Avengers: Endgame is one of the most anticipated movies in recent memory. From the start, Marvel Studios made fans aware that the movies were building towards an epic story as part of their ambitious, shared cinematic universe. Respecting the source material, Marvel Studios adapted a roster of comic book superheroes for a modern audience. As fans became more invested which each new franchise, including superheroes that were not widely popular, Marvel’s momentum continued to grow. With Endgame, not only has the anticipation greatly risen so has the expectation for an emotionally satisfying and meaningful conclusion to the Infinity Stones story line.
Upgrade (2018) is a cyberpunk thriller that paints a murky outlook on technologically enhanced humans in the near-future. Self-driving vehicles, VR technology and artificial intelligence are already a reality today. Just imagine how much further we will have developed and integrated these technologies in the years to come. The believable aspects to the futuristic setting in Upgrade adds to the disconcerting anxiousness to what could be in store for the next stage in humanity.
Ranking 2018’s superhero movies is a fun way to take a look back at this past year. This list is for live-action superhero movies, so animated films like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Batman Ninja aren’t included. The rankings are simply a personal take on how the superhero movies stacked up. Your own opinions may be very different. Relax and share your own rankings in the comments below.
And now for something completely … well different. Nicolas Cage’s latest film Mandy is a wild, captivating trip. More specifically it’s an acid trip filled with hallucinatory visuals and an otherworldly vibe as if torn from the pages of a cosmic horror novel.
Tom Cruise may be in his mid-fifties but there is no slowing down the Mission Impossible franchise. Mission Impossible: Fallout, the sixth film in the series, brings plenty of excitement which fans have come to expect: high speed chases through iconic cities, a nail-biting race against a countdown clock, and spy thriller twists.
Deadpool 2 is an enjoyable diversion. The sequel improves upon the box-office winning formula of rapid fire humor and hyper violent comic book action. This time there’s even more super powered characters including the heavily armed Cable (Josh Brolin), lady luck Domino (Zazie Beetz) and the hot-tempered Firefist (Julian Dennison).
The main plot involves Deadpool protecting a teenage mutant from Cable. The story is like an ever-growing snowball that picks up more and more characters as it rolls along but never goes over the cliff. Deadpool is trying to figure out where he belongs and what family means to him. Is Deadpool an X-Men or should he assemble his own superhero team? Or is he better off dead?
A key ingredient in the first film that is carried over is Wade Wilson’s relationship with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Ryan Reynolds is a natural fit as the wise-cracking Deadpool and Vanessa’s playful charm is the ideal compliment to Wade. The romantic chemistry in many other superhero films aren’t as authentic as Wade and Vanessa’s. As zany and crass as things gets, what’s going through Deadpool’s head and heart, albeit some times a bullet, feels genuine to me.
Josh Brolin is a great casting choice as Cable, a super soldier from the future. The film takes its time before bringing Cable into the fold and he could have been served better with a memorable introduction. I like Brolin’s version of Cable, but there is opportunity to do even more and expand on the buddy cop relationship with Deadpool.
The new personalities who stand out immediately is the very cool Domino and fiery Russell. Domino isn’t exactly well-developed either, it’s just really fun to see how her good fortune plays out in dangerous circumstances. Julian Dennison as Russell is funny and at the same time can be taken seriously during the dramatic moments. The chemistry between Wade Wilson and Russell works really well.
The running jokes featuring taxi-driving Dopinder, Blind Al and sidekick Weasel are essentially reworks of similar gags. I don’t mind this type of humor, I just don’t find it to be laugh-out loud funny. The funniest part is seeing Deadpool’s team in action for the first time thanks to a lot of visual humor. Further, breaking the fourth wall didn’t have the same novelty for me.
I liked that Colossus has his moments and his fighting sequences are very good. I could have used more Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio. There just wasn’t enough screen time to showcase all their talents. A noticeable improvement from the first film is that director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) amped up the action set pieces. There’s a tonne of action and it’s on a much bigger scale.
The irreverent humor, gory action, and big super powered personalities confidently hit the mark for a second time. If you liked the first film, you’re going to enjoy the sequel. For my own tastes Deadpool doesn’t capture my imagination like some of the other Marvel films and heroes. But the non-stop entertainment and all around silly fun make it worth watching. Deadpool 2 is a solid steel 3 katanas out of five.
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Larry Drake, Colin Friels
Back before Sam Raimi made the Spider-Man trilogy, he directed and co-wrote Darkman starring Liam Neeson as a crime fighting scientist whom could alter his facial appearance.
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A local radio DJ talked about how much he liked Avengers: Infinity War. He was able to follow what was happening in the film despite not being a big comic book movie fan. I’m a little surprised that someone with a passing interest in superhero films could wrap their head around a fairly complex universe that consists of 18 films prior. I would say a good handful of these films would be prerequisites to fully appreciate what Marvel is accomplishing with Avengers: Infinity War. I’m not sure if the radio DJ was trying to be funny when he asked “how come Wonder Woman is not in this?”
My perspective is from having watched the Marvel Films. Sure, some of them fell short of expectations. That’s not the case with Avengers: Infinity War, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable film. At the same time, I can understand why not everyone is on board with it.
I won’t be repeating what I wrote in Avengers: Infinity War Review. Check it out, it captures my thoughts the same day I watched it. I will expanding on some other points below now that I’ve had a couple of days to process it. Read the rest of this entry
Ready Player One is a high energy blend of pop culture nostalgia and futuristic virtual reality technology. Director Steven Spielberg is aiming for another escapist action adventure sci-fi blockbuster. Although Spielberg hits the mark with a fast pace and an enjoyable fun factor, Ready One Player doesn’t quite rise to the level of this director’s best hit movies.
Warning: Minor Spoilers below
Everybody’s talking about Black Panther. Marvel Studio’s film centered on T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the superhero Blank Panther and king of the fictional African nation Wakanda, provides many meaningful topics worthy of discussion. Directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) the real world concerns raised in Black Panther is open to different levels of examination and perspectives.
Black Panther begins with a flashback to Oakland in 1992, when T’Challa’s father makes a couple of fateful decisions. In the present day, T’Challa’s father recently died and now T’Challa is to become king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced country due to an all-purpose, virtually indestructible vibranium meteorite landing there ages ago. The use of a cloaking device prevents the outside world from knowing the truth about Wakanda and their decision to remain in relative isolation.