My dear readers, when I heard that there was going to be a movie featuring Mr. Mel “Sugar Tits” Gibson as Santa Claus, I got excited. And Walton Goggins (the other, other villain of The Ant-Man and the Wasp) was going to be an assassin hired to kill him? And the person who hired him was a child pissed off that he got coal? Holy shit, this sounds amazing! An action comedy about trying to murder Santa! What could go wrong? Well, for starters, calling this movie a “comedy” would suggest that there are any jokes in it, of which there are none. And no joy, either. Humbug.
Chris Cringle is a bitter man whose toy making operation is in jeopardy because kids today are little shits and too many of them are getting coal instead of toys. The US government steps in and contracts Chris and his elves to make parts for military fighter jets. Meanwhile, the most spoiled brat imaginable gets coal for Christmas–which shouldn’t be a surprise since he has the winner of his school’s science fair kidnapped and threatened with death if she doesn’t say she cheated, making the brat the defacto winner–and swears vengeance. A hitman is hired, taking the job in part because of his obsession with Santa. The assassin gets closer and closer to Chris while Mr. Cringle… mopes a lot. Grimdark and all that. But after killing a bunch of soldiers stationed around Chris’ workshop, the assassin and Santa face off. Chris gets stabbed through the chest and shot in the eye, but his wife, Ruth, manages to kill the assassin. But Santa is magic–don’t worry, I’ll get to that–so he lives! Now looking like a knockoff Odin, he threatens the brat and just… leaves the kid be for now. Let’s ignore that he was indirectly responsible for the deaths of a dozen people and tried to murder his grandmother, I guess a threat is good enough.
Okay, so I may have been a bit hyperbolic in the opening paragraph, because there are jokes. Like, three of them, and they’re all in the trailer, but jokes do exist. The rest of the movie takes itself deadly seriously, which is… certainly a decision. This was a slog, taking a ridiculous concept and removing all joy from it. I cannot in good faith tag this as a “comedy;” “not even a “black comedy.” I’m drawing my line in the sand here and now.
Look, I don’t want to be the guy who obsesses over one tiny aspect of the movie and has it overwhelm everything else, but what the fuck is going on in this universe? It’s widely accepted that Santa Claus is a real person who does all the expected global gift giving things, meaning he’s some form of magic. The resurrection, him knowing everything about every person he meets, and having the strength of 10 men also back that up. So magic–in one form or another–is real. So why does the military general think the elves are short and pale because they’re malnourished and not because that’s just what elves look like? Do people not know how Chris gets all his toys? The assassin’s beef with Santa is that he only ever got one present as a child which raises a whole bunch of new questions. Like, okay, Santa couldn’t grant your true wish of you getting less shitty parents. Sad, but makes sense. But did you get one present as, like, an abused 5-year-old and swear right there to be evil for the rest of your days? Why does my brain latch onto stupid shit like this and refuse to let it go? Mysteries that will never be answered.
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