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: Wonder Woman (2017)

With the impending release of “Justice League”, I thought that it was time to finally get around to watching/reviewing this movie. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Wonder Woman”.

After an American soldier named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on the mysterious island of Themyscira, he finds himself at the mercy of the Amazons, the group of warrior women inhabiting the island. And he soon brings Diana (Gal Gadot), the princess of the island, to Europe to help in the fight against the Germans during World War 1. So now we have our origin story. And I honestly thought this was a solid plot. There is a bit of a fish out of water element to it, with Diana coming to our world and experiencing World War 1, as well as things people at the time took for granted. But it’s not just a fun little “Oh, she’s not from here” type of story, as it is also an interesting look into her origin and how she has to learn to be Wonder Woman, and there’s a surprising amount of emotion in that journey. The final act is the weakest, as it becomes kind of like the other DCEU movies, but I also feel like this movie earns it by having a great story for the rest of the runtime. Really, this is a good, emotional, not messy, and fun plot.

The characters here are fun and interesting and for the most part quite layered. Gal Gadot reprises her role as Wonder Woman (after 2016’s “Batman v Superman”), and I have to say that I really liked the character here. In “BvS” she was just a fun little addition that didn’t add anything of value, but here she becomes a real character. You see Diana grow as a character here, from a somewhat naive person who wants to see the world and doesn’t know shit about it, to something more. And unlike the DCEU other “heroes”, she’s not broody. She’s fun and optimistic and just incredibly likable. She gets a lot of great character development here and I think Gadot was great in the role. Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor, the soldier who crashes on Themyscira and acts as a sort of guide/love interest for Diana. And what I liked is that he’s not just some one-note person that is either total badass or a helpless idiot, he feels like a legit person here who helps a lot in the development of Diana’s character. And Pine is great in the role. Danny Huston plays one of the movie’s villains, and he’s a bit cartoony. He seems like he’s just evil for the sake of evil (muahaha). He gives a good performance, but the character isn’t very well developed… but I will not dock any points from the movie because I did kind of enjoy him here. Then I’m not gonna go in-depth with more characters, but I can say that the rest of them are pretty interesting. I’ll at least give you the list of actors instead. Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Saïd Taghmaoui, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya… and they’re all great. This is seriously a talented cast.

The score for the movie was composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams and I thought it was great. It’s big, epic, dramatic, fun, triumphant, awe-inspiring, and just overall worked very well for the movie, often elevating scenes throughout the movie. It is probably my favorite of the DCEU scores so far.

This movie was directed by Patty Jenkins and I thought she did a great job with it. Her direction has a lot of energy to it, keeping it from getting boring. And that is important, because this is an almost 2,5 hour long movie, but I never felt that it dragged, often due to Jenkins’ energy-filled direction. And holy shit, colors! There are actual colors in this DC movie! Let’s talk about the action. While there’s a ton of slow-motion in this (which I hoped they’d use less of in future movies), it didn’t bother me too much and I enjoyed the action scenes. And by enjoyed I mean that there are some fucking awesome action scenes in this. There’s one scene especially that is in a battlefield (people who’ve seen this know which scene I mean) that is one of the best action set pieces of the year. AS for visual effects in this movie, they range from terrific to meh. There were a couple moments where stuff looked less than stellar, but I’m not gonna take points away because they weren’t really that big a distraction, but I thought it could be worth mentioning.

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 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/100.

“Wonder Woman” is a great movie. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Wonder Woman” is a 9,76/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Wonder Woman” is now completed.

Dear “Justice League”. Please be good.

Movie Review: Soldier (1998)

Space… The final frontier. And that’s it, no more “Star Trek” for you. You’re instead getting a different type of space thing!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Soldier”.

In the not too distant a future, an aging soldier (Kurt Russell) finds himself abandoned by his superiors, now having to live in a colony on a distant planet. And soon he finds himself having to defend his new home when genetically engineered super soldiers attack. So yeah, this plot isn’t original or very engaging. It has a lot of familiar elements. Bit of “Shane”, bit of “Universal Soldier”, bit of other things I can’t think of right now. So yeah, not very original, but it’s executed decently enough to be considered passable.

The characters in the movie, while not the most layered, are entertaining and interesting enough to watch. Kurt Russell plays the character of Todd 3465 very stoically, but not 100% uninterested/dead, For pretty much the entire movie he has a blank facial expression, but if you look into his eyes you can see that there’s rage and fear in there. And by fear I mean fear of failing his superiors. Blank expression but his eyes say everything… that’s some great fuckin’ acting! Jason Scott Lee played one of the next-gen super soldiers and he was really badass. Sean Pertwee played one of the men that Todd gets to know on this strange planet, and he is really good in the role. Connie Nielsen plays Pertwee’s wife in the movie and she’s really good. Jason Isaacs plays the obvious dickbag in the movie and he’s great… he’s just great at playing villainous characters. We also got Gary Busey as one of the superior officers in the movie and unlike most of his other performances, he is not playing a crazy and over-the-top character… he’s playing it very straight and he does a really good job. Yeah, this movie has some really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Joel McNeely and it was really good. His score was fun, exciting, and just fun. I really can’t say much else. It doesn’t do any unique things and it doesn’t make me feel various emotions… it’s just a simple action movie score that sounds good and works for the movie.

This movie was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and I think he actually did a solid job here. The shots look really good and the action scenes are very well handled. My biggest gripe with his directing comes with something that occurs in pretty much all of his films… slow motion. I do think it has a place in movies, but the use of it here is not really that good. For one, it is used at some really baffling moments, and it also looks kind of bad. And like I kind of said, the action here is really good. It’s badass. Speaking of visual things, the effects (for the most part) look great! The sets that they built look awesome and the mix of practical/CGI looks good for the most part. A few of the effects in the movie look a little wonky, but overall the effects in this look really good. There are also quite a lot of references to “Blade Runner” in this movie… just thought I’d mention it.

 

This movie has not been too well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 10% (ouch) positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,0/10.

“Soldier” is a surprisingly solid action movie. It features an okay plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. However it loses a few points with the plot being quite bland and the slow motion in this movie being pretty bad. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Soldier” is an 8,65/10. So while it is flawed, I’d say it’s worth buying!

My review of “Soldier” is now completed.

*Looks at box officer numbers* OUCH! That is kind of sad.

“Wonder Woman” Comic Con Trailer

Comic Con, you lovely bastard!

So Comic Con keeps giving us awesome stuff. And this time we are talking about the trailer for “Wonder Woman”! So we get to see Diana (Gal Gadot) discover a man washed up on the shores of her home. This man turns out to be Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who is a soldier and becomes Wonder Woman’s love interest. And then we get to see battles and badassery and we will finally get a really awesome female-led superhero movie! Okay, I can’t say that the movie will be awesome, it might actually turn out to be shit… but the trailer makes it look awesome! Wonder Woman doesn’t need a man. She only needs her sword, shield, lasso of truth, and overall badassery. I am so pumped for this movie, it looks so cool! “Wonder Woman” is set to come out in June of 2017.

So what are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to “Wonder Woman”? As always, leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Review: Gladiator (2000)

gladiator_wallpaper

History is something that has always interested me. I don’t know why shit that happened a long time ago is so interesting to me… it just kinda is. And that means historical movies should interest me more than anything, right? Well that might be true in some cases. But then there are shit historical movies as well. The movie we are taking a look at now is sort of a historical movie. It isn’t really a historical movie in the sense of it following a real historical figure, but rather is set in a time period which is now considered history.

Boys and girls… “Gladiator”.

This movie follows Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe). He is a great general who have won many battles. Why is that important? Because it is part of his character and because it plays into the story. After one battle he is betrayed by Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the emperor’s corrupt son. He got Maximus’ son and wife killed and got Maximus imprisoned. After a little while he gets bought by a guy and is turned into a gladiator in the great arena together with a bunch of other guys, including a black man named Juba (Djimon Hounsou). And through the movie we get to see how he goes from low ranking gladiator to what I like to refer to as “Mr. Big Cheese”. And seeing this story/journey unfold throughout the movie is pretty fucking awesome. Not only does it show the battles Maximus goes through to get higher rank, but it also shows the political intrigues brewing beneath it all… and that is to me very interesting. So yeah, the story in both idea and execution was excellent.

The characters all have different personalities and those personalities are easy to see and they are very well-written. I don’t really have too much more to say there otehr than the fact that I was very interested in the character of Maximus Decimus Meridius. I am not saying I can relate to the guy, but I am saying I really found him interesting and intriguing. Also, all characters in this movie are incredibly well-acted. The actors do a tremendous job filling the shoes (or sandals in this case) of these characters.

The music really did help sell the time period. Not only because it really had the ambience that would be needed to sell it, but also because it had some pretty epic tracks. And while I can’t list them on the top of my head I can at least say that I loved it.

Ridley Scott, you are a magnificent magnificent filmmaker! This movie looks amazing! The camera work is fantastic in both just regular scenes and action scenes. Sure, there is a little bit of shaky-cam during the action scenes but not enough that it bothered me. Ridley Scott made a very good looking movie. Also, the kid who plays a (sort of) key part in the story was not too bad either. You probably think I should have mentioned that in the “Characters/Actors” segment, but I didn’t because I felt it fit better here on “General Stuff”.

Time to see how the movie did among the movie sites and critics! On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it got the average 64/100. Roger Ebert didn’t seem to like this movie too much since he gave it 2/4 stars saying:

“It employs depression as a substitute for personality, and believes that if characters are bitter and morose enough, we won’t notice how dull they are.”

On imdb.com this movie has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #47 on the “Top 250” list. This movie also won 5 Oscars (Best picture, Best Leading Actor, Best Costume Design, Best sound, Best Visual Effects). It was also nominated for an additional 7 Oscars (Best supporting actor, best director, Best screenplay directly for screen, Best cinematography, Best film editing, Best original score, Best set decoration).

I have given my thoughts about a few things on “Gladiator”. This movie has an interesting story, great acting, fantastic music, great action scenes, interesting characters and one of the best endings in movie history. Time for the final score. My final score for “Gladiator” is a 9,62/10 which grants it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

“Gladiator” is finally reviewed.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?