Tons of fun. Enjoyed it a little less than expected.
It's always cool, but only amazing in fits and starts. It's a shaggy dog of a story that coasts on its considerable charm. It feels like Shane Black focused too much time on flexing his directing chops at the expense of the script, which doesn't crackle with life like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (his best script and movie) did. But it further proves that Black is an exceptional writer and director.
There are more than a few moments where the film hits its mark, surprising you with a gag, a moment of violence, or a clever play on classic pulp cliches. The one surprise missing are the moments of weight that Kiss Kiss had - moments where Black considered the horrible things he was always puts his characters through.
Despite the story being underdeveloped in places, Healy (Russell Crowe) and March (Ryan Gosling) are the best duo Black's created yet. To say anything more about them would ruin the film's surprises. (And Jesus, the red band trailer spoiled far too much.) While Ryan Gosling gets the showier performance (absolutely inspired), Russell Crowe walks a tightrope between tough and charming better than he ever has before.
For better or worse, their story is just beginning as the credits roll. I enjoyed the hell out of it, but I wish I hadn't felt like the best was yet to come.