Alita: Battle Angel isn’t exactly a classic. Despite (or perhaps because of) its long history as a manga, a pet project of James Cameron, and a movie in development hell, the characters felt a little generic, some of the action was inexplicable, and the plot felt a little unbaked and unconvincing. Still, there was one standout scene that I’m still thinking about.
Mahershala Ali turned in one of the best acted scenes I’ve seen in the last decade in Alita. Pure genius. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. (I don’t want to spoil it; that scene is a late-game plot development.) Too bad his part as Vector, a typical bad guy lieutenant, was otherwise fairly rote.
Ali is a talent to watch, and I need to track down more of his performances, like his runs in The 4400 and Moonlight. Hopefully he gets some better roles in future than this one.
Note: Ali is the first black actor to win two Oscars in the same category (best supporting actor, in his case). Hard to believe that’s never happened before.
Here’s Ali in costume talking about the movie.