Review : Justice League

466483_m1500739984

“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.”

So, this movie, and its production has gone through a lot. Family tragedy that caused director Zack Snyder to have to take a leave from the production, the entry of Joss Whedon to finish the film, a cgi top lip fiasco, studio interference in many ways and much more. I say all that because going into this movie, I had the mindset of, if this movie is good I’d be genuinely impressed that they were able to pull all of this together. And there is a lot that they were able to pull off, and some they weren’t. To start, this movie doesn’t feel like its directed by two directors, but it does feel like it was edited by committee, and thats a bit of an issue. Joss Whedon has a writing credit on this movie, so he definitely had to have re-written at least a third of the movie, and it shows in the dialogue that sticks out, and more things at the end of the movie, where I think most of the re-shoot changes really occur. Man of Steel, BvS, Suicide Squad, you can say what you want about these movies, one thing you can’t say, is that they’re not bold, because they are, and this movie loses that boldness in favour of a more “tame” version of what we’ve gotten before. Now thats definitely going to add a lot of mass appeal to the movie, but it might lose it much of its deeper credibility. All of that is not to say that this movie isn’t entertaining, it certainly is, and there are so many surprise and stand out moments that leap straight off the page and give you that incredible I never thought I’d see that in a movie feeling, but I still would have liked to have seen those moments through the bold lens of the movies before it. They are some plot holes for sure, and there is another villain who’s motivations are sort of lost on us, there’s the lip, but despite all of that, there is so much here that we know and love from these characters, and that’s where the movie shines brightest. You can say what you want about Zack Snyder, but the man has style, and he definitely has an eye for casting, and this team is casted very well. The surprise stand out of these is actually Cyborg, his portrayal of the character and his exploration into being part man and part machine was fantastic. The movie does run at a bit of a break neck pace, but it was literally mandated to be under two hours (its like one minute less), and the solution they went with was clearly to cut some of the more subtle character building moments, especially some of which were teased in trailers. Also I must say, the score for this movie is done by Danny Elfman, and he’s certainly a great composer, but his work seems so Saturday morning cartoonish when compared to what we got before from the likes of Junkie XL, that it really fell flat for me. They also made some kind of different version of the Wonder Woman theme (Is she with you? from BvS), and that was a real bummer for me as I was just waiting for it to come blasting on in her opening action scene. His score does definitely bring up some good ole nostalgia, but do we really need to keep going back to certain wells? All in all it might seem like I’m being really down on this movie, and I’m really not. Just like I had said in review for Thor Ragnorok, the movie sacrifices some substance for style (in this case that boldness and real grit of the previous movies), but I can’t for one second say that I wasn’t entertained, or that the things that were done right, weren’t really exciting to see. Justice League feels like a step in a different direction than maybe I personally wished they had gone with the franchise as a whole, but the movie does deliver a lot of the things I wanted from a movie like this. And maybe one day I’ll get to see all those cut scenes. (Also just as a side note, I’m not a huge fan of the new super suit, liked the darker one more).

Review Score : 8 out of 10

Also I feel like I have to address it, this movie does make some less than progressive choices with female characters. They don’t come off so egregious as you might think, but they are definitely there, and they are definitely distinct choices. I know many people are trying to blame Snyder for this, and he probably has to take the blame for the more glammed up look of the Amazons, when compared to the Wonder Woman movie, but the impactful moments of this I thought were in moments of dialogue and character decisions, all of which I’m willing to bet were down the re-writes and re-shoots from Whedon. I wish Zack was able to give us his unblemished version of this movie, and we might never know what and who changed what, but I think its at least comforting to know that a lot of those issues that arose, were fought against by the cast and crew, and maybe going forward these kinds of issues can become less and less, as we can not have to talk about them at all one day.

Advertisements

Review : Thor Ragnarok


“Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.”

First of all, I must say how continually impressed I am with Marvels ability to keep a lot of the reveals in their movies a secret, and just how much money they are clearly willing to spend to keep them secret. I won’t spoil any of them here, but let’s just say, they paid probably millions of dollars to allow things to be in the trailer, but not in their final forms. The second thing I want to address is the MCU debut of Taika Waititi, who comes in bringing his personal brand and style of movie making, that both fit and doesn’t fit in the MCU. Prior to Ragnarok, Thor had been, and had been used as the MCU’s Shakespearean elements. This iteration of the character however, is so much more comedic and light hearted, that even thought a lot of previous incidental humor is used here, the characters themselves take themselves so much less seriously. This movie is a blast though, and from its opening, which might be one of the best opening scenes in any comic book movie, to its rip roaring end, Ragnarok is an action adventure roller coaster of laughs. They’re so many new characters here, and there’s also a bit of character house cleaning, that would streamline the Thor household going forward. The biggest stand out of all of these though, is Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, and her final outfit is honestly some of the most stunning costuming I’ve ever seen. Her character ads both depth to the Thor mythos, while also adding a strong female of colour that we don’t get too much off in these kinds of movies. She also allows for one of the best scenes in the entire movie, and I’d probably cosplay as her if I wouldn’t have to shave my beard off. The new look, new attitude Thor here is also really good, as Chris Hemsworth as an actor has great comedic timing, and being able to flex those muscles a bit was very entertaining. Like most all MCU movies, this one also has some villain problems, and while Cate Blanchett brings an amazing presence and gravitas to Hela, the conseit of making her character the way it was, meant there couldn’t truly be a satisfying conclusion for her storyline. The movie itself does sacrifice some of the substance of other MCU movies, but it definitely sacrificed it for entertainment, and a mass appeal this franchise never was able to attain. Scoring this movie by itself , and as a part of the MCU, are two different things, and that’s maybe the only plaice this movie truly falls down. All in all, Thor Ragnarok is the most fun you’re going to have in a cinema for a while, it just doesn’t reach as deep down as some of the movies we praise as the absolute best of the MCU.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

Review : Wonder Woman

wonder_woman_xlg

“Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

So just for full disclosure, I’ve had Wonder Woman’s theme as my phone ring tone, for like a year now, needless to say I have been nothing but super hyped waiting for this movie, and my expectations were super high. All that being said, this movie is pretty awesome. Gal Gadot, is honestly the greatest incarnation of the character we have ever gotten, and she brings everything to the role. She’s absolutely stunning, she brings the physicality, and she does excellent at playing both the strong, soft, and funny moments. However, she does have some help in here in a fantastically played secondary character in Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. The two had a great chemistry and they played extremely well off of each other, especially in the softer more quiet moments in here. And even for all the great action in here, a lot of the best scene are honestly these soft, quiet, and subtle scenes between Chris and Gal (and some others with the other supporting cast). Like I said before though, the action in this movie is here, and its very well done. The film itself is also absolutely stunning when it needs and wants to be, doing a great job at juxtaposing the colour and vibrance of places like Themyscira, against the drab and dull world of man and of war. Wonder Woman is truly a film firing on all cylinders here, from acting, to action, and everything in-between. All in all, I think this movie will be a bit of a game changer, and come Monday, will likely be the most successful female directed and lead film we’ve ever seen. Go see it right now!

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-poster

“Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.”

Guardians 2 takes us back to the most unique corner of the Marvel cinematic universe, and it does so with some style. This movie is very much like the movie before it, but its also somewhat of the complete opposite to the previous film. What I mean by that, is that Guardians 2 takes the team and the story line to a place where the first movie never went as far as character development, and the relationships between them. The movie here while it tells also a smaller story, it still tells one that has universal consequences. All the main characters are back here, plus some new team members that add a surprising amount of heart and life to the team, and movie, that could have felt a little flat in parts if we only had the original cast here. This is also most certainly the most isolated of all the Marvel movies, especially with the story told in this second movie, which is good and bad. On the one hand, it does help keep the story trim and tight, but it also makes the movie devoid of that extra spark that playing off of all the previous movies in the universe brings. All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, brings us another great soundtrack, some truly special and spectacular visual effects, and a real sense of family, but something about just seems to lack that little bit extra that the first movie had. Also, there are like 5 after/post/mid/during credit scenes here, so sit back relax and enjoy that.

Review Score: 7.5 out of 10

Review : Logan

logan-imax-poster

“In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.”

LOOOOOGGAANN! What a movie. So the aptly titled Logan is the final chapter in both the trilogy of Wolverine movies, and the supposed end to the characters portrayal by Hugh Jackman. After the first X-Men Origins Wolverine movie (which is trash) I didn’t have much hopes for the rest of the series, but The Wolverine actually got this franchise back on track, and now, we truly have a movie worthy of this beloved character. Logan is a real visceral, blood filled but yet surprisingly thoughtful movie that does a good job at touching on some complex issues in a very real world way. They also do well to setup a real beaten and broken down Logan, running from the exploits and legends of his past. They set him on a collision course for one last dive into the world of heroes for the former X-Man. This movie takes a lot of inspiration from classic westerns in more ways than one, and it does so subtly when they should be, and more overtly when it asks for it. Hugh Jackman has played this character for like 16 years or so, and honestly, he’s never been better, and that performance combined with Patrick Stewarts past his prime professor X, we get a real honest and unflattering representation of these characters like we’ve never seen before. I can’t personally go so far as to say this is the outright best X-Men movie ever made, but it damn well is up there. A real must see for anyone who’s a fan or even remotely interested in these characters.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Review : Suicide Squad

suicide-squad-movie-2016-poster

“A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.”

To address the Elephant in the room, no this movie isn’t as bad as all those early reviews said, but it isn’t amazing either. So this movie really is a mixed bag. On one hand, this is genuinely the first time we get to see these kind of adaptations of some fan favourite characters, and seeing that in itself is a great thing. They also don’t hold back on the weirdness and strangeness that make a lot of these characters so compelling. Most everyone here really does a good job with their individual characters, and through one way or another we get deeper looks into most of the cast, and why they may be the way they are. This movie however isn’t without problems or faults. The biggest of those being the storytelling, not the plot, but the way David Ayer seeks to tell the story itself. That narrative execution can get pretty messy at times, giving the movie a very cut and jump feeling at times, where some scenes seem to just come out of no where and just as quickly, are gone again. When the movie is set on its path its fine, it when it takes some of it detours that it can get sloppy, which is really a shame because it keeps this movie from truly living up to its full potential. All in all, its still worth a look, especially if you’re a fan of these characters and are interested in seeing them come to life on the biggest screen.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

BvS THE ULTIMATE EDITION

First of all, a lot of people owe Zack Snyder an apology. Secondly, never have I seen a directors or ultimate cut of a movie, that makes such a big difference in final product of a film. This cut, of Batman v Superman gives us so much more connective tissue, and such a better flow of an experience that I seriously can’t see how all of what was cut out of the theatrical version, was cut. And poor Lex Luthor, I thin his character most of all was robbed of so much of his true genius and sinister nature. We lost some of Batman being Batman in a really cool way. We even lost a really big chunk of the Superman character arch, and why he does certain things he does. To be clear, I was already a fan of the original cut, but so many of the things I had to connect for myself, were not only connected here on film, but they was even more that I hadn’t even caught when I saw the theatrical cut. The entire beginning of this movie is totally changed. The entire Africa sequence and plot line was so, so, SO short changed and rushed in the original cut, that when you see what was really meant to be seen, it boggles the mind how anyone could cut those scenes out and expect viewers to connect all the dots that this cut connects. I think that honestly, however you felt about the original cut of BvS, this version, will take your opinion about 25% higher guaranteed, if not higher. I can’t recommend enough that people get a hold of this cut and give this movie another look.