Paging Doctor Mister Strange. Your Origin Story Is Here

Doctor Strange 4.4/5

I’m not sure how often I’ve mentioned it in a review here, but I really hate that all movies now have to be a minimum of two hours. When movies drag out it is super lame. What ever happened to the 90 minute movie?

What does this have to do with anything? Well, Marvel went and made themselves a two hour movie that felt like a 90 minute fast paced, tripping balls, action movie and it rocked. I’m positive that the 1h55m run time listed on IMDB is a lie.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent was not distracting. He was also good at being Doctor Strange because Doctor Strange is an asshole, self-centered, boastful, and a bit of a dickbag. He nailed it.

The supporting cast was interesting too.

  • Mordo was more interesting here than any time I’ve read him in the comics. He isn’t just the foil to Doctor Strange in the traditional mirror villain way most comic villains are
  • Wong taking more from the recent Way of the Weird inspiration as an army general was well served and executed. It sets up well for the future films if they continue down the WotW comic story.
  • The Ancient One and her monologues never took too long or felt too… “I’m so ancient and wise” which is so easy to do with the Grandmaster character. I liked how she wouldn’t take more than two or three sentences to ever make her point.

Was the villain a little underdeveloped? I suppose. But he was what he was and they didn’t try to do more. If I was more into spoilers I would go into more here. It’s hard to kinda get into what I want to say without letting it all hang out.

The tie-ins to the greater MCU? Fine. A shot of Avengers Tower with downtown New York? Good, in fact I would have loved to have seen the Oscorp tower too. Off hand mention of the Avengers? Cool. Blah blah Infinity Stones? Yeah duh.

I also liked things that were designed to be more character moments too. Complications around The Oath. The roller coaster of his status. Utilitarian vs Individualism was especially fun. I like to thing about the “What Ifs?” in a movie a lot. Like what if the character took the right path and not the left one. Make the renegade choice and and not be a paragon.

The action was well shot and smart. It was “magical” and manipulative. Creative and the use of the environment sets this apart from shoot-bang-kick-smash that most of the Marvel movies do.

The climax was great, smart and interesting on a few levels. I would have liked a little more fire, though (and you’ll understand that once you see it).

The trippy kaleidoscope effects were worth the price of admission. Same with the bright colours and tints and blurs and whatever else. I’m not one who does, but people who partake in certain psychedelics would have a blast about 30 minutes in.

The mid-credits scene was nice. I’m always of two minds on these. Part of me likes when these things are kept almost entirely to their self, but then the part of me who wants to see a 5 hour film of nothing but comic book crossover porn just loves it.

The end-credits scene plays into what we’ve seen from the character and sets up the sequel and maybe a small portion of Infinity War (if you make great leaps of imagination with fan theory that I do).

Would I like to have seen a little more doctor-ing? Sure enough. More Rachel McAdams being a Canadian sweetheart? Yeah. Some more cult time? Sure!

But at the same time, I really enjoy a movie that doesn’t bugger about too much and just keeps things going.

I will see this again. And probably again. Then once more. At least.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

TMNT2: Out Of The Shadows and Into The Cheese

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows 3/5

It starred the Turtles. They did fun stuff. Gags and one liners. Some heist scenes. They’re decent characters in their own right. Megan Fox, Stephen Amell and will Arnett all get enough screen time to put a smile on your face.

It wasn’t revolutionary film making. The plot wasn’t amazing. But if you grew up a TMNT fan then this is more likely to appeal to you and put a smile on your face than the previous TMNT film.

It is a lot more fantastical and goofy. It embraces that side versus trying to make ninja crime fighting teenage turtles all serious and gritty.

I love the inverse law of ninjas, where “one ninja is an elite and powerful adversary, but multiple ninjas make a group of faceless and incompetent pawns?” The foot clan are as hilariously inept as they were in the cartoon. Shredder is there too, with a way better costume. Bebop and Rocksteady were a lot of fun and Krang was fun too.

I’ve really grown to like the turtle designs. And every time I see Raph I can see Alan Ritchson’s handsome face in there somehow.

It’s hard to call it a “good” movie. There is nothing worthy of an Oscar. Nothing ground breaking.

But it was fun. It was cheesy and fun and unapologetic in being cheesy and fun.

I caught it on a plane so if you’re flying and need to kill under two hours, go for it. If you have kids or were a TMNT fan growing up then its worth a stream on VOD or Netflix.

Previously:
Lazer TeamBlue Mountain State: Rise of ThadlandDeadpoolGods of EgyptBatman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeHardcore HenryJungle BookCaptain America: Civil WarX-Men: ApocalypseMike And Dave Need Wedding DatesGhostbusters, The Legend of TarzanWarcraftPopstar: Never Stop Never Stoppin’Star Trek: BeyondJason Bourne, Suicide SquadLights OutSausage PartyDon’t BreatheKeanuCentral IntelligenceBatman: The Killing Joke

To Come (at some point):
Hell Or Highwater, XOXO (Netflix), Flock of Dudes (September), The Masterpiece (TBA 2016), The Accountant (October), Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (October), Doctor Strange (November), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December), Assassins Creed (December)

Suicide Squad? More Like Yeah That Was Enjoyable Squad

Suicide Squad 3.7/5

This movie isn’t bad. It sure kicks the balls off of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of AIDs. Its the best DC Extended Universe movie we’ve seen yet.

I enjoyed the movie. Your mileage may vary on whether this is a 2.5 or a 4.5 but its not bad. It takes Xmen: Apocalypse behind the shed and sends it the way of Lassie. It slaps Amazing Spiderman 2 like it is owed money.

This movie is well, well better than trash like Independence Day: Resurgence and Legend of Tarzan. Its at least on par with both Thor films.

Lets start with The Good:

  • The characters feel like real characters. They also feel like bad guys. Because they’ve done bad stuff and aren’t just good guys who done gone a wrong once.
  • I have seen a lot of people be mad that this group of terrible, horrible, not good, very bad people would include men who sexually ogle Harley Quinn in her fishnets and booty shorts, and make passes at other women loosely. As well as crack wise with snips of racism tossed in there. Yeah, I’m stunned a bunch of criminals aren’t morally righteous like a real Superman or Captain America.
  • Those scenes are a few of the times that our scumbag criminals feel like scumbag criminals. I actually really liked the scenes where the scumbags felt like scumbags. It made them feel like real characters.
  • All your squad members, except one, have backstory and varying levels of arc so they aren’t terrible, boring, flat characters like in Ghostbusters. Every character is good.
  • This movie has roughly 8ish or more characters that it needs to establish. It does a damn good job of doing so.
  • It takes the world it lives in seriously. I love that. They aren’t like “Derp magic witch wut thats dumb omg its real wtf so cray”. There is no “I’m Ant-Man :(. I know my name is lame.” They’re just like “Yup, that sword steals the spirits of whoever it kills. And yeah thats a 6000+ year old witch. And this guy is basically son of Satan.”
  • It plays the stuff straight. Its great universe building. Little stuff is explained so well and there are some cool ass camera shots. Plus little touches here and there (like the Joker’s goons) that are delightful to see.
  • I thought Harley Quinn was going to be unbearable and ditzy, but she’s just cooky enough that the zingers and one liners work. It would have been easy for them to go to the Nth degree with “crazy girl” and they didn’t.
  • Will Smith is living charisma as Deadshot. I also thought they might one-note him as the cocky, hired gun. But he’s dope.
  • I really enjoyed Jared Leto’s Joker being an entirely different Joker than we’ve seen yet. Being the biggest, baddest mob boss is fitting and the character pulls from the more androgynous and expressive/animated comic portrayals.

Now onto The Meh:

  • This could have been so much better with an R rating. It didn’t need a ton of F bombs or boobs to make it better, but the violence is strangely glorified and also muted. Letting them go whole hamhock on it would have been delightful in a Kingsman sort of way. When you have R rated villains as your protagonist, let them be R.
  • The plot may have been a teeny bit generic, but it serves as a good backdrop to get the characters through the dealio.
  • Another blue laser into the sky… but the blue laser did something for once. But still, blue laser into the sky.
  • I wasn’t too crazy about parts of the final fight scene. Power usage and strength levels kind of did a Mortal Kombat where powers and who can beat up who got a little muggy. It kind of made bits of the ending a thinky-face emoji.
  • I would have liked a Joker scene that I could instantly put into conversation with Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger. You didn’t quite get that but I still really liked it. The Joker was a supporting character in this movie and is treated as such. Its a bit unusual, but it works.
  • I generally liked the villain, but a bit less CGI would have helped. There were times that things looked a little awkward or too clean and that takes you out of it.
  • The soundtrack was fine and fun, but then it didn’t keep up. Like after having music playing for like the first 60% of the movie in and out, it just goes away at the end. You gotta commit to that or tone it way down at the start.

And finally, The Bad:

  • F*ck that post credits scene. That scene did more to establish Bruce Wayne as the go-getter for the Justice League than like the 20 minutes that BvS wasted to do the same thing. So it was good, but like bad too. It was so good it made a part of another movie bad.
  • I don’t like Amanda Waller. There is a scene where I just basically quit on the character.
  • Mook villains is as mook villains does. They didn’t quite make sense in terms of their abilities and how they fought.
  • I understand people’s qualms about pacing and editing. There was some stuff that was a bit disjointed, but it was fine enough all together. I’m really curious as to what David Ayer’s original edit was. It never felt as bad as Fantastic Four, but there were a few times it was a little sandpapery.
  • Probably could have done without some characters getting up to like three or four intro scenes. But they spent the money to shoot them so they gotta be in it I guess.
  • I hate random slow-mo in fight scenes. I hate how every DC movie needs to have that because Zack Snyder is/was the head honcho of the entire thing. There are a couple shots during the big fight at the end that didn’t need to be slow-mo or had to be held onto as long as they were.

Overall: Its a good comic book movie. Gonna let you in on a secret. I watch all comic book movies once with bros/on a date. Then my mom asks if she would enjoy it. If yes, I get to go again with my mom. If I say no, then we don’t. I’m batting 100% on this so far.

But with this one, I don’t know. I think she may enjoy it, I can see why she wouldn’t and will settle for me explaining the entire thing to her over dinner.

This one is 50-50. A coin toss. I liked it. I don’t know why its reviewing so poorly. I listed a bunch of movies that were well worse above in my opinion.

If you’re one of the people who reads my reviews and is like “ur dumb and wat is wrong wit moviez now and ppl like u r ruining cinema” then hump and stump and go see Star Trek (or some insufferable indie flick about how no one really understands life, man) instead.

I think its good.

Previously:

To Come (at some point):

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows
  • Batman: The Killing Joke
  • Sausage Party (August 12)

 

2016 Summer Of Movies: X-Men: Apoca-bloops

X-Men: Apocalypse 3.25/5

The Good: There really is like 80% of a kickass, great movie here. More or less right up until the final whammo the movie is just killing it.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender steal the show. Duh. They’re great actors. Fassbender especially makes a lot of the movie his. One day a dedicated fan will make some kind of Magneto solo movie super-cut from all the films and that’ll be a sight to see.

I actually liked how Apocalypse played it really straight and there wasn’t all this nuance to him. I can understand why people may want to see the villain be more Riddler or Loki, but sometimes it works better to play it straight. And its straight in more of a Ras Al Ghul direction than a Ronan The Accuser way.

Quicksilver is radical. The visualization of his super speed is terrific.

I enjoyed the second act. A lot. Although the tone is considerably different than most of the film which may put some people off.

Storm is actually cool. Give me more of Storm and less of Mystique.

The whole new generation of mutants is cool and really reminds me of the 2000-03 cartoon. Cyclops is cool enough because he isn’t opposite Wolverine. New Jean Grey has some potential. Nightcrawler is an awkward, three fingered, blue, teleporting, German demon and its delightful. If they bring to life some more of those teenage characters from that cartoon I’ll be really happy.

The final fight where mutants square off is actually pretty well done. There is set ups from early in the film that pay off.

I really enjoyed the prologue except for one really blatantly absurd thing which I’ll note in a spoiler tag below.

There was a lot of little in universe stuff that only dorks are gonna pick up on. *raises hand*

The Bad: There were scenes where I felt like I was watching a Star Wars prequel because it was like 90% CG used to make the shot. Now, this may seem strange coming from a guy who loves to watch Iron Man and Spider-Man go through the sky, but it looked so fake here in a way that was jarring. I’m not a huge 3D fan and I think that the glasses make CG easier to spot.

Jennifer Lawrence is blah. They gave her a big role because she is a star, but I just have never been able to get into her acting. It seems so phony to me. Mystique works better when she’s being selfish, not trying to be Aragorn/Luke Skywalker.

For apparently the strongest and most bad-ass mutant ever, Apocalypse sure gets punked. He has powers he never uses properly. He can vapourize humans, but with mutants he’d rather just minorly inconvenience them.

The final confrontation was fine, but I think for non-comics people it is a bit of “Wut?” that might miss the mark. There is a lot going on. Some of it good, some of it bad.

Psylocke :/

At one point in the film I took my 3D glasses off and just stared at the wall to let my eyes rest. I really am not a fan of 3D unless I’m literally in the perfect seat.

Final thoughts: It isn’t a great film or an all time classic, but it is good. It has its hits and misses, so your mileage of enjoyment may vary if you’re a stickler. It sets things off in a nice direction for the new team.

As far as super hero ensembles go this year, its solidly in the two slot and I don’t see myself souring on this film like I have Bats v Supes.

It had the potential to crack a dinger out of the park, but settled for a ground rule double.

Highlight to see following spoiler: HOW DID THEY JUST LET MAGNETO GO AT THE END? HE LITERALLY WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF MILLIONS! HE DESTROYS LIKE THREE CITIES NO PROBLEMO AND THEN AT THE END HIM AND CHARLES BASICALLY FIST BUMP AND SAY “UNTIL NEXT TIME HOMIE. MUCH LOVE”. Angel didn’t really murder anyone, Psylocke might have killed one person, Storm just stole a basket and like an apple. But Magneto goes full super murderer.

Hit me with your thoughts. Did you super dig it or was it more like a-POO-calypse of the franchise?

Previously:

To Come:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (June 3)
  • Popstar: Never Stop Singing (June 3)
  • Warcraft (June 10)
  • Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
  • Star Trek Beyond (July 15)
  • Jason Bourne (July 29)
  • Suicide Squad (August 5)
  • Sausage Party (August 12)

2016 Summer of Movies: Is It The Greatest Comic Movie Of All Time?

Captain America: Civil War 5/5

I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just say this:

This is easily a contender for the best comic book based movie of all time.

How the Russo brothers directed a movie that had like 10 movies inside it, and upwards of 15 significant characters, and it doesn’t feel like a mess is one of hell of an accomplishment.

This isn’t sparring. This is fighting. This is characters ideologically opposed and motivated. And it all works.

I already feel like this is the best Spider-Man we’ve ever seen and he’s only in it as much as Hawkeye plus a post-credits scene.

I wondered thoughts before the movie that I thought would be kayfabe breaking in the film, but they explained those away in ways that actually make sense and get you to buy in.

For instance, if you’ve followed Tony Stark through the films then you understand his decision making, so you buy it. If you’ve followed Captain America, you understand why he opposes this, so you buy it. You understand why the teams are split as they are.

I’ve seen some flak tossed towards the villain Zemo in the film, but he isn’t the villain. He’s a villain. To be honest, who you define as the Big Bad in the movie is up to your viewing experience.

The first act works to establish the film. The second act with airport scene is the greatest, peak-est, lit-est, straight fire comic book scene of all time. The third act dials things back down in scale, but keeps the stakes high just as you think they were going away.

There is some really creative action sequences and inspired action scenes. The humour is perfect. And it even gets dark and intense, without feeling jarring and gross.

I’m going to see this multiple times. Its so excellent.

I will literally answer all your questions.

nod

Previously:

To Come:

  • Keanu (April 29)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (June 3)
  • Popstar: Never Stop Singing (June 3)
  • Warcraft (June 10)
  • Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
  • Star Trek Beyond (July 15)
  • Jason Bourne (July 29)
  • Suicide Squad (August 5)
  • Sausage Party (August 12)

Maybe’s of the Summer

  • Money Master (May 13)
  • Neighbours 2 (May 20)
  • The Nice Guys (May 20)
  • Now You See Me 2 (June 10)
  • The Legend of Tarzan (July 1)
  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (July 8)
  • Ghostbusters (July 15)