A noticeable step up from the preceding five “Arise” films in this third iteration of the “Ghost in the Shell” franchise in film.
While it doesn’t reach the heights of “Stand Alone Complex”, let alone the brilliant 1995 film, this is much clearer, more purposeful storytelling than the other “Arise” films. The heightened focus on the Major’s character works well, with the writers seeming to refine what worked well with that sort of approach in “Ghost Tears”.
Still, it’s strange how heavy the homage focus is, how many references there are to the original film, and how overall prequel-y it is. I wonder if it would be incomprehensible to people unfamiliar with the 1995 film. Probably not, as the plot works well enough here, but plenty of scenes might play oddly if one wasn’t familiar with what they’re constantly referencing. Particularly the ending.
Not bad, a good cyberpunk story in its own right, and a definite step up over the other “Arise” films, but not as compelling or well-told as any of the “Stand Alone Complex” films and television seasons, let alone the brilliant 1995 and 2008 original films. I give it three thermoptic camouflage suits, and some tachikomas amongst cherry blossoms.