When Disney announced that the long-awaited sequel to the 2013 mega-mega hit Frozen was going to be released on Nov. 22, it was a warning to the rest of Hollywood: Elsa and Anna have staked their claim to this date, so back off.
Don’t mess with the women of Arendelle at the box office, because if you release a film this week, your studio will lose millions. Go ahead, Disney basically taunted. It let the world know when it was going to release one of the most anticipated sequels of all time. The first film generated more than $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office and what studio would possibly try to compete with Elsa and Anna during the days leading to a holiday?
Undeniably, Elsa is a force — her hands can turn anything to ice. She’s complemented by her sister, Anna, a lovable snowman and a muscular hunk named Kristoff. Really, they are Disney’s equivalent to The Beatles, a transcendent foursome who revolutionized animated films and are worth billions. “Let It Go” will live as long as “Let It Be.”
Kids who spent their elementary school years singing “In Summer,” “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” and “The First Time in Forever” are now in high school. Parents who took their kids to Frozen in 2013 are going to see Elsa and Anna finish what they started.
But Elsa and Anna have an unexpected opposition this weekend, one much bigger than the huge monsters they face in Frozen II: Mr. Black Panther himself, Chadwick Bozeman.
Bozeman has ditched the skin-tight black suit for a business suit as Andre Davis, a polarizing New York City detective tasked with bringing two cop killers to justice in STX’s 21 Bridges. It’s the best thriller of the year, one that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final bullet is fired 100 minutes later.
21 Bridges isn’t going to beat Frozen II at the box office. But what film would, really? Star Wars? Another Avengers movie? Maybe, maybe not. But that doesn’t mean 21 Bridges is worth overlooking.
Bozeman gives his finest performance of his career, showing why he’s ascended Hollywood’s hierarchy faster than anyone not named Michael B. Jordan.
21 Bridges is about a night-time cocaine heist gone terribly, terribly wrong and each scene makes it harder to determine who truly are bad guys. It’s the job of Davis — who takes pride in having been cleared in killing eight suspects in the line of duty in the last nine years – to determine who deserves a badge and who deserves a jail cell.
Both Chadwick and Elsa (again voiced by the unmistakable Idina Menzel) are complemented by superb casts.
Davis’ cohorts include Sienna Miller, who plays fellow detective Frankie Burns, and J.K. Simmons, who plays a police captain who just had seven of his men gunned down in the middle of the street.
It’s Davis’ job to do whatever it takes to apprehend the two men – played by Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) – before the sun rises after Davis closes all thoroughfares leading in and out of Manhattan.
Both films offer strong story lines. But both aren’t without flaws – the songs in Frozen !!, such as “Into the Unknown,” “Lost in the Woods” and “All is Found,” aren’t as good as the ones in the first film. 21 Bridges director Brian Kirk should have spent more time developing Bozeman and Miller’s characters.
Both have unexpected surprises. Gad’s Olaf is so good he comes close to overshadowing Elsa, while seeing Bozeman deliver like he does without a Black Panther mask shows it’s only a matter of time before he wins an Oscar.
Which one is better? Sorry, Frozen fans. While Frozen II is certainly good – probably the best animated sequel ever produced – it comes up just a few degrees short compared to 21 Bridges.
Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 18 years experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He’s also an editor for CBSSports.com. He’s crossing his fingers the only baseball team in Baltimore that will contend for a title this summer won’t be his fantasy squad, the Catonsville Cartel. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game.