Here’s my review of Looper, a time travel movie staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Bruce Willis.
Note: This is not fact, it is entirely my opinion. So please don’t lash out at me if you don’t agree.
Spoiler Warning: If you have not seen this movie, you may want to before reading this.
After watching the movie I started going on and on about the giant paradox in this movie. I’ll state it below and try not to get confused. This isn’t what I originally thought, but my first thoughts got deleted.
The past of Joe’s older self actually involves successfully closing the loop. This doesn’t make any sense, if the Loop tried to escape at all, then it had to happen. When he was young, his Loop had to have the same past that he would wind up with, but that one didn’t escape. Why is that so? He would always have the means to do so, why does he get killed the first time, but escapes the next. Technically, the Loop’s past isn’t possible; Joe clearly won’t grow up to be him with everything that happens. The plot of the movie can’t logically happen; Joe is chasing an older version of himself that doesn’t have the same past as him, so he can’t exist and this movie can’t happen.
So to make this bit more understandable: Joe’s older self didn’t chase after his Loop, unlike Joe of the present. This Loop can’t exist the way he does. Joe’s older self should remember chasing his Loop.
With the big reveal that Cid grows up to be the crime boss, Rainmaker and what sets him on this path is old Joe getting sent back in time and killing his mother isn’t possible. Like I said before, the older Joe’s past doesn’t involve chasing his Loop. And so the Loop would‘ve never killed Cid’s mom, and Cid wouldn’t become Rainmaker. So in old Joe’s future, there shouldn’t be a Rainmaker, all the loops wouldn’t be closed, so old Joe wouldn’t get sent back to hunt Cid down, nor would he even have the means to do so.
As for the ending where Joe kills himself to prevent this terrible fate from happen. This is a pointless act. If he killed himself, his Loop wouldn’t just disappear; it would rewrite history as if that person never existed. And if his Loop didn’t cause this whole thing, then he wouldn’t choose to kill himself and everything would start all over again.
This applies to going back in time to prevent something, you can’t do that. If you prevent it, then history will be written as if the event never occurred. But h the reason it didn’t occur is because you stopped it. And if it never happened, you aren’t given a reason to stop it and it happens anyway.
In other words, the future is inevitable. At least when it comes to time-travel movies
So technically the entire plot if this movie isn’t possible.
Well, now that we’ve gotten the paradox out of the way, let’s judge the movie for what it illogically is.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe – I have to admit, I’m not really a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I just don’t think he’s a really good actor. Whenever he’s on screen he just comes off as very bland. Particularly in movies such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. If you like him, I’ll accept that, but I’ll never understand why. Probably since I’ve never seen his TV show, Third Rock from the Sun. Here while he comes off as a likable lead, there are still several scenes where he appears to sound dull, and other times when he sounds almost as if he’s bored. While he has very good scenes with Willis, the amount of emotion seems almost more like sarcasm. His character just presents himself as the generic protagonist. His development isn’t really executed very well as his characters mommy issues and drug problems seem to be forgotten by the second half along with several other plot points.
Bruce Willis as Old Joe – Willis does an okay job, however it’s hard to judge his performance given his lack of screen time. As a character, he isn’t really well developed as his entire motivation is to rewrite history so they don’t kill his wife to close his loop. This motivation doesn’t appear to be much of a really plot point. And since the wife that he is trying to save is only on screen for a minute, we don’t see say anything, and is never developed, its kind of hard for me to care. He isn’t very well developed as a character, let alone what I think should be seen as an antagonist.
Emily Blunt as Sarah - Sara is seen as a woman will do anything to keep her son safe. However, most of the time on screen, she comes of as helpless and little annoying. If you like her, that's fine, but her development doesn't seem to go very far. Most of her scenes appear to be the same and there isn't a lot the moves forward.
Pierce Gagnon as Cid - I find this kid to be very annoying. I know he's only eight, and not a lot of kid actors are very good. I actually think that he was the perfect age for this role. If they had made him any older, I don't think how the events of the movie leading to his dark future would work nearly as good. That being said, the issue of not looking at his mom as his real mom doesn't fit. Drama like this would make sense for a teenager, but not for an eight year old. But a teenager would not work in this movie. I don't know how it could have been handled better, but his dialogue just seems too mature to me.
The movie has a very strong beginning and does a very good job at explaining how the system of Loopers work. It flows in an interesting way and we don't get bored. The scenes were Levitt and Willis interacting with each other, while I don't by the idea that they're the same person are very entertaining to watch. The scene of them talking in the diner is easily the best part of the movie, seeing the two of them debate of who would really control the future.
While the movie has a really good start, as soon as we get to Joe fleeing to Sarah's farm, the film starts falling apart. The scenes are much longer and slower, which could work. The I have with it is that the movie wasn't doing that before and it's almost like it became a different movie. Many plot points are forgotten for a certain amount of time and I personally find it boring. While the story itself is not terrible, I just find it disappointing seeing the tone slow down for no particular reason.
I am aware that the movie is trying to present themes. I know what these messages are, but they aren't there. One theme that writers are trying to present is the future being whatever we make it, or rather if something is your choice, inevitable, or impossible. In other words, the lessons that one should expect from a time travel movie. This doesn't execute it very well, it does with the scenes Levitt and Willis share together about Joe refusing to grow ups and become what his Loop is. But there aren't many of those scenes. Now let's compare it to a movie where it does work, James Cameron's Terminator.
In the first movie, Kyle Reese has to do whatever he con to protect Sarah Conner. He needs to except the responsibility and must succeed at all costs, to point where he sacrifices his own life. Sara Conner, has to stay alive and make sure that her son is able to become the man who will stop the machines from taking over. And the same could be said for the characters of the second movie, only the roles are rearranged. In Looper, it not in the first half. That's expected, because the first half is when we meets are characters and take time to set everything up. However in the second half, the focus is no longer on finding the Loop and killing him to rather just waiting for him to show up, not giving time to explore that theme, and making the ending unnecessary.
Another theme I think that the movie is trying to present is when you are facing an enemy that no matter what happens must be defeated, but this can't be easy. Because the enemy is stronger, knows all your strengths and weaknesses, and knows everything that you are capable of, because the enemy is you. A medium where this does work is comic I read called Teen Titans Issues #17-19, of the 2000s series.
Now if you don't read comics, I will give you a brief summery. The Teen Titans find themselves 10 years in the future, and meet they're future selves. Robin (Tim Drake) has become Batman, Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) has become Wonder Woman, Superboy (Conner Kent) has become Superman, Kid Flash (Bart Allen) has become the The Flash, etc. The team is shocked to find out what they're like in the future, as they are violent and harsh. Robin (Tim Drake), is the one member of the team that I find the most explored and the most interesting. He promised himself that that he would never become Batman, nor would he let himself be anything like him. He doesn't want to cut himself off from other people and give in into anger and vengeance until his own humanity is held by a thread. Like Batman, Robin doesn't kill anyone and doesn't use guns. Robin's future self however, every single one of those things. He killed almost every criminal and enemy Batman has faced with the gun that killed Bruce's parents. Robin is shocked to see himself as the very thing he vowed to never be, but questions wether or not he really has control over that.
In Looper, Joe disagrees with his Loop's plan to kill the Rainmaker and save his future, but that's it. Like I said before, seeing the two of them interact is very engaging, but I don't think there are enough scenes that that.
I find this bit completely unnecessary. What was the true point of this, to give an actually difference between this movie's version of 2042 and the modern day. They could have simply dropped it and set the movie in modern day. With Cid having big incredibly uncontrollable telekinetic powers was also pointless. Old Joe didn't want to kill Cid because of his powers, as far as I'm concerned he should even know about his powers. The Loop is hunting him down because Cid will grow up and become a crime boss who will start closing all the Loops.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't under any circumstances hate this move. I just find it to be a disappointing. It was relatively okay, but if the writers chose to focus on one topic only, then I think it could have been a lot better. If you like the movie, thats fine I won't hold anything against you. If you don't agree, I kindly ask you to respect my opinion. We are all entitled to think what we want.
Thank you for reading.