Far better than expected, but still feels a bit rushed.
When I first saw the trailers for Astro Boy, my initial expectations were extraordinarily low. To me, it looked like a childish piece of rubbish that would undoubtedly be full of action, dull humor, and flat characters. I passed over it without looking back.
Unfortunately for the film, Trailers Always Lie
. When I finally got around to seeing it, I was blown away by the amount of development given to the (main) characters, at least in comparison to what I'd anticipated. I hadn't expected it to get so dark, or actually hold off on the action and at least attempt to explore what it would be like to find out that your life is a lie, and you're actually just a recently-made copy of the original. Ultimately, that just made it so much more disappointing, because it simply came so CLOSE to being an excellent film! The pacing frequently varied from good to absurdly fast, with scenes that really needed to be fleshed out a little more taking place over the course of seconds. It was gut-wrenching to see incredibly important scenes with so much build-up glossed over like they were. I felt like I wanted to know more about the characters, have more interaction between them before things moved on. While I understand there were time constraints, there were plenty of other, less useful scenes that could have been cut just a tiny bit shorter to make room for the ones I was actually invested in, or a bit of changed dialogue that would have gotten the point across better.
Still, I can't say I regret seeing the film. It's definitely worth checking out if you want an interesting story about a boy trying to find his place in the world. Believe me, it's nothing like the trailers make it out to be. You won't be disappointed about the quality so much as the simple fact that there's not ENOUGH of it to completely satisfy you. The love interest, while not the best I've seen, is at least somewhat likable. The villain, while his political undertones are incredibly blatant, does manage to squeeze out some laughs, Astro's "father" is believable enough to be reasonably sympathetic, and Astro himself tugged at my heartstrings. Even the characters that weren't so fleshed out (time constraints, I assume) were interesting enough to make me wish they had been.
All in all, it's worth seeing at least once.