If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then warning, there are spoilers in this article.
It was inevitable that we would find ourselves here, in this very situation, reviewing a movie franchise that should have stayed in the past. The latest story addition to Hollywood’s most notorious group of crooks, Ocean’s 8, brings the goose bump invoking nostalgia that we were all waiting for. The film bested the male-driven original trilogy with a $41.5 million opening and propagates the strength of women. Unfortunately, that’s about all it brings to the table.
Ocean’s 8 is the Ghostbusters remake of 2018. While it’s refreshing to see an all-female cast, the film does nothing to add to the movie franchise’s story or character development. Having said that, here are three areas of the movie that I feel bring it down.
The heist and overall plans were too simple and predictable. The typical Ocean’s twists, like the mark becoming an asset, fail to keep things interesting. The moment that Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) announced that they would be stealing from people attending the Met Gala is when it became obvious how the movie would play out. It was also the point in the movie where I was thinking to myself, maybe they’ll throw some amazing twist at the end like getting caught by an FBI agent who knew about it the whole time. That slant never arrived.
The biggest issue that I had with the film was that the heist went down too smoothly. It lacked excitement and there was really only one “near-caught” scene that created the suspense we’ve grown accustomed to in an Ocean’s movie. Quite frankly, it was boring. In theory, a gender-swap movie should work, especially a remake, but those things don’t matter if the plot and subplot are underdeveloped. Everything was perfect, which creates a linear story arc that lacks conflict. At a certain point, you realize that you’re patiently waiting for a conclusion that you’ve seen coming for an hour.
The second issue was the reveal of the group’s mark, Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). Kluger was a part of the heist and helped to cover for them by lying to the authorities and subsequently planting evidence on Ocean’s evil ex-boyfriend. It was just too cliche and I’m sure that everyone knew it was coming. Perhaps that was the point, but if that’s the case I refer back to my original point of the overall plot being stale.
I wasn’t a big fan of how Kluger suddenly decided to become a criminal because she wanted to expand her friend group. In previous movies, we’ve seen Ocean planning a heist while he’s in prison or seeking revenge on his ex-wife’s new billionaire-beau. Kluger’s motivation to steal came across as lazy writing. Then again, Kluger is characterized as a person who seemingly has everything in life, except for a social circle. Because of this, she goes to extreme lengths to make friends, which in this case is becoming a professional criminal. What I find hard to accept is how easy it was for her to decide to become a criminal. It would have made more sense if she were a criminal who had done jobs in the past but hid that part of her life away from everyone she knew.
Now assuming we are comparing this film to the rest of the Ocean’s movie, there are quite a few Easter eggs, but it falls short of what people have grown to love about the franchise. However, I think that if a sequel is made (maybe an Ocean’s 9) this movie could be redeemed. It would need to continue along the same plotline while beefing up the complexity of the heist though.
Until that day, I don’t recommend Ocean’s 8 if you’re looking for the next exciting robbery movie. But if you’re looking for a light-hearted family flick, then, by all means, this movie is for you.