Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the big Sonic sequel! There was a lot of hype going into this one because Knuckles was finally going to show up! In some ways the hype for the 3rd film had already started before the second even came out because that was going to be the big one with the key player finally showing up but this one is the true build up. Sonic had to first learn responsibility and what true power is before the third one so he would be ready. Fortunately I would say this one even ended up beating the original in pretty much all areas. Only the human plot isn’t as good so in the third maybe they can balance that out.

The movie starts out very quickly as Knuckles shows up and helps Eggman return to Earth. Eggman aims to use this guy to take out Sonic once and for all and becomes interested in the Master Emerald which can grant unlimited power! Sonic has been trying to fight crime lately but it’s awfully difficult. It’s hard to minimize casualties and all that so the humans keep telling him not to help out at all which seems a bit selfish if you ask me. Sonic is still saving lives after all. When a fox named Tails shows up, Sonic realizes that his time to be a true hero has finally arrived. Is he up to the task?

Since the human plot has almost nothing to do with anything we may as well knock that one out first. As I said this is the weak point of the film. So Tom has to head over to Rachel’s wedding but she really dislikes him and aims to make this a rough time for the guy. Unfortunately Tom does end up having to mess with the wedding a bit but duty calls. I was glad that he made the right call in the end even if it did make things tricky for him socially.

Tom is ultimately a good character who is stuck in a rather weak plot the whole time. He is ready to fight and isn’t afraid of Eggman. The biggest shame here is that he doesn’t get to banter with Eggman much in this film since they don’t meet up until the end. It’s too bad because that dynamic was actually really solid in the original. I would have just included Tom with Sonic’s plot and I think that would have amped things up a lot. The guy has a lot of good lines.

Rachel is just annoying though. She needs to stop trying to dunk on Tom and just have a good time. It’s her wedding after all so why get so stressed right? She gets a comedy plot where she teams up with Maddie to clown on the government and get some revenge. The music may be reasonably solid here but the scene’s a bit dragged out and does start to cross the line of being a little too over the top.

The one thing I will give for the human plot is I loved the introduction of GUN. This is a group that should have a massive role in the next film. Yes, I can already tell their role won’t be as good since that group was highly competent in the games while this one looks to be comic relief. It’s a shame but that’s how it goes. Still, I was glad to see them and their plan here was actually good. I mean by all accounts it really worked so not bad right?

Meanwhile in town you had Wade trying to prove himself as the sheriff in stopping Stone but that ultimately didn’t really go anywhere or have much relevance to the plot. You could cut Wade out entirely and nothing would really change so it was pretty much filler. Stone still looks up to Eggman a whole lot and just wants to feel appreciated. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon though. Stone’s dedicated, I’ll give him that.

Now we start to get into the main plot. Sonic and Tails fighting it out with Knuckles and Eggman to try and get the Master Emerald first. This had a lot of fun tributes to the games like the avalanche levels and the Sonic vs Knuckles fights definitely deliver. I did have some power level issues with this though like how Sonic should have smoked Knuckles. Why did he keep running straight at the guy? In a battle of speed vs power you always have to use your speed in order to gain the upper hand and land some devastating blows.

Trying to beat the power guy with power isn’t going to work. I thought Sonic could and should have fought a lot better here. Ultimately even while he lands some good blows, it always feels like he’s on the losing end here. Also, the speed difference between him and the others isn’t emphasized enough. When Sonic’s sandbagging sure he can look as fast as Knuckles or Tails. He likes to be running with them together but otherwise he should be zipping around like crazy. The film does understand his speed in some cases like when he’s dodging lasers or missiles but then in the fights he is suddenly a lot more normal.

I get that they had to try and make Knuckles seem like a threat but they went a bit far beyond the believability territory. By that point you’re really just shaking your head. Still great for the visuals and all plus Knuckles fans should be happy but it’s very noticeable. It’s always the issue you face as a writer when your lead character is so fast but you just have to adapt and keep it moving.

This plot had its share of serious and somber moments along with the light hearted adventuring. It’s well balanced and a lot of fun. This is definitely the highlight of the movie and it’s no surprise since you probably are watching this for Sonic after all. He delivers in each of his scenes without a doubt. Sonic also does get some decent development from the first film. He’s at least trying to be a hero even if he hasn’t mastered it yet. I wouldn’t expect any drastic changes to his character any time soon so he’s probably still going to appear as a younger version to the Sonic we’re used to from the games but he’s done well.

Tails is also really solid here and feels a lot like his classic self. He looks up to Sonic a lot and is lacking in confidence but is slowly building it. If they adapt the tearjerker scene from Adventure 2 next time then that’ll be the perfect place to give Tails the rest of his character arc. It’s always good to have a genius on your side so having him around is a great help to Sonic.

As for Knuckles, fans of his should definitely have fun with his character. He’s super strong and is devoted to finding the Master Emerald at all times. He feels a little less smart than his game counterpart as it almost seems like they were going to start taking inspiration more from Sonic Boom Knuckles who takes things literally and doesn’t know a ton but the writing is good enough here to where he is not super exaggerated like that. So in the end he still made for a great antagonist. I’d like to see him stick around and be a main character for the next adventure.

Then we have Eggman and I was not expecting him to gain super powers the way that he did. It was an interesting take on his character though. I hope he would return for future films but if not, this was a good exit. He has a lot of clever little puns that he would throw in throughout the movie that were a blast. At times he can be a little more crazy than genius and the film could maybe dial it back a bit at times but all in all I still had a lot of fun with him. Eggman is an iconic part of the film and you definitely couldn’t do this adventure without him.

Naturally there is an after credits scene. You’ve likely heard or seen it since that was everywhere even before the film was fully out, but if not then you’re going to really be in for a treat. Hype levels for Sonic 3 are now out of this universe so get ready. If it adapts even 10% of what the next adventure should be then we’re really going to be in for a treat. It’s not too early to say that the film has a shot at being movie of the year at this point. I would be surprised and dismayed if it’s anything lower than that.

Just based on how different the characters are it’s bound to not be a 1 to 1 adaption but as long as you get the bullet points then you’re good. I’d also like them to include some more of the video game tunes. The soundtrack was still good and all but hearing some of those classic tunes would make it even better. At least if you ask me that would be the best move here. There would be no turning back from that. The effects and everything are good here as well.

Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a great film. It really capitalized on the development and hype moments from the first film while taking this one to the next level. The human scenes are a weakness but they’re not so bad that they drag the film down too much. Without them would this be a 9 star film? Probably not so in the end the damage was minimal and you’ll be okay. Like I said, at least we got GUN out of it so that’s a start.

Overall 8/10

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review


I think it’s fair to say that Phase 4 of the MCU is really doing quite well now. It’s certainly risen above Phase 1 with Doctor Strange now if it hadn’t already. I don’t have all of the phases totally memorized though so one of these days I ought to make a list and just see which is the strongest phase overall. (Likely whichever one has Infinity War) This film certainly holds its own with some of Marvel’s strongest films and is a really memorable one with high replay value. You see quite a lot of people already checking it out a second time and I can see why. With nonstop action and a quick pace you certainly won’t be bored here.

The movie starts off with Strange and a girl named America on the run from a monster which leads to the fight in the middle of the street that’s in all of the trailers. These monsters are after America for her abilities which may present a danger to the entire multiverse. Doctor Strange will have to handle this carefully but multiversal entanglements have already caused him a lot of trouble before and he’s not even the sorcerer supreme anymore. Will he be able to save her alone or will he have to call in some help?

It’s a very quick plot summary but as I said, the movie moves very quickly. There are a lot of twists and turns here and the film does not waste time on any of this. Within 15 minutes everything you expected starts to change and you’re really thrown right into the mix. This is a massive asset to the film because this is the kind of thing that helps with replay value. It’s hard to go 15 minutes without something happening after all. I’ll have a spoiler section later on for going into these things but the main review is assuming you haven’t seen the film so I won’t be revealing much here.

The action scenes here are definitely top notch. The movie still shows Strange’s magic to its fullest and in a lot of imaginative ways. I also enjoyed how he was using his magic in minor ways too like getting his tie set up. If I had magic I would be using it for things like that too so it definitely made a lot of sense. The visuals are also good for the scenery and effects. You can tell that a lot of care and detail went into all of this and it will certainly hold up well even 10, 20, or more years into the future. These kind of effects will always age well.

I want to give a special shout-out to the soundtrack too which was exceptional. I can easily say that it’s one of Marvel’s best soundtracks. Probably the best since Dark Phoenix but if we stick to MCU films then I’d have to think a little harder. As an overall soundtrack it is very likely the best one. It’s got a solid array of horror and action themes here. Each theme really helps to amp up the scene that it’s in. “A cup of Tea” is a very memorable track and there are a ton of others. Part of a theme song also plays in one pivotal scene which was excellent. Now that was a deep reference and one that I certainly appreciated. You can very much here the Spider-Man to Spider-Man 3 type themes in here as well. I feel like some had to be remixes or at least incorporated some of that music in there.

Naturally as I mentioned we do have some horror vibes here as well. There are jump scares, characters contorting their bodies like an undead monster, etc. The imagery is not something you would tend to expect in an MCU film and in fact I would say it’s probably the most violent one as well. It never crosses the line into being distasteful or too excessive though. The film knows how to show just enough so you know what happened without dragging it out which is appreciated. This is really what I would call expert handling of each scene and moment. The film has its humor of course but you don’t have characters throwing jokes in a desperate chase for life and death.

In a lot of ways this had some of the best balance between all the genres that we’ve seen. It’s why I would call this one of the strongest installments in the MCU. It may not top the latest Spider-Man film which also had a lot of multiverse type plot elements thrown in but it’s absolutely on the same level and ends up putting a really close fight in. Also in terms of which movie I would rather re-watch right now, it would have to be this one because there’s more I feel that I could pick up on in the fights and background elements while I feel like I did catch basically every reference and easter egg in Spider-Man.

In terms of the cameos and multiverse elements, I thought this film did a really good job. Yes, one character does look really bad and as a whole I think one group could have done a lot better but they really played the match-up wrong. The power scaler in me may be shaking my head a bit but at least in the way the fight happened I can absolutely buy into it. I wouldn’t say I had any big power level issues here which is always good. I also appreciate that the Wandavision show was actually rather important to this movie.

I’ve never liked when something happens in a show/comic/game that is never really referenced again to the point where it just didn’t matter. That was a vibe you got from Agents of Shield a lot of the time and of course the Netflix shows never really became a big thing. A quick cameo here or there maybe but nothing super important. With this film you can tell that this is starting to change and that’s a good thing because we’re really getting to the point where the films feel a bit like the comics. Anyone can show up at any time and you’ve got a lot of interconnected stories happening at the same time.

So with all of these positives you may be wondering, where are the negatives? Well, I didn’t have any big negatives, the film was a blast all around. I guess I can say that some of the emotional type scenes are maybe a little overplayed so I can’t take it super seriously. Any scene involving some kids comes to mind. I’m glad their roles were rather small. Some of the characters didn’t make the best decisions for sure when it comes time for a fight but that’s not the kind of thing that hurts a score unless it’s particularly egregious and it wasn’t here. I would say I wish the film was longer. Some parts just felt super fast as the film had to keep its brisk pace but some fights could have absolutely been longer or the experiences in the different places. Tons of potential right there.

I’ll get into some minor stuff in the spoiler territory but yeah on the whole you can jump into this film and be reassured that there are no big negatives here. It’s a very excellently made film all around the board. It’s also one of those films that just keeps getting cooler and cooler in your head. I’ve already been listening to the soundtrack a lot since I watched the film and play some of the scenes back in my head. A lot of times a film may cool down a bit once you’ve had time to relax but it’s the opposite in this case which is a really good sign to me.

Doctor Strange is still an excellent main character as always. In a lot of ways he’s like Tony Stark with how he’s super confident in his abilities and isn’t afraid to throw out some insults. He’s also matured a lot like Tony and knows how to talk to the younger heroes and explain the stakes. Strange never falters in the film and has a strong will that is ready for anything. It’s why he was such a great pick as the Sorcerer Supreme and why he should get that title back. No offense to Wong but it’s clear that this was meant for Strange.

As the new heroine here, America is okay but I do think she could have been better. I’d definitely liked her to have been able to use her abilities more. Grin and just demolish opponents. With her sheer abilities this would not be a crazy task against most fighters. She does have a tough backstory and hasn’t exactly had a lot of downtime to prepare but that would have been cool. As it is, she’s not bad but she’s not close to being a solid character just yet. Give her one more film appearance and I can definitely see her changing that.

The movie also has some pretty interesting monster designs during its run as well which were nice to see. I thought the monster in the opening minutes of the film had one of the coolest designs although at one point you see some Minotaur type creatures as well that were really cool. It’s a shame that they didn’t get to fight this time. There’s also a little joke taken at the Avengers expense in the movie to show how much weaker the roster is right now. I thought this was a nice touch because it’s true. Thor and Captain Marvel are never on planet so you can’t count them. There’s no Captain America or Iron Man anymore. So the Avengers are basically Ant Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Bucky, Hawkeye, and maybe the Hulk who is a power hitter for sure but with how the Hulk’s been acting he may not be as strong as he once was. Still wouldn’t hurt to have him on board.

I was cool with how the heroes were handled here. They were acknowledged enough so you know they are around and that the film hasn’t forgotten them but you totally understand why they are MIA for the film. It would be difficult for them to even know what is happening aside from the opening attack and I doubt they have any really solid information networks at the moment so they’d really be doomed here.

Okay now we’re getting into the spoilers territory so skip the next 17 paragraphs if you haven’t seen the film yet. It’s always best to go into the movie blind especially when it’s got a lot of twists and turns like this one. So keep scrolling until you see a message saying End Spoilers in bold.

I really enjoyed the fact that Scarlet Witch was pure evil here right from the jump. The movie wasted no time in having her make a move which was brilliant. Look, I’ve been yelling down from the cliff ever since Wandavision came out that she was pure evil and causing a lot of damage and harm to everyone all around her. Literally enslaving a whole town to the point where they were begging Vision and yelling in pain the whole time showed how sick this was. Mind control is the ultimate invasion of privacy and this was for quite a while too.

I thought an issue with the show was how easily it waved this away and everyone was patting Wanda on the back as if she was some kind of hero. So this film took things to what I considered to be the natural conclusion and it did this very well. So major kudos to that and of course she does make for a really great villain. Seeing her pulling out all the stops to destroy the heroes was really something else. Surely she can’t be a hero after this, keep her as a villain that the heroes reluctantly go to for help once in a while but after murdering so many people she can’t just come back to join. Naturally I don’t think she died here.

The film shows how insane she was with the whole kids plot too. When Strange asks what would happen to the other Wanda, it’s pretty clear that Scarlet Witch would murder her. So much for not being the monster in this scenario right? Scarlet Witch did really well against Thanos and that was before her upgrade so it makes sense that she would do so well here. That said, I still think the Illuminati could have done better. Sure, I like clowning on them as much as the next guy because they always talk tough but the fact is they’ve got a lot of multiverse experience here so you’d think they would do better.

Whenever Mr. Fantastic dismisses Scarlet Witch “We’re not worried about her” you have some doubts but in the back of your mind you figure he must have some kind of plan. Surely he wouldn’t just be saying that for no reason right? Well, he might as well have since he had absolutely no defenses at the ready except for some ultron bots. They all went down in seconds, why was he so confident? The main problem with this is that it just makes him look incompetent and this is supposed to be the smartest man in the Marvel universe.

I really think the film did him dirty here. It was nice to see Jim from the Office playing him (Although whenever I see him I just see Jim with the iconic grin/smirk) but the character needed to do better. Lets see him stretch around and have a big fight. This group is basically the Avengers of this timeline so they should be defending the world rather well if you ask me. Carter and Captain Marvel put up a much better fight at least because they keep moving around but it would have been even better for them if the whole team was helping.

I can’t blame Black Bolt because Mr. Fantastic basically gave Scarlet Witch all of his weaknesses so there was nothing more he could do. The guy was doomed the instant that happened but again, Fantastic isn’t usually the kind of guy who underestimates his opponents so much. Xavier actually did well though and I give him kudos for being the only member of the group to actually act like a hero. I dare say that I couldn’t even say that of Carter. Xavier was the only one who gave Strange a chance.

I liked seeing the telepathic world too which was like something out of X-Men. The fact that he actually saw a version of Wanda in there was also interesting since it really showed the Dark Hold as an outer force manipulating her. I feel like people can try to use this as an out for Wanda not being that bad but I’m not going to give that one to her. It was still Wanda’s choice entirely, it’s not like the world was at stake like with Dr. Strange. That guy had every reason to use the book and he didn’t get corrupted like that. I would have liked the scene to have been longer though so Xavier could have fought in his astral self. That could have been a really solid battle in there and the Illuminati battle in general could have been longer.

One theme in the film is that you don’t have to be just like your other versions and I thought it was a good one. Just because things happened one way in one universe doesn’t mean that it will be the same everywhere. Strange ultimately got to see what it can do to people and I’m convinced that he won’t let this happen to him. The film has a really intense ending and initial after credits scene involving that. I liked it because for one thing, it was an extremely bold ending. Probably the most intense one aside from Infinity War. You just never expect a film to end like that except for a horror movie which is in line with keeping this like one.

Then with the after credits scene, it was cool to see Clea show up and Strange quickly jumping into the portal without fear. I’ve always enjoyed his confidence and he really is a great main character. I think he’s the best bet to stay as the face of Marvel mainly because he’s right in the thick of the action and as a big magician he can be anywhere at any time. That makes it easy to write him into a bunch of stories.

I could definitely go on about how cool the fights are here. It’s just amazing visually and with how all the fights go. Each spell is very memorable like the piano battle or even Strange firing off his snakes to stop Wanda once he saw how unhinged she was. Wanda also works well as a villain because we know her so even though she’s evil now, it’s still like watching a battle between Avengers. It’s kind of surreal because in movies it’s a little rarer to see a hero that’s been around for multiple films turn evil like this. You just don’t tend to see that kind of thing.

Oh yeah Baron Mordo showed up here and the guy is as petty as ever. He makes for a fun villain for that reason though and I liked how Strange called him out. Losing to a guy who didn’t have magic at the time is definitely embarrassing for the guy. Time and time again we see why it’s good that Mordo didn’t become the sorcerer supreme, that’s for sure. Christine appears and looks good in the normal universe but completely unreasonable in the other verse. Okay picture this, a monster is going around murdering all of your friends and allies. She’s heading your way now so you’re asked to find the waypoint so everyone can warp out of here.

Rather than logically start helping, she starts complaining about how she can’t trust Strange and this and that. It’s one thing I couldn’t believe for her and the Illuminati. They act like Strange is such a mega danger and yet….it should be clear that Wanda is the bigger threat. Even if you believe Strange is greater, you gotta acknowledge the context and at this point Wanda is already a mass murderer so Strange should be treated as a follow-up item instead. These guys were not reasonable which made it easy to almost root for Wanda there. Of course you weren’t since her motivations and goals were just villainous the whole time but it could be close.

As a quick note, I didn’t like Wong here. The guy really takes too much pride in being Sorcerer Supreme even though he gets decimated in every fight. Just give Strange the title back already. I forget if the title gives you extra power but I thought it did so give it to Strange so he can win already. Wong just holds him back and naturally makes the wrong calls under pressure. When he said they should sacrifice America at the end I wanted to sigh. Cmon man, the whole film was about learning why that was absolutely the wrong way to go but he went through it anyway. You’ve gotta learn from your mistakes.

Strange absolutely learned from the first version of himself who died as he became a traitor. Then he got to learn some more when he saw how the Dark Hold absolutely messed up another Strange. I like to think this is why he will be able to completely negate the Dark Hold’s abilities. I feel like the ending was him overpowering it personally but we’ll see if that is more of a full sub plot that will appear soon. Strange never doubted himself and kept fighting for what was right. Even when he was up against opponents who were stronger than him, Strange didn’t give him. That’s how you become a real hero.

As for power levels, at this point it’s safe to say that Scarlet Witch would wipe most of the Marvel heroes out. I’d still put Thor and Captain Marvel ahead of her in a battle though provided that they attack fast. Witch’s main strength is that she can rewrite reality so she can do anything if she has prep time. Removing their faces or hearts would even take Thor and Marvel out but Witch’s defense isn’t on the same level. She can and will get bruised/beat up if she takes hits. Those two have the power and speed to make it happen.

Hulk could potentially beat Witch too but I think he’s too slow so that’s out. I could see Strange winning this fight if he was absolutely fighting to kill and could use some kind of advanced spell to get her but at this point he would lose many more times than he would win because he’s just not fast enough and her powers outmatch his. So she’s definitely near the top of the verse in terms of power now.

There’s probably a lot more I could say about the film but this is what I got off the top of my head at least. The movie knows when to be funny, scary, or intense. It’s really quite impressive and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for Strange next time. I hope the gap isn’t quite as long though because I need some more cool magic scenes already. The waiting it always the toughest part for these things.

End Spoilers

Overall, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is definitely a great film. I 100% recommend it every step of the way. You just won’t want to miss this one and it’s great how ambitious the films can be now. You absolutely would not have been able to expect a film like this even just 6-7 years ago. It’s able to go completely into its comic book roots with all kinds of flashy colors and abilities. At no point do you feel like the film is going to slow things down for you or make it general audience friendly. You’re either able to keep up with it or you can’t but matching the film’s pace is your job here. If you haven’t watched the film already then you should change that. If you have then it’s time to check it out again! Make sure you stick through the credits for the first of the two scenes at least since it’s a pretty important one that ends the film on a perfect note.

Overall 8/10

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Review


Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is definitely a really fun film about how a guy is given a lot of money and has to quickly decide how to live his life. It’s always hard to know what to do when you get enough money to last for the rest of your life. My advice is to go by yourself a meal at McDonalds with a cookie and then take that time to think it over. Don’t try to consider everything at once and having a good old fashioned meal will be just the trick to get you in the right frame of mind. With a satisfying ending and a good length to allow for every plot to get a lot of screen time, this film really hits all of the right notes.

The movie starts with Deeds’ rich relative dying so the attorney Cedar and his subordinate Cobb show up to the small town where Deeds lives to let him now what’s up. The opening scenes start off with the right tone as an old man gives them the runaround for a while. Eventually they find Deeds and give him the money but Deeds has to head to New York for it. Once there, everyone wants a piece of his money. You have “relatives” showing up to claim their piece of the pie, random people asking him to join their clubs and pay off debts, etc.

The newspapers want some scandals after him too so the editor sends in his big gun: Louise. If there’s any way to get a story out of Deeds then she can do it. She will have to use a lot of deceptions and wits to get to him. Can she succeed? Deeds better watch out because romance has been the downfall for many main characters in these films and it doesn’t help that Deeds tends to create a lot of attention on his own by picking fights.

The whole situation is tough on Deeds in some respects while easy in others. You may initially expect him to get suckered at every turn but he has a lot of good business sense and puts all of the scams in their place. It was nice to see him talk back to everyone and not just give his money away. Usually it seems like the main character isn’t quite so aware of what is going on so that was a really nice change of pace. I immediately gained a whole lot of respect for that guy. With that out of the way he could actually enjoy his riches a little. Deeds never starts being wasteful or anything like that though.

The tragic part for him is that he does want to help out and make this a better place but everyone he meets tends to be mean and cynical. Even Louise who appears to be nice is stringing him along the whole time even if he doesn’t know it. It takes a while for him to meet really nice people and they are always outnumbered. I was expecting him to start going into charity a little sooner though. It seemed like the natural next step for him so I was surprised when that didn’t happen for a while. You do have to be careful how you give your money away of course but I feel like he didn’t really think about this until the end.

Not that you should be expected to just give your money away but he seemed like someone who would probably be supporting a lot of local charities right from the jump. Perhaps he would have started sooner if he wasn’t kept busy by all of the moochers. By the end he’s certainly doing his best. The only thing I disagreed with him on was staying quiet in court. It’s not just his life on the line there after all, but all of the people he was helping as well. If he were to lose then they all would so I would have liked him to have been a little more firm there.

Ultimately the editor of the magazine comes in clutch near the end. I definitely liked that guy, not saying he’s super heroic or anything but he does seem to have a conscience which is something that the other characters mostly lacked. Even Louise was definitely not the nicest person as she wrote all kinds of mean things about Deeds. It’s hard to say she really turned over a new leaf by the end because she fell for Deeds. Does that not imply that she would have kept on going if she didn’t end up falling in love with him? Because that was my takeaway there. I don’t think that was the film’s implication per say, but she has been in the game for a long time and this was the first time she had any issues with her deceptions so I think it works if you put the pieces together.

As for Cedar, well he’s a sketchy character from the start. Someone who will be a great asset as long as your goals align but he will betray you without a second thought. Cobb was really the standout kind of guy you want on your side because he was actually loyal. He’s not the kind of guy who will betray you and he did his best to help Deeds out. Not always an easy job but he always gets it done. The guy also doesn’t act with any pretenses and just calls it like he sees it.

Now the conclusion was always going to be the deciding factor on just how good this film was. Fortunately it is really good so as a result I would give the whole film a big thumbs up. We have a big court case to end things off where every character gets to appear. It was a nice way to wrap all of the threads in as every scene suddenly became important. The random scene where Deeds got drunk, the people he pushed out of his house, etc. Every act he did, both good and bad would reappear at the end of the film. SO it made the court case feel really grand and I thought the trial was handled really well. The characters were all reasonable and it was fun seeing the evidence pile up as you wondered how Deeds would find a way to make a comeback here.

Overall, This was a fun film. Deeds also makes for a solid main character. I think he did let his guard down a little too easily though like getting super drunk and immediately talking about his past with Louise though. The big rule for conversations like this is to always assume that whatever you tell someone will be public knowledge in a moment. Of course you won’t expect it to quite go into the newspaper but all the same you’d think he would be a little more careful. Things worked out by the end though and it was also a practical look at how you can change so many other lives once you become rich. Whether you choose to do so or not is another matter entirely. The writing is strong throughout and so I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good story.

Overall 8/10

The Expendables 2 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Expendables 2 definitely does a good job of taking all the good things from Expendables 1 and then moving that over to the next level. I’d say it’s the better film in just about every area which is really impressive right out of the jump. It’s not every day that you find a film which can do this. The movie is long so everyone has their chance to do something and you won’t have any big complaints by the end.

The movie starts with Barney and the gang pulling off yet another mission with the greatest of ease. These guys are a tough unit to beat after all. Especially now that Gunner’s back with the group and not going crazy. They even have a new member in Billy who has proven to be useful. Billy wants out though and says that the next mission will be his last. He’s not wrong and gets murdered by the new villains on the block. Church effectively forced Barney into this mission so the guy’s upset but he also just wants to avenge Billy no matter what anyone says.

The only lead is the researcher they rescued during this mission, Maggie. She explains that the villains have a box containing a computer with the locations of a bunch of Plutonium. The heroes are going to have to try and find a way to get one step ahead of these guys and then take the win. They’re outnumbered and outgunned, but never out fought so Barney and the gang are ready to win. Can they pull this off?

In the last movie it’s fair to call it the Barney and Christmas show since the rest of the team really didn’t do much of anything until the end. Well, this film makes sure to change that so it feels like a group effort right from the jump. I think that was a good idea because even though I’m a big fan of the main two, I can see how it would be disappointing if you were waiting for the others. The only exception to this is Yin who leaves the team early on and never returns.

The first big improvement here is that Church and Trench actually get onto the front lines here. After all their tough talk, it’s good to see them back it up. If you had any doubts before, you don’t need to have them now because both characters are absolutely locked and loaded here. They aren’t holding back and have a lot of great banter between them. Using each others catchphrases was a fun little thing to do and they really mow down a ton of enemies. One scene even involves dropping a gun under the car they’re driving so the other guy can pick it up. Certainly not something that’s easy to do.

Expendables 2 is very much a film where everyone gets their hype and that works out well. As always Barney makes for a very solid main character as well. He doesn’t back down to anyone and just keeps on fighting. I feel like there was even a Rocky reference with the punch combo he landed on the villain. It was probably the most impressive exchange he had in the whole film. The final fight also lives up to the hype of being the last battle and it’s why you always want to have a strong enemy to go up against.

Lee does well in his role too and takes on the other big villain here. He’s still the best guy Barney’s got on the squad and someone he can always count on. I like his confidence and I dare say Lee has more attitude than the rest of the fighters. That’s saying something since each of the heroes has quite a bit of attitude up their sleeve. Lee just outshines them all when it comes down to it.

I’m still not a big fan of Gunner though. I think it’s just hard to come back from what he did in the first film. Being a full on traitor is not just a simple mistake. It’s a huge deal if you ask me. Can’t really get around that personally. Toll and Hale still don’t do much but they have bigger roles than last time so it’s certainly a start. Then you have the new member Billy but he doesn’t last very long. Also, you seriously know exactly how things are going to go for him the instant that he says this is his final mission. You don’t walk away from that.

As for Maggie, she looks good here. She knows how to defend herself and can fire off the gun as needed so she doesn’t hold the team back. Barney was worried about this as the beginning but she was able to put his fears to rest which is good. Then you have the latest guest star Booker. He gets two scenes here that are both pivotal. The guy is clearly an expert fighter and knows how to defend himself even without a team. The fact that he can do so well solo is really impressive and shows why he is not someone that you want to mess with.

As for the villains, they’re an upgrade over the first film’s guys. Both of the main ones can fight. First you have Hector who is the right hand man of the villain leader. The guy is a good fighter and keeps it close with Christmas. This makes for a satisfying end to the fight and the guy was certainly evil but worked well in the role. Meanwhile the main villain was also fun. He could certainly fight really well and was definitely ruthless the whole time. Not quite on the level where I’d call him a really memorable villain or anything but he’s definitely approaching that point.

Expendables 2 really makes sure that you’re at the edge of your seat throughout the film. The action is nonstop and the writing is really good. Every character here is a big shot and talks tough in every scene. That makes for a lot of good banter and the movie is able to balance it out well so that everyone gets their hype. If you’re a villain then you do not want to mess with any of these guys or you end up paying for it. The movie never deviates from the kind of experience you think you’re going to get here and that’s not a bad thing. This isn’t the kind of film to have a lot of twists and everything but to just give you a lot of great action scenes.

I did have just one issue with this one though. In the first film you have the villains taking people hostage and I was glad when the heroes just fired anyway to take the villains out first. In a hostage situation that is the right response in most situations. You don’t just drop your guns because then the villains can quickly shoot you and then shoot the hostage anyway. I don’t see any scenario where dropping your gun is the right option. In this film they lost that character development and dropped their guns…so the villain murdered the hostage. It reminds you of how futile that whole thing was. So the big lesson here is if someone tells you to drop your gun, you’re better off going out in a blaze of glory than actually dropping it. It’s similar to the whole “Don’t get in the car” when the guy with a gun tells you to or anything like that. The situation will only grow worse and worse if you follow those orders to better to make a break for it and at least have a chance to survive.

Overall, Expendables 2 was definitely great. I’d certainly recommend it. I think it’ll be very hard for any film to top this one with the amount of big name action stars running around and taking names. Even though there is a third film, this is the one that you would want to consider the peak. The others just aren’t quite ready to be at this one’s level just yet. If you like action and want to see a lot of characters sizing each other up and getting ready for battle, then this is the title for you!

Overall 8/10

Spider-Man No Way Home Review


We have made it. It’s time for the big Spider-Man film to end the trilogy. This one really didn’t get a ton of promotion as Marvel was trying to keep things as hush hush as possible. It’s rare to see this nowadays for most companies but Marvel’s been leaning more into this strategy lately and it seems to be an effective one. Of course, you’ve probably seen a lot of things unofficially since it’s really impossible to squash the leaks nowadays but officially we were in the dark. The film really succeeds on this journey and in the end it’s one of the best Spider-Man movies.

The film picks up right where the last one left off with Peter’s identity being confirmed to the world. He’s quickly trying to get his life back together but it isn’t easy as a lot of people are on Mysterio’s side and thinks that Parker is a menace. Well, Peter is forced to ask Dr. Strange for help, but doing so causes a lot of issues within the multiverse and now Peter must contend with some of the most dangerous fighters around. Can he manage to take them all down and keep everyone safe or is he about to be totally overwhelmed here?

Now of course there is a whole lot more to the story and yet as most of it wasn’t shown in the trailer, I won’t go beyond that here until the spoiler paragraphs later on. Lets run through a lot of the things the film did well right off the bat. The action scenes are really excellent. We see Peter pulling off some solid web combos like in the video games. Flipping people with his webs in order to land a body slam, doing an air reversal into a kick, etc. It’s nice to see him getting creative with his powers and there was one part in particular where he used the shapes and debris around him to really come up with something special.

The movie is long but never feels that way. There’s always something going on and we get a ton of action. The only part of the film that goes on for a bit with no fighting is the first act and I was still glad we had that because I was a bit worried that we wouldn’t deal with the fall out from Far From Home long enough. That was a really big deal so I’m glad we got to see some of the effects here and how everyone had to deal with their own difficulties. Of course the action is what will really draw you in but the story was sound from start to finish. The writing is really good here.

Of course you also have a really good soundtrack with a lot of variety. Since you have many big themes here including ones from the classic Spider-Man films, that makes for a very complete soundtrack. There’s even a Christmas song that plays near the end of the film. I would have liked to have heard some themes a bit longer like Electro’s but you do have to be careful to stay on the line of being nostalgic without going too far and I think the film handled that really well.

Peter is at his best here from the trilogy. At this point he’s an experienced hero in his own right and is able to handle the situations without needing help. His early scuffle with Doc Ock is a good example of this. You have Peter going up against someone he’s never fought before who has a creative moveset and our hero is able to adapt and quickly counter attack. This is the right way to handle such a threat and he protects everyone in the area.

Now, things do get intense for him and he starts to make some mistakes near the end. There’s definitely one moment in particular where he really loses himself but ultimately he does make the right decisions and ends the film on a high note for his character. I think we’ll be seeing Peter continue to look better and better as the films go on and I definitely appreciate how the character arc has gone. I’ll be interested to see the plot summary of the next Spiderman film.

I won’t say much about the villains here but they were all portrayed well and really faithful to their older movies. Green Goblin really steals the show in all of his scenes. They show why he is one of Spiderman’s biggest enemies and their 1 on 1 fight early on in the film is easily my favorite battle in the film. It’s nice to have someone who can keep up with Spiderman physically. Electro is quite solid here. I liked him in his original appearance as well but he may have been improved here with how confident he is the whole time. unlike the others, Electro really has no doubts about what he wants to do and his goals. The guy is probably more power mad than most but it makes him a really solid villain.

Sandman also gets a solid role here. I liked him a lot in his first scene with how quick on the uptake he was. I do miss that we don’t see his human form here much though. The all sand form isn’t quite as visually striking as seeing him morph into different shapes as he fights. Finally you have the Lizard but his role is the smallest by far to the point where I wonder a bit if there was a subplot for him that got cut out. There are several points in the film where it feels like he is planning something only for it to not actually happen.

Then we have Peter’s allies like MJ and Ned. Well, I’m not the biggest fan of these two but they do contribute which is always important. MJ’s catchphrase about keeping your hopes low at all times may be pragmatic but it’s certainly not a fun approach so fortunately she changes that up by the end. She’s always got Peter’s back and I do think it made sense that being carried through the air on the webs wouldn’t be fun immediately. A lot of the time you see characters just not reacting much but as someone who isn’t a big fan of heights, I’d also not be too thrilled about the whole thing. For Ned, his character arc goes in a much different direction than I had expected. I wonder if it will actually go anywhere at this point or if this was just a for fun kind of thing. Either way he’s okay I suppose, Ned’s also a loyal friend to Peter.

Dr. Strange is the main mentor figure here and he performs his role really well. As seen in the trailers he and Peter definitely have very different viewpoints on how to deal with the villains. They argue quite a lot in the film that’s for sure. It’s nice to have him here though since guest stars are always a lot of fun and his scenes still have the crazy magical effects that always accompany his battles. He can really do quite a lot with his spells but you get the feeling that they are easier to use if you’re aiming to destroy someone as opposed to just stopping them. That said, his lack of speed is a key weakness that can be exploited. He was a blast although there was one plot detail I wasn’t a big fan of which will be in the spoiler section later on.

Jameson is also a lot of fun of course. It would have been great if they could have squeezed in his iconic laugh at some point but either way it was just a lot of fun to see him here. He really nails every scene that he is in. He even gets some good shots in against Spiderman when they finally get to talk. Without spoilers I think that’s about a wrap on all of the good things about the movie. I consider this one to be great and so it does succeed on all areas. So you may wonder where it stacks up in the greater Spider-Man universe. Well, I have it in third now as my updated ranking would be:

Spiderman 3>>The Amazing Spiderman 2>>No Way Home>>Spiderman>>Far From Home>>Homecoming>>Spiderman 2>>The Amazing Spiderman. This one neatly jumps into the third place spot. It’s just a lot of fun and will have a ton of replay value. I’m confident this is the kind of film you could watch quite a few times. It’s all just so fast and polished that you won’t be bored when replaying the intensity of it all. In terms of weaknesses, I have a few but nothing big. They’re small things that are enough for me to note but don’t really hurt the score in any way.

So this isn’t a Thanos situation where you can understand why in and out of universe a ton of people were defending him. Here we have a whole thing with stickers saying Mysterio was right and a lot of people being on his side but it seems a little more far fetched to me. This is a guy who showed up out of the blue and died shortly afterwards. I would think Spiderman has earned a lot more credibility with saving people all the time where most would not side with Mysterio. I’d also have liked to have seen SHIELD or another secret group show up to help Peter out a bit. It really felt like he was on his own. I mean you have Happy Hogan from Stark Industries but it’s not like anyone else was backing him up from the company. War Machine doesn’t show up or anything like that.

The film does a good job of making most of the fights short enough where you wouldn’t expect any heroes to make it in time so that explains why more heroes don’t appear. I think the climax is a little harder to buy since the battle location was televised for the world to know about in advance. Definitely I think some people should have showed up there but that’s still a small item. The other things are spoilers so that’s for later.

As for the debate with Strange and Peter, well I would have to be on Peter’s side here although it may be more appropriate to say I’m on May’s side since she fights for this a lot more than Peter at times. The issue is about sending the crossover villains back to their timelines to be murdered by Spiderman or to keep them here and think of a better way. While Strange talks about destiny and fate, the fact is that the fate no longer applies since they have been taken out of the universe. So Peter is right to try and save them all. Taking them back to die would effectively just be murdering them. It’s like my old time travel argument about how you are obligated to use it to help people but that’s a full conversation for another day.

Now, the Spider Sense could be a little inconsistent here. It would work sometimes and it just wouldn’t work at other points. At one point Spiderman is stabbed and another point he is shot and both times he didn’t know anything was coming until after he was hit. At best you could say it’s that if he gets too tired then the Spider Sense doesn’t work…but I’m not quite sure I buy into that. Not one of those big deal moments but I don’t think either blow should have worked. It’s tough to write the film in a way where Spiderman isn’t too broken with the spider sense of course but it could have been put to greater effect here.

So yeah this was definitely a great film and there’s certainly lots to discuss after watching it. I look forward to hearing about any easter eggs and references that I may not have gotten the first time. The film certainly had a ton of those and callbacks so that was a lot of fun. Now, if you haven’t watched the film yet I will say to skip the next 11 paragraphs as this is where I will start my spoiler discussions. I’m going to call all in here so just keep scrolling down until you see my next sentence in bold which will signal that the spoilers are over.

All right, now we can really dive in to some other areas of the film. First off, the biggest plot twist in the film even if everyone knew it ahead of time which is that the Spider-Men of the first two film series get to show up. As soon as Doc Ock and Electro were confirmed people assumed this had to be the case but even so it’s surreal to see them all interacting like this. It would have been difficult to have ever imagined that all 3 would meet even just a few years ago. It’s really nostalgic seeing them, particularly the original Spiderman. After watching endless memes of the first films like the Bully Maguire videos, it’s cool to see him back in the role.

He was always my favorite Peter Parker version and had the best films overall. He is portrayed as the wisest of the 3 and gets all of the best lines. They bring back the whole “my back” meme which was cool and at the end of the film he really gets a big moment. In the theater one person even had to criticize Andrew’s version “He just stood there!???” because of how Tobey showed him up but it showed that at the end of the day, the original was the only one ready for this. I was really pleased with his appearance here and of course the original two Spidermen do have a little skirmish at the beginning. Lets just say I was happy about the outcome as well. It’s just amazing to see him back in action like this.

Still, Andrew’s character was also solid and I have considered him to be the most powerful Spiderman as well as the best version of the character wearing the suit. He knows how to have a lo of good banter the whole time and is also very experienced in his own right. It seems like he went down the wrong path as well at one point but he’s back in action now. The film pokes fun at how down he can be all the time so Tobey even tries to cheer him up a few times. Andrew gets to have his big moment by the end as well.

It was also great to just see the 3 teaming up against a common foe like this. The 3 on 3 battle was also just really nice and chaotic. It also makes sense that only the newest Peter knows how to fight in a team since the others were strictly solo acts the whole time. We also get a quick appearance from Daredevil which was really nice. The Netflix cast have finally been affirmed in a big movie which is great. He certainly got a big reaction from the theater and got some hype. Naturally I would have liked him to have appeared more like getting to try and help clear Peter’s name further or something but I’ll take what I can get.

Now as a minor detail, we find out in the film that Dr. Strange is no longer the Sorcerer Supreme. He lost it on a technicality to Wong….which I’m not a huge fan of. Cmon, that’s Dr. Strange’s whole thing. He needs to be the Sorcerer Supreme and I’d like to see him just yank the amulet away from Wong. Additionally, Wong doesn’t seem to be doing a great job in his new position from what we could see. So even on a technicality it’s just not worth letting him keep this role.

The movie has two after credit scenes. The first one involves Venom and I won’t go into detail here but I didn’t like this. It basically makes the scene from the Venom scene absolutely pointless. If you’re someone who just watches Venom movies then you could possibly skip the after credits scene there, watch Venom 3 and not miss anything. Technically something happens here which will help set up future events in the Spiderman movies, but the whole thing just felt like the ultimate bait and switch. I never like when an after credits scene ends up feeling like it was filler or a waste. Put it this way, if you can skip the scene and never notice that you missed something, then that’s a problem. Like how quite a few of the RWBY after credit scenes were either retconned or replayed in an episode, I don’t want the MCU to go down that route. Plus I was really looking forward to some hype things about to go down here.

The second scene is a big improvement. We get a nice look at what’s to come with the Multiverse and even the super villain Scarlet Witch will be returning. I’m still beating the drum on how she is one of the biggest villains around and the heroes haven’t really acknowledged this yet. Enslaving a whole town for so long was crazy…but we’ve been over this so I won’t dwell on that for long. All I’ll say is that Strange better watch his back rather closely.

Now as we start to close out the review, I wanted to take a look at how the final memory spell works and the universe hopping/time travel. So at the end of the film everyone loses their memory of Peter Parker so it’s like he never existed. He thinks about reconnecting with his friends but just keeps it moving which is probably a good bet. At the same time, Spiderman has still been active the whole time and the timeline seems pretty much the same as always so everything still happened. So, were all the events the same as they were and everyone just forgot or did reality switch to remove Peter from every event? In route 1, Peter would have still hung out with Ned for years and any dual accomplishments they made would still exist but I guess in sci-fi style the photographs would no longer have Peter. The issue here is there should still be tangible evidence of his presence just by the fact that Spiderman is alive. It would be a ton of reality wiping to remove him from being on the planet while still having Spiderman around.

In the second route, well, Peter simply didn’t exist. Spiderman was effectively a universal construct like a robot that accomplished actions on his side but there was no Peter Parker. You feel like things would have diverged a lot though considering the events of the first film and how differently the interactions with Ironman would have been. So the first route makes the most sense but does leave you with a lot of logistical questions. It may not matter all that much but I always like thinking these things through since I love sci-fi concepts like this. So ultimately I have my doubts on this actually working short of Strange putting a mental block inside of everyone to automatically choose any alternative over recalling Peter which is constantly active. I don’t think we’ll go further into it but it is interesting.

Then the other thing to think about is how the villains were saved. So with the multiverse we know this will just create a new branch where they are alive but the original events of the films will still be the same in a different timeline. Lets focus on the new branch. So if Goblin survived in the first film, I have to assume that would have a significant change on the second film with Ock and that would have an effect on Spiderman 3. It’s possible it wouldn’t change anything too big but with the ripple effect it could be the opposite. Then at what point do they port back to their world. Is it at the moment of summoning? In that case, Ock may still start drowning as he wakes up in the water clutching the device, a powerless Electro is going to wake up in the grid where he is fried and Goblin wakes up with no powers as the glider is heading towards him.

It may make more sense to say they are summoned back at earlier points but it does make you think about it. It would be quite ironic if they were ported back only to immediately die afterwards. That would be a bit dark though so lets assume that was not the case. Still sad that Venom didn’t get to appear though as he was really the odd man out. Even Rhino at least got a silhouette near the end, I didn’t see any for Venom. He probably wouldn’t have even pretended to have been a team player though. So that’s it for dissecting all of the sci-fi rules here. For the memories I’m going to say it’s effectively a sort of brainwashing as opposed to reality warping so everything happened but people “can’t” remember as a psychic block prevents them from putting together the many clues that they would come across. For the other universes, I’ll say the cured villain shows up near their point of death but not at the exact moment so that way they each get to survive. I don’t imagine there will be a need for the film to go into it further so that’s at least my head canon on this. Now I’m just looking forward to seeing how Peter does in his new status quo. Things will definitely be different for him, that’s for sure. The possibilities are endless

That’s the end of the spoilers. Now we’re all back in action for the conclusion of the review.

So before I end it off, I’ll give Peter’s school a quick shoutout here. While one of them seemed like a really ungrateful guy who was being awfully petty to a teenager for no good reason, the other members of the faculty were on point. I like how they at least tried to make Peter feel welcome in what would definitely be an awkward situation. I’m sure they were risking their reputations in doing so as well and it really showed that this was a good school. There wasn’t time to focus on the school too much but I just thought it was a really solid scene.

Overall, No Way Home was a blast. I wonder if we’ll keep the whole “Home” naming convention for the rest of the films or if it’ll be time for something different with the next trilogy. Either way I hope they fast track the next film as we always need more Spiderman films around. Whether you’re a fan of the character or not, you should have a really good time here. The film is really a blast and makes for a fun watch from start to finish. There’s a good amount of humor and action here as well as some solid memes. It properly continues the storyline from the last film and leaves you with a lot of ideas for the next film. There are a lot of ways that it can all go down so we’ll have to stay tuned.

Overall 8/10

12 Angry Men Review


12 Angry Men is certainly a classic film. It’s one that just about everyone’s heard of and it’s very well known for its quality writing and interesting plot. It holds up very well on a rewatch and is just as engaging as it ever was. The movie manages to stay engaging even with the characters never leaving the main room for the majority of the film. This is definitely how you want to do a jury film and it’s hard to picture any film doing it better.

The case that the 12 Jurors have to rule on involves an alleged murder. Supposedly this kid on trial murdered his father before being captured by the police. The evidence is mainly based around testimony from a lady who saw the murder from a train, and an old man who stepped out of his apartment in time to see the kid run off. When the jurors go into the room to deliberate, 11 of them immediately believe the kid is guilty. They just don’t see how you can go against two direct witness testimonies like that but one juror is not convinced and still has some doubts. Can the 11 convince him to give out a verdict of guilty or can he get them over to his side?

After all, the only way you can rule guilty is if you believe that there is no room for doubt here and that this had to have been what happened. Also, a jury must be unanimous in its decision so if there is one person who disagrees then you have to keep debating until that is no longer the case. After a period of time if no agreement can be made then it is considered a hung jury and a new group will end up being selected.

The movie does a good job of still leaving the case up to your interpretation as the characters disclose their facts. It’s fair to say that one side will appear to be more likely than the other by the end or at least that there has been some established room for doubt. If you still believe that the accused is guilty then that’s fair as well, the film doesn’t really try to force you into saying that one side is flat out wrong or not.

If you’re voting for the side that says the accused is innocent, you do have a lot of things working in your favor. After the characters broke down the testimony from the old man who says he made it to the door in time, it does seem like it would have been difficult to make it to the front door in time. The timeline doesn’t add up without something being different as reported. Likewise the angle of the stab wound was different from how you would expect someone to use it and the train was moving very quickly.

On the side that says he’s guilty, you’ve got the fact that the knife was on the scene of the crime. It seems to be a rare knife although the main character was able to get one which puts that into question. You do have the direct alibi’s of the two witnesses and while the side that says he is innocent would say that they are lying, it’s just as possible that they aren’t and their time limits were off by a few seconds.

So whichever side you pick, there’s some good arguments to be made. The film isn’t really about seeing which side is right though so you won’t find that out by the end. It’s all left rather open which is also fair since in most cases as the jury you’ll never truly know if the person was guilty or not. You just make the ruling as best you can.

As mentioned, the writing is definitely great here. The time really passes by even though it’s 100% dialogue based. The characters may not have names but they all have core personalities. One of the best members was likely the chairman who did his best to make sure that everyone was taking this seriously and working in an orderly fashion. It’s not easy trying to take charge but someone had to do it.

You had the advertiser who was having a good time. He got distracted very easily compared to the others but he didn’t seem malicious or anything. The guy just seemed to always think of new ideas. There’s the main character who really wanted to give the case the importance it deserved. When the others were ready to leave in 5 minutes he held firm. You have to give him a lot of credit for sticking his ground even when he was outnumbered 11 to 1. It’s not an easy thing to have to face the crowd like that, especially with some of them being really tough about the whole thing.

One of them just wanted to go and see his Baseball game after all so he wanted a quick guilty verdict so he could leave. Then you have the one who is really against kids due to some personal issues. These two make this an even tougher situation since they are hardly going to be listening to reason. The film was smart not to make them the only ones on the guilty side though or you’d run the risk of making one side so antagonistic that it doesn’t appear to be a fair fight.

The main reasonable member in that camp was the guy with glasses who likes to look at everything logically. He feels it’s less of an assumption to take the testimonies and evidence at face value as opposed to believing they were all lying and/or incorrect. The best back and forth exchanges are often the debates with him as each side has to carefully take in each item and discuss it thoroughly. That’s exactly how these kind of discussions should go down.

Overall, 12 Angry Men really ends up keeping your attention at all times. It’s really a simple plot when you think about it and this underscores that any plot can make for a great movie if the execution is done well enough. The crew in charge of the movie held nothing back and so this ended up being quite the hit. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to check out a good movie. No matter what genre you may like, this one is just good cinema and can appeal to anyone. I’d be up for more jury based films. It may be tough to beat this one but an attempt should at least be made as there is a lot you can do with this concept.

Overall 8/10

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the latest Marvel installment, Shang Chi. This one’s been getting a lot of hype for the hand to hand fights and it delivers on this. It’s got a great balance of action and humor so in the end this movie has a ton of replay value. You’ll have a blast from start to finish as you go through the journey.

The movie starts by introducing us to Shang Chi’s father Wenwu as he wipes out army after army. The opening scene is like something out of Dynasty Warriors as he can use his rings with such speed that it appears to be a forcefield which blocks incoming arrows. That was definitely implemented really well. After that he ends up meeting Wenwu and they get married. Shang Chi and Xu Xialing are born and we then cut to the present.

Shang Chi and his best friend Katy work for a hotel as they drive cars around and enjoy their job. They have a good bond of friendship going for them but Katy’s family want more for her. One day the two of them are attacked by a group of assassins. Shang Chi fights them off but not before they steal his pendant. This means that Xu may be the next target so the two head off to go and help protect her. Can they protect her from this group led by Shang Chi’s father or is she already doomed?

Right off the bat the opening fight scene in the modern day sets the tone well. It’s really good with minimal use of cutaways so you can follow the choreography. Even as someone who did think that the Black Widow fights were really good, it’s night and day compared to this one. The hand to hand is very high energy and the train fight is probably my favorite fight in the film. Likewise, Widow’s first big action scene was my favorite so I guess I just really like the way these films tend to open. they’re doing it right, that’s for sure.

The battles continue to be solid throughout the movie though. Whether it’s the fight on the roof top or the climactic showdown, you can always expect a lot of hype. While this is usually more of an anime movie trend, the movie even decides to go for a little Godzilla type action at the end. It’s not quite as solid as the rest of the fights but it’s always good to see the creatures getting some hype. I’d consider the battle before that to be the true final battle for the combat while this is more of a general climax.

The effects are definitely on point as well. The creatures have really epic designs and lighting for their attacks. I also like the way the rings are used in combat. It’s very much in the style of what you would see in the Tron films. It’s a very versatile weapon and if Shang Chi keeps those to use in combat for future films he is going to be very tough to beat. Certainly none of the street level fighters can handle him.

As for Shang Chi himself, he’s definitely a great lead. I did see some talk about him being too merciless and going for the kill, but I definitely didn’t see that. For the most part each fight is always from a self defense angle. Yeah you’ve got enemies being thrown out of buildings and moving buses but there’s no easy alternative there since he’s in the middle of a huge fight. So just putting my two cents into the ring to say that Shang Chi was definitely a full hero here and I didn’t find him to be going too far in any of the fights.

He does have a moment where he nearly does cross the line and the film’s clear in showing that he was about to, but ultimately he doesn’t. That would be the only true example you can use. His upbringing and origin do explain this fairly well though and he certainly had to deal with a lot. All in all, I thought he handled his past and present really well. Shang Chi’s the kind of guy you definitely want to have in your corner at all times. The movie also did a great job of showing just how good he is at hand to hand combat. Throughout the whole film it’s fair to say that he didn’t lose any fights straight up from the present and beyond. He always had the upper hand.

In the comics he was known as the greatest hand to hand fighter for a long time. I don’t know about currently, but at least in the days when I was reading comics. I imagine the films will be going that route too so this was a great way to show it. I look forward to seeing him interact with the other characters because he has a lot of good banter with Katy in this movie as well. Shang Chi’s very charismatic and that’s why I would put him as the best character in the film. Ultimately he really excels in all of his roles.

Katy is also a solid heroine. She has a lot of fun lines as well and knows not to take things too seriously. In general the film had a really fun script for all of the characters but in particular Katy is one of the characters that stands out. She even gets to contribute towards the end of the movie in an action setting which is nice.

Shang and Katy also have two friends in the film who only appear for two scenes but both are worth mentioning. It’s nice seeing the characters openly talk about their heroic exploits and everything rather than trying to hide them like you would expect. It’s a nice turn of events and it’s such a big contrast to how Peter Parker is handling the whole situation. Yeah the situations are a wee bit different I’ll grant you, Shang has less people he needs to worry about. Still, it’s a very Iron-Man type move which is always fun.

As for Wenwu, he’s definitely a very solid main villain. The movie’s going for more of a sympathetic vibe for him sort of like Thanos. Ultimately he did try to put his weapons away at one point and suffered the consequences for it so you can see why he never takes the rings off anymore. Honestly he probably never should have taken them off but that’s more of a hindsight thing and he was trying to do his best. So in the present you can definitely root for him because if there was even the slightest chance that he was correct then he had to check for himself.

So I don’t blame him for going as far as he did and that’s what makes him a high quality villain. He can also fight really well which is also nice to see. Old age hasn’t really hurt him in a lot of ways, he’s thousands of years old and still kicking. His wife Ying may only appear in flashbacks but she definitely looks really good as well. I liked her fighting style and the powers she used were quite impressive. It’s a shame that the powers can’t follow you out of the village because with them she would have been extremely hard to defeat. Her meeting/battle with Wenwu was a great way to introduce her.

Then you have Xu who is also solid. She did well to build her own empire for underground fights. I question how she is able to get in some heavyweights like Wong and Abomination but maybe there are a lot of benefits to being in the tournament. As a slight power levels issue, I do think the Abomination looked way too weak here. I’d like to say it’s a different Abomination to be honest. That’s my little head canon in case he never appears again because otherwise that scene did make me shake my head a bit. There are a lot of ways the fight could have had the same outcome but I wanted to tell the film to check it’s route at that moment.

It’s the only scene I questioned in that case though. All of the fights were presented well and everyone got their time to shine. Back to Xu, she definitely proved herself very well in a fight. Her skills may be a touch below Shang’s but they’re still quite formidable. She’s definitely not an opponent you want to underestimate.

In general the film had a fairly stacked cast and that’s definitely a big part of why the film is so solid. Even the side characters are fairly memorable like one of Wenwu’s main subordinates who is missing a hand. He’s definitely a solid minion. There’s also Trevor who does have an effective opening scene but I will say that he’s best in small doses. I don’t think you really needed him in the film after a little while.

All right, now these next 3 paragraphs will quickly be for spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film yet or the recent MCU shows then definitely skip these three paragraphs. It’s going to be time to do a little speculating here. All right, so I’ve noticed a bit of a trend here. In Wandavision we saw Scarlet Witch as the main villain as she knowingly tortured a whole town of civilians and by the end of the show she’s getting sucked into the DarkHold. In the Cap & Winter Soldier show, we found out at the very end that Sharon is actually compromising the U.S. intelligence for money and is a fairly reputable information broker in the under world. Finally in the Loki show we see Sylvie turn to the darkness at the very end and set course for a new timeline. (At best you could say she just made a dubious call and isn’t as downright evil as the first two but it’s a tough case to make) Here, we end the film with Xu taking over the 10 Rings instead of disbanding them for presumably shady reasons.

You can cut Xu some slack but if this trend is anything to go by, she will be a villain soon. So, what is going on here? Are these all isolated incidents or is something going on here? Personally, I think it’s going to be something like the MCU version of the Sinister Six. It’s going to be a group of 6 female villains who band together to take over the world or something. Wanda brings the power, Sharon has the intel, Xu has the manpower, and Sylvie has more magic which is never a bad thing. For the trend to continue, we’ll need to see if some other players are introduced in Eternals, She Hulk, Spider-Man, or Dr. Strange. Still, it does seem like something’s going on.

Also, while Nick Fury was the main figure head for the first few phases as he connected everything, it seems more and more like that will now be the role for Dr. Strange. He’s going to have a role in the Spider-Man film, Wong is here in Shang Chi setting up some future elements, and you’ve also got the Dr. Strange film coming up. Seems like the Sorcerer Supreme is going to have to start earning his paycheck as the ultimate sorcerer with everyone messing around in the universe. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how that unfolds. End spoilers

I can’t close out the review without also mentioning that the soundtrack was really solid. There were a lot of great tunes here and so I thought the music selection was absolutely on point. The scene of the guy stepping out of the car only for us to see that it wasn’t Shang Chi was also a good fake out. Again, the film’s humor was always on point so even when there weren’t big fight scenes you were having a lot of fun.

Overall, Shang Chi definitely lives up to the hype here and is a great film in this phase of the MCU. I really didn’t have any issues with it and I’m certainly ready to see him start appearing in more of the films going forward. Shang Chi could easily work as one of the central figures going forward since I can see him having good banter with just about anyone. There’s still a whole lot you can do with the Ten Rings as well and we’ll see which film is the first to connect to this one. It’s the MCU so you can bet that there are a lot of plans in the works. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you’ll definitely want to change that.

Overall 8/10

Fast & Furious 6 Review


The ride must go on. Fast Five ended up being my favorite title in the series but little did I suspect that it would get surpassed so quickly. 6 takes everything I liked in the 5th film and then adds on to it. We get a lot of great fight scenes and character moments here. The series holds onto its strong family values and makes it across the finish line in record time.

The movie starts out with Hobbs realizing that he’s up against a villain group that can’t be taken down easily. Usually he doesn’t need any help but this time is an exception. He grabs some intel from one of the villains pretty easily and then sets about recruiting Dom and the old gang for one last ride.

Dom and friends are all millionaires who are having fun around the globe so it may seem hard to recruit them right? Well, not when you have the right ace up your sleeve and Hobbs has a doozy. See, there’s a photo of Dom’s old wife Letty around and it seems like she’s riding with the villains. That should be impossible since she is dead but if there’s even the slightest chance that she is still alive, Dom can’t waste it. He quickly agrees to help. Still, can these heroes stop this new villain group or are they simply outmatched here?

One thing I really liked here was how quickly everyone dropped what they were doing to help Dom. It shows that the money didn’t change them. They’re still a very close knit group and show up when the call goes out. Dom doesn’t have to talk to them for more than an instant to get them on his side. There’s no complaining, whining, or any of that. They’re just ready for action no matter what it takes.

It keeps on reinforcing the family aspect of the series. Dom always explains that these guys are his family and you don’t give up on family. You help out whenever you can with no second doubts. It’s hard to think of any series where the main characters have such a close bond. It’s just nice to see and immediately puts the film in a good spot so far as knowing who to root for and getting you personally engaged in the fight.

As always Dom is a great character here. He really doesn’t waver and hasn’t gotten sloppy in his driving skills. It’s safe to say that the film still portrays him as the best racer in the series. You could maybe make a case for Brian matching him but under pressure you want Dom on your side at all times. When the chips are down he won’t fail. The guy is also the better hand to hand fighter. Dom is a natural leader and just doesn’t back down. One of the more impressive scenes is when he’s face to face with Shaw and doesn’t even flinch when a gun is pointed at him.

Brian has his own subplot here where he breaks into a jail to try and find out what happened to Letty. Ultimately he doesn’t learn a whole lot to the point where he comes back and Dom doesn’t even want to hear what he learned. That said, it was a huge risk and Brian proved that he was willing to do whatever it took to find her again. He also proved himself in a fight as he took on several opponents at once.

Brian’s always been a fun character. He gets overshadowed by Dom but I like the guy and it’ll be sad once he’s gone. His wife Mia doesn’t get to appear much this time around but she encourages Brian to help the team out. She’s still a team player for sure. Elena also doesn’t do much here but you can pretty much see why. With Letty back on the table you can basically confirm that her romance with Dom can’t last.

It’s why I was never on board with that romance either way. It seemed like a rebound no matter how you slice it. Letty would certainly have good reason to be upset about this as well although everyone takes it in stride. Hopefully Elena returns and we can see her in more of an action setting next time.

Of course Hobbs has a big role as you’d expect. He sets the tone right away with how he beat up one of the minions in the interrogation room. That was pretty impressive and it showed that he is just as obsessed as ever with bringing crooks down. He may be a lot more by the book compared to Dom’s crew but he’s willing to be flexible. He has a pretty fun scene with Tej when they have to round up some cars. Most importantly, Hobbs can still fight and comes in clutch during the climax of the film with the 2 vs 2. As a driver he’s slightly below Dom’s crew but holds his own surprisingly well considering that isn’t really his thing.

His new teammate in this film is Riley. She’s pretty solid and gave us the first big fight scene of the film against Letty. I would have to say that was one of the better fights in the movie, there was a ton of back and forth there. It’s definitely not The best fight of course since the climax threw in some big ones but it was a blast. Riley’s also no nonsense and can fight really well. She also knows how to take a hit and keep on going. She left an excellent first impression and always leaves the opponents guessing.

Tej is pretty good at getting the cars set up and planning things out as always. He may not get quite as much to do as some of the other characters but always has good banter with Roman. Likewise, Roman is a pretty charismatic guy. Not all of his jokes land but he does have a lot of fun moments. His lack of fighting skills do get exposed at one point but he does keep getting up so you can’t doubt his determination.

Han may not get a big role during the film but it’s certainly a memorable one. He’s always got a lot of confidence in Gisele and lets her do her own thing. When she moves in on a villain he just moves onto the next one because he knows she has this covered. Gisele does well with her gun and consistently makes accurate shots from long range. She has to be the best shooter on the team by far.

Then of course you have Letty. She isn’t quite herself during the film due to some memory loss. Of course you’ll be wondering how she survived. The film explains how this happened which will answer any questions on that. It doesn’t really make sense why someone did something which allowed her to live though. She makes for a good antagonist and definitely has a lot of fighting skills. I can see a lot of potential for battles in future films as a result. She has a solid character arc.

As for Shaw, he’s a solid main villain. After watching the trailer for Hobbs & Shaw the whole time though I was waiting for a certain twist that never happened. It makes the experience pretty unique to be sure but he still stands up well as a villain in his own right. He can’t fight but is a smart villain who plans for every contingency. The heroes never make a move without him being ready for it. His futuristic cars were also impressive both in how fast they were and also for their raw strength.

The rest of his villain group wasn’t too memorable though. The one who gave Roman and Han a good fight was impressive but good luck remembering his name. The rest of the group doesn’t get a whole lot of dialogue or anything beyond their initial scene though. It is cool that the film set them up as a dark version of the main characters though. They may not have had a proper team fight but it was still cool.

The battle scenes are the best that they’ve been. My favorite fight out of all the films is probably Hobbs vs Dom from Fast Five but this one just has many fights on that level back to back. There is a lot of nonstop action here so something is always going on. You’ve got different climaxes and high tension moments with both sides making move after move. It’s all extremely entertaining and also high quality. This is definitely what you would expect from the series.

The only weakness I would say the series has is the never ending fanservice. As always whenever the heroes go for a rare drive you’ve got everyone dancing on the cars or walking right into the camera. It’d be nice if the films could tone down this aspect and just focus on the fights. It’s not as heavy as in other titles though and the positives still outweigh this negative to a pretty high degree so it shouldn’t hurt your enjoyment of the title.

The writing is on point and has a lot of good humor moments throughout. The film is fairly long and since it has a fast pace that means you can expect a whole lot of adventures here. Fast & Furious 6 just keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. It’s sort of like the non comic book version of the Avengers (2012) in terms of tone and action. Things even get pretty serious by the end as the film actually does have a body count. While the movies always end on a high note, the gang certainly goes through their share of trials. The soundtrack is also on point. The series always has a lot of different tunes that bring a lot of energy to each scene.

Finally, we can’t miss talking about the end credits scene. This was pretty hype and I always believe you should end your film with a cliffhanger like this one. It’s probably the most hype end scene since Tokyo Drift. We see an event from that film in a new light. Turns out that what happened to Han was a lot more personal than expected. It may be a retroactive change but it’s a solid way to make Tokyo Drift even more important all of a sudden. The new villain is also immediately going to be one of the better FF villains. You can tell from this scene that he means business.

Overall, Fast & Furious 6 was very impressive. This one is going to be extremely tough to defeat but I look forward to seeing how good 7 is. We’ve still got the full cast here so I am expecting it to be pretty good. I wonder if Brian will get a bit of a power up to keep up with Dom and Hobbs or if he will still mostly be more of a support fighter. With that stinger at the end you definitely know that 7 is about to get personal. Dom’s family will need to be ready to meet this challenge.

Overall 8/10

Black Widow Review


Black Widow is a film that feels like it’s been in the works for ages. After the Avengers 2012 film there was already talk about a potential solo film. I know a lot of people wanted a whole film about Budapest, others wanted a prequel even further back in the red room. Ultimately we would finally get the solo film now, which takes place after Civil War. It’s a pretty good place to put this film in, I would say the only other area that would have worked would have been the multi-year gap between Infinity War and End Game.

The movie starts off with showing Natasha as a child where she grew up with her parents and younger sister. Their life was pleasant for a while but one day they had to suddenly sneak out and head back to base. Her life was thrown upside down and then she went to work as a Soviet agent until eventually she was able to break away into the Avengers. I would say this was the best way to handle her early childhood.

Personally I would say the film starts off slow. It doesn’t really pick up until we go to the present which is precisely why I never wanted a full prequel film about her childhood. It could be interesting to see her as an assassin and you could pull off a film like Salt but in general I’m always a lot more interested in seeing the present. Yes, this isn’t the exact present but it’s not too long ago. This way you still see scenes of her past without having a 2 hour experience about it which seems like a fair balance.

So the movie truly picks up with Widow on the run from the government after Civil War. Aside from Captain America, the rest of her team was already captured. Widow has had enough of this and intends to vanish forever into another life but suddenly gets thrown back into the fray when she is attacked by the Taskmaster. After suffering a complete defeat, she heads over to her sister Yelena for some answers. Turns out that the Red Room is still in operation so Widow is going to have to confront her old ghosts one more time.

The opening action scene with Taskmaster is definitely solid. Taskmaster gets to show off his good hand to hand skills and copy abilities from the comics and Natasha fights well as always although she is definitely out of her league in this battle and goes down quickly. It’s a good way of getting her back into the fold and effectively forcing her into the action. It also showed how she would still make the heroic call in the end such as when she went for the vials even though she had been looking forward to some down time.

Lets start with the film’s strong points. The action and effects are top notch as always. The hand to hand fights are on point and I like how the objects as used in combat. Taskmaster has his shield while Natasha uses whatever items she has on hand. The different locations all look really good and there are a lot of different environments here to be sure.

The soundtrack is also pretty good. We get some Russian opera styled music here during one of the opening montages and some classic action tunes. While I wouldn’t say any might be a complete standout, they work out well for the scenes that they’re in and help to enhance the moment.

Yelena is a great new addition to the universe. Historically I’ve always liked her a lot more than Natasha as the Black Widow. She tends to be more of an antagonist but I’m nowhere near close to being caught up with her character so maybe she is usually a good guy now. Either way she brings in a lot of the witty lines in the film. While it’s clear that Natasha is more skilled, she is also older than Yelena and got a lot of great experience with the Avengers. Give Yelena some time and she can catch up at some point.

Yelena loves poking fun at the other characters and it works really well for the dynamic here. She was definitely the standout character here. I also liked Natasha’s mother Melina. As a strategist she also has a lot of good plans and is integral when helping the other characters out. That said, she did have a really suspect scene involving a pig as well as the implications that this has. While they play the sympathy card a lot, I can’t see her as anything other than a complete villain.

There’s some good setup to the rest of the universe as well although this is squarely a Black Widow film. The after credits scene is pretty low key for the most part but the final part has a lot of solid implications for fights coming up. Lets just say that the person who is about to be hunted should be in a lot of trouble since I think he’s outmatched here. Maybe he’ll surprise me though. I’m not really feeling the new Nick Fury type character yet since I prefer his mysterious approach to the “fake friend” tactic this one likes to try. Still, should make for an interesting confrontation down the road.

Finally, I’ve always liked the concept of the rogue agent who goes back to their roots. It could be someone who used to be evil or just someone who needs to do an impossible task. It’s the very concept of Mission Impossible, but I’m thinking of more solo operations like Salt, Resident Evil, John Wick, and other titles like that. They can get rather intense but the story itself is always very compelling. The same goes for Black Widow as Natasha has to tap into her old skills which may be rusty at this point.

After all, as a kid even before growing up in the Red Room she was a tough fighter and even more so after completing her missions. As an Avenger she had to learn how to fight as a hero which means no lethal moves and as a result she couldn’t go all out anymore. Hawkeye even gave her a straight fight in the first Avengers film which likely wouldn’t happen in her prime. That said, with how easily she handled Yelena, it’s clear that growing rusty is not a problem in her case.

Black Widow is definitely in the top half of the Marvel Cinematic films. There are enough films now where it’s tough to rank them all but it’s squarely under the top tiers like the Avenger films but above all the Phase 1 titles (Not counting Avengers) and others scattered across the phases. It’s a great film and only the 6th 8 star film I’ve seen in 2021. There’s a lot to like here.

Now for the film’s weak points. I thought it went way too far in making the Red Guardian as useless and comedic as possible. Sure, his personality can be fun and some of his humor moments do land, but couldn’t he have looked good at least once? Strength is his whole thing but he fails in his break out scene, gets humiliated by Taskmaster, and ultimately doesn’t win a single battle. I’m not familiar with him in the comics so maybe he always gets wrecked but it felt a little overdone. He deserved at least one quality moment without the rest of the team constantly dunking on him.

I was also underwhelmed by Taskmaster. I wouldn’t say he was a bad villain, but…he’s just not Taskmaster. We’ve seen Marvel do this with several big villains like Mandarin and Ultron where they just don’t feel like their normal selves and this would have to be put into that category. The first red flag is when he doesn’t talk at all during his opening fight. Seems like a robot with no personality. I can get behind the costume being the weakest Taskmaster design yet since it’s passable but this guy just doesn’t feel like Taskmaster. Where’s the bragging, witty dialogue? I’m used to a fairly talkative Taskmaster.

His role is also a lot smaller than you’d expect so he doesn’t the time needed to look particularly impressive. You have 0 doubt that Captain America, Black Panther, Bucky, and a bunch of other hand to hand fighters would crush this version of him with ease. So he was on the disappointing side, good in a vacuum but I think they just should have called him something else and kept the Taskmaster title open for the future. Who knows, maybe there will be a twist and we’ll get another Taskmaster soon.

Now lets talk about Natasha, I was a little quiet about her in this review so far if you’ve noticed. Retroactively this movie really makes her character look shaky at times and downright bad at others. Now, you know a big part of the plot is that the red room is still around, but Natasha was super sure it was gone. So the film goes into why she thinks this is the case…and it makes her look a bit naïve.

She really didn’t do much inspecting to see if this was really the case. She went to extreme lengths in her quest for vengeance as well. Now you can put some blame on Shield and her partner for believing someone who just turned to their side without having someone else watching the situation but at its core this is Natasha’s issue. Characters make mistakes in their past and this was a long time ago…but it’s a rather huge mistake. The film will explain what I’m talking about here with her plan to destroy the red room but I’m keeping any specifics out for spoilers.

Even more egregious is the fact that afterwards she never actually tried to find Yelena or any of the others. This feels a little convenient since that would have also told her that something was going on. A lot of the film is about Natasha trying to correct her past and trying to be a better person now. It’s what she was talking about with her ledger being red a while back in the early Avenger films so we see exactly what she was talking about. I’ve never been a Black Widow fan and this film doesn’t help matters.

It’s part of why I was glad to see Yelena showing up since she’s always been more fun and this film keeps that up. Still, Natasha does do well in the fight scenes and still proves to be the critical character needed to stop the villains. Without her here there’s no way the others would have been okay. She’s started her first step on the redemption journey by finally thanking the guy who gets her all her equipment and tech. I felt bad for him the whole film so at least it’s a start because that guy deserves a lot of gratitude for always coming through.

That’s it for weaknesses. I mean, the main villain is pretty bad but he’s really a non factor here. The guy is just around since we need a head of the red room but that’s the extent of his room. He can’t fight and can only rely on Purple Man type powers to keep himself in the fight. It’s also another chance to make Black Widow look bad since you’d think she could resist this but I guess the powers of science cannot be defeated.

Costume-wise, I preferred Natasha’s outfit here to the usual Black Widow one. Granted, the old version is a lot more fitting to the title but I do like to have a change of pace once in a while so this was a really good way to flip things. Also, it worked well for the snow scenes. I missed the sky fall gunfight scene from the trailer though. I wonder if it was made only for the trailer or if it got so much bad press about the bullet dodging physics that they just scrapped it. I hope it’s the former because it’s still a great concept for a scene and would have worked really well at the end. Maybe just tweak the scene a bit to show her dodging but then we’re good.

Ultimately my favorite action scene in the film was the opening battle with Taskmaster. Part of why it’s so effective is because of how sudden it is. Taskmaster just appears out of nowhere and starts the fight right away. If not for the fact that he can only focus on his objective, Natasha would have been completely finished off there. The match has a lot of tension and the night time background works well since it feels like there is absolutely no backup. If Natasha were to die here, it would be easy to cover up and even the Avengers may be at a loss.

Widow was also caught off guard so it’s not like she had her gear. You really see how tough a hero is when they just have to fight as they are. You think of moments like Steve being attacked at his home by Winter Soldier, Tony’s house being attacked in Iron Man 3, or Catwoman breaking into Bruce Wayne’s house in Dark Knight Rising. Usually the hero is caught flat footed and gets wrecked but when they’re able to put up a good fight you gain a lot of respect for their survival instincts. I’ll give Natasha credit here, she did put up a good fight even with no prep time despite the combat disadvantage.

The writing is really on point as well. While the Red Guardian may be the comic relief character of the film, I thought Yelena had all the best jokes and funny one liners. The conversation about how Natasha is always posing before and during her fights was fun. Yelena even gives it a shot on her own at one point and the fact that the pose is immediately recognizable does support her point there. Whenever she is around you can expect a lot of fun dialogue. You do get a very genuine feeling from the Guardian in his lines too but I don’t believe his talk about Captain America. He would get folded like an old lawn chair if he tried to defeat Steve. The other characters could have probably cut him some slack since he’s been trapped in jail all this time though.

Overall, Black Widow’s definitely a great film. It’s may have the slowest start to an MCU film but really turns up once we get to the present when she’s trying to evade Ross. That’s when the film gets great and then it keeps up that momentum the rest of the way. The action is on point and as always Marvel has a ton of great backgrounds and environments to fight in. The film may be 2 hours long but it really ends in a flash. You won’t even notice the time and it’s a title you can safely recommend even to people who have not seen the other Marvel titles since her story is fairly stand alone.

Overall 8/10

A Slight Case of Murder Review


Whenever you have a film about a mobster trying to go legit it tends to be quite fun. This one is definitely no exception as things get quite tricky for Remy as he tries to do things the right way. The dialogue is quick and snappy with a lot of tight pacing throughout. Those are all the hallmarks of a good gem in the rough and this movie doesn’t disappoint. You may not have heard of it before watching, but you won’t forget about it afterwards.

The movie starts with the era of Prohibition ending. People are throwing parties and drinking as much as they can to celebrate. The only people not happy are Remy and his cronies since they had made a ton of money selling beer on the black market. They were the only game in town so everyone had to buy from them. Now that it’s legal again that ends their racket. Remy has decided to go straight though. He’s convinced that people will still buy his beer so he turns his headquarters into an official brewery. Unfortunately nobody wants to buy from them though since Remy’s beer is the absolute worst. He doesn’t realize how bad it tastes though. The worst part is that he is flat broke. Will he be able to earn enough money before the government takes his home away?

There’s certainly a lot of tension for Remy here since any day now he will be out of business. The bank certainly doesn’t hold back when they are coming to take their funds. They won’t listen to any talk about extensions or things like that. They just want their money and they want it right away. Naturally there’s some temptation to go back to his crooked ways as well so this is something he’s trying really hard not to do.

A fun part of the film is how into it his wife Nora gets. She really transitions into a formal housewife right away. Occasionally she slips back into more casual terms when talking though but it’s hard to keep up the act 100% at first. The mobsters are less thrilled about this to be sure but they keep on following orders as needed. They also try to help with getting the money and everything. Sometimes it works and sometimes it just makes things even tougher so it always depends.

The movie’s humor tends to be on point though. The jokes move at a rapid pace to the point where old jokes can end up turning into new ones as the film goes on. A lot of the time you can see some of the jokes coming as the characters have misunderstandings but the execution is always on point so it works out. Each character is good at talking fast and subtly insulting the others without it being too obvious. It’s certainly a talent and a pretty good one to have at that.

I should mention there’s also another plot going on here. Remy’s daughter Mary is engaged to someone and she wants him to finally meet her folks. What he didn’t tell her is that he has become a state trooper which is naturally not an occupation that Remy is a huge fan of. This leads to a lot of drama between them. Remy’s got a pretty tough personality so he easily walks all over that guy. Even this plot is used to contribute to the ending of the film but as a whole also serves to keep the movie nice and packed with a bundle of plots.

We also can’t forget the kid. Remy has a tradition where he takes one of the kids from the orphanage over to his home for the summer. It’s surprisingly a really nice thing of Remy to do so even when he was a crook at least the guy did give back to the community. This time he ends up picking the absolute worst kid at the orphanage and this guy is naturally going to cause trouble. He smokes, drinks, and in general has a bad attitude the whole time. Fortunately Remy’s group are used to dealing with tricky characters. In particular the main minion, Mike always ends up having the upper hand with the kid.

He did surprisingly well in fact. Usually the kid gets away with absolutely everything but here Mike was always on him in an instant. That’s definitely what I like to see here since it can be annoying to see a kid just wrecking everything. Here that never happens and the kid even helps out a bit even if it wasn’t his intention. With how the gang was helping to correct his spoiled attitude maybe he will even be a better kid when he eventually makes it back to the orphanage.

What really helps this film maintain its status as a great film is how well written the characters are. For example, Remy makes a lot of mistakes but he is still a pretty cunning guy who is always ready for what comes next. With people constantly throwing new twists and wrinkles at him the guy still comes up with new plans on the spot. Nothing can slow him down. When he ends up having to think of a way to get around dead bodies, loads of cash, and a state trooper he is able to conquer each obstacle. It’s easy to see why he became the leader of the mob.

Overall, A Slight Case of Murder is a great film that I would definitely recommend. At the same time it’s a fairly simple movie so there’s not a whole lot to say. At its core it’s a comedy where everything always happens in a rather extreme way so Remy is kept on the edge the whole time. The writing is on point and the movie is really over in a flash. The sheer high tempo of the jokes and scenes can be overwhelming if this isn’t your genre of comedy but I would definitely say to give it a shot and see what you think. I’m confident you’ll leave with a satisfied experience.

Overall 8/10