Movie Reviews

Black Panther – Movie Review

Black Panther is the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it continues the story of T’Challa, otherwise known as Black Panther, that was set up in Captain America: Civil War. After the death of his father, T’Challa must take up his mantle as king of Wakanda, a secluded, technologically advanced country in Africa. When his power is challenged by Erik Killmonger, he realizes what it takes to be king. Ryan Coogler directed the film, and this is his third feature film after Fruitvale Station and Creed, two near-perfect movies, and Black Panther is no different.

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Image via Variety

This is the first major blockbuster movie with an entirely Black cast, so the expectations were extremely high. They took this on by highlighting the African culture in Wakanda. They didn’t shy away from the mysticism of the Black Panther lore. Everything about the origin was straight from the comics.

Marvel let Coogler go all out with the set design in the movie. It’s absolutely gorgeous, especially scenes in Wakanda, with vibrant colors, extravagant architecture, and Oscar-worthy costume design. All of the technology also added to the uniqueness of the scenery. The country was so beautiful, well-realized, and detailed that it became a character in the movie.

The story is incredibly exciting and thoughtful. They give you a fun superhero movie while highlighting some of today’s most pressing issues. This is one of Marvel’s most serious movies up there with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but it can certainly still be enjoyed like any other comic book movie.

Although the story is what makes the movie special, the action is still prevalent and well-done for the most part. The choreography should be commended, especially in a one-take scene in a casino. All of the scenes with Black Panther and the scenes with the Dora Milaje were impressing enough to get reactions from the audience.

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Image via Marvel.com

Chadwick Boseman is becoming one of my favorite actors, with this after 42 and Get On Up he’s getting great at playing influential Black people. His powerful performance as T’Challa drives the movie because he brings a certain regalness that coincided with him still learning how to be a king.

The supporting cast is phenomenal and integral to the movie’s structure, the cast includes Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, and Winston Duke. M’Baku was probably my favorite supporting character, he commanded the screen whenever he was featured with his presence, yet he had some of the funniest moments of the movie. Winston Duke gave a great performance, and he’s definitely someone to watch out for.

In the supporting cast, a group that was highlighted prominently was the Black women. Danai Gurira plays the leader of the Dora Milaje, and she is badass along with the rest of the group. Not only are the warriors put into the spotlight, but Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia was a female that wasn’t necessarily a warrior but could handle herself. Letitia Wright was one of my favorites as Shuri, she is T’Challa’s sister and creates most of his tech. Their relationship felt authentic and brought levity to the movie.

As consistently great as the Marvel movies are, one of their problems is that they have trouble making writing good villains for their heroes. Michael B. Jordan completely inhabited the character of Erik Killmonger, and the combination of his performance and the writing made him one of the best Marvel villains yet. He was a character who knew exactly what he wanted, and he pushed past all barriers to skip straight to that.

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Image via The Verge

When he explains his backstory and why he’s doing what he is, you feel for him and maybe even agree. This does what Marvel rarely pulls off by having the audience understand and empathize with the villain. You almost want his ideas to come to fruition because of the perspective he comes from and the way Michael B. Jordan sells the character.

Of course, the movie isn’t perfect. Some of the CGI is overabundant and ends up looking like a video game. This was most obvious in certain parts of a car chase sequence and the final fight between Black Panther and Killmonger.

With those issues aside, I absolutely loved this movie. It’s a giant step forward for diversity in film, and it’s just a great movie from Ryan Coogler. The story is gripping, the cast creates some great characters, and Marvel gives us a fantastic villain, which is rare.

As late as this review is, you’ve probably seen the movie by now, but go see it if you haven’t. The movie has been immensely successful in the box office already, but it still deserves to be seen and supported by everybody.

Rating: A

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Image via Variety

Have you seen Black Panther? If so, what did you think about it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Movie Reviews

Darkest Hour – Movie Review

In 1940 World War II, the Nazis were taking over Europe and about to capture France. At this point, England was losing faith in their Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, and he eventually resigns. When his successor declines the position, England turns to their next option, whom no one had faith in, Winston Churchill. He then has to make the difficult choice of whether to continue the war against Germany or negotiate peace with Hitler.

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Image via The Filtered Lens

Gary Oldman undoubtedly gives one of the best performances of a historical figure of all time. Credit must be given to Oldman himself for completely enveloping Churchill down to his accent, speech patterns, and even small mannerisms. However, the makeup team deserves immense praise for their difficult task of physically transforming Oldman into Churchill. They perfected his look to where I never noticed the prosthetics, even in the close-up shots.

Gary Oldman could have overdone the acting, instead, he gives a believable performance that will be remembered as one of the best in years to come. The combination of the masterful performance and the impeccable prosthetics made Oldman unrecognizable as Churchill. You never see Gary Oldman, all you see is Winston Churchill.

The supporting cast is fantastic and elevates the film, some of which giving context to Churchill’s personal life. Kristen Scott Thomas is a standout as Clementine Churchill, and Ben Mendelsohn was surprisingly fit for the role of King George. Lily James was competent as Churchill’s secretary, but despite some great moments, the script struggles to find a use for her character for the majority of the film.

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Image via The Atlantic

This film is incredibly interesting if you want to know more about how Churchill came into power and how much support he had from his party. The writers didn’t over glorify Churchill, they gave insight into why he didn’t have support from many people, even his own party. He also has an interesting relationship with King George, which was one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Churchill has to consult with the British Parliament throughout the movie, and this prompts long dialogue sequences. Much like Lincoln, the lead performance and the directing cause these scenes to be tense and engaging when they could fall flat and become dull. The movie is also very funny, there are some funny jokes scattered throughout that add to the film’s accessibility and enjoyment.

One of the main points of the movie is as a deeper look into Operation Dynamo, otherwise known as the Dunkirk Evacuation, recently told in DunkirkDarkest Hour goes into depth about what decisions were made to reach that point, and how important that event was to England in the war.

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Image via Hardwood and Hollywood

While he film was wholy intriguing and entertaining to me, I would understand if some people find it boring if they aren’t interested in the subject matter. If you want to know more about what I described above, you will probably really like this movie as I did, but if this isn’t your cup of tea it might drag in many scenes.

Darkest Hour is worth watching for the lead performance alone, and the compelling story makes me reccomend it that much more. It is a great character piece about Winston Churchill, while being an enthralling historical film. Make sure to catch this before Oscars because Gary Oldman is a lock for the Best Actor awards.

Rating: A-

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Movie Reviews

La La Land – Movie Review

Since The Greatest Showman just came out, and the same lyricists from La La Land worked on the songs, I thought I would review the Oscar-winning film. La La Land stars Ryan Gosling, who plays a jazz pianist looking to save jazz and eventually open his own jazz club, and Emma Stone, a struggling actress looking to make her name in Hollywood through the grueling process of constant auditions. The two characters fall for each other, and the story is told in the style of a modern-day musical.

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Image via Rolling Stone

Despite the phenomenal performances, the real star of this film is the writer/director, Damien Chazelle. This is his second feature film, his first being Whiplash, and it’s hard to believe that looking at the work he did. The film is gorgeously shot, making Los Angeles look absolutely beautiful. Chazelle uses vibrant colors in the costumes, props, and backgrounds to enhance the scenes, especially the dance sequences which are also very impressive.

Mandy Moore, the choreographer, deserves a special Oscar for her work on this film. The opening number is one of the most elaborate scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie and the musical scenes that follow don’t disappoint at all. The songs are some of the best I’ve ever heard in movies, I immediately got the soundtrack after seeing the movie because of how catchy the songs were. The musical numbers are shot using long takes which makes the scenes flow much better. Unlike in many musicals, the transitions between normal scenes and musical scenes are seamless, feeling like they belong.

The performances in this movie are stellar. As I wrote earlier, Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz pianist, whose dream is to open a jazz club, and his performance is fantastic. He does a great job of conveying his love for jazz through passionate dialogue including one great scene where he is explaining to Emma Stone’s character why jazz is one of the best music genres. According to the director, Ryan took piano lessons for three months and did all of the piano playing scenes himself. Coming from someone who plays piano, he plays some songs that would be almost impossible to play with only three months of practice, so he gets extra credit from me.

Emma Stone gives the best performance of her career in this movie as a barista who wants to be an actress, and they do a great job of showing how miserable auditions can be. People walk into the room and interrupt her, no one pays attention, and sometimes she just isn’t the type of person they’re looking for. You get a strong sense of her struggle, yet persistence in becoming an actress.

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Image via Time Out

While both performances are great, they both need to have good chemistry for the film to work. Thankfully, they did and I really bought into their relationship. The two have some great scenes together including dialogue scenes and musical scenes. The film shows the ups and downs of their relationship, and whenever they have problems it doesn’t feel cliché, instead it feels natural and necessary. They can both sing very well, and the dancing scenes are done to perfection.

The best aspect of the movie is the overall theme of following your dreams. That sounds extremely cheesy, but the film manages to integrate it into the film in a way that feels real. They go into the harsh reality that you have to make some sacrifices to go for what you want in life, and everything might not go your way. The filmmakers could have gone for the more glossy and optimistic route, but they are honest with the audience and don’t hit them over the head with the theme. This movie will be relatable to people who have goals and will go as far as they can to reach them.

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Image via Entertainment Weekly

This movie had a very divisive reception after it was nominated for dozens of awards, but I have to say that the film earned all of them. This proves that Damien Chazelle is one of the best new directors out there, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling give career performances, the songs and dances are some of the best parts, and the film is inspirational throughout.

Rating: A

I’m working on some end of the year articles including my top 10 movies of the year. Those should go up in the next week or two.

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Movie Reviews

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Movie Review

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the original 1995 film, Jumanji. While the original film is about a board game and releasing elements of the game into the real world, in this one a group of high school students find an old video game and get sucked into it as the characters that they chose.

The main driving force of this movie is the characters. The conserved nerd of the group is stuck in the body of Dwane Johnson’s character. The football playing jock chooses the avatar played by Kevin Hart. The popular girl chooses Jack Black, and the quieter girl chooses Karen Gillan. All of the actors do a great job. It was fun to see Dwane Johnson and Jack Black play against type, but while Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan do great, they are really just playing the characters they normally play. It would have been nice to see them play more different characters.

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Image via Digital Trends

The writers were very creative with the concept of being stuck inside a video game. If you are a gamer you will definitely get many of the references and ideas they throw in about strange things that happen when you play video games, like NPCs repeating the same thing over and over again, respawning, and other concepts.

However, this also works against them as sometimes things get a little too crazy, to where it’s hard to believe. It gets confusing as certain things happen that don’t make sense in the video game setting. For example, a certain character shows up to help out, but it’s unclear how they would have gotten out of that situation without him being there. Other than that, the story is fairly cohesive. They use the video game format of levels, and that adds structure to the story and a sense of progression as well.

The movie is also surprisingly funny! I expected a lot of the jokes to fall flat, but I actually laughed at the majority of them. While some of the jokes become worn out, like Kevin Hart making short jokes, or Jack Black not having his phone, they keep them fresh for the most part. The action sequences are also very well done with some great stunt work. They are probably some of the best scenes in the movie. Because it’s a Jumanji movie, there are obviously lots of animals. CGI is used to create them, and some of the effects are a little shaky. However, the CGI is never so terrible that it is distracting to the rest of the movie.

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Image via Nerd HQ

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a truly fun movie. Despite a few plot holes and sub-par special effects, it is very enjoyable and funny. This is a great movie to see with a group of friends and just have a good time. I’m not just saying that to be nice, it really is fun. Again, the movie’s not perfect, there are some issues, but it’s definitely worth seeing.

Rating: B

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Movie Reviews

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Movie Review (No Spoilers)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the eighth episode of the Star Wars saga. It takes place right after The Force Awakens and has been highly anticipated for the past two years. That’s literally all I can say without spoiling it.

This installment is directed by Rian Johnson, and he brings a unique voice to the Star Wars universe. He manages to make it feel like it belongs in the universe while giving us something we haven’t seen before. There are numerous gorgeous shots in the movie that will stick with you for days. He also sets a slightly darker tone in comparison to the last film. There’s a sense of hopelessness that elevates the stakes, and ultimately makes the film more emotional.

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Image via Maxim

The title of the film is The Last Jedi, so many fans are wondering how it handles Luke. Mark Hamill gives his best performance ever as Luke Skywalker without a doubt. The trailers have hinted at a more reluctant and weary Luke, who might not be the hero that people remember him as. Thankfully, the film goes for this and it really works. The storyline between Luke and Rey was, personally, the best part of the movie. Daisy Ridley gives another fantastic performance as Rey in the film. She has some great scenes in the movie with some of the other characters in the movie. As she explained in The Force Awakens, Luke has become so infamous throughout the galaxy that he has become a myth, so she has dreamed of meeting him her entire life, and when it’s not what she expects, we get an interesting dynamic between the two characters.

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Image via Making Star Wars

Adam Driver reprises his role as Kylo Ren, and his story arc was also very compelling. It’s hard to talk about him without spoiling anything, so I’ll say he has to deal with certain things, and it creates a conflict that brought about a great character arc. Adam Driver definitely has much more to work with as an actor than in Force Awakens, and his character has more of a role to play as well. Overall, I still love his character just as much, if not more, as I did previously. Supreme Leader Snoke also plays a bigger role, and the performance capture is unbelievable in this film. It’s hard to believe that he’s not played by a live-action actor because it looks that good. Andy Serkis proves that he is the king of performance capture as he gives a dark, menacing performance as Snoke.

Everybody involved with the Resistance does a great job as well. Oscar Issac is great as Poe Dameron and is given a bigger and stronger storyline, making him one of my favorite characters in the movie. He also has a great relationship with General Leia in the film. This will sadly be Carrie Fisher’s last performance as Leia, and she does a wonderful job with it. If you’re like me, it’ll be tough to get through some of the scenes, but she played a great leader in the Resistance. She still feels like the same character from the original trilogy, but a little bit older… in a good way. The film reminds us why we love Leia as a character and serves as a great remembrance to Carrie Fisher.

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Image via Entertainment Weekly

There’s one thing people every fan wants to know about, and that’s the porgs. I’m happy to say that the porgs really work They don’t over do it to the point where they feel like Jar Jar Binks, but they do add some humorous moments to the film. There are surprisingly a lot of funny scenes in the movie. The vast majority of the jokes land really well, even though some feel a little out of place. For example, there’s a gag near the beginning of the movie that was funny but took away some of the weight to the scene for me.

The action scenes are exceptional in this movie. Johnson uses wide and long takes, which gives you the full scope of the battles. There’s one scene that is definitely one of my favorite action sequences of all the Star Wars movies. The space battles are also extremely exciting. There are quite a few of them, and they all left me on the edge of my seat.

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Image via Entertainment Weekly

One problem I had with the film was the Finn and Rose storyline. John Boyega is great as Finn again, and Kelly Marie Tran is a great new addition to the Star Wars universe, but whenever it cut to them it took me I was taken out of the film. Even though the planet they were on was interesting, it didn’t feel like it belonged in a Star Wars movie. Benicio Del Toro plays a character they meet, and I thought he was great. I really loved his character, but just not their storyline. The movie is 2 and a half hours, making it the longest Star Wars movie to date, and the only times I felt the length of the movie was in the Finn and rose storyline.

The Last Jedi might be the best Star Wars movie since Empire. They build on a lot of ideas and characters from The Force Awakens and give us a great sequel that will make fans very happy.

Rating: A

Have you seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Movie Reviews

‘Dunkirk’ Movie Review

Dunkirk is a film set in World War II about the Dunkirk evacuation when the Germans had Allied soldiers trapped on a beach in France. They are surrounded and desperate to get home and be done with this terrible situation. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan, which automatically makes anyone excited to see it. Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) is a solider on land and along side him is a French soldier (Damien Bonnard). Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son, Peter (Tom Glynn- Carney) help out the navy with the evacuation along with Peter’s friend, George (Barry Keoghan).  There are also two pilots, Farrier (Tom Hardy) and Collins (Jack Lowden), providing air support and taking out German planes.

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Image via Warner Bros.
This movie is purely about the experience of watching it. It starts right in the middle of what’s going on and doesn’t take a break at all throughout the film. The way Nolan shoots the movie makes you feel like you are on that beach and have no hope of survival. This might just be the best looking movie of the year, visually. the way Nolan uses IMAX cameras is genius. I can’t remember a shot that took me out of the movie, it was just all great. If you get a chance, see this movie in IMAX because it is the best way to see it. He also shoots on real locations, uses real ships, and as many practical effects as possible. This just adds to that tense feeling you feel in the movie. The sound design is also spectacular, some of the beast I’ve ever heard. It’s completely immersive, especially in IMAX. If the characters are in a ship, every sound is perfect, the gunshots, he waves, the German planes descending on the Allies, were all just pristine quality.

The movie also has an interesting element using time. I won’t spoil it, but at the beginning of the movie they give you some information. It is a little bit confusing at first, but as the movie goes on you start to piece things together and the whole film becomes more coherent. It reminded me of some of his previous films like Memento and The Prestige. However, this element does make the movie much more tiring to watch, because the way they use this does become slightly convoluted. It does give you a basic enough idea of the story, but it’s difficult to put the whole puzzle together.

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Image via Warner Bros.
The film has been getting criticism for poor characters, saying that they aren’t fleshed out at all. While that critique is valid, that aspect worked beautifully for me. If you are in this situation, you won’t have time to ask anybody how the kids are doing, or who they have at home. It is so frantic and intense that you don’t have time to make friends. If they spent time with character, I feel like the purpose of the film would be undermined. Almost every war movie is about characters, and most of them work very well like Saving Private Ryan. So, if Nolan had done a conventional war movie, then it would have been like all the rest. Instead of that, he pushed against the stereotype and made a war film purely about spectacle and experience. The one negative about this is that you don’t feel any danger for any one particular character. Like I said, you feel like you’re on the beach surrounded by Germans, and that makes you terrified for the British as a whole. However, the film puts certain characters in the forefront, and you don’t feel very attached to them individually.

I personally think that Dunkirk is one of the best movies of the year so far. It is exhilarating and sensational. You’ll hold your breath throughout the entire film. If you haven’t seen Dunkirk yet, I highly recommend seeing it in IMAX. It is meant to be seen with the biggest screens and the best sound systems. While it isn’t one of Nolan’s best movies it is still really fun watch. Also take into consideration, he hasn’t really ever made a bad movie yet. Some are better than others, but they are all good movies.

Rating: A

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Image via Warner Bros.
Have you seen Dunkirk? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Dunkirk stars Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Barry Keoghan, Tom Hardy, and Jack Lowden. Directed by Christopher Nolan.

Movie Reviews

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first solo Spider-Man movie to take place in the MCU, and the sixth solo Spider-Man movie ever. It is about Peter Parker dealing with balancing his Spider-Man life with his high school life. After his adventures in Captain America: Civil War, he wants to be an avenger, but he might not be ready just yet.

Image via Marvel Studios

I’ve been waiting for a good Spider-Man movie for thirteen years. I believe Spider-Man 2 is one of the best comic book movies of all time, but every installment after that was disappointing. I’m happy to say that Spider-Man: Homecoming gets the character right again. 

I love how this movie has a younger Peter Parker. He’s fifteen in his sophomore year of high school, whereas in previous movies he either graduates in the first movie, or just doesn’t touch on that aspect at all. The main reason we relate to Spider-Man is because he’s just a kid running around saving lives, and he has real world problems. There are instances when he suffers in his real life because of him having to be Spider-Man. Him being young brings a lot of fun to the movie. The movie is really funny, and Tom Holland sells the role so well. You can feel how Peter is just having a blast being Spider-Man. He’s always anxious throughout school to get out so he can swing around and be a hero.

Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s best friend, Ned, and their chemistry makes the movie a lot better. We haven’t seen Peter Parker with a real best friend is any of the movies that didn’t bail on him in the first movie. Another neat aspect is that Peter goes to a special math and science school, so Flash Tompson isn’t a typical jock bully to Peter, he’s really just a jerk to him. I liked that because in today’s world, that cheesy type of bullying doesn’t happen as much, it’s more verbal bullying nowadays.

Image via Marvel Studios

Spider-Man is written differently than we’ve seen before in the movie. He’s young, so he makes stupid decisions and learns from them. He also thinks he can do anything because he has powers, but he quickly learns where his boundaries are throughout the movie. This is only the first chapter in his story, so it leaves a lot of room for the character to grow and develop. Tony Stark keeps Peter in check because he made his suit. The trailers made it seem like Iron Man would be in the movie too much, but this is very much Spider-Man’s movie. There isn’t a single moment when you think that he is being overshadowed be Robert Downey Jr. He always comes in when it’s necessary for the story, and the scenes don’t revolve around him.

Michael Keaton plays the villain of the movie, the Vulture, and he’s probably one of the best ever villains in the MCU. You might think that he is silly because of his character in the comics. While he is campy in the source material, they go a completely different route in the movie and it works. It wouldn’t be as good as it was without Michael Keaton. I won’t spoil anything, but there’s a scene in a car between Vulture and Peter that I think is Keaton’s best scene in the movie.

One of my problems with the movie was that it wasn’t as emotional as I wanted it to be. Sure, there are some great acting scenes in the movie, and it is a lot of fun, but during the fight scenes there seems to be a lack of stakes. The movie plays it safe, and doesn’t really take any risks for the character. In the Sam Raimi movies, I still sit on the edge of my seat for the action scenes 15 years later, but in this movie it just seemed cool without feeling much for the character. Spider-Man is a great character in the movie, and the action scenes are good, but it just wasn’t everything I wanted. The third act of the movie also felt very overblown and crazy. I would have preferred it to feel more grounded, but they took a different approach and took the explosion route. It wasn’t as bad as it was in movies like Batman v Superman, but I found it to be too much for a Spider-Man movie.

I would definitely recommend Spider-Man: Homecoming. If you haven’t already you should go see this movie.(I’m so late with the review, you should have seen it already) It’s my second favorite Spider-Man movie of all time behind Spider-Man 2. 

                        Rating: A-             

Image via Marvel Studios

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Movie Reviews

‘Spider-Man’ Movie Review

Welcome to my series of Spider-Man reviews! I will be discussing all three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies  this week leading up to Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Spider-Man was released in 2002, and it was the highest grossing weekend for a movie at the time. This was probably one of my favorite movies growing up, I watched it over and over and over again. I could quote the movie in a heartbeat, and I still can. This time around, I really wanted to analyze the movie and see if it really is a good film. I am happy to say, that this movie holds up almost perfectly.

Spider-Man is a really fun comic book movie that could stand on its own, before everything has to set up a universe. Tobey Maguire is a really great Peter Parker. That first scene of the movie where the camera pans through the bus, then focuses on Peter trying to catch up is a great introduction. He really captured the lonely nerd aspect of Peter, the nerd was best portrayed in the lab scene where he’s so amazed by all this technology. You really root for Peter because he’s a good kid and he makes good grades in school, but he can’t catch a break from Flash Tompson.

Image via Amino Apps

Aunt May and Uncle Ben portrayed by Rosemary Harris and Cliff Robertson were fantastic additions to the movie. I think they were both used perfectly. Uncle Ben is almost like a cool dad in some ways, he never gets mad because he realizes he’s raising a teenager. Robertson plays the death scene to perfection. I really felt for Peter in that scene. Aunt May is the person who always knows what to do just like she should be, unlike another version of her character that constantly worries about Peter. It’s not heavy handed, but she just feels like a sweet, wise person.

I also enjoyed the relationship between Harry Osborn and his father, Norman Osborn. They have a broken relationship because Harry wants his father to be proud of him, but he doesn’t have the best grades. Norman also clearly likes Harry’s best friend, Peter, much more.  

Image via Sony Pictures

One of the common criticisms of the movie is the Peter Parker and Mary Jane relationship. I think it still works. It might be a little cheesy at some moments, but they really captured what it feels like to have a crush on someone. Kirsten Dunst does a great job in the role with seeming like the popular girl around her friends, and then being very genuine with Peter. 

As for the actual filmmaking, the movie still works. Sam Raimi is used to having a low budget and using practical effects. A lot of the movie is shot in camera, feeling very visceral and real. Especially many of the  scenes with Spider-Man. The montage with him fighting crime shows how he’s this mysterious figure. 

Willem Dafoe is perfectly cast as Green Goblin. One of my favorite scenes is the mirror scene, and they establish this almost split personality that he struggles with. Dafoe did most of the stunt work for the film because of how passionate he was. If you look at his filmography he clearly didn’t need this role, but he put all of his effort into it and it shows on screen. Some people seem to have a problem with the costume as it looks like a power ranger. I don’t have a problem with it because it seems practical. It’s designed for the military, so they would need some type of armor protection. Also, if you think that looks silly, you must not have seen the original costume from the comics with the bright green and purple. I thought that it worked and fit with the fun tone of the movie.

Image via Sony Pictures

We can’t do a review of Spider-Man without talking about J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. He has to be the most perfectly casted person of the whole series. Every scene he’s in is amazing. He just feels like he was ripped right out of the comics.

The movie does has a couple flaws despite it being great. Some of the CGI feels dated, like the scene when he climbs up the building after Uncle Ben dies. Also, while Kirsten Dunst is great, Mary Jane is a damsel in distress in most of the movie. She is really just there for Peter to have a crush on her. She does have some great scenes when she’s just talking with Peter and it feels very authentic, but she gets saved by Spider-Man a lot throughout the movie. For example, the parade scene, the alley way scene, and the final act are all scenes where she just relies on Spider-Man. Even when he asked her to climb down the rope, she just says that she can’t do it. This is one of the only ways the The Amazing Spider-Man improved from this movie with Gwen Stacy. 

All in all, this movie is great. It reminds us about the times when studios could just let the writers and directors make a good movie, and they didn’t have to put their hands in it to make the movies set up an entire universe. It’s simply an origin story about one of my favorite comic book characters.

Image via Sony Pictures

What do you think about Spider-Man? Do you like it? I really encourage you all to comment. I like to hear other people’s thoughts and I’d like to start a discussion down below.

If you enjoyed this review and you want to read my future articles, you can follow the site on the right side of the screen! 

Movie Reviews

‘Hidden Figures’ Movie Review

Hidden Figures is about three African-American female mathematicians Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who were a significant part of the NASA Space Program’s challenge of putting a man in space. The film also features Kevin Costner as Al Harrison, the director of the Space Task Group.

Image via 20th Century Fox

I really loved Hidden Figures. I’m really surprised this story isn’t taught in school. These women played a very integral role in getting John Glenn to space. It’s really important for young girls to know this story. Taraji P. Henson plays Ketherine Goble Johnson, and she is the main character in the film. She was great in this role. I loved the way she kept proving everybody wrong with her math skills. She has a scene in the film when she’s finally done with all some racial issues, and she has that scene where she gives a big speech. That usually doesn’t work for me since it’s so overdone, but I thought it was really great in the movie.

Janelle Monáe was also really great in the movie. I thought she and Taraji P. Henson were the standouts in the film. Her character wants to be an engineer, but certain restrictions are placed so she cannot achieve that. And, that was another aspect of the film I liked. The constant struggle of trying to fight past the barriers society places in front of them. There’s a line in the movie when Mary Jackson says, “Every time we get a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line. Every time.” That really came through for me, I loved seeing them move past their set backs and succeed I their careers.

Image via 20th Century Fox

Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughn, who wants to be supervisor of the colored computer group, but is not able to do so. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and while she was great, I don’t think she was better than Janelle Monáe. I don’t mean to discredit her, but I just thought that Monáe gave a more powerful performance. She really stood out in a scene in court, and she has to address the judge. That scene alone, I thought, stole the film. Getting back to Octavia Spencer, I liked how her character had a bit of sass to her, for lack of a better term. Dorothy Vaughn was the character that leads the group through racial issues specifically. I’d say her character was the most fun to watch. Also, she has the best line in the film.

Kevin Costner played the director of the Space Task Group, and he was awesome. His character was one of my favorites because he’s not really a jerk, he’s just following the rules, but when he needs to, he takes charge and makes changes. He was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory is plays Paul Stafford in this film, which was a surprise for me. His character is a jerk. He works in the same place that Katherine Johnson works, and he makes sure that she cannot do her job efficiently. His character was a little unnecessary for me, he didn’t really impact the film. Jim Parsons was fine in the role, but I just didn’t see much need for his character. He did have some good moments to set up good scenes for Taraji P. Henson to work with, and gives her one of the best lines in the movie. Kirsten Dunst is in the movie, and her character is an antagonist of sorts to Octavia Spencers’s character, and I thought that aspect worked very well. It represented the person who thinks they’re not doing anything wrong, but really is.

Image via 20th Century Fox

The film doesn’t beat you over the head with its messages. It shows you instead of telling you what it has on its mind. Also, the soundtrack is amazing. Of course, the Hans Zimmer parts are very well done, but I didn’t know Pharrell Williams did some cool songs for the movie. His songs added a sense of fun to the movie to underline the seriousness and racism of the film.

I had one flaw of the film, and that was the romance aspect. Each character has their love interest, Mahershsla Ali shows up as Colonel Jim Johnson, to be Katherine Johnson’s love interest. Aldis Hoodge plays Levi Jackson, husband of Mary Jackson. Every time they switched to the personal lives and the romantic scenes, I just wanted to get back to NASA. It wasn’t completely unbearable, everybody does their job and gives a good performance. Also, you kind of have to have that stuff so the characters aren’t too bland. It just made me want to see the main story more. the film is 2 hours and 7 minutes with credits, it could have been a little shorter.

Image via 20th Century Fox

In the end, this film was amazing! It teaches a story that you wouldn’t know if it weren’t for this film. I would definitely suggest you see this film if you haven’t already. Please go see it.

Did you see Hidden Figures? If so, leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

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Rating: A


Hidden Figures is directed by Theodore Melfi. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, and Mahershala Ali

Movie Reviews

Split: Movie Review

      M. Night Shyamalan started with a bang when he released The Sixth Sense, and then kept the ball rolling with Unbreakable and Signs. Then The Village happened … and Lady in the Water … and The Happening, … and The Last Airbender and After Earth. But then he made The Village and we got a hint that he was back. Split guarantees that Shyamalan is finally back to what he’s good at.

     Split is a psychological thriller about a man with dissociative identity disorder (James McAvoy) who has 23 different personalities. He kidnaps three girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula) and they just escape before a 24th personality comes out.

I have to start with this: James McAvoy gives the best performance of his career in this movie. And I’m a huge X-Men fan. You really feel that each person is a different personality. The most minute things he does like posture, facial expressions, and accents really shape the character. He goes all the way to create this disturbing, sinister character.

Anya Taylor-Joy, who was great in The Witch, also gives a great performance as Casey. She does a very good job of giving off this sense that there is more to her character than she is letting on. She is a new talent to watch out for in the future. As for the supporting characters, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula, they do a fine job. The problem is that whenever they are on screen they are playing off of Anya Taylor-Joy or James McAvoy and they get overshadowed, but they definitely do not give bad performances.

The movie is very well shot and you’re sitting on the edge of your seat focusing on every frame. It has a very tense and contained feel in the scenes with the three girls. However, the film has scenes where it goes to flashbacks with Casey as a little girl and McAvoy’s therapy sessions with Dr. Karen Fletcher played by Betty Buckley. The flashbacks felt forced but, without spoiling anything, they might pay off in the long run. Some of the therapy sessions were interesting, but others, especially one with e Skype call, just were a little unnecessary.

One last thing, the score in this movie by West Dylan Anderson is so subtle that you forget that it’s there, but it adds a whole new layer to the film.

In the end, Split is a very fun movie and I really recommend that you see it if you haven’t already. Shyamalan is finally back to his roots.

Rating: A


Split is rated PG-13.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, and Jessica Sula.