Canister X Movie Review #54: The Legend of Zorro (2005)
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Directed by Martin Campbell
Runtime 129 min.
3 out of 5
In this follow up to 1998’s The Mask of Zorro, Alejandro must try and abstain from adventuring as the black-masked crusader in an effort to keep his home life under control as his wife, Elena, now feels it’s time for him to give up the mask since he’s been Zorro for nine years. Meanwhile, a nefarious plan is afoot to stop California from becoming part of the United States. Soon the lines between the Fox’s life as Zorro and his life as Alejandro blur and our hero must balance the two and ensure California’s statehood comes to pass before it’s too late.
I loved The Mask of Zorro so was super excited when this one came out. To me, it was one of those “what took you so long?” things. Well, I don’t know what went on behind the scenes or why the delay, but I was happy when they finally made this movie. Due to being a new parent at the time, I didn’t make it to theatres to check it out and had to do so once it hit the direct market.
It was all right. Wasn’t as thrilling as the first one nor was the story as good. There was a lot of Zorro in this, which, of course, is a plus, but I think because it was more lighthearted than its predecessor I was let down. Sure, Zorro isn’t a grim and brooding hero, but since the first movie was so serious, I expected more of the same with this one. That’s not to say this was all slapstick and camp. Far from it. Just had this lighter vibe to it that I wasn’t really into.
I think, for me, the romantic tension in this movie is what wasn’t my thing. There was good reason for it in the context of the story, but I just didn’t see how Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) couldn’t just simply tell Alejandro (Antonio Banderas) what was going on and together they would take on Armand (Rufus Sewell). Perhaps relationships were different back then than they are now, I don’t know.
The swashbuckling and adventure were fun and would make any male watching it want to put on a mask and get on a horse and go ride around. Kind of hard nowadays, but you get the idea.
The thing that makes Zorro interesting in this movie is the fact that he has a son. Superman Returns aside, what other superhero on the big screen has to juggle being a dad and a superhero? Even in Superman Returns Superman didn’t find out about his kid until the end of the flick so we never got to see him be a family man and Earth’s champion. If you were a superhero and had kids, you’d have to keep it a secret lest they spill the beans to their friends. You’d also have to face years of them being disappointed in you because you’re always “working” and are never around. And the sacrifice involved on the part of the parent is also high because you’re missing out on all these great moments from your kid’s childhood because you’re off saving the day.
I think this movie would’ve worked well as a third in a trilogy after some kind of high-octane swashbuckling adventure of a second flick. Then you can have your hero think of retiring and moving on instead of setting him up as a legend at the end of the first movie then suddenly saying, “Nope, you’ve had enough. Let’s slow things down.” What happened in between?
This is a fun movie, don’t get me wrong, and is a good time for adults and kids alike.
I do recommend this movie because I think it’s important the younger generation knows who Zorro is in this day and age of high-profile DC and Marvel superheroes and suggest parents show their kids this flick for that reason.
Any Zorro exposure is good in my book.