I caught the midnight screening of Death Note 2 yesterday.
For those who did not watch the first part, I strongly suggest you do, at least find out from online resources about the manga or anime.
Death Note 2 may be slightly confusing if you did not. Also, it might appeal to fans of the manga only, because at slightly more than 2 hours, it was a bit draggy at parts and could do with tighter editing.
Let me say that the movie is really different from the manga, which it is based on and which sold 10 million copies in Japan alone.
The gist of the story is basically how a college student (high school student in the manga) found a Death Note, in which whose name is written in it will die within 40 seconds of a heart attack. If the cause of death is to be stated, it has to be written in the Death Note within 400 seconds.
Sounds really childish, doesn't it? But there are quite heavy moral discussions and issues involved.
The main character, Light Yagami, used the notebook to kill criminals worldwide. Crime rates fell everywhere, because people know that so-called justice is served by Kira, the name given to the executioner of the bad guys.
But is taking the law into your own hands and killing bad guys the right way? Is creating an utopian crime free world based on fear and punishment, ideal?
The Japanese police is hot on the heels of Kira, led by international crime solver, L or his name Ryuzaki.
The first Death Note movie wasn't strictly based on the manga, as quite a number of things were changed, like how Light and L met and Light having a girlfriend in the movie when it wasn't mentioned at all in the comic.
The pacing was slow as a lot of introduction to the characters have to be made, though it ended with quite a cliffhanger in the end.
The second movie picked up where the first left off, with Light joining the investigative time to capture Kira. It is ironic that the criminal is on the good side trying to capture himself, which is how the trailer promoted the movie as a battle of wits between two geniuses, one good and one evil.
There are many twist and turns, but they all are faithful to the manga. A new character was introduced, as in the third Kira was different from the comic.
Two thirds into the movie, I was afraid that there would be a third movie as it followed the manga faithfully, with no ending in sight.
However I was wrong.
What I am really impressed with though is the ending. I think it is better than the one in the manga, where the former has proper closure and the latter did not. In the manga, it kind of lost its steam after L died.
I shall not spoil it for you but I applaud the producers and writers who came up with the ending.
There was also more human drama and emotion towards the end of the movie, whereas the manga was more on the cat-and-mouse between L and Light.
I can't divulge more without spoiling the story.
Light, played by Tatsuya Fujiwara, isn't really cute in my opinion. Looks a bit too chubby for my liking.
L, played by Ken'ichi Matsuyama is much cuter, if he loses the make-up he has on for the movie. Also, he is more endearing in the second movie and really captured the essence of L, with his weird behaviour and intellectual superiority as in the manga.
Overall I would rate it a 4 out of 5.