Posts Tagged ‘Movie’

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One of the darkest chapters in Batman lore has received its very own adaptation from DC’s famed and often celebrated animation line. But does The Killing Joke live up to previous classic Bat-animations like Mask of the Phantasm, and the more recent Dark Knight Returns?

Seeing how this is a classic Batman-Joker story, with classic Batman and Joker voice actors, what could possibly go wrong? Right? That’s how I went into this one anyway. Unfortunately, my high expectations left me rather disappointed. I guess I’ll just get right to it. The screenwriters for this movie completely broke Alan Moore’s story. I understand that it’s a short story, and that it would have to be fluffed out to make a feature film, but if you’re going to make the commitment to film it, the least you could do is not screw it up. In Moore’s story, Barbara Gordon may have just been a side character to move the plot forward, but they’ve somehow managed to make that worse. The first thirty minutes of this movie is a kind of prologue to the actual story of The Killing Joke, and to be honest, it’s one that doesn’t work well at all. It feels like something completely separate, mostly because it is. That half hour could have been completely removed and the movie would have been much better for it.

Now for the good parts. As always, when you have such professionals as Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker), a large part of the story and quality of the film is going to hinge on their performances. Both do an excellent job here. Hamill’s Joker is as chilling as ever and Conroy’s Batman is perhaps his most stoic performance of the character. Sometimes Conroy even came off a bit too stoic for me with a few line deliveries that were kind of flat for my liking. Those minor few instances aside, the voice actors are what kept this from being a total travesty.

Overall, I was really disappointed with this one. The source material and the voice cast set my expectations pretty high, but the way the screenwriters totally butchered the story left a very sour taste in my mouth. I know Alan Moore is typically not a fan of his work being adapted, so much so that he refuses to have his name credited on the movie adaptations, this one was no exception, and honestly, I can’t say that I blame him.

The Verdict for Batman: The Killing Joke:
2 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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The ninth installment of the X-Men cinematic franchise (Origins: Wolverine counts… as much as I would prefer it didn’t) has landed with today’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Set ten years after the events of Days of Future Past, Professor Xavier has built himself a bustling school for mutant children, Mystique is helping mistreated mutants find asylum in an underground society, and Magneto is trying to stay under the radar in the Polish countryside. However, all of their plans go awry when an ancient, god-like power resurfaces after several thousand years.

This movie is VERY full. Full of everything; characters, plot threads, fight scenes. At times it does seem a little overwhelming, but it never got to the point of utter confusion from being overstuffed. There is only one element that I feel could definitely have been cut out, as its only real purpose is to set up for the next chapter in the franchise. Other than that, the story threads were many, but cohesive, and mostly necessary. My biggest complaint is Apocalypse himself, not so much his look, which I didn’t mind, but his character. He never really comes across as that larger than life figure he is in the comics, and I feel like that’s probably what hurts this movie most. Also, for a character so heavily featured in the trailers, Psylocke gets surprisingly little screen time.

The acting is mostly good, although I can’t help but feel that Jennifer Lawrence phoned it in as Mystique in a few scenes. She just seemed kind of bored for most of the movie. McAvoy and Fassbender are still great as Professor X and Magneto, and are worthy successors (or would it be precursors?) to the roles that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen defined nearly two decades ago. Many of the new young actors also do a really great job portraying their respective characters.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I went in with pretty low expectations and came out of the theater feeling satisfied. It certainly doesn’t match the quality and experience of First Class or Days of Future Past, but it doesn’t fail miserably either as some final acts of trilogies have done before, I’m looking your way Last Stand.

The Verdict for X-Men: Apocalypse:
3 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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So, the second big superhero faceoff movie of the summer is here, and it is an overwhelming experience. Does that equate to a cinematic success, or an overburdened stumble? You’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Captain America: Civil War begins with an operation in Nigeria to capture Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones. The plan goes south and results in the deaths of many civilians, and in the wake of the previous destruction New York (Avengers), Washington, DC (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and Sokovia (Avengers: Age of Ultron), the United Nations drafts a resolution to keep powered individuals in check and hold them responsible for their actions. This film is the culmination of eight years of Marvel Cinematic Universe story lines. I sincerely mean that. There are story threads here that started in the very first Iron Man movie and have worked their way through most of the films since.

The Russo brothers craft an intense action epic here. The fight set-pieces are over the top and everything that I would expect from a large-scale superhero film. But it’s not all fighting, there’s a deeper emotional element to the movie as well. Captain America (Chris Evans) stands firm on the idea that the Avengers are best left alone, and not at the mercy of a UN task force who picks and chooses where they should and should not intervene. On the other hand Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), suffers from immense guilt after the events of Age of Ultron and argues that the heroes need some rules and guidelines to live by. It’s so difficult to pick a side and deem one as the “bad guy” because both of their arguments have merit, and that’s where the true conflict of this story lies.

Evans and Downey give solid performances as the two leads, and the personal conflict between their two characters is realistic. However, the true standout performance in this movie is Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther. The character gets a fitting introduction, and Boseman plays him well, often stealing scenes from some of the other heavy hitters in the film. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is a fun and light-hearted take on the character, and the young actor plays it well, even if the character’s inclusion in the film feels just slightly tacked on.

I do have a couple of complaints about the movie. For one, I feel the writers played the story a little too safely. I almost wish they would have taken a few more risks and made the stakes for these characters a little higher. A little more uncertainty would definitely make the future of the franchise a little more fun to anticipate. Secondly, while I feel the movie worked as a whole, parts of it did seem a little overstuffed. Not nearly to the extent of certain other superhero movies this year *cough*BatmanvsSuperman*cough*, but crowded nonetheless.

At the end of the day, Disney, Marvel, and the Russos prove that a big budget hero vs. hero movie can work, but it’s not something that can be done overnight.  As I mentioned before, Civil War is the culmination of nearly a decade of story lines. These characters have known and interacted with one another frequently in that time span, tensions and relationships have been built, and that makes a whole lot more sense than these icons just instantly hating one another. It’s not without its flaws, but it sure was a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

The Verdict for Captain America: Civil War:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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It’s here!  It’s here!  It’s finally here!  The long-awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens is officially in theaters now, and I stayed up ridiculously late last night to watch it and give my loyal readers the skinny.

After three decades, and a few somewhat disappointing prequels, we’re going back to that famous galaxy far, far away.  Following the events of Return of the Jedi, the Galactic Empire is shattered, but in it’s absence a new, more aggressive force, known as the First Order, has emerged.  They are searching for the last known Jedi, Luke Skywalker, who has vanished from the galaxy, and they will stop at nothing to find him.

First up, the story.  This movie draws A LOT of parallels to the original trilogy, which is simultaneously the best and worst thing about it.  It’s great because it looks and feels so much like the movies that you’ve watched over and over.  The action is there, the adventure is there, the breathtaking visuals, and epic space battles are there, and the whole spectacle becomes one massive nostalgia trip.  However, its greatest asset is also perhaps its biggest flaw.  It pulls so much from the story of the original trilogy that it almost, just slightly tends to border on predictable in certain spots.  Particularly when one takes into consideration that this is just the beginning of another trilogy.  However, even with that borderline predictability, it’s still just so damn difficult to not enjoy this movie.

The next best thing about The Force Awakens is the acting.  Abrams and company absolutely nailed it with the casting here.  The talent is young, but they are very good.  Daisy Ridley’s Rey is the standout star here.  She plays her part to perfection and commands the screen whenever she’s on it.  John Boyega’s Finn is a solid secondary character who becomes more and more endearing to the audience as the movie goes on.  And really, what more is there to say about Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher?  They pick up their roles as Han and Leia like they never left them.  And even though they reprise their iconic roles from more than thirty years ago, they still allow the young talent to shine and take the center stage.  It was nice to see them be a part of the story, but not have them shoe-horned into being the main part of the story.

J. J. Abrams and Disney really knocked this one out of the park.  It looks like a Star Wars movie, it sounds like a Star Wars movie, and best of all it FEELS like a good, old-fashioned Star Wars movie.  And I think at the end of the day that is the best praise that I can give it.

The Verdict for Star Wars: The Force Awakens:
5 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.