It’s a tale of two movies: indie blockbuster darling Everything Everywhere All At Once, a critical and commercial hit that gives Michelle Yeoh a role truly worthy of her talent, and The Gray Man, the kind of cash-in mediocrity that has come to define Netflix’s attempts at original filmmaking. Both movies share a common element, production company AGBO, which is run by Joe and Anthony Russo. Now, they are joining forces, as Yeoh has joined the Russos’ next Netflix movie, The Electric State. The film is set to star Chris Pratt and Millie Bobby Brown, and Brian Cox, Jenny Slate, Jason Alexander, and the internet’s favorite cocktail zaddy Stanley Tucci have also joined the cast.
As with many of AGBO’s projects, The Electric State is an adaptation, this time of a graphic novel by Simon Stålenhag about a teenager (Brown) who searches for her brother in a retro-futuristic western wasteland. She is accompanied by a little robot and a mysterious drifter—my money is on Pratt playing the drifter—and the novel features some really memorable imagery, such as giant wrecked rubber ducky machines, and a series of freaky “battle drones”, the remnants of the conflict that wasted this alternate 1990s American landscape.
The potential for The Electric State to be adapted as a feature film with stunning, otherworldly visuals is high…but maybe not with the Russos. Their features have come to be defined by gray glop, a problem that worsened throughout their tenure with Marvel and crescendos in The Gray Man. The cast they’ve assembled is impressive as hell, but I’m way more worried about how this is going to end up looking. Maybe Michelle Yeoh, PhD, will be capable of saving the Russos from themselves and spare us more gray glop. If The Electric State is rendered as visual oatmeal, I will cry.