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One of the biggest wastes of potential ever.
I am a huge fan of Superman and especially of Batman. Zack Snyder disappointed before with Man of Steel, which though not bad, was simply OK. However this time it is just bad. The film does in the beginning set up a lot of interesting movements, however during the course of the film all these movement are absolutely slaughtered.
The most interesting plot point we get from the very beginning, which is what should be the central conflict (though really it isn't), between Batman and Superman, in which Bruce Wayne seems overtaken by paranoia and becomes borderline psychotic in his perception of Superman; this is a very interesting setup as it had potential to be an interesting reflection of the fear of terrorism manifesting itself as an irrational hatred for all muslims. However, this interesting setup quickly dwiddles into nothing and becomes more about... umm.. other stuff? It really becomes about nothing which is quite disappointing with such a setup. While Affleck is very good, and a lot of the Batman sequences are well handled, the fact the he seems to be killing people left and right without anyone really caring about it, seems very off when you have him taking a moral stance against Superman. Superman on the other side is also problematic as he manages to be incredibly one dimensional, even though it seems in the that the film is about him convincing people that he is trying to help them, and yet even as a audience member, being showed that he is indeed right, I couldn't find myself caring about him as he somehow came off as unsympathetic, even compared to mass-murdering batman; it may also be do in large part to Henry Cavill taking many steps down from his performance in MoS and managing to be extremely wooden and uncharismatic.
In the end the film is really all of the place, scenes come totally out of nowhere, making you feel like you fell asleep for ten minutes and lost some of the movie. Worst of all it just feels like the setup ijustice league is really what it is about, and even those aspects aren't well done. Also, without spoiling anything, I would add that I found the last 10 minutes or so, offensively bad and time-wasting, as they try to build and emotional conclusion based on a lie that I am certain everyone in the theatre saw straight through.
Overly familiar, flawed, but tons of fun!
First of all, I will say this movie is great fun. Abrams does a great job with the action scenes and the pace is great. Rey is perhaps the greatest character in the series so far, I thought she was even better than Han Solo. Also I think Kylo Ren is a great character.
So yes, the movie is a great experience and absolutely worth seeing, but there are a lot of problems, the major one being how familiar it is. From the first scene of the film, beats and plot points feel extremely familiar to the OT. The movie tries so hard to be the originals that it never really establishes anything new. People accusing it of being a remake are not as far off as I would like to say. I was also disappointed with the character of Finn, Boyega does a great job, but his character is a bit all over the place and extremely underdeveloped. Felt almost more like comic relief than anything which is a shame as he is almost a lead character. That's all I will say, there are more flaws, but they generally involve plot points and spoilers. Still, it is great fun, go see it in Imax.
Solid, but messy.
In 2012 Sam Mendes gave us Skyfall, which instantly penetrated the list of best films in the franchise for many fans; reaching such heights again was never going to be an easy task.
With Skyfall, Mendes was channeling Christopher Nolan, giving us perhaps something akin to what Nolan would have given us if he did come on to direct (as he was rumored to be doing, several times). With Spectre, Mendes avoids the trap of retracing those steps and we can see from the first few minutes that Spectre is something completely different, stylistically. That said, while the film does not channel Nolan in any way, it does at times feel to Skyfall, what The Dark Knight Rises was to The Dark Knight. Both Skyfall and The Dark Knight are incredibly tight movies; they are focus and well-paced. Spectre, however, like the final Batman movie, feels at times like it is not quite sure what it wants to do and it wants to do a bit too much. Spectre is the culmination of what was at a point said to be a two- movie arc and while the final script will probably have been changed significantly since then, it does feel like it is a bit squeezed. There is a bit too much plotting, making a lot of it disappear in the mix.
Making matters worse it doesn't always know exactly what it wants to do. At times the movie seems to continue the gritty James Bond from Casino Royale, but then in the next it feels like an old school whimsical James Bond. Skyfall did a great job of finding the middle ground between the two, but here it usually feels like it is either or.
The movies is definitely at its best when it captures the feel of old James Bond; there are some truly preposterous action sequences that would feel right at home in a Roger Moore Bond and they are a blast to watch.
If this is the final Bond for Craig it is a interesting one to go out on. Without getting into spoilers, I will say that the ending is very interesting for a Bond film; it plays on a classic bond trope, but turns it on its head and puts it into a grander narrative. As it stands now, it does not quite work, mostly because certain characters motivations to allow the ending to happen make no sense whatsoever and so it does feel incredibly forced. Bond has never been about realism, but as the franchise now seems to want to be taken a bit more seriously as a grander narrative, it must also learn to better handle things like character motivations.
The movie can be summed up in its open one-take; it is exciting, a bit messy, ambitious and a bit over-long.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
A Wild Monstrosity of a Film!
Few action films have ever displayed such vigorous, elegant, symphonic understanding of cinema. Mad Max: Fury Road is a true celebration of cinema, it is a work of art that is unimaginable in any other medium.
If the Academy knows anything about filmmaking, they should all be writing down George Miller in their bracket for best director, for the man has showed us what it would be like if Vivaldi was alive today, making Action films rather than composing music. The reason I mention Vivaldi is because George Miller's understanding of Action Cinema reminded me several times of Vivaldi's of music; Four Seasons comes to mind especially. While surely the crew around him have done their job expertly, the film really seems like a work of a man with a vision. Every edit, every movement (of either camera, character or vehicle) appear a part of a greater symphony. Several times does the film seemingly build towards climaxes before the conductor lowers his baton, letting the audience breathe before building all up again. The pauses for breathing are few, yet all feel perfectly placed and are just far enough apart that the film is allowed to keep a pace making it seem like the Usian Bolt of film.
The action is absolutely the highlight of this movie, extraordinary, visually spectacular and quite honestly unlike anything we have seen; ever. Yet it seems Miller has also managed to hit the jackpot in his writing (though reportedly there was no proper script while shooting). The movie never tries to hide what it is; the story is simple, sometimes distant, yet it is handled in a such a way that it creates a quite strong emotional connection with the protagonists. The character of Max is interesting enough in himself, and played with an impressively subtle vulnerability by Tom Hardy, yet it with Furiosa, played by Theron (expertly so), that the story truly lies. Her quest strangely enough manages to feel relevant to society today, with the (sadly) still-relevant fight for gender-equality.
The film has by some been described as feminist and rightly so. In having both male and female character fight together against the patriarchal system, it underlines the need for both genders to take part in this struggle that our society still faces. With a noble cause being portrayed in such a sympathetic way, it is made easy to root for the heroes, thus making the already spectacular action even better, by having stakes that feel as if they matter.
Roald Dahl's Esio Trot (2015)
A Cute And Noble Failure
I caught this on television a late Saturday night, deciding to stay up longer than originally planned due to the star power of this movie. Sadly, it was a decision I quickly regretted.
The film often feels like a stage play, which in itself may not necessarily be a bad thing, but when it is inter-cut with the sequences of James Cordon narrating whilst commuting from work, it feels cheap rather than as a stylistic choice. When on the matter of James Cordon's supposedly witty narration; narration itself is a tricky thing to pull off, but for the tone of this film, it could possibly have worked if not for the choice to actually show James Cordon telling the story while walking down the street or sitting on the bus. While James Cordon is undoubtedly quite charming, and including him as a character, rather then just a narrator, does have somewhat of a pay off, it still feels like they are trying to stretch out a rather thin script by doing so. It would also help if his material was actually funny, yet instead it all falls flat, making the sidesteps to his character narrating the story feel painfully unnecessary as they fail at both being funny and cute.
As for the actual story within Cordon's meta-narration, there is undeniably some charm and cuteness to be found, though not enough. Judi Dench and Dustin Hofmann both give strong performances, though their character are one-sided.
All this would have been fine if the jokes had hit better, which they sadly don't as I only one or two times found myself chuckling. It is a shame really as the movie is cute enough to sustain a simple, predictable story and one-sided characters, yet with the humour being way off, the film falls very flat and for the most part is a bore.