“More Than Meets The Eye” 

“The Invisible Man” 2020 review

By Dark Starr 

I know there are a lot of people who dislike reboots seemingly just on principle. I'm definitely not in that crowd. In fact, I actually enjoy seeing new approaches to works with which I'm familiar. I am not saying I like all reboots anymore than I'd say that I like all movies, but I do like a lot of them and won't discount them just on the grounds that they are reboots. 

Obviously, if you fall into the "I hate reboots" group, this movie is not for you. There has been another group of people who have thrown a lot of hatred toward this film. That's the "Hollywood is putting feminist propaganda into everything crowd." I've seen several movies that have received that hatred, and not a single one was propaganda or pushing an agenda. They were all telling a story and happened to have strong female lead characters. 

Here's the thing about story-telling, it's one thing that have a cool idea. H.G. Wells' idea was, "what if a man could be invisible?" That idea is just that... an idea. It doesn't become something more until a story is built around it. You have to have characters bringing that concept to life. 

There are a number of ways that idea could be woven into a story. Wells created one of those tales. The movie version with Claude Rains was another. Sure, that was closer to the original text, but it was not limited by it. This story takes things further, but it's ultimately another way of telling a story around that clever idea. 

This is a story for a modern age. The science from Wells' source material is changed. Really, though, that "science" worked well for its time, but seems a bit silly today. A methodology for achieving invisibility was developed, and it's much more in line with modern technology and research. It's more believable for today's movie audiences. 

Now, what about the story built around the idea? Here's where the "feminist agenda" people get their ammunition. The story centers around a woman (played by Elisabeth Moss) who escapes from an abusive relationship, only to find herself stalked and tormented by her abuser after he has supposedly committed suicide. The thing is, that's a story that connects to the lives of a lot of women - more than it should, really. 

So, what we ultimately have is a captivating piece of modern story-telling built from an idea begun by H.G. Wells all those years ago. This is more thriller suspense based with both science fiction and a bit of superhero film angle to it than it is horror, but then again,  I don't really think of the original as horror. 

To me the character of the Invisible Man never really fit well under the Universal Monster heading. Still, that's where it was placed in the echelon of fictional characters. That brings up another point. I mentioned the superhero movie concept. That, of course, causes me to think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

You probably know, but at one point Universal was talking about doing a "dark universe." That would have consisted of a shared fictional universe between rebooted version of the old Universal monsters. When Tom Cruise's mummy film failed at the box office, those plans were seemingly scrapped. I still hope they do it, though. This film would be a good start, and there are at least two more reboots in the works ("The Wolfman" and "Bride of Frankenstein"). 

For me this movie was one that kept me gripped from start to finish. The science (other than a couple "don't buy it" moments that I can't talk about with giving spoilers) works pretty well. The characters were "real" enough to seem like actual people. You can only get into so much character development in one movie, but most of the more important characters felt like they were much more than a "plot device." It seemed like we were seeing the outer image of something that had a lot of depth to it. 

As I said, I wouldn't really call this movie a horror film, but it did have some horrific moments, some of which caught me completely by surprise. The movie never really seemed to lag as it held my interest from the start.