Star Wars Resistance: Season 1 Episodes 18 – 19 (TV/Television Review) – Kaz Becomes A Leader

The Disappeared’ and ‘Descent’ were the episodes of Star Wars Resistance that would act as the foundation for the Season 1 finale. Everything has been building up to First Order control of the Colossus and I expected these episodes to finally put our protagonists in a place where they would have to truly fight back.

My Thoughts On Season 1 Episodes 18 – 19 Of Star Wars Resistance

‘The Disappeared’ acted as an episode which continued to highlight the First Order’s authoritarian oppression. This is because the racing, the heart and soul of the Colossus, was ended by the First Order and, as such, the ace pilots were grounded. Clearly, a move designed to remove any threat to the First Order as the ace pilots were also the Colossus’ protectors and they could probably hold their own in a fight against the First Order.

Tam and Kaz were still clashing over the First Order and we find out that Colossus citizens who defy or speak out against the First Order are disappearing. I immediately thought that these citizens were arrested, taken off world and imprisoned to do hard labour because this is what the Empire did to those who rebelled against them.

Hype Fazon and Aunt Z are two of these citizens who fall foul of the First Order, at least until Kaz and Torra break them out. Before this escape happened, Torra and Kaz see that Doza and Yeager are working together to knock out the communication blocker so they can let the Resistance know that they need help.

For me, to see the old Rebel Alliance pilot and the former Imperial officer working together against the First Order was great to see. I hope to see more of these two together going forward both in Season 1 and Season 2 of Resistance.

Escape, Arrest, Escape

Still, while I am sure that Kaz would have been personally relieved to see Doza and Yeager on the same side, him and Torra had a job to do and they help Hype, Aunt Z and a couple of others to escape the platform.

Once again, Takodana is referenced as a location by Aunt Z where she and the others call upon the help of an old friend which clearly implies Maz Kanata. The consistent references to Takodana in Season 1 of Resistance have made me convinced that we will see Takodana in the Season 1 finale as a way to show Aunt Z and Hype Fazon’s perspective of the destruction of Hosnian Prime.

Kaz and Torra saved the day but, sadly, ‘The Disappeared’ ended on a dark note as Kaz, Yeager, Neeku and Tam are all arrested by the First Order. ‘Descent’ begins where ‘The Disappeared’ ended with are protagonists being arrested and they are being arrested because the First Order traced the Fireball, Kaz’s ship, back to the workshop after the events of ‘The Core Problem’. Consequently, the First Order suspect they are all Resistance spies.

This puts out protagonists in a perilous position but Kaz, Yeager, Neeku and CB-23 are able to escape but Tam cannot because she is so confused by the whole situation. Tam is taken captive but is treated well by Agent Tierney, a new character in Resistance who works for the First Order.

Obviously, this is an attempt to get Tam to reveal information easily and perhaps shift allegiance to the First Order. Because of what we have seen in previous episodes of Resistance, this is a possibility and, now that she knows the truth about Kaz, she will clearly feel betrayed and untrusting of the people she believed trusted her.

Kaz Has To Step Up

Kaz’s true identity is revealed to everyone who did not know previously and he and the others who escaped hide out in Engineering with Kel and Elia, the children from Tehar. From that point forward, Kaz is now in a leadership role and he has to step up to the plate. He comes up with a plan to flood the station and knock out the communications blocker undetected to get a message to the Resistance.

Thanks to Doza’s help, the plan is successful and the message is transmitted and, interestingly, it is intercepted by Synara and the pirates. Perhaps they could provide Kaz with some help in the next episodes of Resistance. However, Kaz’s plan comes at a cost as Yeager gets captured which is a huge blow for Kaz.

Once he returns to Engineering, Kaz listens to the message Leia sent in response and, unfortunately, the Resistance is unable to send help. Their resources are stretched thin as it is and this means that Kaz and the others are on their own. Kaz therefore has to take even more responsibility than before.

He forms his own official Resistance cell to drive out the First Order and this showcases the arc of maturity Kaz has gone on since his time on the Colossus in a very meaningful way. I really liked ‘The Disappeared’ and ‘Descent’, the latter particularly because of Kaz’s progression as a character.

We now have two episodes left and, with the destruction of Hosnian Prime imminent, we will have to see how our protagonists react to this in the Season 1 finale of Star Wars Resistance.

Star Wars Resistance Season 1 Episodes 18 - 19 The Disappeared Descent Review

 

Star Wars Resistance: Season 1 Episodes 16 – 17 (TV/Television Review) – Another Leap Forward In Quality

As a season of television gets closer towards the season finale, things should be starting to really pick up in the main storyline. In the case of Season 1 of Star Wars Resistance, ‘The New Trooper’ and ‘The Core Problem’ were episodes which, from their descriptions, made me feel as though a lot of great connections would be made to the Sequel Trilogy. This was especially the case when I realised that Poe Dameron would be heavily involved in ‘The Core Problem’.

My Thoughts On Season 1 Episodes 16 – 17 Of Star Wars Resistance

Still, first up was ‘The New Trooper’, an episode of Resistance which began with a First Order Stormtrooper getting knocked out by the children from Tehar. Kaz uses this situation as an opportunity to impersonate this Stormtrooper and find out more about the First Order’s plans for the Colossus.

Once again, Tam clashes with her friends about the First Order and, this time, she debates with Yeager about them. The generational divide I spoke about in a previous review of Resistance is highlighted once more in ‘The New Trooper’. Given his past involvement with the Rebel Alliance, Yeager has direct experience with the Empire and knows that the First Order, the fanatical descendants of the Empire, are not to be trusted.

Tam is more trusting of them due to the fact that she has grown up in a time of peace and is unaware about the atrocities of the Empire. In fact, she actually has positive opinions of the Empire because her grandfather worked in an Imperial factory and was able to provide for Tam’s family.

When we eventually get to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Resistance, Tam is hopefully going to truly see what the First Order is all about and come around to Kaz and Yeager’s side of the debate­. As ‘The New Trooper’ progressed, we learnt more about what life is like for a Stormtrooper and they come across more like battle droids than soldiers.

This is because the First Order has the ability to do brain scrapes, i.e. memory wipes. I thought this was a really interesting detail and it gives more meaning to General Hux’s line in The Force Awakens that his soldiers were “programmed from birth”. Again, a great connection has been made between Resistance and the Sequel Trilogy.

First Order Plans

A revelation that came out of ‘The New Trooper’ was what the First Order intend to use the Colossus for. Indeed, Kaz learns that a First Order garrison is coming to take over the Colossus and that the First Order wants the Colossus to be a military refuelling station for their fleets in preparation for their galactic invasion.

This capped off an episode in which some great developments in the main story happened. With each passing episode, Resistance is getting more serious in tone and storytelling which was a necessity given what we all know is coming in the near future.

I am of course talking about the destruction of Hosnian Prime by Starkiller Base and, in ‘The Core Problem’, the First Order superweapon cast a looming shadow even if our protagonists did not realise it. In this episode of Resistance, the opening shot is of Yeager looking at a TIE Fighter patrol with despondency which is probably due to the bad memories of the dark times flooding back.

Despite heavy First Order presence, Poe is able to sneak onto the Colossus to rendezvous with Kaz and retrieve BB-8 for an important mission on Jakku. Clearly, this establishes that we are on the cusp of The Force Awakens. Still, before Poe heads off to Jakku with BB-8, Kaz debriefs Poe on the First Order’s business on the Colossus and why they need it.

Mysterious Experiments

Moreover, with the intel Kaz was able to acquire in ‘The New Trooper’, they discover a location in the Unknown Regions where the First Order was located in a concerning capacity. Once they get there, it is all too apparent to us, the viewers, what the First Order was doing at this location.

A system with no sun? Planets and moons wrecked? First Order attempts to build Starkiller Base and make it operational occurred at this location in the Unknown Regions. It made for some quite striking imagery. Eventually, Poe and Kaz go to a planet where an old temple is in ruins and the population has been wiped out entirely.

The structures of this temple from an architectural perspective were eerily similar to Luke’s temple that was destroyed by Ben Solo/Kylo Ren as we saw in Star Wars: The Last JediAdditionally, and probably more importantly to the story of Star Wars Resistance, this temple may be part of the village on Tehar as Alex from Star Wars Explained excellently pointed out in his review of ‘The Core Problem’.

Poe and Kaz run into the First Order at this temple but they are able to escape and BB-8 is returned to Poe. They both head off to Jakku and CB-23 takes BB-8’s place alongside Kaz. Kaz returns to the Colossus with Tam more curious than ever about Kaz and what he is really doing.

Something I found quite interesting was Yeager showing a real, genuine interest into what Kaz and Poe found. This was a far cry from who Yeager was in ‘The Recruit’ where he was quite apathetic about the Resistance/First Order conflict. This showed the character development of Yeager in Season 1 of Resistance in a great way.

My Final Thoughts On Season 1 Episodes 16 – 17 Of Star Wars Resistance

I am sure that Yeager will be fully involved in the fight against the First Order once he sees what is about to happen. Undoubtedly, given the way it developed the First Order storyline and how it connected to the Sequel Trilogy, ‘The Core Problem’ was one of my favourite episodes of Star Wars Resistance so far and a great way to tease what is to come.

I liked ‘The New Trooper’ too but not as much and I have come to realise that anytime Poe is involved in Resistance, the show is better for it. Perhaps that was why I preferred ‘The Core Problem’ over ‘The New Trooper’ but both episodes helped this animated Star Wars TV series take a leap forward in quality.

Star Wars Resistance Season 1 Episodes 16 - 17 The New Trooper The Core Problem Review

Vice, Can You Ever Forgive Me? + Green Book (Film/Movie Reviews)

Vice and Green Book were the last two films nominated for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars that I had yet to see. I had heard mixed things about both movies but I was excited to see them, especially Vice given how much I loved the work of director Adam McKay with The Big Short.

I also had the chance to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? which has been lauded when it comes to the performances given by Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. I was not expecting any of these three movies to be bad and, thankfully, they were not and you can see my short reviews for all of them below.

Vice

While I do not think that Vice is on the same level of quality as The Big Short, it is a good, entertaining satire. Christian Bale is absolutely phenomenal as Dick Cheney and he continues to show that he is one of the best actors working today. He transforms into this role, especially as an older Dick Cheney pulling all the strings in the Bush Administration.

Still, even though I liked the film, it is not Best Picture worthy. In terms of acting, it is stellar and it has some great moments from a comedic and dramatic perspective. Yet, it is not as clinical in its execution as The Big Short was.

The movie took more of a shotgun approach in its storytelling structure and it means that Vice is hit and miss but the approach Adam McKay took did work overall. However, the execution of what this movie was trying to achieve could have been a bit better.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a film with an okay story that is elevated by great acting. I thought this was a decent movie. The story is a bit boring but Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant keep you engaged through their great individual acting as well as the chemistry they have together.

The film has its funny moments as well as some great poignant moments in the third act. But, in the end, I did find Can You Ever Forgive Me? to be a bit unremarkable and it is not a film I will revisit any time soon.

Green Book

Green Book has been quite a polarising film and not without controversy with the way it deals with its subject matter but I personally thought it was a really good movie. Once Tony (Viggo Mortensen) and Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) are together, the film really hits its stride.

The chemistry between Viggo and Mahershala is fantastic and they really elevate the material they were given to work with. The film has great humour as well as serious moments and it all blends together quite well.

I was really invested in the relationship between Don and Tony and their relationship developed to a point where the friendship and connection they made was really genuine to me. The way this film ends is very uplifting even if it is a bit cliché.

I do understand why the film has not worked for everyone though. Moreover, while it can be argued that a nomination for Best Picture is just about deserved, it should not be in the running to win this award. Still, my experience with Green Book was a positive one.

VIce Can You Ever Forgive Me Green Book Film Movie Reviews

Star Wars Resistance: Season 1 Episodes 14 – 15 (TV/Television Review) – A Good Focus On The First Order

After the mixed return to Season 1 of Star Wars Resistance, I was hoping for the First Order storyline to take centre stage in ‘The Doza Dilemma’ and ‘The First Order Occupation’. Clearly, if an episode has “First Order” in its title as the latter did, it is a bit of a giveaway to what this episode will focus on.

With each passing episode, we get closer to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This will make anyone watching this animated Star Wars TV show believe that the First Order will have a larger presence in Resistance going forward.

My Thoughts On Season 1 Episodes 14 – 15 Of Star Wars Resistance

Overall, both ‘The Doza Dillema’ and ‘The First Order Occupation’ continued the First Order storyline in a good way without being particularly spectacular. With ‘The Doza Dillema’, we witnessed just how cunning the First Order are when it comes to achieving their goals. In this episode of Resistance, the First Order commands the pirates to kidnap Torra and, in turn, force Doza to allow First Order presence on the Colossus.

The pirates are able to infiltrate the Colossus with the help of Synara whose loyalty to the pirates is absolutely waning given both her reluctance to help them from the beginning and to then inform Kaz what the pirates had done when she found out it was Torra they were after.

What Synara did not realise throughout her actions in this episode was the fact that Kaz saw her interact with the pirates prior to Torra’s kidnapping. By the end of ‘The Doza Dilemma’, Kaz realises Synara’s true identity but he does not know that Synara is essentially loyal to him from this point on.

Still, the most significant event of ‘The Doza Dilemma’ was Torra’s capture. In the end, it was actually the First Order who ended up rescuing her from the pirates. It was all a ruse to gain Doza’s trust, come across as the good guys and gain a foothold on the Colossus. As we see in ‘The First Order Occupation’, First Order presence on the Colossus is indeed established after the events of ‘The Doza Dilemma’.

A Generational Divide

From the beginning of ‘The First Order Occupation’, we can clearly see the First Order’s authoritarian ways being implemented to limit freedom under the guise of order and security. Obviously, Kaz is angry at all of this given his New Republic background. He is someone who would have been educated about the war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance from an early age and he knows what Stormtroopers truly symbolise; oppression and war.

Still, what was interesting to see in this episode of Resistance was the mixed response to the First Order presence. I already spoke about Kaz’s displeasure and Doza clearly saw the downsides seeing as he was alive during the rule of the Empire and was an Imperial before he left the Empire for reasons still unknown. They provided the negative reaction to the First Order presence on the Colossus and the positive reaction came from Tam.

Tam believes that it is not a bad thing that the First Order are here to protect them from the pirates. Putting aside the fact that Tam does not know the First Order collaborated with the pirates to cause the chaos that allowed them to be on the Colossus, it is easy to see why Tam would have this relatively positive opinion about the First Order.

This is because she was not alive during the Empire’s rule of tyranny. A generational divide shaped by experiences and/or awareness of the past exists and I am interested to see how this plays out in future episodes of Resistance.

Synara’s Escape

With the First Order now on the Colossus, one of their first objectives was to root out any remaining pirates which meant they were after Synara. A major part of ‘The First Order Occupation’ was watching Kaz help Synara escape the Colossus. Before her escape, he lets her know that he knows who she really is and I severely doubt that this will be the last time they see each other.

A small detail during Synara’s escape that I liked was the reference to Takodana. Kaz mentions Takodana as a safe place where Synara can go and hide out at. We know that Maz Kanata’s castle is on Takodana and hence clear why Kaz believed this would be a safe place to hide out seeing as those who frequent that establishment are not always the antithesis of scum and villainy.

Moreover, because of the importance of that location to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it would be cool to see Synara there during The Force Awakens and the destruction of the Hosnian system. It would be a nice connection between the TV shows and the films.

My Final Thoughts On Season 1 Episodes 14 – 15 Of Star Wars Resistance

As the mid-season trailer for Season 1 showed us, Star Wars Resistance will overlap with The Force Awakens and the opportunities to establish various connections between the two are ripe. From the perspective of canon as well as a dramatic one, I cannot wait to see when this overlap happens and I am also looking forward to seeing how the continuous First Order presence impacts the Colossus and its citizens.

The upward curve in the second half of Season 1 was continued with ‘The Doza Dilemma’ and ‘The First Order Occupation’. While they do not rank amongst the best episodes of Resistance, they progressed the story nicely and aided my efforts to forget just how atrocious ‘Bibo’ was as an episode that kicked-off the remaining episodes in Season 1 of Resistance.

Star Wars Resistance Season 1 Episodes 14 - 15 The Doza Dilemma The First Order Occupation Review

 

Beautiful Boy, The Favourite + How To Train Your Dragon 3 (Film/Movie Reviews)

In the United Kingdom, January and February is the best time of the year when it comes to films. This is because a lot of the movies that are in contention for awards such as the Oscars are released in the UK at this time.

The Favourite is one of the movies expected to do well at the 2019 Oscars and Timothée Chalamet has been getting nominations for his supporting role in Beautiful Boy. I had the chance to see both of these films recently as well as How To Train Your Dragon 3, an animated movie which might be nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscars next year. You can see my short reviews for all of these movies below.

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy is a film with great subject matter that never reaches its full potential. There is some great acting from Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet and the latter is the standout in this film. Moments of brilliance are littered throughout whenever he is involved with a café scene between his character and Carell’s being a particular highlight.

There is no doubt that the father/son relationship and the impact that drug addiction has on it is the heart and soul of Beautiful Boy. I also liked the nice variety of music. However, something was missing from this film that would have delivered the knockout emotional moments. From a storytelling perspective, Beautiful Boy felt quite passive in my opinion.

Everything was there to make this movie great but, for whatever reason, it never did enough to get to that level. It is a good film and, in terms of acting, I can see why it has received award nominations. Still, the overall movie is not at a high enough level of quality to get more award recognition.

The Favourite

I despised The Lobster which was the first and only Yorgos Lanthimos film I had seen prior to The Favourite. Because of my disdain for his previous work, I was not going into The Favourite with abundant excitement. Gratefully, I had a much better time with this movie than I did with The Lobster.

While I did not love it and I questioned what the whole point of it was by the end, I found some enjoyment in the comedic aspects of the film. A big reason why I thought The Favourite was a decent movie was because it was much more restrained and less quirky with its storytelling.

This made the film more palatable and I could appreciate the comedy and the performances because of this. I am not of the opinion that this film deserves all of the Oscar nominations it has received and I would be shocked if it won Best Picture. Nonetheless, it was much better than I expected it to be.

How To Train Your Dragon 3

Upon a re-watch of How To Train Your Dragon 1 and How To Train Your Dragon 2, those films did not hold up that well for me. I still enjoyed watching them but, in a score out of 10, they both went down from an 8.5 to a 6.5. I could not really separate the two in terms of which one I preferred over the other. After watching How To Train Your Dragon 3, I still cannot give you a confident ranking of all three films.

I enjoy all of these movies and the consistency of their quality is somewhat of an achievement. It is a decent trilogy. However, I do not connect with these films nor the characters within them on an emotional level as others do and the moments between Hiccup and Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon 3 where I was meant to get the feels kind of fell flat for me.

From an animation standpoint, this is the most impressive of the trilogy and there are some funny moments. Yet, I also feel that these films are more animated movies for kids than they are for adults. I would rank the Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar trilogies above the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy and I do not have a huge desire to watch this trilogy again.

Beautiful Boy How To Train Your Dragon 3 The Favourite Film Movie Reviews

 

Star Wars Resistance: Season 1 Episodes 12 – 13 (TV/Television Review) – A Mixed Return To Season 1

The trailer for the second half of Star Wars Resistance Season 1 was fantastic. It established a darker tone than we have seen so far in Resistance and it definitely increased my expectations for ‘Bibo’ and ‘Dangerous Business’, the episodes of Resistance that would kick-off the second half of Season 1. From the trailer, it seemed as though the First Order/Resistance conflict would be the overriding focus for the remainder of Season 1.

My Thoughts On Season 1 Episodes 12 – 13 Of Star Wars Resistance

If you have been watching Resistance, then you can therefore imagine how utterly disappointed I was with ‘Bibo’. It was twenty minutes of my life that I will never get back. Without a shadow of a doubt, ‘Bibo’ is the worst episode of Resistance so far and it was a terrible way to start the second half of Season 1 in my opinion.

In this episode, Neeku adopts a small sea creature and he calls him Bibo. The entire episode revolves around this creature – why? The show has some very interesting storylines going on. Why did we need this filler episode? In the grand scheme of things, it was an utterly pointless waste as far as I am concerned.

The only mildly interesting things of note that happened in ‘Bibo’ were that Synara came closer to finding out the true identity of Kaz and one of the children from Tehar may be force sensitive. Still, this is nowhere near enough in terms of importance to make ‘Bibo’ a necessary episode to watch. For me, this is the first bad episode of Resistance and one that you can absolutely skip.

Thankfully, compared to ‘Bibo’, ‘Dangerous Business’ was a huge improvement in quality. In ‘Dangerous Business’, Kaz is looking after the Acquisitions store and he has to deal with a shady alien who steals an important item for the First Order. This item is used for drilling and excavation and I can only assume that this item will be somewhat linked to Starkiller Base and the upcoming galactic invasion.

My Final Thoughts On Season 1 Episodes 12 – 13 Of Star Wars Resistance

Because of the links to the First Order storyline, ‘Dangerous Business’ was a step in the right direction because it was slightly more in tune with the tone set by the trailer for the remaining episodes in Season 1 of Star Wars Resistance. I pray that we do not get another ‘Bibo’ in Season 1.

Star Wars Resistance Season 1 Episodes 12 - 13 Bibo Dangerous Business Review

 

Bumblebee (Film/Movie Review) – The First Good Transformers Film

Bumblebee is a sci-fi action film directed by Travis Knight. It is the sixth instalment in the live-action Transformers movie franchise and, thankfully, the first not to be directed by Michael Bay. The movie stars Pamela Adlon, John Ortiz, James Drucker, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena and Hailee Steinfeld. Angela Bassett, Dylan O’Brien, Justin Theroux and Peter Cullen also star in voice roles.

The story of Bumblebee is set in 1987 where the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons on Cybertron is reaching a critical point. Bumblebee (Dylan O’Brien) is tasked by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), heroic leader of the Autobots, to establish a base on Earth.

After taking severe damage, Bumblebee seeks refuge in California and is discovered by Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenager still struggling with the loss of her father. Charlie and Bumblebee forge a friendship and work together to achieve Bumblebee’s mission and protect Earth from the Decepticon threat.

My Expectation For Bumblebee

While not exactly the pinnacle of cinema, I will always have a soft spot for Transformers and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The same cannot be said for the abysmal Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Age of Extinction. In fact, I hated the latter so much that I did not bother seeing Transformers: The Last Knight. Judging from the reviews for The Last Knight, that was probably for the best.

So, five films in and my enthusiasm for the Transformers film series was completely gone. That was the case until the marketing campaign for Bumblebee began. I saw promising signs from the trailers that Travis Knight could bring his brilliant work on Kubo and the Two Strings over to Bumblebee and the positive reviews Bumblebee received got me really excited. It was possible that Bumblebee could be the first legitimately good Transformers movie.

My Thoughts On Bumblebee

As it turns out, Bumblebee is indeed the first truly good Transformers film. However, I will say that the best film it could have been was its very first scene. The first scene shows the Cybertronian Civil War and I wished it was the whole movie. I felt that there was some superb action with dramatic weight in this scene and I was kind of gutted that it ended so quickly. Still, the film we got in the end was enjoyable.

As the film progressed, one thing was very clear to me; Bumblebee is not a prequel to the 2007 Transformers film. It is instead a soft reboot of the Transformers movie franchise. Indeed, the credits scene is overwhelming proof of this if anyone needed more confirmation and the credits scene brilliantly sets up sequels to Bumblebee.

The heart and soul of Bumblebee is the relationship between Bumblebee and Charlie and Hailee Steinfeld’s performance is key to the success of this film. Certainly, unlike every other Transformers film, this movie puts character first which was quite refreshing. I also liked the 80s setting and the nostalgic moments deliver whether it was the music or the consistent references to The Breakfast Club.

In terms of influences on this film, you can see how similar Bumblebee is to a movie such as The Iron Giant and, in terms of more improvements over previous Transformers movies, the comedy in this film is much better. This was not a particularly hard thing to accomplish and not every comedic moment delivers, especially with John Cena who was very hit and miss in Bumblebee.

My Final Thoughts On Bumblebee

Nevertheless, in the end, I was relieved at how much I enjoyed Bumblebee and I hope there are sequels because this movie is a good base for more Transformers films to be made. If you had gone sour over the Transformers films as I did, give Bumblebee a chance. I do not think you will regret it.

bumblebee review

 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Film/Movie Review) – A Game Changer For Animation

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated superhero film directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman. It is based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man and it is the first animated movie in the Spider-Man film franchise.

The film features an ensemble voice cast of Liev Schreiber, John Mulaney, Luna Lauren Valez, Nicolas Cage, Lily Tomlin, Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and Shameik Moore.

The story of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is set in a shared multiverse called the ‘Spider-Verse’ which has alternate universes with various Spider-Men. In this film, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) becomes one of the many Spider-Men and he must work with the others to save New York City from Kingpin (Liev Schreiber).

My Expectation For Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

This is not an exaggeration; every single review and reaction to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse proclaimed it to be one of the best films of 2018, one of the best comic-book movies of 2018 and one of the best comic-book movies ever made. Clearly, this raised my expectations for a film I did not know much about.

I tried to go into this film knowing little about the plot but the praise that Spider-Verse received made me think that I was in for something special. Still, Avengers: Infinity War was the best superhero film I had seen in 2018 and Spider-Verse would have to be special to top Infinity War.

My Thoughts On Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Avengers: Infinity War remains my favourite comic book film of 2018 but I really liked Spider-Verse. Make no mistake, this film is a game changer for animation. It is visually gorgeous and unique in its style.

Still, what makes Spider-Verse a very good film is its story, the heart of which is the relationship between Miles Morales and his family. Indeed, the tug-of-war for Miles between his father and uncle made for some very poignant moments throughout the movie.

Still, as much as I liked Spider-Verse, I feel as though my appreciation for this film would have been greatly enhanced if I was a hardcore Spider-Man fan. I cannot imagine how awesome this film would have been for them.

I am a very casual fan of Spider-Man so most of the easter-eggs and specific, deep cut references went over my head. Certainly, I had no idea so many iterations of Spider-Man existed in the first place.

Nevertheless, I found so much to like in Spider-Verse despite how much this film was made for the hardcore fans of Spider-Man. This movie is funny and has some brilliant characters within it. Obviously, Miles Morales and Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) are standouts but my favourite character was Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage).

I loved his role in the film and what he brought to the story. Moreover, because of the range of characters as well as the dense story, Spider-Verse has to juggle a lot of moving parts and it does this very nicely which was a big achievement.

My Final Thoughts On Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

My only real issue with Spider-Verse was how the momentum of the film was a bit stop/start which slightly hampered the pacing. Additionally, while Kingpin was a decent villain, I would have liked for his character to have been a bit more developed than it was.

Still, I understand that Spider-Verse is a film about the hero’s journey and it is a great journey to go on. Spider-Verse is a very good time at the cinema and it does deserve a lot of the praise it has received. It also deserves award recognition and it should be a lock to win Best Animated Film at the 2019 Oscars.

spider-man into the spider-verse review

 

Ralph Breaks The Internet (Film/Movie Review) – An Enjoyable Sequel

Ralph Breaks The Internet is an animated Disney film directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston and it is the 57th Walt Disney animated feature film. This movie acts as a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph and it has a voice cast that includes Alfred Molina, Jane Lynch, Ed O’Neill, Taraji P. Henson, Alan Tudyk, Jack McBrayer, Gal Gadot, Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly.

The story of Ralph Breaks The Internet focuses on Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) who must travel to the Internet in order to save Sugar Rush, Vanellope’s video game. On this mission, Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship is tested to new limits.

My Expectation For Ralph Breaks The Internet

I liked Wreck-It Ralph and, after its success from a financial and critical perspective, it made sense that Disney would make a sequel. From the trailers, I thought that Ralph Breaks The Internet looked fun but I was not expecting this film to be better than Wreck-It Ralph. All I wanted was an enjoyable movie and anything more than that would be a bonus.

My Thoughts On Ralph Breaks The Internet

A decent, enjoyable movie is exactly what I got with Ralph Breaks The Internet. In some aspects, it is a sequel that improves on the original when it comes to the quality of the animation and set pieces as well as the themes and messages within the story such as friendship and its commentary on the Internet.

However, other elements of Ralph Breaks The Internet are not as good as they were in the first film. Indeed, the overall story in this sequel is nowhere near as strong and I felt that some of the characters that helped the first film so fun are left behind in Ralph Breaks The Internet which was a shame.

Additionally, the first act of Ralph Breaks The Internet, which is essentially everything that happened before Ralph and Vanellope travel to the Internet, was a bit flat. However, everything in the second act was really good, especially when it came to the Disney princess scene. The third act was mixed because, while there were some good character moments, the final boss battle was pretty bland in my opinion.

Ralph Breaks The Internet is, overall, a bit of a mixed bag but there was just about more stuff to like in it than to dislike or have apathy about. If you are a fan of the first film then you should see this sequel but do not go in expecting a brilliant Disney classic because it is not.

ralph breaks the internet review

 

Widows (Film/Movie Review) – Steve McQueen’s Best Work So Far

Widows is heist film directed by Steve McQueen that is based on the 1983 ITV series of the same name. The movie features a large ensemble cast that includes Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Brian Tyree Henry, Colin Farrell, Cynthia Erivo, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Viola Davis.

The story of Widows focuses on a group of women who attempt a robbery. They do this to pay back a crime boss after their criminal husbands are killed when a heist goes terribly wrong.

My Expectation For Widows

Steve McQueen has not directed a film since 12 Years a Slave. While a harrowing film to watch, it is a very good movie and it went on to garner an Oscar for Best Picture. This was a huge achievement for Steve McQueen.

Clearly, given his past success and the long gap between 12 Years a Slave and Widows, anticipation for Widows has been high amongst film fans. Moreover, the great reviews this movie received certainly increased the hype for Widows, at least for myself anyway.

As a minimum, I was confident that Widows would be a good film and if it did indeed showcase itself as a movie worthy of award recognition then that would be brilliant. With a cast this great, an interesting premise and a director who has shown his worth as a storyteller with 12 Years a Slave, everything was looking good.

My Thoughts On Widows

I liked 12 Years a Slave but I personally think that Widows is a step above in quality and it is Steve McQueen’s best film to date. I had a great and enjoyable time with this movie.

It has fantastic acting, confident direction that is evident in McQueen’s clever use of the camera at certain points in the film and a well-crafted story with depth, twists and mystery. All of this combines beautifully to make a great film and it also helps to negate some pacing issues that Widows has.

I mentioned that the film has great acting in it and that comes from every member of this ensemble cast. Everyone delivers but I have to say that Daniel Kaluuya and Elizabeth Debicki were the standouts for me. They were both terrific in very different ways and the arc that Debicki’s character goes on in Widows is one of the best in the movie.

Widows also really impressed me with how it dealt with important issues such as political corruption, police brutality and racial profiling. It is a film that showcased these issues in an impactful way but, at the same time, it also had the usual thrills of a heist film embedded into its story.

My Final Thoughts on Widows

When we consider all of this, Steve McQueen deserves a lot of credit and I would love it if he and the film was recognised at the 2019 Oscars because Widows is, in my eyes, the best film that he has directed. I can only hope that his next film comes much sooner than Widows did.

widows review