The DC Cinematic Universe has been notorious for lackluster films with poor writing examples being Batman V Superman, and Justice League. Recently Warner Bros. and DC had turned away this negative sentiment with the Aid of Aquaman and Shazam!.
Both films were a massive success for DC, with both ‘fixing’ the problems commonly seen from previous movies, with examples being a huge overhaul to characters like Superman and Batman, poor dialogue between characters, and an unnecessary dark and gritty atmosphere. DC has found success from adapting to what viewers want, and Birds of Prey only solidifies that decision as the correct one.
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey released on February 7, 2020, and was met with mixed reviews, but mostly positive with the film being yet another win for Warner Bros. and DC. The movie's plot is split into two phases. The first phase deals with Harley Quinn and her ‘explosive’ break up with the Joker, and without the protection of the clown prince of crime, a lot of people want Harley dead, including Roman Sionis. The second phase deals with a diamond that holds the key to the Bertinelli family fortune, with Roman Sionis needing it to craft an empire for himself.
The music in the film was simple, not really having any notable music in its soundtrack. The visuals of the movie were fantastic, and a notable scene they use it in would be the ‘break up’ scene, with Harley driving a tanker trunk into Ace chemicals and blowing up the chemical plant in the process. The movie didn’t use its R rating to the best of their ability with minor swearing, and blood across the movie, and the film would proceed the same without the aforementioned swearing and blood.
The characters were all equally presented, and given enough screen time for people to learn about their backstory and motives like Renee Montoya's’ drive to prove herself in the GCPD, and Hellena Bertinelli dawning the role as huntress to avenge her long dead family. The rest of the characters have their own specific motive, but the movie ties it all around Harley and the survival of her own open season. The most enjoyable character wasn’t the heroines of the movie, but Ewan McGreggors role as Black Mask stole the movie and every scene he was in was enjoyable, with his character being both intelligent and borderline insane.
The movie, although a success in its own right, could not compete with a blue hedgehog, Sonic having beaten Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey in its opening week. The movie is a solid 8/10 with the selling point being Roman Sionis, the fun storytelling, and the rest of the characters each bringing in something new for the progression of the movie. Movies similar to Birds of Prey would be both Shazam! and Aquaman for its fun story line, world building and amazing characters.
In the past video game movies were often looked at as a joke, with multiple movie adaptations such as Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and Alone in the Dark being notorious for the movies pacing, story, and overall detachment from the games they are based on. Although recently, there has been a revival in the video game movie genre with Rampage starring Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, Tomb Raider (2018) with Alicia Vickander as Lara Croft, and Detective Pickachu having Ryan Reynolds voicing the electric mouse Pokemon, Pikachu, all meeting or surpassing their expectations in the box office.
It was of no surprise that another video game industry might try tackling the big screen, and on February 2018 Paramount announced that they were going to make a sonic movie. In a poster released on December 12, 2018 it was teased how sonic appearance would be like, with the poster garnering many interesting opinions. In the poster sonic being awkwardly positioned on top of the golden gate bridge with humanoid legs, and it didn’t take long for people to start posting memes about the hedgehogs legs and criticizing the design.
All was going steady until Paramount released the first trailer of the movie on April 20, 2019. The trailer was heavily scrutinized with Sonic being the main focal point, with people criticizing the design of the hedgehog saying that he looked too humanoid, and that the design deviated from the original source material. In a rare act not often seen in Hollywood, Paramount and Sega listened to fan outcry and changed Sonics’ design, while delaying the films release to February 14, 2020.
The film in itself performed better than expected with the story and pacing, although being simple, was an enjoyable road trip movie with Sonic needing to go to San Francisco to recover rings he lost after his confrontation with police officer Tom Wachowski. The casting of the crew was phenomenal with legendary actor Jim Carrey portraying the villainous Dr. Robotnik, Ben Schwartz voicing sonic, and James Marsden as police officer Tom Wachowski.
The soundtrack of the film was okay, with the green hills zone medley and “Don’t stop me now” by Queen being the exception, which stood out and were properly used in their respective scenes. The only downside of the film was when sonic flossed, twice, but it was understandable why they added it, either because when they began filming it Fortnite was popular during the time or due to it being a film targeted towards kids, but it does not fail in catering the fans.
The Sonic the Hedgehog movie, although riddled with poor advertisement and concept design from the very beginning, and defying all odds, ended up being more financially successful than Warner Bros. and DC’s Birds of Prey. The movie deserves a 7/10 for a basic, yet charming story and cast, while also catering to fans with easter eggs and a post credit scene. Movies similar to Sonic the Hedgehog would be both Jumanji Reboots, and Detective Pickachu, both involving video games and an enjoyable watch for viewers.
If you are in the theaters and are choosing a film to watch for enjoyment purposes, your first choice of preference should not be Cats. Cats is a musical based on T. S. Eliots’ Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, with the musical being renamed to Cats and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Cats The Musical was successful thanks to Webbers’ involvement bringing an emotional plot, and songs that were charming and easy to remember. Sadly the same can ́t be said about the theatrical release.
The plot of Cats is that a tribe of cats must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. Although there is a clear plot to follow, the movie takes a different turn explaining different things like going into depth with the side characters, who ultimately left a sour taste, while still trying to follow the plot. Financially the movie under performed with its total box office revenue being $61.6 million, with the budget of the movie being 95 million dollars, adding up to a total loss of 33.4 million dollars.
The only redeeming quality about this film is that popular singers and celebrities like James Corden, Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and Ian Mckellien joined together to star in the movie, but other then that, the bad still outweighed the positives. The plot is lacking with the story being everywhere, the visuals are unappealing with the sky for almost the entirety of the film being a dark purple hue, the songs are mediocre at best, but the performance and improvisation is awful to look at, and the character designs looked like a middle ground between a cat and human, in which later they decided to make a humanoid cat thing that looked unappealing and downright creepy.
Cats could have worked if it was an animation adapted, but ultimately this humanoid adaption did not make the cut. Cats deserves a score of 1/10, it is not a recommendable watch, but if you enjoy watching movies that are catastrophic, boring, and lazy then this movie is for you.
Into the Wild is a book that will be a necessary read sometime in high school, and everyone knows that if there is a book, their maybe a film as well. Into the Wild is a novel written by Jon Krakauer which follows the story of Chris McCandless, a young man who travels the country alone, leaving his comfortable life behind in favor of exploring and going into the wild.
The movie is told from the perspective of Carine McCandless, the sister of Chris McCandless, and the movie starts with Chris in Fairbanks, Alaska where he gets picked up by Gallien, and dropped off in the Stampede Trail where Gallien gives him his lunchbox and boots, starting Chris’s journey. This starting point is the only similarity to the story telling John Krakauer used in his novel. Instead of using this format the movie continues with Chris in Alaska, having some flashbacks of key events like his travels and the friends he met along the way.
In the movie there are some drastic changes that occur like the addition of Tracy which was a throw away character, which was only mentioned once in the novel, but in the movie she becomes Chris’s love interest, underplaying Wayne Westerburgs’ involvement in the film with his influence and Carthage deeply impacting Chris when he first was involved with them. The only addition that strengthened the movie was the extra screen time given to Ron Franz which helped strengthen their relationship in the movie, making their bonding time special and giving the image of a father-son relationship, with both McCandless ́s parents being introduced in the first half then never talked about making no connections that there was ever a deep relationship with their son.
The movie is an okay experience in itself with it having some of the core details a movie should have, but it pales in comparison to the novel it was adapted from. This film proves that not every movie adaption will come out as intriguing like the original, with the story only having one perspective of the story of Chris McCandless.
With the ending of The Mandalorian Season 1 and the end of the Skywalker saga with the release of The Rise of Skywalker it may seem that there is no more Star Wars content Disney will be able to offer, but that is far from the truth. Anyone with a Disney Plus subscription should wait to cancel their subscription, due to the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 on February 17th, 2020.
For whomever is unfamiliar with the beloved series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a TV series originally created by Cartoon Network, which aired from 2008 to its 6th season in 2014 before being picked up by Disney for a 7th season. The series serves as an answer to the 3 year timespan that occurred between the span of Episode II and Episode III, which dealt with the intergalactic conflict between the Galactic Republic (Clone Army) and the Confederacy of Independent Systems (Droid Army).
Although the story revolves around the events of the three year timespan, it also adds new story elements and introduces new characters, that show the galaxy we thought we knew on a grander scale. The story focuses primarily on the Clones point of view of the war, displaying in full view that the clones weren’t just carbon copies of Jango Fett to serve as cannon fodder, but were living sentient people that felt emotions and strongly wanted the Galactic Republic to end up victorious. Memorable events in the series include the battle of Kamino, where all the clones fought for their homeworld against a droid invasion, and the introduction of Mandalore and their political system that kept them divided from entering the galactic conflict on either side of the Republic or Separatist sides.
Characters like Clone Captain Rex, Clone Commando Gregor, Clone Commander Wolffe, Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, Savage Opress, Asajj Ventress, and recurring villains like, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and General Grievous all made their introduction and reintroduction in the series, becoming fan favorite characters shaping the events of the series as a whole.
Season seven’s first episode synopsis states that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker will visit Utapau after a Jedi Master is mysteriously killed. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 will most likely be a proper send-off to the series that should connect its conclusion to the beginning of Episode III. The series is a must watch for anyone into Star Wars, Sci-Fi, or a Disney Plus user, and with the release of Season 7 this February there is no better time to get into the series than now
With the success of Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle no one was surprised that a sequel would be made. The movie ́s success is attributed to the actors who brought the video game counterparts of their real world protagonists, like Dwayne “Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and the other actors who made the video game side of the story into a great and lovable movie experience with both the plot and characters making the movie shine for viewers of the movie.
Jumanji: The Next Level is a direct continuation of Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, following a year after the protagonists Spencer, Bethany, Martha, and Anthony “Fridge” get sucked into Jumanji, and ultimately “destroy” the game. The movie begins with all the protagonists going through their lives after high school, with Spencer coming from New York to go back to the small town of Brantford, New Hampshire, for the break in order to visit his family and friends.
Spencer is reluctant to go meet his friends feeling that his relationship with Martha has stagnated, and instead he goes back to Jumanji to reprise the role of his avatar, Dr. Smolder Bravestone, to feel unstoppable again. With the absence of Spencer, Martha, “Fridge”, and Bethany go to look for him at first being hesitant about returning but build up the courage in order to rescue him. What they do not know is that the game is broken leading to unexpected consequences occurring in the world of Jumanji.
The visuals are amazing with both the scenes of the desert dunes, and mountain terrain being some of the best cinematography in this movie . The plot of the movie is above average for a sequel, but not as good as Welcome to The Jungle. The actors from the prior movie are joined with Danny Devito and Donald Glover who both add a different chemistry to the cast making it just a bit funnier with their roles as two elderly people not knowing what video games are. Their interactions with the world border on both amazement and ignorance.
Although the movie is outshined by its predecessor, it still fairs pretty well for adding onto the world of Jumanji, while giving a hint that there is more to be expected from the franchise. Jumanji: The Next Level is an 8/10 movie and is an enjoyable watch for anyone who wants to see it or enjoyed any of the prior works of Kevin Hart or the Rock.
It has been 2 years since the Star Wars community has received a new mainline Star Wars Movie, but Disney has been keeping fans pleased, with The Mandalorian series being the most popular and talked about show on Disney Plus, and with season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars being released on February 17, 2020. Now with the release of The Rise of Skywalker fans are having mixed opinions on the conclusion of the Skywalker saga, that has spanned 42 years in the making.
The Rise of Skywalker takes place roughly a year after the events of The Last Jedi, with the resistance having built up their forces with recruits after their loss in the salt planet of Crait. The events in The Rise of Skywalker are similar to The Force Awakens with both the Resistance and The First Order looking for a map to a planet with origins connected to the force. The location of the maps , the Sith Wayfinder, are in the ruins of Vader’s castle in a now forested Mustafar, and the wreckage of the Death Star II, that leads them to one of the new planets introduced in this film being the planet of Exegol, a bastion of the Sith, where the emperor now resides.
The new ideas and old references brought into The Rise of Skywalker added more to the Star Wars Universe. The addition of new soldier types like the First Orders, Jet and Sith Troopers, and the Resistances, Ovissian Gunner and Capex Spy. The callbacks to old Sith in the names of the Sith trooper battalions like the 3rd legion being named after Darth Revan and the 17th legion being named after Darth Tanus, and with the introduction of new planets like Exegol, Ajan Kloss, Passana, Kijimi, and Kef Bir which expanded the planet count in the Star Wars Universe.
Although there were great additions in the movie that expanded the knowledge of the Star Wars universe and the climactic battle being one of the most visually attractive from the entire film, the movie as it was had many flaws. The Rise of Skywalker undermined the suspension as to the fate of the resistance as seen in the ending of The Last Jedi, with the resistance in the movie having ridiculously received a massive influx of recruits after it was dealt a fatal blow a year ago, by the First Order. Changes to the backstory of Rey’s past making what Kylo Ren said a half truth, the film often blatantly contradicted many story elements from its predecessor opting to reveal unnecessary additions, and contradictions.
Rey also never experiences any character growth for the entire movie, while characters like Ben Solo (Former identity of Kylo Ren), Poe Dameron, and Finn all receiving character growth, and a finalization of their story arcs. When Rey has her chance to grow, she instead opts to run away in favor to not be associated with her past.
Visually the movie is stunning, the soundtrack is outstanding with famous composer John Williams returning to compose the final Star Wars movie, and the CGI was used to its fullest potential with it being responsible for Carrie Fisher being able to reprise her role, while also acting as a send off for her years of contribution in the Star Wars universe as Princess Leia Organa. The acting was alright, with Adam Driver being the MVP of the sequel trilogy with his arc coming full circle and giving his character growth and the send off he deserved. John Boyega and Oscar Isaacs’ characters are the same as they were from the beginning, but both rise up to take control of the resistance. Daisy Ridley’s character leaves much to be desired with her character never experiencing real growth and her power scaling compared to her co-stars is ridiculous in comparison with her abnormal connection to the force making her the most powerful Jedi for the sole purpose of plot convenience.
The Rise of Skywalker earns a solid 6/10, with the downside of the movie is its reliance on fan service, forced plot devices, and its ability to entice the emotions of the fans, with the decision of heavy fan service splitting the opinion of the film amongst fans. The film is worth a watch if you are a fan of Star Wars or just happen to enjoy a decent sci-fi movie.