Movie Review – Incredibles 2

Pixar is known for their genius in telling stories that appeal to adults as much as kids. Incredibles 2 is no exception.

As with every sequel, the question is: was it as good as the first? I’d say, “Close, but not quite.” Which is a compliment considering how good the original was.

I don’t think it was as funny. Not just me, but my five year old niece watched the first Incredibles (for the dozenth time) last night and she laughed repeatedly. She sat right next to me while I did the Peetimes for Incredibles 2 and I didn’t hear her laugh nearly as many times. (There’s never been a better litmus test.)

This is a long movie for kids. It’s two hours long from opening to end credits, not including the seven minute animated short.

Speaking of which, what was up with that animated short? I don’t know about you, but that didn’t seem appropriate for kids at all. Personally, I’d say that short is an excellent time to duck out and make a last run to the restroom or concessions before the movie starts.

Grade: B+

Peetime Meta
Important: if you use the Timer, make sure you start it after the animated 7 minute short. We do not include this cartoon in the runtime.

I would recommend the last Peetime. It’s the longest and doesn’t involve any action, or much humor. The other two Peetimes are good, but fairly short.

Personally, if you have small kids, I would highly recommend taking them to the restroom during the short cartoon before the movie. It has nothing to do with the film, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for kids. My 5 year old niece was shocked and didn’t get it.

Movie Review – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has all the tense action and one liners you would expect based off the history of the franchise. But I hope you don’t expect anything more than a template of a story to support it.

The first hour of this movie plays like it was written with some basic storytelling application. I can just see the “writer” selecting: Insert > Character > Friendly but ultimately untrustworthy, or Layout > Impending Disaster > Volcano, from the menu system and then accepting all the defaults. It’s that genetic… I mean generic. 🙂

At least Chris Pratt delivers his usual entertaining performance. Mainly because he’s the only interesting character in the movie.

The good news is that my 5 year old niece was enthralled with the movie, particularly with Blue. I’m pretty sure she thinks Blue is the main character in the story.

I could go on and on with the many ways that JW:FK fails, but instead I made that a separate post, full of spoilers, so read the link below if you care. (Suggestion: if you finish the movie and enjoyed it then don’t read my evisceration of a review below. I don’t want to ruin it for you. But if you, like myself, were disappointed, it might be worth your time.)

Grade: C-

Jurassic World: Missed Opportunities

Jurassic Movies Review and Rewatch Page on RunPee.com (link to be added soon)

Movie Review – Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2. Funny?

Without question.

As funny as the first?

Close, but not quite… Okay, now that I think about it, yeah, it was as funny as the first.

Deadpool 2. Great action?

Absolutely.

Was the action as good as the first?

Nope.

This has hardly a knock on the movie. The first Deadpool was fantastic, A-grade material, from start to finish. DP2 coming close is still a great compliment.

What DP2 has over the original is the impressive list of cameos. I don’t want to give it away here, in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, so I’ll put that at the very bottom in case you’re interested.

One thing I did notice however was that the sound was a little muffled. I don’t think it was the theater because it’s an IMAX theater I’ve been to many times. There were a number of lines that just felt swallowed up and I couldn’t catch them.

Grade: B+

Scroll down for the notable cameos…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Pitt as Vanisher
Terry Crews as Bedlam
Matt Damon as Redneck #1
Alan Tudyk as Redneck #2
Nicholas Hoult as Beast (uncredited)
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (uncredited)
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier (uncredited)
Evan Peters as Quicksilver (uncredited)
Tye Sheridan as Cyclops (uncredited)

Movie Review – Breaking In

[Note: Review written by RunPee volunteer Shani Ogilvie]

I think this movie was better than I expected it to be. Gabrielle Union, and most of the cast, had good acting.

I like how the movie didn’t waste time getting to the point. It had unexpected plots twists and wasn’t that predictable.

Though I appreciate the movie being reflective of the trailers, I wish they had given more of a backstory to the burglars. However, I still think the movie was good, even without it.

I do commend Gabrielle Union for being barefoot throughout most of the movie. Also, her endurance and strength in some of the scenes makes me want to start working out more and building up my own strength.

Grade: B

Alternate Avengers 2 & 3 story

[Note: this is an alternate plot to the Ultron/Thanos storyline; a different version of Avengers 2 and 3. Play along! However, I wouldn’t suggest reading this until after you have seen Infinity War, or it won’t make sense.]

So. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Infinity War (Avengers 3). Even though it left me numb from the action and deaths in the final moments, it did convey a sense of urgency rarely achieved in superhero films. I gave Infinity War a super rare A+, after all.

But — hey — just for fun, let me suggest another possibility for how the story of Ultron and Thanos could have played out.

Suppose Thanos appears in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and his plot to wipe out half of the sentient beings in the universe is discovered. The Avengers realize they are powerless to stop Thanos, so Stark pulls out his secret, powerful trump card: Ultron. After much debate, the Avengers agree and Ultron is created. All seems right with the world. Ultron evolves at an astounding rate and seems to be the force they need to contain Thanos.

However, eventually Ultron realizes that Thanos is only half right. He sees all biological life as a blight on the universe, and the next logical step is the perfection of existence: himself. (Basically, the idea Ego has in Guardians 2, but more so.)

Once the Avengers catch wind of Ultron’s motivation, they feel all hope is lost. Now they face TWO seemingly unstoppable foes. One who wants to wipe out half the life in the universe, and the other wanting to wipe out all life in the universe.

Once Thanos discovers this, he approaches the Avengers. As we now know, Thanos doesn’t think of himself as a destroyer, but as a savior. He wants to make the universe better. So he teams up with the Avengers to defeat Ultron and achieve his aims.

After barely defeating Ultron, the Avengers set upon stopping Thanos again…but now, Thanos is weakened from his battle with Ultron. The Avengers are — barely — able to defeat him, teaming their skills together (as we see in Infinity War).

Of course, along the way, we still wipe out a sizable portion of the Avengers cast, which feels necessary at this point in our decade-long franchise culmination.

What do you think? How would you like to see the story played out?

Infinity War: what does the post credit scene mean?

Major spoilers. Do not read until AFTER you see Infinity War.

What happens
In the post-credits scene, Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders are alerted of the attack on Wakanda. While they’re gathering information, a car crashes in front of them. They check the car and they realize no one is driving it.

Seconds later, Hill is vaporized, to Fury’s horror.

We know that this is the effect of Thanos eliminating half of humanity — but Fury doesn’t know that. As he begins to vaporize into nothingness, he manages to fire off one last message on, what looks like, an antiquated communications device. After vaporizing, the camera zooms in on the device. It has a star-shaped logo and shows confirmation that his message was received.

What it means

The message was being sent to  Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel.

If you don’t know her already, you’re going to hear plenty in the coming year. She is the ultimate Avenger. Her power is, as some have described, the sum of all the other Avengers combined, and then multiplied.

She gets her own origin story movie (starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers) , set in the 1990s, on March 6, 2019, when Captain Marvel hits theaters.

Presumably Captain Marvel will be set up to be introduced to the Avengers in the yet unnamed Avengers 4, which comes out about 2 months later. The onscreen text following the extra scene promised that “Thanos will return.” 

If you’re a big fan of Spiderman, Black Panther, et al., then don’t worry. They’re dead, but not dead-dead. We already know that there is a scheduled Spiderman Homecoming sequel set for 2020 and a Guardians 3 as well.

The story isn’t over.


Avengers t-shirt

LEGO Super Heroes the Hulkbuster Smash-up

Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

[No Spoilers]

I have to hand it to the MCU creative team. They delivered an epic.

Step back and think about that for a second. The lead up to this movie was 10 years in the making; it has a cast of characters that sprawls for pages, yet we know every one of them better than we know many of our own family.

There are 19 movies in the MCU, and not one of them is bad. Sure, some weren’t great, but I never left the theater disappointed. That alone is astonishing. In what universe would you expect anyone to create 19 movies and not a one of them sucked? No one else has come close to trying this level of epicness, let alone succeeding.

Any complaints about Infinity War has to be tagged in the category of nit-picking — which I will gladly do below.

I really enjoyed the pairings in Infinity War. Of course, there are way too many characters to throw into one big dynamic. The way they are split up and then brought together was perfect. A lot of credit has to be given to the editor/directors for putting this sprawling story together in such a way that it’s easy to follow. The movie changes gears between groups seamlessly and keeps the tension building with each scene jump.

Grade: A+

[Mild spoilers below]

Here’s the only thing I can find to nit-pick on: the continuity of power. By that I mean: how strong/weak is a character and their powers in the evolution of the story?

The two clearest examples are of Captain America and Vision. Captain is nothing more than a super human, but human nonetheless. When he holds Thanos to a standoff, for a brief moment, even Thanos is surprised. But in the reality of the MCU, there’s just no way. Thanos beat the Hulk into submission. Captain America couldn’t clip Thanos’ fingernails.

On the flip side, Vision got whipped in every altercation. He’s made of vibranium. How’s that work? In my book, the only character who should come close to containing Vision is Thanos himself. Any other foe should melt before him.

I won’t deny that this is a difficult task for the creative team to manage. They want to deliver epic  moments; moments when we see a character rise above expectations: such as Captain holding off Thanos.

And, immensely powerful characters must have a weakness that can be exploited, otherwise there’s no story. It would be awesome, but ultimately underwhelming, if Vision just rips the Infinity Gauntlet off Thanos’ hand and then uses it to beat him senseless.

It is exceedingly rare to see a story remain consistent throughout. Good guys can’t miss and bad guys can’t hit water standing in a boat; good guys can take a beating; bad guys get shot in the shoulder and fall down to die, silently.

All I can say is when this rule is violated, at least make it worth it. So here again, the creative team can’t be faulted too much, because they cashed in on every scene where a character rose above their abilities.

[Big Spoilers Below]

 

 

 

 

Well now what? Practically everyone is dead, but we know that’s not how the story ends because there’s a Spiderman Homecoming sequel planned for 2020 and so forth. How do they get out of this mess? In March 2019 there’s the origin story of Captain Marvel,Marvel,  to be followed by the Unnamed Avengers movie two months later. From what I’ve read, Captain Marvel’s origin story takes place in the 1990s, so we’re going back in time to find out about her, and then come back to the present to figure out how she’s going to back things up and fix them two months later.

The anticipation surrounding Infinity War is going to pale in comparison to what the next two movies will bring.


Avengers t-shirt

LEGO Super Heroes the Hulkbuster Smash-up

Movie Review – Super Troopers 2

This movie gets an “F” and it’s not short for “funny.”

I don’t find this type of movie remotely funny, but if this is the sort of thing you like I’d highly recommend waiting for the DVD, and watching it at home where you can relax and enjoy it in an altered state of consciousness.

I did laugh at one of the insults they made about America not using the metric system. So it wasn’t a total loss.

Grade: F-

Movie Review: Rampage

Bacon cheese burgers.

When you see it on the menu you know you want it. But you also know you shouldn’t have it. You scan the menu. Salad? Yeah, right. Pasta dish? Ummmm, maybe. But you keep coming back to that BCB.

You’re still not decided when the waiter asks for your order, but your mouth opens and, “The bacon cheese burger,” comes out — much easier and less fattening than it will go in.

Rampage is the cinematic equivalent of a bacon cheese burger. There’s nothing good for you in there, but man is it fun.

As someone who basically sees every movie in the guilty pleasure genre, this one was better than most. The characters were just a little more idiosyncratic than what is typical in this genre and the story didn’t go overboard trying to force feed the audience into believing this could actually happen. Best of all there were a handful of good hearty laughs that got the whole audience going. Credit has to be given to The Rock. When he throws out a humorous line it lands squarely.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as Harvey (Agent) Russell, was an unexpectedly fun and original character. That sort of role is usually played much more seriously, but the writers created something fresh and fun for him and he played it perfectly.

It was interesting that the movie opened with a little on screen exposition about CRISPR. If you haven’t heard of it before then just wait. It will be big news soon. The good news is that CRISPR doesn’t work like that, except… Yeah, it does sort of work like that. It is essentially a word processor for gene editing.

Grade: B

Book description: Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos.