While the younger cast members are all competent in their roles, their characters are a tad bit too meddlesome in my opinion. Their relationship to John isn’t as strong as I would have liked, they just seem like a bunch of kids he has no ties with outside of his classroom. There’s not that undeniable camaraderie between John and the students like there was with the instructors from the first film. David Lee Smith does another fantastic job with the character, especially in his scenes with Sterling Knight. There’s an incredibly tense scene involving the two in “discussion” of theology and John’s existence. While the first one perfectly balanced John’s story with a healthy and expected dose of skepticism, most of the characters in The Man From Earth: Holocene willfully believe in John’s immortality with very little convincing. Even a skeptical character from the first film now seems uncharacteristically convinced. With the healing factor fading and John’s sudden aging, it would have been wonderful to see someone call bullshit on him. After all these years, conveniently he’s starting to age and scar? Isn’t that a little too convenient? Sadly, the film doesn’t dive into this as well as I would have liked for it to be explored, and we’re left with John’s story and extraordinary abilities as fairly established narrative fact. I would have much preferred the film to give me the option to come to my own conclusions on John and have it a little less evident. There’s still a lot of unanswered questions that are thankfully left vague, like is John’s condition a sign of divinity or merely a biological anomaly that is now going wonky? Is John meant to be more than just an academic instructor? These themes are touched upon, but never blatantly spelled out.
“…this film has its fair share of unbelievably clever twists and turns.”
Despite my small gripes, I really did enjoy The Man From Earth: Holocene quite a bit thanks to its strong lead actor and its mythology building. I wish it was heavier with the mystery and intrigue like the first film, but this series is going in a new direction and I can respect and admire that. There does seem to be plans for future films and the hints and teases they drop here have my interest quite piqued. If you’re a fan of the first film, and I do suggest you check it out, there’s a ton in this sequel I’m sure you’ll love too.
The Man From Earth: Holocene (2017) Directed by: Richard Schenkman. Written by: Emerson Bixby, Eric D. Wilkinson, and Richard Schenkman. Starring: David Lee Smith, Vanessa Williams, William Kat, Michael Dorn, Sterling Knight, Brittany Curran, Akemi Look.
8 out of 10