Nick’s review published on Letterboxd:
in my initial review – comprised of two sentences – I failed to catch the now glaring contradiction that the review ultimately is: the first sentence captured, for me, the essence of the film’s emotional and critical power as a frightening, appropriately revisionist culmination to one of the most experimental film series in modern blockbuster cinema; the second sentence went on to express the film’s editing as my biggest grievance with it. the issue with that review is that the new, radical direction the editing takes it in is completely reflective of the video-game culture lensed deconstruction the previous film’s ending violently turns its back on when there's nothing left to deconstruct. its quick cuts often obfuscate some of the action, and it's utterly disorienting because of how visceral and horrifying it sets up this post-artifice world to be; monsters full appearances are withheld, eruptions of violence are cut short, and ultimately, any hint of this final stage of apocalypse being potentially fraudulent is withheld. it can certainly be jarring but as someone who generally privileges clear thematics over most other things, I’ll take this thematically sound, radical, impressionistic action editing in place of clarity here.
otherwise, yeah, I full-out wept this time and continue to be absolutely overwhelmed by some of the gorgeous Langian images here (the beautiful shot of that sole cerberus, lost in the dark depths of the ocean, speaks volumes about the uneconomical, prejudiced, and capitalistic tendencies of the universe run by this series’ villains). man created technology, and technology ultimate *becomes* (wo)man here, in a most satisfying conclusion to the arc of a character who I never necessarily knew called for one so grandiose: this whole thing is driven by Alice’s emotions and passion – often exhibited in glorious technological expressionism – and despite coming full circle, and perhaps momentarily realizing that there was no use in it, both the version of herself that has guided her along the way and the version of her she never knew existed collaborate to nominate her the deserving victor of the series.