I want to jump in right off the bat, and offer up some high praise for "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For", their website made it exceedingly easy to obtain images for the review. Most sites force me to hunt all around for images I want, the Sin City site offered up an entire press kit! So, thank you for being considerate to the people that want to promote your movie, or bash your movie in a public forum!
Let's jump right into this, because I'm running on fumes, and want to get this review in before too terribly long! Also, I want a reason to put a picture of Jessica Alba up, and this seems like a good time.
So, it should be noted I loved the first movie, although it has been a while since I saw it, and thus my memories of it might be a little lacking. So, let's just ignore the first movie for now, as it only has minimal bearing on things (there are connections, but on the most part, they can be glossed over). Also, it should be noted that I am not particularly familiar with the Sin City Graphic Novels. So, I can not use those as a basis for anything, either. This is based solely on my thoughts on this film, as a story-telling device, and not on its connection to any other medium.
This movie is, without a doubt, a pretty movie. It offers up fun visuals, in a stylized environment that appears to be well aware of how amazingly fake EVERYTHING looks. Honestly, this is not a detriment at all, in fact, the unreality of the visuals, helped to sell me on the "reality" of the events happening on screen. If this had been shot, and presented in a hyper-realistic manner, I would have written the movie off right off the bat. However, between the outlandish Marv make-up used for Mickey Rourke's character, and the Roger Rabbit-esque animation over live action scenes, this movie was very obviously set outside the normal reality.
For a black and white movie, however, I found that there was entirely too much color. In the above GIF, there is a character in full flesh-tones, with hair colored and everything. Now, I'm not hear to make an artistic judgement call, but it felt that the emphasis was put on the wrong spots. Ava, made sense, as she is the eponymous "Dame to Kill For", and giving her those small highlights helped make her unique. If it had been limited to her, and perhaps blood, it would have seemed truly unique, rather than just a mild curiosity. It became mildly distracting, and occasionally pulled me out of the story.
The story is where things got murky. Or more accurately the stories, as there are 3 distinct stories, and a brief vignette before the credits to reintroduce you to the world. The opening vignette, is all but pointless, as the only real point made in it, was to give Marv a place in the movie. Beyond that opening scene, he acts as little more than a support character, that occasionally shows up in the background. There is also the ultimately pointless Joseph Gordon Levitt story, that only serves to establish a pseudo-villain that takes away from that dame that is supposed to be to kill for, well, it does also offer up two cameo roles that are kinda worth while. There is also the Nancy story, which gives Jessica Alba a lot of screen time, but also reminds me why I generally dislike most of her movies....
Most importantly, there is the Dwight story, that is the meat and potatoes of the movie, and offers up that dame we have heard so much about. This should have been what the entire movie centered around. Granted, the movie is primarily about Sin City, and all the stories do take place in Sin City. However that dame to kill did get pretty high billing here, and one would assume that she would get significant usage. Actually, let's talk about that dame for a bit, and this will be a huge selling point for many out there. This lady is rather gorgeous, and she spends a good amount of time on the screen naked. So, if you are a lover of the female form she's a dame to pay money to see on the big screen...
Back to the stories. They are disjointed, and seem to have no bearing on one another, and rather seem connected by background characters, The movie would have benefited a great deal from more focus. It could have made more efforts to tie the Joseph Gordon Levitt story into the greater over-arching dame story. Wove in aspects of the Nancy story into the Gordon Levitt story, and made the Dwight story the lynch pin that holds it all together. Also, as much as I love Marv as a character, his vignette at the beginning brings nothing of worth to the movie itself, and could be cut, to extend the primary story. The muddled nature of the story, left me a little under-enthused, and almost drowsy at points.
In the end, this is not a horrible movie. The long delay in release, paired with my own high expectations after the first film, may have done a lot to sully my view of the film, but with a little more focus on a cohesive narrative, this could have been amazing, as opposed to just mediocre.
RECOMMENDATION: The movie offers up some nice visuals, but the style does not always mask the failings in the substance department. So, if you can wait, go see Guardian's of the Galaxy instead... Because Guardians had style and substance!
IS IT THEATER WORTHY: I have a lot of trouble recommending this as a big screen view. It offers little spectacle, and nothing I see that makes me think it would play better on the big screen, rather than on the home screen. So... No, it's not theater worthy.
FINAL THOUGHTS: While the film was pushed back for some reason, I think that time could have been put to use making this a more solid story, rather than focusing so much on the stylization. A movie that could have reached greatness falls well short, and that... that is truly saddening.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10