Category Archives: Movies

Avengers: Endgame…

Out this weekend and breaking a ton of box office records is Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of some ten years of Marvel Superhero films. (You can read about the mind-boggling monetary take here. The article is by Julie Muncy and is presented on i09.com).

It is clear that audiences absolutely love the Marvel universe and its movies. Captain Marvel, the previous Marvel film release, earned decent -but not superb- reviews from critics and audiences nonetheless made a mint as well. It stands to reason this latest Avengers film, featuring the big hitters (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, The Black Widow, etc.) was bound to draw even more interest. Indeed, in one single weekend its blown out many a box-office record and critics and audiences appear equally ecstatic with the end product (currently over on rottentomatoes.com, the film has a 96% positive among critics and a nearly as strong 92% positive among audiences).

And me?

I will likely not catch it while its in theaters. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ll catch it when it inevitably comes to home video. I have yet to see Black Panther, Ant Man and The Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Avengers: Infinity War. The later film, by the way, I have a digital copy of yet haven’t found the time or desire to see it.

As it turns out, I’m kinda sour on Marvel’s films.

Now, before you get out your pitchforks and come after me, let me quickly say this: I’m incredibly happy about the success of the these films and I absolutely have no desire to put down anyone who enjoys them.

To those who love the hell out of these films, have yourselves an absolute blast!

I sincerely wish I could feel the same levels of joy you guys obviously have with these films.

But… I don’t know if I can. Not anymore.

The last batch of Marvel films I saw were Civil War, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarock. I’ve seen pretty much every Marvel film other than those I mentioned further above and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

I loved the first Iron Man. Captain America: Winter Soldier is my all second all time favorite superhero film. My favorite? The original Richard Donner directed, Christopher Reeve starring Superman.

So its not like I didn’t like the Marvel films from the beginning. Quite the contrary, there was a time I was very much into Marvel films. But over the past few years I’ve grown weary of them. Their stories are more and more formulaic and, frankly, not all that interesting. Or good.

And then there’s that overbearing, IMHO, snarky humor.

While there was certainly humor present in earlier films, I suspect the original Guardians of the Galaxy started my downward sliding opinion of these latest Marvel works.

That movie was met with incredibly good reviews and ecstatic audience reactions… and I distinctly recall being bummed when, for one reason or another, I couldn’t catch it in theaters during its original run. When the BluRay was released (in those *brrrr* pre-digital copy days), I picked it up and, along with the wife and my eldest daughter, we sat down to watch it and…

…we hated it.

Hated it.

My daughter bailed after some twenty minutes. My wife hung on with me, perhaps hoping, like me, it would get better. It didn’t. Not for us.

Again: I don’t question everyone else’s love for the film. You guys loved it but for us, it was a wiff.

A big wiff.

The story, to me, was a blatant rip off of Star Wars, and the humor I felt was way overdone, to the point where there didn’t feel like there were any stakes.

Dr. Strange, similarly, I really didn’t like. It took the original Iron Man movie’s plot and plopped it on top top of Dr. Strange. Oh, and also added all those snarky bits of humor at the most inappropriate (again IMHO!) times.

Yet I was still willing and hoping for things to get better. I think the next Marvel film I caught (on digital, of course) was Captain America: Civil War. The film was actually more of an Avengers film than “just” a Captain America film, but given it was the follow up by the directing duo of Russo Brothers to Winter Soldier, I was hopeful it would be a great follow up.

It wasn’t.

Sure, there were some really cool things in the film, but the movie’s plot was a mess. Worse, we once again couldn’t take any menace or threat seriously because of the snarky humor. Indeed, whatever tensions we as an audience should have been feeling were wiped out.

The best example of this in Civil War involved what is arguably the movie’s best sequence: The airport fight. It was big and effects heavy and it was genuinely exciting to see on screen the equivalent of a massive superhero fist-fight. But that sequence was, I felt, supposed to be the point where the heroes painfully decided to take sides. It was, again I felt, supposed to be a very serious point where very good friends had to choose to fight against each other, perhaps to the death…

…yet there was absolutely no seriousness whatsoever to the fight. Each landing fist or flying kick was followed by snarky, “humorous” comments.

Were they actually fighting or what?!

Over at i09.com they have a second article concerning the various heroes in the Marvel cinematic universe and their… beards. It’s a tongue in cheek article, of course (you can read it here if you’re interested) and they presented the below graphic at the header of the article:

Image result for captain america and thor beard gif

This couple of seconds long gif perfectly illustrates this undercutting of tension with silly humor: You have what appears to be a serious scene and in the background we have what looks like people fighting to their bloody deaths…

Yet our two heroes, in the middle of all that bloodshed, take a moment to make this joke.

Imagine something like this presented during the D-Day landing in Saving Private Ryan! (OK, I know that’s an extreme example, but still…)

Again: I know I’m in a very small minority with respect to this. I know many of you will tell me to lighten the hell up and not take these things so seriously.

I get it.

But sometimes, even in a “silly” superhero film, you want there to be action sequences with genuine consequences. I can’t help but think the Marvel films owe a great debt to that Donner/Reeve Superman film. It managed to balance humor and action, suspense and nostalgia, wonderfully.

And, yes, Lex Luthor, the film’s main menace, had daffy assistants who often provided jokes and laughs.

But the laughter stopped when the nukes detonated. Suddenly, everything was very serious. Could you imagine a snarky joke presented the moment Superman finds Lois Lane in the desert?

But enough whining. I will stop raining on your parades. Go out, enjoy the film. If I find the time, I promise I’ll see them with as neutral a mind-set as I can.

Eventually.

POSTSCRIPT: Yesterday various networks were running various Marvel films, including the first Avengers film. I caught the second half of it, the first time I’d seen it in many years, and I was surprised by how serious most of the action was presented. Yes, there were these snarky humorous moments, but I’ll be damned if director Joss Whedon didn’t keep the action sequences grand and tension filled.

The helicarrier attack, in particular, was extremely well staged, and Loki’s presentation in the film may well have been the best of that smooth-tongued villain. I couldn’t help but think that film was so very much better for those reasons than, for example, Civil War.

Which proves that the snarky humor in these films has followed a progression from movie to movie, appearing more and more until its become very much a part of the whole.

I wish they would tone back on it!

A Simple Favor (2018) a (mildly) belated review

When A Simple Favor was released last year, I knew absolutely nothing about it. It was one of those films that, quite simply, weren’t on my radar. But I recall reading plenty of good reviews and became intrigued.

I wanted to see the film with my wife but a couple of weeks passed and the film, by that time, left theaters and, therefore, we had to wait until it was available on home video to see it. A couple of days ago, we did just that.

A Simple Favor, directed by Paul Fieg (The Heat, Spy, Bridesmaids), stars Anna Kendrick as Stephanie Smothers, a geeky single mom whose entire life seems to revolve around her son and her video blogs. She meets Emily Nelson (Blake Lively in an absolutely terrific turn) one day and things change for her in all kinds of bizarre ways.

Here’s the movie’s trailer:

As I mentioned above and need to repeat, Blake Lively is incredible in this movie as the enigmatic Emily, a woman married to a one-time best-selling author who works for a high flying talent agency. She is as beautiful as she is enigmatic, a classic noir blonde that you just know is all kinds of trouble.

Anna Kendrick’s Stephanie, on the other hand, is the meek and impressionable type, though she too has her secrets and skills, and when she’s asked to do a “simple favor”, pick up Emily’s son from school, and Emily subsequently disappears, an eerie mystery develops and the police become involved. What follows is a serpentine story that throws plenty of curves at you… along with a healthy dose of laughs.

Yes, laughs.

For Paul Fieg, known mostly for comedy, isn’t about to let the film become too dark and gloomy. The tone is generally light and, if I have any particular criticism, its that perhaps there should have been a point where it did get a little darker, especially during the film’s final act.

But I won’t get into details. To say much more would be a crime!

A Simple Favor is a very easy recommendation, a film that uses certain well worn tropes to create a noir-like mystery film but which is also a pretty damn funny and, therefore, quite creative.

And Blake Lively… jeeze. I never had strong feelings for her as an actress one way or another, but she’s so damn good in this role.

If nothing else, see the film for her!

Larry Cohen (1936-2019)

Not familiar with the name?

He created many fascinating works, both as director and writer. Some of his bigger/most famous works include It’s Alive (1974)…

The movie proved popular enough to merit two sequels! He also directed Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)…

But Mr. Cohen wasn’t just a director, he also wrote plenty of material. He is listed as the creator of the paranoid alien invasion TV series The Invaders (1967-68)…

He was the screenwriter for the pretty bonkers Armand Assanti starring Mike Hammer film I, The Jury

Mr. Cohen passes away at 82 late last month. Looking over his IMDB listings, I’m impressed with the amount of material he had his hands on/in. True, some of the works have lost the edge they once had, but still, what a fascinating career!

Sometimes what you fear…

…comes true.

At least so it seems.

This weekend we have the release of the “reboot” of Hellboy. Gone are director Guillermo Del Toro and star Ron Perlman and in their places we have director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday, among others), David Harbour (Stranger Things) in the titular role, and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil) as the evil Blood Queen.

Unlike many out there, I was no HUGE fan of the original two Del Toro Hellboy movies. To me, the first one seemed like it was heavily studio mandated and, frankly, was kinda bland. The second, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, felt to me like a case of having waaaaaay too much going on. While clearly a superior film to the first in almost all ways, it featured too many “big” set-pieces/climaxes. By the time we got to the movie’s actual climax, I was exhausted.

And yet, I’m a fan of Hellboy. I feel Mike Mignola’s comic books featuring the character are among the most brilliant modern comics out there.

So when I heard that the new Hellboy movie was in the works, and that Mr. Mignola was involved in the screenplay, I was intrigued. Perhaps, I felt, this time around they could fine tune the formula and make a movie that really “works” around the quirky character.

Unfortunately, as the trailers for the film appeared, my hopes quickly faded and, when the “red band” trailer appeared, they were all but dashed…

This… this just didn’t look at all like what I was hoping. Cheap CGI effects, cheap makeup effects (sorry, but Mr. Harbour’s Hellboy makeup looks like a major step down from what was used on Ron Perlman in the original two films), and jokey Ash vs The Evil Dead type humor/gore.

Now, mind you, I really enjoyed Ash vs The Evil Dead, but that was very much its own thing and it’s depressing to see the makers of this movie seem to have wanted to crib a little (who knows just how much) of that into their own version of Hellboy. That isn’t what the character was ever about.

Seeing the trailers, I realized this new film was most certainly not looking like something I was going to invest my time in, at least not until it reached the home video market. I still hoped it would be a decent film, if Hellboy only in name.

Welp, it appears that critics who have seen the film aren’t impressed with what they’ve witnessed, either. If you go over to its listing on rottentomatoes.com (you can click here) the film is currently tracking along a truly bad 12% positive among 58 professional reviews (the number of reviews isn’t sufficient, yet, to get a consensus for rottentomatoes, though I suspect when such a consensus is drawn it won’t be all that much -if at all!- better).

A real shame and something that gives me no pleasure at all in seeing.

Maybe we’ll eventually get a third, better incarnation (ouch) of the character at some point in the future?

Overlord (2018) a (mildly) belated review

As I’ve made it plain many times before, it is difficult for me to find the free time nowadays to sit down and watch a film, much less go to theaters and catch the latest big or not-quite-so big release.

Instead, I make a note of what’s come out and, if I have the time, sneak films in whenever I possibly can.

One of last year’s releases, the World War 2/Horror hybrid Overlord, caught my attention but it wasn’t until now, weeks after its digital video release, that I’ve had a chance to sit down and watch it. Here’s the movie’s trailer:

The film sure looks like a live action version of the video game Wolfenstein, complete with similar font used in its title…

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(A quick aside: I have very fond memories of the game that served as inspiration to this one, Castle Wolfenstein, originally released back in the early 1980’s. A friend at our High School had an Apple II computer and this game and we spent many a fun hour playing it, along with Ultima II! Here’s what that game looked like:

Image result for Castle Wolfenstein
Image result for Castle Wolfenstein
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Yeah, we’ve come a very long way, graphic’s wise!)

Getting back to Overlord, the film begins promisingly enough. We are quite literally plopped right in the thick of things, with a group of paratroopers, among them our heroes, about to deploy behind enemy lines shortly –very shortly- before D-Day.

Things, as they are wont to do, go frightfully sideways as Nazi air flak rips through the plane. Our heroes jump into the fire, quite literally, and we follow Boyce (Jovan Adepo), a Haitian/African American paratrooper (yeah, the film plays more than a little fast and loose with Army integration circa 1944) as he barely makes it out of the plane and onto the ground.

Boyce and a group of three other survivors of the doomed flight get together and make their way to their target: A very small French village which has a church up the road from it in which the Nazis have taken over. The Nazis have a communications station in the church and it is this groups’ primary mission to wipe it out before daybreak and D-Day, when the communications array could harm the incoming troops.

So there we have it, the tense mission and tight deadline.

But wait, there’s more!

When the soldiers are within the village planning their moves, an added complication: There’s something else going on in that Nazi-held church, something that looks like a science experiment gone extremely wrong…

Overlord, as already mentioned, starts well enough and had me interested in where it was going despite some of the politically correct elements thrust upon the story in an effort to give us a more “diverse” cast of characters.

Unfortunately, as the movie progressed and our heroes were in the village, it felt like the movie’s creator’s had used up their deck of creative cards. Frankly, as the movie progressed it settled into a neither terribly bad nor terribly good “groove” and never got out of it.

Worse, the film’s actions became predictable. When the big bad Nazi showed up, you knew the heroes would do something about him. But when he got away, you just knew he’d become… well… I don’t want to get too spoilery but, suffice it to say, along with a general deflation, the film’s story beats became only too obvious.

In the end, Overlord was an “ok” film in my eyes. Visually, they nailed the look nicely and some of the gore effects were very well done.

But having said that, the film couldn’t build upon its opening act and, instead, coasted to an all too obvious -and never as exciting as it should have been- ending.

A shame.

Do heroes kill…?

In what is sure to create further controversy, director Zack Snyder, when asked about the fact that he had Batman kill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, made some rather strong statements concerning this topic.

As written by Charles Pullman-Moore and presented on i09.com, the article’s title will give you an idea of Mr. Snyder’s thoughts on that subject:

Zack Snyder wants you to “Wake the fuck up” and accept that Batman kills people

Part of what made BvS so controversial was its generally grim tone and, yes, the fact that Batman sure does seem to murder a bunch of bad guys in the film.

To be fair, he does so because they are very actively trying to murder him, so its not like he’s simply shooting them in the back when they’re, say, loading up some questionable merchandise inside a van or something.

But it does bring up an issue I personally have wrestled with concerning heroes: Should they kill?

James Bond, famously, had a “license to kill”. As presented, one would think that he would have no qualms doing what I proposed above, ie killing a badguy no matter what they were currently up to. If they’re loading a van or taking a walk on the beach, if British Intelligence views the person as a major danger to England/the World, and he has a “license to kill”, one could theoretically understand that if it is imperative to kill the badguy, you do so, no questions asked.

Clint Eastwood’s many “heroes” were often darker as well. Starting with the so-called “spaghetti” westerns of the 1960’s and going on to Dirty Harry in the 1970’s and 80’s, you had a darker variation of the “good guy” who might well shoot a badguy, whether while confronting said individual or offing them when they weren’t necessarily a threat to you at that moment.

But what about superheroes? What about heroes that aren’t supposed to be so damn dark, character-wise? Batman, while indeed a “dark” character, has been portrayed very often as not wanting to use a gun, though in his very earliest comic book appearances did indeed do so, and did indeed kill badguys…

Image result for batman with gun golden age

The above opening page of a story shows Batman with a weapon. Here, he uses it… albeit to kill a vampire:

Image result for batman with gun golden age

Here he uses not just a gun, but a machine gun, to off some badguys…

Note what Batman says in the above panel: “Much as I hate to take human life, I’m afraid this time its necessary!”

So, yeah, early, very early Batman could be as merciless in killing badguys just as his primary inspiration, the pulp hero The Shadow, did as well…

Image result for the shadow pulp covers

But very soon after Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 and in issue #38 of Detective Comics, Batman was given a partner, the dashing Robin…

Image result for when did Robin first appear

I think its arguable that the introduction of this character put Batman over the top and sealed his transition from a superhero version of The Shadow into something new and exciting to audiences. Suddenly readers had an avatar, a young daredevil they could grasp and, vicariously, have their adventures through.

The tone of the Batman stories from that point on grew lighter and lighter, and Batman no longer mercilessly killed the badguys (though there were some “accidental” deaths still to come) until, soon enough, it was established that Batman DID NOT KILL, period.

In the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s, darkness crept back into the Batman character. The fine work of writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams redefined the Batman character and brought us a version closer to what came early on, though the character still did not use weapons and still did not murder the badguys…

Image result for batman secret of the waiting graves

And so it was, roughly, a short time time later I first became familiar with these various characters.

In my very young mind, I felt that superheroes did NOT kill. If anyone perished in the course of a story, the hero tried their best to not kill anyone, even if they were despicable in their actions and very much deserved that fate. Heroes were, IMHO, people who found ways around such actions.

Then came Population Zero, the first episode of The Six Million Dollar Man’s regular series, first aired on January 18, 1974, and this terrific, and confusing to my very young mind, ending…

The plot of the episode, to be frank, was something of a rip off of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. In that novel (and subsequent film adaptation), an entire small town is suddenly found dead with two exceptions, and it turns out some intergalactic virus is to blame… and this bug needs to be neutralized or it might spell the doom of the human race.

In Population Zero, the villain uses a sound machine (as you can see from the video) and it turns out the scientist behind it lost funds for his project because of the Bionic Man project. He obviously harbors deep anger and is determined to show that his weapon should have been given the proper funds. In the meantime, he tries to kill off the Bionic Man and then Oscar Goldman and the entire army base outside the town he initially attacked.

Steve Austin, the Bionic Man, gets away from his deathtrap and runs to where you see him. He realizes the mad scientist will kill a lot of innocent people and pulls up the metal fence post and, using it as a javelin, spears their truck, killing the scientist and his henchmen.

This really messed with my mind back then.

For it seemed to me Steve Austin could have run over to the truck and, I dunno, turned it over or something. He could have thrown the javelin at the electrical cables the bad guy was using to charge up his weapon and therefore rendered the sonic weapon inoperative.

No, he deliberately targeted the truck and by spearing it caused it to explode and kill everyone.

I’ve defended Batman v Superman more times than I care to and still believe this film will experience a re-evaluation in time and come to be viewed as far better than the early critics and fans felt it was.

And I have little problem accepting that Batman kills the bad guys both when he chases them in his Batmobile and later on when he’s trying to save Martha Kent.

Why?

Because if you truly, truly think through both scenarios, he’s quite literally fighting for his life. In the first scenario he’s being shot at with heavy weaponry. A lucky shot and his vehicle -and himself- is toast. It’s a high speed chase and very dangerous to not only Batman, but to anyone else who might be around that dock area.

Should Batman aim for the tires? Sure, but realistically, that a damn hard shot to make.

In the warehouse fight, the same applies. It’s one guy against a large number. In “real life” you need to take these dudes out and quick because if you don’t, you may die. So Batman can’t play nice while the bad guys here are using guns, knives, and whatever else they have to take him out. He has to fight back.

Hard.

Still, the little boy I was does feel a certain apprehension about the idea of a good guy, especially a superhero, resorting to killing and, at least in my stories, I’ve tried to show the consequences of killing (particularly in Mechanic) while also trying not to have my characters depicted as favoring killing first to deal with bad guys.

There truly is no answer, I suppose, and your opinions on this matter will certainly be guided by the literature/stories/TV shows/movies you’ve grown up with.

Too big…?

Over at Hollywoodreporter.com, Georg Szalai and Paul Bond have an article which notes:

Disney Closes Fox Deal, Creating Global Content Powerhouse

I’m not surprised by these developments. Disney has been on a roll of late, making buckets of money on their parks, their movies, and their TV shows. When Disney bought up Marvel Comics, they went on a further roll with the various Marvel Universe films featuring Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.

Though Disney owned the characters published through Marvel Comics, it was Fox which had the rights to making movies featuring what were arguably the most prominent Marvel Comics characters: Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Fantastic Four.

Now, I’m not suggesting the only reason Disney targeted buying up Fox was to get all the Marvel characters’ movie rights under one umbrella, but given some of the loads o’ cash these films make, it had to be a consideration.

So, for those who long to see an Avengers vs. X-Men film, it looks like it could well be on the horizon.

On various boards, people who are fans of Disney’s Marvel films are happy for this possibility, but I’m rather disturbed by the whole thing.

Why?

Because we seem to be reaching a point these days where there exist one or two or three companies that control virtually all the entertainment being fed to us.

AT&T recently purchased Warner Brothers. Now Disney owns Fox.

I worry when we reach a point where there are so few companies responsible for so much. Will our entertainment get more and more bland?

I suppose.

I suppose its also possible that new, independent artists can catch fire, but given the size of the giants out there, how long before their concepts/ideas are bought out as well?

There is also this, found in the Disney/Fox article:

Disney has promised $2 billion in cost savings from the Fox takeover, with some in the industry expecting between 4,000-10,000 layoffs.

Ouch.

The quiet passing of Jan-Michael Vincent…

Yesterday it was reported that actor Jan-Michael Vincent had passed away on February 10th, almost a month ago, at the age of 73.

There are those who may know nothing about Jan-Michael Vincent. Here’s a trailer from The Mechanic, one of the movies he co-starred in with Charles Bronson back in 1972 and which I remember him best for…

The movie would be re-made later with Jason Statham in the Bronson role but , IMHO, it didn’t hold a candle to the original film and completely wiffed on what made the original so good: The ending.

Jan-Michael Vincent would appear in several movies, many of which may be classified as B films but were enjoyable nonetheless, throughout the 1970’s. He nonetheless established himself well enough that when he made the move to TV and the series Airwolf in 1984, he reportedly earned $200,000 per episode, an amount that made him one of the highest paid actors on TV at the time.

Alas, he was simultaneously spiraling out of control in a vicious cycle of drugs and alcohol which ultimately led to him becoming an undesirable in the field he worked in, as well as endangering his life.

Many of the details (and they are quite sad) can be read in this article about Mr. Vincent’s passing as written by David Moye and presented on Huffingtonpost.com:

Actor Jan-Michael Vincent Dead at 73

At the risk of paraphrasing the article, Mr. Vincent was in a major car accident in 1996 which resulted in him breaking his neck and injuring his vocal cords. In 2000 he was ordered to pay over $350,000 to a girlfriend he assaulted and who subsequently miscarried. He also spent 60 days in jail at that time due to violating his probation regarding alcohol related convictions. In 2008 he had another car accident and developed a leg infection. The lower right leg had to be amputated.

Mr. Vincent, who once looked like this…

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Was photographed later in life and after all that hard living looking like this…

Image result for jan-michael vincent

I don’t mean to put these images there to shock you. Again, it saddens me tremendously to see Mr. Vincent in these later in life pictures.

While he may not have been one of the greatest actors out there, as a child of the 1970’s and 80’s, he was a near constant in theaters and on TV.

I loved The Mechanic. So much so that when I wrote this novel, which was released before the Jason Statham remake of the movie, I used that title. Yeah, I suppose I stole it, though to be fair the term “mechanic” was well known as slang for a hitman/mercenary. Still, when I used the title I didn’t think many would remember that old film…


I also loved Mr. Vincent in Damnation Alley, a post-apocalyptic thriller that also featured George Peppard…

And, yeah, I really enjoyed him on Airwolf

Seeing him in that photo above, broken down, old, missing the lower half of his right leg, makes me incredibly sad.

I suppose in the end its one of those cautionary tales. You can have everything in life, success, money, looks… and yet still throw them away.

Rest in peace, Mr. Vincent. Despite it all, I’ll remember the joy you brought me in your roles.

Captain Marvel (2019) reviews…

There have been elements -dark elements, IMHO- within the interwebs focused on bringing down movies which feature female leads in what are to some traditionally “male” roles.

For example, the onslaught of ridiculousness directed at the Ghostbusters remake of a few years ago. Now, those forces seem to be focused on the this week to be released Captain Marvel, the latest in the long line of Marvel Comic adaptations and featuring Brie Larson in the titular role.

These people tried to lower the movie’s Rottentomatoes.com audience score by posting all kinds of negative reviews… this in spite of the fact that the film has not been released but to critics thus far.

Rottentomatoes.com decided to shut down these audience reactions/comments and, frankly, I’m fine with that.

Today, I went on the site and looked specifically at the Captain Marvel page (you can go to it here) and found the movie’s critical reaction was generally good, charting in at 84% positive.

But reading the actual reviews, I’m getting a feeling that Captain Marvel, alas, will prove to be one of those “good/decent but not great” films that Marvel has released.

I’m curious to see further reviews, but even many of the positive ones point out this movie has flaws. Given this movie is intended to be the precursor to what will likely be the end of the “first wave” Marvel films (I strongly suspect some of the big name actors who participated in that first wave, including the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Gwyneth Paltrow, will be done with the Marvel universe following Avengers: Endgame) as well as serve as the launching pad to the second generation of Marvel movies, one has to wonder if the second generation might be having a bit of a shaky start.

Here’s the thing: It was extraordinary good luck the fledgling Marvel movies snagged the talents they did for this first wave of films. I cannot imagine an Iron Man film not featuring Robert Downey Jr. Getting Samuel L. Jackson to play Nick Fury, though the character was clearly changed from his comic book version, nonetheless worked incredibly well. Chris Evans made for a fantastic Captain America.

I could go on and on, but the point should be clear.

After a fantastic, and incredibly long series of successful movies (some of which fared better than others), will the Marvel Universe films continue to hit pay dirt with new actors and characters?

Only time will tell!

UPDATE: So today I’m looking at Captain Marvel’s rottentomatoes.com page (you can find it here) and I find that the critical reaction is 81% positive but the audience reaction is a paltry 31% positive.

I suspect many of the negative statements are malcontents (at this point in time, none are actually posted though it will likely happen very soon).

Regardless, I found this on reddit:

The Official Captain Marvel Discussion Megathread

You can find many opinions here, both positive and negative, regarding the movie and what worked for some and didn’t for others.

I’m still getting a feeling this film is one of the “lesser” Marvel features. That doesn’t mean Captain Marvel is a “bust,” but rather that it has good moments yet doesn’t quite reach the level of being a “great” Marvel film.

Time will tell, redux.

At a loss of words here…

Like many, I spotted this over the weekend:

I understand what Disney is up to here. They’re taking popular, well known properties and squeezing even more money out of them by creating “live action” versions of them (see Beauty and the Beast, Jungle Book, and Dumbo for example).

To some degree, its a win-win scenario for them: The properties are already (as mentioned above) well-known so you don’t have to spend oodles of money advertising the “new” movies. You also don’t have to spend all that much money getting a new story/screenplay… you just use what you have and touch it up a little here and there and, voila, there you go.

But this one…

I just… I just don’t know. It looks ok, I suppose, but the trailer’s “punchline”, Will Smith appearing as the Genie is…

Seriously, I’m at a loss of words.

I don’t like it all that much, though I grant you seeing only a few seconds and hearing only a few words shouldn’t be enough to either love or hate a thing, but Aladdin, unlike some of the other features making the transition from animation to live action, featured a manic vocal performance by Robin Williams in the Genie role and he was likely the main reason the film was as successful as it was.

Will Smith doesn’t have nearly the same manic qualities as a Robin Williams, though he clearly has built a terrific career of his screen charisma.

I suspect I won’t see this film when its released, though this may be more related to the fact that I have difficulty finding free time to see films I want to see, much less those that I’m not as interested in seeing.

However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to hear what people think of Mr. Smith in this role. Will the full film prove he could do something like this? Or will the end result prove to be something far less?

Time will tell.