Deadpool 2

Before any of you take my words too seriously, let it be known that I gave the original Deadpool a 2 out of 4. Why? Some people were quite angry with me back then! They called it a fresh sight for sore superhero eyes.

And I called it sort of boring. We start with a good intro, but then when we get the flashback, it takes forever to get to the point where we get Deadpool power again. A seriously long time, that is humerous, but less funny, and just….slow. The other main issue was the weak villains. It was a very ground film, but I watch superhero films so that superheroes can fight challenges, not just generic strong people.

Either way, with the sequel, I was more excited. It was going to have a wider cast of characters, it clearly didn’t have to get bogged down in backstory for our main character. It also was going to give us Cable for the first time in modern cinema, so Deadpool 2 had something unique going on for it. And honestly, just, it needed a second try for me. This time I was already given two amazing superhero films in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, so it had a bit of a hill to climb to get to their levels.

Ass
More ass is a nice touch though, I guess.

Deadpool 2 takes place after the events of Deadpool. I know that might sound shocking, but time is usually linear.

Unless a movie has a time travel device. Oh hey there is a time travel plot? Fuck. This movie has Cable (Josh Brolin) in it! Oh no! He is from the future, and he has a kid (Julian Dennison) to kill. If he kills the kid, his future is better for him at least. So why not?

Well, there are a lot of reasons why not. And Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) might have to protect them, although it doesn’t sound very Deadpool-y. Speaking of Deadpool-y, this plot outline is really vague, isn’t it? Yeah, because honestly, the less you know, the better.

Also starring Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Bill Skarsgård, T.J. Miller, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Eddie Marsan, Jack Kesy, Shioli Kutsuna, Leslie Uggams, Stefan Kapicic, and Karan Soni.

And Rob Delaney as Peter.

Peter
And Peter guys, come on.

If you only had to read one statement about the film to confirm your beastly desires, then let it be this one: I think Deadpool 2 is better than Deadpool. So if you loved Deadpool, this might an even more crazy experience.

There is more action, there is more gore, there are a lot, lot more surprises, and an infinite amount more Celine Dion. It will shock you early on, throughout, and through the end. Both in terms of just how far it goes and the themes it will explore. It has probably one of the best credit scenes of all time.

And yet, it actually put me to sleep early on. Getting plot heavy isn’t a problem, but when the plot is sort of going all over the place, and it is just filled with streams of meta or lame jokes, it is easy to lose disinterest. Sure, it picks up in the second half. And yet as a full film it is just lacking again.

I do find myself more willing to re-watch this one than the first film. And future films too, given that they probably won’t have any T.J. Miller after the incidents.

Also, Peter!

2 out of 4.

Avengers: Infinity War

I really don’t have to spend a lot of information on this intro, do I?

Avengers: Infinity War (originally called Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, but people were nervous about half movies, and now the next one’s title is a secret because of spoilers or something.

I was an ecstatic little girl when the first Avengers film came out, waiting for it as soon as the first Iron Man film finished. Since then, things have been a bit more middling. My reviews have generally always been positive, none of them ever received under a 2 out of 4, and some of which are maybe too highly rated. Not everything I am extremely excited for, but most I definitely have a higher interest.

Last year, no superhero movies made my top of the year list (although one of them was about a super hero, sort of). This year, I already had Black Panther as a 4. And yet this film, this one right here, has me just as giddy as the first one for so many reasons.

So let’s just get into it.

Group 2
Oh yeah, look at these folks. Maybe this is just Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, we had a surprise for Thor and his crew. This film takes place right after that point. Bad news for the Asgardians, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is here. At this point he has one of the infinity stones, out of six total. His goal? To wipe out half of the life in the universe.

Now presumably this just means sentient life forms who walk around and have languages. I don’t think he has anything against puppies. Or plants. He isn’t doing it out of spite, he is calling it mercy. It is sort of his thing. He has been doing it manually with his own crew for a while, but he wants the stones to do it instantly, so that the survivors can flourish. You know, by having more resources, more space, less crime, whatever. He is a benevolent God.

It turns out some people have some issues with him wanting to do this though. And with two of the stones (that we know of) being on Earth, he is going to have to come crashing down, where a few people down there are decently strong and going to have to put up a little fight.

Starring every goddamn person ever. You know, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, and Benicio Del Toro.

Also featuring some newbies, like Peter Dinklage and Carrie Coon! Two whole people! Wow! And some technically regular people like Gwyneth Paltrow and William Hurt. Damn, did I get them all?

Group
What is this a crossover episode?

What’s to say that isn’t already all over the internet?

Avengers: Infinity War is a fan pleasing romp across the universe, adding most of the cast we have come to love into a few surprising show downs, where the stakes have never been higher. It is certainly one of the darker and serious Marvel films at this point. People are going to get hurt, people are going to be sad, and people are going to cry. Well, maybe. I know I cried near the end, and almost another time before then.

Acting wise, a lot of the stars gave their A-game. Shout out to Cumberbatch who really felt like a leader of this group, despite being one of the most recent additions. Holland was brought in for his acting ability, and it really showed by the end. A lot of pain was on Evans’ face throughout the film. Hemsworth is so goddamn Thor-y, its fantastic, and I am glad we got so much of him in the last few movies. And finally, Saldana, who is normally a low point from the acting carried a lot.

Of course I also have to talk about Brolin as Thanos, a role we have been waiting for for years and it really paid off well. This is a goddamn villain right here. It is really great writing when you sympathize with someone who is trying to kill half of the universe.

I don´t entirely know where Marvel is going with its ending, but I do have a feeling I will be incredibly annoyed by it in the next film. I think they are going to take what they did great here and ruin it with the second part, but that is just a gut feeling.

Avengers: Infinity Wars has some of the best fight scenes and team ups yet, and is just pure fan service through and through while giving an incredible story as well. I wish this film was longer.

I don´t have to tell you to go see this one, I know you will, and I can´t see anyone who likes the series to be disappointed with this milestone achievement.

If there is anything to be disappointed in, it is Marvel´s poor decisions to not include their other people. I haven´t seen Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in forever, but it seemed to react to the movies but never impact them, but someone from there might have been involved. And the Netflix shows? Come on, there was stuff happening in New York. If the Netflix shows ignore this event (which they didn´t ignore the first Avengers movie…) then they are just making poor decisions.

Group
You’d think with three group shots I’d have gotten all the heroes. But nope.

4 out of 4.

Gringo

Gringo had something funny occur with their PR screening ahead of time. Our screening wasn’t until the week of release, like normal, but they actually sent out the real invite for it over a month early. Now, normally, these invites are a week to two max early. If any earlier, we get save the date notes or whatever to let you know it is coming up, but this was just the regular invite to respond to for RSVP purposes.

So of course I accepted, and the only reason it is much later a review is because I was sick that day, couldn’t go, and had to watch it weeks later in the theaters. I wanted to see Gringo, it looked fun, and sure, it had a plug on The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. Let that be a lesson for you, advertising can work. Why else would I still be using old spice body wash every day?

Gringo has an interesting name, given what I think I know what it means, and that we had a film awhile ago called Get The Gringo, which was also a bit better than anticipated. I had high hopes for Gringo given it setting, its very fun looking cast, and of course, because of Mr. Copley adding his own weird style.

WHich One
Which one is the gringo though, really?

Our story is about Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo), a man who never can catch a break. He has a high job in a pharmaceutical company,but he isn’t rolling in the dough like the people in the higher levels. His wife (Thandie Newton) is an interior decorator, but only has one client and is bleeding their money. His boss (Joel Edgerton), is a hardass, a dickwad, and all of the body parts between those two. But he makes that money, he is good friends with Harold, and he got him the job in the first place.

Harold has to work and travel to Mexico frequently for their job, where they have the pharmaceutical factory set up. They are making a weed pill, so to speak, so that when America starts lifting those bans, they will have the product and infrastructure in place to take advantage of the now open market.

Because we are talking about drugs and Mexico, it should be obvious that the Cartel is also involved. Harold doesn’t know about that of course, he is a good guy, but when dealing with his boss’s mistakes, he is about to see how little he matters in the grand scheme of events.

Also starring Carlos Corona, Alan Ruck, Kenneth Choi, Sharlto Copley, Charlize Theron, Melonie Diaz, Amanda Seyfried, Harry Treadaway, and Yul Vazquez.

GOT HIM
Ooooh, looks like they finally GOT THE GRINGO! Oh, wrong movie. Sorry.

Gringo is an example of a story with a lot of separate plot lines amongst the characters, where no one character is sure of what is actually going on, and all the chaos that occurs from these miscommunications and lies. But also, with death, violence, and comedy. So yeah, going for a Taratino film feel.

Out of all the many cast members, the only one to really shine is our star, Oyelowo, who seems to have perfected that scream freak out look that he gets to do over and over in the film as he continues to get shit upon. Because that is the movie. Bad things happening to his character, despite being a relatively good guy, and him never getting out of his situation.

If you hate crazy plot lines, you still might enjoy it for Oyelowo’s performance, where he seemed to show a different side of him. A more excited side, compared to more of his very serious roles recently.

The movie did feel quite long, given the twists and turns along the way. And hey, I didn’t know where it was going most of the time. So it was a surprising thrill ride that did still have me on the edge of my seat. A lot of bad people in this one, and one guy to root for. A good classic film position to be in.

Give Gringo a shot, at least just once.

3 out of 4.

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft first entered our lives in 1996, with giant pointy boobs, and a woman hero that has never been that defined ever in video games. Them polygons.

A strange video game feminist and sex icon, she raided the fuck out of tombs, and in some versions of the story, fucked the raiders in the tombs. It led to more female protagonists, more hybrid shooter puzzle games, and was a real win for the genre defying starlet.

Well, many years later they decided to reboot it a bit. They had Lara change her body type and her motives, and we got more polished games, more puzzle focused, but with a strange and many easy ways for her to die terrifying deaths. Not as bad as Dragon’s Lair, but relatively similar.

So why not also have a movie reboot as well? A new Tomb Raider. Get someone up and coming, get her in her first real action movies, and get her on the big screen.

Abs
Oh, and get her some abs and some muscle.

Laura (Alicia Vikander) grew up in the lap of luxury. Her father (Dominic West) was basically this perfect specimen of a man, who treated her well, trained her to be a model citizen, was into charities, being rich, and of course, cultural secrets. You see, he was sort of absorbed with the idea of finding a missing tomb of an ancient Japanese queen who was said to bring death to the world. Why did he want to find it? Well, it is a goddamn challenge, lost in history. That’s why!

But when he left on that fateful afternoon, he never returned.

Now, many years later, Laura is working, being athletic, doing things, but refusing to sign the papers acknowledging that her father is dead. No, he must be out there. If she signs the papers, she inherits the fortune, but she would rather struggle on the street and hope than admit to his death. She would rather starve, damn it.

Well, eventually she almost signs it, so she is given a puzzle key and that leads her to a secret message from her father. Following the clues, she is led directly to his research, with information on where he went, his goals, and learned about a bad organization and what they wanted to do with that information.

Oh no Laura, what are you going to do? Follow your father’s wishes and destroy all the evidence? Or go on a trip to complete his mission once and for all? Well, we know the answer to that one.

Also starring Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Alexandre Willaume, Derek Jacobi, Nick Frost, and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Bows
Everyone knows that girls like to play with bows growing up. In and out of their hair.

The original Tomb Raider film was pretty okay. For the 12 year old budding reviewer, it was beyond everything I had hoped for, well, almost. The sequel I didn’t watch until years later and don’t really recall much about it.

If I had to describe this reboot in two words, the words “pretty okay” would be perfectly acceptable towards this film as well. If you want action/adventure, you will get a decent amount of it. Most of it takes place after she leaves London of course, outside a thrilling-ish bike race scene. It seems that after we got to the island, a scene where she escaped capture seemed to last for fucking ever. I was just waiting for her to finally die, or just get caught. Of course neither would happen, but I knew those scenarios would finally let the movie chill out a bit.

The ending parts with the tomb really didn’t let the movie shine. A lot of silly things occur, with puzzles that don’t feel smart or anything, just inconvenient. I want the obstacles they overcome to be actually well written is all.

Overall, there is a lot of hope for this movie. Vikander does do a wonderful job as the new Lara Croft, I believed in her ability to do awesome things. It is still a bit cheesy with mostly lazy thrills and stunts though. An adrenaline junkie might have a good time, but this is still not the video game movie savior.

2 out of 4.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

A few years ago, Oscar Winner Guillermo del Toro directed a fun little giant monster movie named Pacific Rim, that was meant with not real acclaim, but most people admitted it was at least a bit fun.

I remember going to the opening night release, a theater full of guys, and my now wife being the only (presumed) lady in the audience. It was a fun experience. It had a lot of fun characters and great actors, some of which hammed it up sure, but they put an end to the goddamn apocalypse.

This next film, Pacific Rim: Uprising, has no del Toro directing it, was put off of the line up indefinitely a year back, and is just now finally coming back. It is set later, so we can have a mostly new cast, and uhhh, I dunno. I guess it is about monsters and robot stuff still.

Battlebots
I think I will just refer to them now as battlebots.

Set ten years after the first film, the humans have won the war, no more alien sightings, and they are just living their lives. Some areas have never been rebuilt on the coast, others are back to normal. The Jaeger program is still kicking around, building a few machines and training new recruits just in case another attack comes. But for the most part, they don´t do a lot.

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) thought about living up to his father´s legacy, but instead he would rather live in an abandoned city, stealing Jaeger parts and other items for junk food and dollar bills. Hey, YOLO and stuff.

But during a theft gone wrong, he ran into a younger girl, Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) who built her own very tiny Jaeger on her own stolen parts, small enough to be run by a single person, not two! They get into trouble, arrested, and now Jake has a choice. Join the Jaeger Pilot program (again!) or, you know, jail. His older ¨sister¨ Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) is sort of leading the thing again, so she gave him that totally not forced option.

Long story short, this movie has a lot of cadet training, and worrying about the future of the Jaeger program. Will they switch to drones? Why waste money at all? What did the Kaiju want? And why is there a rouge Jaeger running around, kicking ass and killing people? Oh wait, what?

Also starring Burn Gorman and Charlie Day reprising their roles, along with other newcomers like Tian Jing, Jin Zhang, Adria Arjona, and a loaf of bread. I mean Scott Eastwood.

People
Well, if anything Eastwood is an incredibly attractive looking loaf of bread.

¨Hi, my name is Pacific Rim: Uprising! Allow me to make a film full of boring cliches and not a lot of fun action!¨

Boring cliches you say? Well, we got a son who doesn´t want to associate with his dad´s trade beside his knack for it. We got in general, cadet training programs of teenagers (with attitude!) who aren´t doing as well as hoped. But you know by the end, those same kids are going to have to be the ones who save the day. The band of misfits who struggled and grew together, not only learning how to be heroes, but to…love.

Other mistakes this sequel wanted to make was killing off old characters in dumb ways just so we can focus on the fun spunky youths more. It took WAY too long to get to some goddamn robot versus monster fighting action, which is what we signed up for in this film franchise. We had to see robots fight for each other for awhile, and obvious plot twists instead. Timing was very strange throughout the film, with the implication they did a lot of things fast that felt like weeks of work, despite having a huge time crunch to do it.

But hey, I won´t completely shit on it. Here are some pros. 1) The final fight was long (and really our only robot/monster battle), but entirely during the day, so you know, you could mostly understand what happened. 2) The Jaeger battle armor to control them didn´t have boob plates for the ladies. And, 3) There was a bit of talk about geology! Not a lot of it, and not necessarily accurate, but still, geology, what fun!

1 out of 4.

Justice League

Justice League promised to be The Avengers, but for the DCEU. Obvious comparisons are obvious.

Unfortunately, unlike Marvel, most of the films that led up to Justice League were either shit or average. The only one to break the mold a bit was Wonder Woman, but it still couldn’t fully escape the terrible grasps of these franchises by having a completely shit and eye sore ending.

So I didn’t go out of my way to see Justice League. One of those fool me four times, shame on me sort of things. It didn’t help that it had behind the scenes director changes, a lot of issues with reshoots, and extreme studio interference. Clearly another great film to fit the theme week of ones I should have watched last year.

Team
Is this the whole team? Eh, close enough.

Batman (Ben Affleck) really wants to bring all these super people together, to fight off giant threats that they cannot do on their own. Remember Superman (Henry Cavill)??? He totally died, but didn’t die as they made clear at the end of the last movie, so they gotta work together to beat future gods.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is generally on board. They just have to find more people. These people beings who will eventually go by their names of The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa).

Unfortunately, the next biggest threat is just some god dude from the Wonder Woman mythos. His name is Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), who is maybe where the band got their name from. He was here a long time ago, got defeated by the races of men, Amazons, and the Merfolk. There were some power cubes that they all split up to defend, and now he is back, wanting all three cubes, to have so much power.

So their goal is to prevent him from getting all the cubes, and once he still gets them, then hopefully defeat them and split up the cubes. Pretty basic plot.

Also starring Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Joe Morton, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Connie Nielsen, and Diane Lane.

Steppenwolf
It was hard to find a good picture of the villain. Clearly I still failed.

When it comes to Justice League, there are so many places you can point to in order to determine what went wrong. And you’d be right! All of those reasons are why this movie was so poor!

First of all, Steppenwolf. What a goddamn terrible villain for us care about. Some CGI’d dude who is just super strong, and oh no, he might destroy the world. He has no great backstory, and he doesn’t even feel threatening on any scale. Sure, they show he is strong, but also, he doesn’t feel like a real threat. Not one bigger than Ares in Wonder Woman at least.

The CGI is a travesty. And so much of the film is just drenched in it. From the terrible Amazon horse fight scene, to the climatic battles, this one just reeks of cheap graphics.

Our characters come together and never feel like a team. It is clunky. Aquaman is shown as badass and strong, but never really embraces the powers unique of Aquaman. I have no idea if I care about Cyborg still, which is less a human with powers and more a…robot. But then again, Batman is on this team, so whatever.

And fucking Superman is in this movie. Once he finally shows up, he basically does most of the work on his own. They point out that he is indeed faster than The Flash, and the strongest, and can do no wrong. Steppenwolf is a villain who can kick most of the Justice League’s ass. Unfortunately, the one he cannot can also do it on his own.

Justice League is just a farce of a great movie. It is amazing how the DCEU just hates its characters so much that it continuously pumps out these mediocre or worse films.

1 out of 4.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Kingsman: The Secret Service was a strange breath of fresh air in 2014. A strange mix of Bond parody while maintaining its own serious qualities of a film. It wasn’t outright joke-y, but it did have plenty of jokes and extremes when comparing itself to Bond films.

I mean, outside of its very stupid ending (Which again, was just going to extremes), it almost felt like a perfect film. So many people were excited about Kingsman: The Golden Circle, heck, I was too. I just…didn’t see it.

So again, we find ourselves with a perfect film for “Things I should have watched and reviewed last year,” a theme title too long to tag, especially since I keep changing the wording. All of that is part of the theme title. It came out during a stronger time for movies, so the makers were certainly confident in their own work, that’s a good thing.

Rope
Just like they are confident enough to feature a lot of people wearing glasses.

A lot has changed for The Kingsman group since Galahad (Colin Firth) died and the whole world ending stuff from the first film. For example, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is now in a committed relationship with the Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). Merlin (Mark Strong) is getting in more of the action now too, and we learn he loves John Denver, how quaint! John Denver was featured heavily in Free Fire and Logan Lucky as well, so 2017 was like a love song to him, but you know, with movies.

Either way, they are going to have to deal with The Golden Circle, the world’s biggest drug organization. Why do they have to deal with them? Because they are planning something big soon to take out most of the world’s inhabitants. You know, like the last movie had a similar thing going on. But also because the organization took out basically all of the Kingsmen, except for Eggsy and Merlin, including their headquarters. That is totally not cool.

Following some clues, they head to America, to find The Statesmen, the American version of their organization. They are disguised as a brewing company in Kentucky. Well, disguised, and also do make the alcohol. In fact they have cute code names that are alcohol based. We get Tequila (Channing Tatum), Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), Champ/Champagne (Jeff Bridges), and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). The two sides agree to work together, after some shenanigans and reveals to help bring The Golden Circle down, before calamity and stuff.

Also starring Julianne Moore and Elton John.

America
America has more cowboys and cowboy accessories.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is 141 minutes long. 141 minutes long. The last one cracked two hours as well, but at no point did it crack 2 hours like this film. Sure, both run times include the credits, so we can subtract about 8 from each and still wonder what the hell was so important in this film for it to be so goddamn long.

And one of the biggest issues with this film is that it certainly drags and just has too much extra information that really doesn’t add a lot extra to the plot. It is in desperate need of some editing.

The characters still maintain some of their charm. I think too much of the film is spent trying to bring back some memories of a character. The action is okay, the overall plot isn’t. It feels way too similar to the plot of the first film, given the goals associated with it.

Overall, this is an average movie and not really worth the time it was given. Outside of Merlin, the other characters really don’t have much growth that you would expect in a sequel. It didn’t feel as funny or unique as the first film either. Basically, it is a lamer and longer version of the first film, pure and simple.

2 out of 4.

Death Wish

I don’t know a lot about Death Wish. I didn’t see the original, and the story doesn’t sound interesting. The plot of the film is the type that just promises to be a gory kill fest.

But I have seen a decent amount of Eli Roth‘s work, the director of this remake. He is all over the place when it comes to horror, and I will say that I think The Green Inferno is entirely too messed up. I had to pause it several times because of how graphic it was, so I entirely expected this to be just as graphic.

And their choice to put Lord Voldemort as a bad guy makes sense as well.

Car
Tom Riddle could use a finger gun.

Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a relatively successful surgeon in Chicago. He has to surgery a lot of different people, and a lot of them are shot up. Apparently Chicago has a lot of gun violence, who knew! He has a wife (Elisabeth Shue) and a daughter, (Camilla Morrone), about to go to college at the end of her senior year. In NYC. Ugh.

Unfortunately, there is something foul afoot in Chicago. A string of burglaries in their neighborhood that wasn’t super announced. They find out that the family is supposed to be out one night celebrating a birthday, but an emergency at the hospital cancels their plans. Now the burglars end up going into a home that isn’t actually going to be empty, leading to some issues. More gun shots, more pain, more death.

Obvious bad things happen, putting Paul into a spin. He begins to question everything. He wants to clean up the streets, since he feels that the cops cannot find the criminals until something lucky, maybe happens. So he gets a gun, and he decides to do a little bit of vigilante justice instead.

Also starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris, Kimberly Elise, Beau Knapp, and Jack Kesy.

Hoodie
See, if it was a black man in a hoodie, he couldn’t even pretend to be a vigilante without getting shot.

On the surface level, Death Wish is probably a very average, regular, action movie. At no point is it a great action movie, a well thought out action movie, or even an exciting action movie. Just an average one. And normally average regular films get a 2 out of 4.

But you know what, some things really irked me. One, it never really got to a level of violence you would expect from Roth. It was probably tamer than the original in some regards, which is a shock since this one is at least rated R.

Willis as a surgeon never felt believable. His quiet reserved dad look never felt believable. Nor did his awkward transition to a vigilante. This was not a great role for Willis at all, if we wanted it to seem possible. No one really stood out as great acting in the film.

After the “auto mechanic scene”, the movie also went down hill from an entertainment point of view. It felt awkward, forced, and just not good.

And maybe a part of this is just based on the current political climate, one that definitely does not want or need people with guns running around. The movie was incessant about having radio talk show hosts talk about the vigilante (who listens to that much radio?) way too much in the movie. And every time they talked, the same things were said. That was their way of seeming cool and modern I guess, like when characters use emojis.

I guess that after we arm the school teachers, it just makes sense that we start arming the doctors too. The people who should be saving lives needing to take them. Shrug. Bleh. Pass.

1 out of 4.

Black Panther

In 2017, I was a bit disappointed with the superhero genre. It was the first time in awhile that a superhero film didn’t make it in my best of the year list. And that includes Logan, which I gave an average rating to.

As for Marvel, in 2017 they gave the average Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the decent Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the funny Thor: Ragnarok, but none of them really blew me away.

Black Panther I was really hoping would start the year off strong. I loved the character for years, he was amazeballs in Civil War, and for all intents and purposes, it looks like they took a lot of care to ensure this one would turn out right. To not be another Catwoman, if you know what I mean.

And somehow it exceeded most of my already high expectations.

Duel
Ah sweet! A duel between two panther orphans.

Days after the bombings that took out King T’Chaka (John Kani), and all that Civil War nonsense has ended, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has returned home to his country of Wakanda to ascend the throne and become their leader.

And you know what? Things are sure going swell for Wakanda. Minus the death of their ruler and some missionaries, they are still prosperous as fuck, living mostly peacefully in their walled off community. They are rich, they have crazy good technology, all thanks to luckily living where Vibranium deposits are, from a meteor a long, long time ago. Yep, it pays sometime to be lucky, I guess!

The Queen (Angela Bassett) is ready for her son to rule, and his younger sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), is a tech genius, helping beef up his Black Panther outfit. And there is a former love interest, in Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), a warrior champion of one of the many tribes who believes they need to be helping all of Africa, not just themselves.

Unfortunately, things are about to be not so peaceful in Wakanda. A combination of meddling white people (Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis), both good and bad, and the sins of their fathers, are about to change the way Wakanda is seen by the world and by the tribes who inhabit it. Because Wakanda is about to unknowingly welcome home a former son and member of the royal family back to their fold (Michael B. Jordan), and he has his eyes set on the throne.

Also starring Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Florence Kasumba, and Forest Whitaker.

Dual Pewpews
Ah sweet! A set of dual panther blasters.

Good news! Kilmonger is officially one of the best Marvel villains to date. You know why? Because he is a bad guy with realistic motivations, one who doesn’t speak in cliches, and arguably, he is right. He is right! Not necessarily in the methodology he ends up employing with his drastic measures, but he has justifications that just make sense. He is correct that Wakanda should branch out more and that it is totally fucked up what happened to him his past. He legitamately deserved some amount of revenge.

Okay, okay, I will not talk only about how great Jordan is and his character. The rest of the cast really shines too. I want way more Shuri and certainly more M’Baku. This movie celebrates its diversity in ways we haven’t seen in a blockbuster in almost forever, and that diversity shines brightly. There are vivid colors without relying on the Doctor Strange spectacles, and thrilling fight scenes without excessive explosions.

Hell, the best part about the climatic fight scene (besides the obvious repercussions as they are happening and the crowd pleasing moments) is that it for the most part took place in the open, during the day. It was well lit, we could see it all, and it wasn’t hiding behind quick camera changes and bad choreography.

There are some easy things to nitpick, sure. Like Vibranium becoming a catch all wonder cure. Like the excessive amount of violence involving stabbing items without a lot of consequences from those actions. Like this film following the general strategy of “Intro Marvel Film” means good guy fights evil version of himself.

But it does a lot of things right, from a cultural stand point, from visual stand points, from the plot, to the acting, to the action, and to the scale. It is a strong bar to set for Superhero films this year, and one that Marvel is hoping to actually surpass in just a few months.

4 out of 4.

The Dark Tower

Outside of the realm of superheros and already established franchises, The Dark Tower film was probably one of the most hyped and anticipated films to come out for some time.

I first heard about the book series in high school, but it existed long before I was at that level. I never touched it because hey, Steven King does scary things, and I didn’t do scary things. But in recent years I thought about adding it to my list of books to hit in the next few years, as I do love long franchises, especially if they are done, not leaving the reader wondering if the final books will ever happen.

The Dark Tower had years of development hell if I recall, for maybe a decade. Different directors, scripts, actors, whatever. But having it come out finally with two top notch actors at the lead sounded great!

It just started to sound a lot worse when people learned that it was meant as a follow up of the successful franchise, and not the successful franchise itself.

Guns
Initial thoughts? This needs way more guns!

In this section I’d love to tell you about, the film and everything it is about. But it is really hard for me to to describe a plot when the plot itself feels so incomprehensible for most of the film.

I know it starts with a boy, Jake (Tom Taylor), who is young and having weird recurring dreams that make him piss his pants. Not literally. All the people around him say that it is trauma from the death of his dad a year or so ago, but they are consistent, similar, and freaking him out.

They have some dude wearing black (Matthew McConaughey) really wanting to destroy some tower somewhere, and a Gunslinger guy (Idris Elba) not wanting him to do that thing.

And in the simplest way, that is the plot. But it involves a parallel universe or shadow realm, magic stuff, disaster stuff and monster things. And some how the kid is key to it all, because YOLO.

Also starring Ben Gavin, Claudia Kim, and Jackie Earle Haley. Other people too, but I think they’d rather I didn’t lump them in this review as well.

Black
Final thoughts: This still didn’t live up to my gun potential.

What a fucking mess. Or a goddamn mess. I am not sure what kind of mess this film ended up being.

If I had read seven or whatever books in this series before watching this movie, would it have been better? I don’t even know. I can’t actually imagine a big budgeted film coming out that requires that much investment in books to understand it. The movie definitely attempted to explain some things. Why else have some kid thrown into the story if not an exposition device for the viewers?

But I still have no earthly idea what I watched. Once it started doing its silly other world stuff, the film just jumped off the rails and my mind was gone. Extremely poor plot and writing aside, it also was very unattractive to look at. The CGI was awful. The movie was loud and tried to fill itself with cool sequences instead of just good movie.

I mean. I am trying really hard to remember cool or especially bad moments in the film. Something that stands out. But when your movie is 100% trash, well, then it just looks like trash.

0 out of 4.

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