Nine years ago Sin City came out and proved itself a stylish and exciting adaptation of a comic book. It’s embracing of the graphic novel style, was a new way to portray the genre and the stories entwined in it, while obviously pulpy fiction, were exciting and gripping enough to insure it’s success. After numerous delays, we have finally been provided with a sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, a movie that has seen some of the old cast return, others replaced and others join. Yet has it just been a little bit too long for this particular sequel to make a true impression?
There is no denying that A Dame to Kill For is a good looking movie. The noir style that made the first so interesting to watch is still there and in characters like Marv (Mickey Rourke) and Nancy (Jessica Alba) they have personalities that are solid enough for the audience to remember and embrace back into their arms. Yet, there is still something missing. If you’ve ever booked a cinema ticket on the Cineworld website you will know that the big releases each week are always displayed at the top. It’s slightly bigger than the films beneath and seems to take up a hundred screens at a hundred different times. The week A Dame to Kill For was released… Lucy occupied this position. Now I liked Lucy, more than most, but Sin City is a recognisable franchise, people are aware of it, so why did it not grab top billing?
I personally think it has just been a little bit too long. Frank Miller’s graphic novels are obviously popular and the people who know and love the characters from those will be able to walk into this film and pick up where they left off. For people like me, who have never read them, it’s not that simple. Before going to see this film, I re-watched Sin City and I could remember very little of it. I remembered Nancy (I watched it as a teenage boy which probably explains that) and that was about it. I couldn’t remember who the other characters were and what made them these people. If I had gone into A Dame to Kill For blind I would have struggled to remember exactly what was going on.
There is no denying there are parts of this movie that you could walk into and understand, but how is the paying public to know that? Not everyone wants to re-watch the first movie in order to go see the second and if they assume that they are going to need to remember the first in order to enjoy it, they just won’t bother. I think there is a lot to like in A Dame to Kill For, but it is not a classic by any stretch of the imagination. There is not enough word of mouth to insure people will see it and without that they just don’t seem to be making the effort, which considering the first movie made over $150 million seems bizarre. We all mock Hollywood for rushing out sequels and insuring that their franchises stay on the hype wagon, but in Sin City 2 we might be getting an example of exactly why that needs to be the case.