A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

April 30, 2015

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Another Marvel movie, another opening night, and at long last another review for my long dormant review blog.  I went in to Age of Ultron fairly confident that it was a good movie because people whose opinions I trust had already seen it and confirmed that it was in the top four or five marvel movies with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Avengers movie.  At the same time, however, there was this nagging worry at the back of my mind that perhaps the weight of the franchise is getting too great for any movie to hold it up.  As is almost the refrain when reviewing a Marvel movie at this point though it was true once more: there inevitably must be a film in this universe that disappoints, but this one is not it.

There is NO WAY that this movie should work.  It is the result of an enormous production machine with so many moving parts that it’s hard to even conceive how vast the enterprise is.  It was in pre-production before Winter Soldier was done filming.  During the closing credits I stopped counting after the 7th or 8th FX production house was listed.  Many of the action beats must have been mapped out and already in production long before the plot was finalized.  The Marvel Cinematic universe as a whole is the filmic equivalent of the pyramids at Giza: an edifice so intimidatingly huge that it’s almost impossible to believe it was crafted by human hands.

Beyond all of that though there’s the scale of this movie alone to consider.  The MCU has reached a scale where its tentpole movies have tentpoles.  This Avenger’s film caps the second wave of films bringing the crew back together for another round of world-saving, sure, but it also has to lay the groundwork for the third wave.  We have plenty of returning heroes.  There’s Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye.  The first Avenger movie established that this team could work in a film, so it’s no surprise that for this movie they are a joy to watch as they battle foes and banter amongst each-other.  But add to all these folks several other bit players from previous films and three new super powered individuals and you have a formula for disaster.  How can you possibly have so many characters in one film, providing each with at least a couple well-timed quips and a chance to show off their powers, and not have it simply collapse under its own weight?

Part of it is that the movie doesn’t give itself time to sag.  From the in-media-rez opening battle (which feels like it contains more action in one scene than the entire first Captain America movie – particularly since it so deliberately echoes the tone of some of Cap’s escapades) to its far larger than life city destroying ending there’s hardly a moment when some kind of adventure isn’t going on.  Even the more quiet moments serve double duty moving the plot forward and giving us some greater insight into the Avengers as a team and as individuals to better set the stakes for the inevitable big showdown.

The one exception is a vital piece of quiet before the storm just before the start of the third act that provides some of the best character development so far for a couple of the least utilized parts of the team.  The surprising heart of the movie is the non-powered Clint Barton/Hawkeye who here shows that he’s perhaps more of a hero than most of his companions because he’s not super at all – just pretty damned good with a bow and arrows.  Black Widow also gets some much needed backstory during this lull and shows herself both to be more human and more frighteningly competent at her particular skillset.

The other thing that saves this film from itself is the titular villain.  Ultron has many of the best moments in the film because he’s such a surprisingly human foe.  He’s such a startlingly honest, simple, and almost literally broken character that it’s hard not to feel some degree of sympathy for him.  All this for a character that is entirely CGI.  Add him to the list with Groot, Rocket, and Golem of startlingly touching characters rendered almost entirely in a computer.

I only just saw the movie a couple hours ago so I’m not going to make any sweeping statements about its lasting merit or how well it will hold up with time, but on that first viewing I was not disappointed.  It has references for Marvel fans that hint at things to come.  It has plenty of amazing action.  It has touching moments of character development.  Ultimately it did its job and left me wanting more.  Oh, and it left me wanting that “hulkbuster” Lego set.  I wish that wasn’t sold out.

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April 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Movie 593 – Green Lantern

Green Lantern – October 14th, 2011

This movie makes me sigh. I want to like it. I want it to be good. But I also want to live in a magic flying houseboat. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. And I admit, I don’t hate this. It’s just that I don’t hate it even though it’s a total mess. There is so much wrong with it that it’s hard to even begin. When it came out I learned that my mother – my mother who seemed to pooh-pooh comic books all through my childhood – loved Green Lantern as a child. We mentioned the movie and she was all “Oh! Hal Jordan!” and she recited the oath and everything. Who knew, right? Even her own brother – the rightful owner of all of the Green Lantern comics she read – had no idea. We told him the other day and he was shocked. And amused. And yet we could not recommend this movie to my mother. At all. It’s not that she has a problem with action, and clearly she liked the comic book character, it’s that I couldn’t bear to see her watch something so bad based on something she apparently loved so much. It’s bad enough for me, and I know absolutely nothing about the source material beyond the most basic of basics.

I’ve seen a lot of superhero movies by now and you know, some handle backstory better than others. Iron Man? Fantastic. X-Men and X-Men: First Class? Yeah, they did a decent job, especially given that they were dealing with ensembles. Batman Begins says right in the title that it’s an origin story and it should go without saying that a crapload of time is going to be spent on backstory. That’s the thrust of the movie. Comparatively speaking, I’d say Iron Man and Batman Begins are doing roughly the same basic job, introducing a person, showing their personal crises, then showing how they become masked heroes and deal with their first real challenges. And this movie? Wants to be one of those. It wants to introduce a person – Hal Jordan – and take him through the process of becoming a hero and facing a crisis and dealing with a bad guy. Except it’s so damn muddled.

Part of the movie’s problem is that it does a heck of a lot of telling and not nearly enough showing. Movies are visual media. They should be showing. I’ll point back to my review of Macross Plus, which has two different versions. In one, the character of Isamu (a hotshot fighter pilot – sort of like Hal Jordan here) is introduced through a lot of dialogue about how he’s lazy and takes risks and whatnot. In the other? He’s introduced by a dialogue-less scene where he stands outside and plans his flight path with his hand before getting in his experimental jet and painting a picture with his exhaust trails. This movie? Picked the dialogue. It should have painted a picture. That right there is indicative of a movie that feels like it needs to spell everything out for the audience. And that’s a pity, because there are some really strong visuals here. They’re just not being used to their highest potential because every time something could be said visually, it instead gets a whole lot of expository dialogue vomited all over it.

The other major issue I have with this movie is that it’s just plain messy. And I don’t mean visually. Obviously it’s a superhero action movie, so there’s a lot of action going on and that’s fine. Sure, sometimes it feels like everything is green and therefore it’s hard to focus on the important green things and not the green background and green unimportant things, but the movie is about a dude who makes green things out of pure will. I expected the greenness. No, when I say it’s messy I mean it’s all over the place. We’re in the past and we’re watching Hal do a jet fighter test and we’re meeting his proto-adversary and we’re in space seeing a bunch of guys we don’t know get their souls sucked out by the big bad guy and we’re watching Hal train and then he’s back on Earth for some romance and then he’s back in space again and then he’s on Earth and oh right! Adversary grows a giant brain! Then the big bad is there and there’s romance too but we can’t linger on that too much because Hal has to make good on Chekhov’s Gravitational Pull! There is so damn much plot in this movie it’s leaking out the edges, which is probably why none of it quite works. I think my favorite bit of pointlessness is when Hal goes back to the planet he trained on (for like, a day) and begs the other Lanterns to help him save Earth because even though he said he wasn’t going to be a Green Lantern he knows now that he has to be one and he needs their help! And they say no so he says “Okay, that’s cool, we can do it on our own!” It’s absolutely ridiculous and they could have shaved a chunk of time off the movie by cutting it out and it’s yet another bit indicative of how poorly put together the movie is.

Honestly, I don’t want to bother going over the plot. The core idea – that a super powerful entity that feeds on fear is coming to Earth and Earth’s only Green Lantern must find a way to save his planet – is well enough for a comic book movie. I can even run with the training stuff, because it’s an origin story and it adds drama to have the hero be unprepared and scared (especially given that the villain feeds on fear, as I mentioned). And of course he has to be somewhat isolated because bringing the full power of the entire Green Lantern Corps against the villain would lessen the dramatic tension. But then they add in the minor adversary and try to make this whole jealousy thing happen when it comes to the romantic interest and there’s tension between the romantic interest and the hero and that’s not even touching on the fighter pilot stuff. If it wasn’t an origin story maybe the rest would work better, but having the origin in with everything else, oh, just, no. So overloaded.

Now, like I said, I did enjoy this. I didn’t love it and it’s far from the top of my comic book movies list. But it’s also not at rock bottom. I prefer it to say, The Spirit and it’s certainly miles ahead of the 1990 Captain America, so it’s got that going for it. But if I’m going to be honest about that, I should also be honest about thinking that a sequel has the potential to be so much better than this. They’ve got the worldbuilding out of the way! They don’t have to explain the Green Lanterns or Hal or anything like that. It’s all been done in this mess so they could leave the mess behind and focus on the story. And that would be such a relief and really, they’ve gone to all that trouble to set everything up so it would be a shame not to take advantage of that. Unfortunately, after this much of a mess I don’t think a sequel is very likely at all.

October 14, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 563 – Thor

Thor – September 14th, 2011

I have read in a few places that Natalie Portman’s reaction to the concept of of this movie was something akin to “This is too bizarre to pass up.” The ‘this’ in question being a Marvel comics-based movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh, with Anthony Hopkins as one of the leads. And I would have to agree. Aside from being more than happy to watch another Marvel movie leading up to The Avengers there was no way I was going to miss something like this. After all, even if I wasn’t all that familiar with the character of Thor outside of the more, shall we say, traditional mythos, I hadn’t been too familiar with Iron Man prior to its big screen debut and now I’d put the first movie up amongst my favorites. And I greatly enjoy Branagh’s work. So. Sure thing, right?

Now, I know reviews were mixed, but I loved this movie. It’s got flaws, sure, but what movie doesn’t? Aside from Iron Man, of course. The very concept of Norse mythology as done by Marvel tickles me, I admit. Powerful aliens inspiring myths of gods and giants and all? I love that idea. So I’m not fussed over the depictions of traditional Norse figures. And I’ve made my feelings known when it comes to Marvel and continuity and alternate realities and books vs. movies and the things done in the process of adapting a written work for the screen. So I won’t be wasting my time quibbling over anything like that. And not to put too fine a point on it, but anyone who’s bent out of shape about things like Heimdall being played by Idris Elba (who was fucking awesome) needs to do some serious introspection about just what their problem with that is.

This movie does feel a little divided to me, and consequently I found myself remembering it being longer than it actually is. The story is mostly Thor’s, of course, but because it takes place in two worlds – ours and his – and because before he arrives here he has to get kicked out of his world it all ends up having some very distinct sections to it. There’s an attempt to alleviate this effect by beginning with Thor’s arrival on Earth, whereupon he’s hit by a van driven by some of our other main characters. Then we head off into flashback territory to learn about the background of Asgard, Odin, Thor, Loki, the frost giants of Jotunheim and see the events that brought Thor to Earth. Eventually, once we meet Odin and his sons, Thor and Loki, and see Thor go to Jotunheim and start a war because he’s got an out of control temper and some fairly strong battle lust, Odin banishes him from Asgard. And we’re back to the beginning, with a naked Thor crash landing on Earth in just the right time and place to meet astrophysicist Jane, her mentor and her grad student assistant.

I don’t think it’s particularly important to go into the hows and whys of Thor ending up with Jane, Erik and Darcy. That section of the movie is good for some laughter and humor, but from a plot standpoint it’s not anything unusually interesting. Their reactions to him are fun, but the real good stuff begins when Thor tries to get his hammer back. Odin had cast Mjolnir down after banishing Thor, making it sort of like a less pointy Excalibur. Only someone worthy of it will be able to pick it up out of the ground it landed in. Of course S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up (as foretold at the end of Iron Man 2) and sets up camp around it and takes all of Jane’s research. It is a pivotal moment to see Thor try and fail to pick up Mjolnir. This is his lowest point, there in the S.H.I.E.L.D. camp. Mortal, unable to claim his hammer, told by a visiting Loki that his father is dead and his mother wants nothing to do with him, he really has nowhere else to go but up. That’s the arc here, showing his rise, his hubris, his fall and his rise again. It’s not a terribly original plot arc, but I think it suits the subject matter. After all, it’s an arc used by many heroic quest stories. Take a look at Hercules and his twelve labors, for example.

Back in Asgard Odin has fallen into a deep sleep and Loki, upon discovering that he’s actually a frost giant, takes the throne for his own nefarious purposes. Now, I know that the mythology here is very much a Marvel interpretation, and they’ve never really tried to claim that their version is “real” or whatever. So I can run with this version of Loki being evil as opposed to just a trickster (a cruel trickster who gets people killed, but still). But I think it’s worth pointing out that the traditional Loki is indeed a frost giant and was invited into Asgard by Odin. Anyhow, Loki’s now gotten rid of Thor and he’s sitting pretty on his throne (seriously, pretty, and bearing an eerie resemblance to figure skater Johnny Weir) and off go Thor’s friends (Lady Sif and the Warriors Three, all of whom are awesome) to find him and bring him back. Upon getting to Earth they find themselves attacked by a big metal dude sent by Loki and Thor saves a bunch of people and gets Mjolnir back and gosh there’s a lot that happens in this movie.

Because, see, after that battle, there’s even more in Asgard again, with a showdown between Loki and Thor and the breaking of the Rainbow Bridge and all. The distinct acts, the changes in location, the multiple action scenes, they all make this movie feel very full. Which is almost certainly why I thought it had to be longer than two hours. Well, that and I’m probably biased when it comes to Branagh and expect everything he does to be like his Hamlet. Anyhow, it’s not. And that amazes me. Not only is all the story and moving back and forth fit into a fairly short running time, but there’s a lot of characterization too. In my opinion, a lot of it is very elegantly done. Take Jane, for example, who gets instant backstory with a convenient change of clothes she has for Thor, left by an ex-boyfriend whose name they later use as Thor’s alias. The movie has lots of little things like that, seemingly throwaway bits and pieces that end up forming a cohesive whole.

I honestly don’t care what other people think of this movie. I found it highly entertaining, well cast, amusingly written and visually gorgeous. My only criticism is that the romance between Jane and Thor seems a little rushed. It’s not like they have a love at first sight sort of thing going, but by the end there’s a sense that this is supposed to be an epic love for the ages and there’s just not quite enough in the movie to support it. It’s entirely possible that the support ended up on the cutting room floor. But really, that’s it. That’s my only negative. Otherwise I love this movie and I think it’s more than worthy of being in the Avengers list. I do feel back for poor Clint Barton, sidelined into an uncredited (though lengthy) cameo, but them’s the breaks. At least he’s in here. And having seen it again, with the promise of Captain America in the near future, I’m absolutely pumped to see the whole team together.

September 14, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 558 – X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class – September 9th, 2011

Let me just say, this summer was pretty good for superhero movies. Or rather, it was good for Marvel superhero movies. We did go to see Green Lantern and we’ll probably buy it, but that doesn’t mean it was all that good. Poor DC. Marvel, on the other hand, had this, Captain America and Thor in theaters this summer. And we loved all three. This is the first to hit DVD, so we watched it right away. How could we not? After all, I am, first and foremost, an X-Men fan. Cap, Iron Man, they’re great and all, but I say bring on the mutants.

As I’ve said before when it comes to comic book movies, people can piss and moan all they want about continuity but it doesn’t mean a damn thing. Comic books, and Marvel in particular, have been mucking with continuity for decades. Marvel’s even numbered their various AUs and made up extra ones for kicks, like Earth-1002, where everyone’s a canine and the team is called the Rex-Dogs. I’ve mentioned before that the Summers family is a perfect example of what happens when you cross AUs, so I don’t see the big deal in changing up the specific first members of the X-Men, or having Alex Summers older than the other movie-verse versions of Scott Summers. So what you will not find in this review is a nitpick on continuity or canon. Yes, things deviate from the other movies. Emma Frost being the best example there. Yes, things deviate from the comics. No, I do not care.

I love this movie. I don’t love everything about it (and I’ll get to that) but I love a lot of it. I love seeing Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr before they became Professor X and Magneto. I love seeing the team grow and train. I love seeing little hints at the future, like General Stryker and the proto-Cerebro. I love the use of the time period for clothing styles, slang and most of all, plot. Because this movie is set in 1962, right on the cusp of the Cuban missile crisis, into which the mutants are thrown. It makes the team an integral but secret part of an event that truly happened in our own world. Really, I think the set-up for the team and the overarching plot are really nicely done, leading to a fantastic climax where not only is the team battling against what they perceive as their enemies, but also against the humans and then we get changes in loyalty too. Very nicely orchestrated.

Really though, in my heart my favorite bits of the movie are just the whole building of the team. Also, Erik and Charles. I don’t care who knows it: I honestly think this movie was Erik and Charles’ epic love story and breakup. And it’s not just me. Ian McKellan and James MacAvoy both agree, so I stand firm on this. Even if you don’t want to go with the love story aspect, they are certainly very close friends. The closest of friends. And their worldviews just aren’t compatible by the end. It’s tragic. And what I think this movie does excellently is present both sides as being potentially valid and potentially flawed. We know Magneto turns out to be “evil” later on, but the background they gave him here? It’s difficult to deny that his views are, at least in part, accurate for the world he’s lived in. Same for Charles, who has a much easier childhood and adolescence. Where this movie’s real strength is for me, is in its character arcs. Charles, Erik, Raven? They’re all given some truly good material to work with that makes what we know of their eventual futures that much more interesting.

Then too, you have the rest of the recruits. I love the recruitment montage, with Charles and Erik traveling to find mutants and make their case for joining the CIA. I love the little displays of power and quick character introductions. They’re not terribly heavy-handed but they give an idea of who’s who and who does what. And the cameo at the end of the recruitment montage? Perfect. Well played, good sirs. The recruits hanging out and goofing off together? Also fun, and a nice way to show off their powers. Training montage? Better than most montages because there are pauses for dialogue and context. I especially enjoy the interactions between Sean and Erik. They make the characters a little deeper and a little more real. And the chemistry between the various cast members is great. It seems like they had fun making the movie together, which translates well on screen.

What I find most frustrating about the movie is how piss-poorly it handles the races and genders of its characters. As ensemble casts go, it’s got a decent (but not great) assortment of genders and races. There are two women on the team, one of whom is Hispanic. One of the men is African American and while I’d love to see more diversity there I will give them credit for not having an entirely pasty white crew. The thing is, by the end? The team is Professor X and the three white recruits. Okay, one is blue by then, but he started out white. Granted, the divide between sides is made out to be very grey here and I can see how the justification might have been made for Angel switching over, I cannot for one second excuse how they handled Darwin. Okay, so you don’t want an overpowered character mucking up your main action scene. Then why introduce him in the first place? It’s not like Alex ends up being super useful (Sean’s more useful in the final battle and the poor guy gets left off every poster), so if you want to up the ante for the characters by killing off an ally, go for it. But why him?

Similarly, I totally understand Mystique’s character arc. And as an individual character, divorced from the larger cast issues, her story carries a hell of a lot of weight. To be honest, I don’t blame her one bit for leaving Charles on the beach. Charles is a privileged douche for much of the movie, spouting “mutant and proud” when it suits him but expecting his adopted sister to hide her true nature. So when she walks away, I get it and I do not question it and I think the writers gave her a wonderful arc. But taken in the larger context, when she switches sides, that makes all three female mutant characters on the “evil” side. And again, while I like the individual stories (Emma Frost being with Sebastian Shaw as part of the Hellfire Club is a wonderful little callback to the comics and Emma herself has switched sides numerous times) when put together as a whole they paint a picture full of unfortunate implications. And when you’re going to change the origin story for the team, adding in characters who weren’t there in the comics and using canon characters for new roles, you’ve really got a shitload to choose from. This particular team, with these particular issues, did not happen by accident. And it could well have been done differently.

I don’t mean to harp too much on my issues with the movie, but I feel they warrant saying. They certainly didn’t make the movie unpleasant for me to watch and I’ll gladly watch it again. And as I said, each individual choice and action makes sense on its own. They just add up to something that makes me heave a heavy sigh. But I can focus on the good and hope that future installments (or any future X-Men based movies) will handle things better. Certainly, I think this movie handled the universe better than, say, Wolverine or X3 did. I enjoy the character arcs and I like the decision to go back to the beginning and reboot the whole thing, starting a new continuity. I just wish I didn’t have anything negative to say. I wish I could applaud everything. I’ll just have to be content, for now, with applauding the majority of it.

September 9, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 508 – Captain America (1990)

Captain America (1990) – July 21st, 2011

Why yes, to celebrate the opening of the new Captain America movie we are watching something so very sub-par that I’m pretty sure it’s on a different scale entirely. We figured hey, we’re not going to be able to go to a midnight opening and we probably wouldn’t get to see it at all until Sunday, so we should do our own thing! And while we had considered watching this the day we go to see the new one, if that’s Sunday then it’s impossible. We have special plans for Sunday and the entire coming week. Because I am on vacation. And we have long movies to watch. Turns out we’re going to see the new movie on Saturday, but that decision was made after we’d put this in and the damage was done.

This is a terrible movie. The first time I watched it was for an online riff chat some of the old AOL MST3K fan community did every so often. We’d all rent the same movie, start it at the same time and gather in a chat room to make fun of it together. And all I remember about this one was that it was absolutely ridiculous. And I remembered correctly! It is ridiculous! It is a bizarre mish-mash of a movie, full of things I suspect are canon and things I am damn sure don’t even have a passing acquaintance with canon. It has a couple of decent concepts that I could have possibly gone along with, but they’re cobbled together into this mess of a movie.

First of all, I would just like to point out that the origin this movie gives the Red Skull is suspiciously similar to the one the X-Men movies have given Magneto. Except where I really think the Magneto origin is done well and I especially appreciate the expansion of it in the newest movie, this movie doesn’t bother with subtlety and therefore it sucks. I mean, yes, the Nazis were, as a party, a terrible force that destroyed so many lives it’s sickening to think about numbers. And within the party there were scientists and soldiers who did even more unspeakably horrible things. And they make really good villains for anyone to go up against in a movie because there is no question that they are Bad Guys. They’re simple and the audience will know, without a doubt, who to root against. But where Magneto’s origin gives him some depth of character because his actions are so clearly connected to his experiences as a child, in this movie the Red Skull is just a guy who was tortured by Nazis and decided to run an assassins club (which I’m sure Martin Blank would scoff at) after the war. What’s the point of giving him any sort of origin there? I’m no Cap aficionado but I did a little poking around none of the incarnations of the Red Skull seem to have this sort of origin story. And it’s a brutal one! Kid’s torn away from his family who are then all brutally murdered in front of him before he’s taken to a secret lab and experimented on.

Not that the backstory for the Red Skull never comes into play again. His initial scene with his family and the piano and all ends up being a key point in the climax. But it’s a key point that comes in unconnected to anything else in the movie between the first scene and the last. How do we make the villain panic? Make him face the trauma of his youth! What trauma? Um… family murdered by Nazis! That’s much better than actually having Captain America defeat him otherwise! And why do we need a trick to make the villain panic when we’ve got a perfectly good superhero right there? Because Cap’s never been able to defeat him before in that one time they faced off just after Cap was given all his super strengths and all before he was buried in Alaska and hibernated for thirty years. So obviously he wouldn’t be able to defeat the villain on his own! After all, why have him spend any time training or anything like that after he’s dug up and revived when we could have a montage of him traveling cross-country by freight cars set to a power ballad ostensibly about his old girlfriend?

It just feels so strange, watching this movie, realizing that some of the most ridiculous things done in it are there because of poor choices very early on in the movie. The whole traveling montage isn’t really necessary to establish that Steve Rogers still thinks his old girlfriend, Bernice, is waiting for him. It’s several minutes of power ballad lyrics about “memories of you, girl!” when something far simpler would have done just fine and that screen time could have been used to establish Captain America gearing up for facing down his hastily-established nemesis. It could have been spent on said nemesis, even! Give him something else to justify that first scene! But no. Power ballad and freight cars.

One concept I really quite liked here, but felt was absolutely horribly done, is President Kimball. Back in the day, when Steve Rogers became Captain America and first encountered the Red Skull and saved the White House from a rocket meant to destroy it, little Tom Kimball sees him and is forever transfixed by this red, white and blue clad figure with an A on his helmet. And then little Tom Kimball grows up to be the president who is then kidnapped by the Red Skull and saved by his childhood hero. I kind of like the idea that Cap returns to this one man’s life. And I like Kimball. He’s the scrappiest president ever, getting into it with his captors and stealing some acid from the lab where they’re preparing him for a brain implant that will give the Red Skull complete control over him. He pretty much frees himself, really. To be honest, Cap’s kind of useless here. His major talent is faking being carsick so he can then steal a car (he does this twice – someone, tell me this is not canon, please). The trouble is that we get a scene of Kimball as a kid, and then we get spinning newspapers and voiceovers detailing his political career and rise to the presidency. It’s not even worthy of the montage label. It’s a demi-montage. More like a scrapbook. Why spend time on that? Why not just go from the kid in Washington, catching a snapshot of Captain America saving the day, to the adult in present day Washington, looking at said snapshot? That would tell us all we need to know along with the same name for the character.

The whole movie is like this. Somewhat decent ideas played out in horrible ways, with montages and power ballads and clumsy writing. Oddly enough, once Cap and his old girlfriend’s daughter, Sharon, get to Italy, I think the movie goes a lot better. Sharon’s clearly the cleverer of the two, speaking Italian, finding information about the Red Skull’s origins, acting as a decoy for the bad guys so Cap can break into the Red Skull’s fortress. What does Captain America do? He feigns carsickness again and then scales a wall. President Kimball and Sharon, on the other hand, are breaking out of their cells and duking it out with baddies, hand to hand. But at least there are no montages. There is a piano on the outer wall of the fortress, which I remembered very clearly but had no real context for this time until hey, there it was! But really, it’s all just bizarre dressing for this sad mess of a movie. I’m not even dignifying the Red Skull’s “fiendish” plot by describing it. The movie’s ending doesn’t even really work (what, the detonator stops working if the person holding it falls down a cliff?) and neither does the rest of it.

July 21, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Captain America (1990)

July 21, 2011

Captain America (1990)

It’s probably pretty sick of me to admit that I’ve been looking forward to watching this movie for a couple months. We bought it as a kind of gag – something to watch when the new Captain America movie came out in theaters. I hadn’t ever actually seen this movie all the way through though, so the joke is somewhat on me. I had not anticipated quite how impressively bland and mediocre this movie really is.

I’ve been in the room while this was playing. It was (for some inexplicable reason) favoured by one of our co-workers at TLA for a while, so he was in the habit of putting it in the VCR there while we worked but I never paid it much mind. So I’ve seen bits and pieces of the movie, out of sequence, but I had no concept of the whole. It was probably a better way to see the film – the movie that I constructed in my imagination from the bits and pieces I saw was preferable to this jumbled mess.

I have to think that this movie was somehow influenced by the success in 1989 of Tim Burton’s Batman movie. Somebody figured they needed to act quickly to make a Marvel-based super hero movie to cash in on this huge audience for gritty dark comic book films. But make it cheap just in case the formula isn’t such a sure-fire thing. And have some comic book humor. And have some attractive women. The end result is a movie that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.

It starts out cool and gritty and dark. The Nazis in Italy in the 1930s (were there Nazis in Italy that early?) are working to perfect a formula that will make soldiers bigger, stronger and smarter. It’s not quite right yet, however, and has some unpleasant side effects. They decide to go to human trials anyhow and for their first human subject they choose a brilliant young prodigy. They recruit him to the cause by the simple method of forcing him to watch as they slaughter his family. Sure, who wouldn’t want to join them after that? So distraught is the project leader by this behavior that she defects to America.

Three years later we learn from a bit of ADR that the process has been mastered and that the Americans are ready to start human trials of their own. They have chosen for the honor a simple fellow with a slight limp (because the formula is supposed to cure ailments like polio and such) and an aw-shucks kind of wide-eyed naivete named Steve Rogers. So Steve kisses his steady girl goodbye and goes off to become a human guinea pig. Unfortunately a Nazi spy has infiltrated the secret lab (hidden under a diner) and during the experiment he shoots the scientist who had developed the super soldier serum, meaning that Steve is the only super soldier on the US payroll.

Almost immediately Steve, now dubbed Captain America is airlifted off to Nazi Germany to infiltrate a top secret missile base there. And just as quickly he proves that he’s not much of a super soldier as he gets his ass soundly kicked by his Italian counterpart – the super soldier prototype now known as the Red Skull (due to those side effects I mentioned.) The Red Skull straps Cap to a rocket aimed at the White House and is launched away. At the last possible moment Cap is able to bend the tail fin of the rocket enough to divert it so it crashes harmlessly in the frozen north somewhere, and Captain America is frozen alive.

All this is just the pre-amble to the movie though. The real film is about Captain America being defrosted in 1993 and having to cope with the much altered world he finds there. Now that sounds like it could have been a kind of groovy movie. If it had been Austin Powers. But instead the effect is that the climactic battle between good and evil happens about twenty minutes into the movie, evil resoundingly wins, and the whole rest of the film feels like an afterwards.

The only witness to the missile that almost hit the White House was a young boy who never forgot that strange man strapped to a rocket. That boy, through a montage of spinning newspapers, grows up to be Dick Jones, the slimy head of the OCP team that developed the ED-209 President of the United States. His best pal grows up to be a newspaper reporter obsessed with a conspiracy theory regarding a mysterious crime lord called the Red Skull who has been behind every major assassination in the last thirty years.

Here’s where things get a little confusing. The president is attending an environmental summit in Italy, and for some reason the Red Skull (who no longer appears red for some reason, but just looks kind of craggy) and his cabal of evil doers feel threatened by this summit, so they decide to kidnap the President and implant a brain control device of some sort so that they can rule the world. Muhahaha! Meanwhile, Red Skull sicks his psychopathic daughter and her empty eyed companions to kill the recently defrosted Captain America.

Cap is experiencing some culture shock trying to figure out the modern world. His steadfast girlfriend from the forties has moved on somewhat, getting married and having a daughter even though she still carries a torch for Steve. In a somewhat creepy move Steve promptly shacks up with his ex girlfriend’s daughter (which is somewhat okay I guess since the daughter is played by the same actress as the ex girlfriend? I don’t know.) Steve and his ex-girlfriend’s daughter promptly fly off to Italy to rescue the president (which caused Amanda to wonder where Steve got a passport on such short notice.) And over the course of another twenty minutes of faffing about the movie limps to its eventual end.

Clearly part of the problem is the conflicted nature of the movie. How can the same film have the brutal slaying of the Red Skull’s family, and the torture and murder of Steve’s old flame but at the same time contain cheesy attempts at humor like Steve’s repeated attempts to steal cars by feigning nausea. (How I wish I were kidding!) There are all these scenes in Italian with subtitles, which seems to indicate that they were attempting for a more mature audience, but then there’s the rubber American Flag outfit Cap wears that looks simply ludicrous. It’s like watching a battle of wills between studio executives who refused to relinquish power. Not good for a film.

Even worse, the title character is a pretty lame hero. This comes down partially to Matt Salinger’s portrayal. His Steve Rogers is such a big, gullible, lump of a guy that he barely seems capable of thought, much less heroism. He’s supposed to be this big super soldier but he spends the whole film lumbering around getting his ass kicked by flunkies. He doesn’t stop the missile launch. He doesn’t save his ex-girlfriend. He doesn’t even save President Kimball (the President saves himself thank you very much.) He gets shot at a lot and he throws his magic shield around, but as a super hero he leaves much to be desired.

I knew going into this movie that it wouldn’t be particularly good. That was kind of the whole point. And it’s far from the worst movie in our collection. It’s a big ugly mess though, and I found it kind of sad because there was some cool potential hidden in here. Hopefully we’ll go see the new Captain America movie in the theater on Saturday and that will help wash the memory of this one from my mind.

July 21, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 503 – Superman (1978)

Superman (1978) – July 16th, 2011

Watching this tonight I thought it was both a good thing and a bad thing that we didn’t watch it closer to Superman Returns. On one hand, that movie had some epic fail that disappointed me in a big way. On the other hand, they do seem to be meant to be part of the same general universe, so it would have been interesting to see them back to back. But we didn’t, and tonight I found myself thinking back to watching the newer movie and trying to put them together. Of course, that means taking out the sequel to this one, but that’s okay. I’ve only ever seen it in fractured bits and pieces anyhow.

This movie, on the other hand, I’ve seen several times. While Superman isn’t my favorite superhero, he is definitely an iconic one. And my mother likes Superman (she likes Green Lantern too, as I’ve mentioned, but she never really told me that until just recently) so I grew up with him as a figure I associated with heroes and comic books and capes. I even made a music video based on Superman back in high school (it was for a class) because the iconography associated with Superman and the very concept of him as a superhero are so very easily identifiable. And I think this movie is why it’s so frustrating that the new one just wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. I wanted it to hit the notes this one hit and it missed them in many places.

Now, this movie isn’t perfect, by any means. Any good nerd will tell you that the whole “reverse the Earth’s rotation” thing is ridiculous. Tonight when we were watching it Andy and I both channeled Morbo and yelled “TIME DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!” I can think of a lot of things reversing the Earth’s orbit would do, but turning back time isn’t one of them. Still, this is a comic book movie about a guy who’s “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” so I guess physics just aren’t important. Still, it bugs me. It gives me two impossible things to believe instead of one. Fortunately, aside from the ending, I very much like the movie.

This is in part an origin story for Superman, though it doesn’t linger on the origin much. We see Superman’s parents on Krypton and get a set-up for another movie with General Zod and his pals being sentenced to imprisonment in the Phantom Zone (which is different than the Death Zone or the Forbidden Zone). Then little baby Supes is tucked into a spiky ball by his parents and sent off to Earth just before Krypton shakes itself into bits, killing everyone on it. So Superman ends up on Earth, raised as a normal human by Jonathan and Martha Kent. They name him Clark and give him the somewhat confusing (to a teenager – and wouldn’t he have been an interesting addition to The Breakfast Club) message that his powers are special and he’s there on Earth to use them, but he shouldn’t use them because that’s showing off. Anyhow, after establishing Clark as a bonafide country boy who’s held back his powers for years, Jonathan dies, prompting Clark to dig up a bit of the ship he landed in and head off to build his Fortress of Solitude where he learns about his origins. And then we’re done with the origin story and it’s off to Metropolis!

Clark wastes no time becoming Superman in his off hours from his reporting job at the Daily Planet. He saves kittens and stops burglars and flirts with fellow-reporter Lois Lane. He’s got a costume and a disguise (a pair of huge glasses, a part on the other side of his head and a slouch) and he’s ready to go! Now, this is a problem I have with Superman in general and it’s a thing I actually liked about the new Green Lantern movie (yes, there was something to like there): Superhero disguises. I give Batman a pass because his mask is a full cowl and because he spends a lot of time cultivating Bruce Wayne’s persona as Not Batman. But any superhero who wears a domino mask and expects not to be identified is just fooling themselves. Superman? He’s not even wearing a mask, and no, those huge glasses don’t count. But the thing here is that Christopher Reeve was really quite good at giving Superman and Clark very different physicalities. It’s hard to hide the musculature he built for Superman’s physique but the slouch and hunch and hesitance do make quite a difference. There’s a wonderful little moment in Lois’ apartment where Clark sees himself in the mirror, takes off the glasses, draws himself up and sets his shoulders back and the change is fantastic. The best part being that the good posture and confidence just feel more natural, like that’s how he’s meant to be. And that is how Superman is supposed to be. Superman isn’t the put-on persona, Clark is. That’s fantastic and Reeve made the character and his act believable for me in that one moment.

The actual plot of this movie isn’t anything incredibly special. It’s a Lex Luthor plot to make gobs of money by buying up “worthless” real estate in the middle of California, then blowing up the San Andreas Fault to create a new coastline, making his property valuable. Gene Hackman plays a good enough Lex, though he never really seems to get his teeth into the plot. He makes a good baddie and I enjoy his underground lair quite a bit. It just seems as though the real meat of the movie isn’t Superman facing off against Lex and his hijacked missiles, it’s Superman and Lois, because there’s a lot more time spent on that. And I’ve got to say, Superman, Clark, Kal-El, dude, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot being all charm as Superman. Anyhow, looking at this movie critically, the plots seem a little out of balance. But for some reason it all hangs together for me. Maybe it’s Reeve. Maybe it’s Margot Kidder as Lois (whom I love in this movie – her reaction expressions are fantastic). I’m not sure. I just know that despite the movie’s flaws I enjoy watching it. It’s fun and it doesn’t make me snarly and it certainly sets up Superman as a fantastic hero with some definite weaknesses and I like that.

July 16, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Superman (1978)

July 16, 2011

Superman (1978)

My recollection is that I saw this movie sometime around my seventh birthday. At the Pi Alley theater in Boston. I was probably just a little bit young to appreciate it at the time. I knew, of course, who Superman was, because what kid doesn’t? I did not know who Marlon Brando was or that it was a big deal to have a legitimate actor playing Superman’s father. For a seven year old it’s not such a big deal to see Superman flying around, that’s just what he does after all.

As I view it now, more than thirty years later, I see it as a conflicted movie that does a lot of fantastic world building and legitimizes Superman, making him believable on the big screen, but which cannot escape from a cartoonish feel in places and which doesn’t seem able to figure out what to do with Superman once it has established him as a character.

What this movie does best is laying out the origins of Superman. There’s a lengthy part at the beginning that takes place on the doomed planet of Krypton with Marlon Brando as Jor-El the prominent scientist who realises that his planet will explode in just a very few hours. This is by far my favorite part of the movie. It is great science fiction with huge alien vistas, completely foreign technology, and not a single moment of camp or comedy. Sadly, however, it can’t last forever. Jor-El puts his young son Kal-El in a spiny little spacecraft and sends him off to Earth, where he should be safe.

Kal-El crashlands in a cornfield in Iowa where the Kents, a kindly childless couple, find him. They name this strangely strong alien child Clark and raise him as their own. Here the move does something else kind of cool. Clark very clearly grows up in the fifties. This makes sense for the character of Superman – he’s such a hopelessly optimistic guy with slightly out-dated morals. (The actual character of Superman, as we learned when we watched Secret Origins, was created in the forties prior to US involvement in World War II.) When Clark reaches a point in his teenaged years where he wants answers he finds himself compelled to go north into the arctic wastes, where he builds the Fortress of Solitude and actually departs Earth for a quick lesson from the recorded memories of his father that apparently takes him away from Earth. This explains why, when the bumbling Clark Kent shows up in Metropolis in the modern day (well the nineteen seventies) he still has that corn-fed out-of-touch naivete. Lois Lane actually comments on his peculiar use of the word “swell.”

I love all this. I absolutely love Christopher Reeve as Superman – he was Superman through my young life and it’s hard to imagine anybody else in the role. He also does a great job as the awkward, stuttering, slightly dim Clark Kent. Where the movie begins to lose me is with Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor with his bumbling sidekick Otis and his moll Ms. Teschmacher. The movie has done such a good job of making a comic book superhero believable that when his nemesis turns out to be a campy all-for-laughs blowhard it somewhat deflates the movie. Then things get even more muddy with the movie’s famously unlikely ending.

In the final moments of the movie, after Superman has dashed all over the place saving the world (or at least the state of California) he finds that he was unable to save Lois. In his grief he flies so quickly around the Earth that he is able to reverse the direction it spins on its axis, thereby reversing time. Now nevermind the fact that spinning the Earth back does not reverse Newton’s arrow – what most irritates me about this ending is that it gives Superman a new power, and an outrageously powerful one at that. He’s already got flight, speed, strength, invulnerability, super breath, heat vision and x-ray eyes – now you’re going to let him be a time traveler too? It’s just plain stupid. You do not make Superman more interesting by giving him extra abilities – you make him more interesting by exploring his human and inhuman nature. At least that’s my feeling.

I really like some things about this movie. It’s also in many ways the grand-dad of comic book super hero movies, decades before the fad really took root. Still, it disappoints me in other ways, and I can’t help feeling that even after all these years I still haven’t seen a Superman movie that completely works. Maybe the next one will capture that elusive spark, or maybe Superman is just too powerful a character to ever work in the silver screen. Who can say?

July 16, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

Blade Trinity

July 3, 2011

Blade Trinity

I haven’t seen this movie all the way through. I don’t recall exactly why. I bought it years ago and started to watch it at one point, probably some evening when I had the night off, but I only got about a half hour in. As we started watching tonight I was somewhat concerned that after the last two nights I would be somewhat Bladed out. Although I enjoyed Blade II with its cool look and slick action the actual plot and characters felt tired to me (maybe because the same plot was done better with Underworld.) So my vague memories of not having been able to finish watching this movie with my Blade fatigue gave me pretty low expectations. As a result I was actually pretty surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie.

What’s odd about this movie is the way it attempts to blend irreverent humor and serious dark happenings in the Blade universe. The plot starts out fairly grim. The vampires, unable to defeat Blade on their own, have started a public relations effort to discredit him. They set him up to be captured on film staking a human familiar so they can characterize him as a delusional psychopathic killer and enlist the help of the FBI in capturing him. Very shortly they do go after Blade, with the help of a vast SWAT team. Whistler bravely goes about erasing all the incriminating evidence on every computer in the lair (which for some reason makes the computers explode) and ultimately blows up the entire warehouse, giving his life in the process, in an attempt to give Blade time to escape. Blade does not escape, though. Faced with the death (again) of his partner, mentor and father figure Blade is paralyzed with rage and is quickly surrounded and captured.

Of course it turns out that some of the police holding Blade in captivity are vampire familiars (including an unnecessary criminal psychologist who I think is supposed to be a reference to the psychiatrist in Miller’s Dark Knight Returns.) Several vampires turn up in the interrogation room with the intent of dragging Blade off to their base for no purpose that is made clear. (To torture him? To dissect him? It doesn’t really matter I suppose.) At the last minute Blade is rescued by Whistler’s vampire-hunter daughter Abigail and her wisecracking pal Hannibal King. Here the dark tone of the movie starts to clash with its more upbeat and comic-bookish underpinnings.

What’s strange is that the movie is so self-aware about its uneven tone. Most of the levity comes in the form of Ryan Reynolds – comic book movie superstar – as King. He and Abby belong to a kind of amateur vampire hunter club that call themselves the “Nightstalkers.” If that sounds like something out of a comic book that’s because it is. King makes many cracks about how juvenile he knows his group must sound to the legendary vampire hunter Blade, but that doesn’t stop him from giving goofy names to their ammunition and team mates. Indeed King, as with many of the characters played by Reynolds, seems incapable of taking anything seriously. This is a strange contrast in this particular movie which is generally gritty and dark, and even clashes with the details of his own past – him having once been a vampire himself before being cured. On the other hand I have to admit that as much as he doesn’t fit into the movie King is my favorite part of it. Without him it would be unceasingly downbeat what with Whistler’s death, Blade’s capture, the return of Dracula (who like Blade can tolerate sunlight) and the eventual invasion by Dracula of the Nightstalker base of operations. I don’t think that I would have wanted to watch this movie without King in it.

As Abigail we have the very capable Jessica Beil, who we have more recently watched in The Illusionist. She kicks all kinds of vampire ass from the very start of the movie using her recombinant bow and “UV Arc” lightsaber. Speaking of which, I have to say that the Nightstalkers do have all the coolest toys. Their armaments may have goofy names (thanks to King) but that doesn’t stop them from being cool as all get out. I can see why the producers of this movie thought they might be able to create a spin-off franchise from the Nightstalkers.

In general I have to say that I really enjoyed this movie. it doesn’t have the visual flare of the second movie. it doesn’t have the same level of fantastic fight choreography and hip direction as the first movie. But it has its own style, and it has an awful lot of Ryan Reynolds. That pretty much works for me. It’s a shallow, simple, popcorn action flick – which is just fine and was more than I was expecting when I put it in.

July 3, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 489 – Blade II

Blade II – July 2nd, 2011

In his review Andy will be talking about how we first saw this movie. Suffice it to say we saw the ending twice, which wasn’t really as much of a spoiler as you might think. I mean, you know a particular character dies, but it’s sort of like reading the very last page of a mystery novel. You might get something, but the context is missing and therefore it means almost nothing. And besides, the end of the movie wasn’t what I was looking forward to when we first saw it. After the opening of the first movie I was hoping for something spectacular in the second. Alas. It’s just never going to be as good.

This movie opens with a good introduction for our villain, but it’s just not the same sort of visceral intro to the whole movie. Sure, we pick up on the whole vampires-run-blood-banks concept and then meet a grotesque new breed of bloodsucker who can open his jaw from the center and use tongue tentacles to subdue his victims, but it just doesn’t grab me. There’s less of a sense of “this is going to be bloody fun” here and more of a sense of “this is going to be bloody.” And it will be! There’s plenty of blood in this movie, thank goodness, but it’s not shooting out of sprinklers or anything. And some of it’s green, which confuses the heck out of me (there’s a bit in the trivia about the new vampire breed having green blood but theirs is clear and the vampire lord at the end has green) but I’ll run with it. After all, the movie is also giving me more of Blade being a tidy bad-ass and another kick ass female lead.

The movie begins with Blade retrieving Whistler from a vampire safehouse. He’s half-turned and being stored in a vat of blood, which seems really unpleasant but hey, I’m not a vampire. It’s been two years, according to Blade and he has a new assistant: Scud, who’s a young man who likes loud music, cartoons and tinkering with mechanical things. Soon after he and Whistler butt heads a team of vampires breaches Blade’s security and shows up to deliver a message asking for Blade’s help. Seems the new baddie we saw at the beginning is feeding on vampires and turning them into feral versions of himself and they’re extending a truce offer to Blade so he’ll help them take out this new threat. And to help with this task they offer him the strike team that’s been training to take him down. Obviously this is an uneasy sort of group.

I do like the dynamics here. Blade is obviously our hero and he doesn’t like vampires. But then he gets a whole team of vampires to work with and they’re not the bad guys we’re worried about but they’re clearly not the good guys either. Still, a few of them seem to have some honor to them, which makes the vampires as a whole group deeper and more interesting to me. It was true of the first movie too – not all of them were interested in hunting down Blade or expending their resources on things like blood rituals – but this movie gives us a whole cast of vampires to meet. Not all of them are that interesting and they fill somewhat expected roles. There’s the Asian vampire who’s a kickass martial artist and there’s a petite punk pixie vampire with bright red hair who hangs off of her big strong tattooed boyfriend and there’s another tank and one of them is Irish and eh, it’s not that I’m so much invested in their individual characters as that I like that we’re shown a variety here (and when the tattooed boyfriend gets turned into the new type of baddie the punk pixie sacrifices herself to take him out – well played there).

Out of the whole crew there are two real standouts: Reinhardt and Nyssa. Reinhardt is played by Ron Perlman and okay, I love Ron Perlman so that’s a huge plus. But he also plays a good foil for Blade. Because no, this team is not going to be best buds with the man they’ve been planning on hunting down, even if they do have to work with him. Reinhardt sneers and snarls and is generally so not on board with this whole working-with-Blade idea but Blade sticks a bomb on the back of his head early on, so he kind of has no choice in the matter. Nyssa, on the other hand, is the daughter of the vampire lord who’s looking for Blade’s help. She’s got a nobility to her and I really quite like Leonor Varela’s performance of her. She’s smart, she’s fast, she’s skilled with weapons and she’s got a sense of honor and a code of ethics that put her people first and foremost in her priorities. And if working with Blade means she’s going to be able to stop a threat to her people then so be it. And she’s able to respect him and gain his respect in turn.

Again, this movie doesn’t really set up a romance. There’s a little something between Nyssa and Blade, but I’ve always seen it more as camaraderie than romance. Because again, Blade isn’t looking for a relationship and again, the female lead in the movie has better things to do than sit around and pine for a man who’s thoroughly unavailable. Where last night we had Action Hematology, tonight we just have plain old action. And it’s good action. Sure, some of the larger fight scenes suffer from the typical issue of there being a mob and they attack the hero one by one instead of, you know, ganging up on him. But at the same time the real baddies, the Reapers, mob everyone. So I’ll give the movie a bit of a pass on that. Maybe regular vampires have a thing about fights. Anyhow, the team heads down to track the Reapers, end up getting overwhelmed and then surprise! It was all a plot by the vampire lord in the first place!

Now, here is my only real issue with the movie. There are two traitors in among the people Blade works with throughout the movie. One of them? Fine, no problem. He doesn’t get much in terms of screen time away from Blade or Whistler so he’s clearly always acting. The other? Well, much as I like him, I don’t know if he was written convincingly as a traitor. He gets a good deal of screen time away from Blade and with other people and his interactions with them just don’t work for me. I can’t put my finger on it. There’s no one specific line that stands out to me. It’s just that when you find out that he’s been leading Blade on the whole time? It seems like there are things that should have been written differently. Like you should be able to look back at everything he did and said and see how it was leading to where the vampire lord wanted it to lead. And it doesn’t. Oh well. That’s really my only complaint here. It doesn’t start on as high a note as the first movie but it’s still fun and it’s still got some good characters and a strong female lead and lots of blood and a few more twists than the first one and a well developed villain concept. Not to mention a call-forward to Hellboy. So that’s a cool bonus too.

July 2, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment