Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first question you have to ask yourself, does anyone care about Ant-Man? Does anyone care about the Wasp? Does anyone care about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

So soon does this film come out, when just two months ago we had Avengers: Infinity War, a film that made some people cry. Now these titular characters were missing from Avengers of course. Does this happen before IW? After? During? That has to be the majority reason why anyone is watching this film. To see how, if at all, it connects to Avengers. People care about the larger story, not these minor characters.

And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought the villain was great, and it had the best superhero teaser for a film, that they sadly didn’t recreate for this film.

Either way, if this film ends up being completely stand alone, then a lot of people will be disappointed.

Amatw
Hey look! The titular characters! Together!

This film takes place pre-Avengers: Infinity War, so don’t expect it to start with chaos. Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for two years following the events in Captain America: Civil War, before he has probation. All of this is explained neatly by the FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) early on, don’t worry. It is boring, he has no contact with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) or Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), but his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) still visits frequently and his ex wife and her husband (Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale).

But hey, he lives with his ex convict buddies still (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I.), and they started a security business themselves.

AND THEN THANOS ATTACKS. Wait, no not yet. Things start to change however, when Scott has a vision of himself inside the Quantum Realm again, including a vision of Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lost Wasp. This sucks him back into the technology rich, very steal heavy world of Ant-Man, despite only having days left on his house arrest.

Now they are in a race against time to finish developing a safer way into the Quantum Realm to find their wife, mom, and lady they don’t actually know, depending on what character you ask. We also have a skeevy business man who wants in on the potential profis (Walton Goggins), a girl phasing in and out of the physical realm (Hannah John-Kamen), and an old S.H.I.E.L.D. research buddy (Laurence Fishburne) also going in and out of their plans.

Ghost
Hey look! Ghost is joining their dance party!

I almost gave this film a 1 out of 4.

Figure that is a good starting place for this review. Sure, it is entertaining. It is funny. The cast has good chemistry. A specific Rudd scene where he has to act like an entirely different person is nailed perfectly and doesn’t feel wrong. The crew has less screen time, T.I. almost feels nonexistant, but they still have their moments. And Ghost fights were relatively cool to watch, as was the Wasp kitchen fight scene.

And yet I almost gave it a 1 out of 4. Technically, the reason I gave it the 2 instead is because of Peña’s character. I was worried they wouldn’t continue a joke from the first film and declared it to be an okay movie if they continued it on. Eventually? They continued it on, and sure, an average review.

Because lets face it, you aren’t getting your Avengers tie in until the credit scenes. This movie overall feels like a filler film. We don’t have any real villains, we just have things that consistently make the plot longer. There isn’t a lot of fighting, it is more just car chases and shrinking and growing. It isn’t a film that can feel smart, because all of the science behind it is fake anyways, so when scientific breakthroughs happen, it happens because the characters say it work, not that the audience could figure it out on our own.

Overall, it sets up a little bit in the universe. But it feels too clunk with no real established threat besides time itself. Ghost isn’t even a villain, just another damaged person, which they make sure we understand very early on.

If the MCU was Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead, this movie would fit in the middle of season one, instead of how most other films are clearly in the 2-7 territory.

2 out of 4.

I Kill Giants

I haven’t met a giant in my life yet, but I would be sad if I had to meet it then immediately kill it. They seem rare, and I can’t imagine they are all inherently evil.

But I Kill Giants is a film that definitely has a specific message and propoganda attached to it. Who kills these giants? An elf? A regular human? Is it maybe a collective “I” which doesn’t really makes sense as a type it?

Needless to say, I better see a damn giant in this movie. Or if not a living breathing angry giant, at least a dead one.

Spy
Yes, be on the look out for those Zombie Giants. They are the worst.

Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is not considered to be one of the cool girls at school. She is incredibly nerdy, including being a fan of dungeons and dragons. Besides believing these dragon forces to be real, she also is quite certain that giants are real.

Not just above average people or Sasquatches. But large forces of nature meant to cause harm. Most people don’t open their eyes enough to embrace these threats, and just blame them on tornadoes, earthquakes, or various storms. But they are there. And there are worse giants! There are titans, even bigger and meaner, and yes like the ones from Greek Mythology.

Barbara spends most of her time in her town, setting traps and bait out to track giant movement. She has saved her town a few times and given up grades and a social life to do so. But a new girl in town, Sophia (Sydney Wade), from Great Britain befriends her and helps her on her quest, despite all of the doubt.

While this goes on, a new guidance counselor at the school (Zoe Saldana) is set out to make sure she can actually help Barbara instead of just discarding her as crazy.

Also starring Imogen Poots, Rory Jackson, and Jennifer Ehle.

Hammer
With a weapon like that, who’s crazy now?!

I Kill Giants is the type of film that feels like when it was written, it was extremely creative and original and a lot of people would have loved its ambition. But then A Monster Calls happened. It happened at the end of 2016, and it is extremely similar. It deal with grief, and large fantasy creatures to help deal with that grief. It involves kids, and parents, and bad things.

I feel bad for I Kill Giants, because I think I would have liked it more if I didn’t already love A Monster Calls. I am not saying there isn’t room in this very specific genre for more films. It is just it wasn’t different enough for me to love it as much as A Monster Calls.

We have a different gendered main character, who does an amazing job (You go Wolfe!). Some different fantasy lore, but overall, the motives behind the fantasy are almost exactly the same.

In other good notes, Poots does a great job as older sister trying to hold everything together, despite limited screen time, and this is possibly the best Saldana has ever acted.

In the end, if you liked A Monster Calls, you will probably like this one as well. If you haven’t seen it, then just think of this as a girl version of A Monster Calls and make a decision to watch at least one of them before you died old and cranky.

3 out of 4.

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.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I was relatively excited going in to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even with them deciding to drop the iconic episode numbers. For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was clear it was a step in the right direction, even if it wasn’t too original. And Rouge One was great.

But the people who let me see things early switched to a different PR company, specifically to the one company that I didn’t have. I found out late November when the change occurred, which made it clear that I wasn’t going to be seeing Star Wars 8 early at all. And at that point, all the pre-sale tickets had already happened for early showtimes.

So if I was going to see it, I knew I would have to wait at least a week after the fact, maybe longer. And then I waited longer, I waited to see how many times I could keep putting it off. I didn’t see this movie until mid-February, still on a nice big screen. And that is why it was never reviewed, and why I decided eventually to wait to put it as the final movie in my “2017 Movies I should have seen last year” list!

Jedi Master
I’m a Jedi master, bitch!

I don’t feel like tagging all of the many characters who are in this film, at least naturally through this review, so I will post them all at the end.

Yay Luke Skywalker was found by Rey! Boo, she is avoided because Luke wants to be alone and doesn’t think the Jedi should be apart of the world anymore. He wants to die and let the Jedi order die with him.

While she convinces him that he is stupid, the Resistance are getting fucked over by the Empire, First Order. A lot of ships are running around, people dying, pew pew pews. And the resistance has to run and get away to not die.

And that is the movie.

Starring, of course, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Frank Oz, Billie Lourd, Joonas Suotamo, and Jimmy Vee.

Also starring newbies to the galaxy, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Amanda Lawrence, Justin Theroux.

Pew pew pew
Yeah, but how many of those dozen plus names can wield a light saber and shoot out red dust!

Star Wars 8 clocks in at around 2.5 hours, because apparently we can never get enough Star Wars. It is the longest Star Wars film yet, cracking the other top place holders by about 10 minutes. And boy did it sure feel long.

You see, it is made apparent from this film that this trilogy is in no way planned out. We have a lot of plots that were set up from the first film that end completely out of nowhere in this film. Characters die off, questions get answered, and most of it is extremely disappointing.

The worst part of the film is a subplot that has a few characters going on a mission alone, in order to find a character in a casino. It lasts very long in terms of the overall movie and again, none of it feels justified or worth it by the end. It felt like this movie had filler, which is inexcusable given its rather long run time. That isn’t even getting into the really awkward Leia scene.

The only reason this film didn’t get a 1 out of 4, is because the ending was pretty rad. It still seemed to have a lot of poor plot developments, making what felt a side plot last the entire goddamn film. It was very character focused, even though a lot of the characters they decided to kill off. I just cannot help but think of the poor merchandise that was sold for the first two films that never really amounted to much.

2 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.

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time is a very famous Science Fiction book, written in the 1960’s. It was a historic achievement when it comes to the genre, because it was written by a woman, and it was even about a girl.

Not many books in the genre, especially at that time, catered to women at any level. It would take decades for them to get any sort of real success in that area.

Now, so many decades later, it is being haled as a film celebrating those beginnings by trying to do the same thing for the genre. Avu DuVernay, famed director of Selma (who many feel should have been nominated for Best Director for that film) and 13th, is getting her hands on a big budget fantasy/sci-fi romp. And she is going to make sure it has people in it that will speak to people of all ages, of all colors and creeds. She is getting diversity across all the levels, and it is honestly a great move on her part.

No matter how good or bad the film is, the movie is an experiment gone right when it comes to casting. She wants to make sure girls out there have more diverse people to look up to, because everyone has the right to see themselves in the media they consume.

Family
And look! A character for those gingers out there as well.

Meg (Storm Reid) was a happy go lucky girl, good at math and science, lover of life. Her dad (Chris Pine) worked for Nasa and mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) also was a scientist. They were smart, and happy, and about to adopt another child, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). Things were great.

And then her dad disappeared, without a trace. The parents had pretty strong scientific opinions on space travel and time travel, but most people did not take them seriously. Either way, with her dad gone, Meg has gone on hating her life, becoming a shell of her former self.

But things are about to change. Life is about to get a bit weirder, thanks to her younger brother. He is very trusting and wise beyond his years. And he starts to introduce Meg to the “Misses”, including Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). They are denizens of the universe, much like Meg, but more in tune with its frequencies and have heard a cry of help from her father.

So these ladies are going to take Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin (Levi Miller), a nice friend of Meg, on a journey across space and time, to see just where her father went.

Also starring Zach Galifianakis, Michael Peña, André Holland, Rowan Blanchard, and the voice of David Oyelowo.

Daddy
Ah, here he was, the last place I would expect. A very orange room. Yuck!

A Wrinkle In Time is supposed to be a fantastic book, part of a pretty good series, and tells a story across space and time. And based on who I have talked to, that is believable. This movie is unfortunately not the book.

This movie is surprisingly under two hours, but it has a lot of hardcore concepts it wants to talk about and use in the movie. Instead of explaining them in a nice wrapped box, the movie just runs with these ideas, you either understand or you don’t, and blasts off into its plot. It is so fast and high energy early on that it is hard to keep up and understand where it is going.

The only part of the film that takes its time is the ending, which is a bad move for a few reasons. At this point, a regular member of the audience who didn’t read the book is so lost and confused that having a more explained ending won’t fix that. A lot of people watching will have already lost interest, and then get annoyed when the pace finally slows the fuck down.

We have some scary stuff by the end too. Stuff that should have large impacts on the audience based on who is involved and how drastic the changes feel. But without the proper build up, it feels very wasted.

At the end of the movie, I cried. There are still emotional points. I get the final purpose of the film, what it says about growing up and the pains associated with it. But I felt like I was just along for a ride that didn’t care if I needed to stop to pee or eat along the way.

There are so many concepts that you are just forced to accept. Hell, we have a character who is brought along they say for diplomacy reasons, and then fail to include any sort of diplomacy scene. A Wrinkle In Time is probably a good film if you include what was cut out in the editing room. But this is the type of movie that might only be understood if you have read the material before hand, which is unacceptable, especially with a budget and scope of this size.

It is a shame, because this film won’t do great, and the execs might blame it on diversity reasons, instead of the more obvious confusing as heck plot lines. It is still a very pretty movie, with some fun characters. I am just left struggling to really explain what the heck I watched.

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.

The Shape of Water

People don’t like Guillermo del Toro like I like Guillermo del Toro. Wanna know how I know? Because I gave Crimson Peak 3 stars. Great film, you should check it out. Decently creepy, and very beautiful.

Unfortunately, we are never going to get the Hellboy 3 he invisioned (now that the reboot is coming), but it seems to me like The Shape of Water is him telling an offshoot Hellboy story without needing Hellboy. Or at least, a prequel about Abe before he joined the B.P.R.D.

And I am a bit annoyed that this review is coming to you so late in the year, well after the wide releases, because I wanted to be in the forefront, waving my del Toro flag around, hoping that my eyes bleed from beautiful awkwardness.

Egg
There it is, love at first sight.

Way back a long time ago, long long ago. Let’s say the 1960’s. Yeah, that sounds good. Somewhere in Baltimore, close to DC, lived a mute girl by the name of, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins). She led a simple life, generally alone in her world. She would wake up late at night, bathe, masturbate, eat, and head to work because she worked as an overnight cleaning lady.

She had a friend, Zelda (Octavia Spencer.) who worked with her and did all the talking for the duo. She also had a neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), an eccentric artist who a lot of strong opinions on everything. But she has no one to love, to really be intimate with, outside of the occasional Giles snuggles.

Well, at work one night, a strange shipment comes in, and their head of security (David Hewlett) says it is their most important thing ever! It comes with its own team of scientists, led by Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) and some sort of federal agent, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). And sure enough yeah, it is some sort of Creature from the Black Lagoon! Or at least an Amphibian Man
(Doug Jones) from the Amazon Rain forest and rivers where he was worshiped as a god.

Oh fun! A creature that people are afraid of, who is being abused, who also has communication problems and is alone. Well, Elisa seems to have a connection to him. She feels his pain and wants to put him at ease. And when his life is on the line and other countries want him dead as well, she is going to have to put a lot more of herself out there than ever before.

Also starring Morgan Kelly as a below adequate pie flinger.

Shannon
Michael Shannon desires only above average pie flingers.

At this day and age, it is very hard to give us a sort of “star crossed lovers” story and have it believable. We get it. People can be with anyone at this point. Romance against all odds.

So what about a woman and an amphibian man. Not a man who turned into a fish creature, but you know, some entity that evolved on its own, completely separate from humans, despite being humanoid. See, this is the new stuff that storytellers need to be tackling, the things that the Republicans have been warning us against.

Hawkins gives an astounding performance as our mute lead, and I am surprised there currently is not a giant campaign against her taking actual mute actresses work, or whatever. She does an amazing job, doing so much with those eyes and her smile. Shannon and Stuhlbarg are a bit cartoon-y, but that is okay given what they end up doing. Shannon’s villainness started off slow but really escalated near the end during the climax. I was very scared in the scene with Spencer.

Jenkins continues his eccentric small characters that he has been doing recently, and Spencer is unfortunately playing a role she keeps getting put into. She needs a better agent to showcase her range instead of the same thing over and over.

The film is stunning to look at, the Amphibian Man is detailed in every facet (and orifice). Doug Jones is finally being acknowledged for his astounding work in the creature field. There are so many positive things to say, but really, just see it for yourself for a different experience.

By and by, this is probably the finest piece of interspecies erotic ever written.

4 out of 4.

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