Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Suicide Squad Review


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

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

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