Venom: Sucks So Good

Venom has some serious suckage. It isn’t good, but its good enough. Put this movie on a pie chart and a good chunk is like Suicide Squad and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a baby. But being a bad movie doesn’t mean it is terrible because it is quite a bit fun. Seriously, two thumbs up.

I was already kind of negative before this movie came out. It looked like a bit silly, and Venom without Spider-Man isn’t exactly interesting. Eddie Brock is Venom because of Spider-Man. The trailers made it look visually messy or bland.

But then I heard some good, or at least not horrendous, things from people and the box office returns were positive. So, why not see it? What else am I doing at 5 PM on a Friday when I have to be up at 7 AM the next morning? I haven’t been to a movie since either Rampage or Ant-Man and The Wasp. Whichever came first. If nothing else, I heard the post-credits scene is worth a $14 ticket.

Everything that isn’t Eddie Brock and Venom is a train wreck. But the train wreck never stops. You know how in another Tom Hardy movie, Mad Max: Fury Road, the chase builds and builds and gets one percent bigger then two percent bigger and then three percent bigger? This is if a train wreck crashing into more train wrecks found a way to not stop and still arrive at its destination in a pile of twisted metal and fire like a Looney Toons skit. When other characters are on-screen you’re sitting there like “WHERE IS VENOM AND EDDIE?”

The dynamic is where the fun is. Think of a buddy cop movie. Venom is beyond the bad cop, he’s an asshole. He’s just absurd. Eddie Brock is mumbling, bumbling doofus.


No calm down.


Come on relax.


Oh Jeez.

The last person you should ever listen to about their own movies is Tom Hardy. Mad Max: Fury Road is fantastic and while this movie isn’t good, his stuff in the movie is the best part of it all. Their interactions are fantastic. His complaints that all his good stuff was cut from the film seems silly, since his stuff was the only good and best part of the whole movie. If there was 40 minutes of missing footage of those two then I am totally down for an extended cut. Give it to me. The two of them have some absolute money lines together.

I’m not lying or being a sensationalist fanboy when I say that you can have a good time at this movie for that alone.

Now, if you’re looking for a nice cohesive well told story with multi-dimensional characters? Nah (Although that is kind of the movie’s charm).

The first 30-ish minutes of this movie is nearly walk-out bad but then at minute 31-ish it finally does something. The beginning of the movie is the kind of stuff you’re going to skip past on any re-watches.

Worst super hero movie villains list: Steppenwolf, the Dark Elf guy from Thor 2, Abomination, Bulls-Eye, Apocalypse, Doomsday, Venom era Spider-Man 3, Electro, fart cloud Galactus and then fart cloud Parallax. There are a ton of terrible villains in these movies.

You’d agree those are all terrible? Lets go about 12 rungs down the ladder. Acting. Motivation. Music. Presentation. Design. Character. The absolute worst.

The Life Foundation and Evil Business Guy Carlton Drake and Riot are some of the worst villains. They’re from a pre-Avengers world where the motivation is “They’re just evil. Who cares. Its comic books. Shut up. Bad guy does bad stuff.”

Carlton Drake is making out and having gross PDA with Being Evil. And the speed at which his Evil accelerates is numbing. Just laugh. They literally combined every Evil Businessman trope into one character and then turned up the suckage. Doesn’t get any better any further into the movie, just gets worse. There were points in his Evil Plan where I couldn’t help it but laugh during a Super Serious Scene.

Poor poor love story and love interest. She gets the bare minimum of any form of character you could give someone.

Shaky and suspect dialogue in a lot of scenes. “Have a nice life!”

A great chase scene and a couple of neato fight moves, but the more CGI that is on-screen the bigger a visual mess you’re suffering through. I can’t imagine the migraine I would get in 3D. A nighttime fight between a black CGI goop monster against a charcoal grey CGI goop monster splooping punches of gloopy impact is just… what were they thinking? There are moments in the big action climax where I literally couldn’t figure out what is happening or who is who.

The PG-13 saps some of the life and impact from scenes. There are things that should be more visceral than they are. It doesn’t need to go full vile gore-sploitation mess, but Venom can be a really visceral character. There are elements of body horror and gore to his story and actions. Some of the actions and motivations feel a bit limp as the numbing of anything too extreme is a bit lame. Imagine if you never got more than sideboob in a movie about strippers? Either be PG-13 or be R but trying to be in the middle results in a tonal mess.

In a world where Logan and Deadpool and Dredd exist, you can have a successful R rated Venom.

I still liked it quite a bit. I wouldn’t really say it felt tonally different or really all that distinct. It fits in with the pile. There’s a good, charming performance and a few neat ideas here that are holding that train wreck together as it rolls into the station. I almost don’t think this movie “works” without it being terrible where it is terrible.

As for a sequel, the movie is there and the stinger makes you want to try again and show up again. Take another swing and get someone who has a clue to put it together. Or maybe keep it a bad mess. I don’t know. It was fun and sometimes that’s all a movie has to be.


WWE Summerslam: This One Was Just Right

Wrestling is great. It is a variety show with action and comedy over a soap opera. It’s a stage play of comic book storylines played characters portrayed as super heroes and super villains. And when it all comes together, its worth it. WWE Summerslam got it right. Stories don’t have to be long, drawn out and complicated. Short and sweet, simple and effective,

I was expecting a 5+ hour show with some serious crap. While not everything was spectacular, there wasn’t anything really worth skipping on the main show. The whole thing was worth the time and money.

Pre-show Kick-off:

Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina def. Rusev and Lana, Cedric Alexander def. Drew Gulak, The B-Team def. The Revival

The Pre-Show doesn’t matter.

The Latino Guy, with the gimmick of having a hot girlfriend, beat the European Guy, with the gimmick of having a hot girlfriend. 205 Live did something where moves occurred. A match happened with the worst Tag Division in years.

There’s no way to care about 205 Live. The moves are fine, but Cruiserweight wrestling is whatever now. It isn’t like it used to be where you could only see the acrobatic stuff from the luchadors, Japanese fellas and little Americans. Seth Rollins is flipping around and he’s a main eventer. Jeff Hardy, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Balor and AJ Styles all flip around and be acrobatic. Sticking these fellas guys in their own division just segregates them from requiring caring. There are small dudes all over the main WWE roster. Having these 205 Live guys on their own just shows they don’t matter. They’re not in the same league as anyone on Raw of SmackDown! Has anything interesting happened on 205 Live since Enzo Amore got canned? I wouldn’t know because these guys don’t get character time on TV.

Who cares.


Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (with Dean Ambrose) def. Dolph Ziggler (with Drew McIntyre)
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Easily the best program on Raw. Probably the best one since Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho with the Festival of Friendship. These guys have carried a bloated 3 hour show for weeks now. Dolph finally finds a character that works, with a serious heavy that can back him up. Seth has been valiant as a baby face

Seth Rollins with the Thanos vest and the Infinity Bootlet. Remember what I was saying about super heroes?

Dolph Ziggler with the Rick Rude pants. Good to see he’s just embracing being a shameless amalgamation of nostalgic characters that got over instead of pretending he isn’t a rip off and not being over with the crowd.

Beef Ambrose’s haircut is a dead giveaway of a heel turn. Bald guys are not face wrestlers without being a heel.

After all the shenanigans in this build up it was nice to get just a simple match. Minor shenanigans, but nothing that makes the match or win feel cheap or dirty. This match was worth all the wait. These guys are all money. A Seth win keeps the good times Rollins.

Two thumbs up.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day def. The Bludgeon Brothers via DQ (no title change)
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This is almost another who cares. The New Day are silly and fun. The Bludgeon Brothers are silly and okay. Wacky dudes against bush people zombie hunters. Pretty straight forward match. Heels do big stuff. Faces make a comeback. Heels cut it off. Then heels get themselves disqualified instead of losing their titles.

One big gripe:
The Bludgeon Brothers are using prop hammers and they still do the stupid HHH hand protected sledge-hammer belly shot? Prop hammers. How did no one think to make these “usable” in this very exact instance? It looks silly with HHH does it, but it looks totally absurd when they’ve got their hand on the hammer end of a giant prop hammer.

A DQ win keeps things “undecided”. That’s fine, but I miss the days when the big pay-per-view events were definitive. There’s not much else going on at Smackdown! so I guess you gotta keep this running.

Sideways thumb.

Braun Strowman def. Kevin Owens
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This is all Strowman has to do. Come out. Dominate. Less is more with anyone who can take the label “special attraction” since you keep everyone wanting more. Dudes like Strowman and Lesnar need to tease the audience. Braun shouldn’t be doing long matches. When he’s in a real match it makes it a big deal.

Owens at this point is a mid-card heel jobber. He needs a break to rehab his credibility because he’s eating a couple more pins away from being on the pre-show with Rusev.

Thumbs up.

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte def. Becky Lynch, Carmella
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Mella is money. Her gimmick is great. She’s grating and you want to see her lose. If you’d told me that she’d be the longest tenured out of her, Enzo and Big Cass then I wouldn’t have believed you. Her trash talk during the match is impressive. It’s a lost art that only a couple of wrestlers still do. It makes wrestling feel like its crossing over to real sport.

Three ways are usually a bit of a mess. Usually a lot of one-on-one wrestling while someone takes a nap after a standard move somehow pseudo-KO’s them. But the women never really took much of a break. When they were down, it wasn’t an age before they’d get back in. It was a constant cycle. There was a solid mix of Becky-Charlotte, Charlotte-Carmella, Carmella-Becky.

Carmella worked her butt off and kept up with Becky and Charlotte. There were a lot of really interesting moves, transitions and moments. Women’s matches were for so long a bathroom break but now they’re worth the commitment. Everyone looks great coming out of this.

Charlotte pinning Becky is interesting. Carmella never technically “lost” her title and so she still has a legit claim going forward. Becky being pinned makes Charlotte look stronger, but also like a baddie for doing it to a friend.

That whole ending just has me expecting a Becky heel promo on Smackdown despite her finally REALLY getting over with the crowd. I’ll crap myself if she drops some “Fans didn’t believe in me line!” like a bad Ziggler promo.

Charlotte doesn’t work as a face. She’s a head taller than all the other women. She’s probably 130-150% their body weight. She’s powerful and athletic. She’s the daughter of Ric Flair. Those aren’t baby face characteristics. Hopefully they don’t butcher this.

Thumb up.

WWE Championship Match: Samoa Joe def. AJ Styles via DQ (no title change)
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AJ is phenomenal and he’s a better all-round performer than he used to be. He’s way better at making things look like a fight, like he’s mad, like its serious than he used to be. Mic work goes a long way to selling a match. Moves are neat, story is the meat.

Joe is great and a convincing badass. Its unfortunate he’s been injured as frequently as he has since it takes your credibility away when you’re supposed to be a destroyer and you miss month after month with injury. It is kinda supposed to be the other way around.

He’s so acrobatic for a big guy. The top rope knee and his corner moves are worth it. The Coquina Clutch looks like a real submission. He looks like he’s fighting.

These guys got me to buy in. AJ stepped up his game and it got me. Not just moves, he really was fighting like he was pissed off. All the drama with his wife and daughter, Joe claiming he was their new “daddy”, as 2018 as that is, was still great.

AJ snapping at the end and going to town with the chair was fitting. A messy finish works here. It helps tell the story. It fits. Things will continue, but it doesn’t feel lame.

Thumbs right up.

The Miz def. Daniel Bryan
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The Miz Rules. Daniel Bryan is boring and played out at this point. Nothing about him has changed in the better part of four years now. He’s a little dude who tries hard and chants “yes”.

The Miz is a heat magnet. He’s an actual superstar. He’s an actual character. And he’s over. Watching people Yes! chant along with Daniel Bryan is always funnier when the same people are doing the Yes! chant while Miz is delivering his own stupid kicks. Pick a side you bums.

The Miz winning was pretty unexpected, although the crying Daniel Bryan marks will tell you otherwise. I cheered when Miz won. He deserves it. He’s been an MVP on Raw and Smackdown! carrying the primary non-main event program for months. Using shenanigans to win is okay and makes sense. He’s a trickster. He’s a heel.

This match made sense from the build to the promo to the moves to the finish. So good.

Two thumbs up fist pumping!

Finn Balor def. Constable Baron Corbin
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Seeing the Demon was neat, if out of the blue. Squashing Corbin is the only way to go. You don’t go all anime with Balor’s “Final Form” unless you make it dominant. Regular Finn Balor? 50-50 wrestler in the mid-card. Demon Finn Balor? World title level wrestler capable of easy squash matches in the mid-card.

One thumb up.

United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
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I don’t understand Shinsuke Nakamura. I don’t understand his appeal. Once his entrance is over, what are you left with? A skinny guy with limp offence and a lame finisher (Don’t @ me over the Kinshasa. Its a limp looking kick most of the time. It’s as bad as the Zig-Zag in how bad it looks when it isn’t perfect.) He’s had maybe 3 actually good matches since debuting on the main roster. He’s trying to be a heel now, and he’s doing okay, but he still does his baby face stuff to get cheers from the crowd. Like, come on dude.

Jeff Hardy has lost about a step since returning and he was already about 3 steps behind from his prime. Fun nostalgia act, but the dude isn’t much in the ring anymore. Credit to him though, he gave it everything he could in this match. He took some rough moves. He crashed and burned leaving a win on the table for Shinsuke.

The Orton tease at the end was confusing. Blandy Boreton should not be a babyface and even as a heel he’s played out.

Thumb up.

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey def. Alexa Bliss
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What was on Ronda’s face? What is that makeup? Did Jeff Hardy not have any time to help her out? Does she want to be Proxima Midnight? Luna Vachon?  Or did she have a Create-A-Wrestler from an old SmackDown! game in mind when she showed up? What if Ronda has terrible taste and we only didn’t know because she couldn’t rock that in the UFC?

Alexa is great. She’s a real character. She’s the bitchy high school cheer leader who always gets her way through manipulation and cattiness. Ronda is radical. She’s a real badass. This match had one way to go and it nailed it. Any Ronda match against anyone but Nia Jax or Charlotte Flair should be this. Ronda would destroy every woman in the history of the company. This was the exhibition squash it needed to be.

The Bella’s can GTFO.

Two thumbs all the way up!

Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns def. Brock Lesnar
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Roman is great. Brock is better the less he does otherwise every match is the same. He does some crappy fake UFC strikes and then a bunch of suplexes before getting gassed 5 minutes in only to get hit with a babyface comeback before squashing it.

The Braun Strowman promo was weird. “I’m so manly I refuse to be a coward and stab anyone in the back. That’s why I’m going to stand here all match so you know I’m going to cash in after you’re tired and beaten and bruised and exhausted, instead of you being surprised by me cashing in under those circumstances.”

Having nothing but money moves is the way to go. Lesnar-Goldberg was great. No BS between them. Just the big stuff, go short and hard and fast. This match could have fit in a tweet. Super man punch, super man punch, spear, guillotine, spine buster, guillotine, spine buster, missed spear (not a suicide dive, Michael Cole), F5, spear, pin, win.

Brock taking out Braun saves the whole promo and Braun’s promise. Roman winning actually worked.

Three thumbs up.

The Room: When an Alien in Human Skin Makes a Movie

Image result for the room

The Room is the greatest mess in cinematic history. It is the Citizen Kane of bad movies. It is the answer to the question of what would happen if something went so far below a zero that it somehow became a 10.

Its awful. It makes no sense. Characters existing is the extent of their existence. It has character moments, arcs and plot that are dropped in the same scene they’re introduced. It is edited at random. In the language of cinema, nothing in The Room works.

This movie is unwatchably watchable. If you were to sit down and try to watch take this seriously, it would feel like you’re “being stabbed in the head.” But sitting down to watch this as a delusional vanity project gone awry and it becomes one of the best 90 minutes you’ll get out of a film.

Tommy Wiseau is the center of the film on screen, as really good guy Johnny, and off screen as well. This man directed, wrote, adapted, produced, starred in and funded the entire $6,000,000 film. Yes, this movie costs $6,000,000.

This entire film is a series of things just happening. Its almost more of a mockumentary around a guy and his life than it is a proper dramatic film.

This is the cinematic equivalent of giving any random person a budget and a script and a camera and a crew. It should make you appreciate how “good” even a regular bad movie is.

Image result for the room

Tommy cannot enunciate. Tommy cannot dress himself. He’s an alien in human skin.

The Room is what the result would be if an alien species studied late 90’s soap opera TV, had a computer program amalgamate a script and then was performed by the aliens in human skin like the first Men In Black movie.

It’s not difficult to find secondhand embarrassment for the actress portraying Johnny’s “future wife” Lisa. She’s given an awkward wardrobe, absurd “motivation” and has 4 or 5 sex scenes. The sex scenes are uncomfortable. They last the entire length of the bad and cheesy love songs. Johnny pounds away at her belly button, has a zombie orgasm and then shows the entire world his butt. Why? Because its “Hollywood”, I guess.

Time passes in the film without any establishment of time passing. Characters talk about meeting up tomorrow and are in the next scene. No establishing shots, no passage of time shot, no CHANGE OF OUTFITS! They just happen.

Set design is bizarre. Like a showroom apartment from a 2003 Ikea. There are candles and photographs of spoons everywhere.

The logic of the film is bizarre. The game of football is just awkwardly hot potato-ing a ball around. Marijuana is considered an aggressive “fly off the handle” drug. Attempted murder is quickly forgiven. Stumbling into a garbage can sends you to the hospital.

The dialogue of the movie is completely bizarre, which probably is why the characters are so completely bizarre with actions that are completely bizarre.

  • Claudette becomes the voice of the people at one point, literally saying “What are these characters doing here?”
  • Tommy Johnny responds to the story of a woman being hospitalized by the beating of a jealous ex-lover with “Ha ha ha what a story, Mark!”
  • Characters will bring up something in conversation and then say “I don’t want to talk about it” after them bringing it up.
  • Adultery is committed and forgiven immediately, but then unforgiven about 12 seconds later in the same scene.

Does any of this sound like it was written by a human?

  • “I did not hit her. I did not. Oh hi Mark.”
  • “Anyway how’s your sex life?”
  • “Anything for my princess ha ha ha!”
  • “Its not over everybody betray me I fed up with this world!”
  • “If a lot of people love each other the world would be a better place to live.”
  • “Cheep Cheep Cheep Cheep Cheep.”

The best performance in this entire movie comes from the least trained actor on set. Drug dealer Chris R, played by former Olympic bobsledder Dan Janjigian, is excellent. He’s legitimately intimidating and terrifying. There is more conviction in his lines than the rest of the entire film. But even a performance that good is still undermined by The Room as people just appear in the scene like its Looney Tunes while shouting awkward lines. Somehow the violent, giant, gun weilding Chris R is subdued awkwardly by Johnny and his best friend Mark while Lisa yell cries about drugs at a whimpering Denny, Johnny’s pseudo son.

There’s a sad truth in film though. While its a mess, its clearly written from some place of truth or experience in Tommy Wiseau’s heart. There’s something of a biopic going on here, where nice guy Johnny gets manipulated, lied to and taken advantage of by the people close to him. A lot of the dialogue sounds like something from a bitter ex-lover.

Almost the entire male cast is portrayed as sexual vultures. Lisa is a petulant whore. Mark wants to, and does, bang Lisa. Denny wants to bang Lisa. Peter talks about how great Lisa is. Some no-name at the party has one line in the movie and it is “Lisa is so hot” while making a horny face.

Writing this may have been cathartic and even necessary for Tommy, but then turning this play into a film became an ego stroke. Some characters exist only to show that Tommy Johnny is a great guy.

Note: Due to Johnny clearly being a proxy for Tommy, I left in all the places I wrote Tommy.

One of these characters is Mike (pictured) aka Me Underpants Guy, who needs a private place to fool around with his girlfriend. So of course great guy Johnny allows them to use his couch whenever they want.

One of the nonsense characters is Denny, the orphan who was too old to adopt so Tommy Johnny just pays for his entire life as a pseudo father. All he does is be sexually creepy and weird, but Johnny loves him anyway because Johnny is so great.

One of these characters is Claudette, the future mother in law, who essentially repeats how Johnny is rich, nice, caring and an amazing man that all women would love to have.

One of these characters is the Flower Shop Owner, who exists to tell Tommy Johnny how he’s a great customer and great boyfriend.

Most of the characters essentially exist to say “Johnny, you are so great. You’re the best person” in a variety of ways.

Even Mark, the antagonist of the film and Johnny’s “best friend” who is banging Johnny’s “future wife” which frays and destroys the relationships in the plot of movie, will regularly talk about how great of a dude Johnny, his best friend, is. He will say this two seconds after putting his shirt on after having awkward staircase coitus with Lisa.

In years since, Tommy Wiseau has said he was making a dark comedy or a satire of a drama. Absolute crap. He went for a serious American drama and failed so miserably he made a comedy of errors so great he crafted one of the greatest comedy films of all time. The film grossed $1800 in its theatrical release. Marketing of the movie was a billboard in LA, that stayed up for 5 years, and Tommy Wiseau throwing pamphlets at people prior to the films premiere.

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The film is a complete mess. It takes itself seriously. It wants to hit heavy but is undermined in wild swings of tone. Random thrown in scenes interrupt any pacing you may find. Its a movie that doesn’t know what a movie is. Writing, dialogue, acting, screenplay, editing is atrocious.

The movie climaxes in a suicide after Tommy humps Lisa’s clothing following a lackadaisical condo trashing after Tommy shove fights Mark and tells Lisa she’s a bitch. That literally all happens inside 10 minutes.

It was written as a stage play and could not get distribution as a book. Logically when you encounter those obstacles you turn it into a self financed film. The production crew was replaced twice during filming.

So how did this movie become a big deal? Well, The Room was played on loop for April Fools 2009 by Adult Swim. That was the movie’s big break. Beyond that it had a small cult following in LA among film industry people.

How did I find this movie? I wanted to watch Room, the Brie Larson film that won an Academy Award. I didn’t think twice when I saw a theatrical showing of The Room, so I mosied on down to the historic Garneau Theatre. Imagine my surprise when I got this film, complete with fans throwing plastic spoons and singing along to the love songs. My brain couldn’t compute. It was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. And it was great. Everyone should see this movie once. Twice if you’re feeling cute.


If you liked this, please go like my page on Facebook. I’ll be reviewing The Disaster Artist both as a book and a film next.

Venom – Trailer 2 Reaction: This movie looks terrible.

By no means is a trailer indicative of the final product. Its an ad. Venom could be good, but impressions from the teaser, first trailer and second trailer leave me expecting an awful mess. I’d love to be wrong, but… jeez it looks like Sony went and Sony’d all over a Spider-Man movie again.

Forgive if I ramble, but it looks cheap and schlocky. Maybe its the suit. Maybe its because it gives me edge-lord “I’m So HaRdCoRe” vibes. Maybe its because it looks like its a Zack Snyder movie with that washed out visual palette.

There are some promising badass things: ripping the face is badass, the axe hands are badass, the big tongue is badass, having all the Hybrid symbiotes on their own is badass.

But there are some dumbass things: indistinguishable character design is dumbass, the goofy Venom face worming itself off the body to have a chat is dumbass, the “ima eat u” monologue is dumbass.

I just look at this and wonder if anyone is excited to watch this CGI fight at night between a black symbiote with no distinguishable markings versus a dark grey symbiote with no distinguishable markings? If it wasn’t for someone telling me who was who in this still I would not have known.

I feel as if the film going to suffer from what plagued Suicide Squad: combat and plot better off meant for an R rating but neutered for PG-13, and then a #bigdumb CGI ending because that’s in the recipe book for comic movies.

It just feels off.

The concept is interesting enough. Maybe it is Actually Good. Or maybe its such a bad schlocky mess it takes the needle so far below zero it comes back around to a ten.

I’m not too familiar with director Reuben Fleischer. His IMDB isn’t inspiring but there have been a lot of directors with meh previous work who have come into big budget action flicks and done well. The cinematographer worked on Black Swan, Requiem For A Dream and Pi so you can expect some interesting and weird camera work that could be hella neat.

But like, come on. Its Sony. The studio that couldn’t keep Adam Sandler happy enough to be his exclusive studio. The studio that bungled Venom once before. The studio that bungled Spider-Man so badly, twice, that they just gave most of the property back to a rival studio just to have the public not hate Spider-Man anymore. The studio that made Ghosbusters 2016 and banked on it being the start of a cinematic universe.

Or maybe its good and writing this was a waste of everyone’s time. Guess we’ll figure out on October 5th.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Exists and That is Fine

Now that The Last Jedi has happened, can we all agree at this point there are two good Star Wars movies? A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. That’s it, right? Return of the Jedi is fine, prequels are bad, The Force Awakens is likeable and Rogue One smells.

I never saw this movie when it came out. I wasn’t excited to see it at launch and I figured I’d wait for Netflix.

Even once it was on Netflix I kept deciding to waste 2-3-4 hours on reruns of The Office, Brooklyn 99, Oceans Eleven and Blue Mountain State.

That isn’t because I cared about all the man-baby crying or accusations of SJW-ing all over it. It isn’t because the films are inherently political in a political climate that’s toxic as hell. I stayed away from as much TLJ related content as I was able because I had no desire to consume it. I didn’t care. I enjoyed The Force Awakens enough. I initially enjoyed Rogue One, although my opinion on it soured over time to the point I realised I actually dislike it and what Star Wars is as a property.

The series has always been political even when its hokey. Underneath the space monks versus space nazis, there is the political inspiration/allegory for the Vietnam War – hippies/rebels against Nixon/empire. There are essays about the prequels/Anikin being an allegory about the Bush administration. The story is always the band of misfits and rebels and good guy collective trying to stop fascist tyranny. A lot of movies have political or societal messages depending how far you want to scratch into it, and it never bothers me.

What bores me is that Star Wars is limited by the exact things that made it seem limitless because without established Star Wars elements to carry the world and narrative such as light sabres, the Millennium Falcon, TIE fighters and X-Wings, and the dueling sides of The Force, what even is this galaxy far far away? Why is the world of Star Wars essentially the same as it was 40 years ago? You never really see The Empire or The First Order tormenting regular people. You don’t get the impression that the every day person is bothered by them.

There are similar story elements from the old films to the new. They make sure to always get their name drops in. They make sure to use things people know even when it fails to be organic. They repeat visuals you’re familiar with.

For an adventure series set across multiple galaxies, they can’t get away from red light sabre vs blue light sabre plus destroy the big evil super weapon.

Darth Vader still basically is the driving force behind everything. From episodes 4-6 to the central figure of 1-3 to revered in 7 to a pointless and gratuitous part in Rogue One.

Star Wars can’t stop squeezing the dead corpse of Star Wars. As a property, its afraid to be new.

Why did I go into this giant preamble? I guess to say that Star Wars is just whatever.

I understand why some people are so mad about this film and I get why some people love it. It starts doing what I wanted to see, kind of. Its a swing at doing Star Wars its own way. It just didn’t exactly do it well.

The film is messy. Characterisation and traits can be inconsistent. There are pacing issues, tone issues, plot issues. Its probably a half hour too long. The execution wasn’t perfect. In trying to make the twists and turns, it doesn’t always go forward or even sideways. Sometimes it makes the left or right to satisfy and surprise, other times it does enough turns that its back where it started.

They could really make use of a Star Wars bible in the writers room to keep things in line.

Its a film of B-plots. The A-plot is a little more of a B+. Part of the mess comes from pacing of the B-plots and one of them being literally a “these characters need stuff to do” plot.

The comedy in the film doesn’t fit the tone of the overall film. Its really trying to get into that Guardians of the Galaxy vibe where you need a joke to undercut the tension a bit too frequently. It works there because those characters are likeable dicks by design, but these Star Wars characters are not.

The acting is good. Daisy Ridley is really charming and charismatic. Mark Hamill is excellent. There isn’t anyone who is bad. BB8 is a likeable robot, something this franchise has struggled with lately. Adam Driver is excellent. Finn and Rose are pretty much pointless, but their actors sure try to make you care about being pointless.

With quality performances and enough paint, you can hide a lot of the cracks.

I didn’t yell and throw my hands up until 2:05 of the 2:31 run time, but that moment was worth the reaction.

I was expecting something awful like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or I was expecting another safe play like The Force Awakens with enough jazz to be enjoyable but forgettable.

This was more X-Men: ApocalypseSporadically interesting but far from perfect and has its share of wasted potential. A lot of stuff happens, but it kind of doesn’t matter. In a way it has Rogue One disease where you can skip to the third act and not really miss anything, walk away feeling good until you decide to think it over again.

I did not manage to avoid a bunch of chatter of how the movie is #ActuallyGood because it SuBvErTs YoUr ExPeCtAtIoNs, as people were putting it. Subverting expectations is a fine thing. There are movies that do it well. There are movies that do it poorly. Playing to expectations isn’t a bad thing either. That can be satisfying as often as its terrible. But in the end it still has to be satisfying or its just a wet fart.

At times this worked and that’s where the interest was. At times it didn’t because for all the ways it tried to be original there was nonsense mixed in and it still ended with red light sabre Sith and a military against inexperienced blue light sabre Jedi and the rebels. That honestly can’t be a spoiler. Don’t @ me.

Failure can be interesting and a great story device unless you make that failure meaningless.

I’ll be honest, a pinch of me wanted to hate this so I could hang up on Star Wars as a franchise, and the rest of me expected to be completely indifferent.

I don’t know where you take it from here that makes it something new, but if this movie was testing the waters for trying to be “new” then I hope they jump in next time. The time for teasing is over.

Rating: Netflix it when you’ve got an evening and a PB&J. I enjoyed it for the effort in doing what I have wanted Star Wars to do. I didn’t enjoy it for when it fell back into Star Wars. It’s dumb but at least it tried.