Archive for Chadwick Boseman

Avengers: Infinity War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Having acquired the Power Stone from the planet Xandar, Thanos and his lieutenants—Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive—intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of Asgard’s destruction. As they extract the Space Stone from the Tesseract, Thanos subdues Thor, overpowers Hulk, and kills Loki. Heimdall sends Hulk to Earth using the Bifröst before being killed. Thanos departs with his lieutenants and obliterates the spaceship.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe; in response, Strange recruits Tony Stark. Maw and Obsidian arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange, drawing the attention of Peter Parker. Maw captures Strange, but fails to take the Time Stone due to an enchantment. Stark and Parker pursue Maw’s spaceship, Banner contacts Steve Rogers, and Wong stays behind to guard the Sanctum.

In Scotland, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in order to retrieve the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead. Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson rescue them and take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at the Avengers Compound. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.

The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescue Thor, who surmises Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector on Knowhere. Rocket and Groot accompany Thor to Nidavellir, where they and Eitri create an enchanted battle-axe capable of killing Thanos. On Knowhere, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis find Thanos with the Reality Stone already in his possession. Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive adoptive sister Nebula from torture. Thanos and Gamora travel to Vormir, where Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs him the stone can only be retrieved by sacrificing someone he loves. Thanos reluctantly kills Gamora, earning the Stone.

Nebula escapes captivity and asks the remaining Guardians to meet her on Thanos’ destroyed homeworld, Titan. Stark and Parker kill Maw and rescue Strange. Landing on Titan, they meet Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The group forms a plan to remove Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet after Strange uses the Time Stone to view millions of possible futures, seeing only one in which Thanos loses. Thanos arrives, justifying his plans as necessary to ensure the survival of a universe threatened by overpopulation. The group subdues him until Nebula deduces that Thanos has killed Gamora. Enraged, Quill retaliates, allowing Thanos to break the group’s hold and overpower them. After Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos, Strange surrenders the Time Stone in exchange for Thanos sparing Stark. Thanos departs for Earth.

In Wakanda, Rogers reunites with Bucky Barnes before Thanos’ army invades. The Avengers, alongside T’Challa and the Wakandan forces, mount a defense while Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision. Banner, unable to transform into the Hulk, fights in Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive to reinforce the Avengers; Midnight, Obsidian, and Glaive are killed and their army is routed. Thanos arrives and despite Maximoff’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone, removes it from Vision, killing him.

Thor severely wounds Thanos, but Thanos activates the completed Infinity Gauntlet and teleports away. Half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Maximoff, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, and Parker. Stark and Nebula remain on Titan while Banner, M’Baku, Okoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Meanwhile, Thanos recovers on another planet.

In a post-credits scene, Nick Fury transmits a signal as he, Maria Hill, and others disintegrate. The transmitter displays a star insignia on a red-and-blue background

REVIEW:

The moment has come! The big payoff! The reason we have sat through seemingly endless Marvel Cinematic Universe films, though they have all been enjoyable to varying degrees. 10 years in the making, complete with developing an entire universe, setting up some high stakes, and teasing us with the big bad, Avengers: Infinity War has arrived! Will it be the payoff all of us comic nerds, as well as the general public have been expecting?

What is this about?

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

What did I like?

Spread the wealth. From the moment this film was announced, it was clear that the cast was going to be huge. What we didn’t know was how the balance of screentime would play out. Would we get a heavy dose of Iron Man and Captain America, while Hulk and Dr. Strange are relegated to what amounts to glorified cameos? I can assure you that is not the case. Every character that we have been introduced to in the MCU to this point, with the exception of Hawkeye, Ant-Man (who has his own sequel coming later this summer, which takes place before this film, apparently), and a couple of others who i can’t think of at the moment, is included in this film. While not all time on screen is equal, each character is allowed to show their strengths and why we have grown to care about them over this time.

Mad Titan. Yesterday, I saw Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2 and, while he was good as that character, he feels more at home as Thanos. That’s not to say Brolin can’t play a cyborg mutant from the future, or that he should always seek out roles where he is a delusional psychopath with delusions of grandeur who has a strange misconception of what kind of balance the universe needs. Rather, he just seemed to have more fun as Thanos. I think he even said so himself. I can’t blame him. One the one hand, he could be a really strong time traveling cyborg who has to listen to Deadpool all day or be a universal titan that is nigh unstoppable. The latter seems to be the better option. As far as his plot is concerned, i think this is one of Marvel’s stronger villains. I won’t spoil it for you, but he does lay out and execute his plans with precision, rather than dawdle and monologue the way some earlier MCU villains have done (some in his employ).

Impact. The impact of the MCU has been felt ever since the first Avengers was released and other studios started taking notice of universe building. Now, if you notice there are many duplicators and imitators. DC has come the closest to recreating the formula, but something just isn’t right with them. When all is said and done with this film, though, the way it ends is sure to make a lasting impact on fans and probably moreso on those that aren’t fans. I can’t go into much detail about it without dabbling into spoiler territory, but i can say that something happens that will send shock waves through the audience, as it is something no one saw coming.

What didn’t I like?

Short end of the stick. Earlier, i mentioned the enormous cast and how not everyone was given equal screentime. For some reason *COUGH* ego*COUGH*, Iron Man gets the majority of the screentime. Meanwhile characters such as Bucky (Winter Soldier), Black Widow, Nebula, etc. have maybe 5 min on screen. In Nebula’s defense, she was a prisoner being tortured by Thanos for most of her time. This brings me to Black Panther. He, and the nation of Wakanda, play an important role later in the film, but that is all we get. Some have speculated that since this was filmed before the release of Black Panther, the studio had no idea of the impact that film would have and thus didn’t give T’Challa much to do in this film. There is an argument to made there, but my point is many characters, both major and minor didn’t receive as much time as they could have because of the amount of characters in this film. I’m not saying there were too many, just that, and I’m going to sound like Thanos here, ironically, more balance needs to be brought.

Offspring. Unless you are a fan of the comics, then you probably have no idea who Thanos’ “children” were. Myself, not being up to date on Thanos’ history, didn’t know who they were, either. Apparently, they are, much like Nebula and Gamora, the last children from worlds Thanos has conquered and destroyed who now serve him. That little bit of history doesn’t mean much, other than explain why they are fighting so hard for this big purple guy. They view him as their father and will do anything  for him. The way they seem to be portrayed in the film is equivalent to Stormtroopers, mindless clones who only serve one purpose.

Ground support. Granted, there isn’t much they could do and i just went on about too many characters, but i can’t help but think that the Defenders (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones), the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , along with anyone else that could help out with this (Inhumans, Deathlok, etc.) The world is in danger! I find it hard to believe that these heroes/anti-heroes would just sit idly by, especially Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. (note…i have not been watching this season). Real talk…the only reason none of these guys are making an appearance is because Marvel is desperately wanting to keep the MCU away from the Netflix universe. Don’t ask me why. It makes no sense!

Spoiler alert. This isn’t a complaint against the film, but rather internet culture. As you know, i am nearly a month late getting to see this. Life/work kept me away from the theater. In this day and age, spoilers are very hard to avoid, especially when you are in a Facebook group for comic book and movie nerds. However, i believe it was the Sunday after the film’s release that i was checking out the Venom trailer and had the film spoiled for me. How was it spoiled? Well, right as the trailer is about to end, some @#%$!^ inserted a 10 second clip of himself telling the world what happened. I ask you…who does that?!?

Final thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War? Man, what a ride! The emotional roller coaster this film takes you on from the opening beat down of the Asgardians, to the triumphant return of Steve Rogers (that entrance was…wow!), all the way to the events that happen in the second half of the film are sure to keep one on the edge of their seat. There are some things that could be cut as well as some scenes that probably should not have been cut. All in all, though, i had a great time watching this and can’t wait for the next one. Do i recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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Black Panther

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Centuries ago, five African tribes warred over a meteorite containing vibranium. A warrior ingested a “heart-shaped herb” that was affected by the metal and gained superhuman abilities. He became the first “Black Panther”, and united all tribes (except the Jabari Tribe who declined) to form the nation of Wakanda. Over time, the Wakandans used the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolated themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992, King T’Chaka visits his undercover brother N’Jobu in Oakland, California. T’Chaka accuses N’Jobu of assisting black market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner reveals himself to be Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T’Chaka’s suspicions.

In the present day, following T’Chaka’s death at the hands of Helmut Zemo,[N 1] his son T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje regiment, extract his ex-lover Nakia from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony, along with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa defeats M’Baku and convinces him to surrender rather than die.

Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a museum. T’Challa learns that Klaue plans to sell the artifact in an underground casino in Busan, South Korea. W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s lover, urges him to either kill Klaue or return with him. T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to the casino where T’Challa learns CIA agent Everett K. Ross is the intended buyer. A firefight breaks out, Klaue escapes, and Okoye, Nakia and Ross pursue. With Shuri’s help, T’Challa captures Klaue.

While Ross interrogates Klaue, Klaue reveals that Wakanda’s international image is just a front for a technologically advanced civilization. They are ambushed by Erik, who extracts Klaue; Ross is severely injured intercepting a bullet for Nakia. T’Challa notices Erik is wearing a ring identical to his own. T’Challa decides to take Ross to Wakanda, where their technology can save him, rather than pursue Klaue.

While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about what happened to N’Jobu. Zuri explains that N’Jobu planned to share Wakanda’s technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T’Chaka arrested N’Jobu, N’Jobu attacked Zuri, forcing T’Chaka to kill him. They left behind N’Jobu’s son, Erik, as returning with him would complicate their lie that N’Jobu had disappeared. Erik would eventually grow into a U.S. black ops soldier, earning the name “Killmonger”.

Killmonger kills Klaue, then takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity and claim to the throne. He challenges T’Challa to ritual combat; after killing Zuri, he defeats T’Challa and hurls him over a waterfall. Nakia extracts one of the heart-shaped herbs before Killmonger orders the rest incinerated. Killmonger, supported by W’Kabi and his army, prepares to distribute shipments of Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world. Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe for aid, where they find a comatose T’Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for sparing M’Baku’s life. Healed by Nakia’s herb, T’Challa requests aid from M’Baku, who declines.

T’Challa returns to fight Killmonger, who commands W’Kabi and his army to attack T’Challa. The Dora Milaje, joined by Shuri and Nakia, battle Killmonger, who dons his own Black Panther suit. Shuri instructs Ross to remotely pilot a jet to shoot down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons. M’Baku and the Jabari eventually arrive to assist T’Challa. When confronted by Okoye, W’Kabi and his army stand down. Fighting in Wakanda’s vibranium mine, T’Challa disrupts Killmonger’s suit and fatally stabs him. Fearing imprisonment, Killmonger declines an offer to be healed, instead choosing to die a free man.

T’Challa establishes an outreach center at the building where N’Jobu died to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda’s true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri continues to help Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.

REVIEW:

Perhaps the most anticipated film to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past few years, Black Panther has finally arrived! Much like Iron Man, was when his first film was released, the Black Panther isn’t a household name when it comes to superheroes, but perhaps this will do something to change that. There is so much riding on this film. Will it live up to the hype? Will it show that an almost exclusive African-American cast can have success at the box office? Will there be a sequel? Most importantly, though, is this worth watching?

What is this about?

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.

What did I like?

His time. Black Panther is the first African-American superhero to appear in comics. He is revered as one of the smartest beings alive, alongside Tony Stark and Reed Richards. In other media, he has been featured prominently as a member of the Avengers and was even given his own animated series, Marvel Knights: Black Panther. It seems like the only thing that was missing was for T’Challa to appear in the MCU, which he finally did in Captain America: Civil War. Since then, we have been patiently counting down the days until the release of this film to see more of Chadwick Boseman’s take on this important character. A friend posted a video on facebook over the weekend showing a couple of boys playing as Black Panther and Killmonger. The caption she put on it was something to the effect of “This! Not pretending to be hard gangstas!” That is all you need to know about how needed this film was.

Technology. Wakanda is known for mining vibranium. What isn’t known is how much vibranium is used in everything from their clothing, to medicine, to advancements far beyond the rest of the world. The best example of this happens fairly early on in the film as we see Black Panther and his companions go on a high speed car chase through a city in South Korea. One of the gadgets used allows Shuri, T’Challa’s genius little sister and tech guru, to drive the car from her lab in Wakanda. The use of this and all the other gadgets and gizmos we see in the film will just wow the audience! Q has nothing on these people!

Balance. A few film critic friends that I have were under the impression that this would be a very dark, serious film, akin to the Daniel Craig James Bond films. Having not reached those Bond films, yet, I have no basis for comparison. However, I can say that this is not as serious as you would think. There are jokes and moments of levity, serious moments that will make you think, and of course, kick-ass action. There is a perfect blend and balance amongst these differing tones, that it creates an interesting cacophony that is a welcome change from the norm.

Humanism. Of all the heroes in the MCU, I can’t think of one that we really have had the chance to get to know on a human level. I guess Captain America, given his origin in Captain America: The First Avenger, but other than the opening scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we haven’t had the chance to see him do much other than lead the Avengers and defeat evil. Spider-Man, perhaps, but I still feel like something is missing there. Ant-Man? Perhaps, but the thing that we don’t get from those three is a genuine sense of they are actual human beings. T’Challa, for all his royal riches, stoic demeanor, and enhanced abilities, still gets nervous around his ex-girlfriend. He bickers with his little sister, but also shows his love for her. The pain in eyes when he learns of a dark family secret was clearly there. These are things that make this character relatable and I applaud the director for giving us that extra little insight into this man.

What didn’t I like?

Hype. The hype for this film has been unprecedented. I’ve seen people show-up to screenings dressed like they were going to a formal African shindig. This causes me to wonder, where was this support for the other African-American superheroes that have had cinematic releases? Meteor Man? Blankman? Spawn? Steel? Or how about this little film that many say is responsible for kicking off the superhero craze, Blade? As I was telling my best friend the other day, people are treating Black Panther like cured cancer and freed the slaves! When this film was released Friday, I know there were a few high schools that took field trips to see it for Black History Month. Man, I wish I could have gone to see a superhero film when I was in high school for Black History Month! Don’t get me wrong, the hype is more than deserved, but isn’t it a bit much?

Politics. A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about how T’Challa is like Trump. W…T…F?!? As I was watching, I was careful to see if there were any similarities, which there weren’t. T’challa is kind,  respectful, cares about his people, and isn’t a petulant child. If anyone is like Trump, it would be Killmonger, at least in his beliefs and the way he insisted that he run things. Politics are laced all through this film and, in the world we live in it is needed, but don’t accuse the film of leaning one or the other when it does no such thing. Just enjoy badassery!

Step aside, ladies. Last I checked, this was supposed to be a movie about Black Panther. However, like almost everything else these days, the females take over. Nothing against Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, or the other ladies, but we finally get a Black Panther movie, can he have his moment in the spotlight before ya’ll take it away? The overuse of these women didn’t make T’Challa weak or anything of that nature, but rather at times he felt as if he were a secondary character in his own movie.

Copy-paste. Kilmonger has been praised as one of the best Marvel villains to date. Some even have compared him to Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight. Admittedly, Michael B. Jordan gives a great performance as the film’s antagonist. My issue doesn’t rest with him, but rather this cut and paste formula that Marvel seems to keep using. Iron Monger, Abomination, Yellow Jacket, all are reverse copies, to some extent, of their adversary. Kilmonger is the same, what with his gold jaguar suit. I don’t even know where that came from because Kilmonger in the comics has his own style; a style that is hinted at in the film with the African mask. They should have gone with that, but instead they ruined a perfectly good villain, by making him a close of the hero.

What is my final verdict on Black Panther? This is a film that people in the African-American community have been looking for. It shows a strong, educated black man with no ties to drugs, pimping, alcohol, or any of those things. There are no negative stereotypes in this picture, only positive images. Can those who aren’t African-American relate to this film? By all means, yes. There is something for everyone here. As I sat in the theater this afternoon, when I really should have been at work, I was awestruck by how well-crafted this film was. The script, the visuals, the attention to detail. It truly is a work of art with very few flaws. Do I recommend it? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Stop reading this and go see this again and again!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Gods of Egypt

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In an alternate version of Egypt, the world is flat and gods live among humans. The Egyptian gods are distinguished from humans by their greater height, golden blood, and ability to transform into their animal-headed deity forms.

Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a thief with little faith in gods and their goodwill towards humans, with his love Zaya (Courtney Eaton) are attending the coronation of Horus: God of the Air (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Horus is shown getting ready for his coronation as his love Hathor (Élodie Yung) surprises him. Horus hints at marriage and they discuss Hathor’s protection bracelet made of the stars which Horus gave to her to protect and save her from her previous role as a guide to dead souls in the underworld. During the ceremony, Osiris (Bryan Brown) is killed by his extremely jealous brother Set: God of the Desert (Gerard Butler) who seizes the throne and declares a new regime where the dead will have to pay with riches to pass into the afterlife. Horus is stripped of his eyes which are the source of his power and almost killed. Hathor pleads with Set in surrender to spare him and he is instead exiled. Hathor becomes an enslaved mistress to Set.

A year later, Bek has been working as a slave building monuments while Zaya is now under the ownership of the chief architect Urshu (Rufus Sewell). Believing that Horus is the only one who can defeat Set, she gives Bek the floorplans to Set’s treasure vault. Bek is able to steal back one of Horus’ eyes. However, Urshu finds out about their theft and kills Zaya as the couple flee. Bek takes her body to the blind Horus and makes a bargain: Horus agrees to bringing Zaya back from the dead for his eye and Bek’s knowledge about Set’s pyramid.

Later, they are traveling to Ra’s divine vessel above the Earth. Horus is unable to convince Ra (Geoffrey Rush) to regrant him his power in full or to intervene and defeat Set himself as Ra is both neutral about their conflict and daily at war with an enormous shadow beast Apophis, that threatens to devour the world. Nevertheless, Horus obtains divine waters from Ra’s vessel which can be used at Set’s pyramid to extinguish the desert thirst and weaken him gravely. Ra tells Horus that his weakness is the result of him not fulfilling his destiny, which Horus believes means avenging his parents’ deaths.

Set asks Hathor to take him to the underworld which he next desires to conquer, but she refuses and manages to escape. Eventually, Hathor finds Bek and Horus. Horus at first doesn’t trust her as she is a mistress of Set, who had blinded him, while she tries to convince him that Set is her enemy as well. When they tell her of their plan regarding Set’s pyramid, she warns them of a guardian sphinx who will kill anyone not wise enough to solve a riddle. The group then heads to the library of Thoth: God of Wisdom (Chadwick Boseman), recruiting him to solve the riddle.

Arriving at Set’s shrine, they overcome its traps, including the sphinx (Kenneth Ransom), to reach the source of Set’s power. But before they can pour the divine water in, Set traps them and reveals Horus’s deception to Bek: that he is unable to bring Zaya back from the dead. Set destroys their flask of divine water and kills Thoth by taking his brain. Horus is able to save Hathor and Bek.

Horus admits before the enraged Bek to caring more about his revenge than the mortals. Hathor feels guilt for not exposing the deception and as the Goddess of Love helps the doomed lovers. She sacrifices her own safety for Zaya’s payment into the afterlife by giving Bek the protective bracelet which stops the underworld souls from overwhelming her and calling Anubis (Goran D. Kleut) to take him to Zaya. Therefore, she lets herself be dragged to the underworld while Horus realizes that he still loves her.

Having obtained Thoth’s brain, Osiris’s heart, one of Horus’s eyes, and wings from Nephthys (Emma Booth), Set has them combined with himself. Set travels to Ra, appealing to his father for approval and asking why Osiris was favored, while he was denied leadership and children. Ra claims that all of Set’s prior mistreatments were tests preparing Set for his true role: the honor and burden of taking Ra’s place as the defender of the world aboard his solar barge, fighting against the demon Apophis. Set is dismayed to hear his destiny is to be alone above the planet until he dies and refuses. He wants to destroy the afterlife so that he can be immortal. Ra tries to fight him, but cannot as Set has taken the powers of other gods. He then stabs Ra, taking his fiery spear of power, and casts him off the boat freeing Apophis to consume both the mortal and underword realms.

Bek finds Zaya, who refuses Hathor’s gift as she doesn’t want an afterlife without Bek, but then Apophis attacks and the gate to the afterlife is closed. Bek returns to the mortal world, where Horus is amazed that Bek still wants to help take down Set. Bek tells him it was Zaya who told him to, as she still has faith in Horus.

Horus climbs up the outer wall of an obelisk Set is standing on and attempts to battle him, but is heavily outmatched. Bek ascends on the inside and joins the battle, removing Horus’s stolen eye from Set’s armor, being wounded in the process. As Bek slides toward the edge of the obelisk, he throws the eye toward Horus, who must choose to catch it or save Bek instead. Horus reaches for Bek and apologizes for all he has put him through. As they plummet toward the ground, Horus finds that he now has the power to transform into his divine form and he catches Bek and flies him to safety. Horus realizes that it wasn’t the recovery of his eye nor revenge that was his destiny, it was the protection of his people that he needed to fight for. Now, Horus has the strength for battling Set, and he gains the obelisk and kills him. After the battle and Set’s death, he then finds Ra wounded and floating in space, and returns his spear to him, allowing Ra to once again repel Apophis.

As Horus returns to Bek, a child holds out his other eye which she has found, while people cheer him. But Horus’s joy turns to sadness as he arrives to find Bek dying. Horus carries him to Osiris’s tomb and lays him beside Zaya. Ra, his grandfather, arrives and offers to bestow any power on him to repay Horus for his life and Egypt’s survival. All Horus wants is bringing Bek and Zaya back to life. The other gods are also revived and have their attributes restored. Horus is crowned king by Thoth and declares the afterlife will be for those who do good in the world. Bek is made chief advisor, and he gives Horus back Hathor’s bracelet letting Horus leave to rescue her from the underworld.

REVIEW:

There are plenty of movies and TV shows dealing with the Greek/Roman gods, as well as the legends of Norse mythology, but we don’t get much from ancient Egypt. This is where Gods of Egypt comes in. A film that will hopefully not be an insult to the proud and storied culture of the Egyptians.

What is this about?

In this epic tale inspired by Egyptian mythology, Horus, the god of the sun, vows to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Set, the god of darkness. As Horus joins forces with the goddess of love and a mortal thief, a mighty battle takes shape.

What did I like?

Take a look. Regardless of what I may or may ultimately think of this film, I must say that it is a feast for the eyes. I will never be a fan of CG, but the way it is used, especially in the fight scenes and Ra’s boat, one would almost start singing the praises of the medium. The shiny metal armor may not be everyone’s thing, but given that this isn’t our ancient Egypt, but rather an alternate one, I can accept it.

Creative direction. Speaking of that armor, that was just one of the ways this film strays from what we know as the source material. I am not well versed in Egyptian mythology, but I do know the basics and, for the most part, the characterizations were kept close. However, liberties were taken with characters such as Thoth. We didn’t see a giant bird, but instead, we get a rather flamboyant and egotistical Chadwick Boseman (thank goodness he’s using a better accent for Black Panther)

Buddy. There is something to be said about a good buddy movie. This isn’t one of them. With that said, I did appreciate the attempt at camaraderie between Horus and Bek. The attempts at humor weren’t the greatest, but at least it broke up the monotony of a film that needed something to keep the audience invested. Watching their relationship grow was worth it.

What didn’t I like?

Color me something. What is with casting directors and making movies about Africa or that region over there. Is there just an ingrained stupidity that makes them think everyone was white? Oh, but the slaves, extras, servants, etc were the first ones to be cast as people of color. Excluding Chadwick Boseman’s character, who could be seen as a bit of an offense, as well, there are no people of color in lead/speaking roles for a film based on ancient Egypt. Why is that? Not too long ago, we got Exodus: Gods and Kings, which had a similar casting problem. Was nothing learned?!? Back in the day, it was custom for white actors and actresses to play other races, but look at the times and racial atmosphere back then. Even with the racial strife and tension we have today, it isn’t that bad and we should  get more accurate casting when it comes to things like this. I guess there is one bastion to go along with my slight tirade. The forthcoming Black Panther movie, coincidentally starring Boseman, is set in a fictional country in Africa and has yet to cast anyone not of color. So, maybe they’re starting to learn.

Blood brother. Let me stay on color for a bit longer. The opening narration mentions that the gods have this golden blood, yet we don’t see it until the very end when Gerard Butler is crawling away. As I was looking at it, I couldn’t help but think, it that was some kind of real golden blood, it wouldn’t look like the coloring was just put into it. Come on people, you need to put more work into the little things!

Riddle me this. When I was growing up, there was a Saturday morning cartoon called Kidd Video. Some of you may recall it. If not, type it into youtube and watch how trippy the 80s were for animation. Anyway, one of the episodes I remember best was when the Sphinx appeared and the group had to answer a riddle. What does this have to do with anything? Well, even on another world, the Sphinx still had its trademark look. Not so much the case here. As I mentioned before, liberties were taken with design and whatnot, but some things should just be left alone, like the Sphinx!

Final verdict on Gods of Egypt? This is a film that is not going to win any fans. It doesn’t have the star power (sorry Gerard Butler) to put people in the seats, the story isn’t that strong, and everything else about it is just average, at best. That being said, I still had fun watching and couldn’t turn away. This isn’t a bad film, but it isn’t a good film either. I’m having a hard time deciding whether to recommend it or not. I guess if you want to see what a live action SilverHawks flick would look like, then yes, I recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

Captain America: Civil War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1991 the brainwashed super-soldier James “Bucky” Barnes is dispatched from a Hydra base in Siberia to intercept an automobile carrying a case of super-soldier serum. In the present day, approximately one year after Ultron’s defeat in the nation of Sokovia at the hands of the Avengers, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow blows himself up to avoid capture, and when Maximoff tries to displace the blast into the sky with telekinesis, it destroys a nearby building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers.

At the team’s headquarters, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs them that the United Nations (UN) is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a UN panel to oversee and control the Avengers. The team is divided: Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s destruction, while Rogers has more faith in his own judgment than that of the government. At a conference in Vienna where the accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills King T’Chaka of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Barnes, whom T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, vows to kill. Informed by Sharon Carter of Barnes’ whereabouts and the government’s intentions to kill him, Rogers goes to bring in Barnes—his childhood friend and war comrade—himself. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to Bucharest and attempt to protect him from the authorities, but all three and T’Challa are arrested.

Helmut Zemo tracks down and kills Barnes’ old Hydra handler, stealing a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes’ brainwashing. Infiltrating the Berlin facility where Barnes is held, Zemo recites the words to make Barnes obey him. He questions Barnes, then sends him on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and sneaks him away. When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is the real Vienna bomber and wanted the location of the Siberian Hydra base, where other brainwashed super-soldiers are kept in cryogenic stasis. Unwilling to wait for authorization to apprehend Zemo, Rogers and Wilson go rogue, and recruit Maximoff, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. With Ross’s permission, Stark assembles a team composed of Romanoff, T’Challa, James Rhodes, Vision, and Peter Parker to capture the renegades. Stark’s team intercepts Rogers’ team at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers’ team is captured and detained at the Raft prison, while Rhodes is partially paralyzed after being inadvertently shot down by Vision, and Romanoff is forced to go into hiding.

Stark discovers evidence that Barnes was framed by Zemo and shows this evidence to Wilson, who gives him Rogers’ destination. Without informing Ross, Stark goes to the Siberian Hydra facility and strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes, unaware he was secretly followed by T’Challa. They discover that the other super-soldiers have been killed by Zemo, who shows them footage from Hydra’s archives; it reveals that Barnes killed Stark’s parents during his mission in 1991. Enraged that Rogers kept this from him, Stark turns on them both, blasting off Barnes’ robotic arm. Rogers disables Stark’s armor and departs with Barnes, leaving his shield behind. Satisfied that he has avenged his family’s death in Sokovia by irreparably fracturing the Avengers, Zemo attempts suicide, but T’Challa stops him and he is taken to the authorities.

In the aftermath, Stark provides Rhodes with exoskeletal leg braces that allow him to walk again, while Rogers breaks his allies out of the Raft. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa grants asylum to Barnes, who chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found. In a post-credits scene, Parker tests a new gadget that he received from Stark.

REVIEW:

DC has had their turn up to bat, and they got a decent pop fly, but mighty Marvel is strolling up to batting box, surely to hit a home run, right? Pardon the very bad baseball analogy, but there is a baseball game playing in the background as I type this up, so I found it fitting. Captain America: Civil War is a film that many comic book fans have been looking forward to for a long time, myself included, given how compelling the story is in the comics. Fans want to see how it translates to the big screen. Will Marvel’s track record stay intact, or is this the one that breaks them?

What is this about?

With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges

What did I like?

Friends forever. Today, Facebook reminded me that I’ve been friends with my best friend 5 yrs today. Obviously, its been much longer than that, but its the sentiment that counts. A man needs his friends. For someone like Steve Rogers, who has outlived everyone he knew, it must be extremely tough. The filmmakers decide to show this by giving the audience a little insight into his relationship with Bucky, which we already know a little about from Captain America: The First Avenger. Seeing Cap, joke around with the guy shows a human side that we don’t see very often. Also, and I wasn’t a fan of this, his other tie to his time, Peggy Carter has an…event…shall we say, happen to her that nearly crushed my black heart!

Black Panther. I could sit here and go on and on about how awesome it is to have Black Panther make his big screen debut, but you’ve seen the trailers. He is a bad ass from those scenes alone. What you see in the film furthers that point. I do want to go a little bit into his character, a suave, smooth, respectable monarch that does not lose his cool and is highly intelligent. My knowledge of Black Panther isn’t as well-versed as others, but from what I saw in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and have read in a few comics, they nailed his personality dead on. Add in the bad ass action we get from him and we can’t forget to mention the costume…WOW! I can’t wait until we get to his movie!

Underoos. We’ve had 5 Spider-Man movies and they have yet to get him right. One franchise made got the Peter Parker side right but threw everything else out the window. The recent franchise got the Spider-Man part, right, but the actor that played him was not likable and there were just numerous other issues with that mess, which was rushed into production solely to keep the rights away from Marvel. Well, a deal was brokered to where Sony keeps the rights, but loans him out to Marvel. It isn’t the best situation, but at least we get Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If his short time on screen is any indication of what we’re going to get in the future, I’m excited. This is the Spider-Man we see in the comics and cartoons, complete with eyes that move (more of a comic thing, but they learned from Deadpool, I would imagine).

What didn’t I like?

Crossbones. It seems that the last few Marvel movies have all started with a small villain fight before the film proper gets going. That’s fine. It is a warm-up of sorts. Here’s the problem with this one, though. Frank Grillo, who I think should be playing the Punisher, was introduced as a character that seemed to be headed for a long term rivalry with Captain America in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So, what’s the problem? Well, after all that time building him up in the last film, he doesn’t make it past the first 15 minutes in this one. Making matters worse, Crossbones is somewhat of a major character in the comics…then again, so is Batroc the Leaper.

Put on the mask. In this day and age of “grounded” and “real” interpretations of superheroes and villains, filmmakers pick and choose who keeps their original costume, who gets and updated version, and who just throws the concept out the window. In the case of Helmut Zemo, they threw it out the window. In the comics he messed with a chemical that made him immortal and fused the mask to his face. I was looking for some sort of nod, if nothing else, to this origin, much like they did with Arnim Zola. Instead, there is nothing remotely Zemo about this guy.

Avengers assemble. If I’m not mistaken, this is a Captain America movie, yet it feels more like an Avengers sequel than Avengers: Age of Ultron did, and that one felt more like Iron Man 3 than the real one did. If they wanted to make this an Avengers movie, they should have just done so and given Cap a true close to his trilogy. If I recall reading early on, before this went into production, it was a totally different story (one that featured Crossbones more, too). What is it with studios masquerading sequels for one franchise as another? While I’m on this subject, how is it that what’s going on in Hell’s Kitchen with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and others not come to the Avengers attention? What about all the Inhuman stuff that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are dealing with? Just wondering, since Tony Stark was able to track down Spider-Man, as Peter Parker, mind you!

Final verdict on Captain America: Civil War? Well, it has everything you want in a Captain America movie, action, espionage, someone trying to take down American and take over the world, humor, etc. The scope and magnitude of this film won’t be as immediately felt across the MCU as the last film, but I’m sure something will come of it before the inevitable reunion in Avengers: Infinity War. In the meantime, can we just bask in the how superior these Captain America films have been to most everything else that has been released in theaters? Do you even need to ask if I recommend it? Stop reading and run go see it…multiple times!!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Get on Up

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film opens in 1993 with James Brown walking through a darkened hallway as an audience chants his name. He hears the voices of people he knew throughout his life. The film then cuts to 1988 in Augusta, Georgia; James learns that his private bathroom in a strip mall he owns was used without his consent. As he confronts and then forgives the trespasser, he accidentally fires a shotgun, attracting the police.

During the 1960s, James and his band decide to travel to Vietnam to show support to the black troops, where they put on a well-received show. In 1939, James is raised in the woods by his parents (Susie and Joe Brown), whose marriage is fraught with financial struggles and physical abuse. James performs in a singing group, The Famous Flames, formed by Bobby Byrd, whose family sponsored his release from prison, a penalty he paid for stealing a suit. James lives with the Byrd family and becomes lead singer of Bobby’s group. In 1964, manager Ben Bart convinces them to let The Rolling Stones close The T.A.M.I. Show instead of The Flames. The Flames upstage the Stones, and, exiting the stage, James tells the Stones, “Welcome to America”. In James’ childhood, Susie leaves Joe, and Joe threatens her with a gun and keeps James. Joe continues to abuse James until Joe joins the army. James is left living with and working for his Aunt Honey, who runs a brothel. At her home, he attends church and enjoys the choir.

At the age of 17, James steals a suit, is arrested, and receives a five-to-thirteen-year prison sentence. In prison, James sees a group of singers performing. His enthusiastic reaction incites a riot wherein both he and one of the singers, Bobby Byrd, are injured. Bobby invites James into the Byrd household. Years later, James joins Bobby’s gospel group and they put on a show at a club as The Famous Flames, following a performance by Little Richard. Another flashback from James’s childhood shows him and other black boys forced into a battle royal boxing match while a band plays. Inspired by the funky band, James wins the match.

In the 1950s, James and Bobby meet an agent from King Records, with whom The Flames record their first single, “Please, Please, Please”, on the Federal Records label in 1956. King Records executive Syd Nathan initially mocks the song but appreciates James’s vocals. Ben Bart becomes James’ manager, calling him the true voice of the group. The records are labelled as “James Brown and His Famous Flames”, leading all the members except Bobby to quit. James and Bobby form a new band with Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis, Nafloyd Scott, and Baby Roy.The Famous Flames singing group is also re-formed, replacing the members that quit. The Flames perform at the Apollo Theater to an excited audience. After the show, Bobby tells James that a lady claiming to be his mother is there. As a young child James had seen Susie with a soldier, to whom she claimed she didn’t know James. Aunt Honey consoled James, saying that his mother was a fool and James would someday be rich.

James has a child, Teddy, with his first wife Velma. He later divorces her and marries Dee-Dee. On one occasion, the couple hosts a Christmas event. Afterwards, James hits Dee-Dee for wearing a revealing outfit. In an attempt to reach out to the black community, James records the song “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” (1968) with a group of children. James convinces the Boston Garden’ manager to not cancel a performance following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Several people try to get on stage; security guards intercede until James controls the audience.

Over time, James manages the band poorly, and they all quit. Ben dies of a heart attack. Bobby muses about a career as a lead singer, leading to a heated argument with Brown, who tells Bobby that, although Bobby’s wife Vicki Anderson (who was a featured singer in Brown’s Revue) could be a major solo performer, Bobby could not. Angry and upset, Bobby fires back at Brown, and after Brown makes some cruel statements, finally leaves him for good. Backtracking several years, to an incident at the Apollo, Brown’s mother Susie appears backstage during a Flames concert and expresses her love for James despite her reluctance to be a mother. After she leaves, Bobby comes back in, sees James having a breakdown, and heeds his request to take care of Susie. In 1973, James learns Teddy has been killed in a car accident. Immediately before the incident at the strip mall, James smokes a joint laced with angel dust. The police chase James and arrest him.

In 1993, James meets Bobby for the first time since Teddy’s funeral to give him tickets to his show. James walks onto the stage through a darkened hall. He sees visions of people from his life chanting his name. His performance of “Try Me (I Need You)” moves Bobby and his wife Vicki to tears, and the audience cheers.

REVIEW:

Well, it looks as if another music based film is on the docket. My apologies to those that are getting wary of these, but I think it is time we all Get on Up (see what I did there?) A film that was released late last summer and overshadowed by the flick that was released the same day, Guardians of the Galaxy. It still did respectable business, but should you take the time to watch it?

What is this about?

This powerhouse biopic traces the legendary James Brown’s rocky road from humble origins to superstardom as the Godfather of Soul. The film also reveals the demons — drugs, violence and near-bankruptcy — that haunted Brown on his rise to fame.

What did I like?

Got that soul. There are certain figures in history that have been impersonated and caricatured so much that it hard to tell when someone is doing a good job acting as them. Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Michael Jackson, George W. Bush, and James Brown are a few of these people. With that in mind, I have to say Chadwick Boseman knocks it out of the park! He looks the part when in make up, brought real emotion to the role, and nailed the voice so perfectly that there were times when you couldn’t understand what he was saying. I hope he brings this type of A game acting when he becomes Black Panther. I do have one grip about Boseman, though. He seems to be getting typecast in this major African-American biopics. First 42 and now this.

Music. What would a movie about the Godfather of Soul be without the music. If you’re knowledgeable about James Brown’s catalog, then you won’t be disappointed. All the big hits are in here, except for I don’t recall hearing “Superbad”. Not only are they in here, but they are presented in a respectful way, not just a performance shoved in because they needed to play the song. Boseman and company really were getting into it, as well. What is that term some use? Ah yes, they were “feeling the funk.”

Say it with a slap. Domestic violence is no laughing matter, but I couldn’t help but chuckle at the one piece of spousal abuse that was portrayed. As Brown and his wife are outside giving a Christmas party, he notices a man checking her out. Later, they come inside and behind a wall, so the audience can’t see, he slaps her literally across the room. It is the kind of thing like you would see in a cartoon. This is anything but a die-hard serious film, as Boseman is constantly breaking the 4th wall to speak to audience after every section of his life, so it is easy to laugh at how this was portrayed, rather than dwelling on the actual slap. That is for another film.

What didn’t I like?

Continuity. I’ve been reading some reviews of this film and it seems that most people aren’t a fan of jumping around in the timeline. I guess I’ve gotten so used to it from watching Arrow where, all of a sudden, we get a flashback. That being said, it doesn’t excuse the lack of continuity. For example, there is a scene where the band is mad about not getting paid and they walk out. In the very next scene, they are back and things seem just fine. No doubt there was some sort of reconciliation, but how did it happen? Things like this occur numerous times in the picture!

Cliffnotes. Like other biopics, facts about Brown’s life have been altered to make a “more interesting movie.” I understand and (reluctantly) accept this, but I have to point out how this film is basically a cliffnotes version of Brown’s life. We don’t get to really know about his domestic abuse, save for that one scene which turned out to be comedic (I doubt it was meant to be, though), his musicianship, his activism, and drug abuse, not to mention his relationship with friends and family. All of this stuff is in the film, but some is blink and you’ll miss it, such as the drugs. Something like the activism was brought up just to get a song in and mention Martin Luther King.

Gladiator kids. I hate to bring up race, but I feel I have to with this. I did not know that in the 40s little African-American boys were blindfolded and forced to fight each other in a gladiator style match which was just short of “Mandingo fights” (you may remember those from Django Unchained). I won’t go off on some diatribe about this, but I have two points to make about this. First, there is a dark history in this country, and world for that matter. The fact that this was a practice this late in history says something about society at the time. It also says something about the society that came up with the idea. Second, this is not a heavy film, so I was perplexed as to why this scene was included, even if it does turn Dixieland into funk.

Get on Up is fitting tribute to James Brown. This biopic doesn’t dilute his legacy or make him out to be something he isn’t. However, there are certain aspects of his life that it overlooks as if this were an Afterschool special. Depending on what you thought you were getting into when you start watching this will determine if that is a positive or negative. Nelsan Ellis shows that Lafayette (True Blood) was just the start for him, as he is moving on up. Speaking of which, impressive performances, both musically and from an acting standpoint, as well as a nice sense of direction make this a film that should be on your must-see list. I very highly recommend it!

4 out of 5 stars

42

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film tells the story of Jackie Robinson and, under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey, Robinson’s signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers to become the first African-American player to break the baseball color barrier. The story focuses mostly on the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers season and somewhat on Robinson’s 1946 season with the Montreal Royals.

In 1945, Jackie Robinson and his team, the Kansas City Monarchs, stop by a gas station. When the attendant refuses Robinson entry to the washroom, Robinson says they will find another station at which to fill up the team bus, and the attendant relents. As Robinson comes out, a scout for the Dodgers approaches him and sends him to Brooklyn. He is offered a $600/month contract and $3,500 signing bonus, which Robinson accepts after being warned he must control his temper if he wants to play. Robinson proposes to his girlfriend, Rachel, by phone and she accepts.

During Dodgers spring training, Robinson makes it to the franchise farm team in Montreal. After a great season there and spring training in Panama, he advances to the Dodgers. Most of the team soon signs a petition stating they refuse to play with Robinson, but manager Leo Durocher insists Robinson will play. Durocher is then suspended (for other reasons), leaving the Dodgers without a manager.

In a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, manager Ben Chapman taunts Robinson, causing him to go back to the dugout and smash his bat to vent his anger. With encouragement from Rickey, Robinson then returns to the field and hits a single, steals second and third base, and scores the winning run. When Chapman’s behavior toward Robinson generates bad press for the team, the Phillies’ owner requires him to pose with Robinson for newspapers and magazine photos. Later, Robinson’s teammate, Pee Wee Reese, comes to understand the pressure Robinson is facing, and makes a public show of solidarity, standing with his arm around Robinson’s shoulders before a hostile crowd in Cincinnati.

Robinson’s home run against Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Fritz Ostermueller, who had earlier hit him in the head, helps clinch the National League pennant for the Dodgers, sending them to the World Series, which they would lose in seven games to the New York Yankees. A concluding postscript describes how Rickey, Robinson, and many of his teammates went on to have distinguished careers, including inductions into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The notes also describe the entrance of other African Americans into the Major Leagues, beginning with the season after Robinson’s debut.

REVIEW:

It seems like Major League Baseball is always having some kind of issue. These days steroids and other performance enhancing drugs have left the sport with a black eye. Back in the 40s and 50s, the sport had to deal with the breaking racial barrier and its resistance to do so. Jackie Robinson was the first African-American player in Major League Baseball and with 42 we get to know a little bit about the man and what he went through.

What is this about?

This biopic focuses on the relationship between baseball icon Jackie Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson and in 1947 made him the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era.

What did I like?

Breakthrough. It seems like we keep seeing the same actors over and over again, so it is nice to see someone new in such a major picture. Enter Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. With the charm, charisma, and talent he has, this guy has quite a future ahead of him. As Jackie Robinson, he was able to capture the intensity and conflict the icon was going through during this tumultuous and culture changing era.

Ray of light. Dealing with the ongoing theme of racism can cause this film to be a bit dark in more places than not. However, the young actress who played Rachel Robinson was a bright light that shined trough. Standing by her man in the good and the bad with a smile that could rival Mary Tyler Moore’s, her character is one that we get just enough of to whet our appetite and doesn’t allow her to become the stereotypical wife that does noting but bitch and moan.

On the radio. I love those old 40s radio announcers, especially with the timbre and cadence of their voices. I have to give it to John C. McGinley, he really captured the spirit of these announcers in the few scenes where he announces the games. He not only had the voice down, but the couple of time they showed the guy, he had the look, too.

What didn’t I like?

Wash. I think it is in the second or third game that we see Robinson play as a Dodger where Alan Tudyk’s character pops up out of the dugout and just starts taunting him with all sorts of racial slurs and derogatory terms. You can see this gets under his skin, and it affects his performance on the field. As powerful as this scenes was, I didn’t particularly care for it. Perhaps it was because Tudyk usually plays such lovable characters that seeing him as a racist asshole was just hard to swallow. It was just uncomfortable for me to watch.

Jackie. For some reason, it felt like this was more of a Branch Rickey, played with great gruffness by Harrison Ford, rather than Robinson. Part of this is because they just glossed over a lot of Robinson’s early history, which is forgivable since they wanted to focus on his rookie year, but it was like they gave Boseman little to do other than swing a bat and emote. With Ford’s Rickey, the film centers on his wanting to get an African-American in baseball. I believe that part of the choice to use him as a focal point is related to Ford being cast, but at the same time, this is a film about Jackie Robinson, shouldn’t be featured a bit more?

The story of Jackie Robinson is one that all baseball or just sports fans should know. 42 appears to do a great job of telling the story without getting to dragged down in some manufactured Hollywood drama. That being said, there isn’t much that I could find fault with in this film. This is one of those films that is a must-see before you die pictures, so go check it out ASAP!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars