Tag Archives: movies

Movie reviews for parents who don’t get out to the movies: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice


I haven’t done this feature in a while, but this movie deserves a write up, I suppose.

Truth be told, I liked Man of Steel the first time I saw it. It was not a perfect movie, by any means, but it was enjoyable on the whole provided I didn’t think that much about what would really happen if two supermen were to fight amongst populated buildings in downtown DC’s New York analog.

So I was looking forward to the sequel where they might… just might… take some of the criticisms of the first movie into account and craft a better Superman story.

Instead, we got Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Spoilers follow.

Being on the internet for as long as I have, I’ve heard all sorts of criticism of this movie, and most of it is true, but a lot of the vitriol behind those criticisms seems unworthy.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice just doesn’t deserve that level of emotion because it doesn’t earn it. It doesn’t earn any emotions really.

For the movie’s greatest sin isn’t turning Batman into a deranged homicidal vigilante or Superman into a joyless mope who is almost a secondary player in his own sequel or Doomsday into a retreat of 2008’s the Incredible Hulk’s Abomination, or the plot holes, the unanswered questions regarding superpowered vigilantes and how they should be treated by people and the government, Jesse Eisenberg’s curious acting choices playing Lex Luthor, or the resolution of the titular character’s pointless conflict based on having a mother with the same name.

The problem isn’t even Batman’s fever dreams of a future where Superman is tyrant of the world.

The movie’s greatest sin is that it is all dreadfully dull.

Zach Snyder and Warner Brothers have managed to take a bright vibrant comic book universe with over the top action and turn it into a movie where I was frequently checking how much time was left on the Blu-Ray.

pg-16-batman-superman-1

“Pointless conflict… pointless conflict… I’m going to murder you… Your mom has the same name as my mom? SQUUUUEEEEEEEE! Besties!” – There I just save you three hours of your life.

It wasn’t a horrible movie, it wasn’t a good movie, it was… just sort of there. The type of movie I might turn on as background noise if I wanted to do housework or workout, but not something I would actively pay attention to and not a movie that demands I pay attention to it.

Even during the finale in which Doomsday faces off against Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, I was asking myself, “Is this it?”

Well, no, it isn’t it, because the ending sets up the inevitable sequel where Justice must be Dawned or something, and I just don’t care.

A Fantastic Four movie that probably wouldn’t suck…


Welcome to a new feature I’ll dub “A (blank) movie that probably wouldn’t suck…” in which I pitch my 1 page idea for a movie from a failing franchise that I think would improve and revitalize it.

First up, the Fantastic Four.

Credits. It’s the 60’s. A swinging new era of science where anything is possible. Space race. Reed builds a spaceship and takes his team into space. They get hit with cosmic power and change. Montage of different fights and newspaper headlines celebrating their fights: mole people, robots, green shapeshifting space aliens, etc.

Opening is the FF mopping up with an army of Atlanteans. Big action piece. Every team member gets to shine: Johnny melts a tank and drives off platoons of soldiers, Ben punches one tank and hurls another back into the harbor, Sue repulses various soldiers, Reed twists and turns through blaster fire twisting around various soldiers and flinging them about. They confront the Atlantean leader and Sue ends up stopping the fight by convincing Namor to give Reed time to convince the president to stop underwater atomic tests. Namor threatens to be back if they don’t.

Reed and the team at the White House getting an award from Kennedy. Kennedy invites them to stay for dinner as the Latverian premier who is in town asked to meet them. It’s Doom.

Doom hits on Susan non-stop at dinner and Doom and Reed trade barbs. They have an obvious past. Doom also sows dissention between Reed and Ben. He plays into Ben’s insecurity, wondering why if Reed is so brilliant, he hasn’t found a way to let Ben keep his powers, but look as normal as everyone else. While they’re at dinner, someone breaks into the Baxter Building and steals a blueprint of Reed’s. They deliver it later that night to Doom.

Later, Doom is in a lab working on a giant robot using a component he built from the blueprint that he stole from Reed. Reed discovers that someone broke into their home and suspects Doom. He and Doom were partners once, then rivals, and finally they broke with one another after an accident Doom blamed on Reed, but was due to Doom’s arrogance. He and Susan get into a fight over what happened that night. This opens up the door to a general fight. Ben leaves and goes for a walk, Reed goes back to his lab. Susan goes on a date with Doom. Johnny goes to try and track down the thief.

Doom has used Reed’s blueprint to construct an energy collector which he installs in a giant robot he has built. While the team is fighting, he unleashes the first robot on New York. The twist is that Doom intends for the FF to fight and destroy them. Doom needs the cosmic energy that transformed the team, so as they fight the robots, the robots are absorbing the energy the FF throws at them and once they are destroyed or compromised, the robots beam it via satellite back to Doom’s castle where he is using it to empower a time machine.

He unleashes a total of three robots on the team with each robot more difficult than the one before, Reed cracks what is really happening and traces the energy back to Doom, where the team confronts him.

Doom plans to take his technology and superior intellect back to the past before the nuclear age and conquer Latveria before the communists have a chance to kill his mother, then he plans to conquer the world. There is a fight. He is just as brilliant as Reed and uses gadgets and his skill to hold them off: his armor, smaller Doombots, weapons, but the team overcomes them all and Doom refusing to be beaten by them arrogantly attempts to use the stored cosmic power for his time machine on himself to gain powers. Something goes wrong and the time machine explodes and the team finds themselves in 2015. Doom is nowhere to be seen. The team is confused and distraught. Maybe throw in a cameo from another superhero. Reed promises to build a copy of Doom’s machine and get them back home, but for now, the team resolves to face this new future together.

Mid-credits sequence: Doom awakens to a hospital light shining in his eyes. His thief cohort, much older, welcomes him back as various doctors work on him. Doom asks where he is, the thief says “Home.” Zoom out to Doom’s castle in Latveria.

In a post-credit sequence, the Silver Surfer is through the galaxy when the temporal energy wave from the time machine rift knocks him off his board. He looks in the direction of the wave and sees Earth. He says, “I’ve found one, Master.” Cue a shadow shaped like Galactus’ helmet moving across the surface of a planet.

New Star Wars trailer – in which I geek out like a little kid again…


Ant-Man trailer


Here’s a new trailer for Ant-Man that makes the movie look good. Though it does have a bit of an Iron Man vibe to it with the armored corporate villain.

Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Round 1


In honor of a new Star Wars movie coming out in December, I thought I’d revisit one of the classic nerd fights and rewatch the six Star Wars movies and pit them against their numerical counterparts in the Star Trek universe. So without further ado, let’s jump into Star Trek: The Motion Picture vs. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture:

Characters: It’s the old Enterprise crew. Though for half the time, Kirk is a dick, Spock is back to full Vulcan mode, and the other characters are ignored. Still, the old chemistry flares up every now and again and when it does, there’s a likability to this group that isn’t easily replicated.  Steven Collins gives the movie a bit of an ick factor now.

Plot: It’s a hard sci-fi plot heavy on the science fiction and light on any action. A machine we built returns to us hundreds of years later and neither of us remember the relationship we had. A lot about evolving beyond our limitations, etc. It’s a decent story overall. It just really needs a bit of editing.

Villain: It’s a space cloud for half of the movie. This is NEVER a good thing.

The rest of the movie, V’ger is a 20-something year old woman in a mini-tunic. There are some interesting alien ship designs, even if they’re completely impractical. All in all V’ger is not the most compelling villain for most of the movie.

Problems:

  • Opening with a black screen and music isn’t a great idea. This is just padding for a movie that doesn’t need it.
  • Seeing Stephen Collins in anything is kind of creepy now.
  • Not enough editing.
  • This movie really likes its space shots of spaceship models.
  • The recurring theme in Star Trek movies: the Enterprise is still under repair/manned by an inexperienced crew/not ready for combat, but She’s. The. Only. Ship. Available. Hence Starfleet is full of incompetents to have zero ready combat ships near Earth.
  • Did I mention the lack of editing?
  • The clunky love conquers all, even hyper-advanced artificial intelligences resolution.

How to make it better:

  • Get rid of the filler. We don’t need five minutes of looking at the new Enterprise. We don’t need 20 minutes of looking at the Enterprise’s viewscreen’s image of V’ger’s exterior. We don’t need a black screen with an orchestral opening.
  • Get rid of the whole “Enterprise isn’t ready for action yet.” It’s simply a way to add unnecessary drama at the expense of making Starfleet and Engineering look incompetent.

Overall: It’s an okay 2:10 movie with some likable moments, but not enough to actually win me over.  If the entire movie were about 1:30 – 1:40, I think I’d add another 3 points to my score, but as it stands, I’ll give it a 5/10.

Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Preface: I have a bad feeling about this. At least I did when I noticed that most of my notes contained profanity.

Characters: Let’s break this down quickly:

Obi Wan Kenobi: Okay

Qui-Gon Jinn: Unnecessary, but Liam Neeson is great as a Jedi that doesn’t always follow the rules.

Anakin: … Okay, Jake Lloyd, if you ever read this… this is NOT your fault. I’m sorry everyone gave you so much crap for this. You didn’t deserve it.  The problem was with the script and the idea of making Anakin a kid to begin with, not with you. You did a good job with what you were given.

Padme: Natalie Portman is lifeless in this role. She has moments when the good actor in her shines through, but otherwise there’s nothing. Also, she’s supposed to be 14, but looks like an adult young lady. Per IMDB, when this movie came out, she was 18, so it’s a bit creepy that she and Anakin have a weird attraction going on.

Darth Maul: Good, but ultimately a wasted opportunity for a good villain.

Jar Jar: Fuck this movie.

Plot: The Trade Federation invades Naboo over a dispute regarding taxation of Outer Rim trade routes at the behest of a Sith Lord, who hopes to force the Queen of Naboo into signing a treaty recognizing Trade Federation control of her planet and it’s up to two Jedi to stop this. Meanwhile, an entirely pointless hour happens which involves Tatooine, pod racing, and exciting Senatorial debates about procedure. Also Jar Jar Binks. Seriously, fuck this movie.

Villain: Darth Maul is definitely menacing, but never has the chance to develop into more than a thug. Darth Sidious (aka the future Emperor) is good as always, but makes few appearances. The Trade Federation… George… you created the evil Empire quintessential space Nazi villains. Were you having an off day when you wrote this?

I mean… I guess it’s mildly better than the space cloud portion of V’ger, but V’ger still manages to feel more threatening anyway.

Problems:

  • There’s an hour that seriously could be cut out without the loss of anything related to the plot. From the point the Queen leaves Naboo to the point where she returns. Her entire trip to Coruscant does nothing to advance the main plot of the movie. She could have stayed on Naboo and accomplished the same thing she did at the end.
  • The Trade Federation are not compelling villains. They’re goofy, cowardly, and evoke sort of a racist vibe.
  • Kid Anakin. Look, I understand the idea to show Darth Vader as an innocent, good child and how even the most monstrous among us start with a clean slate to highlight the loss of innocence and personal tragedy. But you only have three movies to do the following: build up and show a friendship between Anakin and Obi Wan, show Anakin slowly being pushed over the edge, and convince us all that Anakin’s fall matters and has emotional resonance. That’s six hours. Spending time with Kid Anakin wastes two of those hours.
  • Jar Jar Binks. I know kids like him. I know he has his defenders. But every time he said or did anything, I swore at my TV.

How to make it better:  Everyone has an idea on how to make these movies better, but a few ideas:

  • I’ll steal an idea from this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgICnbC2-_Y). Make Naboo into Alderaan. Spending time on Alderaan and getting to know people there would make the destruction of Alderaan in episode 4 more of a kick to the gut.
  • The Trade Federation are not compelling villains. Let’s make the main villain a well-respected Republic officer who goes rogue with his fleet. His stated reasons for doing so are to highlight the Republic’s neglect of the Outer Rim region, his actual reasons are to retrieve a sentient droid army that was locked away in a hidden vault.
  • Anakin is no longer a child. He’s a teenager (16-19) who is a pilot on a smuggling ship that Obi Wan and his apprentice Padme Organa (a member of the royal family who was given to the Jedi as a child) use to infiltrate the besieged Alderaan to find out what’s going on with our rogue Republic Admiral.
  • I’ll also steal an idea from Guardians of the Galaxy and make Jar Jar into a sarcastic blaster toting Ewok who fell in with the smugglers and sort of just never left.
  • R2 is also with Anakin’s crew.
  • Taking a page from The Old Republic game, replace Gunguns with Killiks.
  • Obi Wan takes Anakin under his wing sensing his potential. Anakin and Padme have the standard pre-romantic bickering.
  • Keep the whole movie on Alderaan, with a few cuts to the Senate and Senator Palpatine using the crisis to get himself the Chancellorship.
  • Darth Maul wounds Obi Wan in the ending duel, giving Anakin enough anger to choke the Sith Lord and chuck him down a reactor shaft. He gets better.

Random thoughts while watching this movie:

  • Hey, you know what’s almost as bad as making me look at a black screen and listen to music for the first five minutes of your movie? A long screed about how the taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute and a trade embargo against Naboo.
  • It’s the goddamned Neimodians. Also almost as bad as a space cloud… well… worse in that the space cloud never spoke in a racist accent.
  • And battle droids. Yay.
  • Okay, I can think of at least five ways to use telekinesis to deal with droidekas. 1.) Use the Force to crush them like an aluminum can. 2.) Yank out their blasting arms. 3.) Lift them up and point their guns at the ceiling while the other Jedi stabs them from underneath. 4.) Lift them up and point their guns away from me until I find an escape pod/airlock and shove them out into space. 5.) Make them face each other so if they shoot, they shoot each other. Qui-Gon cuts through the blast door. Movie over. Mercifully.
  • Where the fuck is Anakin? This is supposed to be his story and Obi Wan’s story.
  • Jar Jar. Fuck this movie.
  • Jar Jar. Fuck. This. Movie.
  • Ex-squeeze me… FUCK.
  • I’m only 12 minutes in and I already want to start fast forwarding.
  • Why I am doing this to myself?
  • I need to go home and rethink my life.
  • The underwater city is pretty cool looking. Nice special effects.
  • How Wude… FUCK YOU…
  • “Are you an angel?” To quote Harrison Ford, “You can type this shit, George, but you sure can’t say it.”
  • Why… why… why?
  • CGI Yoda is an abomination.
  • This entire trip to Coruscant accomplished nothing except adding an hour to the movie.
  • Really? The Naboo had time to program their fighter’s auto-pilots to fly their Starfighters to the droid control ship? Really? Sure, why not at this point? Anything to end the movie more quickly.
  • Qui Gon’s death depends entirely on Obi Wan forgetting that he used the Force earlier in the movie to run superhumanly fast.
  • Darth Maul’s method of death does make Obi Wan’s “I have the high ground!” reasoning in Episode III even dumber.

Overall: I hate this movie. It has a few redeeming factors that I mentioned above, but ultimately it just made me angry watching it. 2/10.

Winner: I’ll be honest,  I thought Star Wars would win this round before I rewatched the movies. But overall, if you had to ask me which movie I thought was better and which one I’d rather rewatch, it would be Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Star Trek gets the point and takes an early 1-0 lead.

Because I’m sick and want to share my misery…


Sorry for not posting much.

Here’s a trailer for the Fantastic Four movie that desperately is trying to hide the fact that it’s a movie about people with superpowers fighting a man who wears a metal mask and calls himself Doom, and not a serious drama about science.

This thing practically screams, “Pretentious!”

Holiday wrap-up


On vacation this week, so light posting.

Since it was an all Frozen Christmas for my daughter, I figured this would be appropriate to link back to:

and this:

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens trailer


Okay, sitting here with my five year old son watching this trailer brought back all sorts of fond and pleasant memories and made me feel like a kid again.

Seriously, please do not screw this up, guys.

Star Wars Episode VII trailer to debut today…


Disney discovered sometime over the weekend that there was this thing called the Internet and that people carried smart phones with cameras on them so rolling out the trailer to nine theaters nationwide would last until about 2 seconds after the first of the trailers finished, so they’re posting it to the web officially today.

Or maybe their marketing team decided that the best way to get everyone to talk about the trailer was to pretend that it was going to be exclusive, in which case I’ve fallen for their evil plans and am helping to publicize the trailer, which I would have done anyway.

Anyway, when it’s up, I’ll post it. In the meantime, for those who cannot wait, here’s a site that updates every 90 seconds with news, comments, and announcements.

Well… okay, this doesn’t look completely awful…


Not that I need yet another Peter Pan origin story.

We didn’t need a Darth Vader origin story series of movies. We didn’t need a Wizard of Oz origin story. We don’t really need another Fantastic Four origin story. Didn’t really need a Wolverine origin story movie.

You know what? Nevermind. Origin stories are awful.