Spider-Man Isn\’t Quite Amazing, but At Least He\’s Home


Spider-Man: Homecoming is the second reboot in five years of the character, and features Tom Holland reprising his role as the titular hero from last year’s Captain America: Civil War. This time we skip over all the origin stories and Uncle Ben’s death and get right into Peter Parker trying to be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, until a new supervillain named Vulture (Michael Keaton) threatens New York City with dangerous weapons. Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. also star as Jon Watts directs.

I love the character of Spider-Man. He’s no Batman (duh) but when done right there is something about a sarcastic teenager in red, white and blue spandex that is just impossible not to find enjoyable. Sam Raimi’s first film back in 2002 redefined the modern superhero genre (and literally changed the start date of the summer movie season from Memorial Day to first weekend of May) and Spider-Man 2 is universally accepted as one of-if not the-greatest superhero films of all-time. The third film then had a mixed response while the Andrew Garfield reboot series (if you want to call two films no one liked a “series”) were a colossal misfire that resulted in Sony negotiating a deal to give the character back to Marvel, and it will be interesting to see how history remembers those two outings. But enough Spidey history, let’s get talking about this latest rendition.

Just like in Civil War Tom Holland shines here. He is just so darn charming, innocent and likable, and that’s just as Peter Parker. His Spider-Man has all the quips that Garfield’s was missing (saying “wait a minute, you guys aren’t the real Avengers!” to a group of bank robbers in Halloween masks) and he is just so much fun and it is clear that Holland himself is having a blast in the role of a lifetime.

The supporting cast are all great, too, with Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as Tony Stark aka Iron Man, acting both as a bridge for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this reboot series as well as Peter’s father figure since we don’t get an Uncle Ben this time around. Downey isn’t in the film all too much (every scene he has is in the trailer) but he is as sarcastic and witty as one may hope. Marisa Tomei has some genuine moments as Aunt May, and chooses to make this version of the character a little more nerdy and “try hard” (and clearly younger) than Rosemary Harris’ elderly, always worried take.

Michael Keaton is arguably one of the better villains that the MCU has seen, although that bar isn’t set too high. A blue-collar worker screwed over by a rigged system, Keaton doesn’t want world domination he just wants to make money while getting back at the elites. He gets some scenery to chew and has one genuinely tension-filled scene but overall he feels slightly underused, but it was still great to see him in a villain role, and continuing his mini-career renaissance of his.

There really isn’t too much action here to speak of, a lot of the film focuses on Peter trying to balance high school and being Spider-Man, and he isn’t always punching men in big flying monster suits; more often than not he’s stopping bike thieves and helping give old ladies directions. When the action does hit it is as clean and fun as any film with a $175 million budget and the Marvel brand slapped on it can expect to be, and is all the more impressive coming from a director who had only made small indie dramas (see Watts’ Cop Car if you haven’t).

What holds this back from the levels of Raimi’s first two films is a bit of a sloppy narrative here and there. The film isn’t always focused on Vulture and his plan, it just cuts back to him every now and again for a while to remind you that eventually we’re going to get to a big confrontation with him and Spider-Man. There were six screenwriters on this and it’s clear, sometimes the balance between big-budget superhero blockbluster and coming-of-age comedy are seamless, other times they’re jarring.

The film’s trailers also ruin *a lot* so if you have managed to avoid seeing the four of them up to this point, try to keep it that way. Scenes will be going on and suddenly you’ll realize you know exactly how things are going to play out because the trailers all spoil it.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a welcome return to form for the titular character and a nice little side-entry into the MCU. When I saw Spider-Man 2 in theaters as a 10 year old it was the first time I was ever truly left speechless by a film’s greatness; and although Homecoming isn’t perfect, it does bring me joy knowing that today’s kids finally have a Spider-Man worthy of being looked up to and enjoyed, because leaving them with Andrew Garfield’s would have been a travesty.

Wonder Woman is Great Until It\’s Not


All it took for the DC Extended Universe to get on track was pairing a director who hasn’t made a film in 14 years with a female character who has never had her own movie.

Wonder Woman is the fourth installment of the DCEU, and follows Amazonian goddess Diana Prince as she accompanies an American pilot in World War I Europe on a mission to stop the launch of a deadly German biochemical weapon. Gal Gadot stars as the titular character with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston and David Thewlis in supporting roles. Patty Jenkins directs.

The DCEU desperately needed this film to be critical success. Following mixed responses to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, the film many thought would save the series, turned out to be the biggest dumpster fire of them all. So if Wonder Woman turned out to be bad like its predecessors, all hope for the franchise would be lost and no one would care about Justice League in November. Well thankfully for Warner Bros. and audiences, Wonder Woman is far from a failure, thanks to some fun action and performances, even if its climax is a letdown.

Whether you liked Batman v Superman or not, everyone agreed Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot each stole the show. And Gadot again shines here, giving us a character with heart who views the world with the innocent eyes of that of a child. Not only because she is a fish out of water, going from her secluded exotic homeland to 1915 London, but because she insists on seeing the good in humanity, despite the fact that they are killing themselves by the millions. She is beautiful yet fierce, kind yet physical; it’s an overall great performance and places Gadot as the building block for the DCEU.

Chris Pine is also great as Steve Trevor, a pilot who crash lands on Wonder Woman’s previously uncharted island. Pine has some great comedic moments and his natural charm that has been shown in non-Star Trek films like Horrible Bosses 2 and Hell or High Water bleeds through.

The action is nicely shot, with Jenkins and cinematographer Matthew Jensen not cutting too often and making sure the audience can actually tell what is happening on screen. Numerous times I had a smile creep onto my face when Wonder Woman kicks a bad guy through a wall or spin kicks a German, and the sequences are accompanied by a great musical score by Rupert Gregson-Williams.

Everything was going great. I was having a blast and even the slower character-building scenes were engaging because of the incredible period piece set design and fun performances. Then the climax happened. Not since The Wolverine has a film betrayed everything it stood for so much.

Most of Wonder Woman is a boots-on-the-ground, relatively “realistic” superhero film, in the sense that it is her in trench warfare with her shield or punching guys in a room. However the climax of this film goes from that to CGI destruction at such a breakneck pace that it left my jaw on the floor, and not in a good way. Suddenly it was god against god, with lightning bolts and fireballs being hurled in a desolated wasteland and it gets boring real quick. It is the same problem that plagued literally all three other DC films, and if Justice League follows suit (which its trailer implies it will), then I will just give up on this franchise ever knowing how to properly conclude their films.

I feel ambivalent right now because I truly loved the first two hours of Wonder Woman; I was legitimately sitting in my chair thinking that it was one of the better superhero films we’ve gotten in recent years; but the finale really did leave a bad taste in my mouth. Instead of being excited to run out and tell people to see this, I have to attach a big asterisk next to my recommendation that reads “but the finale hurts it a lot.”

Here is the bottom line: you should see Wonder Woman, because Gadot and Pine are great, the action is fun and it makes me excited for the future of the DCEU, but try your hardest not to fall in love with the film because the ending with break your heart.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Tracking at $150M+ Opening


The Fate of the Furious may be coming out this weekend, but summer movie season doesn’t officially kick off until May 5 with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And the initial box office predictions have arrived.

The film is tracking to open at $150 million, over $50 million more than the original’s $94 million debut in August 2014. It will be one of the biggest Marvel openings ever, trailing only their other May openings (Avengers, Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3 and Civil War). That being said, I wouldn’t be shocked if this can climb into the $170 million range and challenge IM3 or Civil War’s place on the ladder.

Pre-sale tickets have been on sale since March 24 and the film premieres in LA on April 19, with international releases starting a week later.

Are you looking forward to everyone’s favorite group of intergalactic a-holes? Let us know.

Zack Snyder Mocks Justice League Runtime Rumors


There have been a lot of stories floating around the internet about Justice League since its trailer dropped last week, with the most recent being that the film will run (an exhausting) 170 minutes. For reference, Batman v Superman was 151 minutes and Suicide Squad just 123 (even if it felt like an eternity). It would make sense that given it being the joining some of the world’s greatest heroes would take a while, plus no one has ever accused Zack Snyder of having tight, to-the-point narratives.

But speaking over everyone’s favorite tattoo’d director, he and DC producer Jon Berg shared sarcastic jabs at the 170 minute rumors, which originated on IMDb, and you can check out the exchange below. Surely there will be lots of rumors and gossip between now and November, but it’s important to take them in stride and not read into them too much, just as our Lord and Savior Zack shows us below.

Ghost in the Shell review


Ghost in the Shell is based on the Japanese manga of the same name and takes place in a future where the line between humans and robots is becoming blurred. After a vehicle crash victim’s brain is placed in a cyborg’s body to become the perfect killing machine, she begins to question her past and purpose for existing. Johansson stars alongside Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche as Rupert Sanders directs.

In case you haven’t seen the 2014 film Lucy, I’m going to spoil it in this paragraph but that film is so awful that if you haven’t seen it by now you clearly don’t care, nor should you. That film is all about the human brain and what it’s truly capable of, and ends with Johansson accessing 100% of her mind and literally turning into a flash drive. This film starts with her getting her consciousness placed in a robotic body, so it really could (jokingly) be taken as a follow-up to “Lucy.” And that would also make sense because just like Lucy, Ghost in the Shell is a convoluted mess that is way less smart than it thinks it is, and features a charismatic-less Johansson again making a poor career choice.

I was intrigued by the trailers to this film. It looked visually striking and seemed to be asking a few interesting questions about humanity and the impact technology has on us. Some people complained that casting Johansson in the lead role meant for an Asian actress was whitewashing, but that’s the reality of the Hollywood system and what it takes to get/make money. But that’s another story for another day.

There is a lot wrong with the film but let’s start with the plot. I’m sure when the original work was published in 1989 the idea of humans getting cybernetic limbs and other enhancements was groundbreaking and even far-fetched but nowadays it seems right around the corner. And the script doesn’t try and do anything new with the “humans merging with robots” storyline that we have seen dozens of times. Even the whole selling point of the film, “what makes us human” and “do we have souls,” is an undercooked thought. Johannson runs around the entire time trying to find one person for reasons we don’t really know, and gives half-baked existential lines along the way. We don’t know who character are or why they’re doing what they’re doing, and we don’t care.

The pacing of the film is also off. While the first hour is admittedly fast enough, the remaining 45 minutes drag along before the film suddenly ends. I had no idea that I was watching the climax of the film, the big showdown between our hero and the bad guy, until after it was over and everything feels so anticlimactic I almost felt like laughing. The film doesn’t bother to really answer any of the big questions it poses but, again, you don’t care.

The visuals of the film are cool-looking enough in a vast futuristic Tokyo-esque city. Giant hologram advertisements and neon signs draw our eyes to the skyline, and the choreography of the fighting sequences is well done. I\’ve talked to a friend who read the manga and he said there are many shots in the film that are ripped right off the page perfectly, so fans of the franchise should enjoy that. Much like his other film “Snow White and the Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders knows how to make a scene look good; it just seems how to craft an engaging narrative seems to again escape his grasp.

Ghost in the Shell is one of those bad movies that isn’t totally terrible; you just don’t care about anything you’re watching. Johansson seems either bored or miscast in the lead role, and the visuals can’t fully distract you from the convoluted plot and undeveloped characters you’re given. There are better sci-fi films out there and with movie ticket prices continuing to climb, there is no reason you should make this one of the times you go out and buy one.

Power Rangers review


Power Rangers is a reboot of the famed 90s series of the same name, and features the colorful superhero team discovering their powers and teaming up to take on the evil witch, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Bryan Cranston stars as the team’s alien leader as Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin star as the Rangers. Dean Israelite directs.

Growing up I wasn’t big into the Power Rangers but my cousins were obsessed with them so I caught some episodes here and there. There’s been talk of a series reboot for years, with this rendition finally getting the greenlight in 2014. When the trailer came out I was a little skeptical, as it featured a seemingly out-of-place Kanye West song, conflicting tones and looked like Chronicle, Fantastic Four and Transformers had a love child. The finished product is a little bit like the trailers, because its tone is all over the place and the film never really separates itself from other blockbuster films, but it’s a pretty fun ride that does a decent job paying homage to the source material.

All five “kids” who portray the Power Rangers (they’re all 20-somethings playing high schoolers) do a great job and have solid chemistry together. The standouts are Naomi Scott and RJ Cyler, who portray the Pink and Blue Rangers, respectively.  Scott is the pretty and misunderstood girl with a secret she wants to keep buried and just like the original Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson, I’m sure Scott is destined to become every boy’s crush from the series. Cyler’s Billy Cranston is autistic, marking the first superhero on the spectrum (if you don’t count Ben Affleck from The Accountant). Cyler has some great moments of awkward humor and provides the film with its greatest emotional scenes, too. The rest of the Rangers do a good job for what they have to, although Becky G and Ludi Lin (Yellow and Black) both feel like underdeveloped afterthoughts compared to the other three.

The film takes a lot of time training the Rangers and not having them actually in their colored spandex, and while this was a flaw in the painfully boring “Fantastic Four,” here it (usually) isn’t that bad. The group has some witty and organic banter and the training montages are entertaining enough, thanks in large part to the Bill Hader-voiced robot, Alpha-5. Bryan Cranston also adds gravitas as the leader of the Rangers, although he is a motion-captured face on the wall and surely did this for a relatively easy paycheck.

Which brings us to Elizabeth Banks as the film’s villain, Rita Repulsa (the name alone can’t be taken seriously). Banks is hamming it up so much, and giving such a scene-chewing, campy performance that every scene she is in comes across as awkward. Some may be willing and able to enjoy her intentionally bad performance, but when the rest of the film is going for a relatively grounded and somewhat dark and moody take on the Rangers, having her be a cartoon just doesn’t work. It’s also worth noting that every scene Rita is in is played out like a horror film (also tonally conflicting) and there were kids in my theater who were vocally telling their parents they were scared, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to entertain your children with this one.

The film also drags in some points and where they chose to implement the trademark “go go, Power Rangers!” song is very out-of-place (catching onto the trend?).

Power Rangers could’ve been a trainwreck but it manages to be better than a lot of TV-to-movie adaptions, even if it doesn’t break any new ground. Fans of the original series and average moviegoers alike should be entertained, and I’d say there’s enough fun here to be worth you to go go to a theater and check it out.

Logan review


Logan marks the ninth and final time of Hugh Jackman playing everyone’s favorite clawed X-Man, and this time he must escort Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and a young mutant (Dafne Keen) from Mexico to the Canadian border. Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook and Stephen Merchant also star as James Mangold returns to direct.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jackman’s first solo outing as the character in 2009, was botched on almost every front (except for his performance) and is often cited as one of the worst superhero films ever made. His second attempt in 2013, The Wolverine, faired a better, with the Japanese and samurai mythos really carrying the film until it betrayed its tone with a cartoony climax. This time around, thanks to the success of R-rated Deadpool last February, Jackman got his R-rated swansong; and it\’s a mixed bag.

On a technical level, there isn’t much wrong with Logan. It looks good, with settings ranging from dusty, sun-soaked Texas to lush, green North Dakota, and for the most part the action is captured well by cinematographer John Mathieson. Mangold and company take advantage of the R rating and don’t shy away from Logan eviscerating henchmen left and right. There are some points where the action does get extra-bloody and they overcompensate, like showing a man get decapitated and having his bloody head roll around. It’s almost as if to make up for the past 17 years of us having to use our imaginations as to what happens when a man with claws impales a human.

Jackman portrays Logan at his most broken-down and vulnerable we’ve ever seen him, although at some points it is hard to see where Jackman’s take on the character ends and his own exhaustion of the role begins. No one is questioning his dedication to the character that he will forever be synonymous with, however there are times throughout the film it appears he is simply going through the motions, which may not even entirely be his fault, as stepping to the same shoes for almost two decades may make putting on that façade second nature.

The film’s best moments are the quiet interactions between characters when they’re simply in a room talking, acting like people. It’s a sense of reality and relatability you don’t get during the onslaught action scenes. There are some attempts at humor, and a lot of them do hit thanks to Patrick Stewart’s dry British wit, Jackman’s growling delivery or newcomer Dafne Keen’s nuanced actions.

Which brings me to my biggest gripe about Logan and that is its tone and delivery of its story. I have no problem with films trying to reinvent the wheel of their respective genre, so that Logan wants to be a gritty, grim and realistic take on one of the more tortured souls of the comic book world is fine with me. However the pacing of the story is equally as bleak, with after a while the action all too often not coming across as fun and more so as numbing and about halfway though, Logan hits a wall and starts to huff and puff toward the conclusion of its two and a half hour runtime.

Logan is made with the best intentions and diehard fans of the character and comics will find more to love in here than the casual filmgoer, but otherwise the film is somewhat of a letdown, for me at least. If this truly is Hugh Jackman’s final bow as the character of Wolverine then he deserved better, but just as the film strives to tell us: no matter how dark and unsatisfying the world is, you just have to keep on grinding along.

Kong: Skull Island review


Kong: Skull Island is a reboot of the character and the second installment of Legendary’s “MonsterVerse” following 2014’s Godzilla. Instead of being set in the 1920s and featuring Kong going on a New York City rampage, this time we are in the final days of the Vietnam War, and a group of scientists and soldiers travel to a mysterious island where they find a certain giant monkey. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson and John C. Reilly and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

When the trailers for this came out I was intrigued, but like many people I was a bit skeptical because the tone seemed to be all over the place and a lot of the humor looked forced and out-of-place. But don’t worry, because after actually seeing the film I can tell you with full confidence: it’s much worse than anything we could have imagined.

Hollywood has been doing this trend lately where they give the reigns of a $150 million blockbuster franchise to an indie director and see what the results are. Overall the track record is pretty good, with Gareth Edwards going from Monsters to Godzilla and Colin Trevorrow making the transition from Safety Not Guaranteed to Jurassic World with good critical and financial results (ironically both men also then went on to be attached to Star Wars projects). Here it is clear that Jordan Vogt-Roberts is new to the big budget game, because he plays everything incredibly safe and extremely conventional.

If ever there was a blockbuster that was the definition of “studio picture” it’s this. Everything feels been there/done that, and even the scenes where Kong is Gronk-spiking helicopters manage to feel lifeless and almost completely devoid of joy. Slow-mo is overused to the point of eye-rolling and Vogt-Roberts doesn’t seem to give any character direction to his actors.

No one here seems like they’re having a good time while simultaneously everyone here is a war film/monster movie cliché. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston are two attractive humans and that’s about where our knowledge of their characters ends. They share one scene that is quite literally nothing but exposition dialogue, with them stating their job titles, motivations for traveling to Skull Island and where they stand on the Vietnam War. Jason Mitchell, fantastic in Straight Outta Compton, is straight outta a cartoon here, with every other line he recites being a whiny attempt at humor. Shea Whigham’s character is frustratingly bland, John Goodman just looks bored and Samuel L. Jackson angrily squints and growls the entire time as the cookie-cutter bad guy.

John C. Reilly stars as a man who has been trapped on the island for 30 years and he is by far the film’s weak link in the acting department. He had people worried in the trailers because of his seemingly misplaced jokes, and they’re somehow even worse here. Not only are almost none of his lines funny, but they’re delivered in such awkward and tonally-jarring ways that it almost becomes uncomfortable.

There are some minor saving graces in the film that stop it from being a complete disaster, including Larry Fong’s cinematography and the film’s soundtrack which is full of all the Vietnam-era clichés, but they’re minor distractions from an otherwise dull experience.

Kong: Skull Island is a summer blockbuster dropped in March, and hopefully it’s not a warning for what’s around the corner in two months. Say what you will about 2005’s King Kong or even 2014’s Godzilla but at least those films had somewhat relatable characters and plots that kept us engaged. Here, we don’t care about anyone (you don’t even remember half their names) and the plot is so contrived and standard that you’ll be bored out of your skull. Skull, Island, that is.

The Lego Batman Movie review


It’s a Batman movie, so obviously it’s an instant 10/10. Thanks for coming, drive home safe.



Ugh. Fine, I’ll be objective.

The Lego Batman Movie is a spin-off of the character “introduced” in The Lego Movie, again voiced by Will Arnett. This time around Batman must stop the Joker from destroying Gotham City and must also learn the true meaning of friendship (because, life lessons!). Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes also lend their voices as Chris McKay, best known for his work on Robot Chicken, directs.

The Lego Movie was a manic, colorful surprise back in February 2014 thanks to the wonderful comedic style of writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directors of the Jump Street series (and producers of this film). Their awkward, overly-giddy, rapid-fire humor worked perfectly and not only made us forget we were watching a 90 minute commercial for Legos, but gave us one of the better animated kid’s films of recent years. Their same kind of comedy remains here, and thanks to Will Arnett’s dedicated performance, some very clever writing and beautiful animation, The Lego Batman Movie is a worthy brick added to the series.

Right from the opening credits you know exactly what kind of film you’re in for and it’s wonderful. The opening sequence itself likely is the highlight of the film, full of colorful animations, great music and the random Lego humor that made the original film so great (one running gag about people shooting guns and making a “pew!” sound never got old). Arnett isn’t the best Batman we’ve ever had, nor is he even the best Batman portrayed in the last 12 months, but his love of the character is clear and he makes it his own. The writers all know their Batman and come up with some brilliant references and meta jokes, even if sometimes the self-brooding and “I work alone” bits get a bit old and make it hard to fully empathize with the character.

Each actor does a great job, in fact, and all are perfectly cast. Many have to voice characters currently involved in the DC Cinematic Universe (like Channing Tatum’s Superman or Ralph Fiennes’ Alfred) but they put their own spin on them and don’t necessarily try to keep things canon.

The plot can get a little muddled at times, and after the amazing opening sequence I was worried that the film would not be able to keep up the same energy level the entire time (and I was right, it runs out of steam by the climax). And much like The Lego Movie the climax is drawn out a little long and becomes a mess of explosions and spastic jumping around, but kids will be distracted by the pretty colors so I’m sure I’m the only one who cares about all that.

The Lego Batman Movie is honestly the perfect family film, because just like with Pixar’s finer works it is able to write jokes for kids with pandering and add in some humor for adults without being inappropriate. As a Batman fanboy I was overwhelmed with the dedication and appreciation the filmmakers have for the Caped Crusader and his lore. Is it a genuinely great film like, say, Zootopia? No, but Lego Batman does manage to stay entertaining without wearing out its welcome for most of its 104 minutes and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Assassin\’s Creed film review


This film is the Anakin Skywalker of video game movies. It was supposed to be the Chosen One, the film that would finally make video game movies good and bring balance to the cinematic universe, but instead it turns out to be a bland origin story that betrays the very people that put their hope and trust into it.

Assassin’s Creed is the adaption of the popular video game series and stars Michael Fassbender (who also produces) as a career criminal who, against his will, must relive the memories of his ancestor to help a shady organization retrieve an ancient artifact. Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons and Michael K. Williams also star as Justin Kurzel directs.

I am a huge fanboy of the Assassin’s Creed games, mainly because I am such a history buff. I have looked forward to this film ever since it was announced in October 2011, but between then and now the film was delayed a half dozen times and rewritten just as often (both usually red flags). But hey, Fassbender said they were delaying it to ensure they “got it right” and Ubisoft, the company that produces the game, even started their own film production company specifically to have “unprecedented control” over the project. So surely this can’t be anything short of awesome, right? Well turns out not only is Assassin’s Creed” not the savior we hoped it was, it is the worst video game movie of 2016 (and 2016 had Warcraft).

This is the type of film where nothing seems to happen. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot going on, but none of it is interesting or investing. A majority of the film takes place in modern day, inside the shiny walls of the “prison” where Fassbender is being kept, which is the film’s first (and most pondering) flaw. Assassin’s Creed is beloved because it allows players (or in this case, would be viewers) to relive periods of time that aren’t always explored in media, and the Spanish Inquisition here is no different. People pay to see action sequences in 1492 Spain, not a charismatic-less Michael Fassbender mope around and have boring modern conversations with fellow inmates.

Which is another problem, no one in this film is interesting, mysterious or a fleshed out character. We don’t know much anything about Fassbender’s Callum Lynch, and even less about his ancient Assassin ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha. Other characters have one scene of yelling at Lynch and are never even given a name, so when the climax occurs we don’t know who they are, much less why we should care about them. I don’t know what else we should expect from Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, the writers of the horribly boring “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” but character motivations hilariously flip on a dime for no reason, and the ending of the film sets up a sequel that will in all likelihood never happen.

The film has fleeting moments of joy and excitement, which obviously all take place in the flashback sequences, but they’re then ruined by the scenes going on for too long, being shot too close up and being edited too choppily (gotta get that PG-13 rating, God forbid a Mature-rated video game gets an R). Some scenes look cool, with sweeping shots of the 15th century skyline or smoke flooding through the streets, but it is just a visually dark film that is all-too-often ugly to look at.

Most every small joy in Assassin’s Creed came from inside references to the game series or little nuggets of historical intrigue, so people who don’t care about either of those things will truly find nothing of appeal here. There is a scene in the film where Jeremy Irons’ bad guy character says, “it is time we purge the world of the Assassin’s Creed” and I could not agree more; in a world where the year 2016 gave us awful cinema and troublesome real-life events, there is no room for films as boring and pointless as Assassin’s Creed.

Rogue One Tickets Go On Sale, Sites Promptly Crash



If you\’re like m\"fandango\"e, you waited with your phone in hand, constantly refreshing your Fandango app until 12:01am EST on Monday \”morning\” to buy Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tickets. If you\’re also like me, the site promptly crashed.

Tickets for Rogue One went on sale, and like last year\’s The Force Awakens, servers on sites like Fandango crashed under the traffic almost instantly. It then caused Fandango to create a \”waiting line,\” forcing customers to get a digital number and sitting in an online waiting room prior to selecting tix.

For me personally, I had my seats selected and put in my credit card info before the app said \”invalid request.\” Upon rebooting, my selected seats, along with all non-first row seats, were taken. So I did end up getting Thursday night tickets, but my neck will be strained. Others won\’t be so lucky.

So if you thought you could wait to buy tickets until December 15 got closer, like how Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts didn\’t require midnight purchases, then think again and get moving.

Rogue One opens December 16 (the 15th if you\’re seeing it Thursday night like a cool kid) and is projected to gross around $100 million in its opening weekend, but I feel those numbers will go up after the industry sees the anticipation that crashed a website.

New Trailer for \’Kong: Skull Island\’


The first full, all English trailer for Kong: Skull Island has dropped and, for the most part, it looks epic. The cast includes Loki himself Tom Hiddleston, Mace Windu himself Samuel L. Jackson, Captain Marvel herself Brie Larson and two members of N.W.A. (Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell), among a half dozen other big names. The visuals look epic and the scope seems huge, although the tone of the trailer is a little conflicting (John C. Reilly comes off as awkward comedy relief in an otherwise grim setting) and although I haven\’t seen the film (duh), some things here do come off as a bit spoiler-ish, so you\’ve been warned.

The film is due out in March 2017, and if Winter Soldier and Batman v Superman taught us anything it\’s that spring time is as good as any to begin the summer movie season. Check out the trailer below.

New \’Batman The Telltale Series\’ Trailer Introduces a Famous Villain


The trailer for Episode 4 of Batman: The Telltale Series\” has dropped and fans of a certain Clown Prince of Crime should be excited.  The fourth of five episodes for the season, entitled “Guardian of Gotham,” will be released worldwide on Tuesday, November 22 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

It doesn\’t look like the Joker will play too big a part in the episode as it seems to be the Harvey Dent show, but anything with the Jester of Genocide can\’t be all bad (well, Suicide Squad may be the exception to that rule). You can watch the trailer below and judge for yourself.

Batman: The Killing Joke Gets a Brutally Honest Trailer

Batman: The Killing Joke had a pretty successful run at its limited box office last month, but that doesn\’t change the fact that the film divided fans, with many of them still angry over the depiction of Batgirl.

But fear not, your souls can be (partially) repaired as the geniuses over at ScreenJunkies have given us a four minute Honest Trailer pointing out why The Killing Joke was such a letdown, from the pointless 30 minute backstory to somehow having Warner Bros. Animation stoop down to the levels of the real-life DCEU.

Enjoy but just remember to not blame Mark Hamill; he and his beard have bigger problems to worry about.

Reshoots, Multiple Edits and Panic: the Behind the Scenes Drama of Suicide Squad


Much like Batman v Superman, reviews for DC/Warner Bros.\’ Suicide Squad have been less than glowing (you can read our take on it here). But what managed to stay under the rug until very last minute was all the apparent behind-the-scenes drama that took place during filming.

At this point, you\’ve read about all the stories from the set of last year\’s abomination, Fantastic Four, like how Josh Trank showed up to the sets drunk and they needed to do reshoots with Kate Mara in an obvious wig. But everything seemed fine with Suicide Squad. Sure, Batman v Superman was a letdown but the trailers looked amazing and the cast is incredible!

Well apparently there was trouble in paradise, and it shows in the finished product.

David Ayer was hired to write and direct the film in October 2014 and was given just six weeks to write the script, which would explain some of the wooden dialogue and introduction by forced exposition (golden rule of screenwriting: show, don\’t tell). There is also the fact Ayer had never helmed a big budget blockbuster before, and while this trend is nothing new (Colin Trevorrow with Jurassic World or Gareth Edwards with Godzilla) it can crash and burn (see, Trank and Fan4stic).

What also didn\’t help were the brilliant trailers for Suicide Squad that depicted a colorful, relatively upbeat and comical tale. After backlash to Batman v Superman (that was apparently shocking to the Warner Bros. suits), they scattered because despite what the trailers showed, Suicide Squad was actually just as dark and brooding as Man of Steel and BvS. So they spent millions of dollars to reshoot it (and yes, it was to add more \”fun,\” not \”standard procedure\” as Ayer tried to spin it) and actually created two different versions of the film.

One lighter version was edited by the company that had been making the trailers, Trailer Park; this was never a good idea, as trailer editors are in the business of sales, not coherent filmmaking. The other was by Ayer and his team, which was his more somber edition, and apparently the two sides agreed on a version in the middle, which is code for \”the tone of the film is going to be all over the place,\” which it is.


In between all this there was a lot of sweating from Ayer to get his movie right and by the Warner Bros. executives to not have a third straight critical bomb on their hands, and it appears that neither of them got their wish. Suicide Squad looks like it is destined to be a replica of Batman v Superman in almost every sense. A big, triple digit opening weekend and then no legs at the box office, finish around $800 million and divide fans on if it is brilliant dedication to the comics or a swing-and-a-miss yet again by DC.

It isn\’t a hilarious dumpster fire like Fantastic Four, in both quality of the finished product or behind the scenes drama, but it seems the people in the offices of Warner Bros. in Los Angeles really need to find their own Kevin Feige, and fast.

Suicide Squad Review


If nothing else it’s nice to see Will Smith having fun in a big budget blockbuster again.

Suicide Squad is the third entry into the DC Extended Universe and takes place after the events of this year’s Batman v Superman. David Ayer writes and directs as Will Smith and Margot Robbie star as members of a group of villains hired by the government to take out a threat in exchange for reduced jail sentences. Jared Leto and Viola Davis also star.

Like everyone else who has access to the internet, I enjoyed the series of trailers for this film (usually set to Queen songs) and the idea of antiheroes being the focal point of a film seemed fun. Plus I love David Ayer’s End of Watch and Fury, so I really thought this would be the first official good film of the DC Universe. I thought…

Suicide Squad is a frustrating film to say the least. Much like the first two installments of the DC series, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, there are nuggets of greatness in this. Will Smith and Margot Robbie are having a ball playing psychotic killers (one much less sane than the other) and Jared Leto ‘s Joker makes me excited for where he could take the role in future Batman films (even though he’s a glorified cameo here). However these fun characters are lost in a muddled cloud of CGI action and an unfocused narrative.

Like I said, Smith and Robbie and really the whole cast do fine work. Some performances are better than others (or more audible, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc mumbles everything) but overall these are all interesting characters that even if we aren’t quite emotionally attached to, still root for.

It would have been so much more rewarding if we had gotten some of these characters in previous films before they had to team up, but because DC is in overdrive to catch up with Marvel we don’t get that luxury. Instead we get forced (and sometimes awkward) exposition-by-file reading, and it’s just a rushed intro.

The film has a very simple plot, it’s essentially a rescue mission with a doomsday clock, and yet I had no idea what the actual hell was going on half the time. The villain of this film is a witch and her ancient demon brother and they want to create a portal to do…something (?) I really couldn’t tell you, the film actually never discloses her plan besides “rule humans” and “create a zombie army.”

Oh, and I’ll just congratulate Cara Delevingne on her Razzie win now because her performance as the witch is so laughably atrocious that every time she opens her mouth it detracts from the film and makes the scene and any dramatic heft that had been building impossible to take seriously.

I wanted to like Suicide Squad, I really did. But it is so inconsistent and so frustratingly bland that I cannot recommend it be viewed for $10, unless you are the die-hardiest of Suicide Squad comic fan. If you catch it on TV in six months then sure, give it a view for Robbie and Will, but it is a huge letdown and yet another stumble for the DC Universe and Warner Bros.

Suicide Squad Reviews Are Out: It\’s Not Looking Good



Suicide Squad comes out this Friday but reviews have already begun to come out; and it looks like it’s Batman v Superman all over again.

Take it with however big a grain of salt you want, but the film currently holds a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 46 out of 100 on Metacritic (BvS got 27% and 44). Many critics are praising the cast and their performances, but besides that not many positive things being said about David Ayer’s third installment into the DC Extended Universe. Most critics are finding the plot messy, the villain lame and the Joker lacking (as in he’s barely in it).

David Ehrlich over at IndieWire gave the film a D+ and had the title of his review read, “These Heroes May Be Bad, But Their Movie Is Even Worse”. Perhaps the most damning review was Rolling Stones’, where Peter Travers gave the film one out of four stars. He ended his review with: “My heart sank during the film\’s big battle between the Squad and zombie soldiers. You heard me: zombies! The walking dead aren\’t the only clichés that eat away at the potential in this material. Superfreaks become supersweeties and Suicide Squad: Dawn of Dullness (my subtitle) does the impossible. Forget Batman v Superman — at least it tried. This botch job makes Fantastic Four look good.”


It isn’t all bad, as Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B- and said, “For DC, which blew it with Batman v Superman last spring, Suicide Squad is a small step forward. But it could have been a giant leap” (that may be as high a compliment as you can find for this film).

Are you still excited for Suicide Squad? Does three critical flops in a row put the DC Universe in danger?

Batman: The Killing Joke is Fathom\’s Biggest Event Ever


Fans and critics alike are having mixed responses to Batman: The Killing Joke, but that didn’t stop it from becoming Fathom’s biggest event ever.

The film played in 1,325 theaters on Monday, the widest release ever for Fathom. It took in $3.2 million, good for a per-theater average of $2,396 (to put that in perspective, Star Trek Beyond averaged $1,592 from 3,928 theaters).

After making $600,000 on Tuesday, plus an additional $400k from foreign territories, The Killing Joke finished its brief theatrical run with $4.2 million, against a reported budget of $3.5 million.

It may have people divided, praising the voice acting but criticizing pretty much everything about Batgirl, but The Killing Joke was a financial success for Warner Bros. and if you missed it in theaters you can check it out for yourself now on VOD or DVD/Blu-ray on August 2.

Ghostbusters Opens to $46.5 million, Could Still Flop

After months (years, actually) of controversy, we finally know how the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot did in its opening weekend. And it did…fine. Solid, even. The $144 million film opened to $46 million, finishing at the high end of weekend predictions and second at the box office behind The Secret Life Pets.

It is the third biggest opening weekend of a live-action film this summer (behind Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse) as well as the largest opener for Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig (besting The Heat’s $39.1 million in 2013).

The film earned a B+ grade on CinemaScore, the same score of Bridesmaids and Spy, which usually evens out to a final domestic gross of 3x the opener. So assuming this isn’t front-heavy, Ghostbusters should finish its US run with between $120-150 million, which while not amazing for a film that cost upwards of $150 million (before P&A), is far from the dumpster fire it could have been and is a good foot for Sony to start out on in their attempt to not have Ghostbusters join the (ever expanding) ranks of this year’s blockbuster busts.

The thing is though, Ghostbusters has to gross around $500 million just for Sony to break even, and that would mean an international total upwards of $300 million, a feat that is hard to imagine happening, especially because the film will likely not be released in China (the country has strict rules against films involving the paranormal).

So, Ghostbusters. Some people thought it could flop, some had it as high as $55 million, but it turns out, just like the quality of the film itself, its box office return is just kind of “meh.” Time will tell if it plays like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows or Central Intelligence, and if it will warrant more sequels.

Suicide Squad Set to Crush Box Office Records


Suicide Squad is just three weeks away but we have the first box office tracking figures, and they’re big.

The film, which opens on August 5, is projected to gross around $125 million in its opening weekend, with some figures going as high as $140 million. That would fall between Man of Steel’s $116 million debut in 2013 and Batman v Superman’s $166 million this past March.

Assuming the numbers hold steady (if not climb), Suicide Squad will set the record for biggest August opening (beating Guardians of Galaxy’s $94.3 million in 2014) and also set a new career-high for Will Smith (which is currently I Am Legend’s $77 million from 2007). It will also help aid what has been a relative weak summer, full of duds like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 and Independence Day: Resurgence.

Advance ticket sales begin on July 15.

Ghostbusters Reboot Won\’t Flop Because of Sexism



The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot will come out in just a few days (in the UK, it has been released since Monday). The film has been a hot, somewhat controversial topic of conversation for upwards of three years, from “why does Ghostbusters need a remake at all?” to “an all-woman cast? The feminists are taking over!” Then the first trailer dropped and instead of calming everyone down it stirred things up more, and quickly became the most disliked trailer in YouTube’s history (and YouTube has Adam Sandler trailers). In today’s PC age, people will call most anyone who hates this movie a sexist and anyone who lauds is a feminist, and that’s not OK; Ghostbusters should be allowed to flop or thrive without people having to make a point.

The film is currently tracking to open to around $45 million in the United States in its opening weekend. Carrying a pricetag of $144 million (before P&A), the film will need to gross around $500 million just to break even (rule of thumb is double your production budget for amount spent on marketing, then double that to be deemed a success). I honestly cannot see a world where Ghostbusters grosses $500 million, especially in this summer that we’ve had. Films like Alice Through the Looking Glass ($270 million gross against a $170m budget), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($219m vs $135m) and Independence Day: Resurgence ($305m and counting against $165m) have all failed to meet both expectations and even half their predecessor’s grosses. The original Ghostbusters grossed $295 million in 1984 (a number which this reboot will beat) which is equal to almost $700 million in today’s dollar, a figure the reboot will not even dream of scraping.

What is my point to all this? My point is, do not see Ghostbusters just because you think you’re sticking it to internet trolls. On the same note, do not skip it just because you are angry that it is an all-women cast. You shouldn’t go out and buy 10 tickets just to stick it to misogynists just like you shouldn’t start a petition trying to get people to boycott the film. If the film does underperform, it is does not prove women are incapable of carrying a film, and I doubt it will affect any future female-driven projects (leave that burden to Wonder Woman). Flip side, if it becomes a hit it will be because of good word of mouth about a solid project, not because people have finally found the cure to sexism.

If Ghostbusters flops it is not because of its cast or even because people are angered by Hollywood cashing in on a 30-year-old franchise; it is going to be because it just wasn’t marketed well, and there’s nothing sexist about that.