The Mark of Zorro Review

Zorro is one of those characters who was really huge back in the day. His popularity has waned since then but it’s fair to say that most people probably still know who he is. The reputation of this masked vigilante still precedes itself after all. This is probably the best cinematic portrayal of the character because it really nails the dual identity of the hero. It has a lot of action and a good amount of fun with it as well. It’s a well balanced movie that I could recommend to anyone at any time which is definitely the sign of being a quality picture.

The movie starts off with Diego wowing the world again with his impressive fencing abilities. The guy is second to none but one day he is called home only to find out that his father is no longer the ruler of the country. Instead a guy named Luis has taken control and the place has fallen into ruins. His family’s name has also been tarnished. Diego decides to don a mask and call himself “Zorro” as he goes through the city helping the impoverished. It’s not an easy task but somebody has to do it! To keep anyone from guessing his true identity Diego acts incredibly incompetent in battle and as someone with a very pure soul who doesn’t know much about fighting. Still, Esteban the top commander of Luis’ forces is determined to take down Zorro so Diego has to keep his wits about him. Can he pull off this ultimate deception?

It’s very much a Clark Kent/Superman kind of dynamic here. I like how over the top Diego is in not being able to do much of anything. The guy has a great time acting super spoiled and I’d say he does a great job of it. You can’t help but be impressed at how he handles his appearance and mannerisms. It’s a lot of little tings that all combine to make the ultimate disguise. Diego is certainly not someone to be trifled with when he can become a different person so easily.

At first I did think he was a bit quick to anger when he first arrived though. Everyone was terrified of even hearing his father’s name so then Diego starts threatening them and you figure he is sort of proving their point there. Maybe they were right to be afraid of the family right? Diego changes once he sees the true culprit here so perhaps he just thought these guys were being rude but I was a little surprised at his first impression. From this point on there are no setbacks though and he goes on to become the legendary hero everyone loves.

He’s very much like Batman here with how he strikes fear into all of the villains and leaves behind marks of his trademark Z so that people know he was around. He’s also quite the excellent fighter which makes him a true threat. I did appreciate that the villain Esteban was an actual fighter as well though. It made for a really good back and forth fight which was exactly what I was looking for here. Not for Zorro to just steamroll everyone but for him to get a legitimate battle where he would have to pull out all the stops in order to win. The climax is fairly long with both fighters giving it their all.

Esteban in general was a great villain because he was crafty aside from being skilled. It was no fluke that the guy made it as far up the ranks as he did. His dedication and greed got him far and that’s exactly what you would expect from such a guy. He helps to be a good foil for Luis who is the comic relief kind of villain who can’t really fight or hold his own at all. That guy lags behind and has to be protected at all times. Any true villain would just roll their eyes at such a figure but of course that also means he is very easy to manipulate. So that’s basically his role there.

Meanwhile you did have the romance here with both Lolita and her aunt both liking Diego. Diego likes Lolita but as part of his plan pretends to like the aunt to sow more discord. That was probably hitting a little below the belt to be honest. You don’t feel all that bad for her since trying to start an affair while already married is already a huge taboo but Diego encouraging it isn’t great either. Definitely made for a rather odd romance and it’s good Lolita was quick to overlook this and realize it was fake by the end because otherwise that romance definitely wouldn’t have worked very well. Honestly I’d say that romance is still rather rushed either way. I think they could have bypassed that and since it wouldn’t really change the film at all, it’s best left on the shelf.

I don’t really have any issues with the film which is always a good sign. It’s just a great experience and has the right amount of tension, action, and solid characters. Each character feels well developed here which enhances the overall adventure. For example the local father/bishop was a nice supporting character who was really helpful and was quick on the uptake. Now I would have liked some kind of a big cliffhanger as the film ended in order to get the sequel lined up but it’s not like you need that one. In a way the only missed opportunity was in not having Zorro keep his secret identity from everyone but that’s probably something you’d only do if you were intending on making this a big franchise with lots of sequels. Since that wasn’t the goal here then there wasn’t really a reason to do that.

Overall, The Mark of Zorro is a really fun film. At its core it feels like a classic superhero movie and that’s a large part of why it’s so good. It really executes on each of the genres as well as the tone and feel of what this adventure should be like. It’s a very self contained story as well so you can jump in and just watch this as a oneshot while fully understanding the world around Zorro. They cover a lot of ground here and the pacing is good at each turn. The writing is on point and it’s all very believable. Yes this is definitely a title that you don’t want to miss out on.

Overall 8/10


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