Black Adam is a prime example of what people mean when they say they are having comic book movie fatigue, it’s a genre that’s been very successful over the last several years. The problem is a lot of studios see this as a money making opportunity rather than making good quality films. That’s where Black Adam comes in, while there are a few things to praise such as some of the action scenes actually being well done and the performances from Pierce Brosnan and Aidis Hodge who really do the best they can with such a limited script. Everything else is beat by beat comic book movie genre plot points, the ideas of Black Adam are interesting and does seem like the movie wanted to tackle more of the anti-hero parts of Black Adam but for whatever reason held back and actually felt very watered down. The characters are completely one note and if you were to take some of them out of the movie nothing would change, like the ideas of the movie I like the concept of the characters it’s just a shame we never get to learn about them. Cyclone (played by Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher (played by Noah Centineo) seem like neat characters but they mostly just serve to be part of a team in this case “The Justice Society”. Doctor Fate (Brosnan) and Hawkman (Hodge) get a bit more development but not by much, it does seem like the movie was trying to explore more with their characters but halfway through just said “screw it”. Dwayne Johnson gives a fine enough performance as Black Adam, it’s truly nothing special as it is what you expect it to be, the villain is easily one of the most forgettable villains in these comic book movies and that’s truly saying something given how many forgettable villains have shown up in the last few years. Ishmael Gregor who becomes Sabbac (played by Marwan Kenzari) has no personality outside of being evil and wanting to destroy everything, finally there’s the writing that really just can be summed up by saying it’s been done better before. There’s such a lack of trying to go more than surface level with the movie’s ideas which in the end truly hurts the movie, it’s a shame because Jaume Collet-Serra is actually a very solid director who’s done some great work in the past such as The Shallows, House Of Wax (2005) Orphan and Run All Night. I’m sure this isn’t going to be the end for Black Adam and maybe in the future the character as well as the other characters will get far more development because this movie really didn’t do much.
She-Hulk is the eighth Disney+ and MCU series….and it’s by far the absolute worst one. But before that let’s get the positives out of the way because they are very straightforward, for starters Tatiana Maslany is very solid as She-Hulk, that’s mainly due to her just being a really strong actress who can work with any sort of script. She’s hands down the best part of the entire series it’s just such a shame she wasn’t given a better show or script, episode eight is the highlight by far. While it’s not perfect it’s the only episode where the humor genuinely worked, plus having Charlie Cox back as Daredevil was pretty neat, he also gives a solid performance. The chemistry between Cox and Maslany while short is actually really charming and very entertaining. As for the rest of the show it’s a complete and total mess, if you thought the Marvel humor was terrible in previous shows or movies then you are going to have a dreadful time here, outside of a joke every once in awhile a lot of the humor really comes off as obnoxious. There’s a lot of fourth wall breaking humor that at this point way too many films and TV shows have done, I get that the source material has a lot of fourth wall breaking humor. The problem is the writing doesn’t do it in creative ways, in fact it quite honestly gets progressively worse as the series goes on. Heck the final episode ends up being this whole “this series was meant to be bad!” type of thing which again had the writing actually been investing or knew what it wanted to say that could have worked. Then you have the other characters who are just sort of there Jameela Jamil, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Roth and Ginger Gonzaga are fine enough but they are really not given a whole lot to do outside of unfunny lines. There really isn’t anything else to say here which is unfortunate because a She-Hulk show could have easily work had the writing been a lot more focused and actually attempted with the humor.
Batman and Superman: Battle Of The Super Sons is the sixth installment of the Tomorrowverse, this one is pretty straightforward, it focuses on the sons of Batman and Superman Johnathan Kent and Damian Wayne. As far as characters go this one does a fine enough job, the father and son bond of Clark and Johnathan is genuinely really sweet and makes for some corny yet genuinely funny humor. So at the very least the movie has heart, where it lacks is mostly an interesting villain and story wise. The villain is Starro the conqueror which I do like the concept of but it’s just another “people are brainwashed” type scenario. The voice cast are quite great as well, Laura Bailey and Jack Dylan Grazer being the standouts who add quite a lot to their characters. Story wise this is again very straightforward which isn’t necessarily bad it just does a lot what you expect it to, it plays out like how a Saturday morning action cartoon show would. However the team up of Damien and Johnathan is genuinely charming and a lot of fun, which by far makes this movie worth a watch.
Batman and Superman: Battle Of The Super Sons releases on VOD Platforms October 18th
I was actually pretty excited for Samaritan despite the plot reading exactly like a generic superhero story, I wanted to see how Julius Avery (director of Overlord and Son Of A Gun) would tackle the superhero genre. Unfortunately the movie itself is a very generic one, the story of a kid unexpectedly meeting a superhero has been done numerous times before and it’s not any different here. Javon Walton at least gives a fun performance that gives the movie spirit and Sylvester Stallone is really solid here as he usually is, the few action scenes that there are not bad but not anything to write home about. Had this movie come out several years ago like in the 90s there would be a lot more leeway, the main issues here are mostly the villains who are very one note and for half the movie barely do anything. Then you have the writing which I’ve said before is written in the most generic way possible, the movie hits a lot of the typical superhero movie beats that have been done far better elsewhere. There’s some decent moments with Stallone and Walton who bond over the course of the movie which leads to some great moments, but a lot Samaritan is very forgettable and sort of sits among such a crowded genre. Overall Samaritan isn’t bad, there’s definitely some heart and the acting is at least solid. But it’s not enough to really standout.
DC League Of Super Pets definitely surprised me in a few ways, this could have easily been a very unfunny and forgettable kids movie but there’s actually a decent amount to enjoy here. The voice cast is overall great Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves and a few others do a fantastic job here. There’s a few jokes here that land pretty well and there are some that fall flat but they aren’t terrible or anything to complain over, the animation is fun and colorful plus it gives some of the characters a decent amount of detail. What’s the most surprising about the movie is there’s some genuine heart in it, there’s a few heartfelt moments that actually give the movie some strength when it comes to storytelling during those scenes. The movie mainly suffers from a lot of beat by beat plot points that really don’t add anything new and the animal characters outside of Krypto, Lulu and Ace just sort of exist, the three I mentioned get character development at least and are fun characters but the same can’t be said for the others. The others mainly serve to be this movie’s “silly sidekicks” but for a movie called League Of Super-Pets you would think they would get a tad more development right? Overall DC League Of Super-Pets is a serviceable kids movie that definitely had a surprising amount of effort put into it, what could have been a forgettable cashgrab ends up being a decent enough kids movie.
DC League Of Super-Pets is available on all VOD platforms.
Secret Headquarters is basically if you took Spy Kids and Sky High then made it forgettable. I can easily see why this movie didn’t end up releasing in theaters like it was originally going to, there are some good bits here such as Walker Scobell, Owen Wilson (even though he wasn’t in it all that much), Keith L. Williams and Abby James Witherspoon were great and they all genuinely seemed like they were having a blast with this movie. So at least the passion was there it’s mostly the writing that hurts this movie, I will say that it is a completely harmless movie for kids there’s some jokes in here that actually worked quite well and reminded me of the type of humor that Spy Kids had. However the plot is a bit too predictable and the villains are very one note characters that feel like they teleported from a very early 2000s family movie, Secret Headquarters is at least not as bad as it could have been. I’m sure there will be an audience for this movie I’m just not one of them.
Green Lantern: Beware My Power is the newest installment of the new DC Animated Universe the Tomorrowverse. The DC Animated Movie Universe finished with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War in 2020 (a pretty solid ending) the Tomorrowverse began with Superman: Man Of War a few months later in August 2020 so far there’s been 5 films…Superman: Man Of War, Justice Society World War II, Batman The Long Halloween Parts 1 and 2 and finally Green Lantern: Beware My Power.
Green Lantern: Beware My Power I was a bit interested in mainly due to John Stewart’s version of The Green Lantern who was one of my favorite characters from The Justice League TV series back from 2004. The movie serves as an origin story for the character but unfortunately the writing really hurts this movie. The movie starts out fine enough, it does a decent job of introducing Green Arrow, Hawk Girl and a few others and there’s even some decent action scenes as well. The animation is also pretty solid with a few scenes in particular that are actually pretty well done, the main problem is despite the movie being about John Stewart that gets lost during the midpoint of the movie, he ends up being in the middle of all these other characters and their problems. The focus suddenly switches to them rather than Stewart and just leaves any fan of John Stewart’s Green Lantern very disappointed, the voice acting is at least decent giving each of the characters their own personality. The plot however is very Saturday morning cartoonish outside of a few scenes it really doesn’t dive deep into the characters and is very very surface level. Unless you know these characters you aren’t going to get a whole lot of information about them here. Overall it’s not a terrible movie but it is a pretty disappointing one, that had the writing been a lot better could have made for something interesting.
Green Lantern Beware My Power is available on all VOD Platforms.
To say the MCU Phase Four has been divisive would be the understatement of the year, while there have been some really installments that I would actually go as far to say are some of the best of the MCU such as Doctor Strange: And The Multiverse Of Madness, Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home, there are also ones that completely missed the mark (Black Widow and Eternals) or had a ton of great ideas but settled on playing safe or were just hindered by the 6 episode format (looking at you Moon Knight even though I gave it a 7/10).
Thor: Love and Thunder is truly baffling the way it came out, there was so much here that should have absolutely worked but didn’t for several reasons. I’ll start with what I liked, Natalie Portman who returns as Jane Foster and becomes The Mighty Thor is truly fantastic here. Like in the first Thor films she really captures Jane Foster quite well and absolutely tries her best with the bare bones script she is given, what hurts her character is she isn’t explored nearly enough which is quite odd considering this was supposed to be a huge part of the film. Christian Bale who plays Gorr (or The God Slayer) also gives a strong performance but is the very definition of underutilized, Gorr as a character is very interesting and has a backstory that could have been quite emotional and actually powerful as well. The problem is Gorr is not given enough screentime to make that work, plus his backstory itself is nowhere near as explored as it should have been, Bale goes all out with the role which is just another huge reminder of how good of an actor Bale is. There’s a few fun action scenes here and there but a lot of it feels very empty that goes completely off the rails towards the end in all the wrong ways. Lastly there’s Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie who for some reason gets put into the backseat and just becomes some sidekick, when she does get time to shine she’s really great but Thompson and her character deserved far better than this.
Now for what it is completely wrong with this movie and that’s mostly due to three major things that completely break it. The first being the jokes, while I do understand the criticism of Thor Raganrock having jokes in it at least they worked to an extent and were at least controlled on a tight leash, the jokes in Thor: Love and Thunder are the complete opposite the first half of the movie is filled to the brim of jokes that are painfully unfunny. Even resorting to the screaming goat meme which is from 2012 (went viral in 2013), the first time it might have gotten a chuckle but the film kept doing it over and over again. The biggest problem here is the movie tries to juggle between jokes and serious moments, there’s some okay setups for some emotional scenes but are hindered by poorly written jokes that feel like they should be in an entirely different movie. The second major issue is the writing which can be pretty much summed up as being the definition of bare bones, characters who could be interesting have no character development, plot lines are introduced and abandoned with a snap of a finger and writing that completely prohibits any emotion or depth. Lastly there’s what I hinted at the beginning of this review, this another case of Phase Four having a ton of great ideas but completely wasting them. Particularly with Gorr and Jane Foster, there were many ideas about them that are interesting the movie just completely fails to do anything with them and if the movie does do then it’s barely anything at all, Thor finding out who he really is could be interesting but once again that’s only mentioned a few times throughout the movie but is quickly abandoned. Overall Thor: Love And Thunder is a huge missed opportunity that should have absolutely worked, it’s honestly quite baffling how wrong this went and is just massively disappointing overall.
Before I begin I will note that it will be next to impossible to talk about this movie without mentioning spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie yet I would recommend not reading this review.
Phase Four when it comes to film has been rough. Shang-Chi as I said in my review is an incredibly solid film up until the third act, Eternals was incredibly disappointing and Black Widow was just there. So I was really hoping Spider-Man No Way Home would come out and wow me…and that it most certainly did. So starting off let’s discuss characters and performances, Tom Holland as Spider-Man is still fantastic. He truly puts everything he has in this film and it delivers in every single way possible, Zendaya’s character Michelle gets far more development than she has in the other films which is something that I’m glad they did. Granted it was one of the more predictable aspects (not in a bad way) like of course she was going to get more development it’s the third Spider-Man film in the MCU. She completely grows as a character and doesn’t feel like she’s being shoved off to the sidelines, I really don’t have anything interesting to say about Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch once again does the role really well and doesn’t over stay the welcome. Finally let’s talk about the villains plus Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man and how they are used plus compliment this giant film. I’ll start with the one who got the least development which was The Lizard honestly he’s about the same as he was in The Amazing Spider-Man, there really isn’t a whole lot to his character and that was really to be expected. Next up is Electro and Sandman who I both feel are around the same level when it comes to development, for one thing Jamie Foxx is far better as Electro here than he was in Amazing Spider-Man 2. A nice reference to Sandman’s character growth in Spider-Man 3 is shown during a scene where he teams up with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to fight Electro (although he does become somewhat evil again but we will get to that.) Lastly there’s Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, Green Goblin and Doc Ock. Who all have an incredible amount of development, Alfred Molina once again is perfect as Doc Ock and although he isn’t a huge part of the film. I truly love what they did with his character, once again the film acts as a continuation to Spider-Man 2 with his character. He was a man corrupted by his inventions deep down he wasn’t demonic like the next character The Green Goblin. Willem Dafoe truly owns the role of The Green Goblin I truly can’t picture anyone else in the role, the film does such a good job showing how evil he really is and shows why he is the most threatening of the villains. He has all the villains besides Doc Ock go completely mad and attack, the strongest parts of the writing come in when Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield come in. Not only do we get to see both of them again but we get to hear how they are doing, what’s changed and so on. The film acts as a continuation to their stories, even the little conversations end up meaning quite a lot. One important rule when it comes to a team up sort of element is to never have one part of the certain team or character overshadow the other. And I feel No Way Home does a fantastic job of doing that, Tobey, Andrew and Tom’s version of Spider-Man feel equal one doesn’t feel far stronger than the other. The jokes in the film are actually quite fantastic, there was a lot of charm put into them that I can’t help but smile at. The ending is truly hard hitting and definitely one of the more emotional moments that have happened in the MCU thus far, it’s hard hitting change that has this sense of moving on from memories. Overall Spider-Man No Way Home is a huge celebration of Spider-Man it’s a fantastic film that’s hands down one of the best the MCU has to offer!
I’ve said in the past how much I don’t like Venom (2018) it felt like it was trying to take itself way too seriously a lot of the time plus it felt like one of those awful early 2000s super hero movies that were coming out of nowhere. The trailer for Venom Let There Be Carnage gave me hope that this would be a massive improvement over the first movie and luckily that was the case. First off this one knows exactly what it wants to be, it owns that it’s a comedy movie and almost never takes itself seriously and even when it does those moments aren’t bad at all. The director this time around is Andy Serkis who did quite solid job, there’s some actual character moments here that sure might not be anything spectacular but do feel like there is a little more to this one. Woody Harrelson as Carnage was really strong, It’s clear Harrelson is having a blast on set and it really shows in his performance. I do wish they could have went a little deeper with Carnage as a character but for what they went over and showed it was much better than expected. Tom Hardy as Venom this time around I thought was a lot better, Hardy actually sounds like he’s having a blast unlike in the last movie. The action scenes were actually not too bad, they aren’t anything to write home about but they are massively entertaining. Especially the scenes towards the end which are a great way to close the movie! Finally there’s the end credit scene which I won’t spoil that yes is pretty neat! Overall while there really isn’t that much to Venom Let There Be Carnage it is a huge improvement over the first movie that actually wants me to see a third movie!
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is available on all VOD Platforms!