It can be argued that a movie that is about a great many things is a strong one. There are more than enough examples throughout film history to support this statement. Movies that tackle several issues can be analyzed and enjoyed on multiple levels and speak to a wider audience than those that concentrate on hammering home a single viewpoint or idea. One must be mindful, though, that the mere fact that a film is thematically multifaceted is not a guarantee of quality. The filmmaker must cohesively weave the numerous ideas into the film’s fabric to help ensure cohesion for the final product.
In lesser hands, the overtly meta nature of 22 Jump Street could easily have become insufferably smug. Directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, though, have been proving themselves to be kings of manic, self-aware comedy, and their more consistently strong follow-up to 2012’s 21 Jump Street might be the best comedy sequel since Joe Dante’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
Jim Mickle’s previous film Stake Land, a post-apocalyptic road movie with a vampiric threat, combined the tone of something like The Road with narrative flourishes (invincible hunter known only as Mister, vampires launched from helicopters like dropping bombs) more akin to comic books.