Rating – ★★½
Taking place after the events of Breaking Bad’s finale, which aired over six years ago, El Camino continues with the story of Jesse Pinkman. After he escapes from those who held him captive, thanks to old friend and work partner Walter White, we see him ‘ride off into the sunset’, bringing a close to his story. Or so we thought. Series creator, writer and director Vince Gilligan feels there’s a little more to say after the distressing final moments laid out in the conclusion of the show. But is it enough to justify its own two hour movie? Does it warrant potentially harming the reputation of a near perfect show?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve more than likely heard of the widely successful show Breaking Bad. Not only one of the best shows to come out of this century, but maybe of all time. Spanning over five seasons, the show provided a neatly woven story, with some highly memorable characters and moments that will forever be etched into the memories of the viewers who experienced them.
This is a sequel made for those die hard fans, but you can take it either of two ways. Continue living your lives as if this never existed, leaving the series finale as the closing chapter on the Breaking Bad story, or take your chances with something that isn’t necessarily needed, in hoping that it will fulfil your expectations as the perfect send off, but could somewhat dampen the importance of what was already considered a great conclusion, in order of offering a little fan service.
Unfortunately for me, it falls into the latter. Without any substance, there’s no real reason or weight to continue the story, and that is what is fundamentally missing. It was a risk that in itself, ironically took very little risks. It often felt like a filler episode, designed to break up an otherwise overbearing narrative, as apposed to telling its own, justifiably worthwhile story.
Much like the show, El Camino certainly has its moments. Most of which relying on Aaron Paul’s continued portrayal of Jesse Pinkman. His character maybe more elevated here, than it was throughout the entirety of the show. There’s more sensibility and smarts behind his character and to see certain events play off the way they do are what the fans deserve to see.
The issue lies with the fact that this continuation lives and dies with his character alone. The majority of the movies existence hangs on the balance of nostalgia. That is where I can see a big divide in the overall reception of its audience. It’s a perfectly competent addition, but maybe didn’t need the two hour runtime or six year wait in order to tell it.