Alita: Battle Angel: Robert Rodriguez’s cyberpunk-ish action film poses as the first film of a franchise (which, of course, it may eventually be), but it presents nothing to actually deserve to be so. The narrative is more interested in creating justification for its scenes of ultra-violence and disembowelment instead of telling its half-baked, half-finished story. Both the setting and the set-up are tired tropes, and there was no element that made this distinctive in any way. The decrepit environment is well put together by the production design and visual effects teams, but there is nothing new about it. There may be something novel about the character designs, but for the most part they are ugly and abhorrent; the exception is the title character with her very big eyes, which are simply unsettling (and never truly able to look life-like within the world). The character itself is a cypher, but whatever little potential she had at the start to become interesting is eventually squandered; Rosa Salazar’s voice acting manages to bring some life to the character, early on. Acting goes from barely expressive at all (Keean Johnson) to annoyingly broad (Mahershala Ali); Jennifer Connelly and Christoph Waltz fall in the middle (in a territory that would generally be considered boring but which is welcome in this film).