Spider-Man: Homecoming – A (almost entirely) spoiler-free review.

The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and the first result of the Marvel/Sony partnership — hit theaters this past weekend, and it was a big hit. That’s good, because this is a movie that deserves to do well. It has a lot going for it, and is a solid addition to the Marvel collection. While I won’t go so far as to call it my favorite movie of the year (Wonder Woman has it beat, hands down), it’s another fun, funny, enjoyable, and overall good quality outing from Marvel’s Studios, and really nails what Spider-Man is all about.

I would give this move a solid 7.5/10, and definitely recommend you go see it. Take your wife/girlfriend/kids, too. This is the kind of superhero movie I think even a casual fan will enjoy. To see why, keep reading.

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Wonder Woman – A (mostly) spoiler-free review

People will tell you that Wonder Woman is the best DCEU movie so far, and that’s true. People will tell you that Wonder Woman is the best female-led superhero movie of all time, and that’s also true. But Wonder Woman doesn’t need any of those qualifiers — Wonder Woman is a genuinely good movie in a way that’s refreshing. Similar to Logan but also totally different — it told a classic superhero action story in a movie that was not a typical superhero action movie, and yet the superhero action came through in spades.

Wonder Woman banner

 

This is my favorite movie of the year so far (sorry, Guardians vol 2, you were good, but not this good), and top 3 of the past few years. If this is what we have to look forward to with the DCEU going forward, then we shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I give this movie 9/10, and you should pretty much drop what you’re doing to go see it.

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Ghost in the Shell – A (mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

Ghost in the Shell is widely considered one of the most important franchises in the history of anime/manga. The 1995 feature-length movie, in particular, was wildly successful, and influenced a number of filmmakers in the science fiction genre. When Dreamworks Pictures decided to bring a live-action adaptation to the big screen, they had some big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, while the movie gets a lot of things right, the live-action film doesn’t live up to it’s predecessor’s reputation as a groundbreaking, instant-classic movie.

Unlike most of the films I review on this blog, Ghost in the Shell is a bit outside my wheelhouse. I am, at best, a casual anime/manga fan — I’ve seen the 1995 film and I’ve read a couple of the manga, but I’m by no means an expert on the franchise. As such, I didn’t walk into this movie as a super-fan, hoping to see well-known characters and plots brought to life. Rather, I went in with somewhat fresh eyes, wanting a movie that captured the tone and feel of the original while telling a compelling story. And while the movie did an excellent job at reproducing the atmosphere of a Japanese anime, the story itself didn’t quite click for me. Too much of the movie felt dated and derivative (which is unfortunate, as we’ll see later), and that just detracted too much from the movie for my liking.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie for what it was. It wasn’t bad, or boring, or confusing, or any of the things that make me hate a movie. I’m glad I got to see it, and I don’t feel like I wasted my time or money (though, don’t bother with 3-D). If the movie hadn’t been called Ghost in the Shell, I think it would have fared much better without the reputation to live up to. I’d rate it a middle-of-the-road 6/10, worth seeing if you’re a fan of the genre, or just want to watch a sci-fi movie that’s a bit different from the typical blockbuster fare. If you want to know more, keep reading…

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Logan – A (mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

The latest film in the X-Men Cinematic Universe, Logan, is a major departure from the genre of movies we usually associate with mutant superheros. Indeed, it’s not a superhero movie at all — and in many ways, that’s why its one of the best superhero movies yet. The film focuses on one single character, on a journey of discovery; and no matter how predictable the ending, by the time we get there, the emotional investment is so powerful that you feel it anyway.

In this review, I won’t spoil the ending, and will keep the spoilers to an minimum. If you’ve never seen another X-Men movie, though, expect those to be spoiled at will. (I’m looking square at you, Age of Apocalypse). And, since the question has come up more than once: no, you don’t need to watch any previous movies to enjoy Logan, but you will probably enjoy it more if you’ve invested in the characters already; that means watching at least X-Men, The WolverineDays of Future Past, and Age of Apocalypse (mostly for the ending) first.

Overall, I give this movie a 9/10; to see why, and why you really want to see it for yourself, keep reading. (Also, in case you didn’t know, the movie is rated R — there’s tons of violence and tons of swearing. No kids, please).

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