reaction to the trailer was confusion; I honestly thought that it wasn’t a real movie. It felt like a commercial, some sort of parody on blockbuster movies that would eventually end with Johnson driving away in a Kia or something. After realizing that it was an actual movie, I just rolled my eyes and sighed in disappointment. It would have been a funny commercial but as a movie it just looked bad.
Skyscraper checks a lot of the boxes for a summer blockbuster. A simple but potentially exciting premise that mirrors that of a previously successful movie. There is a lot of explosions and action in the trailer, and it has a certified superstar in its lead role. There have been a countless number of successful movies that follow this formula. The problem this time around is that Skyscraper doesn’t use any of those things effectively. No one is going into this movie and expecting the screenplay to be a masterpiece because it doesn’t have to be. It just needs to be a solid and fun one. This screenplay, however, was neither solid nor fun. Most of this film doesn’t really make much sense at all. It felt as if characters were just doing the most ridiculous thing they could think of in every situation. There is also a lack of a clever antagonist and motivation for that antagonist. All of that could have been overlooked if what was happening in the movie was fun, which it wasn’t. It was one of the blandest movies of the year. Things were happening but none of which were exciting or interesting. This could be due to a clear lack of stakes, or to a movie that was so dark at points it was hard to make out what was happening, or to the fact that there is only maybe one or two laughs the entire movie, or maybe it’s all three of these.
Another reason why Skyscraper wasn’t much fun is because this was the least entertaining Dewayne Johnson. In general he is magnetically charismatic, fun and funny. It’s rare to get a Dewayne Johnson that just isn’t interesting to watch, but that’s exactly what we get in Skyscraper. This isn’t entirely his fault because he wasn’t given anything to say that was interesting or fun and it seems as if he was directed to play the role overly serious and straight. He delivers a couple of funny lines but they come during awkward times and they don’t work because they feel so random. He is charismatic enough to make this movie at the very least entertaining but all of that charisma was taken away and without it this movie suffers. It also doesn’t help the entertainment value that this movie takes itself very serious. There are parts of this movie that could have been funny but they were more interested in telling a serious story about what one man is willing to do in order to save his family. That doesn’t play as well when he jumps through a spinning turbine with duct tape on his hands and feet. I can’t take that serious but the movie is asking me to, and that is Skyscraper’s biggest problem.
Some movies are supposed to be big dumb fun. This is the time of year for movies like that and it’s a lot of fun to escape into a movie like that. Skyscraper misses that mark in such an underwhelming way that this movie ends up being more forgettable than anything else. This movie has drawn some comparisons to Die Hard and that is almost as ridiculous as all the stuff The Rock was doing in the movie. There is nothing redeemable about this movie and it should not be compared to one of the greatest action movies of all time. If you are looking for a summer escape with a beloved actor, then go see Ant-Man and the Wasp again, because this one is far from fun.
1 out of 5 stars
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber Cast: Dewayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber & Noah Taylor Release Date: July 13th Rated: PG-13 Runtime: 1 hour and 42 minutes Image Credit: Skyscraper