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! 🙂

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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)

Summer Movie Reviews: Now With 100% More Ants

Ant-Man 3.5/5

Let us get something out of the way. I am a comic book fan boy, and even I had my doubts about Ant-Man. However, this a legitimately good movie.

It won’t light the world on fire, but if we’re ranking single-hero movies (aka not Winter Soldier, Guardians or Avengers), this is the best Marvel flick since Iron Man.

It doesn’t feel like a “big, dumb action CGI” movie as much as it does feel like a heist movie with a ridiculous concept. Some of my favourite movies are heist movies (Oceans 11 & 13 and The Italian Job come to mind, both classic and modern versions). This is a comic book heist movie.

The concept is ridiculous. A man who talks to ants and can shrink to ant size. But it is taken seriously and it is executed well. The shrinking effect looks good and lets you know what is happening on screen. The fighting makes sense.

The villain (Yellow Jacket/Darren Cross) does his job well and it makes for the best mirror villain (ie. Iron Man vs Iron Monger, Cap vs Red Skull) we’ve probably had in a Marvel movie.

The plot is what it is. It moves along, makes you want to see the next scene and provides you with enough reason to go “Yeah, my belief is suspended.”

I also enjoyed the little easter eggs to Ant-Man “lore” and how they may have foreshadowed Giant-Man. The history of Hank Pym makes sense and where they are taking it with concern to the Avengers and Civil War is exciting.

I have nothing bad to say. It isn’t dumb. It builds steam throughout the movie. And it was nice to see a movie that, while there were big repercussions at stake, didn’t feel like the world/galaxy was at stake.

Just go watch it! 🙂

Previously:

To come this summer/year:

  • Trainwreck, July 17
  • Fantastic Four, August 7
  • Straight Outta Compton, August 14
  • Hitman: Agent 47, August 28
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, December 18

Maybe to come this summer/year:

  • Pixels, July 24
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, July 31
  • Goosebumps, October 16

Summer Movie Reviews: Now with 100% More Robot Avengers

Avengers: Age Of Ultron 4.5/5

This movie rocked. Spoilers ahead. I don’t know why people were down on it. I read some reviews and they were nitpicking like “Whats the point if we know that they’re all going to assemble again in a few years?” You’re dumb, movie critics.

This is everything you could have possibly wanted in an Avengers movie, and it felt way more like the comic book Avengers than the first film.

The bad:
There were a few little plot strings that bothered me, and it too is nitpicking. Andy Serkis/Claw kind of just disappeared and was there for set up for Civil War and Black Panther. Maybe Dr Cho died, but I thought she didn’t and should have been at the new Avengers Academy at the end so she felt like a real part of the movie. Black Widow/Hulk stuff was fine for the most part, except they’re “Lets run away together and leave everyone else to fight Ultron and save people.”

I would have preferred Ultron to be darker and more evil evil, but he is still a strong villain and we don’t know if he’s actually dead. If you know anything about comics, unless you see a dead body then they aren’t dead. And even if you see a dead body they probably aren’t dead. I have my own theory why he’s alive I’ll share if you ask me to.

I don’t know what it is about Black Widow, but when Joss Whedon is doing the writing/directing I do not enjoy the character. In Cap 2 and Iron Man 2, I quite liked her.

The good:
Basically the entire film. It starts off letting you know exactly what you’re getting. A cool like 2 minute shot of everyone doing their sweet fighting together like the Avengers in the comics/cartoons. Fighting like a team. It was awesome.

Hulkbuster fight. Awesome.

Vision. Awesome. Great comedy as well.

They made Hawkeye interesting! That was so good. And better than that, they gave him a role of his own. He is the “normal guy” on the team.

Linking the two films centered around Loki’s staff and the Mind Stone was a great tidbit for comic nerds that I don’t think non-nerds will quite follow.

We saw heroes saving people. That is huge to making them heroes versus violent fighters.

Ultron’s execution and naivete was spot on. I liked how different his plan was compared to the comics and to other villains. He wasn’t going to destroy the world by shooting it. He wanted to do it by causing a legitimate disaster.

I enjoyed the little plot threads we got to see for Civil War, Ragnarok, and tie-ins to the space alien stuff with Guardians.

The trailer’s do not spoil the whole film. The trailers were basically picked from 2-3 scenes in the first 40 minutes. Also nothing from the end of the movie. Surprise 🙂

The awesome:
Rotating the cast of the Avengers team gets top marks from me. It keeps things fresh and also keeps the growing the universe. It also allows for them to do more Avengering as Thor and Hulk, in practical terms, limit exactly what the team can do and how often.

Cap, Widow, Falcon, War Machine, Scarlet Witch and Vision make a nice new team with a whole new dynamic.

Plus we know that Iron man, Hawkeye, Thor and Hulk will come back for Infinity War and some of them for Civil War.

Killing Quicksilver and not Hawkeye made me go “Say whaaa!” because it really threw me for a loop. I like that. I guess Quicksilver was really just in there so Marvel could get their hands on Scarlet Witch first.

Other reviews

To come this summer:

  • Mad Max, May 15
  • San Andreas, May 29
  • Entourage, June 5
  • Jurassic World, June 12
  • Antman, July 17
  • Fantastic Four, August 7
  • Hitman: Agent 47, August 28
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, December 18

Maybe to come this summer:

  • Ted 2, June 26
  • Terminator: Genysis, July 1
  • Pixels, July 24
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, July 31
  • Goosebumps, October 16
  • Jen and the Holograms, October 23