Alita: Battle Angel is a film about an AI girl in the 25th century who attempts to learn more about her past after she loses her memory of it. While visually stunning, the movie represents the Hollywood norm of failing to take risks, a major issue with big-budget blockbuster films in the last decade. It’s no secret that the majority of popular movies in recent years are based off of preexisting concepts and characters or are sequels to already popular films. Because many majorly successful franchises, such as Star Wars, already exist, the industry does not often justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund original movies when they can just continue to fund movies for already popular franchises. In other words, they have no reason to take any chances with something new because it’s easier to invest in a movie that they know will succeed. Alita was set up to be the start of another huge blockbuster franchise because of its stunning graphics and fresh concepts but will fail to do so because it lacks a solid plotline or script and fails to grab the viewer's attention.
The director is successful in creating the barebones structure required of a movie; the premise and characters are introduced and the dystopian setting is portrayed realistically and beautifully. The movie has innovative visual effects that the huge team of artists and visual technicians use to bring the city to life, making it feel as if the viewer was standing in it. In addition, the incredible and versatile acting of Rosa Salazar, the actress who portrays the protagonist Alita, combined with the hyper-realistic motion-capture technology perfectly fools audiences into forgetting that her character is CGI.
While the movies visuals are impressive, it takes more than fancy graphics to make a successful and interesting movie. The film suffers from massive script issues and a general lack of ability to grab the audience's attention, preventing it from becoming more than a visual spectacle. Alita's worst crime, however, is the seemingly implicit nod to there being a sequel to the film. A sequel is something a movie should have to earn, especially if it's a new series like Alita; setting up a film to require a sequel before reaching success takes away from the film’s individual ability to succeed and often makes its plotline shallow and unfulfilling. The film was produced with the expectation of getting a sequel, leaving it littered with plot holes and questions that are assumed will be answered later. Because of this, the movie is extremely confusing, and this disables any real story arc that could have been made; just as one problem appears to be solved, the movie opens up another can of worms, leaving the viewer with more questions than before. In the end, Alita: Battle Angel only succeeds in answering two questions:
Does this movie need a sequel?
Does it deserve a sequel?