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Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2

GotG_Vol2_posterThis is one of those movies where the trailer doesn’t do it justice.  I went into this thinking there was going to be a corny forced humor that wouldn’t sit well with an overall semi-serious Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I was proven wrong.  Is that to say there weren’t some moments like that?  No, of course there were, but those moments were done tactfully and worked for the moment.

There will be spoilers from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

A flashback to 1980 has us seeing a young Kurt Russell and how his character of Ego met StarLord’s mom.  I can’t help but notice something here, and let me know if you think the same.  In the 80s there was a movie called “Starman.”  It was about an alien man who fell in love with a woman and drove cross country with her.  At the end of that movie the Starman left and she was assumingly pregnant because of the sexual scenes in it.  The movie to me was a good movie, but left too many open ends never to be addressed.  The character in Starman was played by Jeff Bridges.  Kurt Russell’s younger CGI self looked almost identical to Bridges in that film.  I know they are two different universes, but could James Gunn have used this as inspiration to give answers to a film that never gave them?  Who knows, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax were pretty much spot on with how they were at the end of the last movie.  Star-Lord realizing he is part Celestial was worrisome, but what was a risky maneuver of changing his comic book history, really played out well.  Toddler Groot was a waste to me.  I know it was done for the cute factor, and it made sense as he’s more grown than the end of the last movie.  I don’t think any other way would have been good for him to be presented, but at the same time he just felt like he was there.  There really wasn’t much for him to do.  My main example is the battle in the beginning with the alien squid like creature.  All Groot did was dance, like Star Lord did in the opening sequence of the first one, which to me was the worst part of the first movie.

Skipping back to Ego, who was my second biggest concern going into this, we get an actual comic book representation of the character plus more.  Ego always fascinated me, and to see that they actually showed his full on form and gave him a good origin, made the film.  He was easily my favorite part of the whole movie.  Everything about Ego made sense and didn’t feel stale.

The true father figure in Yondu was heartwarming, and I think it was wise to have Yondu sent off that way.  Michael Rooker is always enjoyable to watch, but his character’s death brings together what was a falling apart team, and then some.  Oh, and he had his longer head fin, which was my gripe about his appearance not having it before.

The Gamora vs Nebula story felt strange in a way.  I’m still not sure I believe that Nebula would have spared her sister, but the explanation worked.  I just think that she’d have been better beside Thanos during Infinity War than against him.

Taserface was exactly what Rocket pointed him out to be.  He was nothing more than that, but served his purpose for humor and the slight bump in the road that he provided.

Finally we get the other characters.  A Cameo from Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster was only in the scrolling credits, which makes me wonder if he originally had a role in this and in Thor Ragnarok.  It was strange placement.  Cosmo the Space Dog also only shows up in the scrolling credits.  Howard the Duck is present again in another great few seconds of appearance.  I love that they do things like this for the fans.  The quick spots by David Hasselhoff and Pac-man were silly, but for my generation were great additions.

The post credits scenes were quite a mix.  1) Yondu’s dart impaling Drax by accident was funny, but not really necessary.  2) The reveal of Adam Warlock’s cocoon is huge.  Although it was in the last movie as a post credit thing, this time we actually get a good look and confirmation of who is inside.  I’m assuming he will start off as a villain for Volume 3.  3) Teenage Groot, while unnecessary, showed purpose.  While only a funny throw away, it pretty much confirms that from here on out we will see adult Groot.  Teenage Groot was great, but I really think this was done to transition the character. 4) The Ravagers original team headed by Sylvester Stallone was awesome.  This sets up a potential union between them and the Guardians for either Infinity War or Guardians 3.  If you didn’t know who they were, then the characters (played by well known actors) were: Starhawk, Martinex, Charlie 27, Aleta, Kruggar, and Mainframe.

5) Stan Lee being revealed as one of the Watchers makes a lot of sense, but I feel ripped off.  He should have been in Watcher form here like the others.  So it begs to question… was he just an informant to the Watchers, or is he an actual Watcher.  It’s something that will probably never be addressed again, but time will tell.  At least they are tying this in.  This also makes for an interesting thought.  Watchers can see many realities.  This basically says that anything Stan Lee has cameoed in could in some way be tied into the Marvel universe.  This includes other studios, versions of characters, etc.

So what did you think?  The soundtrack to me wasn’t as good as the first, but is bound to be open to many more things from here on out.  Overall it was a very funny, action packed, and visually stunning film that is worthy of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

 


Review: Logan

loganDafne Keen.  Remember that name, because she’s a talented young actress in a movie filled with every aspect of the emotional spectrum.  I’m going to review Logan in my typical breakdown, so if you don’t want spoilers, then skip down to the final paragraph for my rating.  Otherwise, stick around for my character break down and feel free to share your thoughts on the film.

James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine – Hugh Jackman gave us what we wanted.  He may not have always had the best material with which to work, but the man cared about what he did.  His portrayal of the character in this movie is the best out of them all.  The dynamic of his healing factor being practically gone made him very vulnerable.  Combine that with his care free attitude, and you’ve got a grumpy old man who is being poisoned by his own adamantium.  I must say that I’m happy he perished in the end.  I don’t want to see anyone take up the mantle of wolverine for a very long time after this (UNLESS it’s X-23).  We will get to that in a moment.

Professor Charles Xavier – As with Hugh, Patrick Stewart always shined in his role as the psychic mutant, but in this movie we are given another shift in the standard.  He’s got borderline alzheimers, and needs caring for.  I love that they addressed this disease in a mutant.  Imagine if in real life, one had his abilities and had no idea what they were doing with them.  There was a brief mention that he was the one responsible for the X-Men dying.  I’d have loved to have gotten a little more explanation on that, but I think it would have been unnecessary in the long run.  I was surprised he died the way that he did, which is a good thing.  It happened at a moment that was him confessing his own guilt.  What a perfect way to go (not in the manner that he died, but the fact that he’d gotten it all off his chest.

Zander Rice – Although a small role, it suited its purpose.  This was more about the characters, than the actual story, so he didn’t need to be doing more than he was.  We got his back story, and a nice tie in to the original weapon X program that his father ran.  In a way they respected all of the previous movies to an extent, despite the timeline being reset.  It shows that some of those original events may have happened the same or slightly different.

Donald Pierce and the Reavers – I was really hoping for Omega Red, a return of Lady Deathstrike, or Sabertooth as the villain.  When I heard the reavers were the antagonists, I shook my head and thought it was going to be a failure.  I am SO glad I was wrong.  They managed to make decent villains that matched the tone of this film in a way that was akin to Mad Max.  It worked really well.

Caliban – I loved Stephen Merchant in this role.  I don’t know why they recast him since Apocalypse, but he looked very similar, and for anyone not paying attention I’m sure they didn’t notice.  He played the part better than his predecessor, but I wish we’d have gotten a mention of his younger years in that way.  We were also presented with Zander Rice saying to gather the body, when Caliban sacrificed himself.  It set up 2 possible scenarios.  1) Caliban could be cloned and come back as a more deformed version (like in the comics) or 2) in the original Days of Future past storyline (in the comics) they used mutant hound trackers to locate the mutants.  This would make sense, as the anti-mutant sentiment was strong in this film.

Laura/X-23 – Remember that name I mentioned, Dafne Keen?  Well she played this part so well, that I think we can have a very VERY good version of wolverine from here on out.  In the comics, she’s the current Wolverine after the death of her father.  They’ve set it up, so I think she’d be perfect in all future incarnations.  I’d love to see her as part of the X-Force movie.  She did an outstanding job with her rage, caring, and rebellious nature, but when she was crying, “Daddy,” at the end I lost it.  I never cry in movies, and I could feel the tears trickling.  Excellent job, little lady.

Rictor and the New Mutants – Who were the new mutants?  Who knows, but the presence of Rictor could mean an X-Factor reference or set up.  While I’ve no real care for these characters in the comics, it’s nice to have this sort of nod in the movies, and despite James Mangold constantly saying this is a stand alone movie, the references to the greater universe seem to be abundant.  The use of the children here wasn’t overwhelming, but a decent nod to what’s possibly to come.  Could they be X-Factor like I said, or maybe recruits for Cable, or even a set up to what eventually could be an X-Men 2099?  Like I said, these don’t need to be all made into movies, but it’s fun for continuity and discussion sake.

X-24 – Here’s what I feel was a low point at first, but then my mind changed.  Hugh Jackman is basically younger here and more primal.  He’s even got a haircut and style to match what Sabretooth had in the first Wolverine movie.  Why then wasn’t Sabretooth used?  We never got a final showdown between the two.  It would have worked just as well as X-24.  Hell he could even have gotten his wish and become X-24 with Adamantium skeleton.  (Remember that is what he wanted originally).  So I complain about this, but then think to my childhood and how there was once a character named “Albert.”  Albert was a robot created by the Reavers that looked like Wolverine.  His storyline also involved a little girl that Logan had to take care of.  Okay, it got way more complicated than that, but I feel like this is not a coincidence.  I believe they used this angle to replace the elements they couldn’t use from the original Old Man Logan storyline.

Enough rambling from me.  Here are my final thoughts for potential on what this movie COULD mean for the X universe.  Here’s my speculation:  GAMBIT is in the works.  Where he falls into this all remains to be seen, but he could be a good element to X-Force since Archangel was killed off in Apocalypse.  Now that Wolverine is dead, perhaps the film could see this lineup: Cable, Deadpool, Domino, X-23, and Gambit… NEW MUTANTS is in the works as well.  Maybe this will center around the new team of kids, but who would lead them?  Again, there’s no telling, but if James McAvoy’s run ends then we could see Cyclops, Jean, and Storm leading the new team.  I realize there is a time problem here, but when hasn’t there been in these movies, and with Cable involved this is all possible.

In conclusion: Logan was a film made for comic book fans, and movie goers.  It reminded me of an old western with comic elements.  It was a roller coaster of emotion that didn’t disappoint.  There will be bigger nerds than me complaining about certain little things, but who cares?  This was the best interpretation of Wolverine yet.  Stewart and Jackman played the roles better than they ever have, and Keen showed talent rare for even veteran actors.  She’s a natural.  I’ll give the movie 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  How would you rate it?  Comment below.


Day 19 #authorlifemonth – Bookish Bucket List

Day 19 #authorlifemonth is what is on my bookish bucket list. It’s my goal to have one or more of my books made into a screenplay for tv, movie or video game adaptation. #itwillhappen #intheworks

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Review: Rogue One A Star Wars Story

star-wars-rogue-one-poster-691x1024There’s been no doubt that this movie would be a success, so in order to avoid seeing spoilers I rushed out with my son this morning and saw Rogue One.  We found this one to be a good stand alone movie that fills in some back story, and introduces new characters that fit in well to the canon.  But does Rogue One live up to the hype?  If you don’t want spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating, otherwise here is the breakdown of what I thought per character:

Jyn Erso: Felicity Jones’ character didn’t need to have more than ten minutes of back story to understand why she is who she is.  They did a great job of explaining a lot in a little bit of time, and it feels as if she’s been key to the main episodes all along.  (In truth she has).  The fact that she dies in the end (along with every other member of this main cast) quells any fan boy theories about her being Rey’s mom.  This was the biggest shocker (the death of everyone), that didn’t really shock me after I thought about it.  It explains why we never see or hear of these characters again.  It also was a great thing, as we know they won’t try to pump out useless sequels to something that’s supposed to be a spinoff one shot.

Cassian Andor: Diego Luna had me thinking he was going to be a real prick from the moment he was on screen, but his rough exterior and approach was a façade.  Jyn and he made the perfect team.  His motives are clear, and despite anything he’d done wrong in the past, he has a reason to back Jyn up on her mission in order to right those wrongs.  I loved this angle.

Krennic: Was a completely unlikeable villain.  This is good for story telling.  He reminded me of a teenager not getting his way and throwing temper tantrums.  Adolescent demeanor aside he provided a big threat to Erso and Andor’s plans, but got his karma paid back in the end.

Chirrut Îmwe: He was perhaps my favorite new character.  A blind monk who lives by the Force, and provided a bit of comic relief.  I like how there was a brief mention that he was a guardian of the Force Temple. (That’s the place we see Luke at at the end of episode 7.)  So we get a bit of what those people were like.

Baze Malbus: was an equally badass partner to Chirrut.  Although he didn’t believe so much in the Force, he stood by his friend’s side til the end.  His heavy weapon pack was one of the coolest Star Wars weapons to date.

Galen Erso: Mads Mikkelsen is one of my favorite actors of today, so you can already see where I’m going with his assessment.  It’s odd to see him in the role of a good guy lately, but he plays the part of father well, and this now makes A New Hope that much better.  One of my all time complaints with episode 4 was that the Death Star was too easily destroyed for such a massive and seemingly impervious machine.  Galen building the exhaust port as a way to access the main core is a genius way of making that which happens next make more sense.

K-2SO: As always with these films, the droids are a highlight, and he’s no exception.  Finally we get to see a droid in action and with no filter on his mouth he seems more relatable than any of the previous droids we’ve met.

Bodhi Rook: seemed unstable to me, even before that creepy squid leech thing latched onto his mind.  Despite that concern, he proved to be a reliable character that fleshed out well.  I only wish we’d have gotten to understand a little more about his motives.  He betrayed the empire.  We get Galen’s reason, but why did Bodhi?

Saw Gerrera: was in the Clone Wars, so this is the first character we actually get to see from that era who was key to the plot.  Unfortunately for us we don’t know (without watching the cartoon) how he got so damaged physically.  He needed oxygen not so differently than Vader does.  He’s a heaping mess of bio and mechanical parts.  His demise so soon was unexpected as I thought Forest Whittaker would have been in it longer, but I think how he was utilized was done so with a smart approach.

Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, C-3PO, and R2-D2 – all had good placement in their cameos/small roles.  It connected this movie to the others in a way to show continuity, without using them as the driving force (pun intended) behind the new characters.  We also get a few other nods and cameos in the background or in quick passing that made me smile.

Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia – And here’s what left a bad taste in my mouth.  The special effects here were off with Tarkin in a way that made him uncomfortable to watch.  I think it’s awesome that they brought back the character, as he is crucial to the next chapter in the main story.  He had to be there, but the digital recreation of the face didn’t work when he was speaking.  It was almost as if his face was moving too much, yet not at all in some spots.  I understand this is nitpicky, but then we get the cameo from Princess Leia at the end, and she looked flawless.  I mean it was like she was pulled right from episode 4.  Aside from the looks the presence of these two was perfect.  This shows how Tarkin gained control of the Death Star, as well as how Leia got the plans.  Even my son’s eyes went wide with Leia’s cameo at the end.

Storm Troopers: My son always loves the storm troopers, as do I.  I found that the addition of the Sand troopers was a bit much.  They didn’t really need them as there were standard troopers everywhere.  It’s not like they were trying to blend in.  This was a pure merchandising move, but one I won’t argue with.  The same can be said for the newly added ships.  Not necessary, but a welcome addition.

Darth Vader:  I have to say that by the end of the movie I was a little upset at his lack of use, but then the second I thought that he came on screen and went on a rampage.  This was the best Vader scene we get to see in full attire.  It shows him at the peak of his rage, and connects him more to his former Annakin self than the other movies do.  I love how we also get to see how he takes a bath.  A Sith Lord must keep clean after all.  My complaint may be picky, but I’ve two here.  1) The lightsaber looked out of proportion.  It looked entirely too short in the final shot of him, and I feel it didn’t match up with what we’ve seen of the weapon in all its other appearances.  It was more a short sword than anything else here.  2) James Earl Jones was a welcome return to the voice, but something about his portrayal didn’t feel energetic or convincing enough.  It could be that he’s quite a bit older now, but I feel he lacked some emotion that could have made Vader much more menacing than he already was.

Time period wise I was a little off in my assumptions of when this took place.  I thought this happened a few years before episode IV, but I was mistaken as it leads directly into A New Hope.  Either way it was a great interpretation with lots of surprises that caught me off guard.  With the exception of some special effects irregularities, this stands well with the franchise, but does not exceed the greatness of a couple of the other entries in the series.  All in all I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.

What do you think?  Did you like Rogue One?  Comment below.


Day 21 – Superior Inspiration

superInspiration for my novel GENETIC MORSELS and its spinoff EVOLVED MUTATIONS began before I could even hold a pen.  Since then it has grown to various different outlets.  Something about super human beings fascinates me.  In real life we’ve seen cases that have been unexplained.  Spontaneous human combustion, clairvoyants, feats of strength and survival that are above the norm.  The fact is that a great deal of the human brain is dormant.  We’ve yet to unlock the potential of utilizing the full capacity of our brains.

This is where my novel came in.  I wanted to present a story where the people in it had abilities in a real world setting and environment.  Imagine a generation of super powered people.  How did they get these abilities?  Is it the next step in evolution?  These are questions answered in the plot.

As I said my fascination began before I could hold a pen.  I grew up reading MARVEL and DC comics.  Unlike most comic book “fan boys” I typically don’t hate a movie or side with one company because I equally enjoy both.  I find the faults in these movies and tv shows, but the bottom line is MOST of them are very enjoyable to different degrees.

But Marvel, DC, and other comic book companies aside, there have been some other great movies that have a similar idea of putting the characters into a real world scenario.  Two of my favorites of these are UNBREAKABLE and CHRONICLE.

Unbreakable caught me off guard.  Back when M. Night Shyamalan was producing some really great content, he showed trailers for this film and they didn’t reveal a thing.  I had no idea what to expect going into this, and had no inclination that this was a “superhero” movie at all.  I knew nothing, and it turned out to be a really decent film.

I had a similar reaction with Chronicle.  I’d heard very little about it other than I needed to see it.  I knew this was a found footage superhero movie, and to me it was very refreshing (in ways different from Unbreakable and other movies).  If there is one superhero movie you should watch that is underrated, it’s this one.

When it came time to write GENETIC MORSELS, I had been swept up in endless hours of research.  As fascinating as superheroes are to me, my one problem is that comic books fail to recognize real world physics.  In my research I found the book THE PHYSICS OF SUPERHEROES by James Kakalios.  It is presented by a number of physicists who answer such questions as “How much food would the Flash need to consume in order to keep up his speed” and “How would Spiderman’s webs hold him to buildings without ripping chunks off or dislocating his arms?”  They use scientific fact and equations to show the answers.  I took much of this into account while creating some of my characters and the situations they’d be in.

While EVOLVED MUTATIONS seems a little bit more over the top than the novel it came from, it too uses real world common sense to keep everything as grounded as possible.  Prime example?  Bernie Johns.  He’s a character I created who has the ability to generate fire from his hands.  The problem is that his skin is not immune to fire.  He is a horribly scarred and misfigured man with a good heart and tragic story.  Daryl Dartmouth is another character who has super speed, but gravity and friction makes a speedster have difficulty in stopping.  In real life while moving at over a hundred miles an hour you’d have to slow down first to stop.  Comics don’t take that into account.  Someone moving at that speed could easily slam into a wall if they weren’t careful.

So what are some of your favorite super hero or villain stories?  What kind of freaks do you find intriguing?  If you’ve read Genetic Morsels, who is your favorite character?  Make sure to hashtag #scrypthalloween in your response and you may win a copy of one of my books. 🙂

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Review: Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice_Through_the_Looking_Glass_(film)_posterIn the second of my two reviews I felt it necessary to write this one for two reasons… 1) I don’t understand the critics of this film, and 2) Lewis Carroll was a huge inspiration in my own writing career.

That being said this review won’t have spoilers, but will be brief and to the point.  Critics have panned this movie so hard, and I just don’t get why.  Did they go into it thinking it was going to be an interpretation of the novel “Through The Looking Glass” and came out realizing it was nothing like it and had an older Alice?  Did they not see the previous movie and understand that Wonderland is supposed to be a little bit weird?

That’s exactly what this movie is.  It’s weird.  It’s strange.  It’s colorful.  The original two novels were all of that and more.  This isn’t the second part of Alice’s story, it’s the 4th.  This and its predecessor are sequels to the original novels where Alice is grown up now.  I give Hollywood credit for making an original story, and I can honestly say this was refreshing.

Would I see I again in the theaters?  No.  Would I tell you to see it in the theaters?  no.  But I do think anyone who enjoyed those stories growing up should rent it when it comes out on dvd and blu ray.  Don’t see it if you haven’t seen the previous movie because it might make you feel as though you missed something.  It references the other movie and doesn’t stand on its own if you’re unfamiliar with its predecessor.

I think what made me like this film, other than seeing it with my daughter, is that it goes out of its way to explain why certain characters are the way they are.  Why is the Queen of Hearts so bitter?  Why is the Hatter so mad?  It does this and more while having a good moral to the story.

It isn’t a movie to be taken seriously.  It’s a movie about friendship and fun.  A movie about dealing with real life stresses and escaping to a fantasy world.  It emphasizes that you cannot change the past, but only deal with it, learn from it and make the best of what’s to come.  And most of all it teaches that no matter how bad family feuds can be there will always be a way to patch up those things and find a common respect and love for one another.

The novels were better than the two sequel movies, but I feel as though the sequels fit into and respect the source material.  I give Through The Looking Glass 3 out of 5 sCrypt logos for decent story, character and visually stunning effects.


Review and discussion: Guardians Of The Galaxy

GOTG-posterIf you don’t want to be spoiled as to certain plot points, then I recommend skipping to the last paragraph to get my overall spoilerfree review.  Otherwise, from here on out the discussion will be about major points in the movie, and I invite those who have seen it to comment below and add to the discussion.

I was always aware of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, but never followed the characters or plots until the relaunch last year, where I picked up trade paperback to catch up and familiarize myself with them.  One of the taglines for this movie has been “The Star Wars for the current generation”.  I have to agree, but at the same time this movie is something that is very new and hasn’t been done before as a whole.  Sure, there are elements rehashed here and there, but if you want something fresh and unique, then stop reading now and go see it if you haven’t.  All happiness aside, I do have a few complaints about elements in the movie, so I’ll do a breakdown of the good and not so good (notice I didn’t say bad), and speculate on a few things to come.

The Plot was intelligently written, with plenty of action, humor and suspense.  The effects were visually stunning (though I can’t imagine seeing this in 3D.)  In regular format this was breathtaking but the fights (especially with Drax involved) were shaky camera at times, and the spinning spacecrafts in the aerial battles were dizzying at times.  I’m not saying this was bad, because it made you feel as if you were a part of it, but the problem with this is that for some people it is a turn off.  Myself included if I’m trying to follow whats going on screen.  In 2D it is great, but I think I’d puke in 3D.

The soundtrack was just plain awesome.  I loved all the songs in there (I’m partially biased because I grew up listening to a lot of those), and it worked, also setting up a new similar soundtrack for the next movie.  The Easter Eggs and tying into the existing Marvel Comics movie universe were fanboy/girlgasmic.  I’ll get into that in my character breakdown, which begins now:

Peter Quill/Starlord: Chris Pratt plays the sarcastic, egotistical Quill very well.  He brings the perfect amalgamation of Captain James T Kirk, Indiana Jones & in his own words “Marty McFly” together.  The movie shows his evolution from a shy kid to what will become a decent leader.  I personally could have done without the over the top cheesy dance sequence in the beginning.  After Spiderman 3 I could do nothing but put my head in my hands when I saw this happening at the beginning.  Somehow, I didn’t mind it as much during the final faceoff with Ronan.

Gamora: Even with prosthetic facial enhancements and green skin, Zoe Saldana is still appealing to the eye.  Aside from her beauty though, she kicked some major ass, just as you would expect from the adopted daughter of Thanos.  I even enjoyed the little bit of tension between her and Starlord.  I just hope they don’t give into it too much in the future.  It’s nice to have that unresolved extra angle in there.

Drax The Destroyer: I’ll admit that when I heard Dave Bautista was going to be Drax, I shivered.  I didn’t want to see a wrestler whom I felt had little to no acting ability taking on a character like Drax (who has little to no personality).  Yeah, you see my problem there?  I was wrong.  Bautista nailed the part.  I actually wanted him to have more screen time.  My only problem with Drax in this movie was some of his lines in the beginning.  They seemed a bit too forced but this was a writing issue.  I know Drax speaks strangely, but the first few lines he delivered were sub par in dialogue.

Groot: While I held out hope that Vin Diesel would play a big baddie for Marvel at some point, his delivery of “I Am GROOT” was awesome each time it happened.  It wasn’t overdone, and Groot’s special effects looked amazing.  I am left wondering though if some of his abilities in the movie were indeed in the comics as well.  I’m not too familiar with the character other than I knew he could be planted to grow again once destroyed.  Speaking of which, the end of the movie, while unnecessary made me smile.  I really enjoyed watching baby Groot swinging to the music.

Rocket Raccoon: I wish we’d have had a little more background on Rocket himself, but his presence was welcome for every second.  I forgot Bradley Cooper was doing his voice because he seemed like his own little furry personality.  A little bit selfish, a little bit of a dick, and just all around rabid feistiness made his part of the team the highlight.

Ronan The Accuser: I remember this villain from many Fantastic Four comics, and knew how menacing and deadly he could be.  My problem in this movie wasn’t the portrayal of him.  I think Lee Pace did an excellent job.  The problem for me is that they are building up Thanos to be a massive badass (which he is), and the guardians plus an entire planet of Nova corps could barely beat Ronan.  So then how the hell will the universe be able to battle Thanos at this point?  I can’t imagine a movie big enough to do that.  With my faith in Marvel I will have to wait and see.  His presence proves that the body in Agents of SHIELD tv show was a Kree alien, so now with that cleared up we will have to wait.  I loved his look in GOG and the wise use of his hammer and abilities.  Even Drax couldn’t stand up to him and that was before Ronan used the infinity stone (gem).

Yondu and Nebula: Both of these characters played by Michael Rooker and Karen Gillan respecitvely added to the whole plot, and I’m glad that they will both be most likely playing a role in the sequel.  I really loved the space pirate feel that Yondu gave off, and Nebula’s battle with Gamora was something I could watch over and over just for the tactics alone.

The Nova Corps:  While I cannot stand John C Reilly, he surprisingly didn’t irritate the hell out of me in this movie.  I thought his presence would have dumbed it down, especially with his delivery in the trailers, but again I was proven wrong.  He was used well, and while I didn’t see him as a serious Nova Corps member, he was a welcome addition.  There was plenty of setup here with Glenn Close’s Nova Prime and the destruction of most of the city that a path has been paved to have the main Nova (Richard Rider) become a defender of earth in the sequel.  Especially with Yondu and Quill’s dad probably wanting to destroy the planet in the sequel.

The Collector: Benicio Del Toro’s role was smaller than I anticipated, but it was more than a glorified cameo.  In fact, his entire base of operations was full of cameos including: Slither, Howard The Duck, and Cosmo the Spacedog.  Oh yes and one of multiple references to Celestials.  I can’t wait til the dvd to pause and see what else is in there.  I understand that Adam Warlock’s coccoon (first seen in Thor 2 ending) was now open, leaving his presence open for the future.  The infinity stones (gems) were finally explained here.  I’ll touch on that in a few minutes.

Thanos: I’m not sold on the whole CGI thing, but Josh Brolin’s delivery and the life he brought to Thanos is downright frightening.  The fact that this could end up being the most powerful villain we’ve ever seen on screen is a scary thought, but one I’m anticipating greatly.

That being touched upon, what do we know and where can it go?  The infinity Gems.  Let’s see.  The Tesseract from Captain America and the Avengers movies was the Space Gem (now in the hands of Loki who also has the gauntlet used to contain the gems).  We know that now.  We also know that Malekith The Dark Elf was using the Aether to change the universe in his image and liking.  Hence the Reality Gem (In the hands of the Collector).  Ronan used the Power Gem in Guardians of the Galaxy to give him enhanced powers (in the Nova Corps safe).  Loki’s Staff in the Avengers had the Mind Gem in it.  This was not confirmed by Marvel, however they said that it could be.  It only makes sense, AND I can argue this with anyone and prove it if they want to debate it.  I’d invite the discussion actually.  Anyway, the Mind Gem is in the presence of Baron Von Strucker (we see this at the end of CAptain America 2.)  Now with there being six gems in all, that leaves the Soul Gem and the Time Gem.

I think one of these (most likely the soul Gem) will be used in the Doctor Strange movie.  It’s been confirmed for 2016 this movie will be an “acid trip” unlike any other movie.  Delving into magic and the soul will make this movie completely unique and it only makes sense to tie in this gem with whoever else will be a part of it.

As far as the Time Gem, I don’t want to speculate too much about Avengers Age Of Ultron, but if they do anything similar to the comic storyline of Age of Ultron, then Time Travel could be involved.  Did earth somehow get a hold of the Time gem to use?  Why do I say this?  In the little footage we have seen of this movie, there is a scene where everyone but Tony Stark is dead.  That’s what it appears to be.  Could he reverse time and change that or maybe Scarlet Witch will alter the probability that this is what happens.  Who knows.  The Antman movie is supposed to happen around the same time as well, so maybe Hank Pym will have had it in his lab and is studying it.  Only TIME will tell.  🙂

There are also 5 unannounced films coming before 2019 by Marvel, and that is in addition to Captain America 3 and Guardians of The Galaxy 2.  One of these will obviously be Avengers 3.  Another I think would HAVE to be Black Panther.  Thor 3 is also in there as most likely.  So what about the last 2?  I’d like to see a female Ms. Marvel movie in there.  All of that should come before the last 2019 movie, which could be called “THE THANOS IMPERATIVE”.  It’d be a great long buildup to a part one movie.  This could literally be centered around Thanos gathering the gems.  It would be a part one and then for 2020 they could bring in part 2 “THE INFINITY WAR”.  Now…. the ONLY way that this can happen and even be thinkable as a way to defeat Thanos with his gems is to have everyone in existence team up.  No, we don’t need people like Hawkeye or even Captain America.  What we need is Thor, Hulk, Adam Warlock and Nova, Ms. Marvel, Doctor Strange, and a few others to go against Thanos.  Maybe even Loki who will want the power for himself will join in the attack against the Mad Titan (after all, Thanos will have to steal from him to get what he wants).  I even hold out hope that some of the rights to other characters will revert to Marvel, but who knows.

So what do you think?  After this long winded review and speculation, I have to give it a rating.  Originally I was going to give this movie a point lower, but BECAUSE of it’s originality and the ballsy move that Marvel made taking the chance on such a masterpiece, I’m going to give it 8 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.  Please, comment and feel free to discuss your own speculations and feelings toward the movie.

 

 


Review: The Amazing Spiderman 2

thIf anyone has caught my previous review for The Amazing Spiderman 1, then you know I gave it high praises; except for the fact that it didn’t feel very fresh and original because it was another origin story.  Now before I go ripping this apart or commending it for being a delightful movie, I have to state that I was a huge Spiderman fan growing up.  He is one of the iconic memories of my childhood.  Therefore, I am both very critical, AND acceptant of what is presented on screen.  I realize things can’t be exactly from the pages of comics.  This review will be loaded with Spoilers, so if you don’t want to see any, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my score.

The overall darker tone of this series is not something I enjoy.  Spider-man is a lot like Superman in many aspects.  I want to see a bright and colorful display.  I don’t want to see a whole lot of night battles.  If I wanted that, I’d watch Batman or Blade.  The whole parents of Peter Parker storyline seemed to flesh out in this one, which made for an interesting reason why Peter being bitten by the spider would have altered his DNA that way.  I enjoyed this very much, and am glad they sort of put an end to it.  It served it’s purpose so let’s move on.  My character breakdowns from previous reviews seem to be attracting attention, so I’ll review the movie like that.

Spider-man / Peter Parker: Andrew Garfield is a wonderful actor, but I still don’t like him as Spiderman.  I hate to compare, but overall, the more I watch this series, the more I want Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi back.  Don’t get me wrong, there was tons wrong with the original trilogy, but Garfield’s Peter doesn’t seem right.  It’s almost like they don’t know what to do with him.  Parker is supposed to be a nerdy kid who wise cracks cheesy lines with his enemies.  It is his staple.  Instead, in this series, we get a punk Brooklyn kid who seems more like a douchy bully than anything else.  At times he conveys what Spiderman should be, but I am not sure where they are going with him.  This parker is a punk, then loveable, then wise cracking, and then emo.  PICK A FRIGGIN’ EMOTION ALREADY!  Everyone has mood changes, but this is ridiculous.  It’s like he is four different characters.  I was however happy with the updated classic look of the suit, and WHY he had a new suit.  Spidey’s outfit here is the BEST costume overall in ALL the existing Spiderman films.  I still can’t fathom how he can fit so much web fluid in those little cartridges, but I can suspend disbelief because it’s a comic book film.

Gwen Stacy:  Emma Stone is a major highlight of this film.  Or should I say was?  Her purpose was meaningful, and although her dialogue was often horrible (As was most of the dialogue in the film), she was believable.  My issue would be that they decided to make this genius level student a complete idiot in the end.  She thinks she can help Spiderman take on Electro, and that’s just moronic.  Yeah okay she overall did, but it’s not a smart move.  She was that annoying girlfriend that just doesn’t go away.  This leads to her ultimate death at the hands of the Green Goblin.  In the comics she was thrown from a bridge by the Goblin (Norman, not Harry), and Peter tried to stop her fall with a web, breaking her neck.  Here, she was thrown from a clock tower by Harry’s Goblin, and Peter snapped her spine with a sudden jerking stop.  The scene was VERY effective and one of the best recreations of comic book lore to date.  You felt the impact before, during and after her death.  Gwen really is the one who let’s Peter know posthumously that he is destined to be Spiderman (even if those exact words weren’t used).

Max Dillon / Electro: Jamie Foxx really played this role well.  I feel that this WAS the electro from the comics, despite the fact that they made him a genius engineer with obvious social and mental disabilities.  The lack of social and mental normalcy made him seem like the dimwit from the comics.  The fight scenes and effects with him too were just visually stunning.  Is he dead?  No I doubt it.  He’s probably reserved in that little battery that was strapped to his head, at least as some kind of spark.  I wouldn’t mind them bringing him back at some point in a lesser capacity.

Green Goblin / Harry Osborn: Dane Dehaan played the role of Harry well.  He even played Goblin well.  Let me say this though.  Aside from the design being utterly horrible, I’m sick of seeing Green Goblin.  This one is more akin to the ultimate version, but its just overdone.  If you use a goblin, then for the love of God, please use hobgoblin or even demogoblin, because this is just getting redundant, and that is probably one of the biggest flaw’s that director Marc Webb has in these films…. nothing is NEW.  BTW, I’m not believing that Norman is dead.  His hands and look in his “final” scenes made me believe he’d be back as the Ultimate “hulking like” version of the character.  Only time will tell.

Felicia Hardy: She has a minor role in the movie, but you can see that she would practically do anything for Harry.  This is a perfect setup for her to become BlackCat in the next movie.  I really think that is the way they need to go.  Make her a villain who will eventually pick a side and team with Spiderman.

Rhino: SMH.  I love Paul Giamatti, but his Russian accent is overplayed and not believeable here.  AND I’m sick of seeing mechanical exosuit villains.  WHY did we get a giant robot rhino with guns?  All I have to say is that for the next movie or sinister six, he better have an updated form of the suit that is more akin to the comics, because this is just the WORST design EVER!  Instead of the headfirst charging Rhino, we got a walking tank with machine guns, and a tease of a fight.

Aunt May, The Ravencroft Institute, Richard and Mary Parker, The head of Oscorp: all of these were delightful to see on screen and had a clear purpose.  Nothing much can be said because they were practically flawless.

Alistair Smythe: An awesome cameo that I didn’t expect.  In the comics, he creates the Spider Slayers.  this is all a setup for future I believe, and since he was placed in a cryo type freeze tank, I believe he will be back (maybe with some cyber enhancements).

The man in the shadows: okay, so we still have no idea who this is, or do we?  He showed up in the post credits from the first film.  Now he shows up at the end to assist Harry in putting together a “team”.  Who can he be?  They called him Gustav Fiers.  He must be none other than Chameleon, who was a key player in the comics in forming the Sinister Six.  If this is the case, then perhaps we will actually have more than six villains.  Here is my speculation as to where this will all go….

There are more films coming.  It is confirmed that we are getting: The Amazing Spiderman 3, Venom, and Sinister Six movies, followed by The Amazing Spiderman 4.  It is also confirmed that Andrew Garfield is playing the character through the year 2020.  Now, with that being said, here is where I see it going.

TASM3: Felicia becomes Black Cat.  She breaks Harry out of prison, and he and her team up to take on Spiderman.  He is still coping with the death of Gwen, but this is where Felicia and Mary Jane being introduced into his life will cause conflict.  He won’t know who to trust.  In the end, I believe that Black Cat will turn against a super charged (more ultimate form of the goblin) and Harry will probably die.  This movie is all about conflict… Felicia choosing a side, Peter moving on, Harry realizing his best friend is his worst enemy.  There will also be setups here to the spinoff films.

I know I said that I don’t want to see Green Goblin anymore, but this is the only logical way to go at this point.  To make him different, his DNA could be altered further to really fit that Ultimate Goblin look.  Black Cat will be the first female villain for spiderman, and everything will feel a little fresh.

Venom: there were some easter eggs in the film.  We had the mention of the Spidervenom which is the arachnid’s blood.  In the ultimate comics, Venom isn’t an alien symbiote… it is instead a derivative symbiote from Spiderman’s blood.  There is also a Morbius easter egg, but that probably wouldn’t apply.  In the venom movie, we could see a classic Eddie Brock taking on the mantle of the villain, and going up against his own offspring, Carnage.  This HAS to be a venom vs carnage movie.  it has been something the fans have wanted for years.  It could be a one and done movie, where in the end, Eddie Brock either becomes anti-venom for a future film where Flash Thompson takes over as venom, or something else.

Sinister Six: Chameleon will take on the reigns of moving forward with Harry’s original plans.  Who should be in this movie?  TASM 2 set up: Doctor Octopus, Vulture, and Rhino.  Smythe would be a good add on, while bringing in Scorpion or Kraven the Hunter.  actually, there are lots of things that they could do…. I could speculate for hours on what the GOOD thing to do would be.  If only they’d hire me to correct the issues, I’d be able to set them straight.

TASM 4: could be a whole fresh start.  The spiderman verse is fully established at this point and we can go back to one villain only…. bring in Mysterio.  He’s a big enough threat on his own.

Sorry if I strayed with my speculations, but this is something I’ve been mulling over, and I’d like to hear your comments.  All in all, with TASM 2, we had okay plot, GREAT character setup and building, HORRIBLE dialogue, and AMAZING action scenes.  It wasn’t by any means a bad movie, but it certainly wasn’t a great movie.  I have to rate it with a 6 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  Good?  Bad?  Did I miss something?  Where do you think the series will go?  One final thought.  I felt gypped by the post credits scene.  It was a scene from X-Men Days of Future Past, and while I’m excited to see the movie, an advertisement serves no purpose to the fans unless there is a potential crossover at some point… I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Spiderman and The X-Men on screen together?

 


Review: Dredd (2012)

Dredd-1I’ll admit.  My familiarity with the 2000 A.D. comic book character, Judge Dredd, is not a lot.  Before watching this movie, I did a little research to try to get a feel for the characters themselves.  When the movie Judge Dredd came out in the 90s, I went to see it because I’m a huge Stallone fan.  That being said, other than some cheesy entertainment, that film was very subpar to what I felt a comic book movie should be.

When they announced Karl Urban would be playing the title character in a 2012 remake (completely unassociated with the Stallone movie) I was both excited and worried.  I feel that Karl Urban is one of the best actors out there today, and I knew he could pull off the role.  What had me worried was that people would remember the movie from the 90s and associate that with this new one.  Apparently that happened in the U.S..  Overseas, Dredd made a decent amount of money for what it was.  Here, in the States, it flopped.  Unfortunately, that is sad, and after watching this movie, I realize that it didn’t get a fair shot.

To begin this review, I will warn that there WILL BE SPOILERS!  If you want my thoughts without spoilers, scroll down to the last paragraph.  When I saw the trailers, they honestly didn’t do much for me.  Even up until the moment I went to watch this movie last night, I had concerns.  I’m glad that I didn’t read too far into them.

Let’s begin with the casting.  I’ve already mentioned Karl Urban and my thoughts on him.  His performance was Judge Dredd, from what I know.  Lena Headey as the villain Ma-Ma was completely believable.  I enjoy Headey’s work, and don’t think that a better person could have been chosen for the role.  Some minor castings that were notable were Wood Harris as Kay and Domhnall Gleeson as a computer techie.  Harris was not very impressive in his performance, but there were a few moments where he was decent.  Gleeson on the other hand was extremely creepy, and deserves credit for pulling off the role well.

The most impressive of performances, and one that I feel carried the movie was Olivia Thirlby as Judge Cassandra Anderson.  Maybe it was the fact that her character had psychic abilities, so she was forced to have more emotion, but the wave of positions she took in the movie was impressive.  She had a compassionate side, a disturbed side, and definitely proved to be a badass when she needed to be.

Plot decisions:  The story chosen for this movie was a smart move.  Instead of going with an origin, they went with a typical day in the life story, which skipped all of the nonsense that we didn’t need to see.  The voiceover by Karl Urban in the beginning is all of the back story we need for this film.

Having Dredd and Anderson in a locked down building with thousands of people targeting them (or having reason to) was an instant burst of adrenaline and palm sweating material.  The whole time you had to wonder how the hell they were going to survive.  My only real complaint is that when the four “bad” judges showed up toward the end, they didn’t seem like much competition for Anderson or Dredd.  I also felt that when Dredd and Anderson both got shot, it was too easy of a repair.  The blood lost didn’t even weaken our heroes.

Visual and Sound effects:  Wow!  That is all I really have to say.  Mega City One was amazing.  Not many movies can pull of 3D or slow motion.  In fact, I feel that those two effects are way overused in movies as a gimmick.  Most of the time, it doesn’t even work right.  Dredd pulls it off.  Of course, the slow mo was used more in the drug induced scenes, which made it have a purpose.  The gore factor also gave it a realistic feel as well.  You know Dredd is dealing with criminals with complete disregard for human life, and he is there to judge them appropriately.  If this movie didn’t have the blood and guts, there would be no point in making it, because it wouldn’t be believable.

The sound was also notable in that I don’t think it could have been mixed any better or planned differently to make it more impressive.

SPOILERS END HERE with final thoughts.  Dredd is FAR underrated.  The way it ended made me want more, and I hope that a sequel is greenlit.  If you haven’t seen it, and are a comic book or action film fan, then check it out.  If you still are unsure, then let me put it this way.  ROBOCOP + THE PUNISHER + MAD MAX + better plot = DREDD.  I definitely believe that in 2012 it ranks right up there with The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, and in fact surpassing the latter in some aspects.  For 2013, I’m redoing my ratings, so instead of a scale of 1-10, I’ll rate things on a five scale.  Dredd gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt seals of approval in my opinion.  Chime in with your thoughts below!