The Fate of the Furious Review

The series rocks on with another big installment. Of course this time there would be no Brian which is a shame since he was a solid member of the crew. That may even be what makes the film a bit weaker because otherwise he would have had a massive role here based on the plot. This is still a really solid film to be sure but does trail behind the last two. Ultimately that’s not saying much since those were so great though and this series continues to be consistently great.

The movie starts with Dom taking down a street racer and redeeming the guy in the process. Now he runs a clean ship and Dom is proud of how things have turned out. He’s out of the biz now and just wants a normal life. Unfortunately that is not in the cards at the moment. A lady named Cipher appears and shows him something on her phone before confirming that he will now betray his family and work for her. Surprisingly Dom agrees to the terms so whatever she has on him must be massive. When he starts stealing nukes and EMPs, the crew is forced to assemble once more but can they really take out their former leader? Their only shot is to team up with Nobody, Hobbs, and Shaw. With every hype character in one room surely they can beat him!

That alone shows how much cache Dom has though. If you need the entire cast to even stand a chance against him then there was no doubt on who the big boss was. Personally, Hobbs and Shaw have both proven themselves to be a match so you’d figure that this would be easy but I suppose it’s more difficult in a race than a fight. Dom does have the best driving skills of the cast, I think that’s fair to say so it’s hard to actually catch him at that point. Still, the gang will give it their all.

One of the early scenes that really stood out was when Shaw breaks out of jail so he and Hobbs have a big chase throughout the compound. It was a really good action sequence where we got a lot of different combos and attacks. You feel bad for the guards who are ultimately at the wrong place at the wrong time. They really didn’t stand much of a chance here and particularly Shaw was making sure to destroy his opponents. You get the feeling that a few may have died against Dom too with how hard he was hitting.

This is something that you can’t help but remember when we start to go through the redemption arc for Shaw. I mean it’s pretty cool to see him fighting with the team and he’s a great character either way but I feel like the characters themselves would be super mixed about the whole thing. Ultimately it feels like there is a ton that he will have to atone for even if he is directly helping the heroes.

Then for Hobbs, he gets a lot more to do in this film which is good. The banter between him and Shaw is hype as always and Hobbs always knows how to pick the strongest looking car in the lot. He also did give Dom a few chances to surrender before going all in so I thought he handled the situation as well as he could have.

The rest of the crew is always around for their moments to shine as well even if they can’t keep up quite as well. You have Roman who is still the comic relief here but he actually does get a pretty big moment to help balance that for once like when he shoots a bunch of villains who were approaching him. Perhaps the only reason he hasn’t been dominating is because there haven’t been enough gun fights? Tej and Ramsey have a good dynamic as they each think of plans to help out. I did find it funny how the God’s Eye was already surpassed though, that definitely didn’t take long considering how much hype it got. That was the ultimate global hacking machine after all and it was taken down so quickly.

As an aside, the scene where they bust in and take out the entire cast was great though. Here you have all these big heavyweight fighters who can theoretically take down an entire army and they all get served up by a concussion grenade. I guess you really don’t want to mess with those things. It was a great way to give the villains some hype though and also felt like a scene out of a comic book movie. Even the layout of the area reminded me of Agents of Shield.

Letty doesn’t get as much to do as I would have expected here with the whole Dom going rogue angle. She does have her big moment where she grabs the briefcase and buys a bit of time but we don’t get the whole “Now it’s personal!” dynamic that you might have expected. Usually that would probably have been some kind of big fight and a lot of back and forth. Still, Letty and the crew never started doubting Dom which was important.

Nobody returns and he looks great here again. The guy is still just a lot of fun at all times and he gets results. He’s someone that even the main characters won’t want to cross. Then we’re introduced to his junior coworker in this film who tries hard but can’t get that same level of respect. And it’s not even close, that guy gets insulted throughout the movie. I thought he was rather decent myself but he does go in a little too hard on playing by the rules which doesn’t work out too well when you’re surrounded by this unit.

As for the main villain Cipher, she is quite a bit weaker than the last few villains. Her plans are wide scale but ultimately there’s not a ton to her. Cipher is really lucky that she is in possession of something to keep Dom off of her because otherwise she just wouldn’t last here. Anyone can be tough with a bit of blackmail, it’s the really strong villains who don’t need it.

Her right hand man Connor felt doomed from the start. He tries to talk tough to Dom but right from their opening scene you knew that he wouldn’t be able to back it up. These two are just in different tiers of power and Dom was absolutely not going to go down with family on the line. Once fighting was an option that was going to always be game over for the guy.

One older character appears here for a big role but I won’t say who since you could probably guess a lot from that. It was nice to see her return but unfortunately her role didn’t allow for any big moments. So she didn’t look bad because there wasn’t much that she could have possibly done but I wouldn’t say that she looked very good either. She was just fighting a losing battle here.

Finally we have Dom and of course the big question would be, was the blackmail enough to justify him going rogue and nearly murdering everybody? I mean just by working with the villain he nearly took everyone out. I always tend to be very skeptical of the hero in a scenario like this and I wouldn’t say Dom is exempt from that. His options were limited but I feel like he could have clued the team in somehow, especially since he had a lot of time. As long as he could trust them not to say anything then it would be easier to plan something out. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way so I think for once he was the one who didn’t believe in family hard enough.

Ultimately he still gets to take names and look hardcore as always though. At one point he basically has to go up against the entire team which was a lot of fun. I always like seeing a group vs 1 fight like that and it’s not like these are scrubs. Technically they’re very skilled too…just not skilled enough in this instance. Better luck next time and all of that.

Overall, Fate of the Furious is another great installment. It may not beat the others but it still has a lot of epic moments all throughout the film. It may even be the darkest one since some of the originals. I still say that loosely of course since I wouldn’t consider this film dark by any stretch but it has its moments and is certainly going for more of an emotional feel to it. We’ll see if 9 is able to top this one but ultimately I think that will be difficult. In a way it’s always tough for a sequel to beat a film that’s an 8 or up because that’s a lot to live up to.

Overall 8/10

Furious 7 Review

The Fast & The Furious is back! The series may have had a shaky start with the first 4 films but since then it’s really been firing on all cylinders! I can see why it became such a global hit and this title keeps up that same energy. It follows up on the cliffhanger ending from the last film and really sets things up to be a high tier bout of excitement from start to finish. This is one title that you don’t want to miss!

The movie starts off with a bang as Hobbs breaks into a hospital and murders just about everyone as he vows to avenge his brother who is in serious condition after being taken out by the heroes in the last film. He then breaks into Hobbs’ base in order to get info on Dom and the crew. He’s now determined to take them all out one at a time. Dom isn’t hiding and has no intention of waiting though. He’s just as eager to take Shaw down to avenge his friend Han and so the battle is set. Tracking Shaw won’t be easy though so they are going to need the power of the God’s Eye, a super hacking device that can track anyone in moments. The only way to get this is to save Ramsey, the creator of the program who is being held by Jakande and a bunch of terrorists. This won’t be easy.

You always want to start a film off with a dynamic beginning and that’s exactly what this film does. It was also nice to see it all tie in together with Tokyo Drift and the previous films. You could see how this was meant to be the really big film. Of course I’m glad that the series kept on going but it will be difficult for them to match 7. I don’t think any future film will be able to defeat it but we’ll see. There’s always a chance.

Really the only issue with the film is that it can still be a bit indulgent with the fanservice. You always have the characters heading to a beach or an area like that with a lot of slow-mo and zoom ins that don’t add anything to the plot and just make you shake your head. That may be a staple in the franchise at this point but it’s one that we can definitely just ditch and the films are better off for it. Fortunately it’s usually just a scene or two to check that box off and then we’re back to the action.

Now the fight scenes are a big part of why the films are so big. Hobbs vs Shaw is one of the big match-ups here and that was a good way to start the film off. The battle is very evenly matched so the whole time you’re interested in seeing how it’s going to end out. Later on we also have Dom vs Shaw in another really solid fight. The choreography is always really good and you can feel the blows. It’s a bit ironic that all of the best scenes don’t involve the cars but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

The car scenes are still a lot of fun as always though. Who doesn’t like a big car chase right? Then you’ve also got the heroes fighting off planes as well and a lot of great jumps and falling stunts. You may not buy that all of this can happen but the important thing is that they do happen. So it makes for a lot of fun scenes and with Shaw constantly on Dom’s tail, there is always a sense of danger going on here.

I’d also say the soundtrack is really good. The movie always picks a solid song that fits the location they’re at. It makes for a lot of variety and that’s something you always remember from the films. Tokyo Drift in particular had a really strong soundtrack since it took place in Japan but all of them have been really solid so far.

As for the characters, Dom is a great main character as always. He fights for his family and never gives up. You can always count on him to have your back no matter how tough things get. Dom’s also a great fighter and likes to battle with honor so he’s not going to go for the cheap shots or anything like that. He has a lot of great dialogue throughout the film. One thing the films always take advantage of is making sure to give everyone their hype so each character feels like they’re some kind of champion. Eventually you have several characters in the same room who are all talking tough and it’s extremely entertaining.

Hobbs is still the strong rival here but unfortunately he is gone for most of the movie. It’s a shame that he had to be written out early but at least he got his big fight scene first. He also gets some good moments near the climax. So his role is a bit on the smaller side but it’s impactful and you’ll enjoy all of the moments. Of course Dom’s crew is around as always for some backup. Roman is still yelling constantly and gets in a little over his head but still helps out as best he can. You feel bad for the guy with how everybody keeps on throwing shade at him but he never lets it get to him.

Tej mainly likes to be the one ribbing Roman but ultimately they’re good friends. Letty is still struggling with her memory loss but fights alongside Dom in the meantime and hopes to eventually get them back. She’s still got her skills from the old days. There’s a new character in Ramsey which now means that the team has two geniuses. She’s a fun character who gets the hang of things quick so I was glad about that. When characters are slow on the uptake it usually means that the pacing has to slow down so people can explain things.

Brian gets a fun role here as you would expect. He has a rivalry going with one of the villains so they fight two times and next to Dom he’s definitely the most capable fighter on the crew. He also isn’t tricked as easily as the others and made sure that Dom didn’t leave him behind. He’s a character who will definitely be missed in the future installments because he really did add a whole lot to the dynamic. This movie gave him a solid final role at least.

Then we have the mysterious Mr. Nobody. I liked his inclusion as well as the group that’s basically SHIELD. With the films getting crazier and more out there it makes sense to eventually add in a group like this. Nobody also doesn’t feel like your average government lackey and instead has a lot of charisma. He has a lot of confidence in himself and you need that when talking to these guys. Nobody never backs down and always has a plan so it’s hard to go against that. I look forward to seeing more of the guy.

Naturally Shaw is a great villain as well. He gets a lot of hype and really gets down to business. No matter who he’s fighting, the guy goes in hard. He has to be the most powerful villain in the series and I don’t see that changing. Of course if we count Hobbs then that’s a different story but even in the first film he was still an officer trying to bring in wanted criminals so he was more of an antagonist. Shaw is a lot of fun here and really enhances the film.

We’ve also got another villain in Jakande and that helped to keep the crew busy in the B plot. He’s a solid leader. We don’t really get to see him fight in hand to hand but with his guns he does keep everyone busy. His group was an interesting third party that showed up to mess with everyone. The more factions the better I always say so that worked out.

There isn’t much of an update to the standings of the franchise as a whole with this one because it’s pretty easily divided. The first 4 films were below average and not very good while films 5 and up are a blast. You can really see how the films started to focus more on the action which was a really good idea. There is never a dull moment in these films, you can absolutely be sure of that. They’re long but because of that you can cram a lot of battles into that. Typically each film has 1 race too but that’s usually not the focus here. The heroes have bigger things to do.

Overall, Fast 7 is a great film that I would absolutely recommend. It’s got a lot of nonstop action and excitement all the way through. The soundtrack and visuals are really good and most importantly, the character cast is excellent. The series has really built a ton of super memorable characters by this point who all bring a lot to the table. The continuity here is also taking advantage of the previous films to throw in a lot of callbacks and easter eggs. If you’re an action fan then this is a movie that you don’t want to miss out on.

Overall 8/10

Pacific Rim Uprising Review

I remember watching the first Pacific Rim a while back and enjoying the concept of Kaiju vs Robots. The film had a relatively low budget so you couldn’t see large portions of the fight since it was at night but the whole thing was pretty epic. It was a solid film and I was certainly ready for the sequel. This film looked to increase the action based on the trailers so I was definitely all for that. It’s a solid sequel and one that almost matches the original film.

It takes place 10 years after the first film where the heroes closed the rift and saved the world. The world is ready to move on to automated drones so it appears like the pilots are about to be phased out. Are drones really a practical alternative though? They seem to turn evil in every sci-fi film. Meanwhile, we have our new main character. His Dad may have been leading the charge against the enemy but this guy just wants to have a bunch of parties and stay out of the action. Unfortunately he attempts to follow a thief so that he can steal the stolen items but he is apprehended by the cops and forced back into the program. A dark Jaeger appears at the summit he is supposed to protect and this begins the most climactic fight of his life. Can our heroes save the world one last time?

The action definitely lived up to the marketing which is nice. All of the fights take place during the day so there are no shortcuts like having most to obscure the robots. The two battles between Gypsy Avenger and the evil robot are excellent. Even if Gypsy does seem outmatched when it comes to the mechs, the humans know actual hand to hand combat which is finally important. After all, you would expect that to give you a big advantage in a fight right? Martial arts amp up your normal attacks so why it when inside a mech suit? The climax battle is great as well with the 4 Jaegers against the 3 Kaiju. Admittedly the Kaiju don’t look nearly as impressive as in the first film and only one of them appears to be able to fight back.

Still, they do get to roar quite a bit and I can always get behind that. Being able to absorb kinetic energy is always a great ability as well. Either way, the action scenes are definitely the highlight here and remind you of exactly why we needed a new Pacific Rim. I also do find it ironic that the Jaegers seem so much more streamlined and efficient then the Transformers. The Jaegers can still be a little slow at times, but they can maneuver through right windows and have a good array of abilities. They are really only limited by the pilots. Unlike the Transformers they aren’t constantly tripping or falling over. Granted, they can be knocked down rather easily by the Kaiju, but they get right back up.

The soundtrack isn’t bad but it isn’t memorable either. It won’t be one of the things that you will be talking about as you exit the theater but the visuals and loud sound effects help to mitigate this. I never count a lack of a soundtrack as a negative that would affect the score either unless it is painfully bad to listen too. Now it’s time to talk about the writing. Well, it’s certainly not great but it isn’t bad either. The dialogue could certainly be a lot worse and while the characters are rather generic they are written reasonably well. It’s definitely still night and day when compared to Transformers.

I’d say that the only scene where you will be cringing a lot is when the main character heads to the kitchen to have Ice Cream. He is extremely unhygienic which makes it gross rather than amusing. He eats from the ice cream bowl and puts his hand in the sprinkle jar. I feel bad for anyone else who enjoys the ice cream in this place. Surprisingly there aren’t too many over the top scenes like that which I was definitely glad about. There is a random subplot where one of the cadets is being mean to Amara and that was unnecessary, but not badly handled. If anything, the bully suddenly becoming nicer was rather rushed, but I guess getting beaten and forced into a choke hold by a little kid in front of everyone may have helped to crush her ego a bit.

Jake is a decent main character. He’s rather annoying at first as you can’t sympathize with him though. He doesn’t even need to steal or be a crook but just does it for the extra money. The whole currency exchange that he had going seemed rather illogical so maybe he just spent all of his money. Either way, he doesn’t get good until after the first showdown with the enemy. Then he finally wisens up to the fact that he needs to get it in gear and actually start fighting as opposed to constantly complaining and whining. You can probably tell that I’m not a huge fan of the guy so maybe saying that he is a decent character is a mild stretch. He is a lot better in the second half though so that helps to nage the opening at least a bit.

Then we have Nate who is Jake’s co-pilot and he is all over the place as well. He gives Jake an incredibly hard time throughout the film, but will also occasionally let it be known that he thinks Jake could be one of the greats. By the end of the film they are old pals again and the tension just seemed rather fake. Of course, I am on Nate’s side here since Jake did apparently abandon him for no good reason and then his next partner also abandoned him so it’s been a tough time for that guy.

Amara is essentially the kid from the recent Transformers film except 100x better. Instead of just talking tough and getting in everyone’s way, Amara is actually very capable on her own. She built her own Jaeger which is extremely impressive. I can’t give her enough credit for that because it must have taken a very long time so she was persistent and also had the skills to break into a government restricted area. Yes, you have to suspend your disbelief for a lot of the film, but what else is new? She sort of vanishes for a good chunk of the film, but returns in time to help for the climax. She’s not perfect, but Amara is probably the most reasonable character in the film and maybe will be the one that you can sympathize with the most. While everyone else is playing defense she is preparing for the next battle.

Then we have some returning characters from the first film like Newt. His interface with an alien was rather weird and pretty iffy at best, but aside from that one scene he is definitely a strong character. He delivers most of the snappy one liners and really doesn’t care about anyone, but himself. You can’t help but admire his self confidence and the fact that he is always the biggest person in the room. (When it comes to ego anyway) He’s an exaggerated character, but in a good way and his humor tends to land a lot more than the other characters. There is also Hermann who is basically the more stoic boring counterpart who uses his tech to help the world. He’s cool and all I guess, but you just can’t picture him putting up much of a fight compared to Newt.

Then we also have Liwen who is the head of corporate and feels like an antagonist in this film because of her ideals. She wants to use her drones to make the world a safer place where pilots aren’t constantly dying. They are now safe away from the dangers. It mirrors the real world issues of drones as they are safer for the pilots, but also bring with them a ton of security risks like the fact that they can be hacked or malfunctioned. They aren’t a complete substitute for normal Jaegers and Liwen tries to make this point, but the other characters basically just yell at her the whole time to drown out her points. Yes, I’m on Liwen’s side here. Apparently in 10 years we were only able to build a small handful of Jaegers to defend the main base and the UN Summit while she built hundreds of them in the same time frame. I think it’s obvious which ones are more efficient and they also seemed fairly strong if you ask me. Again, we do need a blend of both, but if we really want to win a war with the aliens then Liwen is the world’s only chance.

Finally, Mako also appears in the film for a bit as a guest star and she’s a cool character as always. Mako’s intelligence is given a lot of credit here as she is able to spot key facts about the enemy in an instant. While her role was small, it was important and she had a more lasting impact than many of the other characters. Does anybody actually remember the names of any of the Cadets? Those guys never got any real development (Which is a good thing if you ask me) and were just around so we could have more Jaegers. Development just wastes time if it’s used on too many characters, but that’s why Mako is good since she already had her character development in the first film and here you got to understand her character in a flash. Maybe a third film could flesh out the other pilots, but again…that’s unnecessary. Lets stick to the fighting.

You’ll never get bored during the film because it’s just very exciting. At times the film goes a little too overboard in trying to show how hopeless it is for humanity though. There are some points where it should really be all over for them, but the villains have mercy or don’t make the right moves. When the mini robots came swarming in they could have easily destroyed the Jaegers by going inside the circuits or something like that. It’s always a very annoying strategy by the villains, but it works. Why didn’t the evil Gypsy blast the 3 robot reinforcements who were being carried over? They were sitting ducks while landing so he could blast them or just stab all of their processors. Why did the villain just wait by his lonesome in the arctic for a fair 1 on 1 fight when he could have lured the heroes somewhere else? If he hadn’t been in the arctic then the heroes would have been absolutely lost.

Of course, the arctic fight was one of the best scenes in the film. Second only to the first fight so I am glad that the battle happened. I know that the whole point of these films is Robots against Monsters so I should be glad that we still get those at the very end, but honestly that robot fights were the best part. This is why I would love a Gundam film at some point with a proper budget. I don’t know why but Transformers just never has good fight scenes like the Pacific Rim films. Perhaps it is the terrible designs or the fact that most of the Transformer robots just punch each other instead of mixing it up with lasers and cannons, but the fights in Rim are a lot more satisfying. I’m starting to get off topic though.

I may give Pacific Rim 1 the slight edge overall, but it is extremely close. The more I think about it, the more the second film may have the slight edge, but it’s been a while since I saw the first movie. Rim 2 isn’t the greatest movie of the year and likely will have a tough time getting the 2nd spot, but I’d wager that it will still end up being one of the better films this year. If not top 5 then certainly top 10. It just doesn’t really make any big mistakes while doing a lot of things right like the action scenes. No animal violence, no excessive violence, the language was a lot more restrained than in other films, etc. It’s just a solid all around movie.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to actually talk about the monsters all that much, but in my defense the film barely shows them either. They’re basically just a footnote in this movie as they exist just to get squashed and beaten up. They don’t seem to have much intelligence compared to the older monsters and aren’t even much of a threat next to dark Gypsy. This will be sad for big Kaiju fans, but at least we have the Godzilla films coming up. The monsters have good designs and the fight is cool so I’ll give them that.

Overall, if you haven’t watched Pacific Rim Uprising yet then I think it is time to fix that. The fight scenes here are very good and are easily the best giant robot fights we have seen in live action. That might be a low bar, but that’s not to say that these fights were not impressive under any criteria. They really did a good job of capturing how well these robots can fight. While they may need more firepower to really tack on the damage to someone like Godzilla, they should be prepared for any monster that the aliens have in store for them. The ending will definitely get you hyped for a possible third film.

Overall 7/10

Gods of Egypt Review

It’s time for a modern action film. Gods of Egypt is certainly very different from a lot of the films that I’ve reviewed lately. I’ve been saying that more and more lately so I suppose that I’m getting a good variety here. That being said, this is another film that certainly could have been better. The characters were very annoying for the most part with the big action scenes really being the only strong parts of the film. Well, I suppose the visuals were solid as well, but those two things go hand in hand.

This film takes place in Egypt, a long time ago. The gods still live among the mortals and they all have inflated egos as a result. One day, Set returns to the kingdom in time for a large ceremony. He is bitter at not being invited so he takes the kingdom over and steals Horus’ super abilities before banishing him away. The country falls into chaos as everyone now serves him and must go to war constantly. Zaya realizes that the only way the day can be saved is if Horus is able to go back to full power and restore peace to the land. She convinces Bek to go and recover his eyes so he can go and give them to Horus. Bek manages to get one of them and gives it to Horus, but the two of them will have to move fast if they want to get the other. All of Egypt is on their tail now and Zaya is also in a tough situation at the moment. Well, Horus is supposed to be almost invincible so this shouldn’t be too hard….right?

There are a lot of missed opportunities in this film, but lets start off by talking about the characters. Horus isn’t very good, but I could have told you that from the trailers. He talks an incredibly good game, but this doesn’t prevent him from being saved over and over and over again. He is simply not ready to deal with threats of this level as he has a decent amount of strength, but no durability. Without both eyes, he is basically just a Captain America level opponent. Horus is also not a good character as he basically admits that he was using Bek the entire time. He doesn’t care for anyone but himself. The end of the movie tries to get you to think that he is a changed man and will be more of a hero from now on, but it was way too late by then. You would have thought that the exile would have helped shape him into being a better person, but all it did was make him bitter. His romance with Hathor is also quite bad.

Hathor is the goddess of love and she loves to flaunt this fact whenever she is on screen. She can control anyone with a glance unless they have already found true love and she will use this ability on anyone just to show off her superiority. Luckily, Bek is immune to this power because he is just that good. Hathor is very annoying as pretty much all of her lines are her flirting. It’s hard to root for her and Horus because she seems to play the field so it doesn’t seem all that genuine. It was a side plot that didn’t actually add anything to the film and could have certainly been removed. Taking Hathor out of the film would have been a good choice.

Bek is the main human. Horus gets a larger role, but Bek is fairly crucial. He may not have any super abilities, but he is athletic so he can navigate through mazes quite well. The hype may have gotten a little overboard when he infiltrated a labyrinth that was made to stop other gods, but he mostly spends the rest of the film panicking and losing so that helps to keep things balanced. I didn’t like Bek and he is fairly generic. He takes Horus’ betrayal a little too well and I would have liked him more if he could actually fight. Zaya was all right, but she was a little too far on the other extreme as she had way too much faith in Horus. He was undeserving of all the praise that she gave him the entire time. If only she had been around to hear Horus admit that it was all a ploy. She never properly learns about this and just acts as if he is an awesome person the whole time.

Set is the main villain and he’s fairly standard as far as those go. He’ll remind you of the villain from Prince of Persia or Clash of The Titans. He does have a fairly cool god mode though so that at least makes him more memorable than the others. It may be a little hard to take him seriously since he couldn’t handle Horus in a fair fight right from the start, but he is still decently strong. I think that giving him a super form for the final fight was a little too much though. He became too strong, to the point where the writers had to get involved. When you need help from the writers, you know that things have definitely gone too far. At least Set isn’t distracted or hesitant with his goals though. He decides that conquest is more important to him than romance and never looks back. I’d say that Set handles his role as the villain quite well.

Ra is one of those high above beings who acts very wise and all, but actually just makes the situation worse the whole time. He makes both Horus and Set feel bad while fueling his own ego, but he doesn’t realize that this could be a little dangerous. He knows that Set is evil and that Set is willing to destroy anyone in his way. Did Ra really believe that he was the exception? Even his concept of a “reward” for Set was quite sad as nobody in their right mind would give up their expanded kingdom for a lonely job in space. See, Ra’s only job in life is to fire a few blasts at a space monster that pops up every day. He literally has to do the same thing every single day for all of eternity. It’s easy to see why Ra wants a replacement, but nobody is ever going to want to take that job. Not to mention that Ra should have still sided with Horus since he was clearly on the side of justice as opposed to Set. Ra seemed to just want to remain on the sidelines and ultimately that wasn’t a good move.

Finally, we also have Apophis. He looks pretty similar to the Krakken and Apophis is a very large monster. His physical strength is enough to cause everyone to worry. The only thing that can defeat him is a well placed fire blast from Ra’s staff. As sad as the situation is for Ra, it is all the worse for Adophis. He has no way of dodging the blasts since he is incredibly slow and he has no blasts of his own to counter them. All he can do is roar a lot and then retreat. Considering that he does this every single night, it probably gets old after a while. It also makes for a fairly anti climactic ending. Adophis is a cool character in theory, but the execution could use some work. If it was meant to be comical, then it succeeded.

There were some other characters, but their roles were fairly minor. Anubis looked decent as he commands quite a presence in the underworld. The god of wisdom was annoying, but I did find it a little funny that he could not solve the riddle. It’s like introducing the Flash in a Justice League movie, but he is then unable to win a speed contest so Superman has to do it instead. You are completely making the character’s addition into the film irrelevant by that point.

As mentioned earlier, the fights are what is really solid here. The first action scene isn’t all that great as the film goes for an eye pluck which I still find quite gross and unnecessary. After that, the god mode battles are pretty hype as the two of them fight in the air at high speeds with a lot of feats. Ra’s quick skirmish with Set also looked really good as both of them boasted a lot of destructive power at the time. The visuals always look sharp as well since there is a lot of gold and fancy architecture surrounding the place. The fire blasts and armor are also very crisp and would fit well in a comic book film. When the action is in place, Gods of Egypt can get you to think that it is a very solid film.

Gods of Egypt could have been so much better than it was though. Seeing all of the gods fight each other would have been awesome since they had such cool super forms. I also think that some of them were way too weak as many would die in an instant to very weak attacks. If they are gods, then they should all possess a good amount of super strength and durability so that they can really earn the title. The random ones barely looked like they were any stronger than humans. Size was the only thing that they had on their side. I also would have liked to have seen the monster be a little tougher or put up more of a fight. The whole ordeal was way too one sided for my liking and it would have been more entertaining if it was a good match. The humans weren’t really necessary for this film either, just focusing on the gods and giving us an epic action story would have sufficed.

Overall, Gods of Egypt is an all right film. It’s fairly entertaining and has a decent amount of replay value. What holds it back from being a really solid film is the fact that the writing is simply sub-par. It’s not incredibly cringe worthy of anything like that, but it certainly doesn’t feel as professional as it could have been. Horus being too overconfident is played up to an extreme that just doesn’t make sense. Nobody would be so confident after being beaten so much. Horus even lost to minion and random monsters throughout the film. That’s just plain disgraceful. The film never drags on at least and I do like the ending. Considering the circumstances, heading to the underworld is something that Horus should do immediately. He has enough power to defend himself so the guy doesn’t have much to worry about right now. He shouldn’t let his guard down though since Horus is way too arrogant for his own good. If you’re up for a quick action film, I’d recommend this one. It may not be the best, but it’s not bad either. Also, how many Egyptian action films have you seen anyway? It may be good to add another one to your collection.

Overall 6/10

Ant Man Review

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has followed a strong formula for each of its films, which has resulted in none of them actually being bad. They’ve all been consistently good up til now and I had some decently high hopes for Ant Man. Unfortunately, I forgot that the concept of Ant Man may have doomed it from the start and every film series has to jump the shark eventually. This one proved to be Marvel’s first big miss! (For this continuity)

Scott is a man who has made some wrong choices. He chose to become a cat burgler and spent a lot of time in jail. He finally gets out, but realizes that nobody will hire him so he cracks and decides to become a criminal again. An old man who is called Mr. Pym gives Scott an offer. Scott can steal something for him or go back to jail. Scott uses the get out of jail free card and undergoes a training regime. Now that he is able to shrink and talk to Ants, nobody can stop him right? The ultimate battle against evil has now begun!

Ignoring the crippling negative that I will dive into soon, the film handled itself fairly well. As I mentioned, the MCU has a certain tone/atmosphere that is used for all of the films (Not counting The Incredible Hulk…another reason why that one is only barely in the MCU for me) and it works quite well for Ant-Man. We’ll get a serious spy scene, then a comedy moment, then a serious scene, comedy moment. It’s essentially a constant stream of back and forth and you typically will not go 2-3 minutes without an epic one liner or a burn from one of the characters. It’s one of the reasons why the MCU films have typically been crushing the competition.

It doesn’t take itself too seriously while still giving us good battles. I’d say that phase 2 has actually ramped up the comedy angle as the one liners seem more frequent, but it could be a coincidence. The action has also been ramped up so it could just be the “bigger is better” effect like what Slayers did with Next. Compare Avengers to Avengers 2, Cap to Cap 2, and Iron Man 3 to Iron Man 1. The sequels all had more action (The first is debatable I suppose) and more comedy moments. As long as the writing is good, this formula should always work quite well. Even if some of the jokes don’t work, there are enough of them that the good ones should overshadow the bad ones. Likewise, if you have a lot of fight scenes in a film, there should be at least one or two that you will like.

The MCU’s fights are also a step ahead of the other Marvel companies with the exception of ASM2. Ant Man’s battle against Yellow Jacket is pretty fun. Antman is certainly outmatched and probably should have lost, but it’s cool to see him dodging lasers and keeping up the intensity. Both fighters are always on the move and trying to keep the other off balance. The special effects seen here will definitely age well and the music while in the brief case was pretty epic.

Ant Man also likes to show us just how tiny the fighters are by showing off the outside world during the fights. During these moments, the music will stop and the real world will only have slight movement. This does rage a possible plot hole of Ant Man’s strength though. It’s shown that he still has his human sized strength while he’s tiny and he uses it quite often to take on the villains. So, why does Thomas barely move when the characters hit him at full strength in one scene? In the human world, we just see Thomas get lifted slightly as he bumps into the window. If Ant Man had his full human sized strength, it should have easily shattered the glass.

That’s only a mild thing though. Ant Man’s soundtrack is naturally good. The very first scene has a classic theme that you will remember from most of the other MCU titles with SHIELD and Ant Man introduces some other themes to the franchise. I’d say that just about all of them are good and especially the main “Ant Man” theme. You’ll know it when you see it. Having a good soundtrack is the first step to being a good movie. The next is having good writing.

Ant Man’s writing is solid for the most part. I say “for the most part” because it’s still not quite as good as the average MCU title. For one thing, I found Ant Man’s friends to be a little sad. They’re essentially all stereotypes. It’s used for comedy though and they each have their moments I suppose, but they felt like the characters that you would see in a mainstream comedy title like Pitch Perfect or Tower Heist and those are the characters that I can never like. The main friend is always making crude comments when talking about how he heard his stories and they are pretty off putting. The other two friends are really just there to use slang and try to be funny, which doesn’t work quite as well as the natural jokes that flow from Scott and the villains. An example of a scene that was funny was the Baskin Robbins moment. Those scenes I could get behind and I liked the manager a lot as he knew when to talk off the record as well as on it. Ant Man also felt like it had more language than I would have expected. The characters just can’t keep themselves in line so they constantly panic and let out some colorful words. So, I feel like that’s a bit of a writing issue.

Let’s go into the characters. Scott Lang is the main guy of course and he’s not bad. He’s essentially your average film protagonist who wants to do the right thing, but isn’t sure how to do that. I do think that he gave up and went back to a life of crime rather quickly, but we are led to believe that he looked for jobs for quite a while. A quick montage of that would have been good though. Still, in the end, he learns the values of teamwork and how to be a responsible hero. He really wants to keep his bond with his daughter and gets her a pretty nice gift. He’s certainly a good parent and I do like the character overall.

One plot element at the end of the film does hurt him a little though. There is a very forced romance between him and Hope. As with the average film, they meet and basically fall in love in the span of a few days. It’s just sad that the heroes have to be so predictable like this. At least it’s just one scene, but it’s still something that was not needed at all and was just added because it’s essentially expected at this point.

Otherwise, Hope makes for a good heroine. She can fight, which is always a good thing and she whips Scott into shape right away. She’s better at controlling the ants and is also a better hand to hand fighter, but she had quite a lot of prep time when compared to Scott. You’d think that Scott would have learned some more hand to hand in jail, but I guess he became buddies with the others too quickly. Hope easily outclasses Pepper, Jane, Betty, and Peggy as far as the MCU heroines go. Mr. Pym is another supporting character and he was fairly likable. It was good to see him take a nice shot at the government agent who stepped out of line and he is definitely very active for an old guy. This is not someone who plans to quietly retire from the front lines and I’m sure that he will have a decent role in the sequel. Hopefully he goes back to the mini world himself!

As for the main villain, he’s decently good. He seemed to flirt with Hope a little, which is generic villain 101 for how to not be taken seriously, but Yellowjacket was all right aside from that. You really can’t expect much from him in terms of character development as he’s meant to be a really generic villain, but he fits the bill and I definitely didn’t mind him as the antagonist. The Yellow Jacket suit is definitely really cool and seeing it again someday would be fun.

The film ends with some loose ends to be continued in the sequel or other MCU films. I’m not sure if I’m crazy about the villain who may be around for the sequel since we’ve done this dance so many times already, but we’ll see how it goes. There are two after credit scenes so you’ll want to check them out first. The first one is more of a traditional after credits scene in the sense that it would work for just about any film and doesn’t rely on the large continuity. It’s a good scene. The second one is some build up for the MCU. Time to start speculating about what this will all mean. It was cool to see the “Ant Man will return” sign at the end for sure.

One thing that I enjoyed about the film was that it didn’t act like everyone was gone. In a lot of comics, heroes will conveniently be out of town or asleep so that they don’t have to appear. This film doesn’t go that far and we actually get our first big meta human fight between heroes. It’s definitely neat and I agree with the outcome. There’s really no way that the hero should have lost this battle and as far as the victory went, I felt like it could have been even easier. Not saying that his opponent was a pushover….but he wouldn’t be much of a challenge either.

Sounds like a fun film so far right? I enjoyed the action and the comedy. Ant Man’s characters were pretty good for the most part, the effects were a lot of fun, and the film’s pacing was good. The movie always moved very quickly and I certainly wasn’t bored. The friends may have been a little sad at times and the writing wasn’t great, but the film could hold its own. Unfortunately, that’s where the negative comes in. See, this is a film called Ant Man so you can expect a lot of ants right? That’s the problem.

There is a lot of animal violence here and it’s really sad. The scenes are unnecessary and just there for poor shock value. Again, this is just a result of terrible writing and someone needs to get some new staff for the sequel. Goats already have a reputation of dying in big films like Jurassic Park, we didn’t need another one to die here. As soon as the goat appeared, I knew that it was game over. The way that he died was also very gross. A human died this way as well and it wasn’t sad like the Goat’s death, but it was still gross. This was a line that the film didn’t need to cross.

The Ants also die throughout the film. Scott clearly has no regard for their lives except for a select few. One of the ants gets a very emotional death while the others are typically taken down in the background. I knew that the ants should have all been mechanical. That would have solved the film’s biggest problem right from the start. As it is, this negative really destroyed the film just like with Jurassic World. (A film very similar to this one in many respects) Hopefully the sequel will use robots although I doubt that we’ll see a sequel for a very long time.

Ant Man also takes itself a little too seriously during one moment where Pym tells Hope about what happened to her mother. Scott quickly whips out another joke to stop the tension, but I felt like it almost could have broken them out of their slump sooner or they could have had Hope take the news a little better. That’s really the only scene where this happens though as the rest of the film is typically moving too fast for this to be an issue.

Hmmm, any more things to touch on here? The dialogue effect for the friend’s stories were good as every character had the same voice. If not for some of the terrible lines here, these were definitely some of the best jokes in the film. The guy will remind you of Sam from the Transformers Trilogy as they both have a similar style of speaking and maybe even similar personalities, but different enough that you would never mix them up. I think I’ve hit on most of the big points for the film here.

Overall, Get ready for some name drops, cameos, and world building as the film goes on. Now that the MCU is such a big franchise, it has to keep on growing to keep the audience in the loop and ready for some action. The film is still a lot of fun and has a lot of replay value due to its nature. On a critical level though, I still can’t recommend the title because of the very excessive animal violence. The writing and side characters can also be a bit dicey, but without the animal violence, we’d still be looking at a 7 star film here. If you are prepared for animal violence then you should see this film. If not, you really won’t be missing anything so you can still just skip to Avengers 3 and prepare yourself for the powers of the planet busters. Now, will Marvel be able to bounce back from this? I’m confident that they can as Civil War should be epic. From here on out, the only MCU film that you should be worried for is probably Inhumans and that one should still be good. The real question is, can Ant Man defeat the upcoming blockbusters like Pixels, Mission Impossible and Spectre? It’s going to be tough, but the Ant Man is used to being the underdog so he’s ready for action.

Overall 4/10

Jurassic World Review

I recently saw all three Jurassic Park films so I was all set for this one. To an extent, the premise of the Jurassic Park franchise guarantees that the films will always get low scores thanks to the fact that it revolves around dinosaurs and will have a lot of animal violence. This film is no exception and it’s safe to say that it does lose to Jurassic Park III, but beats the first two films. If you’re a fan of the older films, you should definitely enjoy this one.

Claire has helped to put Jurassic Park back onto the map as the new amusement park, Jurassic World. While her boss doesn’t care to much about the financial part of the operations, that’s where she comes in. She had her team create a new dinosaur that was even bigger than the T Rex to increase the wow factor of the park, but ends up underestimating the creature. It escapes so she is forced to call in the resident dinosaur expert, Owen Grady!

That’s essentially the plot in a nutshell and while I will be talking about the film a lot, I’ll try to avoid spoilers. I managed to see this film yesterday which was fun since a day 0 viewing is always intense. The audience wasn’t quite as ready to roll as they were in Age of Ultron or the first Avengers, but it’s mostly due to the timeslot. They were still ready for action though and I had my comfortable recliner so I was ready for anything as well.

I was cracking up for the first 30-45 minutes. Roughly of course since this isn’t the kind of film where you will be glancing at your watch. It was probably partially intentional by the film, but I mostly didn’t laugh at its jokes, but at the scenes due to being unintentionally funny. One example of a joke where I was laughing (on the inside, I rarely laugh on the outside) was when the parents tease Zach after his heartwarming moment with his friend. It was all in good fun so the parents went a little higher on my coolness chart. They were essentially non factors here though as their screen time was minimal. The kids were fairly awful, but they did help the humor for the film.

Another example is when the two kids finally meet up with Claire. She tries to be nice and excited about seeing them only to get one of the more awkward receptions. Zach basically doesn’t want to talk to her at all and Gray’s mood swings of being somber and then super excited don’t wait for anyone. Claire can’t stay so she lets her assistant babysit them. You just gotta feel bad for Claire and I sympathized with her for the whole film. She doesn’t have a lot of free time so it makes sense that she hasn’t seen her nephews in 7 years. It’s regrettable, but these things happen and the kids shouldn’t hold it against her. She’s trying to be a good Aunt, but they never even gave her a chance. Gray may have, but he was disheartened when she couldn’t stay.

Let’s quickly talk about the two kids. Zach’s thing is that he believes that he’s really cool. He completely ignores his parents at times and ends up flirting with every single girl that he meets. (Even though he’s taken) Zach’s constantly giving Gray a hard time. “Sometimes we have to grow up!” Those may not have been his exact words, but he gets a lot of the most generic dialogue in the film and he’s also a shining bad example in many situations like when he decides to head to the forbidden zone. He felt like the kind of character that you would see in a commercial warning you not to hang out with people like that. He has his hero moments towards the end with Gray of course and he sees the light, but that would help him in the sequel, not here. He was just terrible.

No worries, Gray was awful as well. He’s way too excited and constantly blasts through rides to the dismay of the babysitter. At one point, he starts to whine about where all the dinosaurs are…even though we see that dozens of them are in front of him only about a minute later. There’s no way that he wouldn’t have been able to see them. It reminds me of a critique for the flowers film where someone saw a dead body before they ever could have seen it. Sort of the opposite of this event. Gray really had no consideration for anyone but himself during his visit to the park and while you can sympathize with him since Zach doesn’t want to hang out with him, Gray should have still done a better job of enjoying the park. He’s also pretty emotionless when pointing out a giant dinosaur that is around.

Time for a few quick nitpicks. After two characters jump into a lake, we see them walking a few minutes later and they are hardly wet. Their hair is matter and one of the T shirts is soggy, but the characters look way too dry considering the fact that they were completely underwater for a little while. Anyone who has ever jumped into a pool and then walked out will know that you don’t dry out that quickly. There’s also the ball ride where two characters explore the park. Even once an emergency announcement cuts off the presentation and tells everyone to leave…the ball is unaffected. The passenger still has complete control of it and that’s certainly not very safe. If passengers could control these things to go wherever they wanted, people would constantly be crashing into dinosaurs.

I did also chuckle at the fact that one guy’s whole job was making sure that all of the balls were safe during the crisis. He tells everyone that they’re all safe until he actually looks at the screen and realizes that one is gone. Whoops….that didn’t look too good for the guy. I liked his Dinosaur collection and admired the fact that he always talked a good game, but he was out of his league and he also tried flirting towards the end. Luckily, it wound up being the ultimate friend zone moment and I thought that it was handled rather well. We need more friend zone moments to be honest as they would make just about every film better.

The actual park is definitely somewhere that you would want to go and it looks kind of like Epcot. They have big water rides and a petting zoo section as well. You could say that it’s a fusion of your local zoo with one of the big amusement parks. It’s hard to believe that people would get bored of such a place even though the wow factor was apparently leaving. How I see it, Zoos have remained relevant for decades, a Dinosaur park would at least last 20 years without any big decline in viewership. That being said, Claire may have been overreacting as the numbers still seemed to be quite good when she was mentioning the statistics.

Let’s take this time to quickly talk about Owen and Claire. I haven’t really mentioned Owen up til now, but he did have some solid scenes. I did enjoy his interactions with the Raptors and I like how it was handled. He was their partner, not their boss although he thought of himself as an Alpha. Owen’s essentially your average action hero who has his good moments and his iffy ones. His flirting and dicey remarks keep him from being a good character, but he’s still decent for the most part. It’s easy to root for him at any rate and he certainly knows what he’s doing. He’s another guy who never bows to authority and talks when he feels like it. Imagine if everyone in real life were so bold right? I think the world would be topsy turvy before long.

Claire is a good main heroine for the film and she was actually one of my favorite characters. She didn’t want to have kids which is a noble goal and she has spent her career moving up in the ranks until she became one of the higher ups at the biggest amusement park in the world. That’s no small feat to say the least. Towards the end of the film, she has a bit of a generic ending where you can probably guess that she decides to back away from one part of her logic, but she was still a good character through and through. I thought that she did a decent job watching the kids. Sure, she left that to the assistant, but she gave them VIP passes and they got to have a blast. It’s not like she could take a day off when the big bosses were in town and awaiting her sales pitch after all. I also can’t really imagine her getting on some of the rides and having a blast like the kids. Actually, one of the rides was only built for 2 anyway.

The assistant was actually fairly likable and I originally thought that she was going to be one of the main characters. The actress looked like the main one from Twilight so I thought that I may have just been out of the loop there, but considering her minimal role, I’m going to assume that it was someone else. She definitely didn’t care to be there, but she’s probably seen and been on all of the rides many times over at this point. Still, her facade was good enough to fool the kids I’d say, but they were intent on giving her a tough time right from the start. Her character path goes down a dicey road and I felt bad for the whole time. It just wasn’t her day.

The higher up in charge of the park was decently charismatic. The film was going for a Tony Stark kind of feel for the guy and it worked to an extent. He started to look a little iffy towards the end though, but at least he cared about the dinosaurs a little. As always, there is a human antagonist to liven things up and he is similar to the guy from the first film. He talks tough to everyone and he has his own plans in mind. He gave the film another jolt of humor and I liked him as one of the big bads. This guy certainly wasn’t playing around.

Time to talk about the mystery dino. If you’re seen the trailers, then you know that there is a new Dinosaur hybrid attacking everyone. While she is a little smaller than I had expected, she still packs a punch and makes for a great threat. There are few dinos who can hope to match up to this fighter and she is also very smart. The fact that this dinosaur has been created in a lab gave the writers a little freedom to add some new techniques so this dinosaur doesn’t just need to rely on physical strength. It has two defensive skills, which greatly increase how deadly it can be in a fight. This dinosaur was definitely one of the highlights.

The classics like the T Rex and the Raptor are also present of course and I still love both dinosaurs. Once you see this film, you’ll be reminded why the T Rex is so awesome and how merciless the Raptors can be. It would have been fun to have seen the Spinosaurus enter the fray, but maybe next time. The Raptors get a fairly large role and are integral to the plot. They are still my favorite Dinosaurs out there and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. They just look so happy and cuddly next to all of the others.

As you might expect, there is a big climactic fight towards the end of the film and it’s quite impressive. It was a fight that I actually called out as I walked into the theater and I was thrilled to see it play out. The fighters gave it their all and we see some nice teamwork as well. The fight isn’t that short either and gives the dinosaurs enough time to really show what they are made of. It’s easily the best fight scene that we’ve gotten in the Jurassic Park franchise and it’s hard to picture this one being topped.

There are some plot elements left around to get you ready for the inevitable sequel. Let’s just say that the next film could have dog sized super dinosaurs running around and it’ll make for a pretty epic clash. Alternately, it could have a plot similar to the original King Kong. Either way, the sequel should be fun and I wonder if the main characters would return or if it would be time for a new cast. I would like these characters to return, but I’m open to change so that we wouldn’t have to see the kids return.

Now, this review sounds decently positive so you may expect something like a 7? A 7 is what the film would have gotten if not for the main negative, but it is something that it almost literally impossible for the Jurassic Park franchise to get away from. That is…animal violence. It’s a dinosaur eat dinosaur world out there so it’s expected and I’m not surprised at the fact that dinosaurs are getting hurt all over the place. It simply makes sense even if it is regrettable. So, while I enjoyed the film as a whole, I’ve still got to cripple the final rating due to how many times an animal is injured and how prevalent this is in the film.

One scene is really just there so that the mini army can get some hype as a gun man casually shoots one of the Pterodactyls. That was just unnecessary and a lot of the other animal scenes aren’t much better. We see dinosaurs blown up, eaten, and effectively drowned. If you’re a dinosaur in this film, then you’re in a whole lot of trouble. A lot of the hurt also comes to my good ole Raptors, which is unfortunate, but probably a price of being one of the main characters. I could go on and on, but you get the drift and it occurs too often to be overlooked so you should prepare for a fairly low score on this one.

Still, it was more fun than the first three Jurassic Park films and certainly seemed to have more fun with itself as well. I’m glad that the Park finally got to open and the film was certainly able to make it look much more authentic than it could have with older effects. This is one of those times where the fact that it’s modern and has some good effects, really helps it. To an extent, I feel like new technology will always help films to have an edge over older ones. The older ones typically hold their own through the better writing, but when you have a good modern film against a good old one, the modern one certainly has that extra edge. Jurassic Park III still wins overall, but the tone and pacing of this film can’t be beat. World feels like a classic Summer Blockbuster.

Hmmm, have I touched on everything? I managed to stay pretty vague on all spoiler related areas and that also slightly limits what I can discuss in the review. The first half was really funny and made this the funniest film in the series and the ending also had the best action scene from all 4 so it was a nice balance. Any scene with the Raptors is typically a good scene as well. As for the soundtrack, you’ll certainly recognize the classic theme from the first film as well as the trailer theme, which plays during one of the scenes. The soundtrack may be a tad generic at points, but the main theme is still iconic and you probably won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. As long as you have one memorable scene, that’s more than most films have got.

While the animal violence is really the only big negative, there are some mild ones as well since this still wouldn’t be a perfect film if the violence was gone. (Although it would be a good-very good one) The kids naturally weren’t good characters, but the rest of the cast helped to nullify them. The writing isn’t great although this is mainly due to Owen and Zach’s characters as the rest are typically fine. There is one scene that will puzzle you a little bit as two security guards seem to have no idea that the Park is in trouble even though the alarms had already gone through a good half hour ago. It struck me as a little odd and random. That’s about it so the film was mostly solid. At around 2 hours, it was a good run time, which gave the film enough time to develop the characters and showcase the dinosaurs.

While Jurassic World is mainly a popcorn film with a lot of epic action and enjoyable moments, it can actually get pretty somber and sad at other moments. One of those moments is the Dinosaur graveyard, which is definitely tragic and one of the more emotional moments of the film. One moment that is supposed to be emotional is when we learn of a divorce, but it has no point in the film and its thrown out so randomly that you probably won’t feel any emotion other than a casual wince. Of course, if you like to have fun with films, then that may be a good thing as I was having fun grinning and wincing for some of the dialogue, but in a good way. On the whole, Jurassic World is still a fairly upbeat film that stays happy for most of its run time as it only gets sad once in a while.

The Pterodactyl attack scene will just get thrown in with the rest of the animal violence issue, but I wonder how some critics will take it. I read a critique of Jurassic Park III that Pterodactyls shouldn’t be strong enough to lift a grown man. Let’s just say that they lift quite a few people during the attack in this one. Is the science/films right or are the real life keyboard warriors correct on this one? I don’t know myself, but it seems perfectly feasible that Pterodactyle could lift humans up since animals are typically so tough. I’m no dinosaur expert though and am happy just being a casual moviegoer.

Overall, I’m definitely glad that I saw this one. If you liked the first three Jurassic Park films, then you should definitely like this one a lot. At the most, you may not like the fact that it’s much more of an action film than the first Jurassic Park, which was a survival film, but it’s still about dinosaurs and it’s still a good film so I believe that you would end up enjoying it. The animal violence is regrettable and it’s something that likely won’t leave the series until they bring in the mecha dinosaurs and I’m ready for that to enter the picture soon. Well, next stop should be good ole Terminator and it’ll be fun to see how that holds up.

Overall 3/10

The Maze Runner Review

The Maze Runner was hyped up as the next Hunger Games and that series hasn’t even finished in cinema world yet! Obviously the Maze Runner must have known something that I didn’t so I finally got around to checking it out on DVD. Great concept, but the execution left much to be desired. No worries, the Maze scenes are the best part so that did live up to the billing.

Well, the film takes place in the near future. A lot of kids have been trapped in a Maze and they don’t know how to get out. Every month, a box is sent to them from underground with one more teenager and food supplies. They’ve spent the last few years just trying to survive in their living space as they hope for the best. There are “Runners” who are teenagers that are selected to check out the maze. They have to be careful though since the Maze closes every night and staying inside will mean imminent destruction. So, they have clung to their lives for quite a while and that’s when good ole Thomas shows up. He doesn’t like this status quo…and he’s going to shake things up!

As you can expect, we’re all just waiting for Thomas to go into the Maze. It was in the trailer and we all would have expected it anyway. At first, I was pleasantly surprised with the film’s pacing since Thomas went inside it sooner than I had thought he would. I was practically cheering…until he left and we spent another long period of time outside the maze. (The living quarters are at the center of the maze so I say “out of the maze”) Don’t get the wrong idea….seeing teenagers discuss how they’re all doomed can be entertaining if handled right, but it just isn’t.

Most of the scenes at the living space are just boring or not fun to watch. We have the stereotypical bullies and the twist is that almost all of them are bullies. Everyone falls for peer pressure and the natural born leader wants the status quo to stay. The actual leader is a nice enough guy…or is he? I actually didn’t like him and his replacement was not much better. The whole thing just felt like a scam from Thomas’ point of view and nobody wanted to give him any intel. Just about everyone seemed to be mindless as they would just follow the order’s of the leader. It’s basically a dictatorship and this is certainly not the kind of place that you would want to hang out in.

The atmosphere of the film is very similar to Resident Evil during the climax. Once the maze is…no longer a factor, you expect zombies to start jumping out at you. It’s hard to describe of course, but the area is just very foggy and everything looks very hi tech. You quickly start to get your hopes up about aliens, zombies, or something else. Naturally, the film sends you crashing back down to reality with one of the worst plot twists that I have seen in a long time. The cliffhanger just makes you uninterested in what’s going to happen to the heroes or you at least lose most of your interest. There just doesn’t seem to be much of a point in their journey right now and they should have gone with the aliens/zombies idea. The atmospheric effect is pretty good and few films can actually pull it off, but you need something to happen to keep the atmosphere or it’s just going to fly away.

Thomas is a decent main character….I guess. He just strikes me as pretty annoying to be honest and he’s not very quick on the uptake. It doesn’t help that the other kids shun him of course, but he is always in the dark. He decision to help another one of the kids during a dicey time was pretty good of course and he managed to do well against one of the monsters, but that was mainly plot hax. He also could have put up a much better fight in the getting beat up wrestling game. I’ll never understand how someone can just stand there and watch himself get pushed around without much of an effort. Naturally, Thomas does land one hit so he quickly starts to gloat and then takes his eyes off his opponent. I can’t even…..

Teresa is the main heroine and she shows up as the final person to be sent to the ring. Naturally, she’s a girl so the other boys are mad/afraid that she’s here and she’s also shunned. She doesn’t help her case as she throws rocks at everyone, but I can’t blame her and I just hope that she can fight. Thing is…she feels like she is only here so that we can have a female character involved. Most films don’t pull a reverse harem situation like this in Hollywood so it’s pretty intriguing and I don’t mind so long as they don’t start to fall into the romance game. At most it is implied here and you can easily deny that. I have to give the Maze Runner props where it is due right?

As for the other characters, they’re all pretty unlikable and it’s hard to even talk about them. Newt is the second in command who gets very defensive at the drop of a hat and he just wants Thomas to stop asking questions. He’s the kind of guy who is immensely annoying to be around and he can’t completely stand up for himself even if he’s the leader. Alby actually seems like a nice kid at first, but we know that this can’t last and sure enough…he shows his dark side. He gives Thomas a very lightly veiled threat about what will happen to him if he breaks the rules and he did allow Thomas to be roughly handled when he first came out of the box. Sure, Thomas may have ran, but it was definitely uncalled for. Then, he cracks towards the end and while we’ll probably get a lot of sob stories and twists so make this seem reasonable, it’s still pretty sad.

We can’t forget about good ole Gali. He’s the main bully and he would rather thin the ranks of the heroes then go up against the maze. He’s always pretty unreasonable and he resents Thomas from the very start. You have to wonder how he got along with everyone else. He’s just your stereotypical bully and he pushes everyone around when he feels like it. There’s nothing likable about this guy and the film basically admits that he’s crazy by the end. We also have Chuck, who is the only guy who is really nice to Thomas and wants to be his friend. He also wants to see his parents someday…..Hollywood loves their drama so I’m sure you can imagine how this subplot ends. Minho is the main runner and he warms up to Thomas after the hero proves his worth, but I wouldn’t call him a very good character. He basically doesn’t mind Thomas because the main character is useful to him…that’s about it. Before that, he is pretty cold and he doesn’t mind leaving allies to get stomped on.

We can’t forget the monsters right? There is a pretty chilling moment where we think that there might not be any actual monsters here thanks to a twist, but that it luckily thrown out of the window right away. There are monsters here and they are almost tough. They are essentially mechanical scorpions that move like spiders and there are a lot of them. They’re definitely not very strong as you can destroy them with a simple, sharp stick, but they move quickly, which can make this difficult for the average kid. I’m always glad to have monsters here, but they are definitely not impressive power wise. Their design is decent though.

The actual violence isn’t as repulsive as the first Hunger Games, but it can get rather intense as we peer through one of the monster’s remains. The rest is pretty tame as we just hear/know things without seeing them. It uses the implied violence tactic that the Dark Knight used, which is actually pretty good if you need the violence angle. It’s a safe way to still get the message across. It naturally results in a rather dark tone like The Lord of The Flies and it continues on til the end, but it could be worse. The violence isn’t much of a negative here, but it’s still worth a mention that this definitely isn’t the kind of film that you want to show your kid.

There isn’t really a soundtrack although I’m sure that there are some generic/free domain themes in this film. That certainly doesn’t help the film. The main reason why I just didn’t like this film is because of the scenes at the home base. It’s hard to really describe why it’s so awful there and it may be a number of things. I’ve seen the “main character gets bullied” plot to death at this point and it is definitely not cool to see. Especially since the film is already devoid of any hope, we’d rather not see the main character get put in such a position. The actual setting is also very unimaginative and not very fun to look at the then the disappointing ending didn’t help matters. This is the kind of film that could be much better with adults as the main characters and better still if it had come out in the 80’s/60’s as a black and white film with a lot of debate. Sort of like 12 Angry Men. A reasonable discussion about whether they should leave the Maze or not as the whole film could have been much more interesting. The film just dropped the ball in all of these areas.

Overall, The Maze Runner is about as “good” as I expected. It does manage to crush the Hunger Games, but you are still left feeling empty. Is this the extent of our novel adaptions or are there other titles that we are missing? The Seeker and Alex Rider seemed like good bet back in the day, but they were cancelled and Harry Potter is already over. Ah well, maybe The Maze Runner gets even better with the sequel. The mystery is pretty engaging and I did like the concept. I could almost recommend it to you on that alone, but I could also just recommend the trailer instead. If you don’t mind monster violence and the classic bully scenarios going on for a very long time, then I recommend this film. If the thought of a rather depressing film where all of the main characters are teenagers who are pretty unlikable is too much to handle…you may want to run all the way back to the first Harry Potter film. It’s your choice!

Overall 4/10

Pacific Rim Tales From Year Zero Review

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Pacific Rim got a lot of hype when it was coming out and I had pretty high hopes for it. It had a pretty epic trailer and the very notion of Kaiju battling robots was epic. It turns out that my hopes were probably a little too high for the film since it ended up underwhelming me, but it was still a solid feature. Checking out the graphic novel was a given. I was ready for some big fights, but unfortunately…they were nowhere to be found. This comic definitely isn’t going to help you become a Pacific Rim fan.

The comic takes place before the film as we get to see a little homage of Gypsy Danger as well as some of the old robots. We see one of the main characters as a child and briefly get to see the original Kaiju attack. After that, some new cadets are brought into the Jaeger program to give the outfit some new life. To pilot one of the mecha, you need a pair of individuals who are really in sync. A moment’s hesitation or distraction can be the difference in battle. Technically, the comic takes place after these events, but we see the story through an interview that a reporter is working on with various people. She actually contributes to the problems that arise though.

Well, the comic was really just a lot of filler. That’s to be expected I suppose, but you wouldn’t really enjoy the comic if you just picked it up at a bookstore. They talk about how dangerous the Kaijus are and how the mechs are being sold, but it’s hard to really care. The Kaiju don’t seem to be an imminent threat at the moment and there’s no sense of urgency here. In the present, the humans just seem down and pretty somber. I guess they are on the losing side, but it feels like the war is already over.

One of the main reasons why the comic is not good is that it resorts to cheap fanservice scenes. Neurolinking inside of the mech apparently means that you have to meet in astral forms that really resemble your normal body. You can at least keep on some sci-fi clothes so that the whole thing is less provocative. It’s pretty unnecessary and there’s no point to this. We also get a one night stand just for kicks and so the two main characters would have something to argue about. (Although, it’s tough to call them the main characters since they barely do anything at all)

The main reporter appears to be a decent character at first, but we see her true colors through flashbacks as the comic goes on. She hints that she’s changed since then, but the comic is too short for real character development so we can’t totally buy into this. The flashback definitely didn’t help matters and she just didn’t feel like a real character. She was there to give the reader some backstory, but that’s about it.

The brothers who are asked to pilot the Jaeger aren’t much better. They’re basically your average mainstream joe. They let romance cloud their judgment immediately and they definitely believe that beauty is only skin deep. Gone are the days when we had noble main characters who would really try to be heroes without any reward. It’s hard to sympathize with them at all during their fight over the girl and you’re just waiting for them to fight a Kaiju.

There’s also a subplot with two researchers who used to be friends, but then work caused them to drift apart among other things. They’re picked to help out in the research division and more romance drama ensues. The comic definitely put too much of an emphasis on romance and that’s certainly not what you want to see in an action comic that features Kaiju and robots. The only decent character would be the general guy who saved the kid in the film. He’s still the only character who can get things done here. It’s a shame that he only gets to appear for a few brief pages.

It should also be noted that the art is pretty bad. I would compare it to a fan comic or the titles that are aimed at older audiences so they try to just this style for effect. (Never works anyway) It’s definitely under average and after reading a lot of solid titles like Mega Man and Sonic, it really stands out. I haven’t seen art that was this bad since some of the random Free Comic Book Day comics from a while back. This certainly didn’t help the comic score either and the fight scenes didn’t look bad, but they were extremely brief. You can barely call a 2-3 page skirmish a fight since it’s over before it’s even begun.

So, the comic didn’t really have any notable positives to it. The comic could have easily risen up to a 6 if they had cut out some of the romance and included an actual Kaiju fight. As it stands, the cover is very misleading. I think it may have also been more engaging if we had experienced the events instead of just finding out about them through flashbacks and stories. That’s never the best way to show what happened in the olden days. A more interesting cast definitely would have helped as well. You’ll walk out of the comic forgetting all of the names because the characters just aren’t memorable enough to be remembered.

Overall, Pacific Rim Tales From Ground Zero was pretty disappointing. There isn’t really anything very good to say about it. The concept of this universe is pretty good and it has the potential to be a pretty great franchise. I’m still looking forward to the upcoming TV show and the film sequel should be pretty good as well. This prequel just didn’t add anything to the series and we really learned nothing here. There were no real action scenes and the main characters were all pretty bad. It’s hard to root for the humans, but the Kaiju don’t get to look very good either. Add in the fanservice and the romance and you have a losing formula. I was pretty close to giving this one a 5. It was neck and neck with the 4 star rating, but sometimes the score becomes clearer as you’re writing the review. This was one of those times and I ended up giving it a 4 since I would not recommend this one. Read a Transformers comic if you want some good mecha action with a superior plot. Tales from Ground Zero could not live up to its cover and I hope that future comics will be better.

Overall 4/10

Edge of Tomorrow Review

This film is definitely way more recent than some of the others that I’ve reviewed as of late. (With the exception of Assault on Arkham) It’s time for a good ole 2014 film and this one looked pretty good when I saw the trailer in theaters. I’m always up for an alien invasion film and it looked to have the exciting explosions from Battleship while being a few pegs ahead in terms of writing and character development. It was about as good as I expected although it was also a little lighter on the action than I had anticipated as well.

William Cage is the protagonist of this story and he didn’t really want to get involved in the big battle against the alien invaders. He was happy to report on what was happening, but getting on the frontlines was for the soldiers. Unfortunately, he upsets an army general who forces him to go to the frontlines and things can pretty tough for him from there. He dies. Luckily, Mr. Cage managed to take out a Mimic first, which has allowed him to enter the timestream.

To provide some more background on this, the alien leader has a complete mastery over time. It’s why the aliens are crushing the heroes so easily. Whenever one of the alien Mimics is destroyed, it can go back in time to relive the day and to inform the other aliens of what is going to happen. So, by destroying one of them, Mr. Cage now acts as a Mimic and he gets to relive the day whenever he is destroyed. It’s really not a bad deal, but dying all of the time can be pretty sad as well. I have some issues with this part of the plot, but I’ll get to that later. Mr. Cage realizes that his only way out is to end the invasion once and for all so he will have to locate the war hero (Vrataski) in order to vanquish the aliens once and for all.

Okay, let’s talk about the parts of the plot that I find a little hard to believe. One is that nobody has ever destroyed a Mimic at close range before. I find that really hard to believe considering how long the war has been going on. From the start of the film, they act as if the war has been going on for years and years. America didn’t even join in at first, but we hit pretty hard when we did go in. So, there should be other humans that have obtained this ability. By “more” I’d say at least 10-100. The odds of finding a Mimic are apparently 1/1000 or something like that, but that’s not a terrible odd when you’re involved in a war.

Another dicey part is the hiding place of the master alien. Let’s just say that it picked a very iconic and legendary position to set up shop. How could nobody go to this area during the entire war? It’s not very feasible to think that the alien can easily escape and its travel speed is likely very slow. The heroes were definitely slacking off here and the governments should have been on top of this.

William Cage is a pretty good main character. Unfortunately, he still does suffer from the negatives that plague most mainstream leads. No matter how serious the situation is, he quickly thinks of romance and comes up with some terrible reasons to try and jumpstart this. It’s played for laughs of course, but it certainly doesn’t help his case. I do like how he immediately resorted to blackmail though since that felt pretty “American.” No offense intended of course, but he just did what seems natural to many people at his level. Why risk his life for our planet? He eventually learns how to fight though and he does a pretty good job of taking on the enemies. He’s a little slow on the draw at first, but he becomes a pretty capable warrior by the end. The film takes place over a span of around 1 year based on the amount of days that he had to relive. That’s a lot of time and it’s a wonder that he kept it together. Cage is a pretty decent lead, but I guess he’s pretty interchangeable. I’ll take him over James Bond or Jack Sparrow though and that’s already a pretty solid step up. For the most part, he really he is a solid character, but he’ll strike you as just being very generic.

Ms. Vrataski is the hero who has slain many aliens and she is supposed to be virtually unstoppable. There is a plot twist about this that really eliminates most of her reputation though. I suppose that a figure head is always necessary to win the big battles, but she’s only pretty good at fighting. I wouldn’t call her legendary or exceptional. Especially at one point towards the middle of the film where the aliens continue to best her. I have to say that she was pretty underwhelming although you may have already surmised that from this paragraph. She tries really hard to be the next fan favorite character who’s as emotionless as Mikasa or Sai, but it just doesn’t work here. I assume that she has some kind of tragic past, but the film (thankfully) doesn’t explore this and you just wonder why she’s so mean to the main character. I would be too if I was in her position, but then she needs to back it up a little more while on the field. We also can’t forget how she left Cage to die in one of the first scenes. She’s just not hero material.

It’s time to mention another part that I found hard to believe. A lot of those in this film, but keep in mind that it’s an alien invasion film that deals with time travel and both of those genres already tend to have this “weaknesses”. Mr. Cage knows way more than he should. I don’t see how he would ever learn about someone’s true name through their origin. Most of the other pieces of intel that he acquires off screen are pretty believable, but at the same time it is still hard to picture for others. Even knowing so much about the Secretary was a little dicey at this point. Reliving a day an infinite amount of times is great, but there’s still so much that you can do in a day. Would someone really trust you with their ultimate secret after a single day? I don’t think so.

Aside from that, the film does a good job of avoiding the mainstream film holes. No animal violence, and the slight bits with romance are purely through dialogue and nothing is shown. That’s always a good thing and the action is pretty fun without being over the top in a negative way like we’ve been seeing recently with blockbusters.

The fight scenes aren’t a huge focus of the film, but they were very well done. The aliens are actually some of the fastest creatures that we’ve seen in this kind of a film. I’d actually take one of these against a Xenomorph, Predator, Chitauri, or a number of others. They don’t typically use projectiles, but they’re incredibly fast. If anyone’s seen Attack on Titan, they use a similar spin move to Levi’s. If you haven’t seen it, just picture a top once you spin it. Then imagine that the aliens can keep up this speed as they slice and dice throughout the war. I really liked these guys! The aliens are strategic and very deadly. It’s hard to imagine the army winning a single battle, but the film actually does provide us with an acceptable answer to that question.

Overall, Edge of Tomorrow is a pretty good alien invasion film. I would have liked to have seen the actual battle against the aliens some more or maybe our government leaders and how they plan out their next strikes. I think Cage’s plot was actually less interesting than those would have been, but it’s still good for what it was. We learned that you never trifle with the government as seen in one of the early scenes. I do applaud Mr. Cage for attempting to run though since at least he didn’t go down without a fight. I recommend Edge of Tomorrow as a solid alien invasion film, but don’t go in expecting this to be as thought proboking as other titles in its two genres.It’s a fun summer blockbuster and that’s good enough for me.

Overall 7/10