Movie Review: SHAZAM! takes a lighter approach than recent DC movies, but the script is a horrendous, weak mess.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing this is the second Captain Marvel movie released this year, even though Brie Larson’s titular character was never actually called by that name, and Zachary Levi’s character doesn’t even have a name – but yes, the guy in the red costume and yellow lightning bolt is actually named Captain Marvel.  Marvel Comics won the copyright battle on that one, and so from that day, he’s been referred to colloquially by his activation word, Shazam! I will not even try to give you a canned history of the character, as I didn’t grow up reading him and don’t have any particular affinity for him either.  In fact, the only personal relationship I have to a version of this character is to the British rip-off character, Marvelman, so a little more of that later.  But right here, all you get is the movie.

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Movie Review: Like Venom, AQUAMAN has done amazingly well at the box office – like Venom, I have no idea why.

I was way off in my prediction last year that Aquaman, starring Game of Thrones‘ Jason Momoa, would be a disaster.  In fact, it’s made around $1 billion worldwide.  That’s one billion dollars.  So what do I know?  Nothing.  I don’t even think my prediction was based on the trailers, just an opinion that formed after watching Justice League, a movie that I didn’t hate,  but didn’t care for either, but when I did catch the trailers, I felt pretty justified in thinking the way I did.  Box office bomb waiting to happen.  Nope.  Again: One Billion Dollars.  But like Venom, which has also made a ton of money, receipts don’t equal quality.

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Move Review: INCREDIBLES 2 – the Parrs are back after 14 years, but the overabundance of superhero movies makes it seem all-too familiar.

14 years is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially for such a beloved movie as The Incredibles, but when you think about it, the pressure to deliver a worthy sequel isn’t of the same variety as the normal two-year gap between franchise installments where everything is still pretty fresh in the old Gulliver.  Only a few 18 year-olds would remember seeing this in the cinema if they ever saw it at all, and for those that did, the passing of time likely watered down the enthusiasm.  I speak mostly of the feelings I had when I first heard of the sequel: about time, and it better be good.  I enjoyed the first movie a lot, but it didn’t achieve greatness for me – this one didn’t either.

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Movie Review: READY PLAYER ONE – slick visuals and pop culture references don’t make up for a trite storyline peopled by flat characters and peformances

I readily admit I had little interest in seeing Ready Player One.  The trailers left me as cold as last night’s leftovers, and didn’t contain anything that I found remotely interesting, and visually it looked like a mess.  I thought to myself: this is a Spielberg movie? The trailers reminded me of another movie I hated, Tron: Legacy, a bloated, shallow CGI-fest, except that here the visuals were so muddled, the action so kitchen-sink, I feel like I could be forgiven for thinking RP1 was a Peter Jackson movie, so ridiculous has that filmmaker become.  But it was Spielberg! 

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Movie Review: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT – well rounded and focused, this is the best installment in the 22 year old franchise (wait, what?!)

Yeah, 22 years old.  That is an astounding fact for a number of reasons.  When you look at franchises, the biggest one of all is probably Star Wars, but the Marvel cinematic Universe is right up there too.  The Star Trek movie franchise has been around since 1979, and in western cinema at least, there are few others (trilogies don’t count).  James Bond has been going since the 60s, but is showing its age.  Mission Impossible may only have reached 6 movies, but it has endured for 22 years, and after the global commercial and critical success of Fallout, you’d put money on at least one more.  As much as I enjoyed Mission Impossible 3, I have to agree with some critics that this is the best one yet.

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Movie Review: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – fun sequel that could have been better with a more focused script

If there’s one thing that Marvel Studios do best, it’s casting. Arguably, the entire franchise may not be where it is right now if Robery Downey Jr had not been given the now-iconic role of Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, but it seems like every major casting decision they’ve made has been perfect.  A few years ago I couldn’t have imagined an actor like Paul Rudd fitting in anywhere in the Marvel cinematic universe, but then along came Ant-Man, completely putting that notion to rest.

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Movie Review: BLACK PANTHER – Marvel’s latest cinematic property captures the zeitgeist of today – it’s flawed but good in all the right places.

I have to admit, I don’t place “importance” on genre movies, and I’m mystified by those who do.  Both Wonder Woman and Mad Max: Fury Road were described in such glowing terms when they were released, and I flat out don’t get it – especially given that both movies had major problems, and were not really that great.  Both movies had strong, well portrayed female heroes, and while that’s a great thing, it’s not a strong enough attribute when so much else is weak.  Now it’s the turn of Marvel Studios to capitalize on strong public sentiment, with Black Panther!

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