What many consider to be the best western ever made, how does it stack up in my eyes?
Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I do not hate this movie. I do not dislike this movie. I do not think it is a bad movie. It is however, an overrated movie. Sure the scale is the biggest we've seen in this loosely connected trilogy, the story is pretty simple and can lead to one hell of a showdown at the end, but....it's very cluttered. So let me try to explain, Clint Eastwood returns as our favorite bounty hunter who just captured a bandit named Tuco played to absolute brilliance by Eli Wallach, who soon escapes and through various circumstances they both discover a raided confederate camp, where one dying soldier departs information of a large sum of gold buried in a cemetary. Clint Eastwood's character, now named Blondie (no relation to the singer) knows the name of the grave, and Tuco knows the name of the cemetary but neither of them is telling. Meanwhile, Lee Van Cleef returns as a ruthless, malicious, son of a mother bounty hunter known as Angel Eyes, who wants the gold too and is tracking our duo. So you may be wondering, well the story seems simple so why is it cluttered like you said? One reason, sidetracking! Mother of God the sidetracking! It is padding levels of boredom! This movie should barely be an hour and a half long and not almost 3 HOURS!! 3 fraking hours?! Lord Of The Rings was 3 hours, but that was because they had a lot of story to tell and pretty thick books to adapt! This movie is at least half sidetracking doing other BS meaningless things, instead of heading to their goal, the cemetary. No, let's not just address the fact this takes place during the Civil War but let's spend at least more than an hour reinforcing that fact with Angel Eyes interrogating our duo at a internment camp for northern soldiers, them getting wrapped up in this completely meaningless and prolonged sequence with a colonel wanting to destroy a bridge and fight off enemy troops, I mean sweet Jesus when do we get back on track here?? I don't hate this movie man, I swear! The action though offtrack at times is excellent. All our leads are outstanding especially Eli as the cunning, foul mouthed, yet awesome Tuco and Lee Van Cleef is a great villain, granted I loved him much more as Douglas Mortimer in For A Few Dollars More but that's besides the point, so acting is spot on! The music by Ennio Morricone is the stuff of legend in this movie, with one particular track Ecstasy Of Gold being soooo good Metallica plays it before every concert they perform, seriously! Cinematography is gorgeous and expansive, showing massive battlefields, great stunts, and the mexican standoff we all know and love. Needless to say that is the highlight and best scene of the movie, even if you haven't seen the movie you have seen this standoff. You love it, I love it, it's amazing! But honestly, that's the only part worth anything. Just go to YouTube and watch that scene and save yourself almost 3 hours of unnecesary padding, that just so happens to be shot very well and has good actors in it. I'm sorry guys, I just don't see why people say this is the best western. It's a good western with a massive scale and terrific action, but for the life of me it just couldn't stay on track to tell the story. It's a basic story that tried to prop itself up to be an epic, when in reality sometimes less is more.