Wonder Woman: Film Review

The DCEU* finally made a good superhero movie. Yes… seriously!


Writer: Allan Heinberg (Screenplay), Zack Snyder & Jason Fuchs (story), Director: Patty Jenkins , Runtime: 2h21mins, Cast & Crew.

Since Superman: The Movie came out, there has been a small truth to “comic” book movies. Richard Donner is the all-time king for making everyone wait some 45 minutes before even seeing the Boy Scout’s costume, underwear on the outside and all. Patty Jenkins pulls a lot from Donner’s Superman and I’m Thankful she did. Wonder Woman plays as its own beautiful film, all the while homaging Donner’s film, and subtly connecting to the tent pole Film; Justice League.

Right off the start, the film is already different from everything else WB has put out thus far. Right now, 2017, we are in a feminist age. Having a female director telling a woman story was the right move. Not to say that a man couldn’t do it, but women have a softer touch that men often lack. That said, Jenkins, as I don’t know her, seems to really know how to tell a story. It makes me wish she did Thor: The Dark World. Would have been a much better film, I’m sure. The origin of Wonder Woman could have been told visually, and though it is, it’s more orally in the same manner most stories would have been told (in ancient Greek/Roman times). It’s reminiscent of the MCU’s telling of how Peter Parker lost Uncle Ben, minus Robert as Tony Stark. I think that was rather strong use of the medium. Be that writing or direction, it was a smart move.

Mirroring the efforts from Donner’s film was a nice touch for both the pacing, respect of character and giving viewers a sense of familiarity. Gal Godats performance how ever leaves you both intimidated and aroused. I really believed her as Wonder Woman even more than I did in Batman V Superman. It has been said that women were placed on this earth to love man. I can t confirm or deny that so just roll with the idea for a second. Knowing that it’s a darn shame that women haven’t felt the same love from man for countless centuries if you look at history. That said women continue to thrive in their own way. It’s a testament to how strong they really are. They are constantly in a “man’s” world and have to constant fight to be heard and seen for more than just a means for sexual pleasure. That said as Wonder Woman sees humanity at it’s worst in the First World War, she seems to bring with her a light that just refuses to match the overall grey tones on early 1900s London. By the time she steps into being who she will ultimately be, she is sick and tired with how men have treated both themselves and they people around them.

Etta Candy: I’m Steve Trevor’s secretary.
Wonder Woman: What is a secretary?
E.C.: I go where he tells me to go, I do what he tells me to do.
W.W.: Where we come from, that’s called slavery.

When She finally debuts herself in costume, without any visual obstacle, it’s simply powerful. As powerful as any introduction a hero can make. She always had a reason to be in the war, but now she gets to defend the defenceless. that scene reminded me very much of that powerful scene in Hidden Figures

Other stand out talents includes, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, and Lacy Davis. It’s interesting to see Pine act as he may be one dimensional, but it works here. It felt to me as if I was watching Captain Kirk vs. watching Steve Trevor. Robin is just badass. If you seen House of cards, you know that she brings both a remarkable talent and a undeniable sex appeal wrapped in this strong woman demeanour that can’t be ignored. I will gladly watch her in anything. It’s why I watched House of cards for as long as I did. Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy is arguably the great comedic co-star needed for most of these genre films. She’s so good with her timing and delivery, I almost want to see the pending sequel be about Diana and Etta taking on the town.

One of the more appreciated aspects of this film was how they developed the realm of Themyscira. From the fighting to the acting it felt spot on. There was elegance to how they fought yet very effective to what they were capable of. Surely if all the cards in the world were in the right spot, this is how you’d expect women to fight if you never seen one fight before. It was like watching ballet and figure skating as a form of a martial art that I don’t think has been done before in film.

The first half of the movie is great all this considered. Where it gets weird on the viewer is towards the end. I kept asking myself “Why is this happening?”, “What is she doing?” For example:

*SPOILER… ISH*

When she is so fed up with all that Ares has done she goes into the weird orange void and is being as kick ass as she can. I said “What the hell is happening?” at least four times. Also the writing seems to have escaped being reviewed at this point in whatever draft they were working off of. There’s a very silly line from Ares that takes you out of the moment and the legitimacy of his threat. That said, it doesn’t destroy the film just doesn’t make the film look good.

Speaking of looking good, the green screen-ery (new word, roll with it) is rather poor for a film like this. Again, the biggest problems are near the end/ climatic battle. Say what you will about MOS or BVS, but they had great harmony between what was real and what was faked. This is something I hope gets sorted out in later sequels or in later home release.

Something cool to listen out for, when Diana is training, listen to the musical score. As she’s training they play with her theme song and its very teasing in the manner it’s used. its like “Not yet, little grasshopper, but soon” it was a nice touch.

Bottom line: It’s the first film in the DCEU that will certainly be a hit among the hardcore and not so hardcore fans. If you look deeper, you can see why she’s called Wonder Woman. If you just want to eat popcorn and drink soda, you will still leave with a smile either which way. If you have a daughter, take her to see this film. Let her see how awesome women can be

  • Overall rating of the movie: 8.1 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 7 out of 10,
  • Editing: 8 out of 10,
  • Audio: 8.1 out of 10,
  • Acting: 8 out of 10,

Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? If you bought any of the other DCEU films

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Movie Review

TMNT-TeaserThe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in the comic book medium, published by Mirage Studios in 1984. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Kevin Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming with friend Peter Laird. Using money from a tax refund and a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. Fast forward to the early 90s, and the first ever TMNT is released (1990). The film was live action and required animatronic heads for the actors to wear. This continued for 2 more movies. In 2007 a total cgi spirited sequel came along. Then in 2012 Michael Bay said he was producing another film and that the turtles would be from space.

Full castDirector: Jonathan Liebesman Writer: Josh AppelbaumAndré NemecEvan Daugherty. Run Time: 101 mins

I was never really a GIANT fan of TMNT but I did like the simple nature of them. I think my real attachment in them came from the video games on the super NES console (aka the greatest of all time!). So for me, the mythos was never really important. Though having ninja turtles was already a stretch, having say, a race of ninja turtles from some distant planet was a stretch just too far out. Lucky for the success of this film it didn’t happen as the trailer above shows. That aside, the changes here are on the cool side of the creative spectrum. It’s a little “hollywood“(I will explain in a moment) but its not the worst thing of all things.

Above anything else this movie is just a family friendly film. STOP WORRYING ABOUT KILLING YOUR APPARENT CHILDHOOD. Those childhood favourite movies still exist in its respective home video source.. and then there’s pirate bay. This movie is great for anyone who has kids now, who once grew up with this as their favourite movie as a kid. it has a lot of elements of family, brotherhood, and loyalty; which is something sort of lacking these days in modern cinema as we live in an age of “gritty” blockbusters (Thank you Chris Nolan). That is what i loved most about this movie. It was childish and mature. Not in a sexual way but, just in a manner where it isn’t far too cartoony. The themes were very evident and I personally enjoy that sort of thing.

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesShredderheadlinecropLSParamount_article_story_largeHollywood… I love you but sometimes you take an idea just way too far. Not everything should be copied from what is currently “selling”. That said, Nice job! Shredder just looked, in my opinion, way too much like a transformer/Iron Man hybrid. Its not bad, its just why did he honestly have to be suited in a armour suit that throws knives? Why couldn’t he just be a samurai looking individual, who fights like a bad ass. I did honestly enjoy that his new suit could do so much. It was a cool looking (on camera) improvement to the character (and mythos).

Unrelated to Hollywood, the stylistic choice behind the face of the turtles, threw me off. I figure if for any reason, it was simply see the actors faces, since this isn’t the same animatronic movie of childhoods past. It just felt like they had a giant miscue with that. I did however like the added items to enhance the characters personality. Like Donatello, he had more of a nerd/geek look as he is traditionally a nerd geek toe and likes inventing.

 

The start of the film is a bit of snore fest I will say, but once it gets going, it goes. The stunts are terrific and smart in relation to the turtles.

Bottom line: It was just a great popcorn flick that gives both children and parents (or just the average adult). They didn’t entirely bastardize the source material, which many thought would happen. This… is a great movie!

Ratings for all movies will now be out of ten

  • Overall rating of the movie: 8 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 7 out of 10,
  • Editing: 9 out of 10,
  • Audio: 9 out of 10,
  • Acting: 7 out of 10,
  • Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? Definitely worthy of picking up on blu-ray, maybe on boxing day/black friday. Especially if you have fidgety kids.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Movie Review

This might have been the best summer movie.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-IMAX-poster-700x1024


Writer:  James GunnNicole Perlman Director:  James Gunn Runtime: 121 mins

Cast

I had posted about who the Guardians of the Galaxy really are and its a fair bet not many knew prior to seeing the flick. This is probably the utmost reason this movie excels. Aside from my fellow brethren who know full well about the sci-fi/realm of space side of  the Marvel Universe, NO ONE cared about these guys. and that is very much a factor in the film. One of the constant mentions people keep saying is: “If you had told me a talking racoon would be a “star” character in a movie, some 10+ years ago, I would spit out my drink in laughter”. Well those folks can all now still spit out a drink in laughter and then some, cause not only does “Rocket Racoon” nearly steal the show, he, voiced by Bradley Cooper, makes you feel for the character as if he was a “human”. The film really does achieve a lot in its 2 hour run time but never once does it feel beyond whelming. Its most remarkable element was being able to blend both drama and comedy seamlessly all while never taking itself too seriously while still remaining true to being a “Comic Book” movie. I feel that is one of the problems so many other studios have with their comic book properties. They try to be a comic adaption while being true to the medium of cinema and the integrity of the director’s imagination/creativity. I believe that on some level you have to have one more so than the other(s) and never falter… But, as I say, everything is situational.

Another aspect of what makes this a great film, is the soundtrack and for once I don’t mean the musical score. The soundtrack boast some of the best music from era(‘s) past. Its even on US Billboard at #1 for this week (week ending Aug. 15th, 2014)

The soundtrack to Marvel Studios’ latest blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, has topped the midweek US Billboard chart, and is the first soundtrack comprised entirely of previously released songs to reach the No 1 spot.

The soundtrack seemingly works on various levels but, really giving the Lead, Peter Quill, his only real tether to Earth and his childhood when his mother was in his life. For that aspect, it works tremendously in this film to keep it relatable to viewers. Let’s face it, we all have that one (or several) song(s) that remind us of days past (couldn’t resist).

This film boast a another crazy cast as any other marvel movie. Benicio  Del Toro, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and more; Take on their first roles in the superhero genre.  Given the roles Del Toro has had in past, I was shocked he took on the role of “The Collector from back in Thor. I fully enjoyed new comer Lee Pace as Ronan. The costume design was great even if they went for a more obvious, dark = bad guy tone. It very much resembled his look in the comics. The only characters/actors I question in terms of acting were Zoe’s, Josh Brolin’s and Karen Gillian’s characters (Gamora, Thanos, and Nebula, respectively). I felt as though they were underplayed in various ways (i.e., Thanos didn’t give me that menacing performance one wold hope from a man known as the “Mad Titan”). And even though their back stories were explained and even hinted at, I felt as though we were still short handed in respects to what we deserved from those listed and more, from a story aspect. We all know Zoe can act, and I love her as an actress (she’s skinny and kicks everyones ass, that is awesome defined!), but I can’t help but feel she didn’t give us the best of her talents. Its not in anyway, shape, or form a bad performance, just maybe a miscue in direction/communication. The cool thing about the movie is that having Vin Diesel voice act allows him to be in future movies if even as a bodyguard or something, same with B.Cooper. . Aside from the acting, due to (maybe) the quality of the image, the aliens didn’t all feel like aliens so much as humans in costume.

Which leads me to my next point of the use of 3d, cinematography, and use of effects as a whole. Right from the start you feel like you’re in the 80s. Whats nice is the tint to give it that retro feeling. Then it movies into more 3d expected territory, which was in damn good quality. This post conversion stuff is really getting better. The 3D helps to enhance that idea that you’re in a whole new world/environment. However, I feel that the use of both depth and traditional out/oFf screen effects would have served this movie better. The action, as plenty but was kinda lacking in any great shot in personal opinion. Thankfully it was mostly clear and easy to see thanks to the colourful cast. But it never gets distracting throughout the film. Which is better. I will say the ending “battle” was my favourite bit with the use of the camera.

There were a lot of easter eggs in the film, from both the BTS side of things, to things right out of the comics and throughout pop culture. I noticed a few from the comics and pop culture, but heres more.

This movie is nothing, if not well put together. nice blend of the medium. it excels mostly because of its obscurity. The tremendous control over the time and place(meant) of comedy, action, and a dramatic moment is superb. I wouldn’t call this an adaption, as much as I would call this movie. The characters are all losers, and people you’d bet against in the right conditions, but with the tremendous writing and character understanding, this movie really captures the essence that would this band of merry folks just really don’t want to die unless its by their actions. Most superhero movies tend to go the ay of this is my problem i have to fix it because i created the villain. this story didn’t feel like that. Has some of those elements yea, but in actuality its a great neutral bad guy vs good guy(s) story here. It’s really hard to hate on this movie outside of nitpicking. For my chosen nitpick, how on earth did they get on to the ship with Yondu and get new costumes for everyone (the all red, scarlet ones) including Rocket Racoon?

9.7

Ratings for all movies will now be out of ten

  • Overall rating of the movie: 9.7 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 8 out of 10,
  • Editing: 9 out of 10,
  • Audio: 10 out of 10,
  • Acting: 8.9 out of 10,
  • Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? It’s not bad in Imax. Definitely worth picking up to truly start phase two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Kick-Ass 2: Movie Review

*NOTE*
I will be reviewing the comic soon.

Well after a director change with Jeff Wadlow, the sequel to the Matthew Vaughan directed Kick-Ass 2 is upon us.

I won’t make any comparisons in terms of quality or make any direct links to the comic, but understand that this is one of those films that made the comic book look way better.

My flaw with this film is that it didn’t ever seem to get on with the story. Yes it progresses but it just seems like one big catch up story versus just telling us another day in the life of Kick-Ass.

The theme this time around seemed to be about fitting in and making the hard versus right choices. Not terrible ideas given the source material, and something that so many of us have to deal with, depending on the occasion. They were able to capture that idea very strongly and in the foreground with how Hit-Girl’s story moves along.

1371552953_kick-ass-2-posters-2

With a slew of new actors and characters, there isn’t much screen time for each new character to really want to care about them. So I would have loved to have seen more stories for Jim Carey’s character. Which reminds me, each character seemed to be more of an origin almost as if to do spinoffs. The two leads give a somewhat decent performance with the slant on hit Girl. Aaron just felt flat and very whiny be it in the script or not, it really just came off as annoying.

The highlight action scene was with Mother Russia early on. She commanded a lot more respect as a character as did the violence and comic book lore fans would live for.

I might be nitpicking but I couldn’t stand that most of the characters kind of just had a totally different costume than from what was in the comics. It’s not far removed but it’s not really any kind of improvement either.

Bottom line: There’s not much to really like with this film, everyone will see it differently. But as far as I’m concerned this was a movie that needed Matthew Vaughan for it to be worth a damn. It’s definitely not worth price of admission. Maybe when I read the comic it will make more sense.

Ratings for all movies will now be out of ten

  • Overall rating of the movie: 2 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 3 out of 10,
  • Editing: 5 out of 10,
  • Audio: 5 out of 10,
  • Acting: 2.5 out of 10,
  • Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? Download

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: “LEW System”

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW