*WARNING! This post contains spoilers*
When the first trailer for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets dropped, I was so hype to see the film. With The Fifth Element director Luc Besson at the helm, I had such high hopes. It looked like the weird si-fi action comedy my summer needed. Turns out that is the problem. Compounded with a suffocating love story, Valerian ended up doing way too much.
The main plotline of the film follows special ops Valerian, played by Dane DeHaan, and Laureline, played by Cara Delevinge. Their mission: maintain law and order on the ever expanding Alpha, the city of a thousand planets. Alpha is attacked by an unknown evil and Valerian and Laureline must save the day.
The problem is that this already complex storyline was completely overshadowed by the love interest between Valerian and Laureline. The first scene sets up the main conflict of the plot by giving the audience a beautiful backstory. Immediately after, the audience is bludgeoned with the relationship problems of two characters we know nothing about. There were already so many characters, subplots, and worlds to keep up with throughout the film, quite frankly the love story was boring and unnecessary. I thought Valerian was going to be a space epic with these two bad ass fighters saving the universe. I knew a love interest would be a part of the story, but I didn’t think it would take center stage.
The most disappointing part of the film, however, was Bubble. Played by Rihanna, the shape shifting beauty was the main reason I wanted to see the film. Riri was such an integral part of the marketing for Valerian, I was excited to see what would be done with her character. In the story, Bubble is a McGuffin. She is there to serve one purpose then dies shortly after her duty is fulfilled and never brought up again in the film after her death. As if she was not important. As if Valerian and Laureline could have successfully completed the mission without her.
If I had to grade Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, I give the film a C. The visuals were stunning. The storyline fell flat.