Friday, August 14, 2015

Movie Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Fant 4 Stic sounds like a great title for a
superhero movie
Let's just get this out of the way: Fantastic Four is a bad movie. There's no sense in beating around the bush with this one. Fantastic Four is bad in just about every way. I bet if you were to crack open a dictionary and look up the definition of "bad film", you'd see Fantastic Four's poster sitting right beside it.

With that being said, Fantastic Four manages to achieve a special level of bad, a level that leaves the view perplexed and downright confused after watching this utter train-wreck of a film. You question whether you've just seen an incomplete movie that was slapped together by the heads of a corporation so they could keep the rights to this somewhat cursed property. You wonder what pieces of this travesty were part of the director's original vision, and what was hastily wielded into place by producers to meet some weird, bottom line. You wonder if this film ever had a chance of being something good, or was doomed from the start.

Fantastic Four is like a Rubix cube that has been scrambled, but happens to also be missing a large chunk, making it very difficult to solve. Also, the cube has been covered in a layer of shit, just to make things even harder for you.

The film possesses numerous problems. The most notable is the jumbled mess of a story where things just happen because that's what the script says happens, or introduces plot points that will just be ignored or never fully explored during the rest of film. The tone also jumps from your typical superhero action film to something that would be more at home in a Cronenberg film. The cinematography is lifeless and uninteresting, the effects lackluster, and the direction insipid. I'm actually shocked that this film made it to theaters in this state.

There are a small handful of things that do work in the film's favor, like its short run time and its cast. Fantastic Four is about 1 hour and 40 minutes long and thankfully moves at a brisk pace, making the actual sit a relatively easy one. The acting isn't bad either. It's not amazing, but the cast does as much as they can with what little they are given, with Miles Teller & Michael B. Jordan being the obvious standouts. The only performance that was truly bad was Toby Keller's turn as Victor Von Doom. He plays one of the best comic book villains ever as a whiny, indignant asshat who suddenly wants to destroy the world near the end of the movie because of stupid reasons.

I know some of you are probably curious about how bad Fantastic Four is after hearing so many negative things about. Some are probably so curious they actually want to see the movie. Here's my suggestion for you. Go find a bootleg of the Roger Corman film and watch that instead. While it's not a great movie, it's at least enjoyably bad. Hell, I'd even suggest watching the Tim Story films from 2005 & 2007 over this film. Just skip this one. You'll thank me for it later.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Joaquin Phoenix in Final Negotiations to Play Doctor Strange

While its release date hasn't been officially announced, many people suspect Doctor Strange will be hitting theaters July 2016. That's all fine and dandy, but its still up in the air on who will wear that signature cape and take on the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. Well, it was until Collider announced that Academy Award winning actor Joaquin Phoenix is apparently in final negotiations to play the role.

Honestly, I'm a little disappointed by this development. Don't get me wrong, I think Phoenix is a fine actor and he's done some fantastic work. I personally wanted Pedro Pascal (a.k.a., Oberyn Martell) for the part. Pascal would have been an amazing Stephen Strange, and I want that man to get a lot more work. Also, I just don't feel like Phoenix is the right person for the part.

However, a lot of people felt that way about Robert Downey Jr. as well. When that casting was announced, I remember everyone criticizing it. I was passenger on that bandwagon for a little while myself until I thought about Downey's past, the things he's gone through, and how much he looks like Tony Stark. Now, people probably can't think of anyone playing Iron Man but Robert Downey Jr. 

The same thing could happen here. I could remain incredibly skeptical until I see the move and be blown away. You never know. However, something just doesn't feel right about this casting. I really hope this goes well and we don't end up with another Rhodey situation on our hands. 

What do you think? Do you think Mr. Phoenix is good choice for the Sorcerer Supreme? If not, who would you cast in the role?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a film that should not work. Its a film based on an obscure team of superheroes, directed and co-written by someone known for dark comedy and horror movies, and possesses a talking raccoon and sentient tree within its cast. The film simply reeked of failure and many feared that it would be Marvel Studios' first real flop.

However, much like its titular team of misfits and outcasts, Guardians of the Galaxy manages to defy expectations. Not only does it work, but its easily one of the best Marvel movies to date, standing up there with The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super) and co-written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera starting a team of unlikely heroes. We have Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a scoundrel who goes by the name Star-Lord and loves 70's pop music; Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a gun-toting raccoon; Groot (Vin Diesel), a sentient tree; Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a deadly assassin and Thanos' adoptive daughter; and Drax the Destroyer (David Bautista), a tattooed warrior driven by revenge. 

After stealing a mysterious orb coveted by the vicious warlord Ronan (Lee Pace), Quill finds himself with a massive bounty on his head. Once he breaks free of a high-tech prison, these odd individuals are drawn together with the hopes of evading Ronan and discovering the true power of the orb. Can the Guardians manage to save the galaxy, or will they fail and spell doom for us all? 

If you've seen any of the trailers for the film, you'd most likely expect Guardians of the Galaxy to be a silly romp that focuses more on over-the-top action and humor than serious drama. However, you'd only be partially correct. While Guardians is incredibly irreverent and hilarious, the film's also packed full of heart. I never thought I would feel so much heartache for a talking raccoon and his sentient tree friend. Don't let the strange premise fool you, Guardians of the Galaxy's script is incredibly well-written film, knowing how to balance the humor with surprising emotional depth. Perlman and Gunn should really give themselves a pat on the back. They definitely deserve it.

The protagonists and the performers who portray them are great as well. It would be so easy for the titular Guardians to end up as two-dimensional stereotypes or walking punchlines. However, that great script and some seriously great performances prevent that. As the film progresses, you truly began to care about this group of misfits and want to see them succeed. While everyone does a phenomenal job, I feel like I have to praise Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel specifically. Of all the characters, Rocket and Groot would probably be the easiest to screw up. However, Cooper really does bring life to this genetically enhanced creature and Diesel manages to say and express so much with just three, simple words. Because of that, Rocket and Groot are basically the heart of this film.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how stunning the film is visually. Each scene is filled with so much color, the designs are intriguing, and the cinematography is great. I never felt board while watching this film, with almost every scene possessing something that's visually interesting. While I didn't see the film in 3D, I feel like it'd be one of the few films that would be worth the extra ticket price.

With that being said, Guardians of the Galaxy does have its flaws. While the script itself is great, the plot is a little too basic at times, leading to situations where the audience can probably figure out what's going to happen with relative ease (at least, a general idea of what's going to happen, since there are some moments within the film that I would have never guessed would happen in a million years). Secondly, the villains are somewhat lacking. While Lee Pace tries his hardest, giving a solid performance, Ronin ultimately isn't that interesting. When you compare him to villains like Loki or The Winter Soldier, that's somewhat unfortunate.

Thankfully, these blemishes do not ruin Guardians of the Galaxy. The film truly is marvelous, managing to take a concept that should have never worked and made something truly special out of it. If you have some free time, I implore you to go down to your local theater and check out this film. You will not regret it. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jason Momoa Cast as Aquaman: Thoughts & Opinions

It looks like Jason Momoa (a.k.a Khal Drogo for the Game of Thrones fans) will be taking on the role of the King of Atlantis in Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. While this theory surfaces months ago, recent developments seem to point to this actually being real. Because I'm a comic fan who likes to express his opinions about things, I thought I'd go ahead and give my two cents on this. I can actually boil it down to ten words.

"Cool. Still don't give a shit about the move though."

I wasn't kidding when I said that Man of Steel killed any hope I had in DC's movie franchise being any good, and the news surrounding this cluster f@#k waiting to happen hasn't changed that. While I like Momoa and feel like he unfairly suffers from typecasting, I still can't muster any excitement for Dawn of Justice.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

First Impressions of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman

As part of their Comic-Con panel, Warner Bros. gave us the first look of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (who will not be receiving her own film, but having a glorified cameo in Batman & Flying Batman's film). Because I'm a huge Wonder Woman fan, I thought I'd give my initial impression of the costume. 

Honestly, I have rather mixed feelings about the costume. I really like the look and the shape of the costume, having always preferred versions of the Diana's suit that possessed a skirt. However, I absolutely hate the heels. Adding heels to Wonder Woman's outfit was a horrible idea and whoever made that decision should be slapped. hard. 

Also, I getting really sick and tired of all the desaturated pictures coming out of DC and Warner Bros. They're trying so hard to be "dark" and "edgy", but it just looks dull and lifeless to me. Would it be too much to have at least a little color once in awhile? 

What do you think of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman costume? Do you like it, do you hate it, or are you indifferent? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Legend of Korra Going Digital: My Thoughts & Concerns

Art by Bryan Konietzko
Bryan Konietzko, the co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, posted this picture to his Tumblr page after the news broke that Nickelodeon would cease airing two episodes of The Legend of Korra per week, and would be pulling the last five episodes from its airing schedule.

The other co-creator, Michael Dante DiMartino, also made the following comment on his Facebook:
"Hang tight, Korra fans. There is 1 new episode this Friday at 8, then the rest of the season will be available from various sites online. We'll let you know when we have more details. Thanks!" 
As one might suspect, this announcement has sent the Korra fanbase into a crazed frenzy. Many fans feared Nickelodeon had decided to cancel the show mid-season. While that doesn't seem to be the case, the specifics are still shrouded in mystery and we will not know anymore until after the Korra panel at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego. If you'd like to keep yourself up to date about The Legend of Korra and the developments around this announcement, I suggest checking out

Personally, I have very mixed emotions about this. Part of me is saddened by the news that I won't be able to tune in on Friday nights to watch two new episodes of Book 3. While that airing schedule was a little strange, I kind of like getting two doses of Korra goodness. Also, I wish they could give us more concrete answers about which websites will be hosting the Korra episodes, when they'll be posted, and what this means for Book 4 (which is nearing the end of its production).

However, another part of me wonders if the move to digital might be a godsend for the series. Its not secret that Nickelodeon has treated The Legend of Korra horribly. They've screwed with the scheduling, bungled the advertisement for it, and have shown almost no confidence in the series. I've always found this odd, especially considering that The Legend of Korra is the sequel to one of the most successful cartoons of the past decade, was highly rated, and probably raked in a lot of money for Nick. You'd think they'd give the creators more benefit of the doubt because of that. Apparently you'd be wrong.

What do you think? Do you think the move to digital will be a good or bad thing for The Legend of Korra? Also, what do you think of Book 3? Do you like it, or not? I'm personally enjoying it a lot at the moment.

*UPDATE* We've received some clarification about what will be happening with this move to digital. Beginning on August 1st, the remaining episodes of Book 3 will be appearing weekly on and the Nick app, as well as platforms like Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, and Hulu.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Random Musings: Why Changing a Character's Ethnicity Isn't a Bad Thing

The New Sentinel of Liberty!
While on The Colbert Report last week, Marvel's CCO Joe Quesada revealed that Sam Wilson (a.k.a "The Falcon") will be taking on the title of Captain America this fall. When Marvel teased that Steve Rogers would be passing on the iconic shield, many people speculated that Wilson would be the one to receive it due to his longtime partnership with Rogers. Although many fans are happy with the announcement and excited to see this new take on the Sentinel of Liberty, a very vocal minority of fans have cried foul.

These "fans" labelled the decision as disrespectful to Captain America's legacy, believing the move is just an obvious ploy to pander African American fans and nothing more. These people are most likely the same people who criticized the decision the introduction of Miles Morales as the Ultimate Spider-Man or the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. They see this decision as a slight against their favorite character, believing this change in ethnicity is is going against the true nature of the character due to the character almost always being depicted as a white guy.

Of course, this belief is total bullshit.

Yes, Captain America has almost always been depicted as a Caucasian male. However, there is nothing about the character that requires him to be that ethnicity. Captain America's core concept is a hero that truly believes that a person should always do what's right, no matter what the cost is. As long as the character remains true to that concept, their ethnicity (or gender, for that matter) shouldn't matter in the slightest.

Captain America is Captain America, whether its Steve Rogers or Sam Wilson behind the mask.

Also, I find it weird that some fans find it hard to accept an African American as Captain America, but will easily buy a world where a teenager can be bitten by a radioactive spider and gain superpowers or a scientist can accidentally combine the DNA of Tomas Edison with his pet cockatiel, creating an anthropomorphic bird genius. They can accept that, but find Captain America being black too much. I can't be the only one who sees the problem here, can I?