Looking forward to things is the worst. The less you know about something, the more it can surprise you. The more time you spend telling yourself how great something is going to be, the more you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. And so it came to pass that I was vaguely disappointed with what’s widely claimed to be the best bubble gum movie of the year so far. By the time I got to see it, Baby Driver was going to have cure cancer, balance the national debt and retrospectively turn Suicide Squad into a decent movie. Probably just as well I didn’t leave it another week or I’d have been demanding it brought peace to the Middle East .
Instead, it’s just a good movie with a lot of music. And lots of acting. And lots of good dialogue. Although I know I’m supposed to like Baby best, I was torn between Jon Hamm’s bank robber and Kevin Spacey’s criminal mastermind. Each of them is the actor playing to their strengths, but they’ve been given a character who makes sense as a person. In their own minds, they’re just good guys trying to do their best in a world which owes them things they just HAVE to take. Also present in the movie; Jamie Foxx, playing a guy who really really needs to get a huge spike through his face. Great news, it happens, but not anything like as soon as it ought to have. Ideally it would have happened in a deleted “Previously on Baby Driver” scene. In a movie where most of the bad guys are somehow likeable despite everything, Jamie Foxx really stands out from the crowd. It would have been much more interesting to give him some nuance.
Fun stuff; Edgar Wright is having a great time with his stunt and steadicam budget. The music works well. The car chases are almost as good as I hoped they’d be, though there are few moments as straightforwardly pleasing as the early bit where Baby plays the Three Card trick on a busy freeway with actual cars. There’s a blissful moment when the viewer catches up with the plan, and the movie struggles to be that clever with cars afterwards. Still good, but not genius.
Best of all, it’s a film that for all of its apparent silliness is very grounded. Reality catches up with everyone, and no-one gets to ride off into the sunset. Which means that Baby Driver has a very satisfying ending. It’s honest, and it makes perfect sense, and it gives the characters pretty much what they deserve. There’s already word of a sequel, but don’t hold your breath. It took Wright more than a decade to put this heist together.
Perhaps the best hint as to how well written this thing is that Kevin Spacey gets so many funny lines that they spilled out of the movie and into the trailer. He had so many good patter scenes that they could literally silence one of them in the movie itself and throw the dialogue into the trailer.
 Spoiler. Peace has been brought to the Middle East tonnes of times. They always shoot it.