Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

And the 2018 catch-up continues. Admittedly I don’t have a super specific series set up, but catching up on the year’s movies is what one have to do when nearing the end of said year. Enough rambling, let’s shrink.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has to once again don the Ant-Man suit, but instead of using it to steal some shit, he has to use his abilities, as well as the assistance of his ally Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to get hold of some tech to try and pull Janet Van Dyne out of the Quantum Realm. But this quest will prove challenging as opposing forces want this technology for their own purposes. So now we have our “Ant-Man” sequel plot. And it’s good, a fun comic book romp. Has a few decent dramatic moments. Not much I can say, it’s just a fun superhero plot. Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t do little either. It’s fast-paced and easy to follow while expanding on a few of the ideas set up in the first movie. It doesn’t do anything special, but it also doesn’t need to. It’s just an easygoing and fun plot.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and really entertaining. Paul Rudd of course returns as Scott Lang, the charming ex-con/superhero with a heart of gold. He’s fun, he’s someone I care about, and he is just generally an enjoyable protagonist. And Paul Rudd is great in the role. Next we have Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. She was just sort of a tough sidekick/teacher in the first movie, but here she gets to do a lot more, especially since she now has her own super suit to play with. And she’s quite an enjoyable character to follow. And Lilly is great in the role. Michael Peña returns as Scott’s best friend, Luis, and he’s just as hilarious as he was the first time around. Michael Douglas returns as Dr. Hank Pym, and he’s once again pretty great. Newcomer time! First up, Hannah John-Kamen as “Ghost”, a mysterious new villain with a pretty compelling arc that I won’t say more about here, but I found it to be pretty cool. And John-Kamen is really good in the role. We also get Walton Goggins as some shady black market dealer, and he’s as Goggins-y as ever, and while his character doesn’t have much to actually do, Goggins is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

Like with the first movie, Christophe Beck did the score for this one. And it’s just as fun and enjoyable as the first time around. It’s bouncy, irreverent, and just overall fits the lighthearted tone that the movie generally goes for. The added use of synth and (for lack of a better word) bouncy percussion really helps keep the pace up. It’s just fun. And there are a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well enough in their respective scenes.

As with the first movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was directed by Peyton Reed and I think he did a good job with it. His directing is fun, fast-paced, and just generally has a certain energy that makes it all quite enjoyable to watch. The action scenes too are quite solid, giving us some good close quarters combat, as well as the shrink/grow superhero stuff we came to see. There’s of course also a lot of comedy throughout this movie, and I found most of it to be quite funny. A few jokes weren’t the best, but none of them made me want to tear my brain out. Some mild nose-wrinkling, some chuckles, a few out loud laughs… yeah, it’s funny.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fun movie… not one of the best of the year, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is now completed.

Baba Yaga…

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Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

In 2009, we got the big screen debut of comic book character Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, and it was a fucking disgrace. Skip forward to 2016, Deadpool gets his own movie called… “Deadpool” (fucking unpredictable title, I know). And in 2018 he got a sequel. And now I finally watched it. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Deadpool 2”.

Super-powered mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has to create his own mutant team in order to protect a young mutant (Julian Dennison) from a time traveling super soldier called Cable (Josh Brolin). So now we have our big comic book sequel plot. And it’s good. It does lack some of the focus that the first movie had, but that is not very surprising considering this is trying to be bigger than the first one. But I don’t dislike the plot here at all, as a matter of fact, I found it to be a lot of fun. Sure, it does jump around a bit, but it’s not enough to annoy me. It embraces the silliness of superhero comics, while still subverting a fair bit of expectations one has for them. And I thought it all had a fair balance between silly comic shit and heartfelt character drama. ’tis good.

The characters in this are fun, badass, surprisingly layered, and overall very entertaining. Ryan Reynolds of course returns as Deadpool. But this is a slightly different Deadpool to the first movie, this one has suffered a little bit, this Deadpool is going through some shit. But he still retains the insanity that we’ve come to know from him. And Reynolds is once again fantastic in the role. Next we have Josh Brolin as Cable, the time traveling soldier out for blood. He’s a tragic, unrelenting badass that I found quite interesting. And Brolin is great in the role. We also get Zazie Beets as Domino, one of the mutants joining Deadpool on his quest. She’s an interesting foil for Wade’s antics, and she’s just overall a fun character. And Beets is great in the role. Julian Dennison is also great as the tragic mutant kid that Wade wants to help. WE also get supporting work from people like Morena Baccarin, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams, Eddie Marsan, Brianna Hildebrand, Rob Delaney, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates, and it’s good. It does include some good ol’ heroic brass, but it also takes inspiration from rock to create a score that captures the film’s mostly irreverent vibe. There’s also a lot of licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and while there are several I wouldn’t find myself listening to on my own, I thought all of them worked well enough within the movie for each scene.

Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds, this movie wasn’t directed by Tim Miller. Instead, David Leitch took the director’s chair for this one. And I think he did a great job. Sure, quiet scenes don’t have much to speak of, all the magic in those come from the actors. But the action scenes, holy fuck, they are great. Fights, shootouts, chases… this film has all kinds of action, and all of it is well shot and incredibly entertaining… and violent as hell. And just like the first movie, “Deadpool 2” is in large part a comedy. So is the humor any funny here? I think so. Fourth wall breaks, references, sight gags, deprecating jokes, it’s all here, and I laughed like an idiot at most of it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

While I probably prefer the first movie, “Deadpool 2” is still an absolute blast from start to finish. It has a good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/action, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Deadpool 2” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Deadpool 2” is now completed.

Can beauty come out of ashes?

Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Cinematic universes. Something every studio is trying to pull off after Marvel’s success with it. Most notably we’ve had DC/Warner Bros trying to catch up with their own DC Extended Universe. And it’s been a bit hit and miss for critics and general audiences alike. So let’s see if their big team-up movie is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League”.

When our world is threatened by the evil alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) have to create a team of superpowered individuals to try to stop this dangerous new enemy. And that’s really all this is about. Okay, there’s a bit more to it, but I prefer to keep plot details relatively vague. Now is this a good plot? For the most part I’d say so. It’s a very straight-forward plot compared to some of the earlier outings in this franchise. I think my only problem with it is that it feels a bit choppy during the first act, like it’s been cut down to fit in a two hour runtime (which it most likely has). But that choppy start aside, this is a fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable comic book adventure plot.

The characters in this vary a bit in their depth, but I found most of them to at least be quite enjoyable. Ben Affleck reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and we can tell that he has changed a bit since “BvS”. After what happened at the end of that movie, he has become a somewhat more light-hearted, less homicidal hero. And I liked seeing him as he worked to getting the team together to stop the end of the world. And Affleck is once again great in the role. Next we once again have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’s once again a fiercely inspiring, fun, and warm character that I’d follow to hell and back. Seeing her working to get the team together and all that is really interesting, and she’s once again a really cool character. And Gadot is once again great in the role. Next up we have Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash. He gets some decent character development, but for the most part he’s there to be the comic relief, and he works really well for that while still getting some badass moments. And I thought Miller was great in the role. Next we have Ray Fisher as Cyborg, the genius, yet damaged mechanical member of the gang. He gets a decent amount of character development here and I thought he was a really cool character. And Fisher was really good in the role. Next we have Jason Momoa as Aquaman, the half man/half Atlantean warrior. He is very much a superpowered version of Jason Momoa, and I think it kind of works because I find that persona quite enjoyable. So yeah, Momoa was really good in the role. Henry Cavill returns as Superman, and the little we see of him here is my favorite appearance of the character in this franchise. And Cavill was really good in the role. Now, let’s talk Steppenwolf (no, not the band). As a villain he’s… fine, I guess. He’s a big CGI monster with some lines hinting at some deeper stuff, but ultimately ends up becoming kind of generic. Thought Ciarán Hinds did a really good job voicing him though, suitably menacing. We also get supporting performances from people like Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Billy Crudup, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, and more… all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it was pretty good. Nothing special, heroic big brass tunes with some strings thrown in for added effect. It’s far from bad, and the various tracks work well within their respective scenes. And for those wondering about that “Danny Elfman to use Batman and Superman themes in the score”, it does occur, but it’s more snuck in rather than just overtly used as their own tracks… and I think it works surprisingly well.

The movie was directed by Zack Snyder… and Joss Whedon. As most people probably know, this movie had a very troubled production, with Snyder having to leave the project due to a personal tragedy, so Joss Whedon had to come in and do some reshoots. These things considered, the direction here is quite consistent. When a new director comes in to do reshoots, it could feel like a different movie in parts, but it’s remarkable how consistent it feels here. So is the direction in general any good? Yeah. It’s good, it flows pretty nicely, there’s some good shots here. And the action I quite liked. Now, it didn’t leave the same impact as the action in “Wonder Woman”, but it was easy to follow and I had quite a lot of fun with it. What I liked most about it was seeing the various heroes show off their abilities, with The Flash and his speedforce being the standout. And the visual effects here are for the most part damn good. Some things look a little off at times, from some backgrounds, to closeups of Steppenwolf (BORN TO BE WIIIIIILD!), to even Cyborg at times. But like I said, for the most part the effects look great (again, The Flash having some of the best ones).

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Despite a few flaws (that probably stem from production issues), I had a lot of fun with “Justice League”. It has a good plot, good characters, good music, and good directing/action/visual effects/humor. As previously mentioned, the plot is a bit choppy at the start, the villain is a bit bland, and the effects could be less than stellar at times. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League” is an 8,52/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Justice League” is now completed.

Come Together…

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

10 years. That is how long the Marvel Cinematic Universe has existed. Starting with 2008’s “Iron Man”, it has gone to become one of the biggest franchises in cinema. Say what you want about the movies themselves, but you can’t deny the impact this franchise has had on modern cinema. And now it’s time to talk about it’s latest outing. And it’s a big one.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Avengers: Infinity War”.

A powerful alien named Thanos (Josh Brolin) in on a quest to find all of the infinity stones so he can carry out a devastating plan. So the heroes of the Marvel universe have to team up to try and stop him. And that’s about as in-depth as I will go with the plot details in case anyone reading this hasn’t seen it yet (but want to). But what I can say is that there’s a lot of stuff going on throughout this plot, with several threads in various locations. I don’t envy any filmmaker who has to try and balance this many plot threads. But they really nailed it with this one. It’s a big, epic comic book plot that is surprisingly dark and emotionally charged while still giving us the fun superhero romp that we expect from these Marvel movies. It even made me tear up. Yeah, this is a good plot.

The characters in this are plentiful, and while I would’ve liked a bit more out of some of them, I understand why some were a little more sidelined, especially since the filmmakers had to get so many in there in general. Not gonna go through all that get development, but I will say that they’re handled very well. And those that doesn’t get as much here, they’re still cool and entertaining and well set up through the other movies. But let’s talk about Josh Brolin as Thanos. Holy shit, he is an awesome villain. Not only is he a big and intimidating new foe, but they actually give him layers and make him a compelling antagonist. You understand his motivation, even if you don’t necessarily agree with him. And that’s how some of the best villains work. And Brolin delivers a great performance. Sure, Thanos is a big CGI beast, but Brolin did the motion capture for it, and every little aspect of his performance shines through here. Now to just list a fuckload of actors here because they need to be mentioned, but I can’t go through ’em in detail (too many for that). Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Dave Bautista, Anthony Mackie, Letitia Wright, Tim Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Wong, Danai Gurira, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Dinklage, William Hurt, Terry Notary, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Michael James Shaw, Carrie Coon, Stan Lee, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Kerry Condon, and so many more (some I don’t wanna spoil). Fuck, that’s a lot of actors. All doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri, and it is stunning. A lot of big brass, some smaller and more emotional string pieces, and a few other things. It’s a score that perfectly complements the movie and fits each scene perfectly. It’s one of those scores that really added to the movie.

This movie was directed by Joe & Anthony Russo. And I have to say, well done, you two. Their directing here is big and sweeping (makes sense for a flick of this size), yet also tight and intimate, bringing good insight into the turmoil of the characters. And compared to the action scenes of their previous MCU outings, there’s not a lot of “Bourne” inspired shaky-cam here. It’s more locked down, giving us a better look at all the crazy shit that’s going on. Yes, there are a few shaky shots, but those make a bit of sense for their respective bits. But the action in general is shot relatively smoothly and it’s all quite badass. Heroes and villains tossing each other around and punching each other and shooting each other, and it’s all so much fun. It’s also surprisingly heavy-hitting, with every attack/hit feeling like there’s a lot of actual impact behind it. And at this point I don’t think I need to talk about the visual effects, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be extraordinary in these movies. And they are so here too. And Trent Opaloch’s cinematography is fantastic too, there are some truly breathtaking shots in this.

This movie just came out, but it has already been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,1/10 and is ranked #9 on the “Top 250” list.

“Avengers: Infinity War” is pretty much everything you could want from this type of movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Avengers: Infinity War” is a 9,73/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My final score for “Avengers: Infinity War” is now completed.

I honestly have no idea where they’ll go from here…

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

“Avengers: Infinity War” is almost here, and I am incredibly excited. So let’s talk about one of the latest entries into the MCU.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Thor: Ragnarok”.

After he gets banished to the planet of Sakaar, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has to find a way to return to Asgard to stop the evil Hela (Cate Blanchett) and the doomsday event known as Ragnarok. So now we have our Marvel space adventure. And I really liked it. The plot here is fun and keeps a fast pace that keeps it from dragging. In a lot of ways I prefer it to the other “Thor” plots, because it aims for a fun comic book adventure rather than trying to be convoluted (a la “The Dark World) or Shakespearean (a la the first one). But as much as I enjoy the plot here, I do have a problem with it. My problem is that it feels a little disjointed at times, since it tries to both do “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Planet Hulk” in it’s entire thing. Yes, I enjoyed it all, but those bits almost feel a bit disconnected, which makes me have to knock it down a little bit. But with that said, it’s still a really fun plot with a decent emotional core to it.

The characters in this are all entertaining and interesting in some way. First up we have Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the titular god of thunder. Here we see a somewhat different side of Thor, a changed Thor, a Thor that has learned to lighten up a bit. And while he is generally a more lighthearted person compared to previous movies, he still feels like the same character as before, only having gone through some evolution. And he’s a really enjoyable character. And Hemsworth is great in the role. Next up we once again have Tom Hiddleston as Loki, god of mischief and adoptive brother of Thor. He’s still a sneaky fucker, but you can still tell that he does kind of care about his brother. He’s still such an enjoyable presence. and Hiddleston is great in the role. Next up we have Cate Blanchett as Hela, the villain of the story. She is the goddess of death who has come to claim Asgard for herself. She’s a suitably intimidating villain with an interesting connection to the characters. While not the strongest Marvel villain, she works quite well for the story here. And Blanchett is really good in the role. Then we have Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, a badass lady that Thor runs into on Sakaar. Not gonna say too much as her story is unveiled in the movie, and it’s pretty cool. But like I said, she’s a total badass. And Thompson is great in the role. Then we have Mark Ruffalo returning as Bruce Banner/Hulk. He’s been on Sakaar for quite a while, and they play around with that in a few interesting ways in the movie. And Ruffalo is really good in the role. Then throughout the movie we get supporting work from people like Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Goldblum, Taika Waititi, Idris Elba, Clancy Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel House, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and I really liked it. Part of it is of course the big, dramatic, and emotional orchestral tunes that one would expect from a big comic book action movie like this. But then there are tracks here that take inspiration from 80s synth soundtracks, which makes this score stand out a bit, and just adds to the overall fun factor. And there’s a licensed song used in this movie, and if you don’t know what it is, I will not ruin it. But let’s just say that when they use it, I got chills. A great song that was used amazingly. Yeah, this movie has some great music.

This movie was directed by Taika Waititi, and I think he did a really good job with it. His directing here is fast and filled with tons of energy, making the movie feel really fun and breezy. The action scenes too are a lot of fun, with a lot of Taika’s energy being brought into them. The visual effects too are great. Yes, there’s like a moment or two of less than stellar green screen, but those moments are brief, and not too bad, so I’ll let it slide. This movie also features some of the most beautiful shots I’ve seen in a Marvel movie. This movie also has a lot of comedy in it, so much that this movie is even classified as a comedy. And is it funny? Yeah, I laughed. From chuckles to belly laughs. It’s an insanely funny movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Thor: Ragnarok” is a really fun space adventure, and by far the best “Thor” movie. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing/visual effects, and hilarious comedy. As previously mentioned, my one flaw with the movie is that it can feel a bit disjointed when going between certain plot points, but it doesn’t ruin it for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Thor: Ragnarok” is a 9,20/10. So I’d say that it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “Thor: Ragnarok” is now completed.

“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”. 

Movie Review: Iron Man (2008)

With the impending release of “Avengers: Infinity War” (Sidenote: I am insanely excited for it), I thought it was time to have a look at the one that started it all. The spark that ignited the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Iron Man”.

After getting captured by a group of terrorists, billionaire genius Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) builds a suit of armor to escape from the cave that he’s stuck in. After he reenters society, he decides to use this technology to fight dangerous criminals. So now we have our superhero origin story, and it’s the one that set the template for this huge franchise. And while we’ve seen this type of origin several times since, the way it’s handled here still stands out. The story has a sense of realism and weight to it that helps make it feel a bit more memorable and interesting than other origin stories out there. It has the fun superhero story, but it also has a good amount of drama that makes it one of the better origin stories out there.

The characters in this range from really interesting to just being entertaining cogs of the machine. Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark, an arrogant yet brilliant engineer/billionaire (#GBPP) who gets to learn a bit of a life lesson after getting captured by terrorists.The arc we see Tony go through is one we’ve seen since this first movie, but it still feels fresh and interesting so many years later due to the brilliant little details in his characterization. And Downey Jr. (who was washed up before this movie) is fantastic in the role. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts, Tony’s assistant/friend who helps with him with various things throughout the movie. And you of course see signs of the whole love interest thing throughout the movie, but they never go all out on it, which makes their relationship feel a little bit more real here. And Paltrow is really good in the role. Then we have Terence Howard (who was replaced by Don Cheadle in the sequel) as James “Rhodey” Rhodes, one of Tony’s oldest friends and a military man. He works as a nice foil to the more arrogant Tony since he helps ground the eccentric engineer a bit. And Howard is really good in the role. Then we have Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane (great name), Tony’s mentor and company partner. And yes, it’s kind of obvious where his character will go throughout the movie, but they still make it work thanks to him having an overall pleasant personality, but with some shadier undertones. And Bridges is of course great in the role. Then in the supporting cat you have people like Clark Gregg, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Paul Bettany, and Jon Favreau, all doing very well in their respective roles. It is a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Ramin Djawadi and it was epic. Sure, some tracks are hidden in the background as basic background noise (which is a common problem in a lot of modern film scores), but other tracks are really badass, implementing a really cool mix of orchestral instruments with an electric guitar to create this really cool sound that I think works really well for the character of Tony Stark/Iron Man.

The movie was directed by Jon Favreau (and written by a whole bunch of people), and what he did with this movie is amazing. He took this larger than life character/idea and he made it feel grounded in it’s style. He also made everything feel surprisingly gritty, making every action feel like there’s actual impact behind it. Both in quiet moments and during the action scenes, Favreau brings his A-game. And the visual effects are also quite spectacular, especially for 2008. When the movie wants you to fly with the Iron Man suit, it doesn’t half-ass everything, it really feels/looks like there’s an Iron Man suit flying through the skies.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best sound editing and Best visual effects.

“Iron Man” stills holds up magnificently ten years after it’s release. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Iron Man” is a 9,83/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Iron Man” is now completed.

The MCU. The house that Tony built.

Movie Review: Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)

This is exciting. First new DC animated movie of 2018. Even though there have been a few less than stellar ones over the years, I will always be excited for them. Anyway, let’s get on with the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight”.

Set in an alternate, Victorian era Gotham city, we follow Bruce Wayne (Bruce Greenwood) as he is stopping crimes in Gotham. And soon he has to find and stop a very dangerous serial killer known simply as… Jack the Ripper. So now we have our steampunk/Victorian era mystery starring Batman. And is this plot any good? Yes and no. On one hand you have this really cool idea of a steampunk Batman chasing after a killer, that’s a really cool idea. The execution here however is kind of average. They never let moments sink in, and I never felt fully invested in what was going on. There is a pretty good twist near the end of the movie that I won’t spoil, but let it be known that aside from that twist and also the overall idea, there isn’t too much about this plot that says “That’s actually really cool”. I wouldn’t call it bad, just kind of… okay.

The characters here do get some moments that make them a bit more interesting, but overall they don’t do too much to make us care too much about them. First up we of course have Bruce Wayne, rich playboy/philanthropist who at night dresses up like  grumpy bat-person and beats up criminals. He’s the same here as in most mediums, they do nothing new aside from the change of era. But I still enjoyed following him as he is decently likable. And Bruce Greenwood (Sidenote: His third time voicing the character) is great in the role. Then we have Selina Kyle, a sexy and charming yet tough woman. In this she’s an actress/entertainer rather than a cat burglar, and the stuff that she gets to do in this movie is pretty interesting. And Jennifer Carpenter does a really good job voicing her. Then we have James Gordon, still the commissioner of Gotham PD, still a very respectable man. They do some interesting stuff with him throughout the plot. Scott Patterson does a good job voicing him. As for the rest of the characters, they do nothing too noteworthy with them, but they work in this I guess. The cast, consisting of people like Anthony Stewart Head, Yuri Lowenthal, Grey DeLisle, John DiMaggio, William Slayers, and more, all do quite well in their roles.

As with most DC animated movies these days, the score was composed by Frederik Wiedmann. And once again he has composed a score that is exciting, tense, emotional, and just overall very fun to listen to throughout the movie. There was a scene in the movie that I only was somewhat invested in because of Wiedmann’s score. Dude’s really talented.

DC animation regular Sam Liu directed this, and I think he did a pretty good job. The animation looks pretty good, the action is pretty well handled and quite fun to watch at times. What I have a problem with most about the animation/direction are the designs of the characters. I haven’t read the comic that this is based on, but looking up panels and pages from this on google makes me think that they kind of missed something here. The characters stand out quite a bit here as they are quite cartoony, compared to some of the darker and more grimy backgrounds. Also, this of course doesn’t hold a candle to Mike Mignola’s art, but they could’ve at least tried a bit more in recreating the comic’s style. Oh well, I guess the animation/direction still works.

This has been decently received (I guess, data’s pretty limited). On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” isn’t one of DC animation’s strongest outings, but it’s still an entertaining little adventure. It has an okay plot, okay characters, great performances, great music, and good direction/animation. It is of course dragged down a little bit by a not very engaging plot and some characters not being the most interesting. Time for my final score. *I’m Batman!*. My final score for “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” is a 7,34/10. So while very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” is now completed.

Nananananananana Steampunk!

Movie Review: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017)

The final movie review of 2017. The final post of 2017 in general. It’s been a fun year filled with cool stuff. So let’s end on a predictable note. Once again, I’m reviewing a DC animated movie. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract”.

Nightwing (Sean Maher) rejoins the Teen Titans to help track down villainous cult leader Brother Blood (Gregg Henry) who seemingly has some sinister plan for the Titans. All while the loyalties of newest Titan member Tara (Christina Ricci) come into question. And that’s the best way I can explain the plot without spoiling stuff. But is this any good? Well, it’s not bad. They have some decent dramatic story bits, but I never got invested in any of it. There are interesting-ish twists, and there are some parts that made me go “yeah, that’s some good drama”. But when it comes to the whole picture I never found myself truly invested in it.

The characters here are decently interesting and entertaining. Sean Maher returns as Nightwing, the more fun version of Batman. He’s a cool, charming, and heroic badass that I enjoy following. And Maher is once again really good in the role. Kari Wahlgren returns as Starfire, the alien woman who also happens to be the leader of the Titans.  She’s fun, cool, and is just overall pretty interesting. And Wahlgren is really good in the role. Stuart Allan returns as Damian Wayne/Robin, son of Batman and former assassin apprentice. He’s come a long way since his total brat days, and he’s actually an endearing and interesting character. And Allan once again does a really good job in the role. Jake T. Austin is back as Blue Beetle, who gets a bit more development this time around since we learn more about his family relations and such, and it’s quite interesting. And Austin is really good in the role. Brandon Soo Hoo returns as Beast Boy, the shape-shifting fun guy of the group. And while he’s still mostly played as the slightly over-confident comic relief, he does get some decent dramatic moments here. And Soo Hoo is great in the role. Taissa Farmiga returns as Raven, the dark and quiet daughter of a demon. She doesn’t get as much to do as last time, but she’s still fairly interesting. And Farmiga is really good in the role. Then making her debut in these movies, we have Christina Ricci as Tara Markov/Terra, a young woman with a mysterious past (she can also control rocks, which is neat). She probably gets the most development in this movie, and it’s pretty interesting to follow. And Ricci is great in the role. Then we have Miguel Ferrer (may he rest in peace) as fan favorite character Deathstroke. Ferrer has such a commanding voice, so even when he has slightly less serious lines they come off as badass. Yeah, he’s great. Then you get a bunch of solid supporting performances from people like Gregg Henry, Maria Canals-Barrera, Meg Foster, Crispin Freeman, and more! Yeah, this is a well acted movie.

DC animation regular Frederik Wiedmann composed the score for this. And while it’s not his best, it’s still good. It’s fun and exciting and works quite well for all the scenes in the movie. Not much else I can say here.

Sam Liu is the director of this movie and I’d say the direction here is fine. There’s something about the animation here that makes it seem a little less good than usual. It’s not bad, but it seems to lack some of the detail and energy that previous movies have had. The action scenes are of course the best thing since they flow very well and are generally fun to watch. There’s also a lot of attempts at humor in this movie. Some land, some really don’t. For example, there’s a running gag in this movie that Beast Boy uses social media a lot (despite there being no indication of that in the previous movie he was in). It’s not the only out of place joke(s) in this movie, but it’s one of the more notable ones.

This movie (despite limited data on it) has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” isn’t really one of the best DC animated movies, but it’s still fairly enjoyable. It has an okay plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and okay directing/animation. My flaws (as previously mentioned) are that the plot isn’t the most engaging, the animation isn’t as good as usual, and some of the humor doesn’t land. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” is a 7,78/10. While flawed, it’s still definitely worth renting.

My review of “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” is now completed.

I’ll give the movie this: It’s the first movie in this DC animated timeline to not feature Batman in any capacity. Oh, and happy new year… I guess.

Movie Review: Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2016)

It feels good to be back. Sure, it wasn’t long ago since my last post, but I haven’t done a normal review since like Wednesday last week. And what do you know, this review is of another DC animated movie… one of those things I always talk about here. So let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League vs. Teen Titans”.

After Robin (Stuart Allan) does something really dangerous during a mission with the Justice League, he gets sent to train with the Teen Titans to learn how to be part of a team. And soon the Titans have to truly prove themselves when the dangerous demon Trigon (Jon Bernthal) emerges to destroy the world. So now we have our plot. And I have to start out with mentioning that the title is quite misleading. Yes, there is a part of this movie that features the Justice League and the Teen Titans being at odds, but it’s quite a brief sequence. Misleading title aside, I thought this was a good plot. The main focus on this plot lies in Robin trying to be part of the team and also Raven (Taissa Farmiga) struggling with her own demons. And it’s actually pretty engaging. Now, there is a scene that doesn’t have much purpose here and actually feels both out of place and like it slows the pacing down a bit. But it doesn’t ruin the overall experience for me, and I do still think this is a really good plot.

The characters here are fun, cool, interesting, and entertaining. Stuart Allan reprises his role as Damien Wayne/Robin from the previous DC animated movies, and Damien is still a bit of a brat, but not to an annoying length. He is actually decently compelling. And Allan is great in the role. Taissa Farmiga plays Raven, the closed-off and mysterious young woman with dark magical powers. And while Farmiga seems like she might be a bit bored at first, you can quickly gather that she’s just pulling off the quiet, closed-off style of Raven quite well. So yeah, she’s good. Then we have Kari Wahlgren as Starfire, the leader of the Titans. She’s tough, slightly naive, brave, and kind. And Wahlgren is great in the role. Then we have Jake T. Austin as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, a young man with some strange alien tech fused to his spine. He’s funny, he’s tough, and he’s just really interesting. And Austin does a really good job in the role. Then we have Brandon Soo Hoo as Garfield Logan/Beast Boy, a young man with the ability to transform into a whole bunch of animals. He’s used mainly for funny moments and cool action beats throughout, but I think that also works well for the character. And Brandon Soo Hoo is good in the role. Then we have Jon Bernthal as Trigon, the demonic antagonist of the movie. He doesn’t talk too much in the movie, and he does have some modifications to his voice. But you can still hear that it is Bernthal, and he is intimidating in the role. Then we have Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, Jerry O’Connell, Shemar Moore, Christopher Gorham, and Sean Maher reprising their roles from previous animated movies (to a more supporting capacity), and they all do very well in their roles. Overall, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by DC animation regular Frederik Wiedmann. And once again he has composed a score that is fun, dramatic, interesting, and just generally exciting. It works quite well for the movie, often elevating certain scenes. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used in a couple scenes in the movie, and they work fine I guess.

This movie was directed by Sam Liu, and he did a really good job here. His direction here is fast and energized without sacrificing any of the smaller, more quiet moments. And the animation in general here looks great (for such a small budget), with it being very fluent and just overall good looking. And the action scenes are a lot of fun. They’re fast, badass, fun, cool, and quit epic. There’s also a decent amount of humor in this movie, and for the most part it landed.

There’s barely any data on the sites I usually use for this. On Rotten Tomatoes it exists but has no rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Misleading title aside, “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is a damn good DC animated movie. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/animation/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is a 9,64/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is now completed.

Why not just call it “Teen Titans: Terror of Trigon”? Would’ve made more sense.