New Gods: Yang Jian reimagines Chinese gods for an epic riff on Cowboy Bebop

Fans of Ji Zhao’s terrific 2021 CG animated Chinese movie New Gods: Nezha Reborn might expect something similar from his follow-up, New Gods: Yang Jian. They’ll get part of what they came for, in terms of epic god battles, big operatic emotions, and elaborately beautiful visual design. But in every other sense, the second film is a massive departure from the first — not so much an expansion of the setting as a largely unrelated story in a completely different genre.

Nezha Reborn sets up a structure that seems designed to repeat endlessly, with endless variations: A struggling human protagonist learns that he’s the reincarnation of a mythic god. Zhao (director of the Read more…

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