8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Magnificent Seven Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic western from a while back. The Magnificent Seven is known as one of the all time great westerns and I can see why. It may even rank up there as my favorite one in the genre as at the moment it beats all of the others that I can think of. The fights are very good and I liked seeing the team get former Avengers style. This is a movie that has held up quite well.

The film starts with a village getting harassed and robbed by a group of bandits. They show up every year to steal all of the crops, livestock, and possessions that the village has. The village is fed up with this but they don’t know what they can do against such foes. 3 farmers head off into town to find some good guns to buy and see two impressive gunmen. The farmers ask one of them for help and the guy agrees to do so. Furthermore he will look for 6 more so the 7 of them can team up against the bandits. They will wait at the village until the villains arrive. The odds aren’t great at 40-7 but each of these 7 is worth a full squad.

One of the best aspects of this film is how it takes time during each aspect of the plot so you really get to know all of the characters. Each member gets a full introduction scene where you immediately get a feel for what kind of person the character is. The first two to be introduced are the two most important characters, Chris and Vin. They manage to survive an onslaught of villagers so that someone who died can be buried. The village hadn’t let him be buried earlier because the town was quite racist back in these days so the heroes showed them what was up. Another gunman is introduced as the quickest shot in the west who just wants to better himself. Another one is hard on money, one’s a fugitive, etc. Each of these shooters is given quite a lot of hype in their debut appearance.

Then you’ve got Chico who isn’t a pro like the others, but he really wants to be acknowledged as one of the more powerful fighters. He gets humiliated by Chris early on but doesn’t let that get to him. As the film goes on he shows more and more why he can be relied upon as well. By the end of the film I’d say he probably isn’t even the weakest member. He’s probably be around 5th place out of the 7. Not amazing or anything, but considering how young he is that’s pretty good.

The writing in the film is definitely on point. We get a lot of snappy dialogue and all of the characters are written well to be realistic and professional at all times. They’re just fun/charismatic characters to have around. The pacing of the film is great as I mentioned as well. I also enjoyed the gun fights. They last for a while but there is always something happening so I wouldn’t say that they dragged on at any point. If I have one complaint, it’s that the 7 should have done a little better based on how good they all were individually. It felt like they were mowing the villains down but by the end they were still heavily outnumbered.

The film also did stretch your disbelief a bit towards the end. The main villain captures all of the heroes and instead of shooting them all he spares them all…and gives them back their guns. Naturally the heroes return and slaughter all of the villains so it makes you wonder…why would the villain do this? It made no sense. The villain tries to justify this by saying that if he murdered them it’d be more work but I can’t buy that. He was prepared to murder them just a few minutes earlier. It was not a smart play and it felt like the writers had written themselves into a hole and took this as their quick out. If you ask me it’s not a situation you should put the heroes in. The villain deciding to spare everyone is usually pretty cheesy as it is. Giving them back their weapons is a whole other level of this.

The ending is definitely pretty emotional though as the body count gets quite high. It’s a pretty ambitious ending as you can’t always have everyone make it out in one piece. This is the realistic outcome of a big war type event. You can tell that this kind of film really doesn’t need a sequel. It got a few anyway but this film works quite well as a stand alone. It’s long and so there is a lot of content here. Everyone has a satisfying character arc to go through as well.

Chris was my favorite character. He’s just a solid leader in general. He’s all business and a great shot. While the film hints that he may not be the best shot out of the 7, he’s certainly one of the best. His partner Vin was also very likable. He was the first person to aid Chris in his quest and was also pretty fearless. While Chico had a rough start with getting drunk and all, he did prove himself by the end of the film. With him to protect the village you figure they would be safe from now on….in theory.

Harry’s the worst member of the 7. Not only are his skills not all that impressive but he’s only here for the money and doesn’t seem to care about anything else. I wouldn’t trust him at all. Bernardo probably gets one of the smaller roles in the film but he was a likable guy. He was sure to protect the kids to the end and seemed to quietly be quite a good shot as well. Britt was the most impressive marksman to me thanks to his quick draw skills. The guy could hit someone from a very long distance and was also good with a knife. Finally you have Lee who was more in line with Harry. Based on his intro I was expecting a whole lot out of Lee and he really didn’t live up to any of his potential. Even by the end I wasn’t really sold on his character. So I really liked 5/7 of the gunmen with the other 2 being fairly weak in comparison.

As always though the villagers were the most annoying characters. It seems like in every wild west film it’s a given that they will betray the leads at some point. They want to give up halfway which is the worst time to give up. Don’t they realize that this will just make the enemies go at them even harder? They try to say that the villains won’t hurt them if they give up quietly but we know this isn’t the case. They’ve already been harming the village from the start and it would only get worse. These guys lack any real intelligence at times like this. The only good ones were the village elder and the main 3 guys. The girl at the end of the film was also good. The rest of the men would just hide when the villains showed up and cracked pretty quickly so I can’t say that they ranked.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven was quite impressive. The horses managed to live through the fights which is usually my worry with the genre and in general the film avoided making any key mistakes. It wasn’t gritty and the characters were actually quite solid. This is definitely the gold standard for westerns and if you haven’t watched this film yet then you should definitely change that. It’s going to be very difficult for the sequels to quite match up to this one.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Please Murder Me Review


It’s time to look at an old noir film with a pretty interesting plot. Right from the title you can probably tell that this will be an interesting case though. You don’t really see titles like this much anymore and it does leave an impression. I was expecting the film to be good but I can safely say that it exceeded expectations. This will ultimately go down as one of the definitive Noir titles out there.

The movie starts with Craig heading to his office and beginning a recording. The actual recording is basically the rest of the film so lets head into the past. Craig heads to his best friend Joe’s office and lets him know that he is having an affair with the man’s wife. Well, Craig’s character is officially ruined. Craig wants Joe to have a divorce so he can marry Myra properly. Joe wants a day to think it over, but the next day he is murdered by Myra. She says it was in self defense and since Craig is a defense attorney he agrees to take over her case as she is being tried for murder. If Craig can prove her innocence then they can finally be married but will it be so simple?

So I have to tackle the romance part of this film right away. There is no way you can root for Craig or Myra here right from the jump because they were having a relationship while she was married. No matter how you slice it that is cheating and nothing should have happened until she was officially split. Craig tries to say that he didn’t mean for it to happen, but the reasoning doesn’t matter. You can never put yourself in a position where you may have an affair with a married person. It’s just not done and it’s even worse to the fact that it was Craig’s best friend. It’s the ultimate betrayal and it was a pretty tough way for Joe to get bumped off there.

Craig is a good attorney and pulls out all the tricks, but he still comes off as a bit of a sucker. Without getting into plot specifics he misses a lot of signs in the face of love and by the time he realizes what is going on it is pretty late. That’s why his plan is pretty clever and not one that you would expect to see. Usually the plot is completely reversed in terms of framing and paying for crimes you didn’t commit. This one flips that in a full 180 which was unexpected. The ending actually plays it straight and is a solid conclusion to a great film.

Meanwhile Myra is just as unsympathetic as Craig. She’s really just looking out for herself and in court the prosecutor (Ray) quickly drills down into what actually happened. He was definitely my favorite character in the film. He did a good job of connecting the dots and wasn’t falling for any traps. At the end of the film he does come across as possibly being a little naive but I like to think he was going to figure things out in a few moments. He was likely just trying to make sure that the others did not suspect what happened.

In general the film is a pretty good cautionary tale. You should always have a healthy amount of trust but when weird things happen left and right you do need to think about it a bit. Karma hits like a truck in movies like this where people get their just desserts right away but in real life it’s not always like that so you can’t afford to make the same mistakes as the characters in the film. Craig basically got what he deserved here along with the rest of the characters and if he had stopped to do the right thing in the beginning then none of this would have happened. Another character in the film is Carl who seems just as gullible in his short time of appearing.

The writing is quite good here with the characters all making quite a lot of threats as the film goes on while being subtle about it. I miss how everyone would always pretend to be quite polite back in these days with veiled threats behind every word. The film also does deliver on the noir aspect with a lot of narration from Craig and a bunch of dark scenes. He even works in the dark at times just like you would expect from this era. The film’s pacing is solid as things move quite quickly and I greatly enjoyed the court scenes as always. It’s all played pretty seriously with both sides looking competent in their arguments.

Joe could have played this whole thing a lot better though. Getting murdered aside since it would be hard to avoid that, he probably should have had some more details in his will or something to protect against what happened. Especially if you’re well off then putting extra contingents in your will or in various paperwork before getting married is just a good idea to cover your bases. It probably will put a strain on the relationship right from the start, but it’ll also ensure that you’re with someone who actually wants to be with you and isn’t just in it for other reasons.

Overall, Please Murder Me is a great film and I recommend it to anyone that likes a good thriller with some twists along the way. I believe a lot of viewers will suspect what happened right away but that’s fine because there is a good chunk of film left after the event happens. Technically in my plot summary I probably stopped a lot earlier than most summaries would because you could make the case that the twist is part of the plot and even on the poster. I’d argue that the film works even better if you don’t know this, but regardless you will like it. It’s just a very complete film with a compelling beginning and a satisfying ending.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Super Inframan Review


It’s time to look at an old school Power Rangers type film. I have always been a big fan of the Rangers, but never really got around to checking out any of their shows. Well, this is the next closest thing and it does reassure me that this type of series is definitely up my ally. The Super Inframan is a great film that is a lot of fun from start to finish. It’s hard to go wrong with a nice array of monsters and hand to hand fights like we have here. The film may not be all that long, but they fit in a ton of action and quality scenes. There is never a dull moment to be found here.

The film starts with the Dragon Mom returning from her long slumber and she decides to destroy the world. She has amassed an army of powerful monsters ranging from spellcasters to more traditional creatures. Her second in command is a normal humanoid though and while she may sound out of her depth this character is actually a good fighter. The heroes realize that they need some power to counter this so a scientist gives Lei a shot that transforms him into the Super Inframan. In this form there is nothing that he can’t do. Lei decides to stop the villain group no matter what. It looks like this time he will actually have to try.

It’s hard to know where to start here since the film is really good on a lot of levels. I guess we should do the obvious first and that is the fight scenes. They are all really well done with a lot of excellent choreography. One of the standout fights is when one of Lei’s friends attacks the villains on his own. He actually does a great job of taking down dozens of them before he is eventually defeated by one of the monsters using a net ability. All of the other fights are good too though like the climax where it is a big battle royale or the various fights as Inframan. Aside from one match that was just beam spamming from side to side all of his fights were hand to hand as well.

Inframan also has a good array of powers which served him well during the matches as well. He can turn giant, fire off his fists, use laser blasts, etc. It’s really hard to defeat someone like this and Inframan is definitely shown as the strongest fighter except for possibly the Dragon Mom who was dominating him in the fight. Granted, Inframan was a little weakened from his other battles. Lei is a solid lead and I dare say that his dynamic as Lei and Inframan was more enjoyable than Hayata and Ultraman. This is due in part to the fact that Lei has more personality and is just a likable guy. He’s pretty quick on the uptake and always ready to help out. He also doesn’t hesitate to transform and take on the villains at any time.

Then you’ve also got the soundtrack which is pretty fun. Inframan’s main theme is suitably heroic and gives you an extra jolt of energy whenever he is getting ready to join the fray. Now there is one technical level where the film falters and that is the fact that it uses a lot of recycled footage whenever Inframan transforms. This is likely intentional as part of the camp factor, but it’s still got to be noted. Recycled footage is something you really don’t want to use as it feels like stalling for time. I also question why the footage was the triple flip. It’s not like that’s something that Inframan does a lot furing the movie.

The villains are also very solid which speaks to the solid writing and character cast of the movie. The Dragon Mom is definitely one of the best ones. I like her confidence and she is quite merciless. I was not expecting her to actually murder one of the heroes so that definitely surprised me. It’s not every day that you see a villain make a move like that. Whoever did her English voice did a solid job. Then you’ve got her fighting abilities which were sound. Her minions had a cool uniform and the other monsters at her disposal all put up valiant fights. While you aren’t likely going to remember their names you’ll remember the designs and their determination. The human also put up a great fight against Inframan and it was brave to even attempt to fight him. The villains were surprisingly loyal and I also liked how upbeat they were. You’d see them dancing in the background whenever the Dragon Mom was talking.

The heroes are solid as well. There’s less to say about most of them since they stay on the sidelines, but as I mentioned one of Lei’s main friends did a good job holding off the enemies by himself. The other members can also fight even if they never got a big moment to shine. They were still able to contribute and that’s the important thing. There are no annoying characters here. There’s nothing even remotely negative to say about the film. The pacing is on point, the writing is great, the fight scenes are amazing, this is just a very well rounded film and one that I could easily re-watch. There’s a lot of fun to be had here and it’s a shame that they just don’t make movies like this anymore.

Overall, The Super Inframan is one of those super obscure films that deserves to be more well known than it actually is. You’d have a lot of fun watching this movie for sure. On one hand it plays on your nostalgia as you remember what great fun this era was and on the other hand you get to see a new superhero taking down legions of monsters. I liked the suit they used for the Super Inframan and the ones for the monsters as well. It feels like this was probably a pretty big budget film back in its day. Hopefully the Inframan gets revived in some form or another at some point because this franchise still has a ton of potential left in it.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Aladdin Review


It’s time to take a look at the remake that came out recently. The original film was one of the weaker Disney classics for me so I was ready to see if the remake could fix that. Fortunately it was up for the challenge. I’d actually put Aladdin as one of the best remakes and holds its own/even beats other heavyweights like the recent Maleficent film which I was impressed with. Aladdin’s a very high energy film and it paid off.

The film starts with a guy telling his kids a story about the olden days. We cut to what is a normal day for Aladdin as he slips through the streets grabbing whatever he can. He’s a thief who needs such things to scare by as his country isn’t exactly one of the more luxurious ones. One day he notices a lady having some trouble so he helps her get out of the jam. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding with his monkey stealing her pendent she dashes off. Aladdin tried to repair the damage but he is soon captured by the Jafar and forced to enter a dangerous cave. He secures the lamp and will now get 3 wishes, of course Jafar won’t forget about his wishes for power anytime soon. Can Aladdin impress Jasmine and stop the kingdom from being plunged into chaos?

Right away the film got off to a really strong start here. The chase scenes with Aladdin right from the beginning are great. The scenes have a lot of energy and with the song it all flows together nicely. It’s always risky to have the best scene show up this early on in the film, but I think it’s good because first impressions are important. It’s just nice how casually Aladdin is basically taking on a full platoon of troops and singing about it. He also does a good job of directing Jasmine as well and showing how well he has mastered the city and all its alleyways. He’s basically a genius.

Aladdin definitely makes for a really solid lead even if he does weaken a bit towards the end of the film. He gets corrupted awfully quick when he becomes a prince and I feel like there were a lot of ways he could have gotten himself out of the situation earlier. If he was going to lie anyway, why not just admit that he was pretending to be a prince to impress Jasmine later on? I think she probably would have been impressed as to how he could pull that off since he had such a large troop of fighters behind him. I’d also argue that Jafar even deciding to mess with Aladdin is super risky because if those troops were real than Agrabah would have been doomed from the start.

Jasmine’s a fun heroine and definitely a character who has also been very improved from the original. She’s very determined to become the next sultan and also stands up to Jafar and the others. Jasmine gets a fun song towards the end about how she won’t be quiet anymore and gets to quickly exhibit her time stop powers until the song ends and you realize it never really happened. The thought is what counts though. She may not have grown up in the streets like Aladdin, but she’s definitely got that toughness about her.

Then you have Genie who steals the show as expected. It was a tall order to try and top Robin Williams from the original so I think adding in Will Smith was the perfect option. His style of humor is very different, but ultimately very charismatic and fast which works really well. His powers are still impressive although the way that his powers work is still awfully loose. At the end of the day he can still do whatever he wants and is just pretending to have to work on the rules. It seems to me like he just can’t go against his owner, but otherwise he can do what he wants. If I were Aladdin I’d be tempted to ask for a wish back, but at the same time he is still alive so being grateful is more important in this scenario. Genie is definitely here to look out for Aladdin and does a great job of looking after him. Without Genie Aladdin would have been doomed.

The film does a good job of mixing in a lot of good humor to supplement the action and adventure. The jokes land and the film is just written really well. They certainly didn’t phone it in here which is key. It would have been easy for the movie to just try and borrow all the original jokes and such but coming up with a completely new script is always good. The film’s still a direct remake and all, but it brings its own unique flavor to the mix.

Then you’ve got Jafar who is a much better villain than he was in the original. In that film he felt more focused on the marriage to Jasmine than his actual aspirations. Here it is flipped and he really just wants power to capture everyone else. He’s the kind of villain who while not relateable is just very interesting. It makes sense why he would have a bit of a power complex here since he started at the bottom of the social totem pole and now wants to go to the very top. I also thought his character had more layers here since he actually kept his thief skills and is a legitimate threat to the other characters. The scene of him pick pocketing Aladdin was handled very well.

There’s the Sultan but there’s not much to say about him. He gets mind controlled the whole time as expected. Abu doesn’t get to do a whole lot and mainly just gets Aladdin into trouble. He does save the lad from making a critical mistake in the cave of wonders though so I’ll give him some props, but he basically nullifies this after that by actually falling for the trap.

Iago doesn’t get the witty dialogue that you’ll remember from the original which is unfortunate. I think the film could have gone all the way with him if it really wanted to. At least he did get the super form though so that was neat. Then you’ve got the character made for the film called Dalia. She’s basically Jasmine’s best friend and just like how Genie supports Aladdin she helps Jasmine in this journey. I’m not sure about the random plot with her and Genie though. That romance was a bit weak, but for the character Dalia was definitely a standout. She’s definitely the kind of character that you want to have by your side. Dalia is very loyal and supportive.

Then you’ve got Hakim who also gets a bit of a big role here. He is quick to change sides though and while the characters gets his redemption arc it doesn’t work all that well. It just seems a little too late in the game for him by this point. He’s not really my kind of character but I’ll still give him some credit for making the right call even if it was late.

The first half of the film is definitely more dynamic than the second half, but I wouldn’t say there is any part of the film where it totally loses steam or anything like that. The dance scene with Aladdin being manipulated was also pretty fun. I don’t think that the back flip was overdoing it to be honest, but he definitely did show everyone up. All of the songs are also a blast. It seems like the film is using some kind of auto tune or audio adjustment to give everyone a certain kind of voice though so I wonder if the characters actually sound like that. It’s a sound that works well though so no complaints here.

Aladdin doesn’t hold back on the special effects either. I think part of what makes the film work so well is that it just looks great. The musical numbers feel grand as a result and especially the “You’ve never had a friend like me” song is awesome as a result. The special effects are really akin to that of a big blockbuster movie (Which this film basically is) and I dare say that this may be the best musical out there. I don’t really know how you would go about topping this one.

Overall, Aladdin was definitely a success. It’s a very fun film that has a lot of replay value. I think a good bit of credit here goes to the great script/writing. There are a lot of clever moments and even some callbacks to the songs. One good scene is when Genie points out that Aladdin’s never had a friend like him as opposed to vice versa. The only annoying part here is really how quick Aladdin was to betray Genie. It’s definitely something that will be annoying on a re-watch and all since Genie was so helpful the whole time. Still, if you’re looking for a great film to watch then this is the one to check out.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Spider-Man Far From Home Review


Spider-Man has finally made it to his third iteration of Spider-Man 2. He’s definitely had a lot of films across different timelines and they’ve all been pretty solid. Even the worst Spider-Man entry is still better than average. So where does this one rank? Right away I would say that it is in the top half. I prefer it to Homecoming, Spider-Man 2, and The Amazing Spider-Man. It doesn’t beat The Amazing Spider-Man or Spider-Man 3 so that leaves it with the always tough battle against the original Spider-Man. Still, I think it beats that one as well so I would put this as the third best Spider-Man installment. It’s got a lot of good replay value and its solid mix of action and light hearted moments make it a quality watch.

After the fallout of Endgame Peter Parker is ready to finally get on with his life. His class is going on a vacation tour to Italy, France, etc. His big plan is to finally confess to Mary Jane during this trip. Unfortunately a lot of social complications like Brad show up and then Nick Fury shows up to sabotage Peter’s trip. It turns out that there is a multiverse and one of the greatest heroes from another world is around to help fight off some elemental creatures who are planning to attack. His name is Mysterio, but even with this guy Fury wants Spider-Man on board. Can Peter manage to lead a normal life and be a superhero or is it time for him to choose once and for all which job to keep?

I think one of the most impressive parts of the film is definitely the visuals. We get a lot of great action scenes both with the monsters and the other action scenes. There is one sequence in the second half which is particularly solid. Some of the visuals are like something out of Dr. Strange. You’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film, but it is most excellent. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is also quite solid. There are nods to previous films as well as brand new themes. It makes for a pretty solid soundtrack that is also in the top 3 for the Spider-Man films.

Romance always plays a big role in the Spider-Man films so we can’t overlook that. There are 3 romances here so lets go in order. Ned has his own subplot romance which I dare say is only included for humor. This romance wasn’t very good and even if that was the point it definitely could have been left out of the film. Then you have Happy and Aunt May……definitely a bad romance. I can’t say that I’ve ever liked Happy so I may not be totally impartial, but there’s also no point to this romance. It’s very unlikely to go anywhere and the scenes are pretty forced. The resolution also makes Aunt May look a little iffy here. Her reasoning definitely wasn’t what I expected.

Those are basically the backup romances though, the main one is naturally between Peter and Mary Jane with the slight addition of Brad. Brad is around to make things tough for Peter, but I don’t think anyone seriously thought that he ever had a chance. This version of Mary Jane is definitely quite different from her other portrayal in the original trilogy which does make the romance pretty different. I’d say that on the whole it’s handled well. At most I think Mary Jane’s shell broke a little too quickly by the end of the film though. Part of the fun in her character is how she likes to make morbid quips and is always pretty blunt/stoic. By the end of the film she seems a lot more emotional and outspoken which is fine…to an extent. I hope she still keeps her main character personality but otherwise it’s a reasonable romance. I think it’s definitely a lot more developed than most of the other romances we’ve seen.

There isn’t a massive cast here so lets quickly run through the characters. I just talked about some of them so no need to redo those. Basically Mary Jane is solid and Aunt May is fun enough. Happy and Brad definitely get a thumbs down. Flash is definitely a more enjoyable bully than most, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t say that he is all that good either. He doesn’t really do anything although there is some setup for a third film likely to explain why he acts the way he does. Ned’s still not really clicking for me and his romance plot did not do him any favors. He’s definitely a nice friend and always has Peter’s back even if the “help” doesn’t always put Peter in a better place.

I definitely did like the main teacher though. He always means well and definitely rolled with the punches. He’s a glass half full kind of guy and nothing seems to get him down. He also brushes past Brad’s allegations pretty easily (with help from MJ) and in general steals every scene that he is in. The other teacher doesn’t get much to do, but he was pretty fun. He reminds me of the ice character from Incredibles with how he kept darting from room to room. He also kept reminding the kids that he was the cool teacher. Meanwhile Nick Fury and Maria Hill get quite a bit of screen time here. They look pretty consistent with what you’d expect. Fury naturally uses a hard approach with Peter to get the kid to try and be a hero but it’s definitely pretty unfair the whole time. Spider-Man’s doing his best but nothing ever seems to satisfy these guys.

As for Spider-Man himself he’s good for sure. He may not be the most eager to get back in the field, but he’s got so many reasons why now is the worst time. Why did every other hero have to suddenly vanish when these threats are arising? He does have one pretty bad scene involving his glasses though. The whole thing was a huge stretch, especially considering that it was part of the plan. The stars had to align just right for this to work and I really feel that it shouldn’t have. It’s the one big moment where peter was really lapsing in judgment. He’ll definitely have to bring his best for the next film though since it’s probably going to be his most difficult experience yet. Also, it’s good to have spider-sense back on board but that subplot was a little murky. I don’t see how or why the ability would have been suppressed at all. It does explain why he isn’t doing so well for the majority of the film, but it does seem a bit like an excuse.

Meanwhile, Mysterio is definitely a very good character. I like his confidence and his showmanship will remind you of Tony or Strange to an extent. He’s a well developed character and really makes his presence felt. I think he made all of the scenes with him even better than they would have been. His final scene in particular is excellent and the opening scene wastes no time either. There are also some characters from the old Marvel films who surprisingly show up. It was a pretty nice guest star cameo.

I think I mainly touched on everything by this point. The film’s able to accomplish a lot during its run time and part of what helps the replay value is the fact that the humor is handled through a lot of quick jokes. There aren’t too many gags that drag on (Happy and May) for too long which is good and a lot of the scenes actually are funny. You get those classic Spider-Man vibes and his human interactions have always been some of the best in Marvel. It’s why the original comics did so well in the first place. The cast is solid and I could easily re-watch this film. It may not be quite as large scale as most of the other Marvel films, but a grounded film once in a while is never a bad idea.

Overall, Far From Home is definitely a very good sequel. I’ve avoided talking about scenes in particular to avoid spoilers since this is still such a new release. It basically brought back all the good parts from Homecoming and continued to build on them. The villain here is pretty memorable and the film did a solid job overall. Even if some of the romance wasn’t perfect, more parts of the film’s humor and writing hit their marks than missed. I definitely recommend checking this film while it’s still in theaters so you don’t get spoiled on the interwebs. The movie naturally has 2 after credit scenes so I’d recommend checking them out. Both of them are actually pretty important even if the second one may be a sliiiiiight stretch. I’m just not 100% sure that it really works, but at the same time you can very reasonably explain it so it’s more of a nitpick than anything. I’m definitely ready to see what they do for Spider-Man 3.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

X-Men Dark Phoenix Review


It’s time to look at the newest X-Men film. The trailers for this one were looking pretty sharp from the start so it had the potential to be the best X film. Of course, the films haven’t had the best track record. X-Men The Last Stand was really solid, First Class and X2 were also pretty good, but the original X-Men and Apocalypse were not so good. Still, the Fox universe has basically been buried so they’d want to go out on a good note and I’d say that they did. Not only is this the best X-Men film of them all, but it can hold its head up high against the other big comic book movies out there.

The film starts off with a flashback as Jean gets into an accident with her parents and we see Xavier bring her to his school. We then cut to the present where the X-Men head into space to save some astronauts and Jean Grey absorbs part of the Phoenix Force. Her abilities start to go out of control and once she starts causing a lot of damage the team is forced to decide if they can still save her or if she’s still too far gone. At this point, is she really still Jean Grey or just the malicious Phoenix?

Dark Phoenix doesn’t waste any time in ramping up the tension. (It is called Dark Phoenix for a reason after all) The film’s pacing is quick from the start and builds a very good atmosphere. The soundtrack is stellar here (Jean Grey’s main theme is definitely the best one) and that’s always important. It’s easily a contender for one of the best soundtracks in a CBM. Certainly top 5. Dark Phoenix is a very serious comic film, it’s got the same vibe as the amazing DC titles Batman V Superman, Man of Steel or even the older ones like The Dark Knight. There are a lot of traumatic events for all the characters so there is rarely a time for them to catch their breath.

My favorite scene in the film is the fight between the “Save Jean” and “Destroy Jean” factions. It’s a pretty local level fight as it’s a 4 v 4, but team battles like that are always the best. I also am glad that the fights weren’t ties and there were no cop outs here. One side was clearly beating the other and it was the correct team. One side was simply way more stacked than the other. That was the main fight of the film, but in the climax we also get to see the heroes take on the villain zombies. Those guys can’t really fight back quite as much so it’s more one sided, but I do think the film did a good job of making them more of a threat than the average expendables.

The villains don’t get to appear much in the trailers so I’ll stay vague on who they are and what the goals are. I do think that they were nerfed a bit by the end though. They seem to be able to move your organs and crush your body with a light grasp or even with mental abilities. They seem to forget about this ability by the end of the film, but it would have been a handy way to destroy at least some of the X-Men. Most of the members could be defeated by the villains if you ask me.

Most of the characters look really solid here. Mystique has really grown into her role as the X-Men leader. While I was on Xavier’s side with the rocket decision over hers, I am glad that Mystique is always looking after the team. She sees the big picture more than the others do. Cyclops is definitely really good here as well. He’s still a teenager as opposed to being the X-Men leader like in the old films, but he never doubts Jean for a second. He’s on her side from start to finish and that kind of devotion is definitely accurate to his character. His optical blasts are also given a lot of respect here and he doesn’t hold back at all when attacking.

Unfortunately Storm doesn’t look very good here. I do think they did her personality justice here as she is a lot more aggressive and eager to fight. The problem is that she is portrayed as being pretty weak to be honest. She loses most of her fights and seems to let her guard down. I’d like her to look stronger in future appearances. Nightcrawler is a reasonable character, I just never liked him much. He doesn’t seem very proactive compared to the others although he does finally get a homage to his knife combo scene from the old films.

Beast has a pretty big role here. He definitely takes the early events hard and makes a controversial move to make things right. I don’t think anyone would claim that he’s making the heroic move here and even he knows that. Still, considering what happened you can definitely see why he’s making the choice. I find him to be pretty weak though and he rarely does a whole lot of damage. Quicksilver only appears for a few minutes tops here as the writers were probably scared that he would end the whole film in a minute. Unfortunately even then there is at least one time where he could have saved the team but didn’t. This is the problem with making a character so overwhelmingly powerful.

Jean Grey is the lead so lets talk about her for a second. Naturally she’s fighting with the Phoenix the whole time so she’s not always in her right state of mind. She tends to be a little oversensitive to everything so everybody triggers her. She can go into murder mode at the drop of a hat. It helps add more nuance to which side you’ll end up choosing. All in all, I thought she looked pretty good though. She may have been a bit gullible during some of the scenes and trusting villain groups is rarely a good choice. Still, I think the film did a good job with handling her as a villain here.

The star of the movie as always is Magneto. He’s been a really great character during the trilogy and he steals all of the scenes here. While he is not as powerful as the Phoenix I dare say that he is the second strongest mutant at this point. He’s the only one who can actually fight back compared to the others. He’s had a very complete character arc by this point and while he is drawn back into the battle, it’s nice that he had finally found peace. The fact that this is the third movie does help quite a bit since by now all of the characters are established so it’s easy for us to understand all of the character motivations.

Xavier is another big character of course. He definitely makes some key mistakes in the film. Xavier is definitely still one of the good guys from start to finish, but his problem is that he just doesn’t see any of his mistakes. He seems to think that he’s always on the right side. It’s a good quality to have as a leader since you have to believe that your cause is just, but part of the blame here can definitely be thrown over to him. Still, at the end of the day he does what he can to remedy the situation. He does feel a lot weaker here though as other telepaths can hold their own against him. He’s definitely not the Omega level mutant you might have thought he was.

I think some characters who may be overlooked, but shouldn’t be are Magneto’s teammates. I actually really liked both of them even though we never even get to know their names. One of them can fight with his hair and from how he was wrecking one of the X-Men members he is a considerable threat. The guy’s super loyal and was always quick to get into battle. The other is a telepath who was holding her own against Xavier and even causing him to back up. Their back and forth battle of wits was really solid and she was one of the best characters in the film. I’d put her second only to Magneto. I don’t have many qualms with the film, but one of them is that these characters get the shaft. I don’t think their endings were deserved and they should have done more. They were loyal followers to Magneto and the fact that he has given mutants a place to live really makes it a powerful moment. These guys are ready to put their lives on the line for Magneto because he has finally helped the mutants out once and for all. I’d argue that he’s made a safer existence for mutants than Xavier ever did.

The ending of the film is incredibly forced though and doesn’t really make any sense. There’s not a whole lot I can say about it since I don’t even want to spoil any part of it, but it really only happens for drama. It’s the kind of ending that you’d expect and so the film delivers on it, but there’s no narrative reason why it had to happen. The character could have chosen any other option and it would have worked rather than this desperate move. The other paths would have also made for a more entertaining ending. An ending is important, but it’s not like it’s horrible either. The final part of the final scene at least salvages what it can.

Part of why the film is good is naturally the writing. A dynamite soundtrack and excellent special effects go a long way, but at the end of the day you need solid writing to keep the film operating at a high level. This film probably has the best script that I’ve seen since Batman V Superman. (Infinity War also deserves a nod although it’s a very different kind of script) You’ll be engaged right away. They do squeeze in the Fox trope of adding one F word of course which is annoying as always. The film mirrors the X-Men comics to the extent that there is a lot going on at all times. There are many plots and characters in the mix and they’re all being affected by the events in the movie. You’ve got some symbolic imagery like Magneto putting his helmet back on to return to the darkness and Xavier taking his off as he decides to go back to acting as a friend to the others rather than as a commander. The characters are all acting on pure emotion by the end so it’s easy to pick any individual character and root for him/her. It’s a very thought provoking film that also includes a lot of action so you don’t have to worry about choosing one or the other.

It’s always hard to do a very serious film without getting super dark and gritty so I’m always impressed when it happens. It’s part of why I’m going to miss Fox, they really did add a nice element to the mix. For a while we had a solid balance with DC giving us supreme movies with the best action scenes and scripts, Marvel with the most comic book accurate movies and a light hearted tone like the days of ole, and then Fox which was a very realistic take on how humans would interact with super powered fighters. DC has gone away from their approach to follow Marvel and Fox is all but over after this one. Now the only company who will still be doing their own thing is Sony which does carry part of that Fox feel within, but I can’t say that I trust them as much as I would the others. Granted, Fox churns out a lot of misses too so you just gotta keep swinging til you connect. At least now we can finally have the Avengers vs X-Men film someday although I don’t imagine something like that would happen til 2025 or later.

All in all, this is the big finale that fans of the X-Men series have been waiting for. It’s the definitive X-Men film and it’s going to be really hard to top this one. The only thing that would have made it feel even more like a finale would have been for Wolverine to have shown up for the final fights. We probably won’t be seeing any X-Men films for a very long time as I doubt anyone would even want to try and follow up on this so soon. All series have to end at some point and the goal is to end on a high note. Dark Phoenix does that and then some. It basically excels in all areas and has a lot of replay value. If you haven’t seen the film yet then I’d recommend heading out to the theaters and checking it out. You probably won’t be seeing another one like this for quite some time.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Captain Marvel Review


It’s time to look at Marvel’s latest installment in their expansive MCU franchise. Thanks to an early screening my brother got tickets to I was able to see this film a few days before it came out. It’s definitely a solid film that delivers on all fronts. It has all the classic MCU trends for success; strong dialogue, solid action, and quick pacing. The film doesn’t slow down the tempo and by the end you’ll be satisfied.

The film starts off with an early mission with Carol and the other Kree operatives. It’s a classic extraction mission as they need to get one of their agents out of a hostile environment. The situation does not go as expected and deteriorates quickly. Carol now finds herself on Earth and must confront memories that have haunted her recently. Are the Kree keeping secrets from her? Whether she likes the answers or not, Carol knows that she has to seek them out.

There’s naturally a lot more to the plot than that, but that’s a pretty general description so you won’t have anything spoiled. This is an early review so I’ll be even more careful than usual to avoid spoilers. Now, there is a general feeling among many reviewers that it’s bad to be predictable. A feeling where if you know exactly what’s going to happen in a film then it did something wrong. I don’t agree with that. Captain Marvel isn’t particularly subtle. All of the twists and turns are very predictable and you’ll always know what’s going to happen next. You’ll know which characters are the villains and which ones are the heroes. As Carol tries to figure out her past you’ll end up figuring it out first. To call it the most predictable superhero film may be pushing it, but there aren’t any surprises here, at least when it comes to twists. That’s likely due to a mix of the MCU formula telling you what to expect and general context clues.

I’d argue that this isn’t a bad thing though. What’s important is the execution. As long as the film does a good job of getting to its goal then knowing where it’s going isn’t a bad thing and that’s what the film does well. It’s always a fun adventure. This is thanks in no small part to Carol herself. She holds the film quite well as a lead. I buy into her tough persona a lot more than previous heroines like Black Widow and Gamora. I’ve always liked characters who are fairly aggressive and Carol here is like Hal Jordan or Wonder Woman. Nobody’s going to push her around and anyone who tries eats a photon blast. Captain Marvel is consistently defiant throughout and that’s always a good thing. She’s a lot smarter than other leads as well in a practical sense as she doesn’t fall for an obvious trap near the end of the film that I think many others would have. I look forward to seeing her in End Game. The only concern naturally is how powerful Captain Marvel is. She’s closer to fighters like Superman and Supergirl than someone like the Hulk. It’s easy to see her quickly taking down someone like Thanos here. I think the writers are going to have to be extremely cautious with how her character is portrayed going forward. It’d be pretty annoying to see her nerfed or losing a fight for no real reason.

Another plus for the film is the writing. MCU films are always a action/comedy blend which aim for a 50-50 split. The top notch films like Infinity War, Avengers, Winter Soldier, etc have a good blend. It’s the case for most of them to be honest as the franchise has been consistently great. The only exceptions have been films like Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which were on the weaker side. This one is a great example of how to do it right. There’s a lot of solid banter throughout and quality jokes. The humor scenes are funny though and aren’t forced. They also don’t take away from the fights. The heroes aren’t joking during battles, they take the stakes seriously and only joke before/afterwards.

This also contributes to the film’s quick pacing. It has quite a bit of replay value here since no act drags on. The film’s always moving and that’s always important. A film shouldn’t just be good the first time around, you should be able to re-watch a movie and still enjoy it. That won’t be a problem with this one. The action scenes are solid and the film’s rapid humor style ensures there isn’t a large build up before the jokes that would be harder to sit through if you already know the punchline.

I’d say that the effects look solid as well. They certainly aren’t for everyone as the higher-tier the fighters get the more obvious the effects become. It’s why people didn’t like Man of Steel’s effects despite being incredible. The colors are flashy here and the suits look good. Captain Marvel’s costume is incredibly accurate to the comics and stands out. The action scenes great and seeing Marvel fly through space blasting away at enemies is really cool.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here so be sure to stick around. It’s definitely one of the better ones. I always particularly enjoy when these scenes further the plot along. It’s one of the more direct continuations though so I’m wondering if they’re going to have to show this in the actual End Game film as well or not. I’d appreciate the boldness of not doing such a thing of course as at this point you should be able to stick around for an extra minute or two to see what scene is at the end. I can understand skipping the more comedic ones of course, but since you don’t know which scene it’ll be you just have to test your luck.

Of course the supporting cast here is solid as well. Nick Fury’s always been a fun character and it’s nice to have a younger version of him running around. He gets a pretty big focus here and is certainly right in the middle of many of the events here. He’s always quick on his feet and supports Carol pretty well despite having no powers. Coulson also shows up here although it’s more of a guest appearance than anything. He doesn’t do anything particularly big, but it’s always nice to see him around. There’s also Goose, the cat from the trailers. He’s naturally a lot of fun and I’m always up for having animal show up so long as nothing bad happens to them.

Then we have the Kree operatives. Yon-Rogg makes for a very capable commander. He’s a solid combatant and always thinks strategically. I definitely thought he was a good character. There’s also the sniper Minn-Erva who is pretty ruthless. You can quickly understand her character which speaks to the writing. She doesn’t get many scenes but definitely ends up being one of the most compelling Kree members. The rest of them don’t make much of an impact. Meanwhile for the Skrull there is really only one major member. He’s decent, but not nearly as interesting as the Kree.

I like how the Supreme Intelligence was shown here. It’s definitely a tough character to adapt and the way it was handled here makes a lot of sense. They also gave it a good amount of character even if you wonder how much of it is genuine. It’s definitely pretty cool. If Captain Marvel gets a sequel then I definitely see it getting more of a role. Of course, I would definitely have some serious questions about its appearance. You will have some questions by the end as this film takes place in the 90s as advertised. A lot has happened since then after all.

The film has a lot of inspirational moments as expected. Between the standout visuals and the music there are definitely a lot of memorable moments here. While the 90’s music may not pop the same way that the first Guardians did, the tunes are good. I liked the song that plays during one of the final fights. It was really unexpected, but that partially plays into why it was so successful. There’s a lot of quality choreography during the fights as well. These villains don’t go down so they just keep re-entering the fight. Makes for an extended climax which is always good.

Overall, Captain Marvel is definitely a great film. I really had no complaints with it. It managed to succeed in all categories. Putting aside the crossover films it’s definitely one of the MCU’s best titles. If we don’t count sequels it’s certainly in the top 5 debut titles for a hero. I definitely recommend checking this film out in theaters. It’s also the kind of film that certainly benefits from a big screen so you can really take in the epic visuals. It’s always tough to continue making solid film after film so Marvel definitely deserves a lot of credit for that. Now the wait begins for End Game. The trailers have been pretty lackluster for that one, but it is nice that Marvel’s trying to keep the film pretty hidden. They did a good job of that for Infinity War as well as I managed to duck all of the TV spots. I’m definitely expecting a lot of fights for End Game.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Mission Impossible: Fallout Review


After re watching all of the Mission Impossible films I was definitely ready for the latest one. Seeing it in theaters is always a rush and it’s the perfect way to end the summer. It was always going to be a tough sell trying to top films 4 and 5 but if anyone could do it Mission Impossible could. Fallout is definitely a great film although ultimately I would probably go with the last 2.

The movie starts out with Ethan assembling a team to try and recover the three plutonium balls that the Apostles are planning to use to blow up chunks of the world. The plan goes pretty well but the villains do escape with 2 out of 3. Ethan now has one last chance to catch them before a catastrophe occurs but this won’t be easy since the CIA has decided to pull rank. They are adding Agent Walker to accompany Ethan and he will be around to complete the mission at any cost.

A pretty impressive part of the movie is how misleading the trailer was without making stuff up. Sure the Truck scene in the forest didn’t happen but beyond that everything else was on point, the scenes were just shuffled around quite a lot. Most of the scenes in the trailer happened early on in the film so the second half was basically brand new. Walker is a far different character than I imagined him to be. While he may not be quite as good as his trailer version he is still a solid character brought and through. More on him in a bit.

As expected the best fight scene is the bathroom one. The fact that this guy is able to put up such a good fight against both Ethan and Walker at the same time is incredibly impressive. Especially when you consider that he was easily beating both of them. This guy is easily the best fighter we’ve seen in the series and his fighting style was quite lethal as he kept hitting them in the neck. Walker is definitely luck that Ethan was around to protect him. Even besides the fight the scene was just pretty epic as the two leads walk in and start surrounding the villain.

As always the film has exceptional pacing as well. The film is very action packed and something is always happening. Ethan really gets a workout as he runs a marathon, gets in a car crash, helicopter crash, gets hit by a building, etc. He sustains quite a few injuries over the course of the movie so it’s good for him that he usually gets 2 years to recover before the next one. It is unfortunate that Ethan is always injured for the final fight so we can’t see him at his peak but I suppose that’s the point of the early fights anyway. Additionally the visuals are also really good here as we get a lot of great backdrops. Whether the heroes are in a building or outside everything just looks so colorful.
We also get the classic MI theme a few more times which is always hype. It’s just such a great theme and it works for pretty much any epic scene. As always I will give the film’s soundtrack a thumbs up. It definitely does not disappoint.

While the film was excellent it still had 2-3 things it could have done better. For starters, it does gonthe cliche route of squeezing in one f word just because the film can. It’s really forced and unnecessary. The other installments didn’t have to add in such a thing and neither did this one. It’s a relatively minor issue and hopefully they don’t bring it back for next time. The rest of the writing was quite sound as you would expect though with a lot of good planning everywhere.

The other area where I’d say the film dropped the ball is with Ethan’s wife from film 3. The films have been pretty vague with her character from that point, but we know that Ethan faked her death so she could finally be safe. This film goes further into that and basically the two can’t even see each other anymore. Sure, Ethan could easily put on a mask and meet with her like everyone else, but they’ve decided that this life was way too intense. So they split up and Julia quickly went on the rebound. I don’t have anything against the replacement husband. The guy seems nice enough and is a good sport, it’s just that this plot absolutely shouldn’t have happened.

It’s such a tragic twist for Ethan. He gets to keep putting himself in harm’s way to save the world and now he’s also lost the person he cared about forever. Sure, the film hints that he will go on the rebound as well, but I wouldn’t even call that a consolation since I’ve never been able to agree with the rebound train. I have to stress that the film doesn’t paint this in a tragic light. Both people moved on although Ethan still gets dreams where he regrets marrying her in the first place. I’d say that it’s still tragic though and it would have been best if Julia had simply not appeared to be honest.

I can’t say that I have any other negatives for the film, it was just a blast. It’s difficult to even say where the halfway point is because there are so many action scenes and moments that feel like the climax. Still, I dare say that the first half probably beats the second as it just had the most memorable scenes. Any scene with Hunt and Walker being forced to team up was pretty fun. Walker was always lagging behind Hunt but he made up for it with bravado. I also liked the scene where Ethan has to escort the broker out of the gala. It showed how talented Ethan is against the average crook as you may have had some second thoughts about that when he was getting wrecked in the bathroom. Don’t worry, he’s still one of the best agents in the business.

Ethan Hunt is as great as always so there isn’t much to say about him. He always makes the right choice like moving in to save Luther instead of worrying about the plutonium. He’s the kind of hero that you want on your side. I also really liked his boss in this film as well. The heroes should be glad that he moved to the IMF since he understands their cause and does his best to back them up. Even if he doesn’t totally understand what is going on he always defends the team. He also looked really good in the brief fight scene that he was in.

Walker is the big rival figure in the film and as mentioned he was a little different than I expected. He got a lot of hype for being Ethan’s equal and everything based on the trailer, but he spends the whole movie getting one upped at every corner. The film makes sure to let you know that Ethan’s still the best, but Walker is a tough fighter. It’d be fun to see him go up against Agent Brandt. Walker’s a fun character though and definitely one of the better ones in the series. His CIA boss was also decent, but she could get a little annoying. She never actually helped the heroes out and instead got in their way at every turn.

Luther and Benji are solid characters as always. Their roles are very similar throughout all of the films, but they are consistently solid. You can count on those two to back Ethan up. Ilsa also returns and she looks pretty good. Her motive is pure revenge and she acts as a wild card to both sides. At times she is shooting left and right at everyone so it’s hard to know if she can be trusted. She’s also a fairly good fighter as well. Assuming that she will now be a main character I think Ilsa will fit right in with the gang.

Solomon returns from the last film, but I can’t say that I am able to take him all that seriously. He can fight so don’t get me wrong there. It’s not as if he’s powerless or anything. It’s just that his voice isn’t so menacing and he does spend most of the film being tied up so there is that as well. He gets out shined by one of the other villains here, but the fact that he is Ethan’s smartest villain has not changed. He is usually one step ahead.

Overall, Fallout is a great Mission Impossible film and continues the series on the path of greatness. It was close to getting a 9 and just barely fell short. It has a ton of replay value and the fight scenes are top notch. They are easily some of the best in Hollywood right now. It’s not perfect, but it’s about as close as you can expect a film to get. Aside from Infinity War it’s probably film of the year. Hopefully we do get a 7th film at some point since as long as the film continues to deliver we should keep it going. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should fix that ASAP!

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in the Mission Impossible series. This one was the big return to greatness for the series and just brings together all of the good things into one package. The film starts out great and just continues on that path for the whole duration. It is certainly a little funny to see Tom Cruise’s name pop up 3 different times during the opening credits, but I guess they have to show that he is the main character here somehow. While it just barely gets edged out by film 5 for me the two are almost indistinguishable.

The film starts off with Ethan Hunt in prison as the IMF work to break him out. This also involves letting a bunch of prisoners free as well so you’ll probably feel bad for the guards who weren’t exactly prepared for this. The group lets Ethan know that someone is trying to steal a bunch of nuclear codes and is looking to end the world. Ethan quickly gets on board and the best way to find the villain is to break into the deal that Hendricks is having with professional assassin Sabine. Sabine knocked off the IMF agent who had the codes and she wants some diamonds for it. The heroes will take part in both meetings to confuse the two parties, but will the situation go as planned?

Plan A always fails in these kind of thrillers so you always want a plan B. Ethan is good at adapting on the fly at this point since he’s an old hand by now. He’s been on a ton of missions and does as well here as in the previous missions. He did a great job of following Hendricks through the sandstorm even if the villain got away in the end. His fights throughout the film were solid and you never feel like he is in over his head. You may wonder why he is back in the field permanently instead of retiring, but I’ll assume this was the price for the deal that he made with the IMF. Definitely not a very nice deal, but one that I wouldn’t put past them.

This is the first Mission Impossible film where the rest of the cast is really helpful as well though. Jane knows how to fight which is certainly good since she ends up fighting Sabine. Sabine didn’t do quite as well in that scuffle as I thought she would, but that speaks to Jane’s ability. Considering that her character may not return, she did a good job here. If I had one complaint about her plot it’s that naturally the team had to use her charms to get intel on the villains. It seems as if this is a curse that happens to all female agents at some point or another. Fortunately the scenes weren’t too long or drawn out as they would have been in a different film. Benji also gets a big role but as always he tends to cut everything very close. The heroes were nearly thwarted thanks to him. He’s a good comic relief character and I don’t mind him. It would be nice if Benji would eventually panic less and get used to the whole thing though.

Then we have William who is a new character and easily the best addition to the series. The mystery around him is enjoyable since the guy is a top notch fighter yet he’s kept in the background for desk work. I’d definitely volunteer for the latter though since the field agents keep dying left and right. William may be a little more by the book than the others which causes him to doubt their risky plans at times, but his heart is always in the right place. If he had decided to go against the heroes and sabotage everything then that would have destroyed his character. I don’t fault him for having doubts though.

The villains aren’t quite as memorable as some of the others, but they aren’t bad. It was nice to see an assassin get thrown into the mix because I imagine that they would be tough for the IMF to handle. You never know when they will pop up and they should have a good amount of skills as well. Sabine made for a fun antagonist. Then we have Hendricks who can’t really fight as well as any of the other villains, but he is dedicated to his cause. He certainly did everything he could to keep the case from Ethan even if it was all futile in the end.

As you’d expect from the series Mission Impossible is full of nonstop action. The characters are constantly running or driving around the place. It’s what makes the franchise so fun since there is rarely a dull moment. The only times the film slows down is when the heroes decide to discuss a plan or in this case for William to reveal memories from his past. The whole story behind Ethan’s plot and why he was locked up was pretty interesting. I’m glad there was a twist about that since it would have been needlessly tragic, but it’s certainly a story that would be very believable either way.

The soundtrack is nice and fast as well. While it’s not quite as rock solid as Mission Impossible II’s, it still has the classic tune and fitting themes for whatever scene is occurring. None of the themes will ever take you out of a theme and if the film gets quiet then it is certainly intentional. The movie doesn’t miss a beat and all of the technical aspects are on point. The special effects are solid and it’s nice to see how high tech the equipment gets during these films. I do feel bad for the masks though as they never seem to work anymore.

As mentioned earlier this film gives the complete IMF team more to do than the previous ones. While it is cool to see Ethan take out whole armies on his own, it does make sense that his teammates should be equally talented to be a part of such an outfit. Seeing everyone get to contribute is good and it never feels cheesy since their tasks fit their abilities. At the end of the day Ethan will still be performing his crazy stunts and engaging in a lot of fights so those aspects won’t change. Now he just has to share the spotlight a bit.

Overall, Ghost Protocol is a really fun film. It definitely won’t come as a surprise to you that the government is once again shutting the IMF down though. The group has had a tough time of keeping its organization free of traitors in the past so it could be a liability at times. Since they have to keep disavowing everyone as well it probably looks suspicious from the outside as well. It’s good that the group are so good at their jobs though. I highly recommend this film whether you are a fan of the franchise or are just looking for a solid action film. Between the great writing and the rapid pacing there is something here for everyone. I’m definitely looking forward to the new film that just came out!

Overall 8/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Mission Impossible Review


It’s time to take a look at the classic Mission Impossible films. First up is the original one of course. This started the long streak of success for the films and holds up quite well. It’s still a great action film with tight pacing and good writing. It also has the most memorable “Impossible Mission” set up with the heroes trying to break into the room that has so many different sensors.

The film starts with Ethan Hunt and his team heading into a big gala event to stop someone from stealing a list with the names of every operative who is in the field. Unfortunately it seems like the villains were waiting for them as all of Ethan’s friends are murdered one by one. Ethan is now suspected of being a traitor to the cause so he goes dark. Ethan realizes that he will have to infiltrate the villains circle of trust in order to find the guy who framed him. It seems like he will be alone in this mission but Claire shows up later and says that she managed to get out of the car before it blew up. That’s suspicious but Ethan has bigger things to worry about like revenge. He hires two former operatives to help him and the team prepares for their mission.

One of the big ironies here is that to gain the trust of the villains Ethan Hunt actually ends up breaking into the CIA himself to steal the very list he had been trying to defend earlier. Talk about a full reversal of roles here right? It reminds me of how annoying it always is to see the villains pull off a heist like this in films like White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen and naturally you don’t feel the same way when the heroes do it. It just goes to show how important the roles are here although the guards should have known better than to allow the firemen inside. Seems like a very suspicious setup…at least follow them right?

The main Impossible theme is catchy as always. It’s a tune that is easily remembered and has become very iconic over the years. It shows up multiple times here and even gets a remix at the end. Whenever music pops up here it is definitely fitting, but of course this was the highlight. Mission Impossible also has a lot of great visuals in the film like when the explosion propels Hunt onto the train or when he escapes from the restaurant with water exploding behind him. It could easily pass for a 2010 era film.

Ethan is pretty much the ideal main character. He’s a great field commander who always gets the job done. Even when everyone else is getting bumped off he tries to get in on the action to try and at least save someone. It doesn’t quite work out so well though. Then he quickly gathers his wits and moves in to find the real culprit. Unlike many other leads who freeze or start to panic when things go wrong, Ethan never has a moment of weakness like that. Even when he was talking to the CIA commander early on he immediately realized that something was off. It was the same when someone showed up from the grave trying to plead that he was innocent. Most main characters actually buy this for a moment but Ethan didn’t even entertain the notion. He’s certainly not perfect as he doesn’t see through another deception as quickly as he should have. He let his emotions get the better of him there which was unfortunate, but for the most part he made no mistakes. I also liked the masks he wore in this film as I forgot he used to do that.

Claire is the main heroine. She somehow managed to survive the initial sabotage which was certainly nice I suppose. Her character goes through a route that is a little predictable nowadays, but certainly much less so when this film originally came out. She’s a reasonable character I suppose, but one that can seem a bit sketchy at times. Her husband was murdered so you’d think that she would keep her distance from Ethan a little more of give him the cold shoulder. We have to keep this professional right?

Jim was Ethan’s boss before he was murdered. It’s easy to see why he typically wouldn’t be a field agent since the guy is just so old. The moment someone started tailing him you knew that the guy was doomed. He’s a bit of a generic character, but a reasonably good one I guess. He certainly enjoys living in fancy hotels but claims that he hasn’t lost his edge. I wonder about that, but the bosses in these kinds of films don’t typically end up doing all that well.

Luther is one of the two agents that Ethan hires to help him out on this mission. He’s definitely very well equipped to handle the data hacking and I can see why he became a fan favorite character by the end. He’s pretty confident and also has his morals unlike the other guy. Luther wasn’t going to let the villains actually leak out the codenames while Franz didn’t really care. Franz is the more annoying agent who isn’t always great at his job and only cares about the money. He even comes close to actually murdering someone. You’re definitely not meant to root for this guy.

One character who is an antagonist here, but still a fun character is Kittridge. Of course he isn’t correct in his hunch that Ethan is the mole, but at least the guy is trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. He’s fairly intelligent and comes up with a good plan to try and lure Ethan out. He’s also at the ready when he notices suspicious activity during the climax. Cutting a deal at the end may have been morally dubious, but it did seem like the villains would get away otherwise. He’s not exactly a hero, but he’s a very interesting character and a guy who is quite good at his job. If he wasn’t up against Ethan then he may have had a shot here.

Overall, This film was definitely a lot of fun. It’s probably got the biggest stealth aspect to it compared to the sequels as they became a lot more action oriented. Here we even get a lot of mystery aspects as players keep changing sides and you don’t know who to trust. The mystery angle is played quite well and the writing is always engaging. If you haven’t watched this film yet then now is the perfect time to do so since the new film is coming out soon. You’ll want to see for yourself why this is considered the best secret agent film series at the moment.

Overall 8/10