Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, a sequel to the 1987 drama that brought New York's financial district to the public's attention, hits theaters this weekend. Michael Douglas returns to the role of Gordon Gekko, the crooked financier who famously declared that "greed is good." The new film finds Gekko adapting to the changed landscape of Wall Street after his jail sentence for the crimes he committed in the first film. That movie has come to represent the rampant excesses of the decade during which it was made. Will Wall Street 2 do the same to the 2010s? (Watch the Wall Street 2 trailer)
It shines a light on the banking crooks of today: Back in 1987, says Kirk Honeycutt at The Hollywood Reporter, Oliver Stone took the "gray" world of finance and turned it into a "thriller," complete with its own iconic anti-hero, Gordon Gekko. Now, big banks are on the "nightly news," and those "arrogant banking kingpins look less like anti-heroes than out-and-out villains." Stone uses our "newfound knowledge and cynicism" to expertly illuminate the "dark world" of today.
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps — film review"
Stone fails to profit from a dynamite proposition: It could have been so good, says David Edelstein at New York. "The Machiavellian stratagems" of the original, given weight by the financial collapse of 2008, is an "enticing" prospect. Sadly, Stone ruins it all by overloading it with characters and sub-plots, turning it into an "impacted two-hour mess." In the end, it's like a typical stock portfolio: "Full of promise, with minuscule returns."
"Old greed, new greed"
It's as brash and ambitious as the real Wall Street: Stone's film is that "rare sequel that not only feels relevant but necessary," says Christy Lemire in The Canadian Press, and it does not lack ambition. "It's big and loud and brash in an almost operatic way," perfectly reflecting the world in which it's set. Yes, it may feel "over-the-top" at times, but "simply through the sheer enormity and force of this juggernaut, it all works."
"Movie review: Stone's Wall Street sequel shows greed can still be good"