If you're a fan of superheroes or just superpowers in general, you're probably itching to see "Watchmen" when it arrives less than a month from now. You might even look for another movie to scratch your itch in the meantime. "Push" may or may not be it.
The premise of the film is that humans with various superpowers (mostly mental and telekinetic or some variation of those two) have been created through secret experimentation. These humans have been experimented on against their will and many of them would rather live normal lives. But the mysterious organization responsible for the experiments wants to hang on to a few of these escaped super-humans who are especially powerful, so they can be studied and their powers duplicated to create super-soldiers.
The backdrop for the film is Japan. The vibrancy and color of the locations gives the movie a unique look that, while not over the top, is a far cry from heavily tinted movies like "The Matrix", "300" or "Underworld", and serves as a welcome change. The action scenes look very cool and the visual effects are stylish yet conservative. (The telekinetic "force field" was a favorite of mine!) Despite this, don't go in expecting a full-blooded action movie.
"Push" tends to drag its pacing now and then, without using the softer moments to build character effectively. I got the feeling that these characters might be interesting people, but the movie never really gives them the opportunity to show who they are beneath the surface. Performances by all cast members were good. Dakota Fanning continues to be impressive for her age and may well continue to stand out as an adult. Chris Evans is likeable and probably glad to be in a better superhuman flick than "Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer".
Despite the slow moments in the film, it felt like some key plot material hit the cutting room floor when it should have been on the screen. The last third of the movie is hard to follow logically. Characters suddenly have information without any justification for how they got it. The mysterious final plan of the heroes is a great set-up that never pays off. In the end, we're left saying "Okay, I think they just did something really clever. Can someone please explain it to me?" As a result, the ending of the film feels anti-climactic and is a bit unsatisfying.
This isn't a "bad" movie. But it's probably a rental.
As for points of potential discussion, not much there either. Although, any movie that deals with precognition or time travel can lead to discussion of the nature of time and our free will.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, brief strong language, smoking and a scene of teen drinking