"Is greed good?" muses Michael Douglas in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," and one can't help but wonder in return: Has Gordon Gekko gone soft? The answer is, sort of -- a development that takes some of the bite out of Oliver Stone's shrewdly opportunistic, glibly entertaining sequel, which offers another surface-skimming peek inside the power corridors of global finance, this time during the 2008 economic crisis. Still, the chance to see Douglas reprise his seminal role is sure to stimulate interest among the original's many fans, giving Fox's Sept. 24 release a shot at bullish returns in most markets.
Intended as a cautionary tale on the pitfalls of unchecked ambition and greed, Stone's 1987 original instead had the effect of turning Douglas' hugely charismatic (and Oscar-winning) villain into a household name and boardroom icon -- an inspiration to the very power players and Wall Street wannabes for whom he set such a terrible example. But the intervening years, particularly the past decade, have given us no shortage of real-life wake-up calls -- from Enron and Bernie Madoff to the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression -- and Stone, to his credit, takes a less finger-wagging approach this time around, trusting audiences to feel sufficiently chastened going in.
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