What did I expect? Dwayne Johnson is everywhere at the moment, and can seemingly do no wrong. This is undoubtedly a good thing for him, because a less famous actor would likely not survive the absurdity of Skyscraper, a film that joyfully makes no sense yet never quite realises. The number of times I turned to my boyfriend completely dumbstruck by what had occurred on screen is greater than with any of the 264 films I’ve seen so far this year, and I’m still unsure whether this is a positive or a negative – hence the middling rating. I undeniably enjoyed this film, but I need to explain exactly why.
First of all, the stunts were entertaining as hell. In this movie, Dwayne Johnson must infiltrate the world’s tallest skyscraper in order to rescue his family from the fire raging within it. Therefore, there are innumerable shots of The Rock doing death-defying leaps from dizzying heights and smashing through giant glass windows. Cool as some of these are to watch, the absolute dearth of tension (come on, they aren’t killing him off twenty minutes in) coupled with how the movie keeps cutting to a cheering crowd just makes most of them hilarious. I’m frankly glad that the film doesn’t show more self-awareness in this area, as the campiness of how seriously it takes itself is the best aspect of Skyscraper.
Then there are the performances. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson plays Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, so on that front, there is very little else to say. Basically every other actor in this movie is dull and passable, not going nearly as over the top as they need to to make the film legitimately good. The characters therefore just come across as the broad caricatures they were written as: the perfect loving kids, the Eastern European baddie, the edgy East Asian woman, and the strange, cocky billionaire. However, this does have the effect of making the terrible writing far funnier than it may have been with a better performance, with no one speaking like a human or making reasonable decisions.
In fact, some of the absolutely nonsensical setpieces and character decisions make for the most entertaining parts of the film. Like a bad horror film, you will constantly want to shout at the screen phrases like ‘Don’t go in there!’ and ‘You moron! He’s obviously a bad guy!’. My personal favourite of these moments was at an early moment in the film where Dwayne is being given a tour of the titular building and is shown by the extremely proud billionaire the purpose-built hall of electronic mirrors. ‘Wow!’, you’ll be thinking, ‘What a cool looking place! It’s a pity that’ll definitely not be used for a shootout later on..’. At least, I think that’s what the screenwriters were expecting your reaction to be.
So, do I think you should watch this movie? If you have a spare afternoon, a cheap cinema ticket, and a very high tolerance for stupidity, then you might genuinely have a pretty good time! If not, then avoid Skyscraper like the plague.
At least it’s better than Rampage.