More daring than the last two instalments in the “Arise” series, the third iteration of “Ghost in the Shell”, “Ghost Tears” pushes the boundaries of the franchise further than the last two films, though never so much as to be as impactful or thought-provoking as the very first 1995 film.
A few potentially interesting themes and ideas get lip service (”being independent doesn’t make you free”), but the writing never really examines anything that in-depth. Framing the Major in a romantic relationship was a bold choice that pays off decently, but it was never built up enough to really make a new statement about the character, let alone romance in this cyberpunk context.
I appreciate the film did something new with the character, and I was certainly more engaged with it than I was with the last two films, but it didn’t do enough character work for the relationship to register much beyond “huh, that’s different”. At only fifty-eight minutes, it barely feels like a feature, let alone something long enough to explore any of its ideas in depth. Still, I do appreciate the effort, the side characters worked better here, and there was a general sense of purpose present here that the preceding two films lacked. I give it two and a half new Section 9 members, and an oceanic embrace.