New Age, New Strengths, New Weaknesses: Welcome To International Men In Black

Men in Black: International Poster

 

They don’t exist outside of Déjà vu!  They are protecting us I supposedly only one suit that they never take off.  And they have faced more interesting specimens of the galaxy than we can ever imagine. I’m talking about the Men IN Black and they won’t let you remember about all the stuff you may or may not have seen. Welcome to Robbie’s movie reviews and today we are going to be looking at yet another movie hitting the silver screen. Today is the latest iteration of a beloved 90s franchise that has seen it’s ups and downs.  Can the latest installment/reboot find the stride, or are we once again stuck with another rushed production that should have had more time or never existed?  Let’s take a look at:

 

Movie: Men In Black International (2019)

 

Director:

Gary Gray

Writers:

Matt HollowayArt Marcum  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Chris HemsworthTessa ThompsonKumail Nanjiani

 

LIKES:

  • Decently Paced
  • New Aliens and Designs
  • Nostalgia
  • Simplistic Story
  • Funny
  • Kumail Nanjiani’s character

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • More Aliens
  • Predictable
  • Plot Missing Some Wrap ups
  • Other Acting Is A Little Forced
  • Missing That Natural Humor
  • Underutilized characters
  • Not Campy Enough
  • The Political Messages… again

 

SUMMARY:

A Men In Black Movie is all about being an entertaining spectacle of comedy, story, and latching on to our heroes and finding some moving pieces.  This new installment may not have our favorite agents we started with (in physical form at least), but it holds a few treasured components that kept it entertaining for me.  For one it’s a movie with few slow parts, moving from one component to the next with little time for impasses to really drive character development, but maximize laughs and entertainment. The New aliens and designs are refreshing in the component that they are bringing back the creativeness that brings renewed energy into the series, especially in regards to some of the new criminal aliens who have edge and artistic designs mixed in.  With all the newness you might be fretting that the old feeling has been lost, and to be honest I found some qualities that still remain to be fun and remind you of the older days.  For one there is plenty of nostalgia lining this movie, maybe not in the full integration of other movies have done, but certainly a few nods to the adventures our first band had.  Simplistic story still stays strong as well, with little twists and turns to spin your head or make you think, but not so simplistic to be absolutely stupid or boring, for the most part any way.  The key thing that stays here though is the humor, finding the same formula of modern times by cramming jokes in as many styles as possible.  That variety is good, bringing some dynamic choices to the mix to try and cater to a number of audience members and hopefully leaving you in tears.  Yet the winner for me is Kumail’s character Pawny.  The Middle Eastern actor’s character left me in stitches bringing his usual brand of comedic delivery with well time interruptions that were perfect for me.  In addition the character remains pertinent to the story as well, only having a few times where his manners were forced on me.  An excellent character for this reviewer.

 

Yet for all the good they did for me, the modern reboot of the series has not achieved the goals that the first series did for me. For one thing, more aliens could have been introduced, or even better integrated into the mix.  All the introductions and new designs should have had a little more time to brew to perfection and perhaps be relevant to the inclusion outside of a joke or two. Villains, supporting characters, even the main heroes felt underutilized to me, simplistic shells of main characters that hold secrets, but like the organization remain hidden.  As such, I did not get quite attached to these two new agents like I did K and J, and that leads to a less engaging story for me overall. In regards to the story itself, well that too is sort of lacking.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s got the components famous in this series, but they were not as well put together because of the new approach.  It’s predictable for one thing and leaves little surprise in how things are going to pan out from obvious foreshadowing.  Story elements started being hinted at, but then the plot lines fell flat or remained sort of untied, perhaps in suggesting a future installment. The fact that the characters are not quite as engaging leaves flat pieces to play out, who become more focused on comedy than being a hero.  Most of all, the story is just missing that campiness overall that the 90s made famous and that took away some of the things that made the first trilogy special.  Without that factor, that natural humor was sort of lacking, forced upon me much like the ghostbusters from a couple of years ago.  They almost try too hard for me and at times that obvious digression from the story to make a joke id not impress me as much.  This is especially true with the political humor, once again trying to force emotional surges into the movie to deliver the real-life issues. Sometimes the writing was perfect and well-integrated, but often it fell to deaf ears because it was not needed, potentially left to the interviews and subconscious meetings than anything else.

 

   Overall, the film turned out to be fun and entertaining. The modern twist is far from perfect, but it shows the series can age well with the right guidance and motivation. It still needs balance and shying away from the forced jokes, alongside crafting characters that I actually care about instead of the comedic, political husks I was getting.  Men In Black International though has plenty of old and new blended in and the new little guy Pawny should certainly make up for a number of flaws given his character ironically has more layers than the leading cast.  Due to the special effects, this one lands in the see in theaters territory, so check it out, but in terms of the quality movie overall, you can probably check this one out at home to be honest.  So my scores for the movie are:

 

Action/Adventure/Comedy:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

 

 

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Burning Through Plots To Finish Things Up

Dark Phoenix Poster

 

X-men, a series with so much storytelling and incredible characters that the comic book itself stands alone as one of the greatest franchises to exist in the comic book world.  Yet, the movies have had a rough patch in terms of execution, hitting some highs and some lows in their design and sequences.  So tonight, the last of the franchises before Disney takes over, tries to send it off in the a blaze of glory, focusing on the last saga that is a beacon in the mutant world: The Phoenix.  Can Fox put the shining beacon of power in the right light, or will it be yet another grandiose display of loud sounds?  Robbie K here to bring his observations and help you out with your movie pleasure.  Let’s go!

 

Movie: Dark Phoenix (2019)

 

Director:

Simon Kinberg

Writers:

John Byrne (story “The Dark Phoenix Saga”), Chris Claremont (story “The Dark Phoenix Saga”)  |4 more credits »

Stars:

James McAvoyMichael FassbenderJennifer Lawrence

 

 

LIKES:

Acting

Sophie Turner

Special Effects

The Action/Pace At The End

The Messages

 

DISLIKES:

Quicksilver Not Used

Pace For Much Of The Movie

Rushed Story

Cheesy Story

Lackluster Dramatic Moments

Action Scenes Fairly Short

Under developed Villains

Not Quite The Epic Finish

 

SUMMARY:

Say what you want about the X-Men, but they have picked a heck of a cast to bring into he mutant world.  McAvoy continues to do his part justice, making sure to bring the full fiery emotion that the part requires.  Fassbender and Lawrence do their parts well, but seem to have become the back-burner group for this movie, lost to some simpler writing and a quick dynamic shift to the main character.  Jessica Chastain does her job well, but I can’t say they utilized her to the full potential (more on that later).  No, the real star is Sophie Turner, the mutant with so much power that she’s not quite sure how to handle it.  Turner does the job well in regards to getting the suffering, the uncertainty, and even the hard-edged femme fatale that they wanted.  Her character is decently developed in these aspects and I think Ms. Turner accomplished her tasks well.  To sort of go with the grand power of the mystical icon, X-men had to pull out the special effects and again they accomplished this goal quite well.  Theater shaking sound effects, plenty of colorful and vibrant special forces that scream dark edge comic books.  That utilization accomplishes bringing the fiery force of Phoenix into a spectacle that works well to bring these exotic characters to life.  My highlight comes at the end of the movie when the big action scene happens, fully unleashing the powers of the other X-men and starting to get into the excitement I’ve been waiting for this series to discover again.  Much like the books though, Dark phoenix is ready to deliver the typical messages found in this saga and the ones contained in this movie sort of accomplish this goal.

Yet, much like many movies, this installment still suffers from balance issues and finding its identity in the transcription from comic to screenplay.  For one thing, a fan favorite of Quicksilver is grossly underutilized, the famous scenes that had fans raving, almost being missed completely.  And much like the quickness of the speedster, the movie’s pace suffers as well.  Dark Phoenix is very jargon and argument heavy, with more talk than walk seen so to speak.  So much of the excitement is done in a few snaps of the finer, mostly tuned to dramatic arguments and repetitive plot points than anything else.  The story not only seems rushed, but often very cheesy in its presentation as the classic saga is boiled down to the primal elements that try to speed the “evolution” so quickly it left me filling slightly unfulfilled and unimpressed.  Attempts to interject emotion were lost to predictable foreshadowing and sequences where only a few showed any interest.  Perhaps the action scenes make up for it?  Not really, unlike some of the earlier counterparts, Dark Phoenix’s fights are short lived, more grandiose displays of talking and delivered forced dialogue with only a few impressive moves to tickle the proud political statements, while leaving action junkies like me wanting more.  Perhaps if we had better fleshed out character and villains there would be some antagonist ready to drive the plot and really gives us the gauntlet that the Dark Phoenix saga was aiming for instead of the lacking end game to this genre.

Overall, Dark Phoenix shines as the modern-day movie of girl power and hastily wrapping a floundering series up in a nice bow. It’s not awful thanks to the acting, end scenes and messages, however the story just does not feel like the final installment, but instead like the opening issues of a series that try to whet your appetite.  Had Fox not been bought perhaps the movie would have held a trilogy on its own or at least more time to the story and action.  Yet this epic finish is really one that is best left for him, minus the theater experience of the flashy effects.  My scores for this adaptation of cheesy, grandiose goodness is:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-fi: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0

Burning Bright In Unique Spins, But Not So Much In Terms Of Scares/Story

Brightburn Poster

            Horror, the genre that takes on many forms, disguises, and approaches to try and shock, disturb, and outright scare us to our core.  IN a genre overfilled with gimmicks and cliché approaches though, the saturation level these films have taken.  So seeing this next film I review puts me at a little bit of unease, and yet hope at an attempt to once again take a different approach in hopes of opening up a new potential to wow us.  Here we go, as Robbie K is back with another review in hopes of once again helping you with your movie choosing pleasures.  Let’s get started as we hit:

 

Movie:

 

Brightburn (2019)

 

Director:

David Yarovesky

Writers:

Brian GunnMark Gunn

Stars:

Elizabeth BanksDavid DenmanJackson A. Dunn

 

 

LIKES:

  • Good Acting
  • New Twist
  • Fast Pace
  • Creepy Parts That Are Worthy of Genre
  • Decent Plot

 

DISLIKES:

  • Simplistic
  • Unexplained/Lackluster Story components
  • Character Development is Okay
  • Gruesome At Times
  • Predictable/Anticlimactic

 

People who like these may like this Movie:

 

  • The Omen
  • Sinister
  • Comic Books With One Sided Arcs

Summary:

 

Brightburn is a movie that the trailers have given much information, but there are some things that I appreciate the movie attempting to do to spruce up the Horror genre. First off is the acting!  While not Oscar Worthy material or the most groundbreaking steps in acting, I give the actors props for working with the limited material.  Banks in particular manages to breathe some drama into the very linear characters, while Jackson Dunn is getting a nice start at playing creepy with his presentation and delivery of lines.  They sort of sell the film, alongside the extras who can act terrified at a whim’s pace.  Yet, the high selling points are the fact of a new twist and fast pace to provide the modernized entertainment the world loves these days.  Brightburn does not take long to begin getting into the creepy aspects, quickly evolving the plot into this dark, comic book like adventure that tries to be thrilling and suspenseful. As such, the movie moves at a decent pace and before you know it, you’ll be nearing the end.  Thus, short attention spans should be pleased with this movie.  Fortunately, there should be plenty of creepy moments, primarily due to two components: Creepy looks from the kid and Setting of isolation.  The latter in particular sort of robs you of your safety, the open land and woods making a setting where so many things can happen from so many angles.  That component is the most terrifying, while the rest go with the dark comic theme that provides the entertainment value.  All of this is put into a story that is simplistic, but ties all the chaos together into a nice package.

Yet, the movie has some areas that while entertaining are not the most ground breaking in terms of storytelling.  For one thing, the movie is very simplistic, doing little to build upon its characters or even suspense that would have been satisfying to see in the story department.  When it does start trying to build up some of the aspects, we get stuck with a lackluster story components that do-little explanation outside of some momentary dialogue to explain his “origins”.  Outside of that, it is just a simple gruesome tale that while fitting for the genre, soon becomes just a public display of power going wrong and dragging out some torturous finishes.  Brightburn seems to relish in the dark dealings of the genre more than the story. For the fan that loves this, the film is perfect, but for those looking for a little more, this tale is going to not be the crown jewel as thanks to the trailers and the concept, you can probably guess what the ending will be.  And when the full extent is unleashed there is little excitement in regards to just watching things unfold, so don’t get too excited about an epic finale. 

So what’s the verdict?  Brightburn gets points for putting a new face, or in this case mask, on the genre.  It’s that comic component that sort of sells this film, providing the entertaining, destructive force of the dark instead of developing the story.  Thus, despite the predictability, if you are looking for that ambiguous tale that merely focuses on the gimmicks this category of film’s thrives in… you’ve got your popcorn munching visit planned.  However, if you are hoping for something more to your tale, looking for that story that holds both creeps and purpose than hold out for something else.  Thus, this movie is more recommended for home viewing rather than theater in my opinion. 

 

My scores are:

Horror/Sci-Fi:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

New Loop, New Twist: Happy Character Development 2u

Happy Death Day 2U Poster

            Sequels often get a bad rep because of never living up to the expectations of the original, and sometimes insulting the name of the franchise. Often a sequel is not needed, an obvious cash grab to try and extend the franchise just a little longer in hopes of keeping interest.  So tonight’s review is one of those cases where a sequel was not really needed, but nevertheless exists.  I’m talking about the sequel to last year’s campy slasher/comedy Happy Death Day, a film that surprised me in how much fun I had.  Will the second fill follow suit, or are we stuck in sequel limbo?  Robbie K back with another review on:

 

Movie: Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Director:

Christopher Landon

Writers:

Christopher LandonScott Lobdell (characters)

Stars:

Jessica RotheIsrael BroussardPhi Vu

 

 

LIKES:

  • Jessica Rothe
  • Character Development
  • New Twist
  • Funny
  • Emotional

 

Summary:  Happy Death Day was all about Tree’s journey to being a better person and the sequel is no exception as it dives more into the former sorority girl’s life.  Rothe’s performance continues to amaze me as she brings Tree to life, expanding upon the character, as a good sequel does, and really bringing emotional twist to the mix. The second dive surprisingly brought some emotional punches into the fray and was very heartwarming (potentially tear jerking) in unexpected ways.  Secondary characters get a little more time to develop as well, moving past the superficial stereotypes and somehow remaining relative and pertinent to the story.

Yet the movie isn’t just about the lovely Tree going on a soul-searching journey of … death, but rather trying to find ways to bring a new twist to and outdated genre and still keep to its rules.  In regards to the story, Happy Death Day 2U manages to add a science fiction twist to the mix, that helps establish a new goal, story element, and connection to first film.  While not quite the slasher tale, the added dimension helps the movie stand out and avoid feeling like a carbon copy of the original that was only a year or so ago.  In addition, the comedy remains true to its gimmick of making you laugh as actors and writing blend together to become well-timed comedic antics.  It works beautifully and adds a fun pace to the film that energizes it all over again to reinvigorate the series.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not as suspenseful
  • The beginning gimmick
  • Comedy a little overdone

 

Summary: The sequel’s two areas of improvement for me are going a little too far into the gimmick at the beginning and the overdone comedy.  The new twist works, but at first it didn’t impress me in the odd presentation/rule bending it did.  Fortunately, they were able to get a handle on it, but at the beginning the odd transition didn’t work outside of a messy transition.  The other component that did not quite work for me, was a few moments where the comedy was forced on the audience, a little too drawn out or grandiose for my liking.  They were minor ones, but limitations that took away from me.

I think the biggest limitation was how the suspense was taken away for me like the first one had.  The slasher component is mostly gone alongside the mystery, leaving it a fun adventure but missing that darker edge that the film was famous for.  Sure the humor got a little darker than anticipated, leading to some rather disturbing scenes, though these carried the attitude of the film.  Yet, the prolonged bouts, the squeezed in extra obstacles, and the hasty wrap up led to some shortcuts being taken and decisions to put the movie more in a comedy sort of mood.

 

 

The verdict: Regardless of the twists, the movie still has the fun adventure that makes it one of my favorite comedies of the last few years.  Rothe leads much of the fun, but the new twists, energy, and true to its roots presentation also help to make it a decent sequel that expands on the first film. Yes, it got a little carried away with the science fiction and comedy elements, leading to a diluted suspense factor. Still, it’s worth a check out into the theater for the fun movie of the weekend.  Definitely check this one out in the near future.

 

My scores are:

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5

Comedy/Sci-Fi/Mystery:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

 

 

Breaking The Glass Ceiling Of The Mind?

Glass Poster

 

The track record for many directors is paved with bumps and potholes before hitting the paved payload.  Some certainly have become more famous due to their stinkers than their successes, and tonight one of those directors tries again to make a win in his library.  Hitting the surprise third film of the expanded universe, yours truly hits the latest thriller to get some points into the beginning of the year.  My review tonight is on the epic finish to the movie made in 2000, as I feature:

 

Director:

  1. Night Shyamalan

Writers:

  1. Night ShyamalanM. Night Shyamalan(characters)

Stars:

Anya Taylor-JoyJames McAvoySarah Paulson

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Consistent With Universe
  • Same Atmosphere
  • Decent Fight Scenes
  • Writing
  • Acting

 

Summary: A trilogy sometimes loses the feeling established by its predecessors. Glass though, keeps in theme with the universe, going back to its roots and making sure to incorporate the past into the present.  In doing so, the story sticks to its themes, accounts for the changes, and provides an atmosphere that feels much like Unbreakable film, at least in terms of the darker tones. As such, fans of the series can at least get into the promised psychological premise the film had to offer. A concern I had was cheesy fighting that we glimpsed into the trailers, but again surprised that Glass had fight scenes that again agreed with the tone of the film.  Not too grandiose, but also not lame to not be needed.

  Yet, while the atmosphere and tone of the universe was welcomed, the writing surprised me in terms of the dialogue.  Glass has enough psychological mind games, mastermind planning, and comedy integration to please a variety of people.  Balancing the comedy into the field and not forcing it led to some well time guffaws, that were quickly drowned by further dives into the dark world of battle of the minds. 

Yet, the lines are really brought out by the acting.  The leaders for this round are McAvoy and Paulson.  The former transitions into his personalities beautifully, and sells the D.I.D presentation to the letter in all its grandiosity and humor.  Paulson on the other hand sort of brings her creepy, intensity to the world, adding a little mystery to the plot at hand.  As for Willis and Jackson, they play their roles well, but the tyrants of the first installment didn’t quite have the same presence as they once did, with the exception of a few scenes.  The verdict is they play their parts well, but not quite as integrated as I wanted.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Pace
  • Losing the Heroic Feel
  • A Little More Suspense Needed
  • Integration Of The Characters
  • Some Editing

 

 

Summary:  Glass may keep much of the atmosphere of the first film, but it kept the pace for me as well.  Much like many of Shyamalan’s works, Glass sort of slogs along after the first twenty minutes to open up to a lot of talking and a little less survival aspect. As stated, it’s a little more down they psychological tunnel, and this does not open up to the most engaging premise if you aren’t willing to pay attention.  As such, the movie is missing some of the suspense and intensity both films had prior to it.  By missing the suspense, the over 2 hour run time feels a little boring, a few moments open to editing to lighten the load and assist with getting to the more exciting components.

In addition, I do agree that the film missed that heroic component that the first installment had.  Certainly a different take based on Elijah’s goals, Glass finishes the trilogy in the style worthy of the mad genius’ name.  While I think it works well, the film fails to do the Unbreakable character justice, and by missing that heroic qualm I felt missed an opportunity to cover the major motion spectrum.  Still I do give props to the twist ending.

    In regards to my biggest area to improve on, it’s the character utilization.  As stated in the acting section for my likes, Glass managed to do well with some of the characters, but the kings of the 2000 film I don’t think had quite the sting we were waiting for.  I was hoping for all three of the commercial characters to remain equally integrated, a bout of cat and mouse as the wits go against the strengths of the duo. Even the, non-super characters needed a little more incorporating to feel integrated, with the ending sort of giving them the justice they deserve, but again not used in the way I was expecting him to go.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

Glass is a movie that still holds the psychological thriller the last two have held in their presentations. Shyamalan has  once again managed to write an installment fitting the universe, and did a nice job incorporating the mindset of the infamous of Mr. Glass. Yet, the pace doesn’t quite match the intensity of Split, and without that it feels a little slow and off put compared to those that came before.  In addition, the characters were inconsistent for me and given the direction the film took, not the conclusion I expected though still somewhat satisfying.    I’d say worth a trip to the theater, but not quite the film to shatter the glass ceiling like it was promoted.

My Scores are:

 

Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi: 7.5

Movie overall: 6.5

BumbleBee Did Not Stumble For Me

Bumblebee Poster

 

Hollywood touches everything it can, finding topics that can potentially be turned into a new movie franchises until every inch of profit is squeezed out.  A toy series turned cartoon, that soon became a live action motion picture series that at one time blew our minds and soon blew our wallets.  After many hardships, the series was about to crash and burn, until the Bay era was handed over to a new team to try and bring it back to life.  Tonight, the full world release is upon us and given the trailers, can this film succeed where the others have failed?  That’s where my review comes in, so here we go as I review:

 

Movie: Bumblebee (2018)

 

Director:

Travis Knight

Writers:

Christina Hodson (screenplay by), Christina Hodson(story by)

Stars:

Hailee SteinfeldDylan O’BrienMegyn Price

 

 

LIKES:

 

Character Development: Bumblebee starts off on the right foot by bringing some character development the film sorely needed.  The titular characters get a gross dive into the psyche, finding new ways to expand the quiet hero’s role outside of new weapons to shoot. In addition, Steinfeld’s character is much more realistic than the mess we had in the other five installments.  Her history, her outlook on life, and social dynamics are covered extraordinarily well, making sure to connect the points and actually give some growth.  The relationship between the robot and girl is heartwarming and an appealing dynamic to invest your time into.

 

The Story:  The movie succeeds again where the others had trouble. While not the most in depth, this prequel, and potential reboot, does make a much more connected plot that wasn’t too cheesy or stuffed in comic craziness.  It bridges the Cybertron to Earth transition well, while setting up the plot for potential sequels, while also standing on its own with the previously mentioned character development.  Dropping the convoluted tangled subplots opened the movie to more fun in both comedy and action.  Speaking of which.

 

Comedy: Ever since number one Transformers has had a special spot for overdone comedy antics and ridiculous levels of meme worthy gags.  Noticing the declining trend in quality of the jokes, Bumblebee’s writers did a fantastic job of integrating some fresh laughs into the mix without going too far into the stale territory.  The 80s nostalgic references and pop culture power with Bee is sensational and by avoiding the tacky toilet humor, it doesn’t lose its stride. Even more impressive is how the comedy flows into the story, working with it and not trying to overtake it as has been seen in the past.  A few tangential scenes did occur mind you, but limited their time limit to get back on track in the short time limit.

 

Pacing:  The last two films proved that the writing struggled to fill the nearly 3 hour run times with engaging material, leading to a sluggish rambling with little value.  Bumblebee shines here as well, not only by shortening the run time by nearly an hour, but also with a pace that kept moving and in time with the other antics. As such, don’t expect too much boredom in this installment.

 

The Action:  Hands down the aspect I was watching for the most, Bumblebee again manages to achieve the goal of improving upon the action that it sold for so long.  The yellow bug had much more epic and fluid moves, with improve choreography and some dynamic sequences that were captured beautifully and not lost too sketchy camera work.  Throw in the fact that the special effects weren’t too overdone, nor the focus of the film, and it led to cleaner action moments that hooked me into the get go.  By not forcing the action too much, I think it made the moments shine a little brighter, and kept the theater quality up.

 

The Soundtrack:  When it comes to the 80s, you know the music was legendary in its synthesizers and emotional rantings.  Well, Bumblebee seems to have a good ear for some legendary tracks and while comically integrated well, the selection was just wonderful to listen too throughout the film.  Be ready to tap your toes to the beats my friend, or at least get set for lip syncing.

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Action:  A small dislike, but an action junkie like me wanted more of the epic display of battling between robotic factions. Cybertron was a great introduction, but why could we not get more of it throughout the film.  Perhaps another prequel about the war for Cybertron will be in the future, but a little more of the fighting on Earth could have helped relieve this want.

 

Attention To Detail: Again, a small dislike, but Bumblebee’s writers may have missed some of the story elements from the previous film. The way this is set up suggests that this film will be reboot of the series, a good thing in terms of story. Yet if it is going to continue on and serve as the first film in the Michael Bay Series, then it loses points for trying to ignore the details they once cherished.

 

John Cena:  His character isn’t bad, and his acting fits the character, but I was disappointed with the way to took the character given the previous history of human agents.  Cena’s character goes through the usual ringers, but misses the target in terms of being a little too silly, not getting the full integrative procedures, and not having the same bite that others have had.  As such, I kind of felt it was a wasted character for me, and could have been an added character bonus and story plot for whatever the plans for this series are.  Not utilizing this actor to the mix… was a wasted opportunity.

 

The Decepticons:  The antagonist robots have got some more flare and sass than a few of the other portrayals, but something that still blows my mind is that the studio struggles to maximize on some of the heavy hitters the show once had .  Don’t get me wrong, the two in this film were still deadly rivals for Bee to fight, but they just lacked depth, and investment again when once more they had the potential to start out on the right foot.  Perhaps if there had been more Cybertron, or they had chosen a historical legend to be the main head this would have helped this area, but for now the record of still choosing some nameless borgs rings true ad they need to get a better handle for the next movie.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Okay, the cinematic Transformers is still not perfect, but this movie is definitely a fun installment that greatly improved on the weaknesses the original 5 were holding.  With greater character development, a wonderful relationship investment, comedy that worked with the story, and action that was miles better given they used better camera work and coordination, this series could finally get the upgrade it needed.  However, the film still needs to find some investment into the other characters for me, and choose the route it wants to take from here as either reboot (my preferred option) or continuation, as this will help make up for a few details and choices that didn’t quite work for me.  One thing for certain though is this:  the balance of story, character development, and action was miles above the Bay quintology, and proves that special effects is not the answer to Transformers.  Definitely worth a trip to theater for the special effects though.  My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5

This Venom Contains Laughing Side Effects

Venom Poster

 

Marvel holds many cards in the world of Hollywood, and despite the hope of a united universe, Sony pictures still holds off in giving us a united front for our superhero crew.  Tonight, a new contestant enters the park, not so much a hero as an antihero, this creature has pulled in a noble fanbase and inspired a number of other characters in the process.  If you’ve got the hints you know what I’m reviewing, so let’s get started as Robbie K reviews:

 

Movie:  Venom (2018)

 

Director:

Ruben Fleischer

Writers:

Scott Rosenberg (screenplay by), Jeff Pinkner(screenplay by)

Stars:

Tom HardyMichelle WilliamsMarcella Bragio

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Dark Aspect:  You’ll see a lot of jabs at this movie, but this installment at least gave us a taste of the darker side of the titular character. The movie dips into how not everything is gold in the realm of superpowers, as well as how grey everything can really be in the complex world of humans vs. the unknown.  It also allowed for some more intense action scenes to come into play, including some finishes the fanbase has been looking forward to for some time.

 

The Action… sort of: There are moments in Venom that feel well at home with MCU level style of battling.  Venom has at least two winning sequences for me that have explosions, choreographed take downs of extras, and some sweet utilization of CGI to bring out Venom’s fluid, whip like movements to bare.  It’s not the most dynamic, but it is miles above his first appearance back in Spiderman 3.

 

Sound Editing:  Probably not what most are looking for, I enjoyed the sound effects brought by the movie team.  You’ve got the alien slithering, the roiling growls of the hungry beast, plenty of speaker shattering booms, and enough effects to wrap together to make for the action scenes. 

 

Tom Hardy:  The star of the show and perhaps the best casting call for this movie, Hardy is certainly the leading component of his film.  His ability to play an awkward, down on his luck, vigilante reporter is quite spot on, as well as the uncanny ability to play a crazy person as well.  It came off naturally, held good chemistry with the rest of the crew, and certainly was entertaining to watch him interact with a digital, altered voice of Venom.  I’ve said it before, but Hardy’s ability to play any type of role continues to be present in his acting.

 

Comedy: Like most Marvel movies, Venom is loaded with comedy to get you laughing and ironically may be the biggest aspect of the movie.  Both intentionally and unintentionally, the movie had me laughing, primarily at the banter between Venom and Eddie Brock through much of the movie.  The insults are on point, the delivery of the lines, and even Venom’s questionable morals are all entertaining for this reviewer and probably the biggest point one should go in wanting to see.

 

The End Credits Teaser: Not fully relevant to Venom, the post credit scene is worth the wait and hints at a huge potential for the next Sony-Marvel production coming in December.  A little teaser to see if you want to take a trip into that.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The CGI:  Still better than anything I could do, Venom didn’t quite have the same definition and attention to detail that its Disney infused brothers do. The graphic are a bit messy, for although fluid, looks like living spaghetti trying to take form in many ways. Perhaps an homage to the early 2000s graphic style, Venom needed some upgrading to match the graphic expectations that the movie fans most likely desire.

 

The Story:  Hinting and promising so much in the trailer, Venom’s story department does hit the dark aspect that this antihero demands. Yet, it still took shortcuts for this film, skipping over a lot of build-up, character development, and even just plot development to get to the goods and comedy I guess.  Other characters are very one-dimensional and shallow, relationships are very fickle and seem to switch faster than a light switch, and in many cases crosses into cheesy proportions that didn’t work for me.  Grandiose displays may be something that younger audiences like,, but the story element still needs some tweaking to get to the Disney level.

 

The Other Symbiotes: I get this was the start of the franchise, but the advertisements really hammered into us the potential to see other creatures more than Venom take some screen time.  Sadly, they skimped on these as well, forcing to barely touch on these creatures before moving on to another poor plot point.  The main antagonist in this film didn’t get much time worth warranting, once more digging at the weaker storytelling of this studio. Even Venom took some time getting himself on screen, a sad use of merchandising rights when it could have been so much better.

 

The Anticlimactic Action: Venom does have some nice action scenes as mentioned before, but the problem is that they are often short lived or very carbon copy.  The chase scene showed promise, and the first-time combat had its moments, but they utilized their tricks a little too quickly.  The ending promised a potential to have a real, epic clash of the Symbiotic titans going, but again Sony cut the corners and left me wanting more to show off their powers.  Venom was very underpowered in this film, and they did little to utilize the keys handed to them.

 

The props for the mid-credit scene:  Actor choice for the surprise guest at the film is 50:50 to me, but the props to make him come to life… not very good for me.  Should a Venom 2 make it to the big screen, I’m hoping their wardrobe department makes some better efforts to get the next antagonist in.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Go in expecting a comedy and you will love this movie and have the most fun.  However, in regards to the full picture part of the film, it still has more to develop before it meets expectations set by Disney.  Hardy and some mediocre action scenes can bring some entertainment, but it doesn’t quite hit the home run outside of that. It’s a bit cheesy at times, a little overboard in terms of the comedy, and doesn’t quite deliver on the action, other symbiotes or even the story.  Yet, it has enough special effects kicks to warrant a theater visit, but only if you can handle the limitations mentioned. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Horror/Sci-Fi: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5-6.0