"Sin City is where you go in with your eyes open, or you don't come out at all."
There has been a widespread claim that if you were a fan of the first film you will definitely love this sequel, but it wasn't the case for me. I called Sin City a masterpiece nine years ago when it first came out, but A Dame to Kill For doesn't even come close to that claim. One could argue and say that the novelty of these dark graphic novel adaptations has warn off considering that when Sin City first came out the visuals were groundbreaking unlike anything we had seen before. Perhaps it may have something to do with the fact that I haven't enjoyed the recent adaptations (the last one I really liked was 2009's Watchmen), but I know that my disappointment doesn't just come from this. A Dame to Kill For is as visually striking as the first film and it captures that pulpy film noir essence really well once again. What Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez don't do well however is build the suspense and connect the intertwining storylines like they did the first time. You have all these interesting characters returning and some new faces, but the stories didn't resonate with me this time around. Despite using the same formula and delivering in visuals and style, the three different storylines don't connect together. The film still has that same dark feel to it where it seems you are watching a comic book come to life, but the stories aren't as interesting and the narration isn't as gripping. So despite enjoying the visuals, this film was a huge disappointment for me and I don't think that the reason for it was that the novelty has worn off because it was the best aspect of this sequel.
Most would agree that the best character in Sin City is Marv (Mickey Rourke) and thankfully we get a lot of him once again. The story is at its best when it centers around him. Some of the new characters were also fun to watch. Joseph Gordon Levitt as Johnny was one of my favorites in this sequel. His character is suave and cocky, but always fun. His scenes facing off the main villain played by Powers Boothe are the highlight of the film along with Marv. We also get a lot more scenes from Nancy (Jessica Alba) and this time she has more depth to her character as well. Josh Brolin also gives a solid performance as Dwight, but unfortunately his segment is the weakest. So we get all these cool characters and everything seems to be perfect once again, but somehow the stories don't intertwine as effectively as they did the first time. The stories aren't as shocking and they lack that emotional punch that Sin City delivered the first time. The film is gratuitously violent once again, but it isn't effective. The impact was missing. There were also several characters that took me out of the film. I loved Bruce Willis in the first film, but there was no need to include him here. He took me out of the movie. The longest segment in this film involving Josh Brolin and Eva Green was also the least interesting. Green has fun with her character once again like she did in the 300 sequel, but this time her storyline is way too familiar. All she does here is be nude and seduce men. The subplot where she seduces Christopher Meloni was completely unnecessary, as were his scenes with Jeremy Piven.
So despite some of the interesting things that A Dame To Kill For had going for it, it has several flaws which make the story drag at times. This is the sort of film in which you should be having fun, but I found myself bored with some of these segment. The narration might seem silly at times, but it worked the first time as a parody of noir films. This time it felt dull. I know my review sounds negative but it is because I expected a lot more from this sequel. I still had a fun time watching Marv once again, I also appreciated that Alba had more screen time, and loved the addition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt to the already incredible cast. Unfortunately there were some elements that didn't connect with me and the stories failed to fit together as they did the first time.