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Idris Elba Needs To Be in Better F*ckin' Movies

By Petr Knava | Career Assessments | October 7, 2016 |

By Petr Knava | Career Assessments | October 7, 2016 |

Alright that’s enough fucking around. This needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Idris fuckin’ Elba needs to be in better fuckin’ movies.

What broke the camel’s back? Straw Trek Beyond. I know there have been mixed opinions here on Pajiba about that movie but as us writers haven’t quite achieved Full Phalanx Merge yet I am gonna offer my own on the matter: the movie was, for want of a better word, garbage. Adjectives might help: dramatically weightless; visually incoherent; poorly paced.

That theme tune is still pretty good, though. Sure.

And so is the cast. But they are criminally wasted by this movie, just as they were by the preceding one, spouting their character-reaffirming slogans without any actual growth or depth offered to them. The first one was fun and just about hung together well enough, but it still under-served the cast. It took me years to find out that Chris Pine was a good actor, and Star Trek did not facilitate this discovery.

There is nothing more emblematic of Star Trek’s cast problem than Idris Elba’s villain in Beyond, Krull. Not only was his face buried under inches of prosthetic makeup and his voice diluted by epic villain effects, the character overall was a mess of vaguely defined powers and motivations. It is a testament to Elba’s oceanic reserves of charisma and gravitas that I felt anything at all for Krull.

Idris Elba is a wonder to behold on the screen. Those of us who were first exposed to him as the hulking, instantly iconic Stringer Bell on The Wire knew we were witnessing the rise of someone special. Even on that show, so full of phenomenal performances, Elba stood out. It was the gaze that could reduce people to ashes; the way he moved and talked — here was an actor absolutely humming with craft and imbued with an ineffable electricity. A dominating presence that nevertheless illustrated that old adage that great acting is great reacting. Elba knows that empathy and teamwork is everything.

By now the man should have a filmography shining like a constellation. Instead there is Prometheus. In which he was great, but still: it’s Prometheus.

‘What about Pacific Rim?!’ I hear your anguished cry.

Firstly: keep it down, I’m hungover.

Secondly: I mean, yeah, it’s good fun. And Elba gives a speech that I can’t hear without wanting to go to righteous war (it’s better than that Independence Day one too, shut up you know I’m right) —


— but still. It’s Pacific Rim, you know? It’s role isn’t to be a Great Movie. Which, however, is exactly what Elba should have a healthy amount of under his belt by now.

I mean, what the fuck is this:

Sure I am absolutely gonna watch that start to finish one hungover Sunday, but I did that with Star Trek Beyond so that means nothing.

Yes, there was Beasts of No Nation, but that was a Netflix movie, and, as great as he was in it it still didn’t quite approach the levels that Elba operates at as a performer. What else is there? Obsessed, Takers, The Unborn, No Good Deed, The Gunman?

The fuck outta here.

And don’t even mention the Thor movies. Elba’s Heimdall is a badass, but that goes without saying. Idris Elba elevates whatever he’s in, but a fantastic guitar solo deserves a great fucking tune around it.

It’s gotten to the point now where I’m not sure why I want the Dark Tower movie to succeed: my fierce love of the novels, or the burning need to see Idris Elba shine in a Great Movie.

Because this right here? This is a fantastic guitar solo:



Petr Knava
lives in London and plays music

Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.

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