DC League Of Super-Pets: The Horniest Turtle You Will Ever Meet

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Krypto, voiced by Dwayne Johnson and a rag tag group of other pets must come together to save the Justice League after they are bested by Lex Luthor’s Guinea Pig, voiced by Kate McKinnon.

I think this film is very watchable and has a lot of good elements within it, do I think this film is going to set the world on fire? No, obviously not, but I think there are worse ways to spend a few hours.

With the exception of one character that I will get to later, most of the characters are fairly one note of forgettable, and their respective voice actors don’t do all that much to liven up proceedings. Natasha Lyonne does her best as a horny turtle and lands a few laughs but even she can’t save this film on a performance front. Hell even Keanu Reeves himself, the man who can single-handedly save any movie, as Batman isn’t enough. Those are words I never thought I would have to write.  

The one exception to this however is Kevin Hart as Ace. The leader of the stray pack and a dog who was chucked out of his home after saving a little girl from falling down the stairs has a massive amount of depth and heart put into his character and Hart really delivers on a warm and tender yet also funny vocal performance. I think truly that this is Kevin Hart’s film and that he outshines all of his co-stars and forms a soon to be beloved animated character.

I also enjoyed all the reference in this film to other films such as the throwaway Warriors bit. Though most audiences of this film won’t have watched that, I found it to be funny. Moreover, on the whole I found myself laughing quite a few times during this film and do think the humour works quite well.

Overall, a watchable and somewhat entertaining animated film with one really strong character, sadly the rest of the characters aren’t quite on the mark.

Pros.

Hart

It is funny

The references

The ending

Cons.

The voice cast is mostly wasted

It has pacing issues

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The Wolverine: In The Footsteps Of The Greats

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, head to Japan in order to tidy up a loose end from his past.

I think this is a perfectly fine film, certainly not on the same level as Logan or even X-Men Origins, in my controversial opinion, but a solid middle entry into the unofficial Wolverine trilogy. I think trying to adapt Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s limited run wherein Wolverine fights the Yakuza and explores Japan’s underworld was both a ballsy move as well as one that was always doomed to end in heartbreak.

I think the major issue this film suffers from is though it explores some interesting concepts and scenarios, it pushes a lot of new characters and expects the audience to instantly care about them when in actuality they feel very little about them. This film could have benefited from at least having a few of the other X-Men pop up as this film ends up feeling isolated in a deeply negative way from the rest of the series.

Of course, despite these negatives the film still manages to get Wolverine right and has him be a badass through and through, of course this is helped along to no end by Hugh Jackman who gives it his all as always. Jackman’s Wolverine may be the best performance in a comic book film ever.

Overall, though this is still a cool Wolverine film, he feels a little bit too isolated and the film was fighting and uphill battle from the beginning trying to replicate the greatness of Miller and Claremont.

Pros.

It is very watchable

Jackman

The action lands well

Cons.

It feels too isolated from the wider X-Men film series

It is a poor adaptation    

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Man Of Steel: Zack Snyder’s Moment Of Glory

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Snyderverse is born.

Perhaps it is because of my age, or because I grew up with the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, but this always was the definitive Superman tale to me. I have seen some of the other takes on the character from further back but still when I think who or what is Superman I think of this film.

Now I am not saying this film is perfect, Zack Snyder’s trademark lack of subtlety does trip the film up to a degree and the heavy handed Christ comparisons do become a little tedious after a while. However, I think Snyder gets the broad strokes right, he understands the character of Kal-El and what drives him and that is clear throughout. Furthermore, no one does spectacle quite like Zack Snyder and whether that is the destruction of Krypton or the Oil refinery sequence he really adds quite a nice visual style and grandeur to the film.

In addition the performances across the board are also fantastic. Henry Cavill is magnificent in the lead and frankly the fact Warner Brothers aren’t foaming at the mouth to have him back for a sequel just shows how bad the management over there is. Amy Adams and Michael Shannon are also marvellous and worthy of being highlighted for their standout performances as well.    

Overall, this is the definitive cinematic take on Superman for me.

Pros.

Cavill

The spectacle

It does the character justice

The ending

Cons.

The writing lacks subtlety

The religious analogies becoming trying quickly

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X-Men Origins Wolverine: A Huge Missed Opportunity, Not Without Some Merit

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The origin story of James Howlett, played by Hugh Jackman.

I know that many people will have an issue with my score for this film, and that through the sheer fact of having the Tim Rothman requested mouth sown shut Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, that this film should automatically have a low score however allow me to try and change your mind.

I think rather undeniably this film has a very cool aesthetic, whether it is the opening montage of James and his half-brother Victor, played by Liev Schreiber, fighting through various wars, or the introduction of Gambit, played fantastically by Taylor Kitsch, there are a lot of cool scenes in this film that are hard not to be excited by.

Moreover, unlike in most of Wolverine’s other appearances in the various X-Men films the threat here feels both real and personal to him. Not only do we get to see him in a very raw state as he is made, but we also get to see him essentially lose at the end turning him into a tragic character. In many ways I think this approach does far more for the character then just seeing him slice up a roomful of dudes with his claws.

The downsides to this film are numerous and have been detailed in great accuracy in other places to me the biggest crime of this film are the parts of it wherein you can see the overly heavy hand of Tim Rothman and the wider studio coming in to suppress good ideas and do what they want. I think if Rothman had not been as he has been rumoured to have been then this film could have had a chance at being good.

Overall, a lot of interesting visuals and a solid Wolverine story, undercut by obvious studio interference.

Pros.

The opening montage

Giving Wolverine a clear emotional arc

A lot of solid action

It is fun to watch

Cons.

The blatant changes mandated by studio interference   

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Green Lantern: The Endless Horrors Of CGI

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The time when DC fundamentally screwed up on of their most popular characters.

This film has become a joke amongst fans of comic book cinema, and the jarring contrast between this and the contemporary Nolan Batman trilogy is blindly clear, where one is dark and gritty the other ops for poorly done CGI and a garish colour pallet and where one is good the other is this film. Pretty stark.

I think it is pretty clear throughout this film that Ryan Reynold’s doesn’t want to be there as his performance is lifeless, as such it is very hard to care about his character at all which leads to you switching off more and more whilst watching it. I also think having his whole costume be CGI was a terrible decision that becomes noticeably distracting as the film goes along.

In terms of how this film treats its characters and the wider DCEU lore, it cherry picks a few things and somewhat explains them, though not in a way a non-comic reading audience would understand. Worse yet it also manages to bastardise a lot of things and change characters and concepts from the comics for no real valid reason. These two things combined managed to alienate both the comic readers an the non-comic readers, well played DC.

Overall, boring, lifeless and not a fun time.

Pros.

It lead to some good memes

Cons.

The characters are awful

It dumps on wider DC lore

The CGI suit

It is incredibly dumb and generic

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Thor Love And Thunder: Thor Gets Paternal

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, is forced out of semi-retirement when Gorr The God Butcher, played by Christian Bale, goes on a killing spree. Along the way he runs into his old flame Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, who is now the Mighty Thor.

I have to say a lot of the early responses to this film that I saw were quite negative and so I went in with pretty low expectations, thinking to myself surely it can’t be worse than Dark World, however, in the end I found myself really enjoying the film, and think though it has a few minor issues it is on the whole a strong Marvel outing.

Straight off the bat I think this film really does some great character work with Thor, having him get the chance to see Jane again, then losing her, then having to raise a kid on his own- he goes on a journey. Some out there on the more incely sides of the culture war will say that Thor is humiliated and ruined, however, their toxic masculinity is showing. I think it is possible for Thor to be both a badass action hero, which this film shows off on multiple occasions, as well as a sensitive guy who can be open and also poke fun at himself. At no point did I find he was being dominated or out done by the female characters and I think such takes usually arise from those we insecure masculinities themselves.

I thought the supporting cast all had their moments to shine especially Port, Thompson and Waititi, the latter especially had a lot of great lines. However, I will say that I would have liked Sif, played by Jamie Alexander, who makes a big return here, to have been given more to do. I think for me the stand out performance of the whole film was Russell Crowe as Zeus who instantly became my favourite character of the picture.

In terms of the humour, which has proven quite divisive, I think it is peak Waititi and if you enjoy his style of comedy, which I do, you will find it funny and if you don’t you won’t. Personally I found this film had me laughing more often than not. Moreover, again in rebuke to some of the criticism I have seen out there about the humour of this film, I found that it didn’t take away from the dramatic moments at all, and I think the film has a very strong emotional core. If you aren’t tearing up as Jane dies in Thor’s arms then I question whether you are even human.

Finally onto the few minor things I didn’t like about the film. The CGI in the post credits scene with Hercules, played by Brett Goldstein, was quite poor and possibly on a par with the Pip scene from Eternals. Moreover, the film’s pacing was quite noticeably off and the film as a whole felt very rushed with a lot of big things happening in a short space of time without much room for you to take them in. In addition, Christian Bale’s Gorr performance was all over the place, sometimes being quite frightening and sullen and other times being almost camp, this mismatch created quite a jarring viewing experience. Lastly the ‘Lady Thor’ line was horribly cringe and felt far too meta and on the nose, it really didn’t need to be included.

Overall, though it is not perfect there is a lot to like about this film.

Pros.

Thor’s journey

The ending

Zeus

The supporting cast all get their time to shine

Cons.

The pacing

The ‘Lady Thor’ line   

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Morbius: The Kind Of Film That Reminds You How Good Dracula Untold Was

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Michael Morbius, played by Jared Leto, develops a cure to the terminal illness that has plagued him since birth, however, his cure also turns him into a living vampire.

I am starting to see a lot of aesthetic similarities between Sony’s Venomverse and the Dark Universe, it is in the fact that so far every Venomverse film has felt like an edgy emo teenagers dream with that being especially true with this film. To further the parallels between the Venomverse and the Dark Universe this reminded me in a lot of ways of Dracula Untold, it has a very similar vibe and a lot of the bat related CGI effects feel like they carry over between the films. The writers of this film also wrote Dracula Untold and you can tell in almost every line of dialogue, in many ways a lot of the emotional elements and plot devices from Untold end up bleeding over into this film.

I think Leto was miscast in the role and doesn’t even seem awake for most of the film, to me at least it seemed more like Leto didn’t want to be there and was probably only there to get paid. Leto is a problematic actor and it is for that reason I didn’t watch this in the cinema when it came out, instead waiting for my friend to rent it on VOD so that I could watch it on a visit. No one is on good form here, bar I suppose for Matt Smith you at least seems to be having some fun. I wish Smith could have chosen a better project to jump onto the superhero train with.

I won’t even get into the post credits scene, which yes is as bad as you have heard. There is no rhyme or reason for this scene it stands in the face of any kind of logic, not making sense through No Way Home’s spell idea. It seems the only reason this exists is for the Sony executives, who can’t sleep at night unless they are running comic book characters into the ground, who want a Sinister Six movie for some reason even though the team has little wide appeal or brand value but hey. It makes no sense that Morbius who has spent the film not killing anyone bar the mercenaries at the beginning would team up with Michael Keaton’s Vulture to go and hunt down Spider-Man, it is just dumb.

Overall, a deeply average movie that you probably shouldn’t watch unless you are looking to be bored.

Pros.

It reminded me how much I liked Dracula Untold

Jared Harris

Matt Smith

Cons.

Leto

It is boring

The post credits scene is awful

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Doctor Strange Into The Multiverse Of Madness: You Better Have Watched All The Disney + Shows

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Following on from the events of Wandavision Wanda, played by Elizabeth Olsen, goes on a multiverse wide rampage to try and get her kids back, forcing Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and other mystical characters to try and stop her.

I think this may be my favourite Marvel film to date, or certainly up there in the top 3, I really enjoyed the Raimi elements to this film and I thought the horror sequences were terrific. I liked that this film felt a little darker and more supernatural than the rest of the MCU it gives me hope for characters like Blade and Ghost Rider. I thought the Raimi esque shot choices and transitions were just superb, it really gave this film a sense of identity all its own.

Moreover, despite some of the more unrefined criticism of this film saying how they turned Wanda into a bad guy, I thought this film did great things for her character and felt like a natural carry over from where the end of Wandavision left her. In the comics the character is deeply mentally unstable and crazy powerful this felt a true reflection of that, this idea that Wanda is a superhero and that she is a force for good only, is both not true and also just a creation of the MCU- one they now seem to be breaking.

I thought the new character of America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez was great she easily held her own both with Strange and Cumberbatch and I eagerly await to see what else they do with her character, most likely a Young Avengers show or film. In that same vein, I thought this film added a lot to most of the characters from the previous Doctor Strange film that helped to make them feel more rounded. I liked Strange and Wong’s, played by Benedict Wong, relationship and how Strange eventually comes to respect Wong as the new Sorcerer Supreme and also thought the film did justice to Rachel McAdams’ Christine from the first film, tying that up nicely.     

The things I didn’t like about this film were all quite minor, firstly I didn’t like the Illuminati I thought it felt far too much like blatant fan service and thought there was no point to them existing other than to give Wanda people to tear apart. I did like the Black Bolt, played by Anson Mount, death however, I thought that was gutsy and some nice unexpected gore. Secondly, I have issues with the post credits scenes, with the first I think it is too unclear what is going on, moreover unless you are an avid comics reader you will not know who Clea, played by Charlize Theron, is and will be left baffled. The second post credits scene is just annoying and makes you feel like you have wasted your time. Thirdly, I didn’t like Strange’s relationship with Baron Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, it felt very much like some scenes were missing there as there relationship made no sense being where it was based off the ending of the previous film.

Overall, I think this film is brave, brutal and great for the MCU. I hope very much they can talk Raimi into coming back to do more movies.

Pros.

The horror elements and the Raimi feel of the film

Wanda’s progression

Strange and Christine and Strange and Wong

America Chavez

The ending

Cons.

Too many cameos

Uneven storytelling with Mordo  

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The Batman: Trying Desperately To Replicate Nolan

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A new emotional  Batman, played by Robert Pattinson, is born. Is this Nolan? Not quite.

I will admit I liked this film more than I thought I was going to based on the trailers, there are a number of things that work here and a few major things that don’t, but to the positive first.

Jeffery Wright, Zoe Kravitz and Paul Dano are all terrific. Wright and Kravitz totally make the characters of Gordon and Kyle their own to such an extent that you can’t think about anyone else in the role. Yes, I do think these may become the definitive versions of these characters. Moreover, Dano is magnetic as Riddler and really makes the character come alive in a threatening, unstable way that has never been done on the big screen before, Dano’s Riddler is easily the star of the show.

Another positive is the world. This Gotham City feels very comics accurate; the deprivation and the despair are clear to see and inform the wider narrative of the film.  Reeves very accurately captures the world of Gotham as it appears in the comics.

Now onto my issues with the film.

This film really suffers pacing wise, I did say when it was announced that the film was going to be on for close to 3 hours that it was going to be an issue and I was proven quite right. After a while the film starts to drag and even becomes boring, this obviously hurts it tremendously.

Additionally, the film is clearly trying very hard to mimic Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and as such goes hard with the uber realism and grit. However, unlike Nolan’s films this really doesn’t land and comes across as silly, baffling or simply not as intended. Examples of what I am talking about can be seen as Batman rarely talks to people instead he just stairs, this might have seemed like a cool idea but doesn’t work, moreover, whenever Batman walks anywhere he does it so slowly that anyone could easily just run away, a lot of the time it is not even slow motion he is just barely strolling along. Though Reeves thinks this makes for an intense on-screen presence it actually instead becomes a recurring joke.

Lastly, the emo hot topic Batman played by Robert Pattinson certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, he wears copious amounts of eye makeup and acts like an angsty teen which at times does become grating, some of the lines are incredibly on the nose in this regard. Furthermore, I don’t think anyone will be coming away from this film saying what a great actor Pattinson is as he is really quite monotone throughout.

Overall, on the better side of fine, but not approaching truly good.

Pros.

Wright

Kravitz

Dano

Cons.

Emo Batman

The pacing

It tries to hard to copy what Nolan did

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Catwoman: Remember When Halle Berry Used To Be In Films

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Halle Berry is paraded around to be ogled and objectified.

Most agree that this is one of the worst superhero films ever made, as it takes everything fans know and like about Selina Kyle, here played by Halle Berry, and just throws most of it down the drain in favour of lusting after Berry for the runtime of the film. It is hard to watch this film now and not find it wildly sexist and problematic.

Berry for her part proves that maybe she isn’t such a good actor after all and that she should give back her Oscar and ask for forgiveness. She seems fully uninterested in the subject matter or in trying to give a performance that is anything other than wooden. Clearly her interest when signing on for this film was on whether it could become a franchise vehicle for her.

The writing and the plot are both laughably bad and the film feels like it is trying to divorce itself from the comic book source material, which is never a good move.

Overall, a terrible film best forgotten.

Pros.

It is laughably bad

Cons.

Berry

It is sexist

It has no respect for the character

It makes no sense

It has massive plot issues

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