Warning! The following contains SPOILERS for Hobbs & Shaw. Read at your own risk!
Hobbs & Shaw had a strong box office debut, and its CinemaScore is a strong indicator that the Fast and Furious spinoff could be the first of many with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham at the lead. Clearly there's some magic between these two that really connects with audiences (it has an A- Cinemascore), although it may be a stretch to say this first movie is perfect on all fronts.
Hobbs & Shaw is fun, but it could be even more entertaining if it polished some of the things we saw in this first film, and perhaps found a better way to make other things work. Here's some of the things I saw that could've been just a bit better, and could certainly be improved upon if a sequel is in the cards.
More Character Background
Going into Hobbs & Shaw, we knew a bit about Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, and at the end, what did we learn? Sure, we learned that Hobbs had a falling-out with his family and Shaw had a falling-out with his sister, but we didn't really get that deeper level of connection with either character that this spinoff could've given audiences.
For example, it would've been great to learn about the biggest blank in Hobbs daughter's family tree: her mother. What's the story on that? What about the numerous teases about Shaw not actually being as bad a guy as he sounds? When will we get the full story about his past? The Fast & Furious franchise has always developed characters in piecemeal increments, but I'd love for another film to put more effort into deepening these characters stories and making them feel more real.
More Original Comedy Over Meta References And Cameos
There's a lot of great in-jokes in Hobbs & Shaw that break the fourth wall and play on the lives of both Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. There's the Kevin Hart cameo that plays on his and Johnson's real-life friendship, and Jason Statham's reference to The Italian Job, but then there's that whole Ryan Reynolds bit. Audiences love Ryan Reynolds, but did we need him doing his trademark shtick in this film?
Personally, I feel like Hobbs & Shaw could've done a little more with working in more physical comedy. The sequence with the retinal scanner was one of the best bits of the movie, and more sequences like that would've been better than some of the injected meta humor that wasn't necessarily bad, but not the strongest humor of the movie. More physical comedy keeps the action high as well, which is what all Fast & Furious fans love to see.
Let's See Hobbs And Shaw In More Danger
While Hobbs and Shaw were certainly down on their luck a number of times in their first spinoff movie, it was rare when they were truly in serious danger. In fact, in all of the three fights where they took on Brixton Lore, they won two of them and stalemated the first encounter. Of course, they're the heroes of the film, but one would think a super-powered villain could've really messed them up at least once.
This phenomena isn't unique to Hobbs & Shaw of course, as the entire Fast and Furious franchise has instances of characters walking away largely unscathed from catastrophic car accidents, explosions, and otherwise. Still, when Hobbs got blasted away by Brixton and then got up like he just tripped and hit the pavement moments earlier, it kind of weakens the villains. Take it from John Wick, a hero can take a beating, win, and still look like a bad ass. Seeing Hobbs and Shaw take a beating and come back stronger would only improve them!
Hobbs And Shaw Need A Crew
Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are great characters, and Hobbs & Shaw proved both are capable of carrying a movie on their own. Still, one can't help but think things would've been better if they had a crew to help them with future jobs or encounters with the terrorist organization Eteon. If nothing else, the duo could've avoided that brutal shock sequence with just a couple more people to serve as a distraction.
Fortunately, it seemed like Hobbs & Shaw was definitely making an effort to create a crew of sorts for future movies. There's Shaw's sister Hattie and their mother Magdalene, Hobbs Samoan family, CIA agents Locke and Loeb, and who can forget air marshal Dinkley? It's the start of what could be a hilarious crew, provided plans are in place to give these characters things to do in the future.
More Queenie Shaw
From the first time Helen Mirren appeared in the Fast & Furious franchise, it appeared there were big things in store for Magdalene "Queenie" Shaw. She is the woman who birthed Deckard, Owen and Hattie after all, so one has to think she's a force to be reckoned with even in her advanced age. Unfortunately, Hobbs & Shaw only showed a bit more of Queenie, and we're left to hope she'll have a larger presence in future films.
To be fair, the odds of that happening in a sequel appear to be elevated given the post-credit sequence implied that Hattie and Shaw sprung their dear old mum from prison. Did Queenie decide she's over her "vacation," and if so, why is it she's so keen on getting out? I'd like to think she's looking to help her children in whatever future beef they have with Eteon, but what can she bring to the table?
Based on what little is revealed about her in The Fate of the Furious, we can assume she's a well-connected crime lord who could pose a threat to even someone as tough as Dominic Torretto. Queenie may not be the powerhouse fighter every other major character in this franchise is, but she was shown to be an adept lock picker. Perhaps a sequel or maybe even Fast and Furious 9 could show her putting those skills to work on a larger task?
Constructive criticism aside, Hobbs & Shaw is still a solid film and certainly worth checking out in theaters right now. Stick with CinemaBlend for more updates on the Fast and Furious franchise going forward and for more news in the world of movies and television.