Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

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Plot: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Can you hear that sound? It sure sounds like the patriarchal system starting to crack. Since I watched Wonder Woman Friday night I haven’t been able to stop looking at photos of young girls entering the cinema in their Wonder Woman costumes looking excited and elated. Someone of their own gender entering battle and saving people! I haven’t been able to stop checking on the financial success of WW, which is helmed as a victory of super heroines and female directors. I can’t help but laugh with glee how mad all the men are about the women only screening in Texas – how dare women want to celebrate and feel strong without having to hear whisperings that Steve Trevor is the actual hero? MADNESS.

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Director Patty Jenkins was the perfect choice to direct this film. A film about a woman by a woman. If you will bear with me, I will tell you why – Diana Prince is portrayed as a strong woman who fights for herself, sees her love interest as secondary to her mission, is fierce and formidable while being beautiful and smart and adoring children at the same time. I feel like women are constantly told you can either be the soft maternal type OR the fierce business woman, and it was nice seeing a character on screen that didn’t just do it, she made it look positively easy. Gal Gadot strides on screen with her incredible face and intimidating charm and manages to be warm, pure, sweet, funny, caring and kick-ass without breaking a sweat. It is a standout performance of which she can truly be proud, and she’s truly the Wonder Woman we needed.

The opening scenes with Themyscira is certainly some of the weakest parts in the film. I enjoyed the women fighting sequences, it was beautifully choreographed. The beauty of the hidden island is a perfect contrast with the war Diana plans to enter. It did feel just a bit out of place with the strong structure of the rest of the film. The scene where Steve Trevor crash lands and brings a horde of Nazis behind him is heartbreaking to behold, and the consequences of his arrival made me very sad. The fight scenes aren’t ridiculously drawn out, something Mr. Zack Snyder just loves to do, and it is DC’s saving grace. I haven’t seen a DC movie like this ever, and it is the first I’ve able to place above many Marvel movies. If DC can take this magical formula and copy it directly over into Justice League, please note that I will buy a ticket again and be completely on board with cheering for the male heroes too – something I can do without feeling my gender threatened, hem-hem.

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Where DC usually spends their entire films being depressing and dull, Wonder Woman manages to balance the serious with banter and some light-hearted moments. That is actually where Marvel sometimes messes up – they can be too light-hearted. Steve’s insecurities that can’t help slipping out when Diana refers to him as an average man is quite funny, as well as Diana’s comments on why women should even want to tuck their tummies in had me laughing – so very well aimed at society’s double standards.

There is always the stock standard romance, and while it was present this time around, there was nothing stock nor standard about it. Steve is such an incredible guy – he has a purity that is very nearly Steve Rogers about him – morals, etiquette, the ability to see war as injustice on both sides. He allows Diana to do her thing and after only a few slips begins to understand that she will do what she wants to whether he thinks it is allowed or not. Chris Pine was a great choice as this character. He is a talented man that is finally getting some good exposure. He had good chemistry with Gal Gadot. Honestly – he looks like a wartime hero and that certainly gave him impact as well.

Did I see some of the plot reveals coming – I saw the one, but there were a few others that managed to surprise me. It made for interesting watching – and no, I’m not telling you. This movie is way too fresh out to be spoiled on my blog.

If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet – go right out and do it. I will need a really strong contender to even ruffle this movie’s feathers as my favorite film of 2017 going forth into the remainder of this year. It is an excellent superhero film in a time where superheroes are stock standard. Let me know if you’ve seen it, and what your thoughts were!

Rating: 8.5/10

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Movie Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

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Plot: A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.

Rating: 7/10

Suicide Squad has been the target of critics since it came out. I still decided to go watch it, because I’d been looking forward to and hoping for something a little different in the comic world. I ended up really enjoying it, so here’s my case below.

Things I liked:

The look: The neon colors inexplicably worked. I wouldn’t usually recommend it for a film, but it increased the super villainous feel of the film. I hear Die Antwoord feels that director David Ayer copied their style (I really fight against the notion that Die Antwoord are South-African, it’s too horrible to comprehend). Has anyone ever seen anything from them? Do you agree or disagree with them?

The soundtrack. OMFG frickin bananas. This soundtrack is EVERYTHING. I can’t tell you how much the music makes the film work, I really can’t. No one in their right mind would think that these songs could be combined and produce such a successful result, and yet it does. It is a combination of every good song that was made in the last few years, and I am so getting the CD when it comes out!

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Will Smith as Deadshot. I saw a really deep query somewhere questioning whether Will Smith was the character or if the character was Will Smith? I don’t know, but I can tell you that Will Smith was obviously prepared to pick this movie up and carry it himself if it was necessary. His acting is incredible in here, he left his awkward son at home this time and we’re all super grateful about it. The costume looks great, Smith injects humanity into a serial killer which should be impossible, and shines as the unofficial leader of the Suicide Squad. His role didn’t actually contain humorous content, but the way he stood up for himself and his team had some really funny moments in it.

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Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Robbie and Smith has been on the receiving end of all the positive feedback about this film, and it’s easy to see why on both accounts. Margot Robbie was impressive in the Wolf of Wallstreet, and her role in The Legend of Tarzan was a bit plain, but boy did she bring it to the table regardless of the material. Harley Quinn was the character that has been waiting for Margot Robbie to come along – she’s absolutely brilliant. She’s deranged, it is the only word accurate for Harley, and Robbie does an amazing job with her. It must have been tricky – she’s worth all the laughs and is the only female supervillian on the Squad – not an easy job to pull of both. She uses a baby voice, which is surprisingly not as grating as I thought it would be. As Smith does with Deadshot, Robbie manages to incite sympathy for her character – a woman who fell in love with a really really bad man.

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Which brings me to the bad man – The Joker, as played by Jared Leto. It’s an iconic role, and unlike Batman portrayals, The Joker has had consistently impressive portrayals. Does Leto stack up? For me? YES. I found him as deranged as his girlfriend (perhaps even more so). I think Leto did a good job. People are also angry that he wasn’t in the film as much as they wanted to see him, but I didn’t feel deprived. He is always lurking behind the scenes, his presence is there, and when he’s on screen he brings it like a complete professional lunatic. I’d actually really like a movie with more Joker and Quinn time, but ladies, PLEASE STOP SAYING YOU WANT A LOVE LIKE THIS, IT’S DERANGED AND ABUSIVE. SHEESH.

I can go on and on about the characters, because I liked them all except two (which I will mention below). I thought Jai Courtney was good as Boomerang. Can people give this poor man a break? You’d swear he’s the worst actor ever, which he certainly isn’t. He was really hilarious as Boomerang, and he looked scruffy and shady, and it was so funny. I also really liked Diablo – he was the only character who showed true remorse. Jay Hernandez looked scary and great and brought some great acting to the screen.

Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. I was so disappointed in “The Good Guys”. Everyone was a bit of a douchebag, some significantly more than others. Rick was such a good man in a bad situation, and he was making things work for him as best he could. He wasn’t exactly nice to the Squad, but he didn’t make a job to abuse them just for the fun of it.

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Cara Delevingne had a double role as The Enchantress and Dr. June Moore, the poor archaeologist who was possessed because she ripped an ancient statue’s head off. A few things went wrong with the villainy of this particular role, but their was nothing wrong with the acting or the casting – Ms. Eyebrows did a super job.

What I didn’t like:

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On the characters, the only two I really didn’t like was Killer Croc – could anyone even hear what the guy was busy saying? I certainly couldn’t. The other was Katana – Talk about the most stereotyped character to ever reach the screen in 2016.

The harshness of Amanda Waller – I get that this woman is anything but stable, but let’s be real here – no one could sympathize with this loon. Viola Davis did an excellent job, but the character was too unsavory to even feel sorry for.

The Enchantress as the villain. As I’ve said, it has nothing to do with the casting. However, the implementation of the villain was weak, and I spent a good portion wondering why the hell there were petrol monsters to begin with.

The introduction of the characters. At its’ core, Suicide Squad is suffering because DC just doesn’t want to spend any time implementing their characters properly. I’ve refrained comparing DC to Marvel’s success in this post up till now, but I will only mention by the time Marvel launched the Avengers, they’d spent time developing characters. Is Aquaman and Wonder Woman dropping before Justice League? I would hope so – there needs to be memory for the audiences as to why the characters are doing what they are doing, not some random ten minute sequence into the characters when the movie starts.

Well, there you have it. I thought that there went a lot right with this film, and the negative hype is typical of critics. Are there flaws? Yes. Can this franchise continue? HELL YES.

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Trailers worth Discussion: Round 1

Happy Friday!

So, I’m titling this little series as Trailers worth Discussion. Basically I am going to put up the latest trailers and say what I think of them, my excitement levels and if I think it will be a success or not. Yep, my highly patented opinion. Let me know YOUR opinion on these below!

Trailer 1: Me Before You, starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke

What I think: So I’ve ordered the book – this trailer seems like someone is going to die. I just want to know before I head into the cinema. I can handle a death, I just need to know. Terrible, hey? I am also really interested to see Emilia Clarke as something other than the mother of dragons, because that particular show will not see my patronage anytime soon.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I do think so. Strong romantic dramas tend to do quite well for dates, and really hope both Claflin and Clarke get a chance to break out of the roles they are now very well known for.

Trailer 2: Suicide Squad Trailer #2

What I think: After the colossal (okay, not quite that bad) failure of Batman vs. Superman, DC must really work it to convince me to be interested. This trailer looks interesting, but I’m not all that sure I can invest in going to the movies for this.

Excitement levels: 2/5

Will it be a success? Likely, since the world isn’t tired of superheroes. yet.

Trailer 3: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

What I think: I’m reading the entire Harry Potter series again. I wish the magic could live on forever. I am not convinced that it can. It is sad, but I think continuing this series is a terrible idea. What is perfect should remain perfect.

Excitement levels: 1.5/5

Will it be a success? Yes, because the pseudo Potter fans weren’t raised on the books and don’t get the original magic quite that well. But I might still be impressed. I just don’t get why they must take it to America. Stupid.

Trailer 4: Doctor Strange

What I think: It seems like this is a role for which Benedict Cumberbatch was born for.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I don’t know if the movie will work, I have no knowledge of the material. I do think it will be a success, because, Marvel.

Let me know what you think about these upcoming movies!!

Movie Review: Batman vs. Superman (2016)

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Plot: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

Rating: 6/10

If we could rate Batman vs. Superman solely on the thigh muscles of Henry Cavill, displayed in tight leather pants, then the most awkward attempt at block buster creation would have ended up with a much higher rating than it currently holds, especially on Rotten Tomatoes, who is leading the angry mob with a nice little 30% rating on there. I was feeling a bit meh towards the film when I walked out of cinema, but have to admit I was slightly shocked at the hate I saw online while doing my usual post-film Googling.

Is it 30% bad? No. It might be the biggest wasted potential of the decade, but it is not worth such a harsh rating. Some things worked really well. Henry Cavill is the most Superman-looking Superman that has graced our screen in a long time, and while his character is shrouded in guilt and really, let’s be honest, needing to man the hell up and stop pitying himself, Cavill is as entertaining as Superman as he was in Man of Steel. Ben Affleck is surprisingly good. Look, I enjoy Affleck very much. He’s a talented actor and comes across as a fairly decent human being. I was not convinced of his ability as Batman, because Batsie is dark and Ben Affleck just seems so nice even when he is trying to be not nice. Yet Affleck portrays Batman with underlying anger and menace that I never thought was possible. He was one of the best things in this dismal movie.

What went wrong?

Lex Luthor

Jesse Eisenberg. I called this mistake in casting he second it happened. He’s twitchy, he’s whiney, he is not marginally charming in this role. What I liked about General Zod in Man of Steel is you could root for him, understand on some level why he was doing what he was was doing. Lex Luthor in BvsS is silly, stupid and twitchy. He barely gives any reason why he is acting like he’s acting, and it constantly feels like he has a tiny-man syndrome and is angry at the chiseled looks of Clark Kent and the adoration humanity has for him.

There is no story. Seriously, the film, starting out darkly with (yet another) backstory on Bruce Wayne looked enticing but quickly developed into a mess. There are kitchen timers, wheels being beaten into submission, Lois Lane throwing the one object that can kill a Kryptonian being into some pool (that appears from nowhere). Even Batman eventually needs to check in what is going down at the end of the film.

I discovered that I dislike Zack Snyder. A man of his wealth and fame will hardly care what I have to say, but looking at the films he made up till now makes me realize that I kind of feel about him like the internet feels towards Michael Bay. Poorly written material with violent scenes seems to be his biggest thing, and it always reflects poorly. This is no different just as MoS was no different – fight scenes that takes way too long to flesh out and then falls flat. The big fight between Batman and Superman started out animatedly enough but ends up with Lois breaking it up. FFS.

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Lois Lane and Martha Kent constantly needs saving. They have zero girl power. Can we have the sassy Lois Lane from Smallville, please? Amy Adams… yeah. I find her relatively decent as a rom-com character but she needs way more spunk as Lois Lane if she wants to continue in the role.

But, what worked?

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I can’t wait for this movie.

Holly Hunter as Senator Finch. I could moan for days that she was badass but not used enough, but I won’t, because she had a hard stance when she was on screen and was girl power through and through. Go team!

The score. It is Hans Zimmer everywhere and it is dramatic, lonely and astonishingly beautiful.

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Ben Affleck as Batman. It worked, as mentioned above, surprising everyone. I wouldn’t completely be against a standalone movie here, but not sure if it would qualify as necessary.

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Henry Cavill as Superman. Good golly, yes please. He didn’t get any character development in here, and I didn’t appreciate the Christ-attributes that was given to him, but he continues to work well as the local Kryptonian.

The quick spotting of Aquaman. Does anyone fully understand my level of adoration for Jason Momoa? It’s unnatural and unhealthy. I can’t wait.

The bottom-line

I think the critics are being unnecessarily rude about this film, and their harshness is uncalled for. It might be a good plan to scrap Jesse Eisenberg and Zack Snyder and to follow a straight line of comic book back story. There are enough things that work in here to make the exhaustive time of the film slightly tolerable. Go watch it, get your own opinion and don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong about it.

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Movie Review: Man of Steel (2013)

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The planet Kryton faces extinction when its core becomes unstable, after years of abuse of natural sources. General Zod (Michael Shannon) disposes of its council, and scientist Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and his wife Lara send their son, Kal-El, the only natural born in centuries, to earth, infusing his cells with the genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race, making him their hope for future generations. Zod and his followers are sent to the Phantom Zone after he murders Jor-El, but after Krypton explodes, they are freed and can start hunting for Kal-El.

Meanwhile, Kal-El has been raised in Kansas as Clark Kent, by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Clark has developed superhuman abilities, because of his Kryptonian physiology compared to Earth’s. He gradually learns to harness his abilities, but never fully reveals himself as his father taught him the danger of exposure.

Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane systematically searches for Clark after he saves her life. She goes on the distinctive trail he has left during his lifetime, and eventually finds him even though he went through a lot of trouble to protect his identity. When she demands the truth, he shares it with her, eventually making her see the truth in his father’s plea for secrecy.

When Zod finds that Kal-El is on Earth, he demands that Clark is handed over to him, or he will attack Earth. The FBI arrests Lois when they learn that she knows exactly who Clark is and where he hides, but Clark hands himself over to them to ensure her safety. Now the questions are: Is Zod as evil as we think he is, and will Clark manage to save planet Earth?

Cast members:

Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/ Kal-El

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I cannot describe how well this man fits into his role. It was simply outstanding. He portrays Clark Kent, from his Kansas roots to his alien parentage to perfection. He is such a sad, sad character. He manages to show how alone Superman really is, even though his earthly parents always loved him. Not only is he ridiculously good looking (it had to be mentioned and appreciated); his looks are so typically Superman that during a few scenes I thought he looked quite like Tom Welling. It is a rare occurrence that a character can be this well cast.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane

To me, Lois had always embodied a feministic, outgoing and slightly aggressive spirit. In Man of Steel, Amy Adams portrayed a more vulnerable persona. For Ms. Adams it was quite a good acting stint, as she usually is rather good in every role she does, but to me she wasn’t what I thought Lois should be. Any opinions on her portrayal? Please share in the comment section!

Michael Shannon as General Zod

Fantastic portrayal! He is such a formidable enemy. I was incredibly impressed by him. He really became a pain in Superman’s ass, as a good villain should. I felt sorry for him at the end, since his genetic programming limited him to think of the human race’s survival.

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Russel Crowe as Jor-El

Russel Crowe is always awesome, and his portrayal as Jor-El was no exception. His love for his son is so obvious, yet he offers up Cal-El to save their race. He managed to be both father and warrior and scientist, and really impressed me (again).

Rating: 8/10

I really enjoyed this movie, and found it one of the best cinematic experiences for the year. I have previously expressed how much I enjoy Superhero movies, but let’s face it: not all Superheroes were created equal. I expected Man of Steel to be as funny as Avengers, but it was not. That is not a bad thing – in the end I enjoyed it because it was slightly more depressing. It steers more to the Dark Knight oeuvre, which makes logical sense (DC-sense that is) and also, it would be completely unrealistic for a man to be incredibly happy if he was the last of his race to survive. I would really recommend this movie to everyone. It is worth every penny spent.