Reviews written by registered user
sarastro7

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514 reviews in total 
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"Inhumans" (2017)
29 out of 49 people found the following review useful:
Disagree with everyone, 2 September 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are currently nine user reviews here, all of which give the pilot show a rating of between 1 and 4 stars. I utterly disagree with every one of them. They are all just trying to appear cool and fashionable by playing into the negative buzz and negative expectations that have surrounded the show before its premiere.

It's not a masterful show; there are elements that appear clearly low-budget, but it's nowhere near bad enough to warrant a ridiculously low rating. It's a solid 7, and worth following. It respects the original Inhumans comics very much indeed, and it's great to see such faithful interpretations of those characters (but of course only an actual fan and reader of the comics will properly appreciate this). It's also beautifully shot on Hawaii, with lots of nods to the indigenous populace.

The story is a bit over-simple in its structure (although it does feature some admirable world-building), and the double-episode (which seemed more like 75 minutes than 90) doesn't have any closure of its own by the end. But I really enjoyed the (sort of) mute Black Bolt; the actor does a great job of playing him. Medusa's prehensile hair does seem like it was very hard to get right on this budget, which is probably why they cut it off rather too quickly. I guess prehensile hair is still a very difficult thing to make good-looking, even in this day and age. At least they tried. And it will of course be growing back.

Looking back on this show I actually find that the image I remember most vividly is the close-cropped Medusa; a striking short-haired female in a striking purple outfit in lush, green surroundings. That made an impression. Which is good.

In short, I enjoyed this show and as a superhero fan I consider it unmissable and must-see! Even if it obviously doesn't have the productions values that "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." has. But, if it is successful, it will get more funding in time.

13 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Clearly the least impressive of the MCU movies so far, 26 April 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a huge Marvel fan and comics collector, and I basically love every single MCU movie. All of them have been rated at least 8 stars out of 10 by me (except "The Incredible Hulk", which was a 7 - and so was "Captain America: Civil War", which I had a number of problems with). The first GOTG movie was a visual feast, but it did have a weakness: the story wasn't strong. However, what it lacked in story it made up for in world-building, action and sheer visual spectacle and splendor.

GOTGv2 sadly could not live up to the first movie, and at 6 stars it is, for me, the worst MCU movie yet. The main problem with it was its story: it barely had any. They meet Ego, he turns out to be a bad guy, and they fight him. That's the story. No particular nuances, no significant subplots, nothing much that made any kind of sense. It was this really thin story, and the rest of the movie was held together by gags (of very varying quality), clichés and no tape. Sure, there was a string of brief fan service moments, but that's not enough to make a movie good.

In this movie I wanted to see more characters. I expected a crammed movie, but there were about *one* new character: Mantis, and she had very little to do. They spent too much time on Yondu, for the wrong reasons (not because the story demanded it, but because Rooker is such a respected actor), far too much time on his deadly arrow which got way over-used here (it should have been saved for a really important moment), and although the sibling rivalry between Gamora and Nebula was my favorite part of the movie, Gamora generally had a very tiny role and was almost reduced to a mere love interest.

We didn't land on any interesting planets (besides Ego), and the universe was not expanded. Ego says he came into existence alone, but also says he is a Celestial. Sadly, we are not told what Celestials are and how he can be one of them and be a unique and lonely being at the same time. The golden people from The Sovereign were a bunch of one-track a-holes. Why would they want to kill the GOTG when they've just saved the galaxy (them included) from Ego? No, most of what was in this movie just made no sense at all. Such a shame. I also dislike much of the humor, because it is too vulgar. James Gunn clearly has the gutter-mind of a 9-year-old (and yeah, this was also a problem in the first movie. Joss Whedon has some of the blame, as he encouraged Gunn to put more of his own humorous taste in the movies).

So, only 6 stars out of 10. Lots of things to look at, and several funny and touching moments. But, this is the tongue-in-cheek village idiot of the MCU, and I really wish it were more serious. In this sequel we basically just get more low-brow jokes, more guffaws from Drax, more distinctly unheroic sadism from Rocket, etc. We get more of what was popular in the first movie, but less of what actually worked.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Imperfect - though not as bad as some say, 26 March 2017
7/10

Somehow, it's not this show's own fault that it isn't as good as it should be. During the pre-production phase, script problems were reported, and it's hard to conclude anything but that this is exactly what we see in the finished product. When I saw the show for the first time, I liked it quite well. I thought (and still do) that many aspects of it worked all right - but on further analysis I had to admit that it has significant problems. So what exactly is wrong?

Yes, there are problems with the action scenes. They are just not very good, neither in the choreography nor the directing. One wonders why this is not on par with the action scenes in "Daredevil". Did they have a lower budget for "Iron Fist"; did they get somebody comparatively incompetent to do the action work? What the heck happened? I can't rightly say, except of course to grant that Finn Jones just is not much of a martial artist - he was picked for looks and GoT fame, and not for the kind of capabilities this role requires.

I believe I can identify a greater reason why this show does not excel, however. The primary problem with it is that it is done in the same realistic and somewhat gritty style as the previous three Marvel-Netflix shows, and this is quite simply a style that doesn't fit the concept of Iron Fist AT ALL! Iron Fist is a kung fu hero, whose adventures should be pulpy and stylized with color and spectacle and outrageous feats of martial arts - and we don't get any of that here. So the big fail is that the producers decided to continue the show in the same style and atmosphere and the other shows. In other words, the other shows and the overall vision for all these shows is what is to blame for the shortcoming of "Iron Fist". The saga of Danny Rand simply cannot work under these restraints. And what a pity that is!

Having said this, I still think there are cool things about this show. Colleen Wing is great. Tom Pelphrey is a hell of an actor. Madame Gao is cool. But I have to admit that I can't think of that much more to praise the show for. Except that I did and do find it fairly entertaining.

One way they could have made it better was by following the comics more. In the comics, Iron Fist mucks about on the city streets for sixteen or seventeen issues after having left K'un Lun, before he is approached by Jeryn Hogarth about claiming his part of the big corporation that he is heir to. In the show he goes to the big office building as the very first thing he does, and then the whole season is basically spent on this problem of getting back into the company, which is just not all that interesting.

A shame they couldn't make the show work, but I blame the other shows a great deal. They shouldn't have kept "Iron Fist" in the same style as the others. Anyway, if there is a season 2, I hope they are smart enough to make some major changes. Not really holding my breath, though.

Oasis (2017) (TV)
14 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Nah. Seen so many times before., 20 March 2017
6/10

Of course, this is only the pilot, and I could be wrong. There could be true originality here. But the pilot certainly suggests no such thing. A desert planet? Like in "Screamers", like in "Dune", like in "Riddick", like Tatooine/Jakku? And what's much worse: monsters of the Id? Really? Again? This is one of the single most often-used tropes in sci-fi, from "Forbidden Planet" and "Journey to the Seventh Planet" to "Solaris" and its various knock-offs ("The Sphere"; "Event Horizon"). Some alien intelligence that's messing with our minds. Saves the writer from actually telling a clear story. Nah, no thanks. No offense to the actors, who're doing a good job, but the story... the story just needs to be more. More original, more interesting, more new. This is just more of the same-old, same-old. I am profoundly unimpressed.

I hope I'm wrong, and that the story (if picked up) evolves in novel and unexpected directions.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Utterly uninspired; turns beauty to ugliness, 12 February 2017
4/10

Although it's quite ridiculous to rate it a "1", I have to say I largely agree with the previous reviewer. The spirit of Shakespeare's poetry and beauty is completely absent in this sliced-up and cut-down version, which seems to have had no other ambition than to appeal to Game of Thrones fans. The producers are clearly all big fans of graphic throat-cutting, almost to the point of fetishization. There are good scenes here and there, but by the standard that a good adaptation should be a good representation of Shakespeare's story and poetry, this version falls almost as short as it possibly can. There is little love of Shakespeare on display here. This is one of the worst Shakespeare adaptations ever made (and this comes from someone who collects them, and owns virtually every adaptation of a Shakespeare play ever released on disk), despite some of the actors being good (the guy who plays Henry VI, for one). I habitually re-watch my Shakespeare DVDs, but this is one I don't anticipate ever having any desire to see again.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
That's it, I'm done, 12 February 2017
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Green Arrow - in the comics - is one of my all-time favorite characters. One of the most classic and character-defining stories was the one where he accidentally shoots a crook, and is so shocked and regretful that he enters a monastery for a good long time to atone for it.

This show has now become the absolute anti-thesis to everything that is admirable about the character in the comics. The TV Oliver Queen is now a mass-murderer who just kills people left and right, is not above torturing them, and his co-workers are just as far out. This is ridiculous. They are total and complete anti-heroes. This show has eradicated everything remotely heroic about these characters. It's complete and utter trash and this was the last episode I'm watching of this show.

1 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
Well! THAT was really terrible., 8 December 2016
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love superheroes, but this show has never been above average. There are cool things about it, and yet the plots and developments and storytelling style keep disappointing again and again. This episode we have YET ANOTHER soap opera sequence about people getting furious about secrets that were kept from them for their own protection. This is in practically every episode of every CW show and it is so transparent; such incredibly poor writing. Could we just ONCE, please, have someone react the opposite way, as in "Wow, you only did it to protect me! That means you really love me!" I guess not.

This biggest problem with this show is that it tries to be a Batman show. In the classic comics, Oliver Queen (like most proper superheroes) would never kill anyone. The one time he did it by accident, he was so appalled that he entered a monastery for years to deal with it. In this show, Oliver is just a simple multi-murderer, and in this episode we once again see why that is such an idiotic idea. And on top of getting a lot of innocent people killed, he goes to his reporter friend for comfort sex on the very same night because he feels so sorry for himself. That is COMPLETELY inappropriate. When you're trying to come to terms with being responsible for people having died, you don't seek out pleasure. You wallow in the bad stuff you've done. Otherwise you wouldn't be a decent human being. Which Oliver clearly isn't. It's getting disgusting.

I have more complaints, but these will do for now. It's just so appalling to me to see people gushing over this show with 10-star reviews. Jesus H. Christ, guys. What are you, twelve?

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Worst episode of the entire show, 2 November 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love this show. I love Supergirl/Kara/Melissa and the whole feel of the show. I rate most episodes 9 stars out of 10, and it's competing with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. about being the single best superhero show out there. The first three episodes of season 2 have surprised me by being as strong as the excellent season 1 despite moving to a network that produces far soapier and sappier shows than ABC, and I sure hope the show-runners can keep it up.

Sadly, episode 4 was substandard to me. This whole alien fight club thing just makes absolutely zero sense. Maybe they just used it because there is something like it in the comics, but it doesn't work in the world of the TV show. Why exactly would the super-powered aliens be fighting gladiatorial battles for the entertainment of humans? Why wouldn't the aliens at least be organizing it themselves? The episode offers no convincing explanations.

Megan's true nature was predictable from the moment she explained about her origin - how stupid does Hank have to be to not see that? The show seems to be entering the dreaded soapy territory of the CW network, as also witnessed by the interrupted romantic tension between Alex and Maggie. Would it kill CW to have just one proper process of courtship and dating without having to introduce annoying emotional anxiety that will be prolonged for however long? Stay the hell away from formulaic storytelling in this show, dammit!

The rest of the episode was okay. Mon-El and Win had a fun time and Kara is starting to set aside her cultural prejudice about Daxamites. Now all we need to know is whether Mon-El is a regular guy (and an obvious love interest for Kara now that they flushed the other love interest out of her life) or has some kind of villainous hidden agenda...

7 stars out of 10 this time. I pray it's back to 8 or 9 next time! I hope the show stays strong.

9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
I don't like it, 24 May 2016
5/10

From the POV of a Shakespeare purist like myself, this version of Henry VI was profoundly unsatisfying. They have cut out so much material that it would be better if they hadn't made this at all. For one thing, they have cut out most of Joan la Pucelle, but inserted a highly distasteful graphic depiction of her being burned. What is this, Luc Besson's "The Messenger"?

The BBC Collection version of these plays perform them in a humorous way that the text perfectly supports. But here we get only stark, cynical realism. Shakespeare's work and words are the pinnacle of wonder; of poetry. "The Hollow Crown" is devoid of any wonder or poetry. Why use Shakespeare when the producers clearly want something completely different? This is a deconstruction of Shakespeare, and it is, in short, awful. What a waste of great poetry, great actors and budget money. Is it done in the name of accessibility? Do they think that this will make Shakespeare more palatable to ordinary people? Well, if they are right, I despair on behalf of the ordinary people.

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Could have been great, but ruined by botched ending, 19 May 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Huge fan of the comics here. As X-Men: Apocalypse began, the opening scenes instantly took my breath away. DAMN good!! Apocalypse's subsequent awakening (due to the meddling of Moira MacTaggart!) and search for his four horsemen were also pretty great. I loved seeing Scott Summers and Jean Grey. All the great stuff with Magneto was also nearly perfect. The movie builds up to its climax for a long time, and it's all good (though not quite perfect) - but once the climactic events begin in the second half of the movie, it all goes off track. First Apocalypse sends all the world's nuclear weapons into space - a cool sequence... but, we think he is going to use them; use the raw power they comprise. Instead he just throws them into space, so humanity can't use them. Even though he clearly wants to destroy most of the world. Doesn't make sense; it deflates the inflated audience expectations. Next, in the true climactic fight, nobody's motivations are addressed in the least. Magneto changes his mind, and soon after some of the horsemen do, too, but we don't hear why! We hear no reasoning of any kind! It's a fight in which the good guys practically only win the day because most of the bad guys decide to switch sides for no adequately explained reason! It's as if the movie just suspended its storytelling, gave up on all characterization and just relied on nothing but visual spectacle to wow the audience and carry the climax.

Sadly, it doesn't work. Another of the main things that doesn't work is when Jean Grey "phoenixes out". The flame bird looks great and all, but the whole point of that character is that she is transformed by the change - and she wasn't! Not in any way at all! This was really annoying! I was so excited about what she would become now; whether she would break out as Dark Phoenix or at least just Phoenix, but nothing at all happened except amping up her power level. There was no effect on her character. That is almost as disappointing to me as the last time they botched the Phoenix story, namely in X-Men: The Last Stand, where they just had her standing around and doing nothing. WTF?!

X-Men: Apocalypse had too many characters. Storm and Psylocke in particular got hardly any real development; we didn't hear their motivations and except for Storm at the very end, they didn't get a chance to be heroes. Mystique also had very little to do in this movie. She brought news of Magneto's change, and she brought Nightcrawler with her, but she didn't have much else of consequence to do. Her power level was too low to influence the final battle. They should have done more with her, and shown us what connection she had with Stryker, as per the end scene of the previous movie. A lot of the problems with this movie seem to be caused by having had to make it in a damn hurry. They should have waited a year and spent the time working out a better story.

Still and all, with all the action and cool characters, this is still a damn good-looking and entertaining superhero movie. I still rate it an 8 out of 10, even though it's best in the beginning and just gets weaker from then on. A good thing I haven't mentioned yet is the music. I really thought the music worked very, very well in this movie.

X-Men: First Class (2011) was an astonishingly great movie; 10 out of 10. Days of Future Past (2014) was also fantastic; so many great details and a very cool and complex story: 9 out of 10 stars! Sadly, X-Men: Apocalypse is yet another step down from that level; it's a furious chase movie with a weak plot and villains whose motivations aren't explored in any detail, and some of whom (Magneto!) changes allegiance for no apparent reason. Such a shame! I really expected better from Simon Kinberg after the extraordinarily well-made two previous X-Men movies.


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