CinemaCl🎃wn’s review published on Letterboxd:
The direct sequel to Bernard Rose's 1992 cult classic of the same name attempts to carve its own identity in addition to serving as a follow-up chapter yet only manages to end up halfway on both fronts. As a sequel, it doesn't improve upon the original in any way, shape or form. And as its own thing, it's got several thoughts ongoing at once and needed to simmer down & spread them evenly to deliver the goods.
Co-written & directed by Nia DaCosta, her intent, approach, tone & treatment is different from the first film, plus she also reworks the mythology to suit her own story. And though it isn't a complaint, the script is where the issue lies coz it doesn't have its priorities sorted out. It is crammed with too many ideas & themes and tries to cover them all in the limited runtime, thus resulting in an overstuffed & undercooked narrative.
On the plus side, DaCosta's visual flair makes an instant impression, the camera manoeuvres through the polished set pieces with fluidity, and it sure doesn't hold back on its violent urges whenever the eponymous spirit is summoned. The actors do well with what they are given but would've done better if they had more material to work with. The film looks & sounds real fine but it is missing the immersive, alluring quality that its predecessor had in spades.
Overall, Candyman does have a few interesting moments working in its favour but the film as a whole doesn't truly live up to its hype and is certainly no match to the original classic. It is a messy & convoluted take that lacks clarity & direction, comes off as preachy on few occasions, features subplots that go nowhere, and even ends abruptly. 90 mins isn't enough to aptly cover all that DaCosta wanted to cover, thus making her latest one of the few films that could've benefited from a longer runtime.