Godzilla: King of the Monsters is Radical

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is movie is everything your brain would make you think it would be. When you picture that title, you get a certain movie in your head. That is exactly the movie that gets delivered. Godzilla. Monsters. And a Wrestlemania match to determine who is king. Oh and, like wrestling, some worthless human drama you want to skip over.

That isn’t to say that the movie is completely mindless. It isn’t Transformers. There is substance to this movie. There is movie to the movie. Maybe not as much as some audience goers would want, but it isn’t devoid of craft beyond well done CGI. The movie isn’t insulting you for watching it.

Now, maybe there is a Godzilla film someday that’s sort of Cloverfield-esque and focuses on the disaster movie side of how you could tell this where it’s all about a really interesting drama on the ground following an ensemble cast of not-invincible characters. But when you put Godzilla in the title, you gotta deliver on Godzilla. This movie does exactly that.

It’s Godzilla. It’s monsters. It’s well done destruction porn without feeling like Man of Steel. It’s a big, dumb, fun, good, well made, cheesy movie. Plus, have you ever subscribed to the theory of “F*ck Boston”?

It isn’t just a retread of a 1v1 monster fight as if it were a procedural show. “This week on Godzilla, he fights Ghidorah!” They really spider-webbed out to make this “universe” bigger without going all The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

If you’re a long time Godzilla fan, you’re gonna get your easter eggs and mythology. If you’re new-ish, you’re gonna get your mythology and a few nods you might remember. If you’re new-new, then I think it does a decent job of introducing you to the world and catching you up. If you’re a fan of the Fallout games, well this may be your new head-canon.

'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'

Since 2014 they’ve realized that there are more than just three or four of these giant monsters. Secret government organizations are researching them and trying to harvest/control them. There are fanatics who see Godzilla as basically Jesus. You have your “lets just blow them up!” politicians and military people. You have your scientists that are so horny for the science that they get blinded by the science so they don’t really see reality. That’s neat because it’s accurate. The human-world side of this is intriguing because we’re no longer the alpha species and watching people react to this is endless potential.

But the human-people story side is always so lame because they have to Main Protagonist Power a select few individuals where convenient plot armour protects them from the dangers of the world that everyone else is vulnerable to. I guess I get it. They’re actors, you’re paying for some name value, they want to deliver a performance, etc. It can just feel silly at times. It doesn’t help that the human-people story side of it kinda flatlines and stops evolving after like 40% of the way into the movie.

The Dad gets kind of annoying. The Mom sucks. Millie Bobby Brown is pretty good. Charles Dance didn’t get enough screen time to really round things out and fill up his character to max potential. The rest of the humans were adequate.

Ken Watanabe steals every scene. He really gets to act his ass off and its a pleasure. He’s the best human in the entire movie and really gets to shine. Full praise. I’d have rather he was the main character in the film instead of a supporting character. Less can be more though.

Image result for godzilla king of the monsters ken watanabe

They get into it pretty early with the monsters/Titans and emphasize how little of a chance the humans have. Its almost a running gag that every time the humans are like “blah blah containment fields/our anti monster guns/super bombs” that the monsters brush it off as if it was a mildly coordinated house fly attack.

The McGuffin is pretty dumb. The rest of this paragraph is mild is spoilers for the first 14 minutes of the movie. How do you mimic something you’ve never been able to encounter ever just by spinning a dial? That’s like being able to speak a language just because you brained really hard. Yes, coexistence good. But the idea that all these monsters somehow all speak the exact same language and you just need to spin the computer dials like it’s a hack mini-game from Arkham Asylum is full on dumb. The existence of the Brown Note is more realistic.

There’s some Venom level dumbass-ness that happens. Like comically dumb plot just to make that plot get plotting. And that’s where I started to really tire of the characters we’ve been hanging out with. Luckily, outside of two extended lulls, they keep the monsters doing monster stuff.

The money in this movie really does go to the look and sound of the Titans. From the monster growls to the way they sound when they move to the sound of their breathing, it’s amazing. And then the music is even better. It’s a great score that never overpowers you but totally hangs out as a really good sidekick to add to the scenes.

The cinematography is good and has a few of those key frames that make you go “Wow!”, but I’m not really sure if this movie is shot any better than the previous one. There were a few times where the camera felt like it was doing too much and moving too freely and when that happens it can make the action and the monsters feel smaller than they are. It’s only a couple times, but I noticed it.

Every monster looks distinct and they each get their own colour which really aids the aesthetic. Most of the movie is so dark that it could have been a bit of a mess trying to track Godzilla vs Ghidorah and Rodan, etc. But because Godzilla gets blue, Ghidorah gets yellow, Rodan gets red, etc. it makes it easy to follow. They’re all lit excellently. It isn’t quite Pacific Rim with it’s colour palette and lighting, but it makes sure you know what is happening which is always appreciated in action movies of this scale.

They give the monsters their own characters. And while it largely isn’t much above Titans fighting to be the alpha, you get a sense of personality from them. Without giving too much hinted at+stated plot away, Ghidorah’s more about anarchy+destruction while Godzilla is about order and a semblance of coexistence (but he still makes sure the humans know who the king is). Mothra gets a bit of character and so does Rodan. It isn’t much, but it’s another step to making them more than just fighting monsters.

Image result for godzilla king of the monsters fight

Much like the first Godzilla movie, this one is an In Theatre experience. You need to see it on a big screen with a booming sound system to really help add that weight and effect to the scale of these monsters. When your seat shakes as the monsters rumble, it helps the movie feel that much more visceral. When one of them roars loud enough to shake a building, you want that vibration. A D-Box showing would be an excellent way to get every penny out of your movie ticket.

If you wait until Netflix for a movie like this, you’re not going to get that chair shaking audio every time Godzilla steps forward. And with how much of the movie takes place at night time and in storms, you’re dealing in a lot of grey, navy and black tones which always suffer in the digital compression of movies on streaming services.

There isn’t much more you could want from a Godzilla movie. Unless maybe he fights King Kong next.

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Shazam! is Totally Awesome

Shazam! whips. This movie is great. I wanted to see more of this character and his adventures before the movie was even over. I’m already hyped for Shazam! 2. It’s the best movie this year about a character involving the name Captain Marvel.

It’s nice to have a made for kids live action super hero movie. Movies like Into The Spiderverse and The Incredibles also slap, but they’re animated films. This is way more along the lines of typical kids movie. It’s really corny and silly and tries its best to nail the kid side of it. It tickled parts of the Power Rangers fan inside me. Teenager with attitude gets super powers and has to learn to be a hero.

It’s almost a Disney flick like The Lion King. It’s a kids movie but its great for adults too. Big goofy kid stuff, but it also has its dark and spookies. And the dark and spookies are great as well. If the movie didn’t nail how fun and colourful the kid stuff was, then this dark and spooky evil bad guy stuff might have fallen flat. The contrast here is executed really well.

There’s something weird about horror directors taking over big action movies and knowing exactly what they’re doing. Who would have guessed that the guy behind Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation was going to do a great job with a child friendly character? David F. Sandberg did a great job, and he got to show his horror chops at points.

I guess it would be just that a good filmmaker is a good filmmaker, so they know how to make good film. Scott Derrickson did Sinister and an Exorcism movie before taking over Doctor Strange. Peter Jackson did a bunch of gory, bloody horror movies before Lord of the Rings. Sam Raimi and James Gunn have done this as well.

It might be the closest super hero movie in spirit and execution to Spider-Man 2002 that we’ve gotten in 17 years. Shazam is so corny. So corny. But its sincere. Much in the same way Aquaman was big and corny, but this is just done better. It takes itself seriously, but it isn’t a serious movie overall.

I love movies that know what they are and nail that tone the whole movie. The Fast and Furious franchise knows it’s a big dumb car movie series, and they act accordingly with it which makes it super awesome. The Deadpool movies get what they are and they take it and run with it. WWE is at its best when it understands how dumb wrestling actually is and goes with it, instead of trying to mimic UFC or boxing.

This movie knows exactly what it is: a lighthearted adventure comedy. A teenager, who is a bit of a jerk like any teenager, goes to a cave where an ancient wizard gives him super powers and doesn’t know what to do with them besides kid stuff: make YouTube videos, buy beer, skip school, busk for money, take selfies, see boobs, etc.

Oh, but also he has to fight demons. Sprinkle in a few cute shenanigans.

Mark Strong is awesome as the villain. In a movie where the main character is so corny, you need contrast in the villain to counter that. He’s such a straight shooting evil jerkoff who wants to be evil because being evil is power. It’s similar to Ronan in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but Strong has more to do and thus can give a better performance.

This is a movie that I don’t think could exist in a pre-Guardians of the Galaxy world. I think that movie opened up a lot of opportunities for Super Hero movies to become more weird and silly and show that people still can take them seriously as long as they’re made well. I think it also helped to open the door for directors to have more influence in their vision of the project and I think it’s benefitted blockbuster cinema as a whole.

Zachary Levi and Asher Angel both do great jobs. I’m curious how much time together they spent on set because Levi is very believable as Asher as an adult-boy. There isn’t much dissonance at all between the two of them. It’s so refreshing that movies are finding kids that can act instead of using the producer’s nieces and nephews.

There is some excellent writing that really fits the characters. Jack Dylan Grazer is excellent as the fanboy+BFF+nerd. The siblings all get their moment and have at least a couple one liners or moments to shine. I don’t want to spoil it, but I really hope you laugh as hard as I did. It was also neat to see some completely unexpected cameos.

There are some neat little references that are just brief enough that they aren’t distracting, but are fun in the meta whether they’re about DC or just winks towards classic movies.

Part of the movie is stopping the bad guy, but the main arc of it all is How To Be A Hero. That sounds like the same thing, but the focus isn’t on doing hero stuff as much as what it means to actually be a hero. Kind of like how another teenage super hero needed to learn that with great power came great responsibility.

The bad guy vs hero plot isn’t the whole movie though. There’s great moments where this movie is quiet and would be great as a “learning about family” type movie. It’s a better movie about family than a lot of movies that try to shoehorn that in to pretend their corporate product has a deeper meaning.

Also, how often is a movie set in Philadelphia? Especially one that isn’t terrible?

It sets up for a sequel in a really non cynical way. There’s some great payoffs all the way through the movie. Even through the credits you want to keep watching. The credits sequence is fantastic and worth every minute you spend in the theater.

Overall, its just rad. This movie whips ass. Its fun and if DC keeps their efforts along these lines with Aquaman, Wonder Woman and emphasis on the good parts of the pre-soft-reboot-post-Justice-League then they’ll have a really successful universe that’ll have people ripping their pants off like they do for the Avengers. I’m honestly excited for Shazam! 2 and I want to see what happens when Shazam crosses over with Aquaman and The Flash and so on.

Get that, this DC movie is so good it made me want to see this character again before I’d even left the theatre.

Captain Marvel is a Marvel Movie.

Groundbreaking title hey? But that’s exactly what the movie is. It’s a Marvel movie. Its every bit a Marvel movie that has Marvel movied as a Marvel movie. Its the formula with a new lead and a mix of returning and new supporting cast. This time with Captain Marvel as the source material.

Its so safe and generic and inoffensive that its basically Marvel’s very own Star Wars: Rogue One. Not quite sure who was asking for it but now we got it. It efforts itself to do the things that Wonder Woman did effortlessly.

This is the kind of movie that Film Snobs point at when they want to paintbrush all comic-based movies as plain bread with a glass of room temperature water.

I think I might have liked it more had it been more linear vs non-linear but I get why Marvel decided to tap dance around another origin story. However, more time needed to be spent on the past to make those moments seem like they mattered and really stuck with the character so that the payoff is that much more beefy when it comes.

But for an origin story you really don’t know piss all about her at the beginning (by design), during the middle or by the end. You don’t really know who she was on earth, you don’t really know who she is besides Super Soldier on the Kree homeworld. At the end of it all she’s still largely the same character personality wise, just now she’s gone from a lieutenant position to being independent.

Some Thor-esque fish out of water/ “what do earthlings do, earthling?” style moments I think would have gone a long way to helping develop the character on screen. To the best of her knowledge she’s a Kree warrior hero space fleet soldier, but after like 30 seconds on earth she basically fits back in immediately with barely as much as a déjà vu flashback as she walks down a street and that’s what triggers the human side.

I do have to give the movie big props for one thing in particular. You know when you watch a TV show like Suits and you’re yelling at the TV for everyone to stop doing things and just pump the brakes long enough to talk about their plans? I guarantee you’ve seen a movie where you wanted to yell at the characters and shake them and say “JUST TALK. STOP DOING. START TALKING!”

This movie does that. Probably the best part of the film. Just the characters talking. The quieter this movie gets the better it is. The louder it gets the more it just becomes another Marvel Movie. There is some really good stuff in one-on-one scenes, or just when two characters are sitting at a table or in a room together.

I still wish Emily Blunt got this role. I don’t know how you could have seen her in Live.Die.Repeat. and not realized how easy this casting should have been. Maybe she told Marvel to suck it after she didn’t get the part of Black Widow. Who knows.

But what I do know is that Brie Larson is flat, and after seeing her in Room, I wonder if it’s an actress choice or was it direction? The characterization gets a little all over the place. Supremely confident, confused alien, brat, smartass, heroic, stoic, etc. And that’s fine, people and good characters aren’t one dimensional. But there is something inconsistent through it all. Maybe its because they were making a character who, in the meta, is far more of a utilitarian into the Quippy Marvel Lead. Something more along T’Challa or Steve Rogers would have felt more fitting. But again, I only know that from my previous knowledge of the character.

Maybe that’s not fair because at this point I’m used to following the journey of characters like Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark where those characters have evolved and transformed over the last decade. But even then, you usually only see a character go through like two or three phases in a film like this. Here it felt like we got six phases as if they were stopped from a slower approach because of Endgame’s impending release.

It could even be that Captain Marvel as a character has similar issues to Superman. They’re too damn strong that they almost become boring. Once they unlock their potential then their potential becomes limitless so any danger loses its stakes.

I won’t spoil the ending, but it becomes paint by numbers. “Do A, fake B, follow C” etc. You could have gone from A to C. You didn’t need B. B added nothing beyond being part of “how to write an act 3” in the generic Action Act 3 guidebook.

I really was bummed the movie spent so much time on earth. I get why they do that because $$$$ but also don’t tease me with this amazing looking futuristic advanced alien world straight out of Mass Effect and then make me spend time in like Sacramento and Louisiana. It bothered me in Black Panther too. “Look at this amazing civilization! …But only from afar. No details.”

The villains were pretty fun. The Skrulls are neat if their makeup/prosthetics do hinder their ability to speak and enunciate. The first bad guy was pretty neat. Ben Mendolsohn steals the movie any time he’s on screen.

Sam Jackson is much the same. He is just able to take over the screen any time he’s on it.

It has moments where it felt like an off brand Guardians mainly due to the music involved. In Guardians, the music is part of Peter Quill. He’s emotionally attached to those songs. In this one, she left earth in like 1988, came back in 1994 (?) and they’re like “Frig yeah, here’s a No Doubt song from 1995. Nirvana, that’s 90’s. Get some Nirvana in our 90’s movie.”

The songs are just there because they’re recognizable 90’s songs and not because they matter. They show a 3 second flashback of her singing karaoke in a bar, but I don’t think they ever show the song. Whatever song that is would have been the right song for your “I know who I am” moment.

Music was distracting. It was just “LOOK AT OUR 90’S MUSIC”. I’m generally not a fan of recognizable pop songs in movies like this unless they really fit. The music should never pull you out of the scene, even for a moment.

Back in Black for the first Iron Man? Hell yeah. Sets the tone and becomes part of the scene. The music in Guardians? I own those records now because the movie and music are intertwined.

Wong jamming to Single Ladies by Beyonce? Awkward and bad. Shoving 90’s songs into a movie about a character who left earth in the 1980’s? Also awkward.

This was much more Suicide Squad with its music than Guardians of the Galaxy.

The 90’s setting isn’t totally wasted. They use it for some good gags: Blockbuster, LOL. Radio shack! Teehee. Slow computers, ahahaha! However you can easily forget you’re in the 90’s pretty quickly as there isn’t much that’s distinctly 90’s outside of the gags.

It was neat to see the 90s in a throwback movie. You don’t often see that. You get 60’s, 70’s, 80’s throwback films all the time. I’m down for a wave of 90’s movies #90sKid. And then I’m even more down for some 00’s movies just to bring Limp Bizkit back to the main stream.

At the very least, there’s lots of easter eggs in the movie. Going back this far allows you to colour in some of the backstory to things you maybe weren’t quite dying for, but its neat to see anyway.

I wrote years ago, that three movies I was dying for Marvel to make were Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel. They went from thumbs up to two thumbs up to worth seeing but you’re not missing anything. As for its place in the Marvel rankings, I don’t think you put this ahead of Doctor Strange. This is very much Ant-Man or Captain America: The First Avenger. There’s nothing particularly bad, but nothing that terrifically stands out. Hopefully a standalone sequel is her own The Winter Soldier.

I bet it sounds like I’m shitting on this movie way too hard to have left the theatre in a good mood. That isn’t quite the case. It is what it is, perfectly fine. But I’m a bit bummed because you can see where it could have been more than it is. And coming off Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Infinity War and even Ant-Man and The Wasp, it just feels so underwhelming to be back in the Copy&Paste style movies.

Especially for a character that’s so bad ass.

Aquaman: A Fun Blender Of Stupid

Beefcake.

What a trip! Aquaman is like the best movie that is a 6/10 movie. Like the best 6/10 that ever 6/10’d. Warner Brother’s DC’s Aquaman is what happens when you mix the following elements into one movie:

  • Power Rangers
  • Thor
  • The 1980’s action stereotypes
  • The Fast and Furious franchise
  • A 2018 blockbuster budget

There’s no bones about it. This movie is Dumb! Capital ‘D’ Dumb. But it’s also fun.

It has some laugh out loud moments that are intentional. Then some I’m pretty sure weren’t intentional but they’re great anyway, like when ‘Africa’ by Pitbull plays. Or the green screen-CGI looks funny. The gratuitous slow-mo for 80’s style action glamour shots of abs and pecs and super hero landings, plus one scene that looked slow-mo’d through a free iPhone app.

It’s campy. They know it and they take it seriously enough that you believe it, but it’s still campy. I like how silly everything looks. People riding seahorses and sharks with saddles. That’s great!

Shark horses!

Embarrassing looking costumes but they own them. I can really appreciate that. Some of these outfits are stupid. These are some Power Rangers/Super Sentai level costumes. But they take them seriously. There are no winks to the audience. So you roll with it and smile. Amber Heard wearing a jellyfish dress? Sure!

One thing I really did find myself enjoying was the number of different “cultures” they dipped into and explored. The Atlanteans are clearly Greek inspired, with the Amber Heard ones are sort the Rohan to their Gondor, the seahorse people being a “tech” culture, the horrible demon sea creatures (where it felt like James Wan’s horror background really came through) and then the Crab People. That was fun. The Crab People were my favourite. And setting all these cultures up should make for a really fun sequel.

Jason Mamoa is fine. He does his thing. He is buff and large and dopey. Amber Heard is okay. Nicole Kidman needed more screen time. Seeing Dolph Lundgren go from direct to DVD trash to big budget trash warms my soul. It’s cool to see Patrick Wilson get a sizeable role.

The plot is by the numbers. Checkmarks and rubber stamps. Boilerplate. Whatever. No real twists. The romance is bland. It’s enough to keep you moving and get you through the world they want to show. It could have been tightened up but it wasn’t, and it gets by.

It’s a very Thor on earth story. He’s a fish out of water but reversed as he doesn’t really know much about the world underwater. So it’s a fish in water story. He’s unsure of culture, doesn’t care, fight, punch, ignorant, etc. There’s definite Conan The Barbarian vibes. That cheesy level of 80s hero buff-man saves everyone story.

Action and dialogue are often sequestered and it feels strange to have what feels like a 10 minute fight scene have no dialogue beyond grunts and CGI fight moves. If you’re trying to simulate a real serious fight, that’s one thing. But we know they aren’t. The tone of the movie isn’t that kind of tone, so you almost drift when you’re looking at the 14th CGI water attack in a row.

This really felt like DC’s first kick to the nuts of the Snyder-verse. Wonder Woman and Justice League were steps away, but they were still grim and washed out with speed-up/slow-down action scenes.

The look of Aquaman doesn’t “fit” that.

Gone:

  • Five-pronged trident.
  • Edgelord armour.
  • Everything being grey and brown.
  • Everyone frowning.
  • Everyone’s life sucks.
  • Not being able to talk without air.

In:

  • An actual trident with three prongs.
  • The 1960’s orange and green armour.
  • Colours.
  • People smile and make intentional jokes.
  • Characters are allowed to be happy.
  • There is daytime and sunshine.
  • Able to talk under water.

And it should be that way. This is Aquaman. He isn’t Batman. He isn’t part of the Watchmen. He isn’t that serious, and audiences won’t take him that seriously. He talks to fish and pals around with seahorse people and crab people and is a bit of a knucklehead.

The only two real drawbacks to the movie to me come down to two things: run time and cinematography.

This movie could have been 45 minutes shorter and I’m sure if I re-watch it I’ll find myself using fast-forward through a good chunk of the middle 90 minutes. The entire B-Plot villain doesn’t need to be there. A fan edit that cuts that stuff down could really tighten this movie up.

As for cinematography it comes down to two issues. The first, I think they were trying to go for a “free-flowing” camera like it was in water. However, the camera spinning and zipping like crazy has times where you are looking at the screen unsure of what you’re looking at. I really hate looking at a movie and trying to “pause” it in my head so I can figure out who is who and what is what.

The second issue with the cinematography is the number of times they do the “one take” camera shot that is clearly like 1729 camera shots composited together. I can live without this ever happening again in any movie. If it is to happen, it needs to have a style and a trick to it. But there’s no substance to that kind of shot when it’s just zooming through windows and across rooftops then back to the street when everything is clearly a green screen in a sound stage.

However, they deserve huge props for the look of the movie. It could have been super distracting with the underwater effect but they found a way to make it blend in and you don’t notice it. The hair floats a little, the movements are floaty and swimmy, everything is blue and green without being grey, the costume and architecture is distinct and well done.

The movie is fun. It doesn’t take itself seriously. I don’t know if its “run to your nearest theatre” good, but it might be worth a free evening. If not, find a lazy evening once it is on Netflix and stuff yourself with popcorn.

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.

MORE POWER.

No calm down.

MORE POWER GO NUTS.

Come on relax.

MAXIMUM VENOM POWER.

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.