It is the legitimate follow-up to Salt, but the plot is more advanced and given what we know today about Putin and his spies it is relevant and contemporary.
It is a risk fr the studio to issue a film like this and the risk taken is appreciated.
A majority of the filmmaking formalities behind Red Sparrow can be best described as solid effort. This features solid directing, solid performances, solid dialogue, solid tension building, solid atmosphere construction, and just an overall solidly crafted enigma. There isn't anything super special about it's technical approach, but it concisely works well. The story isn't explained obviously, and actually asks the viewers to pay attention to current events in order to follow along with the story, which I profoundly appreciated considering I respect films that don't treat their audiences as if they are idiots. Now, concerning the controversy behind the film, my personal opinion about issues like this is that despite how tough specific material may be expressed, especially in cinematic or novella format, an artist sometimes needs to use ominous visuals or subject matters in order to make their messages more apperent and belivable, so in many cases it's hard for me to get offended when an artist is just trying to make their film more effective (its sort of like how I perceived some of the hard to bear and truly nauseating sequences explored in David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Even though, I would've preferred not seeing some of these particular scenes in Red Sparrow, at the end of the day, I learn and train myself to just accept that the overarching product is only just a movie, and that I shouldn't take it too seriously considering the fictional finatics behind it. Plus, it's not like the film is trying to glorify rape and torture, it's more so trying to show the terrors and disorder behind its existence in human society. If you are sensitive to the material however, I highly, highly recommend passing on this film. Now, my real issue with the film is more so the fact that I couldn't find enough substance to maintain a completely entitling and bearable attentiveness to the film's story. There isn't enough meat on the bones in this movie. It's just a decent story that drags and drags, and by the end of it, you're just kind of numb to what's occured. Okay, maybe you've been disturbed but by the end of it, the experience doesn't feel memorable. It's got a neat twist at the end of it, but by the time it happens, my mind kind of just shrugs it off a couple minutes after my viewing concludes. In no way is Red Sparrow as awful as people like to make it out to be, it's actually, I'd say, more fresh than rotten. In conclusion, it isn't anything I'd ever see again, however, I respect Francis Lawrence for making an unconventional spy thriller that you don't often see being made during these modern times. (Verdict: C+)