Rambling Review: Logan

Logan3I haven’t done a review in ages!  And instead of being overly late to the party (like I usually am), as this movie is still in theaters, I thought I’d give this one a shout out.

I try my best to only watch a trailer or two of any film I’m interested in seeing.  I don’t read other reviews, I don’t seek out spoilery information, and I try to ignore social media posts (which is almost a permanent state at this point, as I’m always behind in everything), so I didn’t know too much about what to expect from this movie before viewing it.

I haven’t finished the Wolverine film series, or even the newer X-Men films, so I’m uncertain to any tie-ins, but this definitely felt like a stand alone film and didn’t require much explanation as to what had been happening up to this point.

Side note, I went to see this by myself.  I like going to the movies once in a while on my own, but clearly this was a shock to the two men seated near me.  “You’re here alone?” One of them asked.  “Yes.”  I responded.  “You came to see Logan by yourself?”  “Yep.”  I heard him sort of huff in surprise.  I didn’t pay enough attention to the accent to narrow down where they were from, but clearly this was a strange idea to them.  I’m not sure if it was because I was lone woman, or because I was a lone woman at a superhero movie.

At the conclusion, he asked if I liked it.  Yes.  Yes, I did.

*I like to write reviews as if I were talking with a friend, so I try my best to keep them spoiler free. 🙂

Logan2

As I said, I didn’t know much about the film before entering the theater.  The fantastic pairing of Johnny Cash on the trailer was enough to spark my interest, especially with Logan looking so weathered and forlorn.  He looked like a man whose age had finally caught up with him; a man who has seen a great deal and lost just as much.

The film is set in the not too distant future, and we’re introduced to a Logan who is clearly unwell, whose claws are getting a little rusty, has a limp, and is drinking himself into oblivion.  The strong warrior doesn’t appear to have much fight left in him, and becomes a reluctant protector of a young girl with similar powers.  And I do mean reluctant.

Mutants have gone the way of the dinosaur, and Logan is looking out for himself and the Professor, who is now in his 90s and unable to control his powers due to seizures.  Apparently there was an incident that killed a number of people and mutants in the recent past, and Logan is doing his best to keep him safe and protected.  He just wants to earn enough money to buy a boat and escape to a quiet life – enter the bad guys who think they’re good guys.

There’s been a secret project going on for years, because there’s always a secret project, and when the lab rats get loose, the big guns come out in force to clean up their mistake.  And do they ever come out in force.  There are loads of great fight sequences – Logan’s claws are still as sharp as ever, and we discover, so are the little girl’s, and she’s a dangerous little thing.

The movie is about both a literal and figurative “journey”.  Logan has lost everyone he’s ever cared about, save Charles, and he doesn’t want to care about anyone else, no matter how she might tug at the ol’ heart strings.  He’s not who he once was, and he’s not who everyone wants him to be, he’s just…tired, of it all.

The film took some unexpected turns, but honestly, they felt right.  It wasn’t a traditional spandex-clad superhero film, and I think that’s what I liked best.  It was a more “reality” based look at an old hero and what they, or any of us, are willing to fight for.

There was one aspect of the storyline that I felt was a little forced in, and a cliche of sorts – the whole white hats vs black hats kind of thing, facing yourself, and your past, but as parallels go, it wasn’t too bad.  *This one is hard to go into too much explanation without being spoilery. 

This is my second favorite X-Men film, after the first one back in 2000, and probably number 6 on my top 10 of superhero movies.  It wasn’t what I was expecting, and that was a good thing.  All the X-Men movies of late have not inspired me to care about any of these characters I once liked.  Remember the X-Men cartoon?  The writers, directors, etc. really should have taken a note from their predecessors.

You don’t have to be a superhero fan to enjoy this film.  It’s a tale we’re all familiar with, it just happens to be “enhanced”. 😉

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If you’ve seen Logan, what did you think?

A Discrepant Writer Reviews: Suicide Squad

I’m breaking from routine this week.  It’s time to mix up the schedule, so for today, I thought I would do a review…I’m really, really behind in those.  I mean, I never even talked about Star Wars.  Who am I?

As always, I will do my best to keep my review “spoiler free”.

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I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that DC is trying to play catch up with Marvel.  Marvel has been interweaving their stories since day one and while not all the movies they put out are stellar, they’ve put out a few great ones and their story telling only continues to get better.  From what I’ve seen so far of the DC cinematic world, the same cannot be said.

Suicide Squad, on initial inspection, sounded like an interesting premise: gather together some of the comic world’s worst and let them do something good knowing that if it all goes wrong they’re the perfect scapegoats.

First of all, there are so. many. characters, and for some reason, we needed the backstory of each one.  Actually, no, we didn’t.  As a writer, I’ve learned that when introducing a group, you should find an interesting way to do it, so it sets them all up with their individual character traits and personalities, and doesn’t waste too much time.  This did not happen in Suicide Squad.

I wish I would have timed it, but I felt the set up for all these characters was somewhere in the 45 mins range.  Way too long.  And a lot of their backgrounds could have easily been summed up in a line of dialogue.  With stories of this genre, and with a lot of side characters, I don’t feel that full histories are necessary because we don’t need to emotionally connect with each person on screen.  Besides, the movie is only two hours long.

Then there was the plot, or lack there of.  What a convoluted mess.  Honestly, I felt that the director was having so much fun showing off his cast and special effects that he forgot they were supposed to be doing something – the mission – which, again, was all over the place.  With a comic book history that spans 75 years, there are a number of topics to choose from, and yet this is where they really fell flat.

harleyThe one redeeming thing in the whole movie: Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.  Besides being absolutely gorgeous, her sweet-crazy performance was the highlight of the film, in addition to the very few interactions we got with Jared Leto’s Joker.  Long time comic book fans are well aware of the twisted relationship they share, and considering the information of how much footage was shot of the two, I think most movie goers were surprised/disappointed with the less than 10 mins that actually appeared in the film.

This is probably because they were trying to make leads of all their characters, and now this is why so many fans are calling for a Harley/Joker film with these two actors reprising the roles.  They were fun to watch.

2stars

Sadly, this film was an overall disappointment.  It had its moments of comedy, but they were few and far between.  Comic books are fun, and yes, they often deal with real world problems, but the characters that are coming to save the day wear tights and capes.  Regardless of wanting these stories to feel “real” with a darker side, they should maintain their levity and fun.

Well, that’s my take any way.  If you saw the film, what did you think?

A Rambling Review of Captain America: Civil War

I’m going to switch things up a bit this week.  No Quote Monday or Quote Monday on a Tuesday.  Nope, it’s movie review time!

As you may have noticed, I still have yet to post a review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Deadpool, among so many others, and there are a handful in the draft stage just waiting to be revisited.  I’ll get to them eventually…

Civil War

Because you know I have to talk about Captain America: Civil War (or Avengers Part 3).  Don’t worry, it’s spoiler free!

For months I’ve avoided most of the buzz in order to keep the mystery alive when the film finally came out.  Most of you know I’m Team Cap – here’s a little refresher as to why.  If you haven’t seen Captain America: Winter Soldier, here’s my ramble on that great movie.  It ranks among my top five in the superhero genre, and I think Civil War may have just joined its ranks…so which one gets the boot then…?

In today’s social media driven world, it’s hard to remain naive to story developments and spoilers unless you’re like me – dedicated to the ignorance.  I have to avert my eyes on so many things, because as you all know, I’m always behind.  It’s difficult sometimes and exhausting to almost always be on the outside, but it usually pays off.

It boils down to this – I don’t want my movie going experience to be ruined, and this harkens back to the time when I was a kid and all these devices of inundation had yet to be invented.

I didn’t know the actual premise of the movie, because the storylines of some of the movies versus the original comic book series have been altered.  There were great memes of why Steve Rogers and Tony Stark might be at war, like this gem:

CivilWarMeme

But the actual storyline is much more interesting, obviously, because in the continuing Captain America theme, it deals with the current political climate.  After all the recent damage done by the Avengers while they’ve been trying to stop alien attacks and Hydra infiltration and global extermination, some people feel that they don’t care about what they leave behind, the collateral damage.

There’s no accountability, and the U.N. is calling for oversight by way of the Sokovia Accords – a document that requires the signatures of all the Avengers to comply with a U.N. council that will determine when and where they are needed.  Those who don’t sign will forcibly be “retired”.

Captain America and Iron Man have differing views on this topic, and for good reason, which leads to their falling out.  Another touchy subject, and a running theme, is what to do with Cap’s best friend, Bucky aka The Winter Soldier.  Oh, Buck Buck.

I like Iron Man a great deal.  It was his first movie that paved the way for all the subsequent films, and the first Iron Man is still one of my favorites, but I’m a Cap girl, all the way.  It’s easy to side with either man in this film, but my solution would be to find some middle ground, but as you might suspect, there’s more going on then just this document to fuel such a division in our team.

I squealed in both delight and fear during the trailer of Cap, Bucky, and Iron Man fighting.

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A great scene by the way, even if I felt it was a little unsportsmanlike, but again, there’s good reason.

Marvel has done an excellent job of weaving their universe through their films and Civil War is no different.  As most of you fellow geeks already know, Suicide Squad (which arrives in August), Black Panther, and yes, another Spiderman movie are all on their way and get a little peek in Civil War.

Overall, a wonderful film that brings to a head all the previous movies and their consequences.  I can’t wait to see what else the MCU has in store for us!

5stars

I’m already planning on when to see this again, in part because apparently only one other person, besides me, laughed at something and I can’t remember what it was.  The Sis and our friend both laughed at me afterwards as they reminded me of this, thinking that apparently the joke was meant for people of a certain age.  Sheesh.  A side note for those of you over a “certain age” and know of the RDJ film Only You, you’ll find a little nod to that movie as well.

And remember to stay for the credits, not only to pay homage all those hard working men and women who remain unseen, but also for the easter eggs.  I’m still surprised by the amount of people who leave the theater after all this time.

Have fun at the movies!

A Discrepant Writer Reviews: Crimson Peak

CrimsonPeakIn the spirit of Halloween, The Sis and I decided to spend an evening enjoying, what I hoped would be a wonderful and spooky tale by Guillermo del Toro, with the always lovely Tom Hiddleston.  Those two creating a period piece – I’m in!

((sigh))  Oh, Crimson Peak.  Yep, you guessed it.  It was not all I hoped it would be.

*I will do my best to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, because as you know, I am usually behind, so by the time I get to a review, I’m pretty sure you’ve all seen it anyway.

I had been looking forward to this film for months.  Del Toro has an interesting vision in all his work, so I expected a great deal more from him.  I like the phrase “left wanting” and that is the exact phrase to describe my feelings.  The storyline was predictable, and as I sat in the movie theater, I felt sort of bored.

I couldn’t believe it either.

Here’s a quick synopsis: Young rich girl, Edith (MiaWasikowska) marries mysterious poor noble, Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and moves into his haunted mansion with his strange sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain).

That’s the best I can do without giving too much away.  The film is classified as a gothic romance which is true.  It’s a mystery in a haunted grand estate that has fallen into shambles, but the plot is a thinly veiled nod to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  Even one of Jane Eyre’s best pieces of dialogue between Mr. Rochester and Jane has been slightly altered and injected into the film.  In both stories it’s a beautiful moment of the man declaring his feelings, that the string that binds their hearts together may be able to stretch across an ocean should they be parted, but it is also a bit manipulative on his part to force a declaration from the younger, naive woman.

For me, as a gothic romance, there should be an element of longing.  Stories such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and even Dracula have a strong longing between characters.  There are a number of obstacles such as social rank, separation, marriage, and even death to create this sense of longing, and that was missing in Crimson Peak.

CPinteriorWhat it did do, spot on, in fact, was the visual aesthetic.  The amazing house, which is the true star of the film, is situated on this desolate spot of land above a red clay quarry.  The clay bleeds into the earth above, hence the title.  A hole in the ceiling allows for leaves (from absent trees) and snow to drift in which creates a wonderful cinematic image, and the costumes are beautiful, even if sometimes I felt they were time period inappropriate.  *Side note, Tom Hiddleston was born to wear a suit, no matter the year.

What it is not is a horror film.  I’m pretty sure I remember Stephen King commenting on how scary it was, but it’s not.  At all.  And this is coming from a scaredy cat.  I don’t like horror movies in general, so I was predisposed to being scared by this film and then wasn’t.  A little heart palpitation now and again is good for you, or so I’ve heard, so I was looking forward to hiding behind my hands.  I didn’t.

I felt the movie took too long to set up the story.  There was too much backstory of Edith wanting to be a writer and frivolous side pieces that took away from the rest of the story.  This made me feel that some of the story was left undeveloped, and left other story ideas confusing instead of what they were hoping would be thought of as mysterious.  And then there was the plot twist.  You could see it coming from a mile away, and that’s why I think I was bored.  I knew what was coming long before it ever got there.

2stars

I know I had high standards for this film (because it was one I actually wanted to see by artists I know do great work), and that’s in part because I’ve been disappointed quite a bit recently, and I expected more from this team.  I can’t recall a movie I’ve loved in a long time, and that saddens me.  I want to be a part of this industry, and I feel less inclined to go to the movies each year.  Well, I suppose that means I’ll just have to dig deeper and write something that’ll blow their socks off!

Well, those are my thoughts.  If you saw Crimson Peak, what did you think?