Movie Review: The Main Event15th April 2020
I wonder when The Main Event was written. I only ask because up until recently, the realism of wrestling had always been a closely guarded secret. Now that companies have admitted wrestling is, shock horror, not real, you can be assured they’re milking every second of this new found freedom to brazenly market this spandex pantomime. That brings us to the latest Netflix release, The Main Event, a film that looks to brazenly market the spandex pantomime.
A kid with all the typical problems of a kid discovers a mask hidden away in a grandfather clock. In turn, it grants him super strength and the ability to become a wrestler. It gets grating rather quickly. Throwing in wrestling quips, references and cameos galore, The Main Event gets bogged down in the very product it looks to associate itself with. It may spring you as rather odd that a film solely about wrestling has too much wrestling in it, but the film is so constantly focused in on marketing a product than expanding on a universe within the film that it’s really hard to feel at all invested in the generic storytelling on display. It cripples the film rather quickly.
Netflix and WWE Studios collaborate on a near two-hour long film that more or less sits as a big propaganda and advertising machine for the toys, shows and wrestlers themselves. Within seconds of the film opening, poster boy of The Marine series The Miz makes an appearance in one of the most disgruntling appearances there is. He shows up a few more times throughout, each time staring into my soul, burning the nostalgia that I hold for 2010-11 tier wrestling away. Throwaway references to They Live, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Percy Jackson and 300 create an odd atmosphere. It feels like the film is trying to keep itself relevant with references to pop culture, but all the pop culture mentioned is five to ten years past its sell by date.
The performances aren’t that bad though. If it weren’t for the horrifically outdated script and poor supporting characters then I would’ve managed a little better throughout The Main Event. Devolving all too often into truly docile, bottom rung humour, the script takes its toll on the movie. An overuse of CGI really takes the steam out of the wrestling portions of the film, and when they cut the promos, they’re laughably bad. Dialogue that includes “Smooth Operator is a good man” and then an ocean of cheers in some of the most disjointed scenes of all time lead to laughable results.
But you know what, I can’t fault The Main Event too much. When I was a kid, I had the exact same dreams as the protagonists. This was more a nostalgia shot than anything else, even though half of the wrestlers and cameos on display made no sense to me and I didn’t know who any of them were. It’s your expectedly cliché kids’ film. The Chronicles of Narnia meets The Mask, interwoven with characteristics of Clark Kent, with heavily sprinklings of the WWE brand throughout. It might be a good enough watch for kids that are also very big wrestling fans, but I can’t see this being much of a substitute to the actual WWE programming. Crummy writing, typical plot progression and lukewarm performances lead to an amicable piece of film that will provide filler for fans of wrestling.