The Cable Guy Review

This title should be self explanatory for now but in about 50 years you might have to explain to someone what the cable is with how it’s been dying out. This is a film that definitely enjoys going really bonkers from start to finish and in some ways that’s a good thing but at times you also just wish the main character wouldn’t be such a pushover. Half of this movie just doesn’t happen if he stands up for himself but he really seems to be whining just about the whole time. He makes a whole lot of questionable decisions here.

The movie starts off with Steven moving into a new place after his girlfriend rejected his marriage offer and kicked him out. They’re now giving each other some space which means she’s going on a date with some random guy while Steven is sad at home. His friend suggests that he should at least get the cable set-up and if he bribes the cable guy he can get extra channels. He tries this and unfortunately it works too well. The cable guy is someone named Chip who is all too happy to help out but he now considers their friendship to be an eternal thing which cannot break. They must hang out every day for a while or else. At first this seems odd but harmless but before long Chip starts to escalate things and Steven has to do something or his life will be ruined.

So right off the bat Steven looks pretty bad here because it seems like Robin is openly manipulating him. If you need space away that’s one thing but dating someone else means that the relationship has completely fallen apart at that point. If you’re still together then it’s cheating and if you’re not still together then this sounds like you’re not serious about getting back together. The idea of wanting some space for a bit isn’t a bad one but it definitely becomes that way if you’re playing the field in the meantime.

Steven is just as guilty though because at one of Chip’s parties he meets someone who seems to like him so he gets together with her for a one night stand really quickly. Of course afterwards Chip drops the bombshell that he hired her and of course he took pictures so Steven is really behind the 8 ball now. Here’s the thing, that entire plan hinged around Steven not having any self control and immediately wanting to get together with any girl who looked his way. It was definitely a really bad look for him all around and so the main romance here really falls flat. You’re not rooting for Steven and Robin to get together at any point so even when things start working out for them you’re rolling your eyes a bit. You just don’t buy it.

Meanwhile Steven also needs to be more direct about everything. Tell Chip to back off and never look back. This all started because Steven tried to bribe Chip and then looked back once once Chip was leaving. Steven kept on digging the holes for himself and that’s what got him in the end. I did enjoy the dream sequence though where for once Steven made the right move in immediately running for it when Chip tried to break in. Of course it had to be a dream though because in the real life equivalent the main character will always just freeze in place without making any true progress. Also the music in that scene was great. It was like a minion encounter in Final Fantasy or something like that. I was not expecting that kind of music to show up here so that was a lot of fun.

In the end I just didn’t like Steve though and he really did not help his case with how poorly he handled the whole situation. Then you have Robin who I didn’t like for the reasons I already mentioned. That leaves us with Chip who is definitely insane but the question is if he’s insane in a cool way or in more of a cringe kind of way. Ultimately I wouldn’t say he’s that cool. The guy can plan things out well to be sure but he’s also a lot more emotional and his plans do get thwarted a lot. His strength is in how quickly he can come up with a new plan, not in how his original plan is unbeatable and that’s where he differs from the more classic geniuses.

His plans also rely on Steven acting very unintelligent as well. The biggest moment like that was when he went to meet the family. Immediately Steven should mention that Chip framed him for jail and start listing off the other stuff he did. Sure Chip has blackmail but unfortunately blackmail never goes away so you just have to own up to it and keep pushing forward. If he did that right off the bat then reasonably the family would have to take his side. It’s still unfortunate that they instead all played a really scandalous game and Steven could not verbalize why he didn’t want to play and so Chip easily manipulated them all. That had to be an annoying moment all around. How is Steven losing a battle of his family to his worst enemy who has never even met them before?

The scenes of Chip taking down the Basketball team was fun though. Ultimately I’d say the problem is that the movie is often meaner than it is funny. Chip’s antics can be crazy to be sure but I don’t think you would really be laughing at them for most of the film. Instead you’re more wondering what Steven is going to do in retaliation or if he will just get wrecked yet again. Unfortunately with this lead you just never know what he is going to do next. For a comedy the biggest rule is to be funny after all and if you miss the mark there then you’re going to be in trouble.

It’s not a bad film but I would put it right in the middle. I’d say it has some decent replay value mainly due to how crazy the whole thing is but it doesn’t nail the premise as much as it could have. I think you could have a lot more fun with the crazy cable guy in a different direction although this still beats playing the whole thing straight as a scary thriller. Because you could absolutely picture this as one of those intense lifetime kind of films and it’s nice that they didn’t go that way.

Overall, After this experience you have to guess that Steven would probably change to streaming instead of cable. Unfortunately you have doubts that he really learned the right lesson here. Steven just never grew to be a great lead and he needs to grow tougher if he wants to come out on top if another similar situation were to occur. I enjoyed the ending which almost has a bit of a cliffhanger to it though. The story may be over for Steven presumably but there’s always someone else. If you’re looking for a really crazy film which will have you wondering if you should be worried for the main character or not, this is an intense title to check out.

Overall 5/10

Touch of Evil Review

The Touch of Evil is one of those films where a whole lot of stress could have been avoided if the main characters talked to each other more. Whenever you’re in a hostile territory but don’t want to confide in each other that things aren’t going well, that’s when trouble really brews. The movie is fairly serious but then throws in quite a few comedic moments as well so it can be tough to say what tone it is going for at times. This one isn’t one of the better gangster films even if I do give it props for having more unique scenery compared to most.

The movie starts with the main characters getting ready to leave the border town between Mexico and the United States until a car blows up in front of them. The main character Miguel works as a prosecutor and is in the middle of a big case involving a gangster group so he can’t leave now. This is the villains’ turf so in case they are involved he will have to look into this. His wife Suzie isn’t quite as pleased since they should be going on their honeymoon and unfortunately she is now being targeted by the villains. It starts off as pure intimidation but the longer she remains, the more that may begin to change. Can the main guy solve the case in time?

So right off the bat here is one of the problems. The mafia wastes no time in summoning Susie over to make some veiled threats and she takes it well in talking tough back to them. My problem is after leaving she doesn’t tell Miguel what just transpired. I feel like you have to tell him so you’re both on the same page about the fact that the danger has arrived and it isn’t just a possible thing that could happen anymore. Later on they do this again by dropping off a threatening letter for her and she thinks about telling Miguel but opts not to. She had even been planning to leave for the American side of the border but decided not to after the threat. Telling Miguel could have caused him to play things differently.

He ends up dropping her off at a motel which is where she said she would stay but unfortunately it’s run by the villains so she ends up falling for their trap which ends up not going well as she is drugged and framed for doing this herself. I would argue that Miguel and even the cop who dropped her off should have been smarter about this though. Leaving her at a note like that just does not seem safe at all and of course it wasn’t. Even if the villains didn’t run the place it feels like that would not have been a particularly good idea.

Another complication here is Hank, a police captain who is determined to find the culprits for the bombing no matter what. The problem is that he will use less than legal means of getting a culprit and he always gets a culprit, even if he has to make up some proof. Hank is definitely very corrupt and while the end of the film tries to give him some credit with his instincts, you still can’t take the law into your hands when you’re an officer like that. The instant he did this he was definitely setting himself up for a lot of trouble. He makes for a good villain but it’s hard to see him as anything more than that no matter what his intentions were. I can’t say I felt sympathetic for him at all.

The most random plot here is the night custodian working at the motel. He is extremely afraid for his life the entire time he appears and so everyone pushes him around. I suppose he has probably seen a lot of things since he started working here but all of his actions just felt very exaggerated. The movie could have stood to tone this character down a bit to make him more realistic. It can be fine to have a character who completely clashes with the tone of the movie of course but at the end of the day this guy just wasn’t very funny so that immediately defeated the whole purpose of his character. Someone like this would have a better chance of succeeding if he was not related to the serious events in the movie.

In general I think the film had an issue with balancing the comedic and serious bits. The villains for example appear as comic relief for decently large chunks of the film as they run around and get into trouble but then they suddenly get rather serious near the end when they drug Suzie or when they nearly melt the main character with a vial of acid. So the movie was really all over the place in a lot of ways and maybe all the terrible decisions that the heroes made was supposed to play into that somehow. Like you’re meant to realize they are bad decisions although I never got that implication from the movie so I don’t know about that.

Overall, The Touch of Evil has an interesting setup with a crime at the border so both sides want a piece of the action. The place definitely wasn’t the safest with a gang running around but at least by the end of the film that group will be a lot weaker. The main characters could have handled all of this a lot better than they did though and I feel like some of the villains really got off completely free. We never saw the whole mafia group get arrested after they attacked Suzie and that would have made the ending a lot more complete. The atmosphere is on point but in the end this film really falls in the middle on the spectrum of good and bad movies. A better ending could have helped it rise up.

Overall 5/10

On the Waterfront Review

I haven’t seen too many films about unions and the mob getting mixed up in some dirty dealings so this made for a fun watch. The union is definitely a powerful thing that you always want to encourage and help grow. Without them employees are easily bullied and exploited all over the place. It’s why I always say it’s better to take a lower paying job that has a union, aka job security over a high paying one where you can be fired at will. It’s just a world of difference in how much you will stress out about things on a day to day basis and in a way life just becomes easier. Of course it’s not a blanket rule and there are many people who enjoy great jobs out of the union. As with almost everything, it will be a case by case basis but on the whole I do support unions. Clearly they do need oversight though or you get an incident like the Waterfront happening behind your back.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Terry who tricks a guy into walking through a fatal ambush. Basically this guy was going to speak with some detectives about the corruption on Waterfront and the mafia wasn’t having that. Terry regrets what he did though because he didn’t realize that the mob was going to murder this guy. He figured they would just rough him up but now he’s in too deep to get out. Basically this segment of the union is run by Johnny who and for all intents and purposes it is the mafia. He chooses who gets to earn money and live an easy life while the others scramble for pennies and go home hungry. Terry and his brother Charley have fairly high positions within the mafia and so they are taken care of but Terry feels guilty all the same.

Edie, the sister of the man who was destroyed resolves to do something about this and she gets Father Barry to help her out with this. Together they aim to take a stand and get someone to cooperate with the police in outing the mobsters. This does put them in the crosshairs of the villains though so Terry is going to have to make a choice and soon. If he stands by and lets them get murdered then it is as if he did the deed himself and if he helps them out then he may die. Time is no longer on his side.

I think Terry was a bit naïve in believing that the mob would spare the first guy in the opening scene though. From the mob’s perspective he’s a squealer and no matter what kind of gang you go to, that is obviously frowned upon. They were always going to use him as an example and I suppose in this case Terry just didn’t have enough street smarts to recognize that. He wisens up a bit as the film goes on but even by the end he didn’t always seem to be very quick on the uptake. Near the end of the film his brother Charley tries to convince him to confirm that he won’t talk to the detectives and Terry keeps saying that he is unsure. He doesn’t realize that this is a final plea to him because Terry is slated to be destroyed and it has to be spelled out for him.

Throughout the film Terry seems to underestimate the level of trouble that he’s in and it just strikes me as a bit odd. He doesn’t seem like someone who would be that sheltered from the mob and the cruel realities of life. I guess in a way his brother Charley did a good job of shielding him from the worst elements. Ultimately Charley is a villain here particularly as he knew exactly what he was doing the whole time. Still, I can appreciate that he looked out for his brother all the way to the end and was willing to sacrifice himself to buy more time.

Meanwhile Johnny made for a solid villain. He’s the kind of guy who rules through fear and never forgets how he rose to the top. He’s stayed in shape and is still quite strong. He’s not going to be taking down a professional boxer or anything like that but against the average joe you have to believe that he would do pretty well. He’s good at baiting Terry (You also just blame Terry for being a bit too reactive at times) and it’s easy to see why he managed to climb to the top. Johnny may not be a good guy but he knows his way around the streets.

Barry ends up doing a good job here as well since he puts himself in a lot of danger as well and doesn’t waver. He’s willing to go the distance on this one and so even when some people die, you know that he’s not going to give up. In those days as a member of the church he would have been in 0 danger if he had just stayed within the church. So it was courageous of him to go out there and really risk his life like that. I’d say he was the best character here.

Then you have Edie who was also proactive in doing her best to get to the bottom of this and really try to avenge her brother. She attends the meetings and really gets the ball rolling. Without her kicking things off it is extremely likely that nothing would have been done. She has to take a whole lot of credit in getting things set up here.

One weak area of the film is the romance though. You just can’t convince me that someone would fall for the man who assisted in murdering her brother. Yes we know it was an accident but even so I just don’t see how you move past that. Maybe after a lot of years or something but short term it’s just not going to happen. That’s such a personal thing that you can’t simply get over it. Nah the film should have cut the romance angle out since it’s not like this was really going to enhance the story in any way.

My one issue narratively is in the climax how nobody helps Terry. The whole group in the union feel extremely soft here. You’re telling me that after the boss has finally been pretty much dethroned and you’re at the end of the race, nobody is going to help out? Surely there would be either enough resentment or comradery to get one of them to jump in and land some serious damage. Terry was beating Johnny one on one and only lost because it became a 4 against 1. There were dozens and dozens of other workers watching from a very close distance. They should have jumped in to help. It was such a bad scene here because it instantly makes the ending lose a lot of punch since they didn’t help out. When the chips were down Terry was alone and that goes against the whole ending where everyone is in solidarity. It would have meant so much more if they helped him take down the attackers and then walked in with him.

Throughout the film it felt like they were starting to gain some confidence too. That they all had enough and were willing to fight back but I guess that wasn’t to be. In the end the fear Johnny engrained in them ran far too deep and that’s unfortunate. Would have been nice if the detectives showed up or something to lead him away in handcuffs too since he lost the court case. There are a lot of charges you could throw at him at that point and compound them into the previous verdict but the detectives basically vanished early on.

Now there was one scene that did hurt the film near the end and it comes out of nowhere. There is this random subplot where Terry likes raising a bunch of pigeons as a side gig and naturally it ends with all of them being murdered by some psychotic kids. They should definitely be in jail and got off way too easy here. It’s pretty rough because they murdered a whole flock of birds here and suffer absolutely no penalty. It’s another way of showing how Terry burned all of his bridges by going against the mob but you didn’t have to include this plot at all. It’s definitely the most tragic moment in the film and the sheer body count is also astounding.

Overall, On The Waterfront is a very engaging movie even if it did lose a lot of momentum in the end. You’ve got a solid script here and a good atmosphere in the background. The scene where the villains call Terry out was really good because you knew that he could die if he went down there and yet he had to because his brother was being used as bait. You can also see how stressful it is to be within a gang because you can be in their good graces one moment and then they turn on you in the blink of an eye. The best way to survive is to simply avoid them from the start. Part of the dilemma here was that some people really had no other opportunities which is why Johnny lasted for so long. There was no real witness protection with how everyone was getting bumped off so it made for a very negative cycle. It’s definitely good that Edie and Barry were here to close out the situation once and for all.

Overall 5/10

Stargate Review

Stargate is one of those films I didn’t really know anything about so when I watched the film the execution was quite a bit different from what I was expecting. I think it should have embraced the sci-fi nature of the story more and yet instead we’re stuck on a sand planet with no real tech for most of the film. I don’t know why so many sci-fi films like going to pre tech planets for a good chunk of the adventure, Star Wars, Dune, Star Trek The Movie, and Stargate now. I mean it defeats the entire purpose of seeing all the cool tech right?

So the movie starts off with Daniel being recruited by the government to help with some kind of super secret project going on. Basically there are some hieroglyphs with special messages and there is also a mysterious gate. If they can figure out how to use it then this could be a massive discovery. Daniel solves this pretty quickly which activates the gate and so he is picked to be a part of the team that goes through it. His expertise will be absolutely critical here after all. Plus if his theory is right they will need to activate a gate on whatever destination they end up in if they want to return. Unfortunately when they land they don’t see the missing part of the gate so it could be anywhere. The team is now stranded and they will have to find a way back before their supplies are shot.

Right off the gate the group is pretty mean to Daniel. They’re all giving him a tough time throughout and sure they are upset because he had more or less assured them that he would be able to get then home. This turned out to be more of a bluff but it would still be nice for the group to at least have some kind of unity right? If you can’t get along while on an alien planet then I’m sorry to inform you but you’re definitely going to be doomed. Surviving is hard enough on its own when you have the whole group, let alone when you’re all split up like this and sabotaging Daniel like when they threw all of his papers away.

As the film goes on most of them gradually start to soften up and be more reasonable but it was a rough beginning there without a doubt. Daniel doesn’t make for the best character though as he generally isn’t super confident and sort of stumbles around a lot. He is a genius which is why he was able to decode the puzzle. So the guy’s skills are legit but I think he could stand to be a little tougher and more self sufficient. The army commander Jack was a lot more interesting. Now he does start off a bit more antagonistic but the guy is also seeing the big picture and trying to stay alive out there.

I wouldn’t say he makes all of the right decisions but he is also put in a pretty tough position. He was basically given secret orders that would be super controversial if the world knew about them so he has to play things pretty close to the vest. It’s a lot of pressure for anyone to have to real with. He fights hard to the end and never waivers in setting up his attack. The rest of the squad are mostly on the forgettable side and a lot of them start to get bumped off once the villains get serious anyway.

The villains here had an absolutely epic introduction as they showed up in their full armor and were ready for action. I liked the robotic designs and their energy attacks which really stood out. Unfortunately they were not able to keep their momentum up because it turns out that these were robotic suits and that underneath them these guys just looked like ordinary humans. Yeah….not the most interesting design they could have chosen that’s for sure. These guys end up feeling really forgettable as a result but it was also such a let down because it’s another area that could have looked really cool visually on the sci-fi angle and they fumbled the ball on that one.

This film is going with the Egyptian origins for the villains so for example the big boss is Ra. Of course he isn’t actually the god from the myths but an alien that showed up back when humanity was still in its early stages and he was so advanced that they all treated him like a god. Ra enjoyed this and so he basically set up the whole culture. Yes, the pyramids and such did arrive thanks to aliens! That’s always a fun little nod but still they should have given Ra a really cool design. Instead he basically takes the form of a human when instead I’d have loved for him to actually look like Anubis or any number of other sci-fi type designs.

Any scene back at the village with the aliens would tend to be a little dull as well because you could remove the term “sci-fi” from the genres and you wouldn’t know the difference. The village has no tech at its disposal and since both sides can’t understand one another it makes for a lot of slow paced scenes. The foods the heroes have to eat were also pretty gross although it was smart to accept since turning away food could definitely be seen as a slight. I was just waiting for them to get back to the actual alien plot with cool sci-fi elements and all of that.

The climax does have some real action though even if the humans should have been immediately defeated. This was another case of villains that were created to be too powerful so they end up getting really nerfed by the end. You just don’t buy that they could possibly be defeated in the way that they were. They were stronger and faster than the humans in addition to having the better tech. So when you consider all of that….well that should be it. In the end they let their guard down too much and pay the price for it. The effects are good though and I can say that for the whole movie. It’s all aged well visually which is why they should have focused on that aspect more.

All told, this is still a decent movie but one that should have been pretty good instead. It’s a tale of two halves here. Anytime the sci-fi elements are around then you are bound to have a lot of fun but when they’re at the village you end up getting bored. The romance is also really weak considering that the two characters barely know each other. I find it hard to believe that the romance would happen so quickly especially when the humans are busy trying to get back to their world. There is just no time for any of this.

Overall, Stargate was really not what I was expecting but I can see the potential for how you could turn this into a really fun franchise. It just needs a few more steps into the right direction and then it will really be set. If the sequel can just double down on the action elements and have a portal to a more advanced world then we will be in business. If you’re up for a sci-fi film that forgets it is one for large parts of the film then this is the title for you but otherwise I would say to skip it for now.

Overall 5/10

Point Break (2015) Review

Point Break is one of those films where I’m almost surprised that it got a remake. I mean most things get remakes eventually but I wouldn’t say the first film is one of the top ones that comes to mind when I’m thinking about a thriller. It just felt like a random remake but hey, it’s here so how did it fare? Well I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original and yet I would still say it edges this one out. It’s not a landslide victory, they’re both on around the same level but this feels like a slimmed down version with characters that aren’t as interesting. The only interesting thing here is the whole eco-warrior angle and that part isn’t fleshed out as much as you might expect.

The film starts off with Johnny Utah pulling off some great stunts once again but unfortunately it gets a bit too intense and his friend dies. He decides not to do the stunts anymore and becomes an FBI agent. Well, there are now a string of odd crimes happening around the world and Johnny notices a trend that everyone missed. The villains are attempting to complete the Ozaki 8. These are crazy stunts where nobody has ever managed to complete the whole set in their lifetime before. These crooks are accomplishing those feats while also robbing places and causing general mayhem which is the impressive part. The FBI agents don’t really buy into this theory though so Johnny is on his own when he goes over to prove this theory. If agent Pappas doesn’t think there is any promise after a short while he will pull the plug on this little operation. Can Johnny find these crooks?

Well, that might be the wrong question. See, Johnny finds them very quickly. That’s not really the hard part here. The hard part is that he quickly starts to hang out with them and doesn’t think they are so bad. In a way he wants to take them in peacefully and he also needs proof which will be difficult. It puts him in a tough spot and that’s also why you really don’t want to be an undercover operative for too long. The longer the mission goes on the more suspicious the villains are naturally going to get. So there is always a timer here.

I would also say that Johnny sure gets lucky a whole lot of the time. If the villains were smarter and made direct moves from the start then Johnny would have been doomed. He’s not exactly subtle with how he will vanish for a full day and then come back. He’s extremely suspicious with all of his little trips. Basically Bodhi at least figured something was up midway but instead of finishing Johnny off he plays along because he hopes to convert Johnny. Overconfidence? Yes absolutely, things would have gone a lot smoother for him if he just made Johnny disappear and that wouldn’t have been hard.

Johnny does have some street cred by being a former extreme sports guy and that at least was a god addition to the film. It actually makes sense to add to his cover and yeah it might be convenient but it also gives more reason why he wouldn’t be immediately distrusted at least so I can get behind that. This one has less of a focus on the surfing and in exchange it’s more like a decathalon as there are a bunch of different sports and activities being played here.

Ironically Johnny reduces the villains’ numbers by getting caught up in the moment and making things a little too extreme. His old habits kick in during a snowboarding level where one guy doesn’t make it. Bodhi and the gang aren’t too bothered since they figure it’s everyone’s choice to go on and that is true. I mean you’d probably still be rather guilty about the whole thing but I don’t think he’s wrong. At the end of the day when someone encourages you to do something, you (almost) always have a choice and so if you do go through with it, you can’t go blaming the other person.

So Bodhi and the gang’s intentions here are to save the environment and complete the stunts. Where this falls flat for me is that their goal doesn’t seem very focused and doesn’t seem to help the environment much at all. Johnny even calls them out for this by saying how they keep taking a lot of money and living the good life but when will they give back? Sure they occasionally give money to people but they don’t seem to be the selfless Robin Hood types that they claim to be. I would say Johnny is right on this, sure they were always going to be villains either way but showing more of how they actually helped the environment would have done a lot to make them more compelling as villains. I think it would have made a world of difference at least and they wouldn’t have been nearly as bland.

In general bland is probably how you would describe the film. It does have some good visuals and action scenes as they perform these extreme stunts but the actual story around that is so forgettable. Half of the conversations between the characters are about the environment and the world around them yet you don’t feel like they are actually saying much. It is a lot of dialogue without a whole lot of actual focus and that is the problem.

I also didn’t care for the main character much because to an extent I think the agents were right that he lost sight of his duties here. He gets distracted way too easily while trying to learn about them. I don’t feel like he really held back once the chips were down but he would have worked harder to stop them. I don’t think fitting in with the group was the most effective way to stop them and at the end of the day they are still big criminals. Even if Johnny sees that they are trying to do something good, it really doesn’t change the bigger picture. You have to stop them.

Now for the ending, it is going for an emotional vibe of course but I do think at this point Johnny is obligated to stop Bodhi. Basically the situation involves arresting Bodhi or letting him destroy himself. At least in the original you could see how Bodhi might have a chance if his skills were up to par but this time he went in a boat so it just felt like a suicide mission. I feel like Johnny has to quickly try and stop him here because there is no chance of success. Additionally Bodhi needs to answer for his crimes rather than getting to go out on his own terms like that. Sometimes death is the easy way out and this is one of those times. Johnny needed to hang in there and make sure this didn’t happen.

Overall, Point Break just feels a little unfocused and didn’t put enough attention to the plot. The stunts were on point but you can’t really make a whole film about that. You need a focus, some kind of overarching story to make it all work and this one didn’t really have that. The characters aren’t the best and I think the film thought that it was a lot deeper than it actually was. As a result the whole thing ends up being rather weak and I can’t say that I would really recommend it. It’s not bad but it’s just not very inspired. I would say to watch any Mission Impossible film starting with film 4 instead for some good stunts that are connected through an exciting plot.

Overall 5/10

The 39 Steps Review

The 39 Steps is definitely an interesting movie but it is one that is held back by the main character. He’s annoying to watch the whole time and will just grate on your nerves. The guy isn’t the nicest fellow that’s for sure and leaves the worst possible first impression with the main heroine so while you expect that the romance is still coming, you are just hoping that it won’t. Just skip it….so I enjoy the story in the film and how everything is really mysterious but the film also has a lot of unnecessary moments and a weak lead that distracts from this.

The movie opens with Richard enjoying a show where a guy called Mr. Memory confirms that he knows everything. Ask him any serious question and he can get you the answer on the spot. It’s really quite impressive to be honest. Well suddenly a lady runs into Richard and asks him to take her home. He agrees but the whole thing is rather odd. She says that she is being chased by a bunch of ruffians who want to murder her and while Richard doubts this at first, she is promptly murdered. The only clue he has left is a paper she was holding with a map. He is now the primary suspect in her murder so he has to find the real villains and solve this case quickly.

So far so good. It’s a pretty interesting plot. One unique thing about the movie is also that this guy is completely out of his depth for the entirety of the movie. Yes, not just the beginning of the movie or for part of it but the whole thing. This guy really has no clue what he is up against and even we as the viewer don’t know a whole lot. This is done effectively since we’re seeing the world through the lead’s eyes. There is no time for info dumps or twists about what is going on. Yes, we get some answers by the end but not a whole lot of them. The majority of the film is Richard running around and getting himself into trouble.

For example one of the best parts there is when Richard finally makes it to his destination and meet up with a Mr. Jordan who he thinks can help him. Unfortunately this guy turns out to be one of the main villains so not only is he not going to get any help from this guy but it’s actually the reverse and he might be in trouble now. I like how Jordan plays along for a bit before just dropping the act. The film also has that retro style of talking where everyone is being super polite even when talking about how someone is going to get murdered. Jordan says Richard has to die but gives him some options and tries to be nice about the whole thing.

Then while they’re in the middle of talking he just shoots Richard out of the blue. I just like how nonchalant the whole thing was. He just shot him in the middle of the living room and walked away. Now granted, this also leads to the cheesiest part of the film which is that he didn’t check to make sure that Richard was actually dead. Cmon now that’s the first thing you have to check. It turns out that the bible he stole from a domestic abuser saved his life. Richard’s luck gets no better as he runs off to the sheriff who doesn’t believe his story at all and things continue to escalate.

So yeah Richard is doing a lot of running here which is why we don’t have time to learn much about the two factions of secret agents going at it with each other. You just need to know the key facts here which is that one side has some intel that they shouldn’t and they will get away unless the cops get involved. By the time the film is over Richard may be safe for a bit but I feel like nobody’s actually going to stop the 39 Steps because where do you even begin with that? We don’t even know how big the organization is or how many members they have. The possibilities are really endless.

If this was the extent of the film then it would all be swell but one of the weakest aspects of the film is the whole subplot with Pamela. So they first meet on a train where Richard tries to use her as a disguise when being chased by the cops. His bright idea here was to go all the way for a kiss instead of a hug or something. I was glad when she ratted him out because if a random person shows up and does that this should absolutely be your first reaction. He holds that against her though and the whole scene is just wild because it also doesn’t feel like something the hero would do. I thought that was a really weak scene.

She tries to get him into trouble for a long while after that but eventually they get handcuffed together and now she really has no escape. He forces her to pretend to be married to him and whenever she tries to yell for help he’ll just grab her by the neck so she can’t talk or threaten to shoot her. This is the hero? Now it’s not like the film is portraying him to be demented or anything and the scenes aren’t meant to be crazy but they’re not exactly played for laughs either. I think he just goes way too far in trying to scare her. He fears for his life but making her fear for hers really isn’t helping matters in the slightest. He still takes time to flirt and start a relationship as well so he needs to get his priorities straight.

The guy is all over the place and so by the end you have no sympathy for him. It’s a shame that people think he is a murderer but he’s starting to act like one anyway so that’s maybe just how this will end up going anyway. The film also has a very random pitstop near the middle where he bumps into a rather shady guy who prays a lot but seems like a phony and his poor wife who doesn’t really know what to do. Things get dicey for her after Richard leaves and it’s like…did we need to see this? Yeah it’s generally understood that this guy seems like he may get abusive and has a chip on his shoulder but it’s a bit of a dark element that has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

This film feels really unfocused which is fine for the story but it also just means that any bad elements which show up also feel like they have no real point in being here. The film would just be better off without these moments being included at all and there is no real incentive to watch this over another thriller. I’d recommend most of the other retro titles I’ve seen higher than this one. The ending is pretty clever and ties in well to the intro but ultimately this film barely breaks even. That’s quite the feat considering that with the solid writing and tone this would usually be guaranteed to be a 7 at least so you know the title definitely did something wrong.

Overall, That main character just needed to be arrested after a while and you feel worse for the heroine who gets swept up into all of this. If this ever gets a remake I think we just need to have a bigger focus on The 39 Steps and what they really do. They certainly have a lot of plans going on and operatives around the world but what is their end game really? I just want to see more of how they operate in this world while living double lives as millionaires having fun in society. Those questions are the most interesting parts of the film.

Overall 5/10

Shadow of a Woman Review

This film is definitely more annoying than it is suspenseful. Mainly a film like this revolves around the lead being completely incapable of taking any definitive actions in order to keep going. That just means that the plot is really weak if you ask me. The movie has quality writing and there’s a lot going on but the story just doesn’t hold up because any reasonable character would have done some things way differently and that would have been the end of it. Over half of this film would have just been thrown out the window and you could even argue that 99% of it would end if the main character didn’t just jump into things at the start.

So this film starts with Brooke deciding to marry a guy named Eric that she barely knows. She knows that he’s a doctor but that’s about it. She allows herself to get swept up in the moment and marries him but why all the rush? That in itself should have been a red flag and then things only continue to get worse. First off, he’s not quite as well off financially as he had led her to believe. Someone tries to murder him by crushing him with a boulder initially and then someone else shoots at him later on. In each instance he tells Brooke that she’s imagining things or that it was someone hunting buffalo and she just takes this. What should have been the last straw is that he then says they have to live at his family’s place even though she has a perfectly acceptable home that they could have been in. Now she is an unwanted guest here and the tensions continue to rise. Is there something shady about this Eric fella?

The amount of suspension you have to put your belief through here is absolutely crazy. Why is Brooke willing to sacrifice so much of her life for someone that she barely knows? It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and that’s my main problem here. He continues to stack the deck against her and gets upset at her awful quick but Brooke just doesn’t put the pieces together. I’m not sure which moment is more drastic, Eric being shot at or his insisting they live at a place where nobody likes her. Either one should have been enough for her to keep her distance or at least stay in her home and insist he goes to her. Instead Brooke keeps trying to stick with it.

Now if they were married for ages and things had been going great then I could appreciate the loyalty here but instead it just feels like she is letting him walk all over her with no real resistance. Instead of being admirable it just makes her look weak if you ask me. Especially when his excuses are so weak. He spends the whole film constantly telling her that she’s crazy and seeing things and she just accepts this. It isn’t until the very end of the film where she starts to stick up for herself and by then it’s very nearly too late. So yeah I didn’t like Brooke. She may not be an antagonist the way that Eric is but she makes the job way too easy on him the whole time. If she had done just about anything then things wouldn’t have turned out the way that they did.

For example one thing Eric is doing here is starving a child as he hopes that the kid will die off and then he can claim the insurance money. I feel like you have to call the cops or child custody services immediately but Brooke sits on her hands for a while here and just doesn’t do anything. I suppose she feeds him her breakfast once but that’s more of a passive resistance. I want to see her actually doing something bold. She finds out he had another wife, that he’s using her to win a court case, etc. The twists and bad news just keeps coming in over and over again and she still doesn’t do much. Eric even tells her to stop seeing her doctor friend since he’s the only doctor she could ever need. Ah man.

Yeah this was an annoying one and it gets more annoying the more I think about it. Eric isn’t even a mastermind or anything because this plan should never have worked. The fact that it got this far is more of a strike against Brooke than it is a complement to his strength. His family is also afraid of him to the point where they keep his secrets and act as antagonists. I mean they even drug Brooke although the heroine forgives them rather quickly. They were just so spineless that they also end up being really bad characters here. They let Eric manipulate them for quite a long while and that’s another problem. Everyone just lets him do what he wants and they make the worst decisions possible.

One client of Eric’s seems to start to realize that he’s a scammer but she only works things out halfway. So she accuses him of all kinds of stuff and says she will wreck his career…but then she gets drunk and asks him to take her home. Lets just say she didn’t survive this ordeal and the whole thing makes you roll your eyes. How can you threaten someone and then trust him with your life? Throughout the film Eric actually bumps off quite a few characters and it’s not like he’s a super tough fighter or anything. Everyone just comes across as massive suckers the whole time so there’s not a whole lot that he needs to do.

Apparently it is well known that he is a scammer too but unfortunately there are enough people who don’t realize this that makes it tricky. There are always more people for him to trick after all and that’s always unfortunate. He gets away with a whole lot for a very long period of time and nobody could touch him. At least with the court case eventually the lawyer was going to defeat him but it was just taking way too long. I still think a quick call to the cops would have saved a great deal of time. The lawyer also got really lucky that Brooke talks a lot. Yes by the end there was a conscious effort to help him out but for part of the film Brooke was wrecking Eric’s plans accidentally with her outbursts which wasn’t as cool as it could have been. I wanted to see her as an intentional saboteur, not someone accidentally stumbling into success.

Overall, This film can be rather suspenseful but the characters really hold it back. It doesn’t come across as a very smartly written film and is instead one where everything just happens to turn out well for the villain because nobody can think ahead. If they actually made the right decisions then Eric wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far as he did. Ultimately you have to be able to stick up for yourself when the going gets tough and you also have to trust yourself. If someone tells you that you’re crazy then you have to believe your mind over that person. Things could have been so different here if Brooke was just a tough character. It’s not a bad movie but I would recommend most other suspense type films over this one. You’ll just be rolling your eyes too hard half the time at all the mistakes that are being made and it goes without saying that the romance is quite weak as well.

Overall 5/10

The Alligator People Review

Now this probably sounds like your classic run of the mill creature feature film but instead I would call it more of a drama. Sure there is a creature here but he doesn’t appear all that much and when he does it’s not like he’s all that much of a threat either. The guy has some extremely slight superhuman strength but even then I wouldn’t say that it is very high tier. You get a lot of running around and detective work though along with a human villain who is definitely more on the really weak side.

The film starts with Joyce and Paul being married. They figure that things are really looking up now and their lives will be perfect but all of a sudden Paul gets a letter that shakes him to the core. He quickly runs off the train they were on and vanishes into the wind. Joyce didn’t know anything about him beyond his name so she looked and looked until one day she finds his old address from when he was back in college. She heads to this old house in the middle of nowhere but the owners claim that they haven’t ever heard of him and that Jane should go. Well, Jane decides to stay along for the ride until she can find answers but will these answers prove to be too much for her?

First I have to say that Paul is a pretty awful character the whole time. Just running off when you’ve been married like this is absolutely insane. I don’t care if he’s turning into a gerbil, you have to stay there and explain things. He took the coward’s way out here and put Joyce in a ton of emotional turmoil. She had nothing to go off of and had to try for ages to find any leads to him. All of this could and should have been avoided. In the end it was his pride which got in the way here since he just didn’t want her to see him like this but that is no excuse at all. He just looks really bad no matter how you slice it and there was no coming back from this for him. Of course I’m glad he saves her later on from the other villain but she wouldn’t have been in that situation from the start if he had helped her.

Joyce gets a lot of credit here because she was basically walking into enemy territory in order to find her husband. She withstood all of the threats against her and just kept on fighting because she refused to give up. I think a lot of other characters would have folded by this point but she stayed strong and did not waiver in her convictions. This is the kind of character that you absolutely want to have on your side at all times. Now she does let out a yell and a bit of panic near the very end but I would say it was warranted and she would have quickly recovered if a certain other character didn’t jump the gun yet again. Yeah Joyce puts up with a whole lot in this title.

Then you have the main villain here Manon. He wants to destroy all gators after one bit his hand off a while back. Now he just lives for his revenge and it’s clear that he guy is extremely unhinged in all of his appearances. He’s always yelling and yelling and yelling. His goal of destroying all of the gators also comes off as extremely petty and then he ends up going into a whole new level of sick when he attacks Joyce. I was definitely not expecting that. I knew he was a villain here but that just didn’t seem like something he would do so that was definitely surprising and it did completely destroy his character.

Lavinia has a fairly big role since she is the master of the house. She has her secrets to be sure and wants Joyce out of there but ultimately isn’t in a position to force Joyce out. Joyce is physically more powerful than Lavinia after all and isn’t a pushover in the slightest. Then you have Dr. Mark who is good at the experiments but ultimately nobody is perfect and he needs more time. Paul keeps pressuring/threatening him to work quicker but to an extent you can only do this for so long before something backfires. As it is he may have also succeeded if not for someone messing up the tech.

As always the writing here is pretty good. I did like Chaney’s accent that he used for the film which worked rather seamlessly and I almost didn’t recognize him for most of the film. The pacing is good here and really the only thing that holds this movie back a lot of the time is just how most of the characters are no good. I liked Joyce but she was really the only very solid character here. Everyone else was either unlikable or made very questionable decisions the whole time. This film would have played out so much differently if Paul had just trusted his wife instead of dashing off into the great unknown the way that he did.

I should mention that most of the film is a flashback too and so in the present two doctors are deciding if they should give Joyce her memories back or not. They could do this with ease but are also worried that it could mess her up in the future. There isn’t a large debate on this as it’s mainly just used as an excuse for them to find out what she’s been through. Of course it’s fair to say that you absolutely should give her the memories back since they are a big part of who she is. They just need to do it carefully instead of making all those excuses. Yes her life is a lot happier now but knowing about the past now makes the doctors responsible for helping her remember it so that she can be complete again.

Overall, The Alligator People lacks the charm of a true creature feature because there is no monster or anything like that to defeat this time. The costume for the Alligator Man also isn’t the most impressive one around. It’s not going to strike fear into anyone’s heart after all. I liked seeing Joyce sleuth around and figure things out but ultimately for this film to have been better it also just needed more fun characters and some action. The Alligators also had me nervous with how much shooting was going on but fortunately they were careful in the end. I don’t think this one has a whole lot of replay value but as an initial watch it should keep your attention. It’s definitely not bad and it stays afloat long enough to stay right in the middle there.

Overall 5/10

Prancer Review

When you think of Prancer you’re thinking of a fantastical adventure like with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and his friends. Not a more emotional film about a kid who wants to do the right thing. I think this film had some potential but ultimately the characters can be more on the annoying side and Prancer’s role wasn’t quite big enough. It’s an okay movie but it’s not going to hold its own with the big Christmas hits.

The movie starts with Jessica showing off her reindeer knowledge and having a good time with her friend Carol. She ends up seeing a mysterious reindeer around but it vanishes before anyone else can notice it. Eventually it appears again and she realizes that this is Prancer. Somehow he got injured and has been split up from Santa and the rest of the reindeer. Jessica figures she will nurse him back to health and then set up a meeting spot with Santa to get the guy to take this reindeer back into the group. This won’t be easy though as her father John is going through hard times economically and he is thinking about giving Jessica over to his sister Sarah. Jessica is not happy about this at all but what can she do about it? Also, can she keep the reindeer secret for long?

The deck is absolutely stacked against Jessica here but she never gives up. That’s just not the way she does things. My first main issue with the film is that John can be rather mean the whole time. He never feels very understanding towards Jessica even when she is doing her best. Jessica makes mistakes sure, but she always apologizes and is very respectful towards her father. Usually in these films you see the kid being disrespectful and never apologizing so when he’s still harsh to her despite this it just feels off. The film overplayed its hand with John and makes him far too unlikable so it’s hard to root for him at all or even sympathize to the extent that you normally would. He’s basically an antagonist for most of the movie.

Then you have Jessica’s brother Steve who is also rather mean the whole time. He blackmails Jessica into doing his dishes for a year so he won’t tell their father about the reindeer. Sure he gets his emotional scenes later on where he stands by Jessica but he was a bit overblown in the opening scenes. Surely he could have made the demands a little better than that right? So I think this boils down to the writer where they wanted to put Jessica in a tough corner but they just weren’t good at holding back. So instead of the characters just being a little rude and setting things up for the heart warming second half, they accidentally made them really mean.

It’s a tough balance but you have to walk a careful line in these films or you make the characters go too far past the point of no return and that’s exactly what happened here. The film ends up suffering for this a bit as a result. Then you have the drama with Jessica and Carol as Jessica takes everything super personally. In this case you feel bad for Carol since she didn’t realize she was offending Jessica by saying she didn’t believe in God and Heaven. Jessica’s reactions were certainly not very graceful at all and this is one time where you didn’t really sympathize with her. She never really has a full apology to Carol on this either or at least not to the extent that she should. Carol really didn’t do anything wrong but got treated badly for most of the film.

Then there’s the neighbor Mrs McFarlane who was reasonable enough but I’m not really sure what the point of her character was. When you think about it she didn’t really do a whole lot here. I suppose we got to see that she wasn’t so bad after all but if you cut her out of the movie then nothing really changes. I expected her to have a much bigger role in the second half/climax because that’s how the setup felt. Not saying it’s objectively a bad decision to have her vanish but it just felt like an odd one.

Prancer also should have done more. Of course during the film you are meant to wonder if he is just a normal reindeer or not and that mystery keeps up until the film definitively makes a statement in the final scene. I liked the way that it ended so that worked out for me but I definitely would have given Prancer more to do. Either he was getting into mischief at the house or being kidnapped which isn’t the best role for this guy. If anything Prancer holds the film back as a result.

With a Christmas movie like this you are looking for an uplifting adventure where you can have a lot of fun. That’s the whole point you could say right? Well this one just isn’t super happy most of the time. You feel sad when Prancer is on screen since he’s hurt and injured. Then you feel sad when everyone is picking on Jessica or when Jessica picks on Carol. There are more sad scenes than happy ones here and as a result that makes the movie a bit lopsided. At the end of the day you could call it more of an uplifting film by the end but it doesn’t consistently grab that tone. So instead you have a balance where half of the time the movie just isn’t very fun.

The writing is decent even if the writers don’t know how to make some characters antagonistic without being over the top mean. With better writing I think you could have really done well with this movie. Perhaps have the main characters be grown ups instead even if it does mean rewriting the approach a bit differently. You could have succeeded with the kids though, it just would have taken more effort. Because of that I’d end up putting this film in the middle. I can’t picture myself ever re watching it over another Christmas movie but I still wouldn’t call it bad. I think that would be too strong.

Overall, Prancer may not be the film you were expecting but you can still get some good moments out of it. I found parts of the film to be a little too mean spirited so that can make it difficult to get to the ending though. It’s a fairly unique film as I wasn’t even totally sure what kind of vibe it was going for at times. I suppose you have to give it credit for trying to be really serious while also balancing the Christmas cheer, it just didn’t pull this off. Only watch this one if you really want to see some Reindeer in live action but otherwise you should watch the original Rudolph movie.

Overall 5/10

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

It’s time for the big Black Panther sequel. The first movie was definitely a big hit and was a fun ride all the way through. Trying to do the sequel without the original character was always going to be an extremely difficult task. Unfortunately it was a challenge that this movie could not overcome where its long length is felt this time around. The movie goes for a very somber tone for a decent chunk of the film and unfortunately this comes at the expense of the film as a whole. It felt very underwhelming as the film ended and I gave it some time until the next day to see if that might help stabilize things but it didn’t really move. Lets go more into depth on this one below.

The movie starts with Shuri trying to save Black Panther but unfortunately she was unable to recreate the heart in time and he passes. A year goes by and she has buried herself in her work to try and make Wakanda safer but her mother Queen Ramonda believes that Shuri is just doing her best not to think about her brother and this will hurt her down the line. So they go off to a quiet place in Wakonda but Namor appears and lets them know that the United States has developed a machine that can find Vibranium and his people are in the crossfire now. He intends to destroy the surface world and wants Wakanda to bring him the scientist and then the two countries can team up. Queen Ramonda will have to carefully decide how to play this or Namor and the Atlanteans might wipe her country off the face of the planet.

I’ll probably bounce back and forth between the positives and negatives as I go through the review so this should be more like a roller coaster experience. The first positive here is Shuri who does a good job as the main character. I wouldn’t say that she fills T’Challa’s shoes here but it’s always nice to have an inventor who can actually fight. She hasn’t wasted the time that has passed and has come up with all manner of defenses and weapons to aid her and the country in battle. Wakanda may have a lot of tech but it is still relatively small so they have to keep developing new items or things will be dangerous.

The film also goes out of its way to explain why the kingdom feels so weak most of the time despite this and it’s a good explanation. Perhaps a bit annoying but it does prevent this from feeling like a plot hole. Basically the country is super big on tradition so they refuse to use Shuri’s mecha suits, energy weapons, and presumably all of the other tech that she has developed over the years. It’s why they still use spears and basic armor instead of anything fancy. They’ll want to change that tune eventually or it may be tough to stay afloat but by the end of the film I feel like things are going in a positive direction there.

Unfortunately I didn’t like Ramonda in this movie. She was thrown into the role of Queen so it’s absolutely all right that she is not very experienced in this role as of yet but she tends to overreact a whole lot. She handles one situation with her subordinate quite terrible and you may mistake her for Odin for a minute there. Ramonda never really fights here and that could have at least helped her establish some authority. She never comes across as a very reasonable person and perhaps to contrast how Shuri was trying to be 100% logical with no emotions, Ramonda was the opposite way.

I was also not very impressed with the designs for the Atlanteans and even Namor himself. That screw stabbed through his face makes it look like he just lost a 1 on 1 to Misogi Kuwagawa the whole time. He doesn’t have that air of dignity and power that he typically does in the comics. He isn’t a big flirt this time so that’s good though. At the end of the day he’s a very selfish king who just likes picking fights. I don’t think the film seriously tried making him all that sympathetic here and that’s fine. Not every villain is meant to be sympathetic and having a big villain to be defeated works well.

They did his power justice though. He looks good and even in an extremely weakened state he is shown to be more than a match for anyone in this film. Namor became more of a Black Panther villain in recent (Relatively speaking since I don’t follow the comics too closely) years but before that he would typically go up against whole teams or very powerful opponents because he’s well above the street level tier. In the first film we saw how the suit could absorb most impacts and yet it doesn’t do much against him here which was a good way to highlight his power.

His two main subordinates Attuma and Namora look good in the fights but they just look way too much like expendable minions the whole time. They don’t feel like they have real designs considering how big their characters are in the comics. I’m hoping a sequel could change that with updated effects. The Atlanteans almost looked like characters out of Avatar and it also takes away from their appearing threatening..because they don’t seem very tough. One lady shoots a ton of them in the opening scene so you feel like they only do decent later on because people keep on hitting their weapons or not aiming properly.

Okoye is always a fun character though. Shuri gives her a hard time but Okoye is always ready for a good fight and does well here. She was definitely a step under Attuma but that makes sense since he is usually a powerhouse. She has a good dynamic with Shuri and that’s always good to see. Meanwhile Nakia gets a pivotal role here as well. She embarks on a tough mission and just gets the job done as needed.

There is a subplot with Ross as he keeps trying to give info over to Wakanda. I liked this subplot quite a bit because he makes for an entertaining character. We also get to see the US Government which is always fun. As always in these movies they want to blow everyone up and get rich so they’re good antagonists. My only issue here would be it feels more like this film is in a vacuum where the rest of the universe doesn’t exist in respect to the government. Over 10 years ago they had very impressive weaponry to take on the Hulk and have consistently improved their tech. Why are they sending normal joes with guns to take out a Wakanda facility?

The scene is there to make the Wakanda defenses look good and all but it would be even more impressive to see them take on some powerful tech. It’s an amusing scene either way as these guys get taken down quick but there just feels like a disconnect here compared to how you would expect the U.S. Government to be at this point in the MCU. Even if it’s a stealth unit then they would carry some kind of super powerful weapons right?

Riri makes her big debut here and as the next generation Ironman we’ve been waiting for her to show up for a while. Right now she was mainly just working out of a small building without big tech so of course she doesn’t have anything ultra powerful just yet but the film shows off her genius well by having her build an Iron-Man suit and also construct the first ever device that can detect Vibranium. She has been putting in the work and it’s nice to finally hear someone yell “Let’s Gooooo!” since that’s one of the best modern sayings. It would be cool if that could become her catchphrase. I look forward to seeing where her plot goes.

Finally M’Baku also looks very good here. Unfortunately the film never gives him a proper win against an important foe but we still get to see his bravery as he jumps into every fight. Personally I think he deserved a good win but either way he had some of the more impactful moments here and it was definitely good to see him. He’s really come a long way in these two movies since where he used to be.

Now with the characters out of the way lets talk more about the film as a whole. I mentioned that it feels a bit long and that’s the biggest issue in the movie. It is going for a very somber tone and the in-universe reason is that Black Panther died so the nation is in mourning. As the film goes on Shuri is supposed to eventually give in to her feelings and cry it out since the main morale in the movie is not to hold things in. The issue is that this destroys the film’s pacing in more than one scene and grinds things to a halt. Every time we have extended somber scenes there is no chance for anything else to be happening.

This may be the first main MCU film where you actually may find some of the scenes to be a bit boring. We have to be explained that Namor is the great sea god twice as even the exposition can get a bit long and this is a movie that could have really benefited from having about 40 minutes taken off the run time. That could have helped the pacing so this could be more of a frantic action film. We do have some fight scenes but there aren’t many so the general action scenes will have to fit the bill for you.

On the fights, there were two standout ones at least. There is the fight on the bridge which is structured similar to the one in Black Widow and while it may not have been as strong as that one, it was a good one on one fight. We got to really see Attuma’s strength here and I just liked seeing a straight up battle like this. Then there’s the one on one battle you’ve been waiting for with Black Panther and Namor in the desert. It’s definitely the best fight in the film and uses a good amount of strategy in addition to the action which makes for a pretty good mix.

The special effects are definitely good throughout the movie though. You won’t have any issues there as the costumes look good and the energy attacks are on point. For the soundtrack, it’s not quite as good as the first film’s but there was one theme I enjoyed during the 3 way chase scene with Riri, Okoye, and Shuri. That song was on point and put a lot of extra energy into the scene and enhanced the chase as a whole.

While the film isn’t one of the funnier ones in the MCU, I would say that M’Baku got the best comedy scene by far. There’s one moment where Okoye and her group start bashing him and his men as usually so he starts making those Gorilla noises and everyone else does too and you have to chuckle a bit along with them because they’re just going in. It was a great way to end the back and forth argument while still having the upper hand with how out of nowhere that was. I thought that was a really excellent move. Still there’s enough jokes in here where you should find a fun one that you like as well.

There is one old character who makes a quick appearance in the film and he looks great. He has a really solid speech and you have to admire how confident the guy is. He just has no doubts about anything and while that is the very same trait which tends to lead him astray, it makes him a powerful speaker. I had a lot of fun seeing him there that’s for sure. It would be nice to see him return in a larger capacity.

There’s also an after credits scene here which is okay. Its definitely on the weaker side but you can see what they’re doing here. I just couldn’t help but think “Another somber scene?”. It also goes on for a while too long which embodies the film’s issue as a whole. For example this scene could have been ended halfway. You already get the context of what’s happening without the film trying to knock the point into you with the last lines. We understand the plot twist from the instant the character appears, we don’t need it spelled out. At least it sets up another plot seed that should be fun in a future film, provided there is a considerable time skip.

If the film really wanted to go the somber route then they needed to change the context of T’Challa’s death in the movie. Out of universe the whole thing was tragic but in universe he didn’t die stopping a giant end of the world threat or protecting his friends so it doesn’t work nearly as well. When you think of emotional deaths that make you teary you think of Mob Psycho, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, DBZ, and titles like that where things really got tragic. Fighting until the end or entering a hopeless battle and then being defeated are the most emotional ways to go out. And then of course you’ll also have had that big action moment to bump things up.

I guess I would have just had Black Panther have a quick fight where he dies at the beginning of the film and then you play the emotional scenes afterwards. You could even adapt the opening moments of Ultimate Avengers 2 and that becomes a whole plot point of what that creature was and of course Namor still shows up so that gets sidelined. That would have been an effective way to kick things off. So at the very least those are some of the rewrite ideas that I would have had. The other route you could go would be to throw in some guest stars.

That would give the film more memorable characters and would automatically enhance the skirmishes and war scenes. Then you’d have a lot of big characters to follow and all. Shuri and Okoye are good characters as I mentioned earlier but they are still known more as side characters and having some kind of power hitter here to help out would have been nice. It’s always a tall bar to try and do a whole film without one of the big characters and it’s almost easier to pick a brand new character and make them big than upgrade the side character. Still, with Black Panther at the ready the third film should be able to jump right into the action this time and I think that will also end up helping the tone as well.

Overall, Wakanda Forever is going for a very different vibe than the first Black Panther. The original film went for a balanced approach of being a classic action movie and just executing on a high level. The villain was very memorable, the action scenes were good, and it was all amplified with a good soundtrack and solid humor. This film is going for the emotional vibes instead and basically using that to hold up the whole movie but you can’t survive on that alone. Without another top notch villain to help keep things up or the other aspects that made the first film so good, this one couldn’t hold up. It just isn’t all that interesting at times and it felt like the movie needed some kind of burst or pop moment to get you back into the mix. As the film throws in a bunch of flashbacks to the original Black Panther you almost can’t help but be tempted to go back and watch the original. It’s still worth checking this one out at least once as you continue the story but it is one of Marvel’s weakest entries into the MCU.

Overall 5/10