by Dallas Thompson
After a long year of delays and disappointments, big blockbuster movies are finally being released in theaters once again. In the last month alone we’ve seen Cruella, In The Heights, A Quiet Place 2, and now the newest entry into the Fast and Furious franchise, F9. While Cruella and A Quiet Place 2 were significant releases, F9 is the first blockbuster of a truly massive scale, in terms budget and box office potential, to be released in over a year. In fact, it has been reported that the Thursday night previews of F9 made over $7.1 million at the box office, making it highest debut of the pandemic era thus far.
So naturally, just being back in the theater for an event film such as F9 feels great. But was the wait worth it? Does F9 live up to the hype? While reactions have been mixed on this one, I’m going to say yes!
I should say, I may not be the most qualified person to review F9 as the only other Fast and Furious film I have seen is Hobbs and Shaw. However, I think I can also offer a unique perspective as someone who is somewhat familiar with the franchise, but not necessarily a seasoned fan.
F9 relies heavily on backstory & flashback sequences. The scenes at the beginning of the film were okay, but I thought as the film went on the flashback sequences were better used. This review will not include major spoilers, so I will be very vague, but the final flashback scene should have ended the movie. In fact, my theater had several people stand up to leave as the final flashback scene ended, only for there to be another 3-4 minutes left.
As shown in the trailers, the basic premise of F9 revolves around Dom’s brother, Jakob, played by John Cena. The story not only explores the present conflict of Jakob’s world-dominating evil plan, but it also explores their damaged relationship. And yes, F9 is still just a fun (and super outrageous) summer blockbuster, but I found a surprising element of heart behind the story and I thought it was a welcome addition in between the endless stunts and explosions.
By the way, I really enjoyed Jakob as a character and Cena’s performance. With F9 and Suicide Squad (not to mention his spinoff Peacemaker series coming to HBO Max), I think John Cena has the potential to become a great actor and even more of a household name in the years to come.
Not giving to much away about the story, some absolutely absurd things happen in this movie, as is tradition with the franchise at this point. However, I don’t think it “killed the movie” as many critics are saying. Most of the stunts are very obviously impossible, but the general audience isn’t going to F9 to nitpick what is and isn’t possible according to the laws of science, the general audience is there for a good time at the movies. And yes, for those wondering, the rumors are true. Some characters in F9 go to space. And since this is a spoiler review, that’s all I’ll say about that part. One thing that helped with all of the impossible scenarios, is that F9 is self aware and knows a lot of the things that happen are impossible and the writers actually integrated that as a recurring joke throughout the movie.
Make sure to stay for the Mid-Credits scene - it brings a character in that fans of the franchise were likely wondering about throughout the course of the film. It’s a great scene teasing what’s to come in the next installment and it got me looking forward to what’s to come in the tenth film!
F9 has action, humor, cars, stunts, fights, a surprising hint of heart, and all of the things you have come to expect from the Fast and Furious franchise and is just all around a great time at the movies, which has been sorely missed by so many of us over the last year. If you’re looking for a fun time, I would recommend checking out F9 in theaters now!
Have you seen F9 in theaters yet? If so, leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!