Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

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The first Ant Man film still ranks as the worst MCU film of them all. It’s a shame since the film was a lot of fun but just squeezed in too much animal violence which certainly wasn’t necessary. This one is a big improvement mainly since the insects don’t get to do a lot here. There are a few casualties used for an unsuccessful gag but for the most part this film avoided making the same mistake as the last one which is good.

The film starts off by showing us how Janet made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. We then cut to Scott trying to do his best to make it off house arrest. He just needs to stay in the house for 4 more days which should be fairly simple. Unfortunately he then has a dream about becoming Janet which leads Hope to kidnap him for answers. An Ant is left in his place but Scott has to solve this case by the end of the day or else the cops will grow wise to him. The mission: Save Janet from the Quantum Realm. The obstacles: A mysterious being known as the ghost and a couple of thugs with guns. Looks like it is time to suit up!

This film always did look promising from the first trailer. Mainly I liked the music and Wasp’s confidence that she would have changed the outcome in Civil War. I don’t doubt it either as the only opponent that she would effectively be powerless against would be Vision. Everyone else would be taking damage from her blasters and size shifting combos. Honestly Scott should have brought her along and I would like to see her fight more powered fighters. She is definitely one of the best characters in the film and one thing she is really good at is adapting on the fly. Even with her first encounter with the Ghost she was handling the phasing abilities pretty well. Attacking the instant that the ghost would appear and using her own size shifting to counter it.

Then we have Ant Man who is ultimately a normal guy without too much fighting practice aside from some moves that the Wasp taught him. Considering that he does a pretty decent job but he does spend a large chunk of the film getting thrown left and right. It makes sense since the Ghost is far better trained. While he may not be the toughest fighter out there, Scott’s definitely a good guy and is definitely trying his best to help everyone out.

In particular I thought that one of his earliest scenes was pretty impressive. Since he is locked in his own house he had to improvise to entertain his daughter. He builds an elaborate set up of boxes and figures to make her a mini adventure. I imagine that the film makers had fun creating that as well. He even learned slight of hand magic tricks which I would like to see him incorporate in fights. That kind of truck could be useful.

Pym is a little more on the annoying side though. Wasp has really valid reasons to be upset at Scott since they were rather close and he still ditched her without a word to get in on the fight. That is definitely very personal. Pym basically has the same complaints but you can’t put quite as much stock in them especially since he would have been very reluctant to help. They were fighting Ironman though so maybe that would have convinced him but as Scott I certainly wouldn’t have trusted the guy. Pym has his moments but at the end of the day he still isn’t the most heroic figure out there.

One area where the film shines is the fight scenes as I mentioned earlier. They are quite well done and the battles are very quick. I’ll take phasing over size manipulation any day but both techniques are great for dodging hits. We also get a lot of chase scenes with the cars and the heroes are always on the run. The film’s pacing is quite good as it never drags on and we get several climaxes each more intense than the last.

Meanwhile Goliath gets a bit of a role but he definitely isn’t a very good character. He has some reasonable motivations to work with but goes about them all wrong. Things would have worked out a whole lot better if he just thought things through more. Instead he just comes across as rather whiny the whole time. Burch also gets a bit of a role as he tries to force himself into the technology breakthroughs that the heroes are poised to get with their tech. You have to love his confidence I suppose, but the guy almost feels a little out of place here. He never actually does anything so if he was cut out I doubt anyone would have really cared.

Luis gets a decently big role as well and he handles the comic relief role pretty well. He never seems to be all that afraid of the villains and takes everything in stride. He is pretty good at designing traps as well and kept his company alive for quite a while. This guy is definitely not someone to be taken lightly. He’s better than most of the other sidekicks currently running around the universe that’s for sure.

The Ghost is one of the big characters of course since she is the main villain and it’s a role that she handles well. I like the design of the Ghost suit and she certainly mastered her powers to a good degree. As always SHEILD looks awfully shady here but that’s nothing new. Fortunately those guys are no longer in business in the movies (for now) so these people with powers can finally be safe. Towards the end her partner in crime kept chickening out so I was definitely on her side there. They’ve already come this far and he knows the risks so this change of heart comes across as very sudden especially since the Ghost is the one taking all of the risk. She’s one of the better recent villains.

We do get an after credits scene here that is actually plot important and taken seriously. There is a second which covers the comedy angle and that’s always good since if you just have one such scene and it’s a comedy one…then that’s much more of an issue. The first scene is almost tragic in a sense since aside from serious plot convenience it is hard to really see a way out of this one aside from a lot of waiting. I probably would have tweaked the ending a bit there but either way it is a solid scene.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film. It was a good follow up to the Infinity War and continues to show how modern effects can make a lot of different super powers pretty useful. Being able to change sizes may not seem amazing right off the bat but if you can do it with great speed then you will be going places. I’d recommend checking this film out if you’re in the mood for a solid action film with a good amount of humor. Now I’m ready to see how Ant Man will contribute to the team in the next Avengers film.

Overall 7/10

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Best Live Action Movies of Each Year

It’s time to look at the best Live Action Film of each year! This one was definitely tricky since there are so many films that came out each year. Still, I went through the Wikipedia lists and hopefully have not missed any. Naturally this list may change as time goes on and I see more films, but I’ll aim to keep the list up to date at all times. Now lets see which ones made history!

2018 Black Panther
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Black Panther was definitely a solid action movie and a good way to end the MCU until Infinity War. That film may ironically end up stealing its spot, but for now Black Panther is certainly the film to beat in 2018. It just managed to hit all of the right buttons without falling into any cinematic traps. It’s easy to see why the film was such a big hit.

2017 Justice League
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Still one of the most ambitious comic book movies of all time, Justice League really managed to be an epic movie. The fights at the end of the film were certainly excellent and I also enjoyed the opening fight with Batman and the Parademons. I would have liked to have seen more of what the original version was supposed to be like, but the finished product still managed to be quite awesome.

2016 Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice
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Now this is the most ambitious super hero movie of all time. After all these decades, the two most popular superheroes finally get to meet each other. This film is almost perfect as it had a lot of tense scenes and great memes after the film had ended. The whole film just comes across as very epic and you won’t want to step out of the room for a moment. The dialogue and banter between the characters was uncanny.

2015 Avengers Age of Ultron

While not as groundbreaking as the original Avengers, Age of Ultron was an excellent sequel which brought the gang back for one more ride. We got a lot of snappy humor and some fun fights so it’s hard to deny that this was a very good film. There was a lot happening here and even though I’ve seen it twice I would already be down with seeing it a third time someday. I do think it may go down as the least memorable Avengers film though.

2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
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After the first Captain America film I can’t say that I was too hyped for this one. Still, it managed to exceed my expectations and was actually quite great. Winter Soldier made for a good opponent to Cap and his scenes even proved that Spider-Man was far stronger than Cap physically. The Hydra plot finally got to end so Cap could get some new opponents and this was a movie that stood well on its own as well. There weren’t a whole lot of guest stars or anything this time.

2013 Man of Steel
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Man of Steel was always a controversial film but I have to admit that it is still one of the greatest films of all time. The fight scenes are decades ahead of its time and Superman makes for a great main character. The film doesn’t waste too much time on set up or sob stories and throws us into the action. To this day I think it will be tough for a CBM to ever truly match this one’s fight scenes. It’s just hard to top a film where every character who is fighting are top level DC combatants.

2012 The Avengers

I’ve probably seen the Avengers more than any other live action comic book movie. I’ve seen it 5-6 times at this point and it never gets old. It was the perfect crossover to bring all of Marvel’s best heroes together. It felt like an awesome crossover and also managed to fit in a nice climax as well. The jokes were on point and likewise for the fight scenes. I don’t see how this film could have been any better than it was.

2011 Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible has been a great film series, but it really upped its game to the next level starting with this film. Ghost Protocol was a blast as we got a ton of action scenes and the series finally added a new character who could keep pace with Ethan Hunt. The film never really slowed down and managed to keep up the frantic pace for the whole adventure.

2010 Prince of Persia

I haven’t seen Prince of Persia in quite a long while, but I remember it being very solid. It was a film that took place amidst a lot of sand but managed to surpass its own locale and managed to be a very epic film anyway. As a pretty big fan of the games I can definitely say that the film did it justice. It was just a lot of fun all around and was a good way to start off the 2010s era.

2009 GI Joe: Rise of Cobra

GI Joe was always a film that was a lot of fun to watch. It may not have been the most ambitious film out there, but it had a ton of action. It got me a little more interested in the franchise and I didn’t mind the super soldier suits. Cobra’s group actually looked tough in this film as well which was a nice surprise.

2008 The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is still known as one of the best comic book movies of all time and I can definitely agree that it was a lot of fun. The Joker appeared as a real threat and a lot of work went into the plot. Joker definitely didn’t put Batman in an easy position, but the Dark Knight ended up victorious as you would expect. He isn’t the kind of fighter who goes down easy.

2007 Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 gets a bad rep most of the time, but it is certainly still one of the finest comic book movies of all time. There is constant action and it managed to wrap up a bunch of plot lines from the previous 2 films. It’s extremely memorable and also had a great soundtrack to support it. At the very least, I’d say that there will probably never be a Spider-Man film that can top this one.

2006 Mission Impossible III

I don’t have the greatest recollection of Mission Impossible III, but it was certainly an intense film. The villains really put Ethan through the ringer in this one and he didn’t get to have a lot of fun. This was right before the series really became amazing, but it was still solid enough to take the year I’d say.

2005 Fantastic Four

Who’d have thought that the Fantastic Four would get their time in the spotlight eh? Their film may not have been amazing, but it was a good way to introduce the team. We got some nice action scenes as well and it had a pretty good story. It was definitely better than the remake and the origins were handled well.

2004 Godzilla Final Wars

To this day Final Wars is remembered as the greatest of all the Godzilla films and for good reason too. The movie managed to grab a lot of monsters and even made the human plot interesting this time around. It’s the perfect Godzilla movie.

2003 Godzilla Tokyo SOS

Tokyo SOS was another fun Godzilla film for the books. It really showed off what Godzilla could do with modern effects and as always it gave us the monster fights that we were looking forward to. Mecha Godzilla looked hype as expected.

2002 Spider-Man

The epic start to what would soon be known as a legendary trilogy, Spider-Man redefined what it meant to be a friendly neighborhood superhero. He made the tough calls when necessary and the film taking place in NYC was a nice touch.

2001 The One
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The One is a film that almost nobody has heard of, but it was surprisingly amazing. The action scenes here were excellent and it actually had an insert song for one of the fights. That is extremely rare for a non anime film.

2000 Mission Impossible II

Mission Impossible II saw things get a little dark for Ethan and his crew. It brought in the usual action and excitement with the darker tone and made for an intense movie. Definitely a sign of things to come for the heroes in the 2000s.

1999 Godzilla 2000

Godzilla 2000 was definitely an iconic Godzilla film as it gave the hero one of his most fierce-some designs of all time. Orga also made for an extremely epic enemy. This is one Godzilla film that certainly will not be forgotten.

1998 Rebirth of Mothra III

We can’t forget the big Mothra film to end the trilogy. She had an intense fight against Ghidorah and proved that she is still one of the strongest Kaiju around. Mothra is one monster that should not be trifled with. A fun all around film.

1997 Men in Black

The original Men in Black was definitely a blast. While the humans vs aliens plot had been done before, this one was probably the first action/humor blend to really succeed at this level. It’s just a lot of fun to watch and it’s just a shame that the sequels couldn’t quite live up to how much fun this one was.

1996 Space Jam

Space Jam has always been an awesome film and I dare say that it gets better every time. Seeing the Looney Tunes have to fight for their world really brings the stakes to their peak and while you might find it tough to swallow that they can’t win on their own, just pretend that they’re holding back. Winning with a sport probably just seemed like more fun to them.

1995 Mortal Kombat
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Mortal Kombat is incredibly underrated and is still one of the greatest films of all time. I’ve never seen a film with such an incredible soundtrack coupled with excellent action scenes. This film is truly a one of a kind experience that everyone should watch.

1994 Godzilla vs Space Godzilla

I don’t understand why this game gets so much disrespect thrown its way. The concept of a Space Godzilla running around is just plain epic and his design is super cool as well. The beam fights were intense and while Godzilla was getting his spikes handed to him he still put up a reasonable struggle.

1993 Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla II

Mecha Godzilla II was a strong robot who gave Godzilla a pretty tough fight. It’s a shame that he couldn’t do much more than that, but he was up against the King of the Kaiju. Their rumbles always make for really epic films.

1992 Godzilla vs Mothra

We might as well start calling the early 90s the Godzilla years because he is here to stay now. Mothra hadn’t really gotten to fight Godzilla for many years so it was about time that they had a rematch. While this wasn’t one of the most memorable films it was still a lot of fun and will have you glued to your seat.

1991 Terminator 2
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Terminator 2 is iconic and the original Terminator finally found himself matched up against a foe who could hold his own. Their duel was a lot of fun and you always can’t help but admire how persistent Skynet is. This A.I. isn’t the kind of program to just sit back and allow the humans to build up a resistance. Definitely an intense Sci-Fi epic.

1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Ninja Turtle films were always a lot of fun. They were able to hit that sweet balance of action and humor without going too far in either direction. The films were cheesy, but they have aged very well and are sure to bring you a blast and a half.

1989 Batman
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While the 1989 Batman film is largely overlooked today it was a really solid take on the Batman mythos. It helped the general audience finally take comic books a little more seriously and reminded me that superheroes are always in season. Back then just seeing Batman be able to move with such agility was a feat.

1988 Poltergeist III
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Poltergeist III is amazing because it saved the entire series. The second film was trash and the first film was no good, but the third film managed to actually make the series good. It had suspense and tension which was something that I never thought I could say for the series. Throw in the awesome visual effects and we had a real winner here.

1987 Superman IV

Who can forget Superman IV? Honestly, a lot of people consider it to be a far cry from the first film, but I’m one of the few who considers it an improvement. (I haven’t seen the first film in ages though) Superman IV embraced its nature as a sequel and used the character development from the previous films to its advantage.

1986 Labyrinth
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Labyrinth is a very interesting fantasy film that plays out like an RPG. The main character meets up with a bunch of supporting characters and gradually makes it to the final boss where she has an interesting fight while trying to keep her balance on the various walls. It’s definitely an interesting film and even has a musical number.

1985 Return of Godzilla

Whether you took Godzilla seriously or not before now, The Return of Godzilla was a film for the ages. It showed us a more fearsome Godzilla who was not meant to be taken lightly. There were no other Kaiju here which was a bummer, but the Big G can certainly hold his own film I’d say. Seeing it on VHS is definitely nostalgic.

1984 Ghostbusters
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Ghostbusters is mega popular, but I only got to see it rather recently. Still, I can see why it became such a hit since the film is a blast. The Marshmallow Man is intense and the title song is probably still in the top 5 most intense live action non battle songs of all time.

1983 Superman III

Time for some more Superman action. In case you haven’t noticed, I am a pretty big fan of the Man of Steel. His films have had a great track record over the years. Superman III may not have had a super big threat like film II did, but it brought back some of the humor from the old Superman days. It’s just a lot of fun and a good movie to enjoy while eating a few slices of pizza.

1982 Rocky III
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Rocky and Superman definitely dominated this period of time. Rocky III brought us the epic fights that you would expect from the series. By this point the premise was starting to get a little formulaic, but was still early on enough where this wasn’t a problem. As long as it is executed properly, it’s not liable to ever become a problem either. It’s just a very solid sequel.

1981 Superman II

Superman II is the most iconic of all the Superman films and in a way Man of Steel is a remake of this one. It has a lot of action and hype villains so it deserves its title as one of the top Superman films. While I may not necessarily call it the best in the Superman series, it is still a great title that deserves to be seen and admired.

1980 Airplane
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Airplane is the greatest comedy film of all time and I dare you to tell me differently. The jokes are consistently funny and that’s not something that I can say about most comedies. The scene of the pilot breaking into the airport and beating everyone up will go down in history as a hype moment. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

1979 Rocky II
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Rocky II had the hype rematch and was a good way to get Rocky back in the ring. The fight was as intense as in the first film and maybe even more so. Rocky had to give the fight everything he had to stay up right. He never quite learned how to block, but his stamina was as impressive as always.

1978 Superman

The original Superman film was certainly the start of a legendary film series. The Man of Steel impressed audiences worldwide and the film was definitely emotional.

1977 Star Wars Episode IV

The original Star Wars film is still one of the best ones. It set up the universe really well and established Darth Vader as a big threat. It had a nice cliffhanger to set up the next film and a lot of action was constantly occurring throughout. You could not accuse this film of having a slow pace or of having a generic soundtrack either.

1976 Murder By Death
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This film proved that people die when they are destroyed. While you can poke fun at the title of the film all die, it’s a serious murder mystery all the same. Just throw in a bunch of parody elements as well and you are looking at one of the greatest mystery films of all time. A definite must watch for any fans of the genre.

1975 Terror of Mecha Godzilla

Terror of Mecha Godzilla is one of the scariest films in the whole series. Bringing back Mecha Godzilla so soon was a bold move, but definitely the right one. He is essentially the Broly of the Godzilla verse and has always proved to be the toughest opponent for the King of the Monsters. It was a great way to end the Showa era.

1974 Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla

Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla still has the most iconic moment in Godzilla history, when Mecha G first shows himself. I would also consider this to be the most impressive visual effect in Godzilla history, but that is more debatable. It was definitely a powerful movie with some crazy fights.

1973 Godzilla vs Megalon

Megalon never seemed all that powerful next to the other Godzilla villains, but his design is undeniably awesome. His twin drill fighting style makes him a lot to handle for Godzilla and we also had other monsters running around. The action just never stopped in this movie and that’s why it is so much fun.

1972 Godzilla vs Gigan


Godzilla vs Gigan is definitely the most brutal Godzilla film out there and one that is not for the faint of heart. Gigan proves to be Godzilla’s toughest opponent yet as he nearly takes Godzilla down for good. It’s an intense film that does nerf the villains a little to give Godzilla a fighting chance, but is still a solid film all around.

1971 Godzilla vs Hedorah

Godzilla vs Hedorah is probably top 5 among all Godzilla films if we’re being honest. Hedorah was a great opponent and had more character than the average Kaiju. He was also immensely powerful and Godzilla didn’t seem to stand much of a chance the whole time. It reminds you that you should always be careful to help the environment.

1970 Gamera vs Jiger

One of the weaker Gamera films, but still good overall. Jiger may not seem like much of a threat compared to the average Kaiju, but underestimate her at your own peril. Gamera never makes this mistake and that’s why he tends to win his fights. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this film.

1969 Godzilla’s Revenge

Calling this film Godzilla’s Revenge may be a little suspect since that’s not the original name, but I really like the title. It appropriately describes the film and reminds us that Godzilla isn’t always a very noble Kaiju. He is out here to survive and to thrive and that is precisely what he does.

1968 Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters was a very big crossover among the Toho properties and it’s still incredible that they were able to get so many monsters into one film. The human scenes may be on the weak side in this adventure but whenever the monsters are on screen you know that the hype is about to start. You’ll probably end up rooting for Ghidorah since everyone is picking on him.

1967 Gamera vs Gyaos

Gyaos is the most iconic Gamera villain of them all and for good reason. His design is top notch and he is no slouch when it comes to a fight. This is probably in the top 3 Gamera showa films and maybe even higher. While it doesn’t have the cool super hero subplot as another one of the films, it does deliver on the action and you can’t say no to that.

1966 The Ghost and Mr Chicken
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The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a really fun comedy film. It’s fairly obscure, but must have been revolutionary at the time as it was one of the first films to have humor on this level. The laugh just keep on coming and the main character does ultimately get a little more courage at the end.

1965 Invasion of the Astro Monster

Invasion of the Astro Monster is the intense sequel to the Ghidorah film. The fight takes place in space which is pretty fun and a new locale was certainly appreciated. While I do miss the buildings getting blown up, we do still get some of that later on in the film. This movie had a ton of action!

1964 Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster

For a little while I had put Ghidorah as my favorite Godzilla film of them all. It’s tough to reach the top now as long as Final Wars exists, but at the very least it will always be known as one of the beast. Ghidorah is just such a great opponent for Godzilla and the action scenes here are great!

1963 Medusa vs The Son of Hercules
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Medusa vs The Son of Hercules is a fun film even if Hercules himself looks extremely weak the whole time. Well, I guess he isn’t the real Hercules which is kind of the point. I liked the radical new design for Medusa and I would definitely say that it worked well. It’s certainly her most intimidating look yet. If she ever brought it back, we could have more entertaining films like this one.

1962 King Kong vs Godzilla

King Kong vs Godzilla was a huge crossover back in the day and it’s definitely a blast to watch. The ending is rather suspect to be honest, but I guess it’s hard to please both sides with a fight like this one. All things considered, the film did a really good job and the effects have aged really well.

1961 Mothra

The original Mothra film may not have really been much of a Kaiju destruction story, but it was a solid film all the same. The writing was strong and the characters were engaging so you don’t really need anything more than that. Mothra is still a fearsome creature and it would be cool to see her get more movies someday.

1960 The Leech Woman
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The Leech Woman is not someone to be taken lightly. Her abilities put her above that of the average mortal and she attacks without warning. The film isn’t amazing or anything, but the premise was reasonable and the execution was decent. It’s a nice film to watch even if I would not want that as my superhero name.

1959 The Bat
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The Bat was a really cool film where the villain actually got bumped off in the opening minutes and was replaced with a different one. That scene was powerful and is the main reason why the movie is so memorable. It’s just a novel concept and one that to this day has not really been overused. I have to give the film a lot of credit there.

1958 The Colossus of New York
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It’s rare to see New York in the title of the film and I’d like to see that even more. There’s not much unique about this film, but it’s fun so there doesn’t need to be much more than that. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and just remember that New York is big enough to have a Colossus within it so long as nothing nefarious happens with it.

1957 12 Angry Men

The 12 Angry Men is definitely a classic film that may not have a whole lot of action or anything like that, but stands on its own with how good the dialogue is. I wouldn’t mind more films about jurors like this since this one was really engaging and also had a nice sense of humor.

1956 Rodan

Rodan may be a film that not too many have heard of, but those who have seen the film tend to acknowledge just how great it was. Rodan himself doesn’t get to do much as an adult in this film, but just thinking of how tough he will be when all grown up is enough to make this film even more interesting.

1955 Godzilla Raids Again

Godzilla Raids Again was a reasonable sequel to the first Godzilla, but was still lacking the extra monster action that we have come to love in the Godzilla films. It was still a very entertaining film though and the effects aren’t bad. Seeing Godzilla on the big screen is definitely surreal.

1954 Godzilla

The original Godzilla movie is definitely a fun Kaiju pic. For some it is very serious while for others it is light hearted fun, but that’s because it depends on which version of it you saw. I saw the happy American version and it does a good job of getting across the notion that Godzilla is a tough monster, but one that will always look out for itself first and foremost as opposed to trying to destroy us all for kicks.

1953 Beast From 20000 Fathoms

The Beast From 20000 Fathoms is a fun movie and really started off the Kaiju boom. Seeing the monster eat some humans only for the humans to escape and keep on running later was pretty hype. Some call it stock footage while I just call it good writing. It’s a movie that reminds you of how scary a true Kaiju is.

1952 Deadline USA
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This film is about a newspaper and how it tries to uphold its ideals while gangs and other third parties try to shut it down. As long as one reporter is willing to keep on fighting for Truth and Justice, the others will follow suit. It’s definitely a fun film and one that shows you how one paper can make a difference.

1951 Superman & The Mole Men

Superman & The Mole Men is an incredible film. It’s one of the only features where Clark Kent actually looks extremely competent and is as intelligent as you would expect a reporter to be. His job is all about finding clues so it makes sense that he would know a thing or two as opposed to other films where he is just there for comedy. It has aged extremely well.

1950 The Breaking Point
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The seas are fairly safe nowadays, but this wasn’t the case way back when. You had to watch out for pirates and a bunch of other hooligans. Eventually you would reach your breaking point and finally lose a shootout. This film can be rather somber but as everyone talks with a certain amount of smugness you quickly start rooting for one side or the other. Either way, it’s a tense film to hold your attnetion to the end.

1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff
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Abbott and Costello are back to beat up more crooks and remind the world why they are the most capable main characters out there. Karloff certainly bit off more than he could chew when he came up against these guys. Yeah, not much more to say about this one other than the fact that you will get a lot of laughs.

1948 Rope
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Rope is one of those movies where you aren’t liable to forget the title. It’s short and to the point while accurately describing what the film is about. Lets just say that rope is as dangerous a weapon as it ever was and when used for murder it can be easy to hide. Definitely a retro thriller that has aged well.

1947 The Dark Passage
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The Dark Passage is an intense film about framing and murder. You have to watch all of the characters very closely to see if they should be suspects or if you are simply overthinking things. In a movie like this one, you must always be on your guard. It’s certainly a film to think about.

1946 Time of Their Lives
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Abbott and Costello return again for another film filled with hijinx and a lot of crazy situations. There’s not much more that needs to be said here as the duo always delivers a funny movie filled with a lot of laughs. You don’t even need to worry about the plot as the leads have you covered.

1945 And Then Their Were None
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And Then Their Were None is an example of a “slasher” film done right. Now, I guess you don’t have to call it a slasher, but it’s the kind of film where everyone starts getting murdered one by one. The main difference is that this film is very old school so the murders aren’t graphic and the whole thing is just entertaining to watch. It’s a very epic story where the characters have to constantly try to outwit each other.

1944 Laura
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Laura was another solid mystery film that really brought in a lot of good twists and turns back in the day. The big twist about her faked death and return was handled beautifully. The main character may not have beein great, but the supporting cast really shined which is important.

1943 Calling Dr. Death
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I don’t recommend calling Dr. Death! This is one of those classic films that plays it by the books with Dr. Death naturally being evil. It’s fairly suspenseful and interesting despite the generic premise and is certainly worth a watch. I’d say that the film did a good job with the tools that it had at the time.

1942 Who Done It
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You can’t go wrong with an Abbott and Costello film. While you’ve seen one you’ve seen em all does seem to apply quite well here, it’s a formula that never gets stale. The old style humor is on point and you’ll be grinning ear to ear by the end. The heroes may not be brave but at the end of the day they do what is necessary to win.

1941 Maltese Falcon
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The Maltese Falcon is definitely an iconic movie with a very detailed plot. It’ll keep you thinking throughout the adventure and you have to watch out for the red herrings. This film doesn’t try to simplify itself for the audience and that’s a good thing. Just pay attention and it’ll all make sense.

1940 Invisible Woman
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The Invisible Woman was a fun film that dealt with being invisible. The main character may have had less fun with it than the original guy who got the power, but she also didn’t end up turning evil so she deserves a lot of kudos for that. It’s a pleasant film that doesn’t drag on.

1934 Death Takes A Holiday
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Who ever thought we’d see Death itself as more of a main character right? Usually you expect Death to be more antagonistic but he seems like a pretty chill guy here. The film was very surreal and while the ending may not have been amazing, it definitely didn’t hoild the film back from being good.

1933 The Invisible Man
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Who here doesn’t know about The Invisible Man? Honestly, while super speed would probably still be a power that I would choose sooner, I would absolutely love being invisible. There are just so many practical applications for it like sneaking into a restricted area to snag a few Pokemon who are hiding there. I guess most of the other uses for it are a bit murky like stealing candy bars, but you could always pay for it real quick and then dash out. Of course, using your ability so obviously is a sure fire way to get caught for government experimentation. Oh yeah…I was supposed to talk about the film right?

So, there you have it! I’ll be keeping this list updated so any title that you see now may or may not be there in a future as another film may end up rising above it. This was certainly quite the project to put up, but maintaining it should be a lot easier! Congrats on actually making it all the way to the end.

Black Panther Review

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It’s time to take a look at the next Marvel Cinematic film! Even though we get 2-3 of these a year, it always feels like such a long wait until the next one. This one has been a long time in the making as Black Panther got a lot of fans after his appearance in Civil War. He was definitely a highlight in that film and remains a great lead in this film. The movie does a good job of not letting the jungle limit it and we do get quite a few nice city scenes as well. All told, it’s a solid addition to the MCU and I’d be up for a sequel although I don’t think there is too much more they can do here in Wakanda so a sequel would probably need to take place at one of the other bases.

The film starts with a quick recap of Wakanda history. We then see the previous Black Panther murder a traitor which sets up the main plot. Right after Black Panther is crowned King of Wakanda, another member of royal blood has shown up to take it back. King T’Challa must now learn what it means to be King and if he even wants to rule such unloyal followers. Either way, he has a duty to stop this villain from launching an attack on the rest of the world or Wakanda will face severe retaliation of the Avenging kind.

I had one big fear when walking into this film and that was that the movie would resort to animal violence since part of Wakanda is essentially a jungle. Then just when I thought I was safe, 3 large Rhinos showed up. Fortunately the film went out of its way to ensure that none of them were hurt. Panther trapped one, a second just ran off, and the third one turned good. Once this scene had been played out, I knew that the film was going to be safe. We also mitigate the jungle aspect as most of Wakanda is actually very high tech and sci-fi esque. I definitely enjoy seeing technology and cities the most so this was good for me. I’m still not a fan of any landscape that isn’t a city of some kind or the inside of a high tech facility. Those just make for the best scenes if you ask me.

The best scenes of the film all take place in the city for the most part. The opening fight scene with Klaw and his gang was handled really well. Panther’s new suit made for some good action effects like when he totaled the car. The old suit was bullet proof which is great, but this one does all of that and more. While the suit is shown to have limitations, this should help him keep up with heavy weights like Spider-Man now. In theory, Captain America would probably lose at this point since their fight was already very close and now landing any damage on Black Panther will be very difficult. It’s a really useful power up and with all of the new tech Panther’s sister is coming up with, he is only going to get stronger.

Pretty much all of the hand to hand fights here are really good. The scene where both Panthers are decimating the opposing armies was a nice contrast as they are both way stronger than the rest of the fighters. Of course, that’s why Black Panther needed to hurry and take the other one out since casualties would run high. Even with this, the film does a good job of making the warriors look reasonably strong. I’d personally say that they looked more impressive than the Amazons in Wonder Woman as these seem to know how to fight and wouldn’t get caught off guard by bullets from people right in front of them. The film also corrects one more thing from the WW film. In that title we learn that the Amazons are also hiding in plain sight by having their island just appear as more water. This doesn’t work for obvious reasons. People just fly through there anyway and then the illusion fades. They would get found out in no time. In Black Panther, the illusion is backed up by being an actual country with borders. They have soldiers and weapons deter anyone from approaching. The deception is simply in appearing to be poorer than they actually are. Maybe this will still be a bit of a stretch for some, but it’s much more believable if you ask me.

Black Panther is a very solid character as I mentioned earlier. While his best appearance will likely always be in Civil War as his character was perfect there, he doesn’t really do anything wrong here. Maybe he should have been quicker to throw the villain out or done more to prevent Klaw from escaping, but you can’t expect him to think of every possible contingency. Thanks to the ritual fights forcing Panther to be in human mode, we do see a more vulnerable version of him. His hand to hand skills actually may be under Bucky, Black Widow, and some of the other hand to hand characters in the series as he has trouble with various fighters, but granted, he should always have the Panther serum for future films so it shouldn’t be a problem. He’s still more than proficient as only high level fighters can hope to defeat him. He may be King, but Panther isn’t stuck up or arrogant yet which is good. Part of why he can be annoying in the comics is that he ends up being like Black Bolt at times where he seems completely corrupt with power. I don’t think the films will be going that route.

Ross is a surprisingly great character and was actually my favorite in the film. He’s a very confident CIA agent who doesn’t back down from anyone. His illegal dealings with Klaw may be suspect, but I get the feeling that he was going to double cross the villain. He’s quick on his feet and an ace pilot as well. He’ll certainly be fun to have around for future films and I’m glad that the CIA has at least one really good member. It seems like they’ve been playing second fiddle to SHIELD for a while so it’s time to finally surpass them. Ross doesn’t really have any bad scenes. Another really good character is Panther’s sister Shuri. She recently got to appear in an animated Avengers episode and based on her portrayal there the film’s depiction was also very accurate. She’s a genius with tech and has come up with many great inventions in a short span of time considering that this takes place only around a week after Civil War. Considering that a big threat like Thanos and his army won’t go down to brute force so easily, her tech will come in handy. She’s not afraid to get on the front lines as well and is just a very charismatic character the whole time.

Killmonger is the main villain of the film and he’s pretty cool. Even before becoming the Panther Killmonger was a very talented fighter as he racked up kills in many different countries. It was interesting to see how he was an undercover agent for the CIA who managed to use the heroes and villains until he finally got into Wakanda. To an extent I do have to question how he knew so much about Wakanda though. He knew about the traditions and seemed just very well aware of the culture in general. We can assume he found the location from the book and since his father was okay with him finding it, maybe that’s when he learned everything. Maybe the book was also just very detailed. Getting Klaw was easy enough since it was relatively common knowledge that he was the one who broke into Wakanda the first time. Killmonger does continue the Marvel tradition of having a villain who has the same abilities as the main hero as he and T’Challa are essentially copies of each other, but that doesn’t really matter to me all that much as long as the fights are good and they were here.

I didn’t care for Klaw though. He’s just not my kind of villain and seems to just get lucky all the time. He’s just a normal guy with a sonic cannon and he isn’t even all that fit. I don’t know how he escaped for this long, but it definitely seems like a stretch. He’s wanted by basically every powerful person on the planet so where can he possibly hide? Well, his plot seems to have finally wrapped up here and I won’t miss him. Okoye was a good member of the Wakanda special forces and is certainly one of their best fighters. Her best combat appearance is probably in the club where she beats up quite a few special agents, but she also puts up a reasonable fight against Killmonger. At that point, tech just beats talent, but otherwise I don’t see any Wakandan fighter beating her in a fair battle.

W’Kabi is a pretty terrible character. I can’t say much about him, but you’ll probably know where his character is heading right from the start. It’s similar to a character beat we saw from Doctor Strange only this one is probably more petty. There’s definitely no saving this character. Nakia is a decent character. She doesn’t get much to do and is overshadowed by the others, but isn’t bad. I do wish we could have avoided the token romance which doesn’t add anything to the film and just seems to be filler, but I guess it wasn’t given much of a focus so it could have been a whole lot worse. Nakia’s Tron Discs were cool though. Between that and the Energy Cannons, we had quite a lot of good weapons that have a lot of potential for future films. She just need a hoverboard or air boots to help her maneuver quicker. Baku’s a fun character s well. He definitely has a strong sense of honor and will repay his debts. When he accepted his defeat gracefully without trying any cheap tricks I had a feeling that he would be a good character. He also has a point that Killmonger beat Black Panther in a fair fight so calling it murder was a little drastic. Blame the outdated ritual system, not the player. Baku made the right decision in the end though and really came through for the heroes.

It can be hard to feel bad for Wakanda when they have such poor traditions though. Why should Black Panther have to fight to be king anyway? I guess it’s to give the other tribes a way to be King, but since it will just cause tensions and potentially get them to split again it doesn’t really seem to be practical. I’m pretty sure T’Challa learned his lesson with that though and probably abolished that rule very quickly. Also, the fact that it’s possible to suffocate underneath the dirt they throw on your for the ceremony is another part where you have to shake your head. What’s with all of these unnecessary risks? Killmonger may not have done it for the right reasons, but at least thanks to him these traditions are probably gone as well. On a side note, I was wondering where Bucky and Captain America were hiding the whole time, but I guess getting involved in this fight would have just made things more complicated. Panther could have certainly used some backup, but it all worked out.

I really enjoyed the soundtrack here. I didn’t care much for the Lion King themes or the tribe tradition music, but a lot of the tunes were surprisingly techno/electronic. It seems like this theme would pop up whenever the villain showed up and basically for any action scene. Good music makes the whole presentation that much better and it definitely worked really well here. I’d say that as far as MCU soundtracks go this would definitely be in the top half. The visuals are also really good. I do like the purple energy that the suit gets from taking a hit and the metallic invention room that the sister uses looks cool. It’s a pretty nice set up for sure. The writing is also solid as you’d expect. The one liners between the characters are usually pretty solid. Killmonger adding a more modern/slang spin to Wakanda was also rather nice. He acts as a bridge between the new and old ways to an extent.

The film does have some of the weakest after credit scenes though. The first one just feels like it should have been the actual ending. It’s not really teasing a lot considering you knew this was where Panther was going with the idea. It’s not a bad scene, but it’s not really much of a stinger either. The second scene is far worse as it is showing us something that we’ve already known. It isn’t even a good character that we see and is just rather boring. You could feel the theater letting out a sigh as we waited for something else to show up and then the clip ended. These scenes are just bonus so they can’t hurt a film at all, but I was still hoping for something a little more hype.

So where do all of the Avengers stack up power-wise now? I’d list the rankings as 1. Thor 2. Hulk 3. Dr. Strange 4. Spider-Man 5. Iron Man 6. Vision 7. Black Panther 8. Captain America 9. Scarlet Witch 10. Black Widow 11. Ant Man 12. Hawkeye. For now I’m not counting the Guardians or the helpers like War Machine and Valkyrie, but I’ll do a more complete list for Infinity War. The suit was definitely enough for Panther to finally pass Cap. Strange could potentially pass Hulk depending on how powerful his magic is in Infinity War and by the same token Vision could drop behind Panther and Cap if he looks really bad without his Gem. Some of these matchups are pretty close so a power up can make all the difference.

Overall, Black Panther is a fun and engaging film. It’s pretty fast paced for the most part so it comes across as very exciting the first time around. I do think it will lack in replay value to an extent because some of the dialogue will likely drag on the second time around along with the flashbacks. When the action is happening the film is at its best but we do get some reasonably long breaks in between the action like getting Panther back into fighting shape and having the council of Wakanda chat about things. The writing is strong though and the cast is good though so it’s certainly a movie that I’d recommend to everyone. It’s good to see another Marvel hero get a stand alone film and we are one step closer to Avengers Infinity War now. I have high hopes for that film and am fully expecting it to be one of the best MCU films yet. There are just so many good ways that the film can play this out that I have to assume they will choose one of them. It’ll be cool to see Panther lend his might to the team as well. Only a few short months left.

Overall 7/10

The Phantom Review

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The Ghost Who Walks is definitely not someone to be trifled with. The villains learn that the hard way during the film, but does it hold up well? I’d actually say that it does as it’s a pretty solid superhero film all around. With a memorable villain to help improve the cast, it’s got all the potential that it needs. The actual Phantom could certainly have been better, but his ineptitude also helps make the film pretty fun.

The film starts off with a very quick origin story for the Phantom. He washed ashore a strange island one day and was given a cool ring. Its effects are fairly vague, but Kit then decided that he would become a crime fighter. In the present, a tough corporate businessman named Drax has decided to take over the world. To do this, he’ll have to assemble the 3 mystical skulls which will make him all powerful. Any minion who questions his decisions are promptly eliminated which leaves no room for dissension. He will have the skulls soon so Kit must don the costume once again and stop him. Meanwhile, a reporter named Diana is trying to help out as well, but is she out of her depth?

Lets launch right into the characters. Drax is a really good main villain because he’s charismatic. He has a sense of humor despite being completely evil and at least gives his minions a chance. They just get too bold at times so he has to silence them. The scene where he throws a spear and tkaes one of the villains down was quite impressive. The guy clearly works out and has skill to make the shot so casually in one try. He also saw through one of the traitors pretty easily and suckered the guy. Admittedly that scene was easily the most violent moment in the whole film. It was pretty intense. Even in the end Drax never gives up and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he could beat the Phantom in a fight. He takes everything in stride and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he really holds the film up.

The 2nd in command is a guy named Quill. He destroyed the Phantom in the past so he wonders how the guy could be back. Phantom’s family tradition of donning the costume definitely helps to support the legend since the hero is seemingly always around. It wouldn’t work well in the modern times since people would realize that it’s a different guy with cameras and all, but for this point in history it’s simply a smart business move. Sala is another one of the big villains although she isn’t nearly as sold on the path of evil. We don’t even know why she is evil to start with, but I’ll assume that she just likes robbing people and showing off how rich she is. A stern talking too from Diana quickly gets her to see the light in the situation. She really doesn’t have much of a role beyond this mini character arc though, but at least she can fight.

From the heroic supporting characters we have Diana. She talks tough and never backs down from a case. I got a lot of Lois Lane vibes from her and she doesn’t even appear to be grateful when saved since she could have saved her self, apparently. I wouldn’t be too impressed at being saved by Phantom either, but desperate times and all. Diana does live up to her reputation as she quickly figures out who Kit is. Kit’s origin story helps make it easy though since he had to take up the mantle right when his father died which meant that he had to leave New York rather suddenly and vanish into the forest for years. He was gone for so long that he forgot the currency and ended up paying a cab driver a few thousand dollars for a quick ride. Those scenes always make me feel sad, but I guess it’s good for the cab driver. Sometimes threatening your passengers actually works. At any rate, Diana was a good heroine.

Finally, we have Kit . I can’t say that he’s a great character and I knew this as soon as he started getting wrecked by the random villains at the beginning of the movie. He had the drop on them and still had to settle for a tie. He gets ambushed multiple times during the film. One time where he looks particularly bad is when he breaks into a museum to steal one of the skulls, but does it during broad daylight while in his civilian form surrounded by people. Of course that didn’t work and if the villains didn’t stop him, the cops would have. (After all, the cops sold out to the villains which is the only reason why they aren’t around.) I have to assume that he hasn’t been a hero for too long based on all of the rookie mistakes that he makes throughout. I’d say that he means well but accepting a kiss from Sala was pretty iffy and didn’t do his character any favors. He’s fun to mock, but that’s basically the only reason to like Kit. Even the whole breaking off contact for several years was pretty iffy since he had absolutely no reason to do so. Felt rather random.

The film has its share of plot holes or at least weak writing like Kit’s animals getting across an entire island with greater speed than a plane. It’s certainly not going to win any Oscars, but at least it’s always a fun film. The fight scenes aren’t super stylized or polished but they get the job done. There’s that genuine nature to the film that you won’t see in a modern film as here you can imagine a normal joe just putting on a costume and running outside the house. It’s a film that can’t be made anymore and is a lost product of the old times.

The film also moves really quickly so there is rarely a dull moment. Something is always happening and finding the skulls never felt tedious as a result. The scene where Drax finally obtains two of them were certainly fun as he starts running around and blasting everything. You almost feel bad for him since a 4th skull being added into the picture was basically cheating. He worked so hard to collect the others only to be told this plot twist. Better luck next time and all, but this was his chance. I’ll give a quick shoutout to Phantom’s two sidekicks, the wolf and the horse. They were very useful during the adventure and he would have been sunk without their support.

Overall, The Phantom is surprisingly a good movie. It certainly kept my attention from start to finish. That’s mainly because the characters were actually good. Surprisingly the villains were better than the heroes, but the film certainly wouldn’t have been as humorous without the Phantom. I’m not sure how he commands so much respect for everyone throughout since the guy isn’t that impressive, but he is rich and that does go a long way. His costume should remind you a bit of guys like Daredevil or other street brawlers so at least his costume had some heart. Throw in a lot of similarities to Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider and this is a film that can be fun for many different movie fans. If you haven’t seen the film yet, then it’s time to finally give it a watch. I also wouldn’t mind a sequel although it’s really too late for that. A reboot/remake could have some potential but only if they skip through the origin. The whole Jungle Experience is honestly a minefield full of things that could go wrong which made it even more impressive when this film still managed to succeed.

Overall 7/10

Thor: Ragnarok Review

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The MCU has been consistently been getting better as the phases go by. Captain America 2 was better than 1 and 3 was better than 2. Thor 2 was better than 1 and now this latest Thor film has arrived and is the best film in the trilogy. It’s a very fast paced film with a lot of action and hype throughout. It also does a great job of showing how great of a fighter Thor is with or without his hammer. It’s going to be hard for the next Thor film to top this one.

The film starts off with Thor seemingly being held captive by Surtur. Of course, the whole thing is basically just a ruse to get information. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since think we all found it highly unlikely that Thor can be bound by mere chains. Unfortunately Thor has not stopped Ragnarok by defeating Surtur as the true source of despair shows up. Hela is the goddess of death and her abilities are the real deal as she easily beats Thor and Loki. Thor is going to have to form his own team to defeat her.

The heroes definitely get around in this film as Thor goes to Earth, Surtur’s Domain, Asgard, and the Grandmaster’s planet. It’s fun to see all of the different locales as they all worked quite well. The weakest one design-wise would be Grand Master’s HQ, but the arena looked quite good. Earth may win out since it was great to have a Dr.Strange cameo. He looked really good in that scene and they’re definitely building him up to be one of the team’s power hitters. He’s also one of my favorite Avengers in the MCU so I’m ready to see him get more of a role. He’ll have to keep his list handy since a lot of threats are certainly coming to Earth in the near future.

Thor has a lot of fun in this film as he openly mocks the villains and just tries to enjoy everything he does. He’s a good lead and this is probably the best that he’s been portrayed. He’s a lot wiser than he used to be while still keeping his strength. This is Thor as a leader in addition to being a warrior and it makes him a more complete character. Seeing him fight off an army at the end without his hammer was definitely impressive. It’ll be very hard for me to get used to his new hairstyle though. I’m going to miss the old one until it grows back, but it’s not the worst redesign I’ve seen as it’s still miles above the Joker.

Going back to Thor having fun though, it keeps showing how Marvel is just good at writing comedy. The Iron-Man films have always been pretty fun as the humor is just handled well and this film does a great job with it as well. It’s not forced and most of the jokes land. The only film I can think of in the MCU that failed at being even remotely funny was Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Age of Ultron could be really forced at times, but it was still entertaining, it would just throw you out of the movie for a second. As DC is trying to emulate Marvel with their current movies, hopefully they’ve been taking notes. Wonder Woman wasn’t funny and Justice League’s jokes don’t really seem to be working, but it’s possible they’ll turn it around in the film or by the sequel. It takes time to be funny and writing jokes has always been the hardest part of developing a script if you ask me. That’s why it’s not really a problem as long as the jokes aren’t downright terrible, but if there are a bunch in the movie, then you want them to be good. Again, Thor: Ragnarok did a really good job with this.

Loki was a fun ally to have around. Naturally you can’t trust him at all and the film’s pretty self aware on that, but at least it meant Thor didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It’s always good to have at least one companion on a journey. He didn’t look quite as impressive as usual though since everyone he meets ends up beating him up quite badly. He really took his lumps in this film but always manages to keep his confidence. I’d really be on board with him finally being an ally, not a hero as that’ll never happen, but someone who helps out once in a while and doesn’t try to destroy the world.

Now I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan. He’s a decently good character and all, but I typically just like him in his more intelligent depictions. The only exceptions are some of the really old Stan Lee era comics where he was pretty sympathetic. The film has a good portrayal of him. He’s not too annoying or anything and can put up a good fight. The writer seems to definitely know who he thinks is the stronger fighter (Thor or Hulk) and I tend to agree with him. Brute strength is great and all, but when you’re about as strong and have a variety of other techniques at your disposal, it’s game set and match. Surprisingly the film gives Hulk a backseat role for the entire climax as he doesn’t get to face off against Hela or anything, but it’s a good way to ensure he doesn’t steal the show or get humiliated in front of his fans. It was not what I expected from his role, but it worked well enough.

Unfortunately, this is probably Bruce Banner’s worst portrayal. He’s really slow on the uptake and panics about everything. He is constantly in a state of shock and just holding everyone back. You almost can’t help but wish for the Hulk to return and maybe this is why Hulk wants to stay out 24/7. It’s also interesting how each side can’t remember anything after they turn so for Bruce it’s like 2 years passed in an instant. That’s actually pretty tragic so I should feel more sympathetic for Bruce…but I don’t. I miss his self assured/over confident version from the first Avengers film. I will always look to that as the definitive Bruce Banner portrayal. The only other one that’s close is from the Indestructible Hulk mini series.

Valkyrie is the main heroine of the film and fulfills the role pretty well. She actually doesn’t get on board with the heroes until near the end of the film so her role isn’t huge or anything but she’s pretty tough. Balancing fighting and drinking is tough but she manages to pull it off. I can’t say that I was a huge fan of hers since her backstory basically involves being a traitor and turning evil. You’re sort of supposed to look past all of that, but it’s a little tricky and I think she would have worked better as a villain like Loki who occasionally helps the heroes. I give the film major props for not going for a romance angle here though. I’m sure the writers were pressured by Hollywood into doing this, but they refused.

Heimdall has his own filler subplot where he beats up a bunch of minions and helps guard the Asgardian survivors. He’s a good character even if he doesn’t get much of a role here. He’s the kind of character who makes more of an impact if you’ve seen the first two films. Since this is the 3rd one, there’s no excuse not too. I miss his classic armor, but his new Bishop redesign works quite well and he lasted quite a while considering how outnumbered he was.

Hela is the main villain and also the best character of the film. She’s a great villain because her goal isn’t crazy or just evil. It’s a pretty rational goal as taking over the multiverse makes sense to prove your supremacy. I can get behind that and I can also buy into her taking over Asgard since it is hers by birthright. She looks extremely impressive in all of her fights. I would have liked a longer round 1 fight with Thor and Loki but seeing them fight while on the light speed tunnel was certainly entertaining. I’m also glad that Thor didn’t back up when they all started hyping her up. As long as you stay on Hela’s good side you’re okay since she doesn’t seem to be in the habit of randomly destroying her minions for no reason. She may very well be the best villain in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point although I’m expecting big things from Thanos.

Scourge is her right hand man and he gets his own emotional character arc. He starts off as the guy that everyone pushes around and eventually levels up to janitor. I liked him well enough at the beginning I guess, but he’s just not my kind of character. He’s one of the weak links, but his actual scenes aren’t bad so it’s not like he hurts the film. I just didn’t care enough about him to be sympathetic. Surtur appears for a bit and gets his own fight scene, but he’s definitely not as impressive as he was in the comics. Everyone basically uses him the whole time and I have to wonder what his ultimate plan is. He better appear in Thor 4 or I’m going to have to remember him as the villain to have the worst plan in the MCU. He may not have thought it over very carefully.

The Grandmaster was interesting and way better than the Collector. It helps that his actor makes the character pretty entertaining as opposed to simply being quirky. There’s a big difference between the two and you always want to be the former as opposed to the latter. He’s definitely a villain through and through but tries to hide his evil intent through jokes. Hey, if Spiderman can do it for the heroes, why not have a villain with that gimmick as well? It does make sense after all and he was a fun guy to have around. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Korg is one of the quirky supporting characters from the Arena. While I didn’t find his voice quite as hilarious as the theater seemed too (They laughed at just about every one of his lines) it did work pretty well for the character. It’s been a while since we got a very to the point character who speaks softly but always manages to keep everyone in check. Definitely the best portrayal of Korg in all of Marvel. Stan (The Man) Lee also shows up to clean shop. His cameo may be quick, but he really sets the tone in his appearance and also shows that he fears no one. You have to have nerves of steel to have his job after all.

Ragnarok’s soundtrack is absolutely great. The themes are all very sci-fi and fast paced. They help to amplify the fight scenes and make the whole film better. Good music helps make a scene more memorable so as you would expect it also has the same effect on the movie as a whole. Most films don’t insert a big song when a fight scene starts. It’s a popular trope in anime but that’s about it despite this being a fantastic way of building up energy for the scene. Well, Thor pulls it off for both the first and last fight. The last fight in particular is handled extremely well as Thor gets one last vision of a certain character and then unlocks his true power. Aside from maybe Avengers and even that is close, Thor definitely has the best soundtrack in the MCU and is high up there for all of Marvel’s theater films.

The action and effects are certainly on point. The monsters of the fire world certainly looked very impressive and it made for a very good opening fight. Surtur’s design was modernized for the new age and while he was rather skinny I still liked it well enough. Hela’s fight scenes were solid as well and her costume was very faithful to the comics. Thor’s style of combat with his electricity will remind you a lot of Cole McGrath or Starkiller and it’s certainly the most efficient way to fight. When you’re using electricity to enhance your range and strength, it is very hard to dodge or counter that. Now that Thor can fight at this level the only Avenger who can reasonably give him a good fight would be Dr. Strange. I don’t think the others could keep up.

Naturally the film has a scene after the credits so make sure you stick around. There are 2 scenes, but the first one is really the only one you need to worry about. It’s easily one of the best post movie scenes in the MCU as we finally have a significant plot development here which works as a great tease for Infinity War. It’s hard to imagine that the big crossover film is so close, but it is certainly approaching fast. It’s also why it makes sense to beef up the Avengers roster since they’re going to need all the help they can get. I’m not sure how some of the street level fighters will be useful, but maybe they can at least distract the villains with one liners while the real fighters take them down.

Now, there is a little plot hax at the end. It’s nothing major but the final fight’s outcome should have been reversed. On one side we have a giant opponent who is extremely slow and can only attack in a straight line. On the other we have a very nimble fighter who can move quite fast and also has a lot of durability. All the character needed to do was move just a little bit and that would have worked as a dodge. I mean, the planet may not be too stable so surviving some intense energy would still have to happen, but I think the character could pull it off. At the very least, losing due to ring out would have been preferable. I’m trying to keep this review spoiler free so I’ll keep that part vague.

I’d like to say that I’ve covered everything, but with a film this big there will always be something that I’ve missed. As far as the MCU films go, It’s easily top 5. Avengers is better and I’ll also give Civil War the edge but this very well could be the third best film. Age of Ultron gives it a run for its money, but I dare say that Thor beats both Winter Soldier and Spider-Man Homecoming. Either way, it confirms that Thor is certainly top 5 and we’ll see how long it can stay there if Marvel keeps raising the bar. I’m still hoping they go all out with Infinity War and have just about everyone appear. Bring in the old villains, Agents of Shield, even throw the Netflix crew a bone with a portrait on the wall or some kind of cameo. Make this the big event that it should be.

Overall, The film was just about perfect. There’s not much to really say about the film in the negatives department. It did pretty well with keeping the power levels consistent. Not perfect, but basically no film is. I felt bad for the poor dragon who fought Thor, but at least the film didn’t destroy Fenfir as in my head canon he can certainly survive a fall. That was nice. Thor himself has also come a long way since the older films and makes a few speeches about what it means to be a hero. The action scenes are first rate and the graphics are quite good. The film’s also just a lot of fun the whole time and has a ton of replay value. It’s not everyday that you get a film as satisfying as this one. I teetered between an 8 or a 9 for this film for a while, but at the end of the day I think it definitely earns the extra star.

Overall 9/10

Steel Review

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It’s time for an old superhero film. This one wasn’t exactly critically acclaimed when it first came out, but it’s aged pretty well. It’s a light hearted film that’s pretty fun and never take itself too seriously. This makes some of the fatalities throughout the film fairly unexpected when they happen. It would have been better if they could have actually tied this into Superman instead of treating the latter as if it was fictional, but I’ll take what I can get for now.

The plot follows a man named John who works with the government on testing weapons. Unfortunately, one of their men, Burke, wanted to show off for a senator so that he could get a promotion. He activates the weapon past its safety limitations and destroys the senator by mistake. He is expelled from the army (No real charges aside from a court hearing) and Steel decides to step away from the army. He’s done with the job now. His friend Sparky was injured so now it’s just too personal. She is fated to live in a wheelchair now and is having a hard time adjusting.

Steel isn’t able to lead a normal life as teenagers somehow got the experimental weapons from the army and are robbing banks with it. Steel realizes that he’ll need new weapons to fight these guys with weapons so he teams up with Uncle Joe and brings in Sparky so that the three of them can build a bunch of gadgets. They build him a steel suit, a hammer, magnets, and even a grapple hook. Steel is ready to bring on the hurt, but can he really hope to stop these villains?

Right away you can tell that Steel is going to be pretty fun. The opening action scene with John chasing one of the teenagers who fired at the cops was pretty fun. They weave their way in and out of the subway system and John has to use his super strength to keep up. He lifts a gate off its hinges and this is all before he even gets the steel suit. It was also fun because it shows what a heroic guy John is.

Is John a little on the cheesy side? Sure. The whole film is rather cheesy and campy and feels a little older than it actually is. I’m fine with that though as I’ve always been a fan of both those genres. John himself acts like the perfect hero as he looks out for his community and always does the right thing. Everyone can count on him and he has a really good reputation. He has no dark secrets or hidden memories, he’s just a nice guy. The fact that Shaq isn’t much of an actor only helps this case as he’s constantly grinning and acting like a nice guy that you might meet outside. He doesn’t use as many puns as I was hoping for, but he gets the job done.

Sparky is the main heroine and she’s a fun character. I was worried that she would be lost in doubt for a while as getting crippled really got to her, but she got past this. It was cool to see her gun infused wheelchair and every hero needs good tech support. I imagine we would have seen more of her fighting crime in the sequel if the franchise had ever gotten that far. Uncle Joe is the other supporting character who helped Steel out. He has connections and can get any piece of tech that he asks for. The guy may push Steel rather hard, but he’s another likable old chap. There’s not a whole lot to him, but sometimes there doesn’t need to be.

Finally we have the main villain, Burke. His name doesn’t exactly strike fear into your heart now does it? I couldn’t really take him seriously, but I do admire the fact that he doesn’t waste time. After murdering one of his subordinates, he is subtly threatened by the secretary. At this point, I thought Burke wouldn’t live through the film and she would get the last laugh as a stinger to the next film. Instead, he takes her out of the equation 2 minutes later with an elevator stunt. I came to the realization of what was happening at the same time that she did and it was rather unexpected. As I mentioned earlier, some of the deaths I didn’t really see coming because of the happy tone that the rest of the film had.

Still, that’s not enough to make Burke a good villain. None of the others were any better though so he’s the best by default. The guy he tricked into letting him be the big boss was probably the most gullible gangster boss I’ve seen in a while. Did he really not see Burke’s betrayal coming? I have to give one of the minions some props though because he looked exactly like the Donald Trump impersonator from SNL. It was uncanny and a bit distracting, but pretty novel.

Surprisingly the best fight scene here was the one with the trains. It was more of a chase than a fight, but it was still pretty fun. Once Steel was in the suit, we actually didn’t get many action scenes. He’d usually just use the magnet and then everyone would run away. He didn’t fare well against the tank, but fighting a vehicle isn’t much of a fight either. It would have been cool if Burke had made his own suit, but I suppose you’d wonder how he made it or why he’d bother.

One of the things that really helped the film stand out was its intense soundtrack. The themes were all really cool and particularly Steel’s theme. It would play for quite a few scenes when Steel would show up and it helped get that freestyle vibe to the film. A good soundtrack can absolutely go a long way and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Steel had one.

Overall, Steel has aged well and it’s a fun film that you can watch while eating a bowl of popcorn. It may not have the effects and explosions of a modern action film, but it has all the heart and wit that you could ask for. It’s a simple film at heart and it’s not too ambitious. It just adapts a straight forward plot and keeps it moving. I’d recommend checking it out and I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy it a lot more than you would have expected. I definitely wouldn’t mind a Steel reboot at some point although it would be hard to top this one. Throw in the cape and give us some good action scenes and it’s anyone’s game though.

Overall 7/10

Suicide Squad Review

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Suicide Squad got a lot of hype early on since it was going to be a “superhero” film about super villains. If the concept behind this wasn’t terrible enough then the actual product makes sure to finish the job. I would actually go as far as to say that this is the worst superhero film of all time. This is only counting titles that I have seen of course as Batman The Killing Joke and other extreme titles like Deadpool could possibly still lose to this one. As it stands, Suicide Squad did an admirable job of lowering the bar considering that titles like Catwoman, Flashpoint Paradox, (While not on the same level of terrible, Flashpoint destroyed an entire dvd line so there’s that) and Justice League Gods and Monsters. There’s really not much to like about this film, but a whole lot to despise. In all fairness, I had a hunch that I was not going to like this film from the start and my hunches are rarely wrong. The tagline of them being the worst heroes was already a sign of things to come. It had some of the worst posters that I have ever seen for an action film and the trailer was pretty bad. I really didn’t think that the film could turn things around.

Like Batman V Superman, this film may also be getting an R rated extended cut as some point. As with the former, I’m sure that it’ll be even worse. It hasn’t been confirmed, but good ole Reddit scooped up a rumor of the scenes that were cut and if even half of those are true, this film really could have gotten a 0. Whoever did the editing for this film definitely deserves some props. That being said, he should have cut out another good chunk of the film to really make it watchable.

The plot involves a corrupt business woman named Amanda Waller. As she is a murderer who is protected by the government, she decides that it would be a good idea to get more murderers into the streets. They can go on suicide missions and possibly get some other people along the way. She manages to capture Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, and some other guys with a little help from Batman. After putting a bomb in their necks, she sends them off on their first mission to stop a supernatural threat which has been murdering people for 3 days. (A little late eh?) Can these humans hope to win?

Let’s back up one more time. The Suicide Squad idea was presented after someone asked a hypothetical question about what the government could have done if Superman had burst into the White House and attacked. Amanda brings up the Suicide Squad, but there should have been a lot of laughter in the room with several members running out the door. These guys would have trouble with Batman…they wouldn’t last a second against Superman. This has to be the worst idea ever presented when you think about the fact that there is 0% chance of success. Ah well, I guess it’s good that the government is humoring Waller before she stabs them all in the back.

The main problem with the film is the general gritty vibe that it goes for. This translates into every other aspect of the film. First and foremost is the terrible writing. The characters use the s word more than some abridged episode on Youtube and those titles don’t shy away from language. There’s a curse word in just about every sentence and it just never, ever ends. Every single joke has to use a curse word as well and you’ll wish that there was a censor. The amount of beeps would drive everyone crazy, but it would be worth it to save the writing. Harley Quinn’s very first scene is her pulling a “New 52 Starfire” as she lets the guards know that she is a free woman, but on her terms to put it nicely. Harley Quinn’s a terrible character like the others, but more on that later. Unlike Batman V Superman, which had some of the greatest dialogue in a CBM, this one had no good lines and all of the moments that could have been cool were destroyed by the language.

Next up is the terrible soundtrack. It is easily the worst soundtrack of all time. The songs naturally have a lot of cursing in them as well with the quick f-word drop to remind us that every PG-13 film has to use it at least once now. Hopefully the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps it out of their movies. Even if the beats were occasionally cool, the lyrics threw you out of every moment and the film would have been better off without any songs. Silent films did work fairly well back in the day after all. If a film’s got nothing nice to say, then it should keep everything to itself.

For a film with this intense name, there isn’t actually a lot of cool action in Suicide Squad. There’s only one real fight scene at the very end of the film as the team takes on a mystical god. The problem is the fact that the writers should have never put a team of humans to take on such a powerful fighter. The villain could have destroyed all of them in an instant, but plot hax took control at this point and steered the villains to safety. The way that the Squad deals with the threat by the end is terrible and makes no actual sense. The writers had put themselves in a hole and couldn’t get out. For the rest of the film, you only get to see the Squad beating up police guards, army men, of CGI rock creatures that can’t fight back. Not the most thrilling fight scene if you ask me.

Also, once again….I just can’t root for these villains as the main characters. They don’t care for justice and they work for a mass murderer who always takes out innocent civilians. You really want the CGI rock creatures to defeat them and put an end to the whole debacle. It’s quite telling that the film jumps into the climax very quickly, but then spends an extremely long time getting out. This is complete with beer breaks and the like. The pacing was admirable, but the film clearly didn’t know what it wanted to do from there. It also couldn’t handle the suspense as well as a film like Resident Evil because the characters in the Evil series were much more likable even if they were throwaways. At the very least, you could root for Alice. Here…even the GI Joe character was fairly bad the whole time. It’s also a comic book film where the Squad have equipment/actual powers so it’s hard to get up to the same intensity. Maybe if the rock creatures had actually been Xenomorphs or if there was a good soundtrack, but there wasn’t. The film tried to play itself out as a zombie outbreak kind of title, but never went all the way because of its identity crisis.

All right, let’s take a quick break from bashing the film. The special effects were fairly good even if they were out of place. The two supernatural villains had fairly good designs. One of them went for the classic “Gods of Egypt” look which was cool. He actually looked like a cooler version of Apocalypse than what we got in the new X-Men film. His abilities were great as well and he was a great antagonist. It’s a shame that he had to be put in a film consisting of D listers. The other villain looked like something out of the Grudge and she tried to throw the horror aspect into the story. Once again though, this element disappears as swiftly as it arrives and she turned out to be too powerful. She could have eliminated the Squad many times and her plan really should have succeeded, but we do need those sequels….

The visuals look like what I’m expecting from the Ghost Busters film or even Dr. Strange to an extent. The film really goes all out trying to make the villain very eccentric and ritual-esque. She does a lot of odd dances even has basic hypnosis. It felt like something from the 90’s. It worked fairly well, but again..you should never pair a god against random humans. So, at least the visuals were a positive and the villains worked pretty well. Too bad we couldn’t save them for the Justice League film as that title is desperately looking for a villain. Even the Wonder Woman film would have been glad to have them.

Back to the negatives. Lets look at it from a character by character basis. Captain Boomerang is terrible as he’s just another drunk murderer who tricks other people into dying and has a nice laugh about it. There’s nothing to like with this guy. Deadshot is the most “heroic” of the bunch, but he’s not a hero by any definition and only helps people according to his own sense of twisted morals. It is quite telling that his number one wish for happiness is to murder Batman. He may try to be sympathetic, but he’s as ruthless as they come and no amount of jokes can help gloss over the fact that he is a mass murderer.

Harley Quinn may be the character who is supposed to stand out in the film, but she is portrayed in a very negative light. For starters, she is mainly used as fanservice with her costume basically just being a pair of undergarments for the entire film. A great deal of her lines are suggestive and her relationship with the Joker is very twisted. He tortures her when they first meet and there’s nothing shown to suggest that things have changed in the slightest. She’s basically his possession and that’s certainly not a proper relationship. As long as she stays with him, her life certainly isn’t going to get any better and I’ll be rooting against them since this is not the kind of relationship that should be portrayed in a positive light for any span of time. Her actual character needs a lot of work too though as made obvious during the really random CPR scene as part of her flashback. That scene was just brutal.

This is the worst portrayal of the Joker as well. He’s portrayed as your average mobster who isn’t very confident and is very obsessed with Harley Quinn. There is no moment where you feel like he is an evil genius and he doesn’t seem to care about Batman at all. There is no hero/villain dynamic there as the Joker is just a nobody who runs away from Batman and keep crashing his car. It’s also a huge plot hole to have the Joker around at all. Let’s face it, since Batman is a mass murderer in this series, there is no way that the Joker would still be alive. If Batman couldn’t find him, then it just further proves that the Batman of this film universe isn’t very smart. Even once Joker resurfaces and starts attacking installations all around, Batman never shows up. I’m still banking on the theory that the Joker is Robin, but it doesn’t really help this plot hole as Batman would likely still finish him off anyway. This Joker tries to be over the top crazy and slightly effeminate, but it just ends up leaving a broken character who makes the Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman look good.

Killer Croc was all right. He didn’t really have any character and was just around to bite people. He barely even qualifies as a character, but automatically that does mean that he beats most of the cast. Katana is around as well and she’s another character who really enjoys murdering others. She basically lives off hype though as she doesn’t really get a chance to do anything on screen. When she finally does fight, Katana looks incredibly weak and anticlimactic. She lost in a sword fight to add insult to injury. It’s going to be very hard to take her seriously after this.

Rick Flag is the “good guy” of the group. He was in the army and knows how to end a fight. He has crossed the line in the service, but still has a moral compass. Unfortunately, he is a complete yes man and starts to get black mailed very quickly. He has to resort to asking the people that he taunted for help and the whole thing is a very sad experience for him. After opening up to the other villains the film tried to make him a likable character, but it didn’t really work. The fact that Waller predicted that he would fall in love for a hostage that she sent him to find shows what a shallow/superficial guy he was from the start. I think I’ll probably prefer Steve Trevor from the Wonder Woman film.

Almost forgot about Diablo. He’s portrayed as the nice character who doesn’t want to be a villain anymore. The film gives us a very dark, gritty, and tragic past to forcefully push this message at us. Of course, he finally embraces his powers at the end along with a quick curse word as he runs at the villain. Another possibly good moment wrecked. At least the team has someone who can fight thanks to his true form, but the past was too tragic for me and I’ll find it very hard for this character to be even remotely likable.

Waller is another fan favorite character, but I don’t really care for her. I like the tough sounding government guys and I don’t even mind when they’re evil sometimes like in the latest Bourne film. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind her if she had been portrayed as totally evil because she is. Waller is a mass murderer who should be locked up like the others. My problem is that nobody seems to care as even Batman gives her a pass. I mean…are you kidding me? Batman giving her a pass is ludicrous and makes him look terrible as a hero. I know he crosses a lot of lines and probably doesn’t mind villains as much in this version, but locking her up has to be a top priority. The problem is that she can black mail him as well so there probably won’t be anything happening on that corner. Waller was great in the Justice League show because she actually cared a little more about her country. She still used underhanded methods to succeed and committed many villainous acts, but killing a group of men just because they knew too much? I believe that would be out of character for her and it was just too much when that happened here. The film went too far trying to make her appear as a hype character.

I remember there being a lot of articles about how significant Batman’s role was going to be here and how he was going to be super scary and the main antagonist. That never happened so either the scenes were removed or it was more fake hype to build up the film. It’s too bad as that could have helped the film a lot since Batman’s scenes were the best in the film. “I don’t want to do this in front of your daughter” was a great fake line from Batman as he very clearly chose this time to attack since it would put Deadshot in a bad position. He knew that the villain couldn’t go out and risk hitting his daughter. Luckily, this Batman has very few scruples about using underhanded tactics and that’s how he was able to conclude the fight. The line just adds more salt to the wound since there’s nothing Deadshot can do about the situation. Batman is ruthless and since he is also eager to cross the line, he makes for a compelling villain. I wish that the films played Batman straight, but as it is, the other characters make him look like a perfect individual by comparison. I don’t know where the film would be without him.

It goes without saying that you should stick around past the credits. The scene is the best one in the film after all even if it makes someone not look too smart yet again since another individual has found out about his identity. I’m always up for some classic tough talk from both sides. It can be annoying when it’s one sided so the trade here is good. The film could have done a little more with this, but as it was, I was pretty satisfied. The tributes to the rest of the DCCU were fun and one character looked a lot better than how he was in Batman V Superman so that’s a good start. I think the cinematic universe from DC should go strongly from here. I am a little worried for Wonder Woman since there doesn’t seem to be much of a villain yet and her fighting ordinary soldiers is going to get old even quicker than this film’s fights, but I have hope that there will be big fight scenes. Surely DC wouldn’t let such an easy opportunity for more Man of Steel esque (Slower I suppose, but still hype) battles slip by would they? I have similar concerns for Justice League, but mainly because Superman isn’t there yet and the idea of having a Justice League film without its leader/main member would be an incredibly terrible idea.

Another negative is the fact that this film makes no real sense when placed into the DC expanded universe. This doesn’t affect the score, but it’s a problem that starts to appear a lot in expanded universes. If this supernatural monster has been destroying a city and its inhabitants for 3 days…where are Batman and Wonder Woman? They definitely should have been on the scene. Even Marvel’s gotten rather dicey with that as the President gets captured and nobody arrives to help. This is almost as bad since it’s an entire city and its been attacked for 3 whole days. At least you can make the argument that Batman and Wonder Woman are not heroes so maybe they didn’t care. It’s possible that they just saw it on the news and chuckled. Of course, that would go against Batman’s character development as he wants to help the world thanks to Superman. It’s feasible that Wonder Woman would not care though. She did stay out of the Man of Steel fight after all so maybe she would rather leave the humans to their own devices at this point. Hopefully the writers plan for this a little better in their upcoming films.

Now, how could this film have been saved? First of all, the excessive language has to go and the soundtrack’s got to disappear. Next, some of the grit has to go. Do we need to have shots of Harley Quinn being zapped and shocked by the Joker as well as the jail? No. We can also get rid of Diablo’s origin story which is gritty to be gritty. After we get rid of all this and give Harley Quinn an actual costume, we have to tone Waller down so she’s not completely insane and evil. Make her an antagonist, but a reasonable one. Batman needs to appear a lot more and there should be more DC cameos. Preferably with very loud and obvious rock music as we see the hero logos and the Squad learns about the Justice League. Throw in some more action scenes and give the main villain a better debut than to be cradled in a very awkward scene that was quite sad. Mix all of that together and we’ve got ourselves a decent film.

I could go on, but let’s start to wrap up with one last improvement. The film should have chosen a genre and stuck to it. It tried to throw in elements from Ghostbusters, (CGI supernatural threats) The Avengers, (All of the one liners and puns…just the terribly written versions) and Resident Evil. (A few lone survivors up against zombies) It just did not work at all though. You can’t be dark and gritty and expect to pull off something like the Avengers. Likewise, you can’t have a super down to Earth Resident Evil adventure when there are super powerful beings trying to destroy the whole world. The film needed to pick one angle and stick with it.

Overall, I’m glad that Rotten Tomatoes is taking so many shots at the film. I tend to disagree with the site quite often, but for once I’m on their side. This film was just hard to watch at times. If the film wanted all of the Suicide Squad members to be unlikable then they succeeded, but at a large price. It’s a shame since the Batman scenes were nice. I do like how the cinematography is so different from Marvel’s. The scenes look like they’re out of a TV show episode instead of a movie. It’d hard to describe, but the Batman vs Deadshot scene totally encapsulates this as opposed to the average Marvel fight scene. It’s less glamorous and stylized, but works quite well. Oddly enough, the hand to hand scenes are far better here than in the latest Bourne film, where you would expect it to be better. The fight scenes were the one part of this film that were not gritty. Unfortunately, the terrible soundtrack, characters, and writing keep this film way down on the totem pole. I don’t expect that I’ll ever see it again and I highly advise you to stay away. You’re better off watching Man of Steel again.

Overall 1/10

Fantastic Four (2015) Review

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This film was certainly underwhelmed a whole lot of people. It’s very hard to find any positive reviews of it online as I’ve only seen one myself. (Though tomatoes should have a few more) IRL I’ve only met 2 others who really liked it at the moment so things aren’t looking too good for the film. It was essentially doomed before it ever came out critically, but I thought that the trailers showed potential. This wouldn’t be the next Avengers, but it would be a good film and I was right on the money with that hunch!

Well, this is essentially the origin story of the team so the plot is self explanatory. Reed Richards is a super genius and one day he manages to build a teleporter. The government quickly recruits him so that they can travel to another dimension to use that planet’s resources to keep Earth alive for a little while longer and maybe even colonize it. The leader’s daughter has been helping with the project for a while and the guy’s son is pulled onto the project so that he can earn his car back after getting it banged up in a street race. Finally, Reed flexes his intellectual muscles and gets his old friend onto the team roster in time for the big experiment. Unfortunately, the heroes got too curious as they messed with the environment of the other dimension (Mostly Dr Doom’s fault) and they each got fantastic powers. Can they use them to save the world now!?

In that regard, the film plays out like you would expect. You definitely don’t want to go into this film expecting a lot of action as it’s more of a slice of life origin adventure. As long as you like the characters and atmosphere, then you’ll be okay. It’s certainly not as good as the MCU backdrop or the ASM series, but a steady improvement over the X-Men series. I was interested the whole time and the characters became likable/charismatic right away so it was fine to just see them talk and hang out even if Reed Richards was really miscast, which can be distracting.

The writing is one of the film’s weaknesses though. The language isn’t terrible, but it still comes at you a little more often than you would like. I always have to shake my head at this since older films never had this problem. I just hope that the English language doesn’t continue to deteriorate or we’re going to need more main characters to be like Mario, rarely talking except for a choice line or two. That being said, I don’t have a problem with the writing in terms of the plot or what happens in the film, just the language aspect.

In terms of the movie dialogue, I’d say that it was reasonable. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either. There’s certainly a lot of foreshadowing to get you ready for things that will happen later on in the film. Wondering if Dr Doom is here? The film name drops him right away for long time fans. Fantastic Four even essentially tells you how the film’s going to end with a what if scenario that someone insults Reed with a few times. One can make a comparison to Ant Man here as when Pym explained that nobody’s ever come back from shrinking to the Microverse, that felt like a bit of a dare to the viewers and Scott. Of course, those things tend to really come to you in hindsight as while you’re watching the film, you aren’t typically thinking about them much. I personally prefer to just enjoy the banter and action so I don’t pay too much attention to the hidden meanings of the dialogue unless it’s just that epic of a line.

Reed is the main character of course and he’s a nice guy. I’m just saddened by the fact that the film miscast one of the easiest characters to portray. I feel like almost anyone could do it, but the actor has to be older. It’s why I loved the scene where the film trolled everyone by having Reed pretend that he was older via shape shifting. If he had looked like that the entire film, I would have been thrilled! Reed shows how he is a natural born leader when the going gets tough and we can expect him to continue to use his powers in innovative ways in the sequel. I am glad that Reed has a very tough personality here. In the generic intimidation scene where Dr Doom tries to tell Reed to get away from Sue, Reed just interrupts him to say that he already finished the project ages ago and was going to go take a nap. That was certainly a hype moment and I’m glad that he didn’t just slink away like you would see in most movies.

Ben Grimm’s backstory appeared briefly here and I’m glad that it was so short since his plot could have hurt the film had it gone on any longer. Besides that, I didn’t care to see him as a kid, I wanted to see his superhero form! The Thing costume from the older films was considerably better than this depiction, but I could say the same for every other character so that’s not saying too much. He looks decent although he should have had the traditional pants. I think he gives up on Reed a little too easily and also loses sight of himself without a whole lot of help so he’s not the strongest of the characters in terms of strength of will. He started to destroy a lot of people without hesitation. He’ll likely be more like the happy go lucky Thing we’re used too in future films…hopefully.

Sue was a good heroine and actually defied all of the stereotypical roles as she did not randomly fall in love with Reed for no inexplicable reason. I can’t tell you how glad I was at this as I was expecting a Man of Steel type ending, which would have been very wince worthy. Her subtle insults at Reed were also pretty good like when she tried to ignore him by putting her headphones back on or telling him that his little science experiment almost cost people billions of dollars by taking out the electricity over the east coast. She certainly gave him a tough time and that’s how it should be since he was the new guy on the block. She never overdid it though and they still get along.

Johnny was always going to be an interesting character to watch because of how the film decided to culturally change him. His core personality is essentially intact. He’s still a hot head who has a lot of fun with his powers, he’ll just have slightly different mannerisms and slang words to fit his new character. He’s handled well for the most part and I’m glad that he masters his powers with ease. He doesn’t help with the whole language issue from the film, but none of them really do so it’s not exclusive to him. I did think that it was a little odd how his car almost went out at the beginning of the race since he’s supposed to be a really good mechanic, but I’ll just assume that it was a lucky break for the opponents. I feel like his role was a lot smaller than the other 3, but he’ll likely have his chance to shine next time.

Finally, we have Dr. Doom. You can’t help, but chuckle when you first see him since it seems like the film was intentionally trying to make him look bad. If they were going for a Mandarin level twist, they certainly achieved that! Of course, it would have had more effect if his first scene was his last one. Still, it was neat when he ultimately got his powers, but as a character, he’s not great. He flirts with Sue quite a bit and that always hurt him for me. What I do like about him is the whole anti government personality as that’s always very humorous.

He asks the tough questions and makes the heroes wonder about their mission. After all, it is inevitable that we will wreck that dimension like this one so should we really allow people to go there? He doesn’t think so and that’s why he ultimately grabs his power. He’s certainly a villain, but at least he has a goal that I can sympathize with. If he takes out the Earth, then the other dimension will be safe from those attackers and Doom can live with the world in unity. In this version, that’s how he gets his powers, which are quite impressive.

He’s essentially got telekinesis so he can move rocks around or blow people’s heads up by concentrating. It’s a little overpowered though as the heroes shouldn’t really have a chance against that. The one thing that they have going for them is that they seem to be immune to having their heads blown up. In theory, this is because the ooze that gave them their powers made them immune to that ability or just strengthened their bodies enough to withstand it. The film never gives an explanation, but that makes the most sense. Even then, Dr. Doom probably should have taken the win as he mostly just stood there and allowed the heroes to gain ground. He wouldn’t win many Super Smash battles against Sheik is he stayed on the defensive for so long!

As for the fight scenes, they’re quite good even though they’re short. Reed taking down the gunmen in the forest was pretty epic. It’s too bad that he couldn’t have really fought the Thing as that would have made for a good matchup. At that point in time, The Thing would certainly have the edge, but with a little prep time, Reed could definitely turn the tables. The final fight scene is definitely very epic as the backdrop is like something out of a video game with Dr Doom being the final boss. It’s very short though, which really hurts the fight scene and I would have liked the heroes to have used their powers more. Specifically Human Torch as he was taken out for most of the fight thanks to the rocks at Doom’s disposal. The way that Thing was taken out was a little anticlimactic and I’m calling plot hax on the Invisible Woman, but it just goes to show that they wouldn’t be quite as deadly without Mr Fantastic!

Surprisingly, the film got pretty violent in one action scene. It was like something out of a horror movie as the colors became very dark and the lights started to flicker. Dr. Doom just went around blowing people up without a care in the world and it reminded me of the walls in the Arkham games. I think that could have been toned down a little as it was unnecessary. It was an interesting tribute to the horror films out there, but I’ve never been a fan of them so I could do without that.

Unfortunately, there’s not much of a soundtrack here. That’s too bad as it always adds an extra pop to a film. The visuals were great so mixing that up with some fast paced techno music or something would have been pretty intense. Even some fast music for the dialogue would have been fun. The film just felt strangely silent a lot of the time. It really helps to capture the slice of life feel, but at the expense of that action feel we wanted. Oh yeah, it should be noted that there’s no animal violence here as the anime test trial was successful so the Ape lived. That was probably one of the best moments in the film.

So, time to compare this to the first two films! I do think that the first two win because the actual Fantastic Four as well as Dr Doom were better than their modern versions. I remember the writing being better and I also preferred the costumes/actors. Beating those films was always going to be tough though and I never expected it to top those. Still, Dr Doom can now continue to say that he has been the main villain in every single Fantastic Four film. That series certainly liked him as an opponent.

The ending of the film also gives the franchise a lot of hope. The next film would deal with the Fantastic Four actually being established and finally having their own Baxter Building. It would likely feel more like the comic book version than even the original films. The FF are respected by the government and they’re essentially rich now. There are just so many possibilities! I do think that it was a little unoriginal to steal Avengers Age of Ultron’s final line though. It’s a cool concept, but stealing it just isn’t right.

Overall, Fantastic Four was a solid movie. It’s definitely going to end up being a very underrated one. The score is incredibly low at the moment and now conspiracy theorists can speculate on whether Disney is destroying all other attempts to make non Disney owned Marvel films. If X-Men Apocalypse is critically panned (I could see it getting under a 50 for various reasons, but nowhere near FF level) then things will start to get dicey. Those kind of theories are always pretty epic to hear about, but sometimes it’s just a matter of everyone disliking a film or a big reviewer kicking things off and then the others jump on the train. “Wait…was this hype?” Yes..yes it was. I definitely hope that this movie ends up getting a sequel, but like The Amazing Spiderman, we may have just lost what could have been a beautiful franchise. The bright side is that now Mr. Fantastic can get recast. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend checking this movie out. It’s got good characters, and some solid action scenes! It’s also fairly short so the pacing is quite fast and it may not be in theaters for long so you’re going to want to hurry and view it before the time is past.

Overall 7/10