business news in context, analysis with attitude

I am, to be honest, conflicted about the Netflix adaptation of "The Gray Man," the highly regarded Mark Greaney novel that has spawned a dozen sequels.  (The latest, "Burner," will be out in February.  (I've had the pleasure of interviewing Greaney a couple of times here on MNB, and you can watch those conversations here and here.

The film version of "The Gray Man" features Ryan Gosling in the title role, and I think he's very good - despite that he is very much the movie star, Gosling manages to capture the fade-into-the-woodwork essence of the character who goes through a kind of ethical awakening in the movie.  I bought him, completely.

But … for me, the casting of Chris Evans (an actor I like) in the role of the film's villain, a CIA contract worker hired to kill Gosling's assassin, doesn't work.  Not. At. All.  It isn't really Evans' fault, though;  he's been given a character written by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, that is so over the top that he defies belief.  I suppose they felt that for the film, they needed an extravagant villain, but to me, it diminished the movie's plot - if Evans' character had been more understated, he actually might've been more scary and formidable.

That said, the film is lots of fun - several action sequences are extraordinarily good, there are some terrific supporting performances by Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Alfre Woodard, and Billy Bob Thornton, and "The Gray Man" holds together very well.

And, to be sure, it has been successful - Netflix already has commissioned a sequel, and the Russo brothers reportedly plan to expand the "Gray Man" universe in a variety of ways.

Maybe it is me.  As I say, I am conflicted.  For me, "The Gray Man" is very good, but could've been much, much better.

I'm really looking forward to a couple of on-the-horizon projects, like the third and final season of "Star Trek: Picard"…

And the coming-on-August 12 series version of "A League Of Their Own"…

More reasons that streaming is so disruptive to traditional television.

That's it for this week.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.