“Expecations weren’t that high for this. I didn’t think it’d be bad, but I did expect it to be another retread, covering the same war grounds we’ve seen before. It kinda started out that way. Blah blah battles with some shock factor -> awkwardness in the middle -> oh wow, this is actually getting kinda good. 9 times out of 10 a movie starts off strong then tapers off. Once in a while, though, you’ve got one that starts off okay and then gets significantly stronger by the end. A good third act will stay with you more than any good first acts.

What really worked is how everything was contained to one tank and the five men who manned it. While things started off with an overview of what was going on throughout the world, what ultimately mattered is what went on within those iron walls. By this point, I’ve seen enough such scenes that I tend to get bored with big sweeping battle sequences. However, I had gotten so attached to these characters that I was watching for them, following their every movements.

Back it up a bit. We’re in WWII, Logan Lerman’s Norman is fresh on the field and assigned to replace a fallen soldier in Brad Pitt’s, Wardaddy, tank, Fury. As Norman is thrown into the fire, not only learning the ropes about the tank, but learning about war, we follow the team which also includes Michael Pena, Shia LeBeouf, and Jon Bernthal. It may sound a little yawn-y, but trust me, these boys sell it.

I was actually impressed with all five of their performances. Pena and Pitt, as consistent as ever. LeBeouf as committed as ever. Bernthal crazier than I’ve seen. His character took some getting used to. And Lerman, rapidly climbing up my favorite list, showed such growth with his arc and as an actor. I may have gone in dreading the 2+ hours of wannabe epicness I thought I was in for, but I walked out happy for having spent that time with these boys. Shout out to one more boy, David Ayer, the writer/director responsible, and also the man behind End of Watch (a fave from two years ago) and the acclaimed Training Day. Yup, he’s legit

Fury – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n