Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows is second film in the TMNT reboot series, a series that's been off to a mixed start. The first film had an over-glorification of April O'Neil (played by Megan Fox, a very odd casting choice but not awful), a ridiculously overpowered Shredder, a plot borrowed from The Amazing Spider-Man, and our title characters barely in their own film (just like the Godzilla reboot!). Not mention Michael Bay is attached to this series. Wippie. With all of that resulting in a film that was mediocre but with a very large box office return, the sequel only seemed to be a little bit in trouble. So how did sequel do? The pitchfork and torch club might come after me after I say but, oh well: I enjoyed Out Of The Shadows. A lot. A lot more than I probably should've. Out Of The Shadows is easily the second best turtles film. It's miles upon miles better than first film, with a good plot, an increased role from the turtles, a decreased role from April and Vernon, plenty of classic Turtles references, and overall a load fun, although it does suffer from some of the same problems as the first film.
Unlike the first film, The Turtles are the main characters of this movie. We finally get a whole movie of them in action, unlike the first film where their barely there. Like last time, the turtles voice cast was stellar. The actors once nail their respective roles. April and Vernon's roles have dramatically reduced, and they are what they should be: supporting characters. Megan Fox, while still not the best choice, did a good job, as well Will Arnett as Vernon, who was once again hilarious. Stephen Armell did a great job as Casey Jones, even if this version a character is a bit different from the one in the comics and TV series. Brain Tee did a great job as The Shredder, who this time wasn't ridiculously overpowered like he was in the first film. Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams STOLE THE SHOW as Bebop and Rocksteady. Those two nailed their roles. They were absolutely hilarious. Tyler Perry was also good as Baxter Stockman. The Shellraiser (or the Battleshell, it's never exactly stated what the Turtle's van is called here) was incredible. I loved every second of the chase scene. The Technodrome looked absolutely amazing, and final battle scene between the Turtles and the Kraang was amazing. Loved every second of that as well. I also loved the film's plot, and how it deals with the Turtles struggle to deal with who they are and how it affects them as a team. But aside from the seriousness, oh boy this film fun. It's jokes land and every battle scene always got me super excited. The classic Turtle references were also great as well.
Despite being a vast improvement over the first film, Out Of The Shadows still suffers from some of the same problems. Such as there still being many plot holes. Karai was beaten so ridiculously easy, when she's known to put up more than fight. The Shredder never did any direct fighting, which to me was disappointing, because seeing a more evenly matched Turtles and Shredder fight would've been great. Also when Chief Vincent says that they don't have to hide anymore since the saved the city, that was facepalm. It still doesn't matter if they saved city, the public's still not going to accept them.
Out Of The Shadows stomps the first film in almost every single possible way. It's a load fun and action packed compete with a more developed story, better direction, stellar voice work, great work from the cast, reduced roles from April and Vernon, and overall this film doesn't really feel like a Michael Bay film this time around aside from the explosions (neither of the films in this series were directed by Bay but the first one still felt like one). There's plenty here that Turtles fans and audiences will love here.
Hardcore Henry (Review)
Hardcore Henry is an action film that's shot entirely from a first-person perspective. For staff member Chris's birthday party this year, we all went to see it. Hardcore Henry seems to the first action movie of it's kind, a film that's shot entirely in first person. Even though the format is undeniably cool and fueled with action with some comedy thrown in, those don't really make up for the fact that the movie doesn't actually have a plot.
The film's first person perspective is awesome. It feels like you're playing a video game. An extremely gory video game. The action is absolutely incredible. Sharlto Copley steals the show as Jimmy. His character was absolutely hilarious. Throughout the film, you constantly keep wondering "How the hell does he keep coming back? He died like a scene ago"! Once he shows you his initial invention, you think to yourself "That's awesome". The final battle between Akan and Henry once again brings back the video game feeling. Akan, while mostly a generic action flick villain, abilities were pretty cool. The film can also be humorous at times, mainly through Jimmy, the film's ending cracked all of us up.
The main problem with the film is that, there's essentially no plot aside from Henry having to save his wife and stop the bad guy. The film is mainly Henry and Jimmy fighting off Akan's goons. This is a massive problem, up the point where the first person perspective excitement kind of wears off. This isn't exactly a bad thing but the film is definitely not for the weak stomach. If you hate gore, and also get motion sickness very easily, you might want to stay away from this film at all costs. I said earlier, Akan is your generic action flick villain that's just slightly above average.
Hardcore Henry has a great idea and great action but isn't enough to make up for film's missing plot, which stops it from being a great movie. I can't say I was disappointed by Hardcore Henry, because I got what I expected, a first person action flick. I just wish there was more in the plot department to solidify the film.
Suicide Squad (Review)
Suicide Squad is the third and latest installment in the DC Extended Universe, a cinematic universe that can't seem to catch a break this year, or really since it's conception. After a small incident called Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice occurred back in March, Suicide Squad seemed to be the last hope for the DCEU to stop digging itself even further into the ground. Compared to Dawn Of Justice, Suicide Squad looked to a fun alternative to the disaster we saw back in March. However, with the many shake-up's in Warner and DC in the aftermath of Dawn Of Justice, Suicide Squad was effected. So, flash forward to now. Is Suicide Squad the saving grace the DCEU needs to stop itself from continuing to be a cinematic universe of mediocrity? Well, yes and no. Suicide Squad is by far the best film in DCEU, but that's still not saying a lot. Suicide Squad was a disappointment, and similar to the previous entry, one hell of a mess but nowhere the mess Dawn Of Justice was. Despite it's phenomenal acting, it's great soundtrack, and being entertaining as hell, the film lacks in the plot department, it's awful editing, deceptive marketing, and limited appearance Joker despite being overhyped by the film's marketing campaign.
The acting in the film was fantastic. Will Smith was great as Deadshot, Viola Davis was badass as Amanda Waller as well as Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg. Margot Robbie was phenomenal as Harley Quinn. It was unbelievable how good she was. She nailed every aspect of character. I can't wait to see more of her in future films. Jared Leto was amazing as the Joker and proved himself to be a worthy successor to the late Heath Ledger. It's shame many of his scenes were cut out of the film. I can't wait to him in more films as well. Jai Courtney was hilarious as Captain Boomerang, as well as Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc (although I thought his CG was awful). Jay Hernandez was great as El Diablo. All of Batman's scenes was GREAT. Ben Affleck proves once again to be a phenomenal Batman. I loved Flash's cameo as well, which actually came as a surprise to be as I thought it was only a rumor that he was in the film. After seeing the Justice Leauge trailer, I think Ezra Miller's going to be a great Flash. And we finally have DCEU film that doesn't have an unnecessary darky, gloomy, and humorless tone. Suicide Squad at times can be hilarious and for the first time in the DCEU, the jokes land. The tone of Suicide Squad is a nice change of pace from the previous installments. Despite it's problems, Suicide Squad is still incredibly entertaining and fun where it's needed (however it's not fun all the way through). On a side note, the soundtrack for the film was great. I love twenty one pilots's "Heathens", Skrillex & Rick Ross's "Purple Lamborghini", and Panic! At The Disco's cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".
The plot for the film is rather weak and nothing really that special. The film starts off strong in the first act but fizzes out by the second act. The film's editing as awful and cuts at the worst times and completely screws up the plot and plays music in scenes where the song doesn't really fit. The releastionship between the Joker and Harley Quinn was off putting here. Since when did the Joker start caring about Harley? Since when as he actually been in love with her? The releastionship between the Joker and Harley Quinn as orgininated in Batman: The Animated Series is that Harley is is in love and obsessed with the Joker. The Joker doesn't care about her and simply uses her for his schemes and is often abusive towards her. Now, no one really wants to see that last part on screen, but the Joker isn't in love with Harley and never has been. On an additional note, why the hell does Harley still have a phone to communicate with the Joker? You'd figure the police would've confiscated that. Speaking of the Joker, he's barely in this film, despite being so hyped up by the film's marketing. He has more screentime in Skrillex and Rick Ross's "Purple Lamborghini" music video than he probably did in the entire film. Jared Leto later on revealed that many of his scenes were cut from the film, which is a shame considering how great his Joker is. Killer Croc's CG was awful, but it doesn't take too much away from the character as I still found him funny. One of the main problems with the film is how much they under use the team members. The only team members who seem to be of any use are Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and eventually El Diablo. Slipknot is killed after being on screen for less than 30 seconds, while Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, and Katana are only useful for one or more scenes, beyond that there just comic relief (except Katana).
Enchantress was an awful villain who couldn't stop doing the twist and shimmy everytime she spoke. An element of Dawn Of Justice hit Enchantress here with the "this is hilarious but it's suppose to be serious" scenario. Enchantress doing the shimmy every time she spoke was hilarious. Enchantress's motives are never really explained either. It never explained why her and brother want to wipe out mankind other than the fact that humans don't bow down to them anymore and trapped them in a statue. There's no clear motive. At least in Dawn Of Justice, Lex Luthor had somewhat of a motive to turn Batman and Superman against each other. Enchantress has none.
One of the worst things about Suicide Squad was it's deceptive marketing. I'm not going to go out and attempt to sue Warner and DC like that one redditor but I do agree, there was a lot of good stuff in the trailers that were cut out from the film. For example, where the hell was that awesome water scene from the trailer ("I'll have water." "That's a good idea honey")? Why was that cut out? As I mentioned earlier, Jared Leto stated many of scenes were cut out from the film. Apparently enough scenes were shot for an entire Joker movie according to Leto (which sounds pretty awesome to me). Why were these cut out? Especially since the film's marketing hype up the Joker so much and made it look like in the trailer that HE was the villain. Remember that scene in the trailer where the squad hears the Joker's laughter, Harley says "Oh no" and Deadshot says "Not good!"? That's nowhere to be found. Now, I kind of get why this was cut out (I mean, why would Harley be scared of The Joker approaching, unless they would've taken influence from Mad Love and have a briefly reformed Dr. Harleen Quinzel) but still.
The worse thing for me is that Suicide Squad doesn't work as PG-13 film and would've worked a lot better as an R rated film, seeing that this a film about supervillains. With opening scenes of very proactive behavior from Harley Quinn (plus the strip club scene), some of the language I'm surprised you could away with PG-13, and the violence was definitely enough for an R rating. The film was definitely held back by the PG-13 rating and and just couldn't really make it work with the rating. Hey, but maybe we'll get another R-rated ultimate cut, because like with Dawn Of Justice, Suicide Squad needs an extended cut (in fact, Man Of Steel probably could've used one too). I see this becoming a trend in the DCEU and that's not a good thing. It shows you that DC and Warner can't get the film right the first time, and even the ultimate cut still doesn't entirely make things better (I heard the ultimate edition of Dawn Of Justice only fixes half of the film's problems).
Although Suicide Squad was disappointing and isn't exactly the savior the DCEU needed, I will say the critics are being a little too harsh on the film. As I said earlier, it's the best film in the DCEU, it's miles upon miles better than Dawn Of Justice, and it's not bad enough to join the list of the worst superhero movies of all time list, but it's still not a good film. It's not abysmal like how critics are describing it as but it's not good. Like with Dawn Of Justice, there's a good movie somewhere in there. You just have dig past the very noticeable studio interference, awful editing, and the weak story to find it. Unlike Dawn Of Justice, I do see myself watching Suicide Squad again, but as something on TV when nothing else is on or picking it up on DVD when it's on sale. *Sigh*. Well Wonder Woman, it's up to you. Save. This. Cinematic. Universe. I really don't want sit through another DC film that's a rushed attempt to compete with Marvel with the ending result of a film that's either awful, mediocre, or merely OK. But anyway, can't wait for that extended ultimate cut DC, because it's bound to happen at this point. Let's hope that can actually fix this film. Or only fix half of it's problems. Get it together you guys.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (Review)
Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice is the second film in the DC Extended Universe, and I don't even know where to begin on this one. First things first, I should probably state that I'm Marvel fan. It's what I grew up with and I've always loved their characters more. However, I don't hate DC at all. I'm a huge fan of the DC Animated Universe (or the Timmverse or Diniverse as some call it) as well variety of their other animated series (Teen Titans, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and The Bold, Young Justice, etc), I've collected a ton of DC Comics, loved Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan's Batman films, the list goes on. I didn't want Batman v. Superman to fail. I was hoping it would be better than Man Of Steel (which, I thought Man Of Steel was OK). Our very own Christian Jusino (the DC officinato of CGYT) was excited to see the film, and managed to solidly convince everyone to give the film a chance and see it. And we did, and I wish we didn't. Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice was shockingly bad. Now, Batman v. Superman isn't worthy of joining the list of the worst comic book movies of all time. Anyone who places on a list next to Schumacher's Batman films, Catwoman, Supergirl, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, FAN4STIC, etc. is insane. But it's still not a good film. Batman v. Superman is one hell of a mess complete with an incoherent plot, a unnecessary dark, gloomy, and humorless tone, a complete misunderstanding of our two title heroes.
Ben Affleck proved everyone wrong with his portrayal of Batman. Affleck is the best Batman we've ever seen on screen. Almost everything about Affleck's Batman was great. His Bruce Wayne felt like Bruce Wayne. Henry Cavill once again was great as Superman. Gal Gadot was phenomenal as Wonder Woman (even though she spends nearly the entire movie as Diana Prince). Jeremy Iron's is the best Alfred we've seen on screen, and it's a shame he didn't get enough screentime. The visual effects in the film were undeniably stellar . If there's one thing Synder can deliver, it's the visual effects. Every scene with Batman fighting was spectacular. The new Batmobile is badass. The entire car chase scene was absolutely stunning. The plot regarding the mass public indifference view on Superman, I thought was a good idea, but would've been executed a lot better if we're just a sequel to Man Of Steel. I enjoyed the scenes in the Daily Planet as well as Clark Kent trying to convince Perry White that they should be covering Batman instead of just focusing on local news. I also enjoyed the banter between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne (until Lex Luthor showed up). The fight between Batman and Superman, while short was awesome. See the two duke it out on screen was stunning. The fight sequence between Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman taking on Doomsday was fantastic as well (despite Doomsday's bad CGI).
Oh boy. Where do I begin. The entire first half of the movie is complete garbage. The pacing is awful and there is absolutely no plot progression. Nothing happens. The overall plot is completely incoherent. It constantly bounces from sub-plot to sub-plot and constantly leaves you confused. Jesse Eisenberg was awful as Lex Luthor. I don't care if he was Lex himself or Lex's son, he was infuriatingly awful. I'm not saying Jesse Eisenberg is a bad actor but dear god was that a miscast on DC and Warner's part. Every scene Lex was in I just wanted to be over immediately. Once again, the unnecessary dark, gloomy, humorless tone that plagued Man Of Steel is back for Batman v. Superman. And once again, it just doesn't work for our lead characters. It still doesn't work for Superman, nor does it work for Wonder Woman. The only character it works for is Batman, because he's a dark character. Now there are some jokes in the movie but they either don't land or only worth half a chuckle. And there's parts of the film that's suppose to completely serious but end up being absolutely hilarious. Yes, I'm talking about the Martha scene. We all cracked up upon seeing that. DC fans will not hear the end of the scene for a very long time, no matter how much they try and defend it. Doomsday (although the battle is pretty awesome) could've been cut entirely and his CG was awful. He didn't need to be here. Remember when I said earlier about how the public indifference view on Superman would've a great idea if was executed properly? This storyline would've been great if Dawn Of Justice was a sole sequel to Man Of Steel and not crammed in with three other storylines. The movies drags on at times and feels like it has multiple endings. Every time you think the movie is going to end, there's another scene. Also the Justice Leauge is set up through an email. With everyone's logos on the attachments. Nuff said.
One of the biggest problems with Dawn Of Justice was the misunderstanding of the two title characters. Superman, the man who once stood for hope and optimism, is a complete dick in this movie, which was why I was all for Batman just killing him. Superman constantly mopes arounds and complains about his job as if it were a chore and constantly wonders why he even bothers to continue on. That doesn't sound like Superman. On top of being a dick, Superman is also a gigantic hypocrite in this movie. He threatens Batman to hang it up because he disapproves of his dark brand of justice and criticizes him for collateral damage he causes. Let's not forget Superman obliterated his entire city at the end of Man Of Steel. As for Batman, he kills. A lot. Let's stop right here. We all know Batman has a famous no killing policy. Yes it been broken before? Yes. Has he killed in other movies before? Yes. But it's never been on this large of a scale before. Dream sequence or not, he was gunning people down. I get that the DCEU Batman is based of Frank Miller's version where he's supposed be more violent, but this leads to many unanswered questions. Such as if Batman is killing criminals, then why the hell is the Joker still alive? Or really any of his villains. In a further action out of character, Batman doesn't really attempt to find out what Superman is actually about, he immediately goes by the idiotic logic that "If there's even a 1% chance he's our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty" and attempts to take on Superman, and believes that 1% chance of Superman plotting against the earth. That scene where the two first meet, could've been them talking things out, attempting to find out what they're both about, but no. It wouldn't really be Batman v. Superman then unless that scene ended in an argument between the two (which also could've worked).
The biggest downfall of Dawn Of Justice was the fact that this was a massive catch-up movie, which is why the Justice Leauge is set up through an email and this movie bites off a lot more than can chew. The problem with DC is that they're trying so hard to catch up with Marvel that they're not putting quality in their films. Batman v. Superman could've easily been two or three films but instead in was crammed into one in an attempt to get to Justice Leauge faster. I don't why DC is so concerned with catching up with Marvel. They're five years ahead and 13 films deep. It's going to be a while before DC actually catches up to Marvel. By efficiently overloading the movies just to try to get to where they are is foolish on their end, which is Dawn Of Justice was so bad. DC fans can say all they want about how they can't copy Marvel's format of having standalone movies first building up to a team up film. This is the only way for a successful cinematic universe that doesn't feel rushed. DC needs to go back to their mentality back in the early 2000's, where they weren't concerned with competing with Marvel, but putting out a good film for their fans and themselves after the survived suicide attempt that was Batman & Robin, which is a reason why Nolan's trilogy prevailed. He wasn't concerned with what Marvel was doing at the time. I don't care how long it takes, as long as we get a good movie in the end like with Nolan's trilogy, I'd be fine. But not a rushed attempt to catch up and compete with Marvel.
Dawn Of Justice is essentially a good Batman movie stuck inside an god awful Superman sequel. There was so much potential that was squandered. Despite my gut feeling, I wanted DC to prove me wrong. I wanted Dawn Of Justice to be great. Despite a great cast (expect Eisenberg) and taking inspiration from two great storylines, Dawn Of Justice fails to deliver on what could've been a great superhero film. Help us Suicide Squad. You're our only hope. Oh wait... well, I'll still give it a chance.
X-Men: Apocalypse (Review)
X-Men: Apocalypse is the latest film the X-Men series and the conclusion to a series that has been dragged out for too long because Fox still thinks it can compete with their former ally Marvel by using their own characters against them. They still seem to think by not having the X-Men, Marvel can't fully succeed with the MCU. The MCU has succeed without Spider-Man (who is now in the MCU), Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, so I hope Fox still isn't going by this logic. But I will give credit where it is due. Fox managed to relapse the X-Men series after shooting itself twice with X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The prequels have done justice to the series. X-Men: First Class was great and X-Men: Days Of The Future Past was phenomenal. So when I saw the early reviews for X-Men: Apocalypse, I was disappointed. I knew Days Of The Future Past couldn't be topped but I thought Apocalypse would still manage to be a satisfying conclusion. I went to see Apocalypse, I kept my expectations low after reading a lot of the reviews. When I walked out the theater, I thought "What were the critics thinking?!?! That was great"! Although Apocalypse is nowhere near as good as Days Of The Future Past was, it's still a very solid film and a satisfying conclusion. It's action packed, it's funny, and heartfelt at times.
I thought the story was great and picks up where Days Of The Future Past left off (10 years later) nicely. Once again, the prequel trilogy cast prevails (kudos the young actors here). Great performances from James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Holt, Jennifer Lawrence, Evan Peters, Oscar Isaac, etc. The film is also hilarious at times, with the funniest characters being Quicksilver (who steals nearly every scene he's in) and Nightcrawler. My favorite scenes in this movie include Cyclops destroying Xavier's favorite childhood tree when demonstrating his powers, Quicksilver saving everyone in the X-Mansion the entire battle scene, where Jean Grey unleashes the Phoenix force. That was awesome. Wolverine's cameo is probably one of the best scenes of the Canadian mutant we've seen in the entire series. It was pure awesomeness (but not without it's problems).
I felt like Apocalypse was trying too hard to show the characters and audience how bad he really is. He tries so hard to be above and beyond evil up the point where it becomes incredibly annoying. I hated Angel's portrayal in this film. Just hated it. I also hated how they killed him off in the end instead of reforming like Storm. Then there's Wolverine's cameo. Despite the fact how amazing it was (probably one of the best scenes we've seen of Wolverine in the entire series), his cameo felt completely unnecessary served no real purpose other than Fox wanting to just throw him in the movie because "well, he's freaking Wolverine"! I get that we should probably see where he is at this point in the past to set up for the next solo Wolverine film, but it just felt so unnecessary.
I gotta say, I disagree with the critics on this one. Despite it not topping Days Of The Future Past (which, no really expected it to do so), Apocalypse is still an incredibly solid film and a satisfying conclusion that I encourage you all to see. In all honesty, after Wolverine: Weapon X and Deadpool 2, it's time for Fox to either hang it up to just join forces with Marvel again. It's hurting them more than it's hurting Marvel (and it's not hurting Marvel at all).
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