Category Archives: Movies

Star Wars Rogue One: Review

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Rogue One is a very difficult film to review. Taken on it’s own, it’s a bit disjointed and quite possibly one of the most depressing films I’ve seen in a very long time, but as part of a larger narrative, it fills in gaps and shows more about a story we all know. Or at the very least think we know.

 

First things first. I’m a MASSIVE Star Wars fan. I’ve seen the films/played the games/read the books and comics (although not all of them because I actually enjoy reading). So, this film is aimed at me. It really is too, this film is aimed at people who enjoy Star Wars. Anyone coming into it having never seen a Star Wars film before is likely to get pretty lost pretty quickly, but then why not make a film that caters to the fans?

 

It is not a perfect film for a multitude of reasons, but first I’ll talk about what works. Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso is excellent, as is Diego Luna as Cassian Andor. They’re essentially the two leads of the film, and they work well together. Neither are whiter than white heroes, and both have a lot of redemption to work toward. Actually, that’s one of the main themes of the film, at least for the Rebel side. A lot of the heroes need redeeming from their past actions (actions which show the Rebels weren’t above using pretty awful tactics to win).

Apart from the leads you’ve got K-2SO who is just magnificent in every single way. Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe is badass. I’ve loved Donnie’s films for years, and I was actually hoping for even more action scenes just so he could be in them. Jiang Wen as Baze and Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera were both excellent too.

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Unfortunately, the film isn’t without problems. While the story is interesting, and moves along at a good pace, the opening act is a little bit all over the place as they try to show everyone involved. More annoyingly, the middle section just feels like it’s missing a chunk of story. There’s a scene later in the film when Baze calls Jyn Little Sister. There’s no reason for this, and the two didn’t have any heart-to-heart moments or anything, so it just feels like there was a bit cut out.

 

Ben Mendelsohn is very good as Krennic, but he’s not exactly a terrifying villain. He’s essentially an administrator who wants to advance in the Empire. And he’s constantly being out-maneuvererd by Grand Moff Tarkin. Speaking of which, Tarkin is in the film a few times and yes they CGI’d Peter Cushing’s face onto another actors body, and yes it’s a bit weird. There’s just something off about it, like you’re watching what an alien thinks a human should look like. The same with another CGI character later in the film. They both look a little… strange. Not at first glance, but when they move. It’s odd, and while I get why they used those characters, they probably should have gone with another actor for Tarkin.

 

Oh, and Vader is in the film, but not for long. That’s not a spoiler by the way, you’d be daft to think he wouldn’t be in it. They’re pretty good, and both show just how terrifying Vader is. I’d have liked to see more of him to be honest, but that would have screwed with the narrative.

 

The final battle scenes are incredible. In fact all the action scenes are great, but the last 45 minutes is just fantastic.

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So, it’s a little disjointed, and some of the characters don’t actually have a character beyond be badass, but as a whole it’s great, and I loved seeing some Star Wars: Rebels Easter eggs

 

For reference sake, here’s where I’d place Star Wars: Rogue One

 

Empire Strikes Back

Clone Wars TV show

Star Wars: Rebels

A New Hope/ Force Awakens

Rogue One

Return of the Jedi

Revenge of the Sith

500 feet of putrid crap

Phantom Menace (that last fight saves the film)

The Attack of the Clones.

 

So, if you’re a fan of Star Wars, go watch it now. If you’re not, then this isn’t the film to change your mind, even if it is really good.

Doctor Strange- Review

I’m not a huge fan of the original Steve Ditko comics of Doctor Strange. They’re just too… well, strange for one thing. It’s not that they’re bad or anything (although they are a hard read by modern standards), they’re just so trippy and so out there.

I am, however, a huge fan of the modern rendition of Doctor Strange, especially the new series by Jason Aaron and the incredible Chris Bachalo (who has been one of my favourite artists since he did Generation X). This film manages to stay closer to the modern day version of Strange, but it still manages to keep a lot of the trippy weirdness from the old days.

doctor-strange-city-bending-179855First off, Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant. Not just brilliant, perfect. He is perfect as Stephen Strange, the arrogant and brilliant doctor who’s entire life falls apart after his hands are shattered in a car crash. He’s both serious, and funny (some of the humour in this film is excellent and I loved the cloak), and handles the physical action of the film well.

Chiwetal Ejofor does well in his role as Mordo too, as does Benedict Wong as… Wong. Those three characters are spot on.

Tilda Swinton is great as the Ancient One. Genuinely great, but then she’s great in everything. I know about all of the controversy that surrounded her being chosen for the role, and I agree it would have been better if they’d chosen an Asian actor to play a character who is meant to be Asian in the comic, but they didn’t, and it’s been discussed so often that it seems pointless for me to chime in. Needless to say, Tilda is brilliant, and brings a conflicted, but wise aura to the role, which it needed.

Mads Mikkelsen as the main villain is where the character stuff starts to fall apart. He’s very good at playing what is essentially a very dull villain. Marvel film (apart from Loki) have had a really hard time finding good villains, and this film continues that tradition of having a villain who is just a little underwhelming.

Speaking of underwhelming, Rachel McAdams does fine with what is essentially a bit part to put some romance into the story. It doesn’t really work, and I would have been fine if they’d either given her more to do, or just remove the whole character after the opening act. She’s more plot device than actual character for the majority of the film, and that’s a shame.

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I should point out, that despite these misgivings, I liked this film. The story is simple, yet well executed, and the action scenes well done for the most part (there are a few where it was hard to tell exactly what was happening as the camera moved about so much, but they were rare).

The action is the star of the film. There are two sequences in particular, one in a mirror realm, and one on earth that are astonishing. The later of which might well be the most creative fight scene I’ve seen in any Marvel film. They’re both beautiful to watch and mind-blowing with their insanity, and if nothing else this film has set up magic as a terrifying, incredible, beautiful thing, and I look forward to seeing more of it in future Strange films.

The ending (no spoilers) is a little underwhelming too, and frankly the whole film feels like it could have used another twenty minutes to flesh out the villain and made him less of an afterthought. Although the way the ending is done is very creative, and I enjoyed Stephen actually being shown to be smart enough to figure it out.

It’s probably not a top 5 marvel film, but it’s certainly close to it. And the two end credits sequences hint to Strange being in a lot more Marvel films, and a dark turn for a sequel that I’d love to see.

Also, the music, like all Marvel films is phenomenal and completely perfect for the film. I don’t know how Marvel studios keep getting these brilliant scores, but they really are the master of putting them together.

So, it’s two hours of incredible spectacle and great acting, but a simple if well-executed story. My main problem is the villain. Marvel’s best villains are on their TV show, and no one has come close to the complexity of Kingpin, or evil of Purple Man. At some point the films need to correct this, because Marvel have some amazing villains to pick from, and I’d like to actually see them portrayed as a threat, not someone who’s there because the good-guy has to fight someone.

The Magnificent Seven – Review  

 

I think the Seven Samurai is one of the finest films of all time. I love the story, the comradery of the characters, the acting, the setting, and the directing. In fact I love pretty much everything about it, but the other thing I love about it is that it’s inspired so many other films, and most of those films have been good. A Bugs Life is one of my favourite Pixar films, and the original Magnificent Seven is pretty much timeless.

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But while most re-makes of classic films have me rolling my eyes at the idea—at least to begin with—I never did with this re-make. In fact, I was really looking forward to it.

There were a few reasons for this; Denzel Washington is one of the finest actors ever, Chris Pratt is always entertaining, Lee Byung-hun is a great actor who has done some brilliant films (The Good, The Bad, and The Weird being a favourite of mine). Antonie Fuqua makes films I for the most part enjoy, in fact apart from the dreadful King Arthur, I’ve always at least been entertained by what I’ve seen.

And then there’s the whole western theme. I love a good western. Unforgiven is one of the greatest films of all time, but I’m also glad they’re not done to death anymore, and that people are doing new things with the genre (Bone Tomahawk for one). Now, Magnificent Seven doesn’t really do anything new, but it what it does is fun and exciting.

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I do have a few problems with it though. Several of the Seven are under-used, Lee Byung-hun being one of them, but also Martin Sensmeier. They feel like they could have used more time. This is the same for Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Ethan Hawke, both of whom have interesting characters, but are put in the background for the most part for Denzel and Chris.

Denzel and Chris are both good in this film. Chris Pratt gets a little close to playing Chris Pratt on a few occasions, but as he’s so entertaining I forgive it. Denzel is great, but he’s always great, and his real motivation for joining this group is only hinted at throughout most of the film. The problem is when the revelation comes; it doesn’t feel like the gut punch it’s meant to. It feels like it’s just added to give more to the scene.

Peter Sarsgaard was the villain of the piece and he was… okay. He’s a bad guy who has one part to his personality, and that’s to be a bad guy. I prefer my villains to be a bit more rounded, but he played the part well enough, and I was nice to see him get his comeuppance.

Vincent D’Onofrio really was magnificent, playing a softly spoken character who was almost a force of nature.

Lastly, Haley Bennett was great, really enjoyed her performance, although I wasn’t such a big fan of making her really strong for 90% of the film, and then a cowering damsel in distress when the plot called for it. That sat a bit strangely for me.

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But where this film shines is the cinematography, which is stunning, and the action, which is pretty much phenomenal. The gun fights in this film are breathtaking, and the scenes with hundreds of horses running toward this small town is genuinely a brilliant piece of cinema.

So, it’s not really magnificent. It’s good. It’s certainly entertaining, and Denzel was great, but it never got over that good rank. There were times when I thought it would go to great, and I was really hoping for it, but it never quite managed it. It’s certainly worth a watch, as it’s fun and action-packed, and I hope it does well at the box-office, as it deserves to, but it’s not going to go down in history as an all-time-classic.

Suicide Squad: A Review      

 

I did not like BvS. There were parts of it I liked, but as a whole, I found it disjointed and boring. So, it was with some concern that I went to watch Suicide Squad amidst bad reviews and stories of re-shoots by the execs. So, did they do a good job? Sort of.

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This review might contain a few spoilers, but nothing that hasn’t been seen in trailers or interviews, I hope. Certainly no huge story spoilers.

 

First things, first. Harley Quinn is the best thing in the film. Margot Robbie is brilliant, and every scene she’s in, she either steals from everyone else, or just goes to remind you how much more interesting she is than anyone else on screen. She’s funny (mostly), insane and liable to snap and kill everyone in a second. I’ve loved Harley since her creation for the Animated show many years ago, and this is a good version of that character.

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Other good things about the film include Will Smith, who does verge close to playing Will Smith on occasion, but is mostly excellent as Deadshot. He’s a favourite character of mine, so Will had a hard job of convincing me he was the person to play him.

 

Jared Leto is a good Joker. He’s not quite like any version of the character we’ve seen before; he’s a bit more physical for a start. But he is creepy as hell, and you really do get the impression that he would kill you for smiling the wrong way.

 

Many of you might have seen Batman in the trailer and Ben Afleck’s two minute cameo just reinforces how good Ben Afleck is at playing Batman.

 

Viola Davis is very good as Amanda Waller, a character I just can’t stand. She’s one of those people who does awful things and rarely gets her comeuppance, but she plays the character well.

 

Joel Kinnaman plays a good Rick Flag, a character that can best be described as bland. He’s just a bit meh, but Joel is perfectly okay in the role.

 

Killer Croc wasn’t all that interesting. He certainly didn’t come off at the sort of person that even Batman would be wary of. He had a few funny lines, but he was just there for the most part. Diablo is… well, he’s basically there to be latino. And a stereotypical latino too, he does very little for the majority of the film and he’s barely given any sort of character to work with. The idea of a violent man who wants nothing to do with violence is interesting when done right, and this wasn’t really done at all.

 

Unfortunately Katana, apart from looking cool, has nothing to do in this film. She cries once, and wants to kill a few people, but that’s it. There’s nothing there to make me care at all about her.

And then there’s the Enchantress. She might be the most boring character in the film, and not by a short margin either. Her constant jazz hands and shaky dance movements are weird and Cara’s delivery is best described as phoned in. She was the very definition of meh.

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And before I forget, Jai Courtney, the man who has never been remotely good in anything in a film (although he was okay in Jack Reacher), is good in this. If getting him to play a massive dick is what it takes to get the job done, then just have him play those roles forever. He’s actually very entertaining. Although the unicorn thing is unfortunate after Deadpool. Not sure if that was in there before or after Deadpool came out, but it’s not exactly a big character part or anything.

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The problem with the film isn’t the actors playing the parts, most of whom do a good to excellent job. The problem is a few things. Firstly the pacing. It’s just a mess. If this was meant to be an action-packed, summer blockbuster of a film, then why spend the first forty minutes introducing us to people, mostly in flashback form, for no reason.

 

We do not need to have flashbacks for every single character in the film. They take up too much time and they’re pointless. I don’t need to see Harley Quinn become Harley Quinn. That’s not a ten-minute scene that needs to happen. All it does is slow everything down so you can get a Joker scene.

 

Speaking of The Joker, he’s in it for 10 minutes. Now he’s very good in those 10 minutes but if you cut out all of the fluff, he’d have been in it for maybe 3. And at no point does he get a defining scene. There’s no pencil scene, or “wait till they get a load of me,” there’s just a constantly stream of creepiness and unease.

 

They should have made The Joker the main villain of the film. They could have had him go after Harley and all hell break loose while Harley realises that Joker is in fact an asshole. She tries to escape along with everyone else in the facility, and he goes after her. It would have been about a million times better than the actual villain, who seems to be an afterthought at best, and pointless at worst. And their plan makes no sense. Seriously, not one bit.

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So, the pacing is weird and the first 40 minutes constantly slow down so they can explain who the next person is, but then the last 40 minutes are weird too. The action in the final third of the film is best described as lackluster. It’s not awful, it’s entertaining, but at no point did I go, “wow, this is awesome.”

 

Also, it’s edited weirdly. There’s a scene where one of the squad is stabbed repeatedly. No explanation as to why, he just is. And the next scene he’s fine. It’s a problem throughout the film, as the editing is a bit all over the place.

 

So, it’s not great. It’s not dreadful either. Harley and Deadshot are brilliant when on screen, and it’s probably worth it for that, but it’s a weird film. It’s not got enough good action scenes to be a good action film, and it seems to want to be Deadpool quite badly, but is neither funny enough, nor has enough heart to pull it off.

 

It feels like a film where execs got involved and changed a bunch of stuff so that more things went bang, but then forgot to put the story in to make it all come together. In a year that gave us Civil War, this isn’t even close to being good enough. They can’t say it has too many characters, because Guaridan’s of the Galaxy managed to introduce a lot of characters and did it well.

 

I’d like to see a director’s cut, and I’d like the film to do well. There’s so much they could have done with these characters and it feels like maybe they weren’t allowed to. I’d say it’s a perfectly watchable, entertaining film, but it never goes above that, and for larger than life characters like the ones in Suicide Squad, that’s a real shame.

Star Trek Beyond Review

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I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Those were my Star Trek’s, much more so than the original Star Trek show. Saying that, Undiscovered Country is my favourite Star Trek film, with Wrath of Kahn and First Contact alongside it. I really liked the first re-boot film, I thought everyone in it was excellent and that it told a good story, while managing to be exciting. I was not such a big fan of Into Darkness, I found it used action instead of character, and the story was flimsy at best. Beyond corrects all of that and is probably one of the best Star Trek films.

First of all the story is simple and well done. I won’t go into spoilers, but the story works well, and moves along at an incredible pace. The 2 hr running time flies by.

The characters are all well-realised and work well together. Bones and Spock in particular are fantastic in this film, finally giving that relationship some much-needed time. Karl Urban has always been amazing as Bones, and this makes an even greater case for him being the perfect actor to play such an iconic part.

Chris Pine is a phenomenal Kirk. I’ve had no problems with his take on the character throughout the three films, and hope if there’s a fourth film that he continues to helm the ship. Zachary Quinto rounds out this trio, and this is his best film. There are some genuinely touching moments between him and those people he cares about, and there’s a wonderful tribute to Leonard Nimoy that really tugs at the heart-strings.

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The rest of the Federation cast is phenomenal too, although a special mention goes out to  Zoe Saldana, who I’ve always liked as Uhura, and John Cho who is just a badass Sulu. Lastly, there’s Anton Yelchin. It’s genuinely sad that he’ll never play Chekov again, as he does such a good job, and his passing will leave a huge hole in future movies.

Sofia Boutella is amazing as Jaylah. She’s a badass, smart warrior who gets some incredible action scenes, which as a whole as fantastic throughout the film. I hope she gets to come back for future films.

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I know the Enterprise gets destroyed a lot, but you’ll still be gob-smacked at what happens in the opening part of the film.

And that brings us to our villain. Most good Star Trek films have a good villain. When Krall is first introduced, played by Idris Elba, he comes off as a generic villain, albeit a good one, but throughout the film Elba is fantastic. And while I guessed the revelations about what was happening, they were no less shocking.

So, this is a well-acted, exciting, action-packed blockbuster of a movie. Are there any problems?

Well, Simon Pegg is still a bit hit and miss as Scotty, and the ending is a little far-fetched even for this franchise. Also, some of the background fx is too loud and you can’t hear what people are saying. It happened a lot when Scotty was in the engine room, and it was a bit weird. But other than that, it’s pretty much an all round excellent way to spend 2 hours of your time.

I know the trailers didn’t really inspire hope that it would be a good film, I know they left me cold, but the use of Beastie Boys Sabotage, is phenomenal in this film. Some might find it cheesy, and I guess it is a little, but I thought it worked brilliantly.

You like Star Trek, this is for you. You like big action-packed blockbusters, this is for you. You like your sci-fi with actual characters, this is for you. It’s the best Star Trek film since First Contact. I can’t wait to see it again.

 

Ghostbusters 2016 (Review)

 

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Okay, I’m going to start by saying that this isn’t as good as the original. It was never likely to be. The original Ghostbusters was such a lightning in a bottle kind of thing that it was unlikely to be matched. It’s also one of my favourite films of all time, so I was very apprehensive about this remake. And while it’s not as good as the original, it’s a hell of a lot better than Ghostbusters 2.

 

The main four women are all brilliant. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are both on fine form, and Leslie Jones has a few brilliant lines, but Kate McKinnon steals the show. She’s phenomenally funny in this film.

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Speaking of show stealing, Chris Hemsworth is brilliant. He’s just fantastic every time he’s on screen as a bumbling, charming, complete and utter idiot.

 

The action scenes are well done, especially toward the end, and the film is genuinely funny in many places (including a bit where they read Youtube video comments). The cameo’s are all really fun, and the visual effects are pretty much spot on.

 

But it’s not perfect. It has one too many beats that are lifted from the original, which do nothing but remind you of how good the original is, and some of the jokes are just not very funny. But in a film where more hit and made me laugh than didn’t, I’ll call that a win.

 

Other problems include the mayor and his aide, who were just annoying, and the main villain, who didn’t seem all that dangerous at any point. Gozer was hardly given a great character, but the build up to her reveal was excellent. Here, it’s less interesting, and feels like they could have done with an extra 20 mins or so.

 

I assume many of you have read those hate-filled reviews and posts on IMBD or Facebook, or maybe even Twitter. Posts by usually angry white men who hate the fact that this film exists, that women are allowed to be the main focus of a Ghostbusters movie. Those people are idiots. And frankly, it’s their loss. This film isn’t anti-man, or militant feminist, or anything else people have said.

 

But they’re small complains in the scheme of things. If you like the Ghostbusters, you’ll like this, if you like action-packed, funny films, you’ll like this. And, one last thing; the cinema was full of young women and girls. And judging from the clapping and cheering, they loved it. This is their Ghostbusters, and it’s a fine film.

 

I hope they get a sequel, I hope they get that chance, because if they can come out from under the shadow of the original a bit, I think they could make a phenomenal film. As it stands, they made a really good one.

Warcraft: The Beginning. A Review.

Despite the fairly negative reviews on sites such as Metacritic, I went to see Warcraft today, and I figured I’d do a quick review to give my thoughts. There might be mild spoilers, be warned.

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I guess I should start this review by explaining that I’ve never played Warcraft in any of it’s forms. I have no interest in starting now, either, and I’ve never read any of the books or comics up to this point. My entire knowledge of the Warcraft world is limited to knowing it’s a fantasy world, that there are Orcs in it, and obviously Leeroy Jenkins (google it).

On the other hand, I love fantasy movies and despite some awful trailers, this one intrigued me. I think it’s fair to say, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

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First and foremost, it’s beautiful. If you think the pictures were pretty, you haven’t seen anything until you see it all moving. Everything looks stunning, the scenery, the animation, the Orcs especially are something quite special.

Speaking of the Ocs, they’re the best thing in the film. Each of them looks brilliant, and you get genuine emotion from Toby Kebbell, who is incredible as Durotan, one of the Orc chiefs. Actually his story is probably the most interesting part of the film, and I wish there was more of it. The whole, “do I betray my people to save my people?” arc is well done here, and I found myself really enjoying Durotan’s time on screen. Also, his scenes with his wife and baby felt genuine and touching.

Special praise goes to Daniel Wu and his excellent portrayal of the evil Gul’dan. He was great every time he was on screen.

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The human side of the story is a bit more a mixed bag. On the one hand you’ve got Travis Fimmel as Sir Anduin Lothar. He’s brilliant, frankly, and basically holds up the entire human part of the film almost single-handedly. He’s a badass warrior, and manages to come across as someone you really don’t want as an enemy.

Ben Schnetzer is also excellent as Khadgar, a mage who’s incredibly out of his depth, and both he and Fimmel work well together when they’re on screen.

The action scenes were magnificent, and stunning to watch. The real high-point of the film, and they managed to look pretty vicious despite it only being a 12a in the UK.

The story as a whole is quite interesting, and the film flies along its 2hr show time, but there are some issues.

  1. The big reveal of the bad guy is a giant ‘meh’. I simply didn’t care about the character, nor his motivations, and frankly I guessed he would be the villain the second he comes on screen.
  2. Dominic Cooper isn’t in it enough to really give his character the drive it needed for people to want him to succeed. I wanted Fimmel to do it because he’s heroic, and badass, but his king just sort of arrived, said a few things and left. He needed a bigger part.
  3. Actually that’s the biggest problem I have with the film, it needed more of it. There needed to be more of the king, more of the humans you were meant to be rooting for.
  4. The romance between Lothar and Garona felt tacked on. It was obvious it was going to happen, but there was zero set up to it. One minute they were talking, the next they were deeply in love. I didn’t buy it for a second.
  5. There were no twists or shocking parts to the film. None. Everything that was meant to be a twist could have been seen a mile away, although that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of it for the most part.
  6. Fimmel’s son was a plot device and nothing more.
  7. It needed more humour. I wanted someone a Leeroy Jenkins moment, or more sarcastic one-liners. There were characters who did it occasionally, but not enough for my liking.
  8. More species. Hopefully if they get a sequel the elves and dwarves can actually do something.

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The film was obviously a labour of love for all involved, it’s just a shame that the script couldn’t quite match the lofty ambitions. Now, I really liked it, but I love fantasy films anyway, and I can certainly see why others might not feel as invested.

It’s better than Batman vs Superman and X-men apocalypse, and anyone who says it isn’t beautiful is either trolling or blind. The script needed polishing, and several of the characters needed to go away as they take screen time from characters who are actually interesting. It’s one of the few films where I’d say 2hrs isn’t enough. If they do a director’s cut and add another 30-40 minutes onto the running time, I’d be happy with that.

So, I do recommend it, but it’s not for everyone. You like fantasy, you’ll probably enjoy it. You like Warcraft, you’ll love it. And if you want big grand action packed scenes, or you want to see orcs and humans beat the shit out of each other, then this is the film for you. I really hope it gets the sequel it desperately wants, as I’m very interested in seeing what they do from here.

It’s also probably a film that the majority of reviews I’ve read have either missed the point (it’s not meant to be Lord of the Rings), or just don’t seem to like it because it’s a videogame movie. Go see it for yourself. There’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it.

 

 

 

Superman Vs Batman: Thoughts

I’ve been to watch Batman VS Superman, and wanted to write down my thoughts on the film. Considering I had no hope of making this short enough to post on FB or Twitter, I figured writing them here would be a better idea.

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First the bad:

 

  • The story is nonsensical, and jumps around all over the place for no real reason.
  • Huge chunks of story are just forgotten about, or ignored because they’re clearly just there for future films, or because Zack Snyder forgot they existed.
  • Zack Snyder isn’t a very good director.
  • Everything is gloomy and dark. The entire colour palate to the film is like watching through fog. It’s annoying and utterly misses the point of a Superman film.
  • There’s no levity in the whole film. Compare it to something like Winter Soldier, which was still a serious film, but one that had humour, and excitement. Those aren’t in this film.
  • The CGI fights look pretty crappy in the darkness that blankets the whole film.
  • Lex Luthor is more annoying, twitchy dick, than evil genius. Also, his entire plot makes no sense for someone who’s meant to be said evil genius.
  • Every character in the Daily Planet is pointless and serves no purpose.
  • It’s too long.
  • It’s obviously just a set up for a future film.
  • Amy Adams is just there to be saved for the most part.
  • In 2016 we don’t need yet another Batman origin story. EVERYONE KNOWS WHO BATMAN IS, and if you don’t, then spend ten seconds on Google before you get into the film.
  • The ending is obvious, trite, and frankly insulting to the audiences’ intelligence.
  • Doomsday is dreadful and looks like the Troll from Lord of the Rings, a 15 yr old film.

 

 

Essentially, the story is all over the place, and the direction is a mess. So, that’s not great.

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Now the good stuff:

 

  • Henry Cavill is a good Superman. He really is, even with all the moping he has to do, he’s still pretty good. If they just made him a bit more… Superman, and a bit less miserable, that would be brilliant.
  • Gal Gadot is a very good Wonder Woman. She doesn’t have a lot to work with, but what she does shines. I have high hopes for a WW film based on her work here.
  • BEN AFFLECK SAVES THIS FILM. He’s phenomenal as Batman and Bruce Wayne, managing to play a Batman who has been pushed far beyond breaking that he’s now willing to do some pretty messed up stuff in the name of what he believes. He’s brilliant and every second he’s on screen, he steals the film. I now want to see an Affleck solo Batman film.
  • The Batman action scenes. They’re brilliant.
  • Jeremy Irons.
  • Holly Hunter
  • That’s pretty much it.

 

Without Affleck, this would be a colossal mess of a film with few redeeming qualities. As it is, he drags it kicking and screaming up to a film I didn’t mind watching.

 

Just one thing. Stop letting Zack direct Superman. It’s clear he doesn’t get Superman, it’s clear he just wants slow-mo and explosions. Give the next Superman film to someone who understands the character and let them go nuts.

 

Also, DC seems determined to do grim and gritty with these characters, and it just doesn’t work. They’re so far behind the Marvel films in terms of fun characters, action and story, it isn’t even a competition. Compare this to something like Winter Soldier, the Avengers, or Iron Man, and it’s not even in the same league. It’s a real shame because they had the chance to knock it out of the park, and they barely managed to hit the ball at all.

 

I hope the Blu-ray extended version fixes some of the problems with the story, but I doubt they’d fix it to the extent it needs fixing. Essentially, it’s a pretty poor film, but with one incredible performance, which is certainly not what I would have said about an Affleck superhero film. It’s not awful, but a bad story and bad direction mask the goodness inside. Glad I saw it, but it’s not even in the top ten superhero films of the last five years, let alone of all time.

Films That Disappointed You

I watched Dracula Untold the other day. It was… not good. if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s meant to be a retelling of Dracula’s early days. There are a few good things.

1. Charles Dance

2. Luke Evans

If it was just those two, or even just a story about Charles Dance’s character, the film would have been 1000 times more interesting. But as it stands, the action, while interesting, was pointless, the characters all had the IQ of cheese and were basically there to stand around and die, and the pacing was all over the place. It was a huge disappointment.

This got me thinking about the films that have disappointed me the most over the years. And I came up with 3 that stuck in my mind.

3. Suckerpunch.

I'd never thought that a film about ninja badasses fighting giant Samurai's and Nazi zombies would be dull. Then Suckerpunch happened.

I’d never thought that a film about ninja badasses fighting giant Samurai’s and Nazi zombies would be dull. Then Suckerpunch happened.

2. The Blair Witch Project

It's not scary, it's full of stupid people doing stupid things. I don't think I've ever wanted characters in a horror movie to die quicker.

It’s not scary, it’s full of stupid people doing stupid things. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted characters in a horror movie to die quicker.

1. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Darth Maul was in it for 5 minutes. He was the best thing in the entire movie. By a very, very big margin.

Darth Maul was in it for 5 minutes. He was the best thing in the entire movie. By a very, very big margin.

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So, what films disappointed you the most?

TMNT a Public Service

So, I watched the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film yesterday. Ordinarily I’d just write it off as another crappy Bay-esque movie (he didn’t actually direct it, but he did produce it), and move on.

 

This time I can’t do that. I can’t let others go through the 1 hr 45 mins I went through. So, here’s my little review.

 

I grew up watching the TMNT cartoon in the 90s. It was brilliant to my rose-tinted eyes. The other day I watched the original 1990s move with my youngest daughter, and apart from having aged terribly (MC Hammer, anyone) it’s still good fun. The current TMNT cartoon on Nickelodeon is great. The new film was not.

 

It was an easier time. Mostly because I was about 11.

It was an easier time. Mostly because I was about 11.

 

It did get some things right. I’ll list them. There are spoilers here.

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The scene in the lift at the end was funny.

The part where they’re all off their minds on adrenaline was also pretty funny.

Some of the action was okay.

The score was great.

The voice work was not always dreadful.

 

And now the wrong.

Megan Fox is awful in everything she’s ever in. This is not an exception to that rule.

Will Arnett is less ‘being cute and trying to get Megan to like him,’ and more ‘sexual deviant.’

William Fichtner is far too good to be given the stupid that he had to work with.

Most of the action was too fast, the camera too close, so everything zips along, but is hard to keep track of.

There are parts where it’s too dark to see what’s happening clearly (especially with the above problem).

Michelangelo wasn’t funny, but was incredibly annoying.

The plot makes no sense. The badguy wants to get rich. He’s already rich. It’s also needlessly complicated.

The Shredder is awful. It doesn’t look like he can kick ass, he looks like the something the original Shredder would have looked at and said, ‘I’m not wearing that shit’,

This picture really doesn't do the stupid justice.

This picture really doesn’t do the stupid justice.

The cgi isn’t good enough.

The doctors all act shocked when the bad guy kills someone, but they’re working for the badguy making something bad to kill a lot of people. That makes no sense at all.

It was stupid to make the turtles April’s old pets.

It was stupid to have Splinter teach himself martial arts from a book he found until he became a master.

The film takes itself far too seriously, and then it doesn’t, and then it does again, and then… you get the idea.

 

There’s more, but my head hurts.

 

Also in the comic Splinter is an utter badass.

Also in the comic Splinter is an utter badass.

The TMNT comics currently out by IDW are wonderful. They’re dark and action-packed, but still full of fun. They have heartfelt, character driven parts where characters actually learn and grow. Go read them, seriously you won’t regret it.

I think my biggest problem with the TMNT film is that it could have been great, but it’s not. The excuse, ‘it’s made for kids’, is crap. This isn’t even a film my kids liked, they’d have preferred a 90 minute version of the cartoon. Hell, they preferred the CGI Turtles movie from around 2007.

The Nick cartoon is good fun.

The Nick cartoon is good fun.

As silly as the notion of Ninja Turtles might sound, the comics prove that the idea can be done well. It’s a shame that this film is no where near capable of doing that.

On the plus side, it’s not worse than Transformers 4… but then neither is being savaged by a badger.