But hey, why not hold the filmmakers to a minimum standard of sensibility?
"[We] just wanted this spy aspect of this story to have as many surprises as possible - not insane surprises, but things that were real on a human level", she said, dismissing other spy movie backstories as old hat. Without anyone to trust but herself, Lorraine finds out that getting that list and out of Berlin, alive, won't be easy. She's a British spy sent to West Berlin in 1989, just days before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, though the actual plot of the movie is nearly indecipherable: some junk about a McGuffin, a Stasi defector nicknamed "Spyglass" (Eddie Marsan), and a double agent.
The moment Lorraine sets foot in Berlin, however, things go sideways.
Lorraine is ice cold, but she will melt for one person: her French contact, wet-behind-the-ears agent Delphine (Sofia Boutella). With "Monster", she played a gritty serial killer. How did that change to "Atomic Blonde"?
Clover's book suggests, in fact, that women protagonists make for better, more viscerally satisfying film fantasies. The reference is meta-commentary on the film, since director David Leitch remixes countless elements into something that peppers nostalgia with modern action.
"Atomic Blonde" is framed by one of the most time-honored storytelling devices: The lead character (in this case Theron's super-spy Lorraine Broughton) is brought in for questioning after an operation has gone haywire, and as she spins her story, we flash back to recent events.
In terms of action, Atomic Blonde delivers good old-fashioned stunt feats and choreography. In the mystery film, the Academy Award-winning actress once again proves her ability to impressively fight her way out of any harrowing situation through impeccable stunt work. It was far too much to realistically film in one continuous take, but careful planning allowed Leitch to give it that illusion. In an apartment and then on a staircase, Lorraine takes on one henchman after another, crying out in guttural rage as she punches and kicks and shoots and stabs her way to survival.
Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Whereas another spy thriller might gradually go deeper into its complex networks of allegiances, "Atomic Blonde", based on Antony Johnston's graphic novel "The Coldest City", stays on the surface, keeping the body count increasing and the '80s score blaring.
Demetri Ravanos is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association and has reviewed movies for Raleigh and Company, Military1.com and The Alan Kabel Radio Network.
If you've watched a lot of violent action movies, you may have seen the old knife-in-forehead trick or its subtler cousin, the cheek key-jab.
Theron is no stranger to action movies, of course, having played the titular female hero in sci-fi actioner Aeon Flux in 2005, Furiousa in Mad Max: Fury Road and the villain in this year's Fast And Furious 8. There is great use of the rule of thirds, creating gorgeous on screen compilations.
Even Hollywood's biggest female movie stars aren't immune to this - and Theron would know. X-Men's James McAvoy is a scene-stealer as Percival, walking the flawless line between lovable cad and unscrupulous scumbag, in order to keep you guessing. This is done in elaborately choreographed fight scenes that would be at home in the John Wick movies, (with which it shares co-director, David Leitch, ) but the overall tone and story are closer to a more traditional John Le'Carre-esque Cold War espionage thriller.
Are you psyched to see some serious butt get kicked this weekend when Atomic Blonde hits theaters on July 28? It is 1 hour 55 Minutes long and is Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity. I'm going with the one two-thirds of the way through this baby, although "John Wick, Chapter Two" was no slouch in the brutality department. The first time she cracks someone's skull, that ripple sound you're hearing is a thousand studio executives slapping their own heads so hard that they, too, fracture, so ashamed are they for not thinking of this movie first.