Archive for Scarlett Johansson

The Jungle Book (2016)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Inspired by the animated Disney classic, this live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s beloved novel follows young Mowgli as he navigates a jungle full of wonder and peril with his animal allies Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear.

What people are saying:

“Exceptionally beautiful to behold and bolstered by a stellar vocal cast, this umpteenth film rendition of Rudyard Kipling’s tales of young Mowgli’s adventures amongst the creatures of the Indian jungle proves entirely engaging, even if it’s ultimately lacking in subtext and thematic heft” 5 stars

“It’s not like we don’t all already know this story backward and forward, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from giving this remake a chance. It’s visually beautiful, and I loved that they kept some of the music from the original animated Disney version. Neel Sethi is a perfect Mowgli and the casting of the voice actors is pretty much spot on. ” 4 stars

“By the time its evolution is complete, The Jungle Book has proven itself a minor Darwinian miracle, perhaps the oddest of all species: a movie nearly devoid of human beings, yet one bursting with humanity.” 4 1/2 stars

“Meh. While I was pretty impressed by this film on a technical and visual level, this film didn’t work nearly as well for me as it did for other people. The writing was lazy and there was no connection between the characters. Nothing was better done here than the book or even the animated one.Some will disagree with me but while Christopher Walken as King Louie was better than I thought, I still can’t get into Bill Murray as Baloo. Bill Murray is a very funny guy but I never saw a character in his performance, I just heard Bill Murray’s voice out of this bear and I found it quite distracting. Personally, I would’ve asked for a movie that had the Disney spirit but kept some of the brilliant themes and ideas from the book by Rudyard Kipling. I guess if I’ll give this 2016 version anything…….at least its not the 1994 Stephen Sommer’s version?” 2 1/2 stars

“Amazing! Where reality laves off and fantasy takes over is seamlessly executed and the movie transports you through an unforgettable journey. We watched this as established fans of Kipling, appreciating the tragedies of his life along with the magnificence of his writing; while the movie is an art form unto its own, it captures Kipling and wrings your heart as it unfolds. We watched it twice, the second time leaving no lesser impression. A film for all ages.” 5 stars

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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

Sing

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario’s attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists’ find that their lives will never be the same.

What people are saying:

Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted – albeit familiar – storyline that lives up to its title.” 3 1/2 stars

“The plot may be shopworn, with not much aimed at adults, but the film’s message that collaboration can reap greater rewards than competition is appropriate for all ages.” 5 stars

“Totally blown away. I was not expecting much, but was surprised by how well this movie was done. Animation: some of the best. Good use of lighting, shadow, fur effects. The body language and facial expressions totally fit. This could have been a mediocre movie, but you can tell they put lots of work into this film. Engrossing. Not a film you could read a newspaper while getting the gist of it, like some films. There are many movies I can like, yet never care to watch again; but, this one I could watch again. I would recommend you see this at least once.” 5 stars

“What an absolutely charming film! I was surprised to find some of the better known names who lent their voices to these characters….would never have guessed that Buster Moon was Matt McConaughey, for example – his normal Texas twang was nowhere to be found, and that was a charming surprise! But the animation was wonderful and I was totally engaged from beginning to end. Not for kids only!” 4 stars

“It’s cold outside, it’s Sunday night, we’ve got popcorn, me and my two boys are curled up on the sofa. As film nerd Dad it basically doesn’t get any better than this, and it definitely doesn’t when you’ve got a real gem of a film like this one. The songs are great, the gags are good and the story is moving with some wonderful characters. None of the actors feel like their phoning it in with the voice work, hell this is probably McConaughey’s best work since ‘True Detective’. This really is great, had both of my boys up on their feet dancing and singing along by the end and one of them is currently in a plaster cast! Had me with a huge grin on my face. Bravo, Garth Jennings.” 4 stars

Lucy

Posted in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , on January 10, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this action-thriller set in Taiwan, a young woman forced to become a drug mule for the mob develops superhuman abilities when the narcotics she’s carrying in her stomach accidentally leak into her system.

What people are saying:

“A sci-fi movie that explores the potential of the other 90% of the human brain. It does get a little overwhelming towards the end but that’s the whole point isn’t it?” 4 stars

“Lucy is a combination of science fiction – i.e. what happens if we can use all our brain’s capacity, and hot chick action hero. While I may not remember the details of the movie in a few years time, it was fun to watch for 90 minutes” 3 stars

“Lucy attempts to captivate it’s audience with a pseudo-intellectual premise, fun action, and playful-to-thoughtprovoking imagery. Unfortunately it comes up short on all fronts. The premise isn’t bad, but the whole movie focuses on it and analyzes it heavily. It would be like X-men spending an hour making mutant powers seem plausible instead of moving onto a more clever story after establishing it’s premise. The action isn’t filmed poorly, but it’s completely devoid of suspense. Also, some creative “wild” imagery starts out by adding some flare to the presentation, but that fades away and we get tedious special effects later that are not nearly as thought provoking as they want to be” 2 stars

“Mary-Sue, anyone? She’s pretty but LOOK OUT!…… she’s deadly as well! Scarlett does a decent job at the start of the movie, portraying a drug runner caught up in events beyond her control. Then, the movie turns into a feminist fantasy about being super smart and strong (without the dong). There’s no nudity, so don’t bother fast-forwarding. The CGI at the end of the movie is so common by now, I’m starting to think it’s the default animation setting when you buy the software.” 2 stars

“Nothing about this movie made any sense: – That is not how the brain works. – That is not how embryonic development works. – That is not how learning works. – The flow and plot was incoherent. – Lucy completely lacked character and became a toneless, emotionless, cold-hearted killer once she became amped up. I was almost completely unable to empathize with her. – That is not how the brain works!! Two starts because the CGI and the action were fun to look at.” 2 stars

Hail, Caesar!

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Four-time Oscar (R)-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Fargo) write and direct Hail, Caesar!, an all-star comedy set during the latter years of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum, Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix.

What people are saying:

“The Coen brothers transcend genre, from noir to thriller to dark comedy, they can nail it. But I particularly enjoy their takes on farce (especially when George Clooney is involved). This movie is not perfect, but I laughed out loud throughout, particularly when everyone embraced the silliness of the story as part of the whole point. It may not be the Coen brothers’ best ever, but it doesn’t have to be to be enjoyable.” 3 1/2 stars

“Hail, Caesar! is great fun. Lively jabs at organized religion, Hollywood and the power structure. The cast must have had a blast during filming. Anyone who is interested in Hollywood in the 50″s blacklist era should enjoy. ” 4 stars

“A silly, jumbled, yet consistently entertaining chapter in the Coen Brother’s directorial saga, “Hail, Caesar!” commends the golden age of Hollywood with a star studded cast and an eye for historical detail. ” 3 1/2 stars

“If you love montages of old films(specifically from the 50’s) -this is perfect. Between Ethel Merman and Will Rodgers, to the creation of a scene of Ten Commandments. It is funny. I agree that it can be hard to follow at times. But, putting political satire in a movie is not new. Still, the scene with the Soviet submarine is hysterical!!!” 4 stars

“Very intelligent film. The filmakers deal honestly with many subjects. If you are looking for the typical crass Coen Brothers film, this one falls short. It still is iconoclastic but the icons it looks at are those things that are worshiped by a typically disconnected 21st Century intellectual, Take a look and see which icons you would have preferred the filmmakers to have left alone.” 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

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film follows the plot of the TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, focusing on the anthropomorphic sea sponge of the same name (Tom Kenny). SpongeBob dreams about managing the Krusty Krab restaurant, which is in trouble because a customer has no cheese on his Krabby Patty, but SpongeBob saves the day. He wakes up and cheerfully prepares for the opening ceremony for the Krusty Krab 2, hoping that his boss Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) will promote him to manager of the new restaurant built next door to the original Krusty Krab. At the ceremony, SpongeBob is passed over; his co-worker, Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass), has been given the promotion because Mr. Krabs thinks he is “more mature” than SpongeBob.

Meanwhile, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), Mr. Krabs’ business rival, devises a plot to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula and frame Mr. Krabs. He steals King Neptune’s (Jeffrey Tambor) crown that night, leaving evidence that pins the crime on Mr. Krabs, and sends the crown to Shell City, a distant, mysterious land from which no fish has returned. That night, SpongeBob goes to his favorite restaurant, Goofy Goober’s; he drowns his sorrows in ice cream with his best friend, Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke), waking up the next morning with a headache. King Neptune barges into the Krusty Krab 2 the same morning and threatens to slay Mr. Krabs. Although SpongeBob criticizes Mr. Krabs shortly after he arrives, he promises Neptune that he will retrieve the crown from Shell City. Neptune freezes Mr. Krabs, still certain that he is the culprit, and tells SpongeBob to return with the crown in six days for him to spare Mr. Krabs. SpongeBob and Patrick leave for Shell City in the Patty Wagon, a car shaped like a Krabby Patty.

In Bikini Bottom, Plankton steals the Krabby Patty formula and uses it to produce and sell Krabby Patties at his restaurant, the Chum Bucket, with the claim that Krabs bequeathed him the recipe. He sends a hitman named Dennis (Alec Baldwin) to pursue SpongeBob and Patrick. Squidward discovers the truth about Plankton stealing Neptune’s crown and tries to alert Neptune. However, Plankton uses mind-controlling bucket helmets disguised as souvenirs to control Bikini Bottom’s residents, including Squidward, and renames the city Planktopolis.

Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Patrick encounter a dangerous trench, but Neptune’s daughter Mindy (Scarlett Johansson) helps them past it by making them think she can transform them into men. They are stopped by Dennis, who tries to crush them with his spiked boots, but he is in turn stepped on by a massive “cyclops” (a diver) (Neil Ross). The “cyclops” grabs SpongeBob and Patrick, and goes to his beachside store, revealed to be Shell City. At the store, SpongeBob and Patrick find the crown, but are killed in a lethal drying-out process with the heat lamp turned on. Their tears short-circuit the heat lamp; its smoke activates the sprinkler system, reviving their bodies and the other dried sea creatures to be sold as souvenirs. As the sea creatures attack the diver, SpongeBob and Patrick take the crown and head for the beach. When they lose their way home, David Hasselhoff offers them a ride; Dennis catches up to them but is knocked by a catamaran back into the sea.

Back at the Krusty Krab 2, Neptune arrives to execute Mr. Krabs. Just in time, SpongeBob and Patrick return with the crown and confront Plankton, who then drops a mind-control bucket on Neptune, enslaving him. SpongeBob performs the song “Goofy Goober Rock” (performed by Jim Wise) and, after transforming into an electric guitar-wielding wizard for the duration of the song, he frees Bikini Bottom’s residents. Plankton is arrested, and King Neptune thanks SpongeBob for his bravery and thaws Mr. Krabs, who makes SpongeBob manager of the Krusty Krab 2 in gratitude.

REVIEW:

Everybody sing with me now, “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” What? No response? Man, what a bunch of party poopers you lot are! So, it is a fairly hot Saturday afternoon and I’m stuck inside babysitting with a broken air conditioner. What better movie to put on than The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, right?

What is this about?

SpongeBob and Patrick are shocked when Mr. Krabs is accused of stealing King Neptune’s crown, and they set out on a wild adventure to prove their friend’s innocence by finding and retrieving the priceless treasure themselves.

What did I like?

Continuity. When shows jump to the big screen, especially while they are still on the air, there is usually a disconnect in continuity. Take South Park, for instance. If I recall, after their movie, it was a year or two before they acknowledged those events. With this, though, I felt like I was watching just an extended episode of the cartoon…with a bigger budget.

Plotholes. I remember back in the days of MySpace, I wrote on a blog post about how we aren’t sure what age SpongeBob is. He has is own house and all that, but he is very juvenile and his job isn’t exactly something one would want later in life. The acknowledgement that he is a kid, finally set my mind at ease about his age. Based on this film, I’d say he’s about 16 or so.

Appeal. There should be no doubt that this is a film marketed towards younger kids, much like the cartoon, but there are some things that will appeal to older viewers. For instance, Patrick calls Princess Mindy hot. Totally out of character for him, which may have been the reason I found humor in it. The preserved fish come to life and attack the “Cyclops” diver was also pretty nifty. There are plenty of scenes that will appeal to a broad audience, so kudos to the filmmakers for having the wherewithal to not dumb this down for just their core audience.

What didn’t I like?

The Hoff. I have no problem with David Hasselhoff. As a matter of fact, I grew up with him on Knight Rider. I’d also say Baywatch, but let’s face it, nobody was watching that show for him. My issue with him in this film is the weird physics that were employed. At one point he stopped in the middle of the ocean and floated there like a boat. How in the bloody blue blazes is that possible? Don’t even get my started on the pectoral launch…that was just weird!

Plan Z. As the series’ antagonist, one would expect Plankton to have some kind of role in the film, perhaps doing the same thing he always does, try to take over the world and steal the Krabby Patty formula. Here’s the thing, though…why is it that Plan Z was so effective, but every other plan he’s had has been a complete and utter flop? I can’t think of a plan of his that came anywhere near actually working!  Sure, the stakes are raised, if you will, for the big screen, but come on, this was just too competent for him!

Pirates. Every now and then on the show, Patchy the Pirate will show up. Ok, I still don’t get what he has to do with anything, but I don’t hate those short segments. He’s not in this as far as I can tell, but there are a mess load of other pirates that apparently love SpongeBob. Surely, there had to be a more effective use for them than sitting in a theater watching the movie, right?

Final verdict on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie? Well, chances are you aren’t going to just randomly choose to watch this unless you are/were a fan or have seen a few episodes. With that being said, you’ll know what to expect. There isn’t anything new or surprising with this film other than the voice of Scarlett Johnasson. So, if you like the cartoon, you’ll like the movie. For me it wasn’t anything special, other than that.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars