Let's just jump right into it, shall we? It's 2008—pre–financial crisis. Deposed goblin king Gordon Gekko (actual goblin king Michael Douglas) is out of prison, trying to warn Wall Street about the coming collapse, and looking to get his claws on some doubloons and such. Young, elfin proprietary trader Jacob "Jake" Moore (Shia LaBeouf, more of a hobbit, really) is engaged to Gordon's daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan, all shall love her and despair). Winnie hates her dad because she saw Wall Street 1 and he's a real dick in that movie. Jake secretly starts hangin' with Gordon because he wants to get his hands on some goblin gold of his own. Nobody listens to the goblin king, so the economy breaks. Then Frank Langella steps in front of a train.
"O goblin king, O goblin king," says Jake. "Can you please help me get revenge on evil banker Josh Brolin for driving Frank Langella, who was my mentor but I forgot to mention it in the first paragraph, to suicide?" "Sure, whatever," says Gordon. "Let's do this. And while I'm at it, perhaps I can long-con some credulous dumbasses into giving me all their goblin gold, as is my wont." "Deal," says Jake, and they slice their forearms and become blood brothers (just kidding—everyone knows that goblin and hobbit blood create a corrosive gas when mingled). And thus begins a real tedious piece of shit.
Has anyone ever told Oliver Stone to shut up? I mean, like, ever? Even once? Because there is a serious lack of a filter here. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is 133 minutes of typical silly Stone machismo: a Charlie Sheen cameo here, a corny Ducati race there, stupid juiced-up dialogue like "You should look in the mirror. See yourself. Might scare you." The story arc isn't an arc so much as it is a gloppy smear of oatmeal on a dirty countertop. It has no forward momentum and about 12 false endings. It isn't about anything. Characters amble through high-rise offices and penthouse apartments and look woebegone, from time to time yelling inscrutable words like "credit derivative!" and "socialism!" and "nooooooo!" Sometimes, Frank Langella's ghost (actual ghost) appears in the sky, all sepia and judgmental from beyond the grave.
Often, the film feels more like a lecture than a narrative—minus the one thing that makes a lecture useful: actual information. You won't learn what forces led to the current financial crisis from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, but you will discover that it had something to do with a domino effect—because Stone frequently interrupts his film to show an animated sequence of literal dominos falling and knocking down other dominos. Get it? DOMINO EFFECT. Thank god you were here, Oliver Stone.