Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Deadpool 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Maximum Effort...was not given to this review.  I'm exhausted and very jaded.



Deadpool 2 – 5 out of 5

Despite the fact that I think Marvel often crams too much Deadpool into the world of their comics, I really like the character and had a lot of fun with the first film.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see Ryan Reynolds put on the red suit again and go for another romp in Deadpool 2.  However, sequels can be a tricky game and it’s very hard to live up to what came before.  DP2, didn’t seem to have this issue.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
I want Pete's confidence when searching for a job.

                                                                               20th Century Fox
The best part about the movie is the fact it isn't a dozen
books featuring the character.  Seriously, Marvel, pull
some of them back.
The Merc with the Mouth; Wade Wilson—Deadpool (Reynolds) is facing the hardest challenge of his life and has decided he no longer wants to continue to live.  However, having a mutant power of advanced and accelerated healing kinda stops that from happening.  The X-Men attempt to reach out to him but after he lands himself in a mutant prison, he comes across a powerful mutant by the name of Russell (Julian Dennison).  While in jail, a mutant mercenary from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin) arrives to kill Russell because the kid threatens the future.  Now Deadpool must team with some friends, and a few new faces including Domino (Zazie Beetz), and stop Cable from his path of destruction and stop himself from his own.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
X-Force offers up a hilarious cameo.  Seriously, Vanisher proved to be a nice surprise.

This latest adventure with Deadpool has pretty much the same tone of crass humor, vulgar language, loads of pop culture references, obliteration of the 4th wall, tons of meta jokes, loads of comic book Easter Eggs, and hardcore action (and that’s a big reason why it’s a load of fun) but what surprised me this time around was the dash of heart this sequel contained.  The previous film often had gags and jokes that made fun of potentially tender moments but this story legit has heart to it.  Yes, there are still some dick and fart jokes a-plenty but the movie isn’t afraid to lean into its tender moments and lean into them in a way that isn’t satirical or ironic.  This added depth was a pleasant surprise and something I really appreciated.  It made this film feel like an evolution rather than just a sequel.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
It's so damn unfair that he's still attractive in that makeup.
Why can't I be just 10% as good looking as him.


                                                                               20th Century Fox
Josh Brolin is ridiculously intense.  The man is a
beast and he makes it look easy.
The performances in the feature are top notch like the last one.  Reynolds is hysterical and oddly charming as DP and the rest of the returning roster are doing their jobs perfectly.  Josh Brolin has the right intimidation and badass factor to make Cable memorable, Zazie Beetz is ridiculously fun as Domino and the smaller roles filled up by the likes of Bill Skarsg√•rd, Terry Crews, Rob Delaney and more are fantastic and are able to leave an impact even if their scenes are short and fleeting.  Finally, I really enjoyed Julian Dennison as the dangerous mutant Russell.  The kid knocked my socks off in Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople (which I highly recommend, bee tee dubs) and he is bringing that same level of talent to this film.  The kid is really incredible and I hope this bumps him into some mainstream success in Hollywood.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
Seriously, Dennison is fantastic!

Concerning any drawbacks, I really didn’t find any in this one.  The use of music is great, the story flows well, the special effects are fantastic and the humor this time around really found the balance it needed.  As much as I love the first one, there was times where the crassness got to be a little much and sometimes felt childish and sophomoric.  In Deadpool 2, it seems to have that right blend of various humor categories and, because of this variety, there isn’t a certain type of gag that feels overused. 

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
I'll be honest, I think I fell in love with Beetz as Domino.  She was such a badass.

Deadpool 2 does what few sequels can do and that is feel fresh, brings the fun and is on par with what came before it.  Even with the addition of some heart, the film is extremely funny and a joy to watch.  The feature also feels like its rating is warranted and not like it is just trying to be gratuitous for gratuitousness sake.  Overall, it's a well put-together film that is a whole hell of a lot of fun to sit through.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Wrikle in Time

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I wanna make a joke about ironing out wrinkles but, meh.



A Wrinkle in Time – 4 out of 5

I’ve never read the book this film was based on so I don’t have a deep, nostalgic connection to the source material.  However, when I saw the trailer, I was blown away with the potential beauty this film seemed capable of.  I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theater and the savage reviews of it had me a tad concerned.  A few close friends raved about it and, while on a Disney cruise recently (that’s why there hasn’t been any new reviews lately—Sorry, legion of readers that don’t exist), I got a chance to see it on the ship’s theater.  There are times I agree with the critics and times I don’t and this is one where I don’t agree with them because I found A Wrinkle in Time to be something magical.

                                                                                                     Walt Disney Pictures
"Welcome to this alien planet.  We forgot to check before we left but thankfully
the environment is habitable for your human bodies."

Meg Murray (Storm Reid) struggles hard at school and is considered a social outcast after her father (Chris Pines) mysteriously disappears.  Her mother (Guyu Mbatha) tries to control her and get her to fly straight while her little brother; Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) starts to act strangely as he concocts reasons for Meg’s fellow schoolmate; Calvin (Levi Miller), to be around them and introduces them to a strange lady named Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling).  One day, the kids are greeted by a woman calling herself Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and she introduces them to Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey).  Which turns out to be a powerful being from beyond the stars and she has come to the children to let them know that their father is alive and has learn how to travel through space instantaneously but her good news comes with an ominous threat about a dark power gathering on the horizon.  Now the kids must gather their wits and travel across the cosmos to save the man before a powerful dark entity called The It takes over the universe.

                                                                                                    Walt Disney Pictures
"And you get to save the universe!  And you get to save the universe!"

                                                                          Walt Disney Pictures
Who wouldn't want to travel across the universe to
save a bearded Chris Pine?
I won’t try and deny that this film doesn’t have some issues that hold it back but I won’t pretend either that I didn’t enjoy it.  First off, the film is visually stunning.  From the moment it starts to the end and to all of the gorgeous locales and scenery in-between, the film looks beautiful.  Add in amazing costumes and makeup and it makes for a feature that was a visual feast and one that was so amazing to look at that it was hard to not tear up and be in awe of the designs that were unfolded in front of you.  Secondly, the performances are terrific.  There are some really great performers in the cast and they are doing a tremendous job.  I was incredibly impressed with Storm Reid and Deric McCabe as Meg and Charles Wallace.  Both were able to express the characters in a very dynamic way and watching Meg’s journey and seeing how Reid was able to deliver the pain and struggle that she went through was impressive beyond words.

                                                                                                     Walt Disney Pictures
Reid was damn impressive in this feature.

The one element that struck me the hardest about the film was its heart and sentiment.  While the mileage on this portion definitely varies from viewer to viewer, I found this movie very emotional and I openly wept like crazy.  Too many of the themes and story points hit too close to home and when that was combined with the excellent performances from the likes of Reid, McCabe, Pine and Oprah, it made me cry like there was no tomorrow.  In all honesty, the film sorta wrecked me emotionally while I watched it and this visceral reaction definitely painted my entire feelings for the film, making it easier to overlook some very noticeable shortcomings it contains.

                                                                                                     Walt Disney Pictures
Anytime I get to see Galifianakis in something is a good thing.

The big problem this movie has is the form that it might be too ambitious and tries to tell too large of a story in too small of a time frame.  This leads to a lot of development issues as the world-building and character introductions never feel organic and natural but rather forced.  The plot also seems to be moving at a feverish pace and makes the whole experience feel like you are watching two films that were hastily concentrated into a single feature.  This is the most distracting at the beginning but ends up feeling less noticeable as the movie progresses.

                                                                                                     Walt Disney Pictures
The flying lettuce monster felt a little strange too.

A Wrinkle in Time isn’t flawless (I’m not making a wrinkle joke).  It has some problems but, for me, the heart of it won me over more than the technical aspects of its storytelling.  The content of the characters and the performances that highlighted this made it easy for me to be invested and, while I acknowledge its problems, this dynamic made it possible for me to forget about it and get sucked in.

Avengers: Infinity War

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! This review would have been out sooner but...eh, I don't have any readers so my excuses are pointless.




Avengers:  Infinity War – 5 out of 5


The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building and growing for a decade now.  A decade!  That’s incredible.  I know jaded fanboys like to diminish this achievement and endlessly complain about minuscule details not fitting how they want things but the world building and universe construction that they’ve accomplished with the MCU at Marvel Studios is outright impressive.  I’ve been an unapologetic fan since the debut of Iron Man and have been obsessed with every film, show and moment that has been supplied.  Avengers:  Infinity War is the culmination of all this work and, subsequently, has a lot riding on it.  This one could have easily been nothing but hype and failed to deliver but that wasn’t the case.  Infinity War is everything I wanted it to be and more!

                                                    Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
That's a lot of awesome in one photo...


Deep in the cosmos, the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) sets out on a quest for power.  Littered throughout the universe is the Infinity Stones; objects of great power than can grant control over time, space, reality and even death.  After having a gauntlet forged for him, Thanos sets out to collect all the stones and sends his henchmen; Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary) and Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw) to Earth to collect the stones held there.  On the planet, it’s up to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and the entire Wakanda nation to hold off the Thano’s forces.  Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) teams with Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) to gather up a powerful new weapon while Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) aligns himself with Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Nebula (Karen Gillan) in order to take the fight directly to Thanos.

                                                    Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
I know people are mad that there wasn't any Sherlock Holmes references but,
from a writer's perspective, I can see the desire to steer clear of that
low hanging fruit.


Infinity War is an incredibly ambitious and amazingly busy film.  The biggest risk this film had working against it is that it might have been too big and, with the enormous amounts of characters, it would have been easy for certain people to be left behind or lost in the shuffle.  However, directors Anthony and Joe Russo, no strangers to huge Marvel storylines, did something astounding and made a feature that flows really well and captures the Marvel Cinematic Universe tone while, at the same time, forging a heavy tone that has clear repercussions on the universe.  

                                                    Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Star-Lord and Iron Man, a collision of snark and sass.


                          Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Thano's weakness is having his finger pulled.
The Russo brothers took this absolutely gigantic story and were still able to balance the incredible action, sense of humor and the drama and heart that all things MCU holds.  Even more amazing is how none of the characters lost any of their uniqueness and it was just an utter joy to see many of them interact for the first time.  Finally, I was just blown away with how they made the story flow.  There are a lot of teams all doing their own thing in this large scale fight against Thanos and the tale moves fluidly from one to the next.  Never does one group feel overlooked nor does any group feel like they are the obvious center of attention.  Each journey is told and explored at the right pace and perfect increments. 

                                                    Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Add in the Guardians and that makes for a happy Ron.


At this point in the MCU, everyone has their characters nailed down and, after 10 years, you either love them or hate them.  For me, I love them and think everyone is doing such a great job; however, one performer I was absolutely enthralled with was Josh Brolin as Thanos.  The Mad Titan is one of my favorite Marvel villains because he’s so powerful and I absolutely love how he is motivated by a distorted feeling of love (a love of the physical manifestation of Death).  We get to see and, thanks to Brolin’s performance, feel Thanos’ insane devotion and drive to bring his own definition of balance to the universe.  Marvel has had problems with their villains feeling very generic (a complaint pretty consistent with many comic book properties and from all publishers) but Thanos feels very deep and defined.  You get a sense of the many facets that are working with him and this arrives in great part due to Brolin’s performance.  Plus, the dude just has an intimidating voice that worked perfectly for the character.

                                                    Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Thanos has always been one of my favorite comic book villains, it's awesome to
see him done justice on the screen.


The only downsides I found in Infinity War came in the form of some very slow moving scenes involving Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany).  While their scenes do play a pivotal role in both their development and overall importance to the story, there was no denying that these moments felt significantly slowly than the rest of the film—even during other sequences that were also methodically paced.  Another part that I was a little bummed out with was how Thanos’ minions (they are called the Children of Thanos in the film but are The Black Order in the comics) are handled.  While the action moments with Proxima Midnight, Cull Obsidian, Ebony Maw and Corvus Glaive are very cool and exciting, you don’t really get much of a sense of who they are as characters and end up suffering the stereotypical fate of a lot of comic book film villains—being terribly generic.  Hell, we barely even got to know their names in the film.

                                                     Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
When your headache feels like you are an Asgardian having their head squeezed
by Thanos.


Avengers:  Infinity War is a grandiose story and it is very ambitious.  It’s attempting to adapt one of Marvel’s most iconic stories and do justice to one of their most notorious villains.  While the movie isn’t just like the comic, it’s adapted incredibly well and Thanos is done terrifically.  Even with my very minor complaints, from the moment it starts to the post-credit sequence (which made me squeal with delight), the film is exciting, hilarious, fun, emotional and full of heart. It’s a rollercoaster of awesome and I absolutely loved it!