Verdict: A masterful display of brilliant filmmaking and technical craftsmanship.

Knowing that two of the most visionary filmmakers in Hollywood would be coming together to bring one of the most renowned Japanese mangas to the big screen was more than enough to get us reeling in excitement for Alita: Battle Angel. Produced by James Cameron, the mastermind behind Avatar, this cyberpunk action film sees Sin City‘s Robert Rodriguez stepping in as director to bring us the on-screen adaptation of the super-hit manga series by Yukito Kishiro.

What’s Alita: Battle Angel About:

It is the 26th century and Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) is making his rounds in a giant scrap yard when he comes across what’s left of a young and seemingly outdated female cyborg. Well-known for his ability to put people together, Iron City’s best doctor then goes on the rebuild her and names her Alita (Rosa Salazar). As Alita navigates through her new life in the Iron City with no memory of who she really is, Dr. Ido realizes that in the shell of the abandoned cyborg is a real young woman with an extraordinary past. While he tries to shield her from her mysterious history, Alita meets a street-smart boy named Hugo (Keean Johnson) who brings her face to face with her old self and the corrupt forces that run the city. With her unique fighting abilities and unknown powers, she could be the key to saving her friends, family, and the world that she’s grown to love.

What Works:

Whether you have incredibly large eyes or not, it’s clear to see that Alita: Battle Angel takes live-action adaptations to a whole new level. When James Cameron is on board you know it’s gonna be epic and, together with director Robert Rodriguez, they prove that they’re unmatched when it comes to seamless visual storytelling.

From the production design to the visual effects, Alita: Battle Angel is a mesmerizing watch. Every scene seems to be meticulously crafted with the sole intention of raising the bar of technical excellence. Even simple scenes, like when Alita stands alone in front of a full-length mirror as she moves and discovers her fighting abilities, leave us wide-eyed and open-jawed. With that being said, it’s no surprise that the action is spectacular. The choreography is smooth, the visuals are sleek, and the cinematography is worthy of applause.

Amidst all of this cyberpunk visual goodness are the wonderful performances from the cast. Christoph Waltz is a convincing father figure. Jennifer Connelly‘s Chiren keeps you guessing about her intentions. Mahershala Ali is menacing as the antagonist, Vector. Keean Johnson brings heart to the story. Most of all, Rosa Salazar adds genuine emotion to a computer-constructed character.

What Could’ve Been Better:

Story-wise, Alita: Battle Angel tends to struggle, unable to bring us the true soul from its manga characters. But, oh boy, do the mesmerizing VFX and brilliantly choreographed action make up for it!

Why You Should Watch It:

It’s gorgeous, it’s entertaining, and it’s a special effects spectacle. Alita: Battle Angel is certainly a visual marvel and must-watch in 3D. Grab some popcorn and sit yourself down in front of an IMAX screen to experience the excellent visual feat of Alita: Battle Angel at its cinematic fullest.