Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

Ant-Man and the Wasp

In 2015 we were introduced to one of Marvel’s lesser-known superheroes, Ant-Man. It was a lighter film with a very good mix of humor and action. Ant-Man also made an appearance in Captian America: Civil War, where he played a fairly important role. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, we’ll see the consequences of Scott Lang’s (Ant-Man’s) decisions and the introduction of the Wasp. Will this sequel suffer from some of the overdone humor that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Thor Ragnorok do? Or will we get that perfect mix of humor, action, and drama?

Likes

Adam

  1. I like the conflict of Scott Lang. He is paying the price of his decision to help Captain America in Civil War. He has 2 different groups that need his help and he doesn’t feel he can help one without hurting the other. Does he have to pick one and let go of the other? I felt that this was an interesting struggle, and I liked the decision he made in the end.
  2. The fight and action sequences were fantastic. With the ability to grow and shrink it added different dimensions to each sequence. They were all visually stunning and very interesting to watch.
  3. The humor. They did bring the humor level up a little bit from Ant-Man but due to Marvel setting our expectations in Ant-Man I expected this level of humor. So instead of going over the top like a couple of the previous Marvel films, Ant-Man and the Wasp was right at the level that I was ready for.
  4. Casting. They did a great job casting Ant-Man and all of the returning characters are great but the new characters were also very good.

Luke

  1. The comedy in this movie was pretty good, I was laughing for a good portion of it. It was a fun movie to boot. Everything you would want from a Marvel movie.
  2. I agree with the casting, everyone played their part very well.

Dislikes

Adam

  1. The mid-credit and post-credit scenes. All I can say is I called that something like this would happen and I am not happy that I was right.
  2. Bobby Cannavale’s Character. The change in his and Scott’s relationship from the last movie to this one was somewhat drastic. It was jarring for me and took me out of the moment every time.

Luke

  1. The villain was a sizable let down. I was hoping that Marvel was finally figuring out how to make interesting antagonists, this one was very forgettable in comparison to Killmonger and Thanos.
  2. These might be the least heroic superhero film that I’ve ever watched. The whole premise is all about serving the self-interests of the Pym family. Ant-man was kind of pulled in for the ride is by no means the protagonist in the film. While this isn’t a deal breaker on its own, the problem was that the story was trying to be about Scott Lang but he was only reacting to the events around him. He did not really drive the plot at all. The Wasp is more of a protagonist than Antman was. (Again, not a bad thing if the focus was on her.)

Awkward Walk-in Meter: 2/5

Adam

The action was normal for a Marvel movie. A little kissing but nothing crazy. Ghost and the Quantum Realm was a little psychedelic but not to bad. I didn’t have any issues bringing my kids to this film.

Overall

Adam

I really enjoyed this film. I went expecting to have fun and laugh and it totally delivered. It didn’t feel like the humor was too overboard because that is what I expect from Ant-Man. I felt like Ant-Man’s character developed and grew and progressed. Ant-Man and the Wasp is definitely worth seeing in the theater and a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Luke

This was a fun movie, but most of the MCU is and doesn’t mean they will have longevity. This is one that I think may be forgotten in the long run, especially since it’s in the shadow of two of Marvel’s most successful films to date. But if you want the action comedy of Deadpool without the crudeness, this would be the best thing to watch this summer.

Check out our other movie reviews here

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the second stand-alone Star Wars film that has been produced. It focuses on one of the most beloved characters from the original episodic trilogy. We see Han Solo before he becomes the smuggler turned rebel general that we’ve come to know and love. How does our new Solo, Alden Ehrenreich compare with our classic Harrison Ford Han Solo? Let’s dive in and find out.

Likes:

Adam

  1. In this film, we get to see a different aspect of the Star Wars Universe. The central focus of Episodes 1-8 is the galactic conflict between the light and dark side of the force. We get hints of the larger galaxy but it is in the background. Rogue One is a war movie, which was a major facet of the episodic films. This film focuses on smugglers, gangsters and the criminals of the Star Wars universe. There is no mention of the force in this film.
  2. The characters are interesting. I felt like most of the characters didn’t fit a stereotypical mold. Due to this, most characters are not completely good or bad. They were a complex mix in the middle, which is far more interesting and realistic. It honestly kept me guessing what was going to happen more often.
  3. The effects are beautifully done. This was a pleasure to watch and I can’t think of anything that took me out of the movie. It was well done.
  4. I like the character arc that Han went through. The way his character developed worked well and I think gets us to where we meet him in the original trilogy.
  5. I thoroughly enjoyed the new Lando and feel like Donald Glover nailed him.

Dislikes:

Adam

  1. There is a bit of a twist at the end that I’m not sure I’m 100% on board with. There are two parts of it and one has to do with a character’s motivation that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The second part has to do with a reveal that I don’t know how I feel about yet.

Awkward Walk-in Meter: 2/5

Adam

There are normal Star Wars blaster fighting, explosions, and a little hand to hand combat but is milder than most Marvel movies. There is also a little bit of kissing and gambling, but all are relatively mild.

Overall:

Adam

I really enjoyed this movie. It is not the next Empire Strikes Back but I feel we all need to stop expecting that and just let it be a good Star Wars movie. It’s fun, exciting and has good characters. I feel like Alden Ehrenreich embodies a good young Han Solo. He shows a good interpretation of where Han starts and what things could lead him to gain the attitudes and beliefs that he has when Star Wars: A New Hope starts. I definitely suggest that everyone go see Solo: A Star Wars Story in theaters.

 

Check out our other movie reviews here

Avengers: Infinity War Review

Avengers: Infinity War

In 2008, two important events happened. I married my wonderful wife (Adam speaking) and on May 2 Iron Man came out in U.S. theaters. This film kicked off a unique cinematic experiment that has created the most expansive and connected film universe in history. Avengers: Infinity War is the film that all previous films have been leading to. We have been getting hints for the past 10 years about Thanos and the Infinity Stones. The tension has been growing and the time has finally come for us to get to see what this has all been leading to. Is it everything we have hoped for? We’ll keep it spoiler free.

Likes:

Adam

  1. I was surprised. There was more than one occasion where I did not see something coming. I was expecting certain tropes to happen several times and then they didn’t.
  2. Combination of groups. There are a lot of different groups of heroes and it was cool and interesting how they came together in an organic natural way.
  3. The emotion. Infinity War has a lot of emotional tones. There is humor but this movie let itself be more serious. The situation is more grave than it has ever been and the film embraced it. I  felt my heartstrings plucked more than once.
  4. Thanos. As villains go he is in my top 3. There is so much more to him than we have been privy to and we really get to see him flushed out. It is a lot less black and white than we have been lead to believe.

Luke

  1. The movie was entertaining throughout, and it gave opportunities for different characters who haven’t interacted together to have some screen time together. Thor with the Guardians of the Galaxy has some interesting chemistry (not spoilers since it was in the trailer).
  2. Thanos was a far more interesting villain than most of what Marvel has offered thus far. Between him and Killmonger, Marvel has finally produced some interesting villains.

Dislikes:

Adam

  1. The power of one specific character never seems to be up to where it had been in previous movies. It was a little off-putting for me because I like this character.
  2. The ending. Can’t really say more than that at this point.

Luke

  1. It’s hard to get into some stuff without getting into major spoilers, so it may be better not to discuss it at all (meaning warning, I could imply spoilers). As vague as I can make it, let us just say that I felt the ending was the big budget form of the “gunshot fade to black” trope found in student films.
  2. This really can’t be helped since you’re putting in so much into one movie, but the plot was scattered all over the place. You’re dealing with up to 5 different subplots happening simultaneously, while it isn’t as messy as it could be, it would be really hard to follow if you’re not up-to-date on the Marvel movies.

Awkward Walk-In Meter: 3/5

Adam

This film is a normal Marvel PG-13 except for two things that are briefly glimpsed in the trailer. There is a scene with Doctor Strange that has mild torture. Also, the creatures you see in Wakanda are a little gruesome. These two scenes can be a little intense for kids.

Infinity War Overall:

Adam

Coming out of the theater I really wanted to love this movie. If I’m being totally honest I don’t fully understand all of my feelings for this movie and it is going to take me time to process. There was a lot of great stuff in this movie and I enjoyed watching it. I was on the edge of my seat for a lot of it. I felt like the humor and seriousness of the film was well balanced. I loved a lot of the new character combinations. The end is where I have the hardest time figuring out my feelings. Sadly, I have to say my overall feeling is unsatisfied.

Luke

Honestly, I still don’t know what to make of this movie. I’m sure many will call it bold and like what they did, but I don’t feel satisfied by the ending. Let’s just say that there is no catharsis awaiting you in this movie. There are some fun moments of characters interacting for the first time, the action is intense and there’s plenty of humor. But I didn’t feel good coming out of this movie (which is why people go to see these movies). The only way I can fully articulate my feelings leaving the theater was this internet meme:

Ready Player One Movie Review

ready player one movie poster

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. There are a few reasons, one is I’m back in school and work has been busy. But since Spielberg’s newest film, Ready Player One, is a homage to all things geek culture, I figure I better do a proper review. Based on the book by Ernest Cline, this is an adventure set it the future where everyone goes to a VR world to meet, interact, shop and yes even play games. I was particularly interested in this movie since I made a movie in school based on a similar premise. Virtual worlds is a interesting subject for me, so does this hold up to my expectations? Game Start!

Likes:

  1. The most important thing that this movie needed to do was to do proper world building. This takes place in a somewhat dystopian future where the protagonist lives in the “stacks” a huge trailer park with several trailers stacked on top of each other. I must say that the world outside the oasis and inside the oasis was both very cool and fascinating.
  2. I think the fact that half of the movie contains CGI might be a turn off for people really sick of its overuse. But it works in this most since half the movie takes place in a virtual world. Besides that, the CGI is actually really well done and makes for a visual treat.
  3. There’s tons of pop-culture references in this movie, and for those of us who follow pop culture closely will have a ton a fun spotting them and also makes for some really fun moments in the movie. I’ll just say that fans of The Shining and Gundam are in for a treat.
  4. The story isn’t anything too deep but it is very satisfying. It isn’t a movie that dives deep into the philosophical implications that a virtual world entails but the characters are likable, the villains are fun to hate and a ending that is has an important message for our time.

Dislikes:

  1. There are some plot details that aren’t fully explained during the first viewing. This may be fixed upon further viewings but there were definitely moments of plot convenience. I won’t go into the details for spoilers sake but for as big and worldwide as the oasis is, everyone important just happens to live close together.
  2. If you aren’t up to date on pop culture, then you’re going to miss a lot of the inside jokes and references that give the film much of its charm.

Awkward Walk-In Meter: 3/5

It is a PG-13 movie that has above-average language (including one F-bomb) and a few scenes that are suggestive (including a homage to a scene from another movie that is R rated). The violence oddly enough is the most withheld as there is no gore and only a little blood drawn in the real world. But bodies burst into gold coins in a unique substitute for blood and gore.

Overall:

This was a fun and enjoyable movie to watch. It’s a love letter to all things geek-culture, especially video games and movies. As a major geek myself, I was able to follow the homages and references that made the experience that much more fun. However, I’m unsure how older or audiences that aren’t into geek-culture would react to the film. It does have enough action to get most people excited but its like having pizza without any toppings. Your going to miss out on some of the best the film has to offer if you aren’t in the know. But if you follow us at all, I’m confident that you’ll have a blast at this movie. Just know that your non-geek SO will more than likely have a lot of questions.

Black Panther Review

Black Panther

Marvel’s first movie of 2018 is here! We get the first solo movie for a new character since Ant Man. Black Panther was introduced to us in Captain America: Civil War. This is a very different movie than the last two Marvel films, Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. We also have some ground breaking things happening in this movie. This film has a African American director and a primarily African American cast. How does this movie fair in the current Hollywood climate? Lets dig in.

Likes:

Adam

  1. The cast is wonderful. I personally didn’t realize right at first how big a deal this movie was going to be. Having a primarily African American cast didn’t stop me or turn me off of seeing it. Everyone in the cast fit their roles so well. Everyone is such a talented actor and brought great things to each character. I look forward to seeing the great work that each of them are going to do.
  2. The portrayal of women. There are a lot of strong female characters in this film. In Wakanda women have a place in government, as warriors, and as scientists but never at the cost of femininity. Women all seemed to have a fairly equal footing. They also highlighted that a young woman can have an interest in science and that is a cool and positive thing.
  3. The humor. I think that Marvel was finally able to strike a good balance in this film. After the last two Marvel films I was a little concerned with the direction they were going. They were both over the top and just silly. Black Panther has a good balance and the humor is more on the subtle side, which I feel was much needed. I was still laughing and enjoying myself plenty though.
  4. There were several good moral points made. They all played out in relevant and moving ways.

DisLikes:

Adam

  1. Just a small thing but there were several times that I thought that Andy Serkis was a little over the top but, it is Andy Serkis.

Awkward Walk-In Meter: 2/5

Adam

Black Panther overall was pretty mild. There was a couple of scenes where there was stabbing and blood is shown. There was also one use of the bird finger. I was fairly comfortable with my kids there watching with me.

Overall:

I love this movie and it was very well done. It makes me happy that it has done so well at the box office. I love the story, the morals, the action, and visuals. This is a must see in the theater and also worth a repeat viewing. I hope that this movie will show Hollywood that African American actors can make big block busters, and that they are just as capable as anyone else. I also hope that the movement for strong female characters continues to get attention. Wonder Woman and Black Panther both have made great strides in this regard. If you haven’t already, go and see Black Panther A.S.A.P.

Luke’s Top 10 Films of 2017 (#5-1)

Top 5 Movies of 2017

Here you go! Here is the top movies of 2017.

coco

#5 – Coco

The reason Car 3 is not on the list is because I didn’t see it. But Coco is more than enough from Pixar to please me this year. I didn’t know what to expect from this movie but did it deliver one of the most heart-touching animated films since Inside Out. The animation is beautifully done with the Day of the Dead acting as a visually and musically beautiful framework for a universally understandable story about family. If you were on the fence about it, I highly recommend checking it out.

wonder woman

#4 – Wonder Woman

No one was expecting DC to make not only a good movie, but a great one. Gal Gadot is a fantastic Wonder Woman. She was naive but not stupid. She was powerful but not at the cost of her femininity. But more than anything she was heroic. The no man’s land scene will go down as one of the best superhero scenes ever. It will also go down with the great superhero origin movies such as Batman Begins and Ironman. While GotG vol 2 gave me superhero fatigue, Wonder Woman reinvigorated the genre for me.

silence

#3 – Silence

This film went under the radar with a small release at the beginning of the year. While it was nominated for an oscar, it didn’t win. The film has been largely ignored by most people but left quite an impact on those who watched it. This film was a passion project of Martin Scorsese and took him over 20 years to get made. This film is not for everyone, as it is both long and slowly paced. Those of us who need a slow movie every once in awhile, will be treated to a thoughtful, faith provoking story that is both horrific and beautiful to watch at the same time.

logan

#2 – Logan

While Wonder Woman will go down as a great superhero origin movie, Logan went down as one of the best superhero films of all time. I cannot express in words just how impactful this movie was. Not only for myself but everyone I watched it with. It was a strongly visceral experience that commands your attention throughout. Hugh Jackman’s final performance as Wolverine could not have ended on a better note.

The first X-men film marked the beginning of the current superhero era of filmmaking. If it wasn’t for Wonder Woman, this film may have ended it for me. It set the bar really high for what a superhero movie could do. While I find it unlikely, I believe the Best Actor oscar should go to Hugh Jackman with Patrick Stewart getting Best Supporting Actor. I can say that this not only reached one of my top spots of the year, but has done so for all time top movies for me as well. And we’re only at number two.

blade runner 2049

#1 – Blade Runner 2049

I honestly thought Logan was going to be my number 1 throughout most of the year. Even after watching Blade Runner 2049 for the first time Logan was still my number 1. However the thing you need to understand about the Blade Runner series is that it’s an acquired taste. I thought Blade Runner was overhyped when I first saw it, now it’s one of my favorites. Blade Runner 2049 was a movie that never quite left my mind after I saw it. I found myself reflecting upon it over and over again.

My first viewing I was able to truly appreciate the special effects and found it to be one of the best looking films in recent memory. But there was something about the story that stuck to me and refused to let go. It was a truly paradoxical experience to have something cerebral morph into something visceral and truly meaningful when I started to understand what this movie had to say to me. I saw it a second time and I better understood why I loved this movie. I’m sorry for being vague about this but it was a really personal experience for me and there are not many movies that can do that. I don’t expect everyone to share the same feelings that I have.

But what I can say is that this movie will probably sweep the technical oscars and for good reason. The movie is extremely well made and beautiful to look at. 2017 has produced some great movies and I’m happy that I can now add 2 more films to my all time favorites list.

Luke’s Top 10 Films of 2017 (#10-6)

As promised I’ll have these up here before Facebook. #5-1 will be posted next week. Happy Holidays Everyone!

Ghost in the Shell

#10 – Ghost in the Shell

Let’s start off with the most controversial film of the list. Yes, I know this was universally hated for even daring to attempt an adaptation of the beloved Anime classic. I know about the white-washing, which I wrote an article why I think that reasoning is weak to boycott the film. But if you follow my reviews at all you knew that I actually really enjoyed this film. Yes, I’ve seen the original so I do have some comparison going on. Yet, I still enjoyed the film as one of the best looking films of the year and ended up being an above average action thriller. Is there things it did wrong? Absolutely, the heavy reliance on imagery from the anime was unnecessary, and its use of too many action movie cliches are the two major ones that I can think of. But what it lacked in philosophically loaded exposition like the original did it get in some nuance that most people chose to ignore. Amazing effect shots that were done practically (the birthing scene with the robotic skeleton was practical) was entertaining to watch. You might hate it, but it’s my list so I will put it down.

Justice League

#9 – Justice League

Another movie that people seem to hate a lot more than I feel is fair. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, the plot is predictable and has a weak antagonist. But I still saw it 3 times this year and didn’t mind one bit. Call this my “guilty pleasure” movie of the year. Not to say there were things that movie didn’t get right: the plot, while predictable, was at least well paced. The action scenes were easy to follow and exciting. But most of all, I am excited to finally see the DC heroes on screen together. I am a big DC comics fan and having the gang together was a treat for me. Well acted characters, worked well together with a chemistry that felt natural and balanced. It may not have been the Avengers buster people were hoping for but it did make me more interested in the future solo movies to come.

Dunkirk

#8 – Dunkirk

Anytime a Nolan movie comes out, you bet I’m going to be excited for it. I was also fortunate enough to watch it in IMAX, which was what I would call an “experience movie”. Made for large-format theaters, this film has some of the most immersive experiences at the movies. The soundtrack made me feel like I was in a war zone. This added to the sense of danger and suspense that loomed over the movie. Beautifully shot images were edited together in another non-linear way of telling a story that Nolan is famous for. The only reason why this film didn’t score higher was because I haven’t really given much thought to the film since watching it. Home video will lessen the impact of this film. Even a 7.1 surround home theater won’t do the film justice. Go to the theater to see this film.

Spider-man: Homecoming

#7 – Spiderman: Homecoming

Marvel Studios wasn’t a complete disappointment this year. From the movie that had a lot of doubts for it too. The original Spiderman films are considered classics (the first two at least). The last couple movies were disappointing to put it mildly. This film has reversed the trend with the best Spiderman film since Spiderman 2. Tom Holland is without a doubt the best Spiderman on screen, Michael Keaton returns to comics as a relatable yet menacing version of a B list villain and having it take place in the Marvel Universe was a nice bonus. Most of all, it was a maturation story that worked perfectly for this version of Spiderman. Also it had the best end-credit bonus scene from Marvel yet.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

#6 – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

This film ranking as low as it is, I’m sure surprises a lot of people. I’ve seen this movie called both the best Star Wars ever and the worst one since Attack of the Clones. Needless to say this film has been very divisive for fans. I find myself in the middle of it all. I liked the movie and felt it did a lot of things right but there were some really annoying story decisions that stopped it short of being a great movie. That said, it did have a bunch of surprises which was refreshing since Episode 7 was too similar to the original. Plus I have a soft spot for Luke Skywalker and seeing him again was fun. The second act was bumpy but the ending was satisfying. Overall, this movie isn’t the best film since Empire Strikes Back and it’s not as bad as Attack of the Clones.

2017 Year End Movie Recap!

Hey everyone!

I started a Facebook tradition of posting my top 10 films at the end of the year to showcase the movies I thought were interesting, fun and sometimes emotionally visceral. I also add mini-reviews for the movies that didn’t quite make the cut. I’m changing it up a bit so that you guys here on geekmindfusion.com get to read the reviews before Facebook does. The cool thing is that there will be film reviews included that I didn’t post here (because they weren’t geek related) and my thoughts may have changed over time. So this is the most up-to-date when it comes to where this year’s movies stand in my mind. So here’s the list of the movies I saw this year that didn’t make the top ten. Let’s begin (in no particular order)!

Lego Batman:

I’m sure many are surprised that this isn’t higher on my list. As much as I liked it, I honestly don’t remember that much about it, neither do I feel the need to re-watch it. I did like the humor and the bright animation style, it was a homage to all things batman. Good movie, but for me, kinda forgettable.

King Kong:

Skull Island: This is a fun movie, and is entertaining enough, but there isn’t that much to talk about. The only thing I remember from this film is the over-the-top action sequences especially when the katana is pulled out. I was laughing out loud for better or for worse. Slocky as all else, but not a bad movie either.

Beauty and the Beast:

This is another good movie that had great music and a timeless story. I did like the attempt to fill in a lot of plot holes from the animated classic, however I think the animated version is still better with a far less uncanny aesthetic for the animated characters. Still worth watching if you’re a fan of the original. Also the new song “Evermore” is totally the best addition to the film.

Power Rangers:

This is a movie I thought was going to be terrible. But it was better than expected granted probably not for the right reasons. It was Breakfast Club meets Power Rangers and the Breakfast Club part of the movie was far more interesting than the slocky third act when it went full power rangers.

Pirates of the Caribbean:

Dead men tell no tales; Aside from the first movie, which is a true classic, the rest of the series has been bogged down by convoluted plots, confusing character motivations and a “biggerer is betterer” mentality. This was one of the better films from the series but still doesn’t come close to the original.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2:

This is a movie that I have no real reason on disliking, but this film was the first time I truly started to feel “superhero fatigue.” It did a lot of things right, every character is given an arc and the jokes were funny. But the plot was fairly predictable, the ending was way too long and the movie refused to take itself seriously when it needed to. I understand a lot of people loved the movie and that’s fine, but I came out feeling “meh.”

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

The trailer looked great, it was based off a classic sci-fi comic and had a lot of promise. Then you get a movie that feels like a video game with a bunch of side quests. The lead character was very much miscast and the pacing was awful. There were a few clever sequences but it couldn’t make up from the rest of the mess.

War of the Planet of the Apes:

This was a movie that was good but I don’t have much to say about it. Don’t go into this movie thinking it’s going to be the awesome third act of the last movie, it was more The Great Escape than a war movie that you’d expect. Still a good movie and a good ending to the prequel trilogy of the Planet of the Apes series.

Dark Tower:

I heard a lot about the books and I was surprised that not only did they get it into one movie, but an 90 minute movie at that. You can tell that they cut a lot out though. It got me interested in the world though and may persuade some people to check out the books. Other than that, it was an okay movie with some cool action.

Thor Ragnorok:

The same feelings I had about GOTG Vol 2, reappeared again after I saw Thor Ragnorok. Not a bad movie technically, definitely made me laugh, but there was something missing. I’m still trying to piece together things in my mind as why I’ve felt the superhero fatigue over these movies when everyone else seems to love them. It may be a future article if I can actually get to it.

Murder on the Orient Express:

I have a soft spot for mystery thrillers and this was a pretty good one I must say. The cast was will acted, the pacing of the story was tight and I was second guessing myself throughout. A good movie to say the least, but not much else to say about it.

The Red Turtle:

This film isn’t for everybody as there is no dialogue and takes place of a man’s life on a island. It’s beautifully animated, and there isn’t that much else to say about it. Definitely worth a look for animation fans in general but if you want something to watch with the kids, they’ll probably be bored.

The Disaster Artist:

I had a lot of fun watching this movie. Tommy Wiseau is one of the most perplexing people alive. This gives a bit of a glimpse into the making of The Room. James Franco does a really good impersonation of Wiseau and there’s plenty of laughs. However I don’t have much to say about it, it was a fine movie but “oscar-worthy” is a bit of a stretch.

Movies 10-6 will be posted on Friday.

Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi Review (Spoiler-Free)

The Last Jedi

After a pesky nearly literal cliff hanger from Force Awakens, the continuation of the series, The Last Jedi is now upon us! The Force Awakens was a fun action packed Sci-Fi adventure that revivified the series for many fans. The movie however in JJ Abrams fashion left us with a bunch of questions. Does Rian Johnson continue the mystery box that Abrams is so fond of or are we finally going to get answers? Since this is a spoiler-free review I will not talk about those things at this time. Lets see if this movie is actually good or not.

Likes:

  1. My greatest worries for this film is that it was going to be a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back, much like what The Force Awakens did with A New Hope. While the movie does take quite a bit from Empire Strike Back (which is not a spoiler if you saw any of the trailers), it does subvert your expectations in very surprising ways. I was legitimately surprised by some of the ways the movie sets up something you’d expect to happen then have it turn out something completely different. I don’t believe there is anything on the same level as the Vader-as-Father reveal in Empire Strikes Back but there are some surprises that satisfied my desire for novelty.
  2. All the main characters have strong arcs in which many of them learn something important and grow. Poe Dameron gets a lot more screen time this go around and turned out to be a really fun yet flawed character that is also given time to grow. There are some new characters that were integrated well into the plot without making it convoluted or messy.
  3. As stated earlier there were a lot of questions that this film really needed to answer. Without spoilers I will just say that there are several questions that are answered and there are some that are not. It did leave enough questions for the next movie, but I expect that some of them may need to be answered in stand alone films or other projects.
  4. The special effects are on point, but they also find neat ways to use practical effects where they can. It was a very good looking movie with the exciting action you expect from a Star Wars movie.
  5. Porgs are not this generation’s Jar Jar. I wouldn’t even say that they’re the Ewoks. A cute creature made to market to kids but are harmless otherwise.

Dislikes:

  1. It’s hard to explain without giving away plot points. There is a part where I don’t know why a character didn’t do something. They had no reason to do what they did. Sounds vague but I’ll get hunted down if I explain in more detail.
  2. There’s a lot more comedic bits thrown into the movie. While it works in many parts, there are others that felt forced and made the scene tonally messy. A similar problem I had with Thor: Ragnorok. While I don’t think it was as severe as Thor, the humor in the original series never felt forced or change the scene’s tone in a bad way. I can’t help but feel they had a mandated jokes-to-scene ratio that Disney keeps insisting on. Even when the scene doesn’t benefit from it and may in fact alleviate tension that the scene wants to build. It would be like if Lucas forced Luke Skywalker to make quips during his fight with Vader in Empire Strikes Back. The scene doesn’t need it and it messes up with the tone of the encounter. I’m probably complaining too much about this, it really wasn’t that bad. But it’s an annoying trend I see with Disney films lately.

Awkward Walk-In Meter: 2/5

There is PG-13 level of violence. I would say that there is some parts that may be a bit more graphic than the previous film. There is also some minor language. Other than that it’s rather harmless.

Overall:

Many are wondering if this is going to top Empire Strikes Back in terms of quality. In my opinion, it did not quite reach that level. Empire Strikes Back is one of my all time favorite films and is a very steep benchmark to meet. But is it better than the other two Disney Star Wars films? I would say yes actually. The film had a much more satisfying conclusion than Force Awakens and had better characters than Rogue One. There were legitimate surprises that helped the movie stand out amongst the other Star Wars films. This allowed real tension for many characters as you couldn’t tell what direction they were heading with the series. While I had some minor grips about confusing character motivation and forced humor, it was a solid movie overall. I’ll have to wait to see where is stands with the other Star Wars films.

Justice League Movie Review

Justice League

The world’s finest finally come together on the big screen, albeit it has been a really bumpy road. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice being a critical failure, and the DCU generally under-performing (with exception of Wonder Woman). Will the previous movies bog down this one and is DC several years too late to the superhero team movie?

Likes:

Luke

  1. I’ll preface this review with the fact that I do in fact like the DC characters more than the Marvel Heroes. So it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed having the DC characters together on the big screen. I really enjoyed these versions of the characters I love. Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg  were all well acted and brought different personalities to the team. While the story may be lacking, the saving grace in this movie for me is the characters.
  2. It doesn’t have the same tone of dread that BvS did. It was a lighter tone in the same vain as Wonder Woman, which I feel is needed for this film.
  3. (Spoiler-ish) Superman does superman things and is likable.

Adam

  1. This was a fun, lighter toned film. This film didn’t take itself as seriously as Dawn of Justice did, but didn’t get as silly as some of the newer Marvel movies have. I felt that it was the perfect blend, and appreciated how they didn’t go too far either way.
  2. I really enjoyed the new members of the team: Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. They are all interesting and enjoyable to watch. They may not have been developed quite as much as I’d like but in the time they had, I felt that they did a good job.
  3. I felt like the characters were closer to how their characters have been portrayed in the past and in the comic books. Dawn of Justice showed most of the characters in very different way that I didn’t like, but in this movie I feel like we got closer to the source material.

Dislikes:

Luke

  1. The main villain, Steppenwolf, is pretty boring and generic. His motivations aren’t really made clear and it’s the same old renew-the-earth-by-destroying-it plot. The story is fairly weak and predictable. But as mentioned before, the characters sell it and the pacing is good enough that it doesn’t drag.
  2. Not enough J.K. Simmons.

Adam

  1. The storyline was a little lacking and unsurprisingly foreseeable. There was only one part that actually surprised me.
  2. Minor thing, but I don’t like how flash runs. His arm motion doesn’t look natural.

Awkward Walk-In Meter: 2/5

This film is your typical superhero action movie, there’s some language at parts and the violence is on par with most PG-13 films. There are a few bits of adult humor that will go over the kids’ heads.

Overall:

Luke:

It’s hard to say if this movie will be remembered in a decade or so. The Avengers was the first of this kind of big superhero multi-franchise team up so this movie will probably be overshadowed by it. However I am very fond of the characters. I love these heroes and to see them on the big screen was a delight even though its slightly above average at best. It’s entertaining, action-packed and should please you for 2 hours. If you love the DC heroes, it’s definitely worth a watch. But if you’re feeling super hero fatigue, then this film will probably bore you.

Adam: 

I did enjoy this movie. I honestly went in with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. This is definitely one that is worth going to see in the theater. DC is moving in the right direction and I have hope that the DC Cinematic Universe will continue to improve.