In 2009, Jesse Eisenberg hadn’t been in The Social Network yet, and La La Land was but a stray thought to Damien Chazelle who had only finished directing his first movie. In 10 years time, the actors have reached loftier calibers, each one becoming Academy Award nominees and winners. And although the script isn’t the most emotionally complex, they play their parts perfectly, regardless of how vast and complicated their recent roles they’ve grown to fill are. The characters of Zombieland still fit seamlessly from out of the time capsule, despite the decade of change and progress in between.
Horror elements improve the comedy; the underlying morbidity of the tragic demise of humanity helps the banality of some of the more cliché jokes become more palatable. New characters also add a kind of sparkling appeal and novelty to a plot that’s structurally a copy of the first film. Madison, played by the magnetic Zoey Deutch, is simply a trope with a singular note, and yet Deutch makes the note hit bright and spectacular. Although the other new characters contribute to the movie’s success, Madison, with her effervescent denseness, is so obviously the standout element amongst all else.
Much of the comedy in Zombieland: Doubletap stems from Zombieland itself, deriving jokes that often stroke the fourth wall with a kind of impish wit in reference to its predecessor. The movie can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone, but it’s main purpose, it’s true blood, can only be recognized in conjunction with the first film. It is full of details written in for the amusement of old fans, with a keen enough self-awareness about its intent that it does falter when it comes to the delivery either. While Doubletap may not be an inspiring, original film, it is an excellent commendation of Zombieland. Enough of the components are there, and given enough heart, Doubletap is fun to watch. It is enjoyable, uncomplicated, and the end credits are killer.