I have seen it said of Atomic Blonde that it is hollow piece wrapped in an attractive shell. I would respond by saying that "attractive" hardly does the shell justice, it's absolutely fucking gorgeous. Otherwise though that sounds about right.
No, in all seriousness, the plot itself is more than fine. Even the absolute worst aspects from any individual part of Atomic Blonde, no matter how much you pick them apart, more than pass the litmus test for minimum acceptable standard. It truly is a case of style over substance, and that is something that I can understand the complaint for. But it's style over substance, not style instead of substance. At no point did I feel that the story was cobbled together as an excuse to get to the next setpiece. The story was what it was (a pretty genuine throwback to the espionage thrillers of the late and post-Cold War era) and the aesthetic, the music, the design, was simply how that story was chosen to be delivered. And a brilliant choice at that.
Walking in, I was already certain that I was going to like the film, because even if it was just an extended version of the trailer, then it appealed enough to my personal tastes that I was in for a good time. Walking out, I knew that taking everything beyond those factors into account, I didn’t just like Atomic Blonde, I loved it.
Final rating:★★★★ - Very strong appeal. A personal favourite.