Joker – Movie Review (spoilers)

I recently joker-poster-main2went to see the new DC film ‘Joker’ and wanted to share my thoughts. I won’t keep this spoiler free as the movie has been out for a few weeks and if anyone reading this really wanted to see it they would have by now. Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a man down on his luck dealing with some form of mental illness that he is attempting to treat. Throughout the film he gets mugged, which his boss doesn’t believe so he gets fired. He loses his assistance for therapy and his multiple medications. Basically most of the film shows a man spiraling out of control with no one to help him, as he is even taking care of his mother, who also seems to suffer from some delusions. Arthur ends up killing a few people on a subway which spawns a movement of the lower class protesting against the upper class. He then kills someone who wronged him as well which at this point he’s decided who he is. I don’t want to forget of course that he also wants to become a standup comedian throughout the film, but he’s no good at it. His illness makes it difficult for him to understand what most people find funny, as well as he struggles with laughing throughout the film at unusual times. When he gets on a stage he bombs his set, but ultimately it gets him invited to the Gotham equivalent of The Tonight Show, because he was so bad. This is where he dons the makeup, says to call him Joker, and ends up giving a good speech about different opinions of what’s funny, as well as admitting on camera he killed those men, but they don’t fully understand some of what he’s talking about because they didn’t experience everything that we did with him. He ends up killing the host, gets arrested, then while in a cop car get hit by a truck and he’s out again all while Gotham society has decided to take to the streets rioting in Joker’s name.

This is where I think most people have had problems with the film. Sure it’s dark, gritty, violent, we’ve had those films before. This movie however takes the main character who by a mixture of not his fault and some purely his fault is really just a loser of a person. The only thing he’s good at is causing chaos, so that’s sort of where he finds himself. He’s not a hero, he’s not someone I want to root for, I didn’t care at that point whether he escaped, or got killed. He ended up inciting riots and almost encouraging a war of the wage gap. While his points of how the wealthy couldn’t care less about the poor may be true, the movie is almost advocating that violence may be the only answer. For that reason I can’t say I loved this movie, it also didn’t feel like the Joker I grew up with.

I prefer the Joker to be someone that it doesn’t matter whether he grew up wealthy or poor, he just simply enjoys chaos and mayhem. That’s why he’s dangerous, because he’s not after your money, your love, or fame. He’s just after having the most fun he can at anyone’s expense. The Dark Knight had it almost right, he does want to see the world burn, but not because he hates it or is upset at how it’s treated him. He wants to burn the world down just to see if he can.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Movie Review

I feel like I have to comment on this movie because I personally haven’t seen many people talk about it or say they saw it. I will start off by saying I am a fan of the original 5 movies that were made based on the Planet of the Apes story, yes I did say 5. While I enjoyed the attempt at a reboot back in 2001, it didn’t have enough in the story to deserve any sequels. This newest film, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” really gives a better explanation for the absolute origin of how the apes could have progressed to being the dominate species. If you’ve seen the classic films you may understand what I mean by that statement. This newest installment to the Planet of the Apes franchise totally deserves a sequel or two to expand the story and to tell parts that haven’t been told yet.

The main character throughout this film winds up not being any of the human characters. Caesar, the main Ape in the film, becomes the one you are interested in. You find yourself caring about how he is treated, what life will he live and by how much will he evolve beyond a normal ape. Caesar is an amazing character and is played well by Andy Serkis who you might recall also did the acting for Golem in Lord of the Rings. James Franco is of course good, and delivers a believable scientist who genuinely cares about Caesar. Franco’s character also has a father who has Alzheimer’s disease, which is the reason for the drug testing on apes in this film, who is well played by John Lithgow. David Oyelowo plays Franco’s boss and is focused on his drug making the company money. Tom Felton who you should remember from playing Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter, plays a similarly mean spirited person keeping watch over the apes where Caesar is held captive for awhile. He’s the closest thing to a villain this movie has and he does it well.

These films have often touched on civil rights issues, however they never bring them up beyond that of human and animal relations. This film sort of does that as well because you eventually find Caesar in a place where many other normal apes are kept caged, sort of like a zoo. You feel for him being locked up because you know he’s more than an average ape and he realizes his situation. Without this experience however he would know nothing about his own kind and the results at the end of the movie would never happen. I hate to ruin much more of this film because I think it is a MUST see. The movie does have a little bit of a slow pace in the first half, but it totally works because during that time they are building the characters. The rest of the film is fun and exciting. You will find yourself cheering for the apes as they rampage through the city and outsmart the humans. There are also plenty of nods to the previous films and they fit in well. I highly recommend seeing this and you do not need to see the classics to enjoy this one.

The Green Lantern – Movie Review

This seems to be a film that many are having strong feelings about. Critics and those alike are not enjoying it, and saying it does many things wrong. Fans however are saying it’s great because of how close it is to it’s comic origins. While I think it’s up to each individual to see this film and make their own opinion, it is my opinion that this is a fun super hero origin film, that deserves a sequel.

I’m glad they started this movie off from the beginning by explaining what the Green Lanterns are, and then jumping into who Hal Jordan is. Throughout the film it is constantly explained to us that Hal is a man who has a great deal of fear in his life, we learn that it originates from the death of his father. A Green Lantern’s job is to be without fear, which as you can tell becomes the whole inner struggle that Hal Jordan deals with in this film. It’s not that he’s a wimp, but that he’s afraid of having something wonderful in his life, he’s afraid of committing to something and then having it taken away from him, like his father was. This is why he struggles with every relationship in his life. Hal Jordan’s career choice is as a test pilot who continues to fail at that as well. Just when everything seems to have gone wrong in his life he is chosen by the ring of a dieing Green Lantern to be its’ new wearer. Hal learns about the Green Lantern Corps and how to use his ring. Unfortunately we are given a short look at other Green Lanterns, however I suspect if there were to be a sequel that there would have to be a substantial increase in the other GL’s screen time. If you’re looking for a lot of space battles and scenes, just remember that this movie is focused on Hal Jordan’s origin and his beginnings of being a Green Lantern. Ultimately the villain in this film is a character called Parallax who feeds on fear. You could almost say it’s a monster but through it’s origins I wouldn’t call it that. There’s also a minor human villain, Hector Hammond, that provides some entertainment but gladly is not the main focus.

All in all I understand some of the arguments about this film. For me I wanted to see more of the Green Lantern Corps in action, more of Sinestro, and more space overall. I did at times think the scenes between Hal and the love interest lasted too long but if they hadn’t had those there would almost be no females in this film. Something that hurt this movie was having to deal with Hal’s origin because unlike Batman or Superman, your average consumer doesn’t know much about Green Lantern. I don’t understand the complaints about the suit, I thought it was amazing. I don’t understand the complaints about the action sequences because I really enjoyed them and they made sense. What this movie did extremely well however is that it gave us a true comic book styled movie that delivered everything I would expect out of a comic book. This movie offers action, drama, a little comedy, aliens, superheros, and CG out-the-wazoo. I don’t think I could ask for much more out of a summer movie, but I can’t fault others for simply not liking it. However this film will be on my shelf when it’s released! Personally if I had cast Hal Jordan my pick would have been and still would be Nathan Fillion. I’m actually not a Firefly fan but I think he has what it takes to embody the Hal Jordan character.

All Star Superman – Movie Review

Before I get into this review I should probably start off by saying I’m heavily biased towards anything Superman. I’m not a fanatic, and I really don’t collect anything Superman, but I am a really big fan, so much in fact that I’ve got the Superman seal tattooed on my right arm. I absolutely love that DC has been coming out with a lot of great cartoon movies based on DC superheroes, and that they aren’t aimed at children. The movies they’ve been making are well written, animated, and do justice to their heroes.

At first I was not aware that this particular film was based on a comic series as I’ve not been an avid reader of comics for some years now. If you are a classic Superman fan, then I think you will love this film. The basic plot from the beginning is that Lex Luthor arranged for an accident to cause Superman to be over exposed to the sun’s radiation. This causes his cells to be super charged, he is more powerful than ever but as a result the stress of the increased power is breaking down his body into pure energy. Superman discovering that he will soon die, decides to do a number of things he’s always wanted to, Superman’s Bucket List if you will. In this film we get to see a number of things such as, Super Lois, Superman’s star-eating pet, Kryptonian Astronauts, a glimpse into Superman’s future, and also cameos by super villains, Parasite and Metallo.

The voice acting in this film is great and is very similar to past Superman movies/cartoons. There are a few unusual characters in this film that I am sure are from the comic series that took place over a few years. You also get a look into the Fortress of Solitude, which is more like how the comic books portray it, with robots, rare weapons and animals, and more. Ultimately in the end it is a battle between Superman and Luthor. With Superman feeling much weaker than he ever has, he still must put a stop to Luthor’s plans. The end of this film really took me by surprise and I don’t want to ruin it but it really is great, and a wonderful ending for Superman.

I think one thing above all else in this film is the animation. Past cartoon movies about Superman have either been too simple or too complex for my taste. The style they chose to go with is realistic enough to not feel like a kid’s cartoon, I really enjoyed it. They have pulled this off with other cartoon movies such as Batman : Red Hood, and the recent Green Lantern cartoon film. If you aren’t aware of these DC films, you should keep your eyes open for them. You can find most of these including this one, on Netflix and sometimes at a Redbox machine.

Tron: Legacy – Movie Review

I have watched the original Tron movie a few times over the years but I don’t believe I ever watched it all the way from the start to end, although I’ve seen it all collectively. From the moment I heard they were making a sequal I knew I had to see it. Being a techy myself this kind of film just speaks to me. I had unfortunately heard a number of bad/mediocre reviews from online and friends so I was sort of set up to think I wouldn’t like this film. I did a little research before seeing it to check if it was one that would be worth seeing in 3D. I discovered that the real world portions were shot normally and anything else in the digital “Tron” world was shot in true 3D. So luckily there was no post-conversion garbage like most “3D” movies are.

So on to my true feelings about the film. I LIKED IT! The effects were great, they truly showed off how 3D should look. The acting may have left you wanting, but while watching it you have to keep in mind that this is a sequal to a movie made only two months before I was born. Saying that also remember that because the majority of the film doesn’t take place in the real world it has this feeling of a comic book type movie with an extreme good vs evil storyline. Those types of movies are meant to feel corny and have one liners. For me the whole time I was thinking this film is just a futuristic type of story like ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.’ The hero is basically transported from his world/time to a totally different place. This type of story has been done time and time again in books and movies and rarely gets old.

After learning from some past movies about how to tell a story and how not to tell a story, I remind myself often during action films like this to see if they truly kept the best action scene for the end of the movie. I feel they did this well because towards the end they took a new twist to what made the first Tron so memorable. They took the light-cycles to a new level by making light-planes that also do the whole light trailing behind you as you drive/fly. This made for some very cool air fights at the end. Overall I enjoyed the film, I would see it again, but I would recommend seeing this in theater while you can because it is amazing. It’s not as crazy or as ground breaking as something like Avatar, but at least it wasn’t completely predictable like Avatar was. I can’t wait for it to come out on disc and getting a Tron/Tron:Legacy movie combo pack all on Blu-ray.

Harry Potter 7 – Movie Review (No Spoilers)

I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 this past weekend with some friends of ours. My first impressions of it are that it’s so much different than the other movies. This movie started off very good and exciting. You get to see some really cool magic right away, you get to see a lot of major characters as well. Then after maybe the first half hour it started to go downhill for me. I think the major thing that is different is that they never go to Hogwarts school of magic. They do show other kids going to the school but that’s it. I do think they could have easily cut 15-30 minutes out of this movie and you wouldn’t have lost much. So much of it has these long drawn out parts of them waiting in a forest, traveling, and just being completely miserable. This is the kind of stuff you shouldn’t be doing exactly like the book. Now I did continuously remind myself throughout that watching this movie is sort of like watching the first half of a movie because there is a whole second part to see. When thinking about it like that I’m not really sure you can compare this to a typical film. All in all though I think it’s very good, has the typical scary and fun elements that we have become accustomed to with Harry Potter, but this is definitely the darkest and saddest one to date. I haven’t read all the books yet but I’m hoping the second part doesn’t let us all down.