Review : Incredibles 2

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“Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for Jack-Jack while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.”

That tagline would make it seem like the original Incredibles came out last week, and that this second iteration is just the next episode, and not 14 years later. This movie however, does treat it as if the original movie was a week ago, and it picks up right after the events of the last movie, and goes forward from there. 14 years is a long ass time, and that brings a lot with it. The more time goes past with a beloved movie like the predecessor to this, the more fondly we hold it, and the higher the expectations are of any sequel. The weight of expectation couldn’t be much bigger than those on the shoulders of this movie, and glad to say, it pretty much doesn’t let down. This movie takes almost everything from the original, and ramps it up. More supers, more powers, more action, more adventure, more heart, its all here. Its even more political and ideological, there’s a much heavier feminist slant, and a real great critique of the real responsibility of being a super, and what that should be and mean. We get a great combination also of old and new characters, with a thoroughly amazing voice cast of talent here, and they are all truly spot on. Brad Bird also shines here, back in animation where he probably just honestly belongs. His directing holds a great pace, and there are so many creative and stunning visual choices, especially with the use of powers on display, it really is a shame it took us 14 years to get back here. The movie isn’t perfect, and it may have some very minor detractions to it, but overall, the Incredibles 2 is pretty much everything all the fans of this franchise could have wanted and were waiting for. It also did have a bit of a feel of being a middle movie, so looking forward to not waiting another 14 years for the hopeful end of the trilogy.

Review Score: 9.5 out of 10

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Review : Solo – A Star Wars Story

“During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.”

Solo, a Star Wars story, brings us the first of the real plan by Disney to expand the Star Wars universe they acquired not long ago. It tells the backstory of one of the series’s most popular and important characters, Han Solo, and to and extent, his copilot Chewbacca and the millennium falcon. There was a lot of debate before this movie even came out, about wether it should have even been made. To many people, the mechanisms by which Han became who he did by the time we see him in a New Hope, are things that would only be ruined by showing us an exact backstory, while others thought it would be great to see what makes a man shoot first. I’m somewhere in the middle, I don’t mind seeing a well told story in this universe, but if I had to choose whose, I’d have likely chosen a different character first. That left me as going into this movie with reasonable expectations, and they were mostly met, but this movie should be better than that. We kind of have high stakes I guess, we kind of have a villain….I guess, and we definitely see the reasons for Han being Han (wether you wanted to know or not). That kind of leaves this movie in the middle for me, nothing really stands out. It’s all finely done and all that, but nothing really jumps out. There’s maybe one wow moment, but that’s also if you know what you’re looking for, the rest of it really does seem very tame. This of course is exactly the worry fans had after the Disney acquisition, and this movie seems almost as proof of this. This movie could be any space centric sci-fi movie, it just happens to have Star Wars characters in it, and even then, some people will never be satisfied with their portrayal by newer actors. I think Han and Lando come off really well in their respective portrayals, and there are definitely moments when I fully SEE Han in Ehrenreich’s performance, but without the rest of the Star Wars world and knowledge I already know and have, if you swapped these characters out, I don’t think anyone would know this was Star Wars really. All in all, Solo is a fun movie, especially for younger viewers, but I feel like real Star Wars fans will be left wanting after, and I hope that’s not how it’s going to be going forward.

Review Score: 6 out of 10

Review : Deadpool 2

“Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.”

The original Deadpool movie was real game changer. For the first time we got a hard R, 4th wall breaking, violent, funny, pop culture referencing, totally unapologetic movie, the likes of which we hadn’t seen before. The problem with being a game changer, is it is really hard to do that twice, and that the real story of Deadpool 2. This movie is every bit as bloody, full of swears, action packed, and somehow maybe even funnier than the first, but it can’t recreate than never been done kind of feel the first had. It seems almost like a harsh criticism, but this movie would be a better than the first, if the first didn’t exist. Everything here is done up, there’s s bigger budget, they’re more characters, more of just about everything, plus some unexpected heart. The only thing this movie doesn’t have is that now we’ve seen it before. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this isn’t a good movie, or that it isn’t super enjoyable and entertaining and all that, I’m just saying that it sits a bit below the first one, but only for those reasons. We get a bigger plot this time, and with the origin out of the way, we get to spend an entire movie basically, with the merc with a mouth. This movie is also really surprisingly good at hitting you in the feels, and really not under cutting the emotional moments with needless humor, especially as there is already so much of that humor through out, those touching moments can really breathe and they come off super sincere. In many ways, Deadpool 2 is more commercial than the first, and that might not be hardcore fans biggest wish, but it makes this movie much more accessible, and while I won’t go so far as to say it dumbs down the material, there is just that bit of the shock and flair of the original, that’s not here.

Review Score : 8 out of 10

Review : Avengers – Infinity War

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“The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.”

To start with, straight off the top, this isn’t going to be full of spoilers or anything, so feel free to read this before you go if you like. That being said, WOW. You know I’m still trying to decide as I write this, if I think this is the best of the MCU movies, but I do know for sure it’s the most important. This movie shows what can be done, when you have something as vast and well done as the MCU, because thats the only way a movie like this could have ever been done. Without 10 years of build up, and brick laying, this movie could literally not exist, and that in itself I think is what makes this movie the most important. I think also maybe for that fact alone, anyone and everyone who’s a fan of this universe, should see this movie, just to see what can be done when a universe like this is allowed to build up the way the MCU has been allowed to for literally 10 years now. To the actual review now though. This movie is a lot, and I mean that in many ways. There’s so much to this story, that it literally doesn’t all, and couldn’t all, come from this movie, and in many ways that a strength and weakness of this movie. On one hand, it makes it less accessible for more casual fans, but it also shows like I said before, of how much of a win just being able to make a movie like this is. This movie also has so many characters, that it is literally impossible, for all of them to get enough screen time, and you could see that in the writing, because they really had to saddle a lot of storylines together, and characters together. This means that for a lot fo this movie, we get pockets of teams working towards the end of the narrative. It has to be said though, this genuinely is Thanos’s movie. He is the main character, and he gets the most time and development, but if we’re being honest, he needed it the most, if we were going to get what truly should have been the greatest villain the MCU has ever seen. And I do think he is the best villain thus far. We get all of his motivation, we see where he came from and how he became the mad titan, and we truly get the sense of almost impending fate that his will not only would be done, but had to be done. This movie though is also a perfect example of why so many of the MCU villains before to date haven’t been able to impress as much, as you can see just how much time and development a character like that really needs to be so effective. This movie is also a little light on story if I’m being honest, but its a two edged sword. On the one hand, it allows for the movie to keep its pace up, add a lot of great action, and be as simple and easy to get into as it could possibly be. If I had to describe this movie in one word, it would be “Spectacle”. This is such a grand movie, on all scales, and it really does, at least broadly, hit all the nails on their heads. I’ve written all this, and I’m still not sure if this is or isn’t the best the MCU has to offer. On one hand, it definitely is because of what this movie is actually able to accomplish, but on the other hand, being such a massive spectacle does mean this movie has to sacrifice some things in other to keep this giant ball rolling. All in all, so much can be said about this movie, but the most important of them might be, that this movie was more or less everything I wanted it from it, and baring some small caveats, there really isn’t much missing from this.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

PS – There is definitely an after credit scene here, but like a legit one, not the mid credit ones we get also, so stay back for that, and its one of the best end credits yet.

Review : A Wrinkle in Time

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“After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.”

Ever since Selma, people have been waiting for the big screen follow up from Ava DuVernay. She was a long time rumoured director for what was then the upcoming Black Panther movie, which she eventually left before settling at what that next project would be, A Wrinkle in Time. On paper their is a lot of talent behind the creation and implementation of this movie, from many people who’ve proven they can create content at the highest level, but, this movie is not one of those things. In truth, this movie isn’t good at all really. There are two things that I would consider being redeemable factors here, but they can’t save the movie as a whole. We’ll start with those, and one of the brightest lights in this movie is Storm Reid who plays the lead here. Her portrayal of the character is really layered and nuanced, and she ads a lot of heart and feeling to her performance (which I certainly can’t say for any of the other cast of that age here). The second thing is that there are some really nice, meaningful and important messages and lessons weaved throughout this movie, and maybe for some people, those alone are worth seeing this movie for, but I have a really hard time recommending anyone pay to see this movie. And that leads us to the bad. Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are great actors, and when they’re in the movie, they are really solid, but they aren’t in it much, so they can’t really help the generally poor acting that’s throughout this movie. Oprah, Reese and Mindy all, and I mean all come off as bad characters from a low budget made for TV movie, and not what this movie is supposed to be. Their acting aside, their costuming is terrible, on all sides, it came across as cheap, rushed and amateurish. That also bleeds over into the visuals of this movie on a whole. The effects looks fine I guess, but they also come across as made for TV and uninspired, which was really disappointing. This movie also feels really strangely directed. It goes at a bit of a break neck speed, but I feel like there is so much of this movie that was left on the cutting room floor to make its hour and forty some odd minute run time, but it was really to the detriment of the film. It makes a lot of this movie come across as things happening just to happen, and not for any particular reason. I KNOW Ava Duvernay can do much better than this, so I dont blame her really for it, but I would really love to know what caused this movie to go in such a weird direction. All in all, if you have younger children, and they have either read the book or you think they will do well with the life lessons on hand here, I’d suggest just waiting till its on streaming or something like that, its not worth the cinema money.

Review Score : 4 out of 10

Review : Black Panther

“T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.”

At this point, Black Panther has done something not many movies can claim, and it’s not all the money it’s making, it’s that it has become more than just a movie, it’s become a movement. So much has been put on this movie because of its almost entirely black cast, and its African centric content. It’s gotten to the point where wether or not this movie is good as a movie is more or less irrelevant, and just like the movie itself, that’s good and bad. There are many areas where Black Panther really stands up as a movie and makes a statement, and there are things that let it down a bit. To start with this is definitely the most political comic book movie ever made, and it’s very bold in its subject matter. It tackles black issues from basically the beginning of Africa to current day, and it does so by mostly raising discussion, but it does also offer some words or wisdom if not answers about them. But this movie is still also a movie, and as a movie it has an entirely separate section of obligations to attend to. The cast here is really excellent, everyone does a great job at the personal and interpersonal relationships between characters, and the subtle things that make them all different. One of the biggest complaints lodged about MCU movies are the villains, and Michael B Jordan’s “Killmonger” is at the same time a break from their typical villain typecast, and yet even he shares some of the issues of those very characters. In many ways Killmonger is the antithesis of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. They come from opposite sides of the same tracks (a metaphor turned visual by the end) in their view of the world, but they still want similar ends, just by vastly different means. Killmonger also has very strong and very well motivated moral convictions, that force us and T’Challa to change how they look at the world, and in this manner he is successful, where that character breaks down, is in the inevitability of him become a Black Panther to fight Black Panther. In so many of these movies we get villains that are reduced to being a different colour or style of our hero, whereas all the really great villains of the MCU become more than that. That’s all not to say I didn’t like his character or Jordan’s portrayal of him, Killmonger was always truly poignant and decisive in his actions, but I can’t not see that he still added to that trend of MCU villains. I see any criticism of this film has been treated as a strike against all the great things this movie can mean and create, and I wish it only success, but this is s movie review, and when I see issues I have to raise them. Outside of what this movie brings politically and culturally, the thing that this movie is missing to be at the level of say the top 5 movies of it kind is that it’s missing that real stand out moment that will have the average viewer wanting to rewatch this movie. Black Panther is a great movie, and it’s a mold breaker in many ways, but it’s not a mold breaker just as a movie. I feel very much about this movie as I did about the first Guardians of the Galaxy, that it’s something we haven’t seen before in many ways, but it’s still has some of the pitfalls that can plague movies like this. Black Panther has the pressure on it of having to be great movie, a great political piece, and a great comic book movie. And honestly, it should be commended for what’s its done in all of those arenas, but some of that pressure and those expectations are a blessing and a curse. Everyone should see this movie for its messages. Anyone who’s a fan of these movies should see it also. Wether this movie should be judged just on its merits as a film, or on something more isn’t for me to say, but I have tried my best to explain how it made me feel, and the enjoyment I certainly had with it.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

There are also two end credit scenes just a FYI.

Review : Star Wars – The Last Jedi

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“Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.”

It’s finally here, and even when that opening crawl started, I still felt kind like it wasn’t real, but it was, and …wow. This movie gave me so much of what I wanted, while also not giving me so much of what I wanted, and it truly feels like an entirely new entry in the saga (also steel pan is officially canon in Star Wars). This is most definitely the most different Star Wars ever made, and even when you look at the character development from The Force Awakens to now (which isn’t actually that much time), they take so many of these characters in such different places that I would have never seen coming. Rian Johnson also was able to do something that we don’t often get with these kind of movies, and that’s that he was able to do and show us things that we have never seen in a Star Wars movie before (its also super funny). And that was truly a sight to behold, especially since some of those things, are things we may have considered before, but we have never gotten any canonical version of them, but here, we do. It feels almost needless to say, but this movie is absolutely stunning in its visuals, and it also does some things with its visuals, that no other Star Wars movie has ever done either, and they literally had my entire screen gasp, and to have that happen more than once, was really impressive to see. He also lends I think, the most distinct directorial voice ever in a Star Wars movie. That voice also stretches clearly into the story here, and the story elements that he adds to this long mythology. There really is soooooo much here to dig into, and so many complex situations and decisions, that whether or not you like those decisions, you have no choice I think but to respect the boldness of them. Even down to the Force itself, and what the Force means, is given new and slightly different life here. There is A LOT here I really can’t go into without going over copious spoilers, but just know there are many many surprises in here, and its best to try your best to go into the movie as fresh as possible. A huge part of this movie is also of course the characters, and there really is a great deal of character development here for so many of the characters. And this movie isn’t afraid to make characters make bold decisions and then stick by them. That in itself, is probably the best way to describe this entire movie, and thats Bold. The same way many people found Force Awakens polarising for being very similar to episode 4, many people I feel might also have a similar issue with this movie but in the opposite direction. Carrie Fisher I think also really delivers an amazing performance here that operates on multiple levels, and was really touching and saddening to see given her tragic and untimely death. This movie however, is going to derive most of its controversy from the way it portrays and handles Luke Skywalker. I can’t go over it here, but I definitely will post separately about it. All in all, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an amazing movie, but as a Star Wars movie, is going to be polarising because of its creative choices, and even I’m not fully sure how I feel about many of those moments.

Review Score : 9 out of 10