Well it’s October. You know what that means! Movie review season! Time to kick off blockbuster season with an exciting introductory article!
Q- Sorry, blockbuster season is over. You could try Sears.
A- I’m not sure if that makes sense, but that is pretty embarrassing. Good thing we have a nice array of critiquable movies from my favorite place in the world: The Past! I’ll review this summer’s blockbusters so…awesomely…that you won’t even know they came out 3 months ago.
I’m so ecstatic that I’m able to say what I’m about to say:
Officially gone are the days when I whined about movies -back in the day- being “good” and movies nowadays being “over-the-top”, “dumb”, “lazily titled” and “for idiots.” Not that I hated all movies after the first Matrix (just all Matrix movies after the first Matrix). I just feel that after Hollywood discovered graphics, this happened…
and then this….
and many more.
I’ve even cried about it. Not really. Well, I was having an emotional week. Sometimes things just add up? Anyway, things are starting to pick up again.
My main point is that we went through some growing pains with the whole graphics/action thing and now the other stuff that makes up a movie (plot, characters, twists, a small degree of sense), are finally starting to catch up.
So pop the champagne, we can look forward to movies again.
Please Note: Whenever I reviewed a movie before, I would summarize the whole thing. I’m not going to do that anymore. I used to do it because back when I read movie reviews instead of writing them (a dark time in my life), reviewers would usually explain the whole movie as they picked it apart. So I just mimicked the professionals.
But now that I’m looking back after a year on hiatus, I realize this: A lot of people these days are probably reading reviews because they saw the movie already and want their opinions validated. But some people are still checking the reviews because they are interested in watching the friggin’ movie. Those poor people. What are they doing, closing on eye, backing up their faces from the screen, and covering certain paragraphs with their hands as they search for the bottom line: WAS IT GOOD OR WASN’T IT?
I know that’s what I do when I went to briefly check a rating on rottentomatoes.com and there are a bunch of other ratings jumping out at me that I don’t want to see. I literally cover half the screen with my arm.
So I decided, for people who have seen the movie and want a top-to-bottom roast of every minute of the movie, there are a billion websites for that. Me? I am retiring from full movie roasts. Unless there is a Suckerpunch 2.
Ok, enough blanter.
Movies I LOVED this year:
Man of Steel
All right, I’m so excited to talk about this movie. I have a galaxy of things to say, but in the interest of your Internet Explorer which is probably crashing right now, I’ll stick to just a few.
Why I loved this movie:
Arguably the hardest superhero to wrap your brain around as someone who could exist in the real world.
Because he looks the same in costume and not in costume.
Because his girlfriend only likes him in weird tights with red underwear on the outside, and not working in an office and wearing a business suit.
Because he spun the world around to rescue Lois but also undid the saving of hundreds of people. Check out #1. The Man Of Steel KILLS AN ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD
Because no one really questions where he’s from.
And finally, because he is 100% beloved and not feared at all. That’s why, as a kid, I was way more of a Spider-Man fan. No matter how much good he did, New York hated him. He lived with that truth every day, and it never got better, and it was way more relatable. (You know, if you’re a teenager).
This movie brought Superman into the real world. How so?
- By making people question where he is from, and dealing with how that affects the world.
- By Superman making tough decisions and not being perfect.
- By eliminating the red-outside-underwear from his costume.
- By allowing Lois to see that he is the same person with and without glasses.
- By reinforcing that he may be able to bring hope to this world (instead of saving the same fictional city all the time).
- By showing that if there were aliens visiting Earth, then they would absolutely have different environmental needs than humans.
Snyder and Nolan avoided all the gimmicks and cliches associated with Superman. These cliches are so tired, you wouldn’t have to see Superman at any point in your life and you would still know these references:
1 – Lex Luthor
2 – Kryptonite
3 – Lex Luthor luring Superman into a situation and saying, “haha! I have kryptonite!” (see 1 and 2)
4 – Lois Lane being a reporter who doesn’t know how to spell (ok that’s not really a huge gimmick but it was so annoying!)
And they added all kinds of neat stuff that emphasize what Superman really should be about (and has been about in comics and cartoons):
- Cool alien stuff
- Making great sacrifices
- Not wearing red underwear on top of your outfit
- Some much-needed background on Krypton
- Not just saving the day by lifting something heavy
- Characters that are developed in the movie from beginning to end. No one had a small part.
- There were other heroes in the movie besides Superman. I feel like this is very important.
- Loyalty, and to whom to be loyal? (Your old home or your new home?)
- Moments when the army wondered if Superman was a good guy or a bad guy
- Russel Crowe didn’t sing
Ok I’m going to stop there.
But these are the reasons why I say, if you haven’t seen it, go see it. Go rent it, or whatever people do now if it’s not on Netflix yet. I wouldn’t know.
Is it the perfect movie? No. Any superhero movie that brings everything closer to home is going to fail at certain parts because they will never perfectly align reality with the comic world. And Zack Snyder can go overboard on the drama a tiny bit. Tiny.
Plus dramatic and comedic timing will never be that perfect in real life. Sigh.
And to everyone who contributed negative reviews to the 53% rating on RT, I only have this to say:
If it was so bad, why is everyone so excited about Superman vs. Batman? It sounds to me like Man of Steel may have inspired some real excitement for the next installment, even though it’s coming out in 2 years! Eh? Eh?
Everyone’s disappointment over Ben Affleck’s being casted for the Batman only reinforces how much people were looking forward to this movie. And even though the 2013 Superman may not have reached people’s expectations, the fact that it has laid a solid groundwork for the next movie is pretty awesome. I haven’t seen a foundation movie this good since Terminator.
Star Trek: Into Darkness
I did not have high hopes for this. I saw the trailer and noticed that it was about revenge, and I was like, come on?
As a life-time Trekkie (and by that I don’t mean I’m good at Star Trek: Scene It. So don’t ask), I was disappointed to see that they were “exploring” the theme of revenge again, after JJ Abrams made us eat a heaping bowl of Romulan revenge in 2009. Then there was Nemesis…well I don’t really remember it but it felt revengy (and Romulany). And of course there was Wrath of Khan, and don’t get me wrong, it is the untouchable Star Trek movie, but if I’m going to watch a revenge-based Star Trek movie, I have everything I need there. Insurrection is about stealing resources from another planet…for revenge.
And all these movies weren’t bad (except for Nemesis…which was summed up perfectly by my husband after he watched it recently: “The only person I was really rooting for was Tom Hardy”), but I wanted to see something besides revenge for once.
It turns out that the trailer was very revenge-heavy, but the movie wasn’t completely about that. JJ actually ended up going back to a lot of issues that Star Trek was made to deal with:
- Simple Right vs. Wrong
- Making the right decision under pressure
- The prime directive is back, baby! (And being ignored as ever!)
- Confusion over whether to start or prevent a war
- The friendship between Kirk and Spock, on which they spent generous amounts of time, thank goodness!
- John Cho trying to intimidate Benedict Cumberbatch, but only succeeding in freaking out me and Bones. See clip here:
- The movie showed a lot more of how Earth has developed over 300 years. Beautiful high-rises, hover cars, clean cities.
- Spock having difficulty with his human side.
- The fun introduction of Carol Marcus, who has a delightful British accent despite having a Dad who sounds like he’s from Mississippi.
- Lots of actions scenes that are unique and really well done and not gravity-defying at all :S
Again, I will say, was it the perfect movie? No. Was there a cheesy part that made me cringe? Yes, one…but with any Sci-Fi, there will be problems. Because we haven’t gotten there yet ourselves, and a lot of this stuff is still “made-up.” Yes, even Cumberbatch.
And that being said, after re-watching all of TNG over the winter…there’s a lot of stuff, like, A LOT of scientific problems they ignore and hope we don’t notice. Basically sci-fi wasn’t about realism, from the 60’s to the 80’s. It was more about adventures in space, where everyone speaks English and breathes the same type of air, and every society either lives in a jungle or in a quaint town on Tattooine.
It was only when Star Trek: Enterprise came along that they started dealing with all the troublesome stuff, like environmental issues, translation, food being cooked by people. Around that time, Sci-Fi started to seem more real, and JJ is following in those footsteps. He even added seat belts!
Well, I’m done, and I only broke one of my guidelines, which was to write smaller posts. My apologies. It’s only because I’m very late with these movie reviews so I thought I’d make it a double feature and call it an “Adventure Pack!”