So, we went to see V for Vendetta tonight, because the Manchester theatre got it in IMAX a day early. And I'm going to say it. Pick up a pencil and mark down the date so you can throw it in my face later, guys.
The Wachowski Brothers have redeemed themselves.
It's not perfect. There are bits and bobbles and moments of strain. V's alliterative introduction speech is a little bit strained, but then, it's a difficult speech. Weaving gives it a pretty good go, however, and I have to say, he blew me away. In an "I want to be Hugo Weaving when I grow up" sort of way. He gives V so much personality, so many moods, manages to make him cute and charming and sorrowful and tragic and playful... and scary as a rabid dog in the dining room.
Natalie Portman's accent, not so terrific, but that's okay: she pretty much nails Evey's pivotal transformation. Stephen Rea, so hired. Does he ever play anything but tired cops?
There are minor changes from the graphic novel. None of them bothered me, once I thought about them; they are in service to the theme, not contravention of it. They're changes but not alterations, if you see what I mean.
If anything, the symbolic status of both V (the evil that exists to oppose other evils?) and Evey (the common (wo)man?) and the ways in which they are both tragic and redemptive for each other is played up a bit more clearly than it is in the graphic novel. The faux-paternal relationship is shifted a bit, to become more faux-romantic, but I wasn't troubled by this, because of the way it's played: it works well, and it again works to make Evey less of a clay mannequin. How Evey leaves the Shadow Gallery the first time is changed to give her more agency and let her protag a bit more, and frankly, I'm cool with that. Likewise, her reason for breaking curfew has changed, but it ties into a plot point later on that allows a generally tighter arc.
And frankly, I like it. This Evey has more to lose, and more on the ball.
And I never liked V before. He was a monolith, an archetype. It was obvious that Evey needed him, but perhaps not that she loved him. Very one-note.
By the time Weaving was done with me, I loved him and pitied him and feared him and my heart broke for him. When he took his leave of Evey and walked down the tunnel that last time to confront Creedy, my chest hurt.
That's some good theatre, from a guy with nothing to work from but the slant of his shoulders and the intonation of his voice.
There are no Nazis. There is no super!Evey. You were lied to.
Also, V does not take off the mask.
You may breathe easy on all three counts.
No real spoilers above, but I figured I'd cut for people who totally didn't want anything at all given away.