Serious question: did anything in this movie make sense? Literally anything? At this point I'm even questioning why Brian has a minivan, not in the sense of "why would he drive a minivan" but like, where do you even get one these days? I thought they had all been choked out in favor of SUVs, due precisely to demand from Gen Xers with families. It's not like he cannot afford to buy top of the line models.
But the part I really love, more than all the crashes that cause no blood and driving cars through glass windows into other buildings from 20 stories up and CAR PARACHUTING and climbing out the end of a bus that's hanging off a cliff, crawling up the front and then running up the incline as it's falling over the cliff...and yes, even more than Hobbs flexing his bicep to shatter a plaster cast that he apparently doesn't need even though he's still checked into the hospital...is when Letty demands that Brian stop doing Actual Effective CPR in favor of her just holding Dom really close and tearfully pleading with him to come back.
And then he does. Totally fine.
TRUE LOVE'S BARGAINING, Y'ALL!!!
I may never stop laughing at this movie. Like, it's a good natured laugh. It's genuine affection. But also THIS IS SO TERRIBLE AND NO ONE IS WILLING TO PUT A STOP TO IT. At this point I feel like people are just pitching ideas to see what they can get away with, and the answer is "everything, short of vampires. We draw the line at supernatural. Disrespecting the laws of physics is fine."
Also, try as I might to resist this feeling, I felt like some of the sentimental dialogue was a little...stilted? Which is weird, because same actors, same characters; they have never had a problem pulling this part off brilliantly before. But I definitely have MemoryShop going to work to smooth some of it out. And with that, off I go to the important part.
* I love that they gave them a second kid, even if we never got to see her be born or hear her name. I've said it before, but: this franchise gets me. Getting a couple to two kids, so common in real life, is no small feat in popular media. #achievement unlocked
* I am even happier we got a Pam Halpert style "I'm afraid that this is not enough for you and I am not enough." BEST TROPE. Granted, she has to get her reassurance by way of her brother, and Brian expresses love more by hopping on a plane and killing people who threaten his family than by making sentimental video montages in tribute to their relationship, but meh. I'm still pleased by the "don't worry, that man adores you" trope.
* Speaking of validation: "The bravest thing I've ever seen you do was be a good man for Mia." This is why I love it when dudes date their friends' sisters. In fiction.
* I know it's different in movies than TV shows, but I would like to take this opportunity, for any TV producers who may be reading, to talk about what great concept for relationship conflict it was to have Brian chafing at the practical confines of retirement and domestic life, even though he still loves Mia and wants to want that life. There was no time to make it a focal point, but it could have been. Just trying to help out the producers who assume cheating and/or loss of feelings is the only problem couples ever have once married.
* Can't stop feeling like that Jack is going to have nightmares from seeing his dad slammed against the car door so hard the glass cracks. Or maybe that's just me. I don't know why it rattled me so much but it did.
* Speaking of that kid being stupid adorable -- "Cars don't fly!" WHY DID THAT VOICE SOUND SO CUTE TO MY EARS. (also, I loved that line being repeated later on, in a much more terrified way)
* Both of them racing to make sure their son is OK post-explosion + Brian gathering both of them in a protective hug-huddle = yes thank you that is exactly what I was hoping for re: danger to the family.
* "Brian is in full FBI mode." Well, that sounds hot.
* The conversation in the garage where she tells him to go, but just be super careful, is one of those scenes I found on the stilted side -- but I love the idea behind "I couldn't live with myself if I screwed this up." (their relationship/family) The kissing was not stilted at all. Nor was the lovely forehead touch. A+
* We get a serious "I love you" spoken by both parties not once, but twice. And a bonus "love you, baby." *rolling about in my riches*
* I really, really love the "just in case it's my last" phone call + her telling him she's pregnant, for more than even the content. I don't know precisely why they decided to go with a thunderstorm for effect on her end, but she is wearing the loveliest yellow dress and the rich, warm lighting of the Super Fancy House is such a great contrast to the stark blue and gray where he is standing without much hope. Also, the piano-focused score in the background is beautiful.
[edit: oh gosh, hah, apparently it is the music from lone pretty song on the soundtrack, Skylar Grey's "I Will Return." I don't know what's most perfect here: the fact that the song fits the scene even without lyrics, or the fact that OF COURSE Skylar Grey is the one who broke into this testosterone fest, the one and only lady guaranteed to get called up if someone wants pretty lyrics & melodies filtered in with their hardcore rap.]
* Little did I know that the scene that did 95% of the work getting me into this ride was also the last one of the series; I assumed all those shots of people on the beach were special for the movie. I've always thought they all kind of looked like ghosts themselves, like they're watching over the lone survivors of this war. Anyway. So much cuteness to the family playing in the ocean while their pals look on/comment approvingly.
Oh gosh! It was not spoiled for me that they secretly got married somewhere back in movie 4; I was only partly spoiled to the point where I thought it was going to end with her walking away, and I thought that was a sucky ending. This is much better! I'll even allow the Magically Restored Memory Banks. That flashback was so lovely, and so them, and I absolutely loved the "why didn't you tell me?!" / "you can't tell someone they love you."
Also, because I'm me, I like Brian's reaction to that. Are he and Mia actually hitched? I feel like the answer is no, and weirdly, I think it suits their style and am OK with that.
And remember that thing I was saying about the little details and how well they tie things back later? A+ work deciding there is a Reason that Dom has been protecting that gaudy cross necklace to hell and back.
Other Plot Notes
* Listen, I don't care how much I have ragged on the ugly little inner-city house, that doesn't give you the right to explode it and destroy everything they own in a fire. Personal history trumps beauty, okay! You suck.
* Remember when I mentioned the Letty & Brian dynamic being a gold mine of untapped potential? I'm so glad she's the one who shows up to save him from the Cliff Bus.
* Ramsey is super awesome, let's keep her around. I also learned how much I would like Brian to make a habit of rescuing women and checking on
their well-being afterward as a completely non-threatening family-man figure. I genuinely cannot express to you how magnificent it was to get that kick while the shipping radar stayed dead quiet.
* Hobbs only got a couple of short scenes, but they worth it. His trademark way of addressing women as "Woman" cracks me up. I love the fact that Elena's been working with him since movie 6. And he has a super adorable, sass-mouthed daughter! Who is apparently on friendly terms with Elena! SHOW WHY ARE YOU SO CUTE.
* Djimon Hounson has such a recognizable face, but according to IMDB the only place I might know him from is ER, and I don't remember him specifically. He was a much better bad guy than Shaw, who just -- as one reviewer put it -- "popped up implausibly like a Muppet with a gun in the background of seemingly every scene."
* Roman has finally worked his way fully into my good graces, to the point where I looked forward to his quips and comic relief (and was not disappointed)
* I'm still not really clear where Dom is going at the end (I mean...Letty IS going with him at some point, right?), because Mia has been very adamanet about wanting her family to stick together, but OK. If it gets you the tribute ending you need, I'll allow it.
* I'm going to go over here now and cry for a million years about the beauty of that voiceover, and the quick flash of clips from the previous movies, and that beautiful song, and the aerial shots of the two cars driving side by side before veering off on different paths and oh gosh there I go crying again. For Paul. So, so, so, well done.
Oh no. I might have to buy a ticket to Furious 8 when it comes out next year? I thought for sure I'd peace out with Brian, but apparently if Dom's in so am I. I'm just not ready to let go.
In the meantime, I could go back and watch the first movie with renewed appreciation of how all the characters fit together when nobody knew how big it would become. Look at them finding their way! Look at their little baby faces! Wait, this series used to be about underground street racing and maybe some black market/theft rings? Haha. What quaint crimes.