The thing (and the only thing mind you) that made the Hugo romance interesting was that Hugo was basically a despicable, obsessed little shit who wanted to climb to Zalem using the stolen spines of his many victims.
He never felt remorse over crippling people (they can't replace organic spines) even to the end, he got busted trying to steal Zappan's spine by mistake and ended up a condemned criminal. He cares more about Zalem than Alita or anything else right up until 10 seconds before he gets mulched.
In Rodriguez's Alita, he makes cartoon Aladdin seem like an edgy desperado. When he goes back to tell his old compadres to "stop stealing parts" after already quitting himself, I knew the movie had shit away its last vestige of grittiness.
It's kinda like Suicide Squad. EVERYONE has a heart of gold, thus making it not a dystopia at all, just a happy Beauty and the Beast village in need of renovation. Fuck that Alita movie.