Sky Captain (2004),
a tribute to the sci-fi comic strips of the 1930s, such as Flash Gordon and
Buck Rogers, was one of the most visually innovative films of the year.
A zeppelin docks to a giant town. A terrified passenger gives a note to a kid,
while someone deletes his name from the list. The following day the newspapers
report that a scientist is missing, the sixth in a row.
Polly, a determined and unscrupolous reporter, receives a note that says
"I know who is next" and an invitation to a show. She thus meets with the
last scientist still free of a group who worked at the invention of a
mysterious German scientist. He is afraid that he will be next.
In the meantime, flying robots attack New York and giant mechanical monsters
advance in the streets. The authorities call "Sky Captain", aka Joe, for help.
Nobody knows where the monsters came from and what drives them, but they are
attacking all over the world. Joe holds a grudge against Polly because he
thinks she sabotaged his plane in a previous adventure. But she needs his help
to find out the truth about the robots, so she convinces his to make peace.
They visit the laboratory of the terrified scientist (full of miniature
animals), but a flying woman in a black robe has preceded them and attacks
them. The scientist dies giving Polly two vials, that she hides from Joe
(obviously she is still the doublecrossing female that Joe feared).
Another pack of flying mechanical monsters is attacking, battled by the army
(lenghty and tedious battle scenes).
Polly and Joe escape and fly back to base but find it rummaged by mechanical
monsters. Joe's assistant Tex managed to identify the likely location of
the German scientist (a lost Tibetan city)
and left a map for Joe, before being kidnapped himself.
Polly finds a photography of the German scientist with his companion: the
woman in black.
Polly and Joe fly to Tibet and, helped by a friend of Joe who conveniently
lives there, locate the snow-capped mountain and the huge laboratory of the
German scientist. They are captured, though, by men who take Polly's vials:
it turns out they are the missing ingredients for the mother of all
Freed by the people of the village, who work in the mines of the evil
scientist, they reach the secluded base of a one-eyed woman, Frankie,
an old flame of Joe's. After one more tedious air battle with Frankie doing
epic things, they reach the scientist's hide-out, in an island inhabited
by all sorts of monsters. A giant ark is about to take off, destined
to destroy the world and recreate life on another planet. Tex saves Polly and
Joe and together they free the scientists who had been kidnapped.
But they are in for some surprise: the evil German scientist has long been
dead, probably suicide. The robots are finishing what he had programmed
them to do. Joe volunteers for a suicide mission to save the world but first he
has to fight the woman in black, with a few minutes left before take off. Polly
saves him and kills the woman in black, which turns out to be another machine.
Polly and Joe save the world. All the time, Polly was left with only one shot
in her camera, and kept waiting for the one scene that deserved her one shot.
At the end, she takes a picture of... Joe.