Category Archives: Comic Book

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) Review By Philip Henry

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Review

Director: Simon Kinberg
Screenwriter: Simon Kinberg
Stars: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender

If you’re keeping track of the X-Men timeline, you’re doing a better job than me. So after Days of Future Past an alternative timeline was created, and the other one was supposedly erased, which would be fine – Star Trek did this as well – but why did they then make the Logan movie from the erased timeline? Are we following the X-Men in multiple universes now? I think it’s fair to say whoever is running this franchise has painted themselves into a corner with this alternate timeline and have now have just abandoned all hope of trying to make sense of it.

So this is basically the same story as X-Men: The Last Stand where Jean Grey is reborn – to give them some credit, they do it in very different ways in the two films – and her powers are turned up to eleven. She becomes so powerful she can’t control herself and the X-Men have to choose between their colleague and the fate of humanity.

This film frustrated me more than anything. All the elements are there for a fantastic film about too much power being a corruptive influence – a very timely theme – and there are countless opportunities for drama in the tough decisions that have to be made, but the movie skips anything that would make you care about any of these characters and just jumps to the spectacle as soon as possible.

The movie begins with the X-Men being tasked with rescuing the space shuttle Endeavour after an unknown space phenomenon causes a total systems failure during their launch. It should be an exciting set-piece, but since we’ve spent little to no time with our heroes so far there’s no emotional connection to any of them when they’re in danger, and that’s a recurring failing throughout the film. Jessica Chastain shows up as a shape-shifting alien intent on taking over the world, but we’re given little more than an elevator pitch for her motivations, who her people are, or what this strange phenomenon is or where it came from. It feels like a five year-old was in charge of the edit and gave the instruction to skip over the talky bits and get to the explosions.

Most of the returning cast are doing their best with the material they have, but some popular characters like Quicksilver (Evan Peters) appear much too briefly, and then vanish for the rest of the film. For the first time Sophie Turner has to carry the film and I hate to say it, but I don’t think she pulls it off. I had much more empathy for Famke Janssen in this role and really believed her struggle to control the power within her, but Turner’s Phoenix flips from goodie to baddie with the flimsiest reasons and spends most of the film with a blank, emotionless look on her face. This is probably more a consequence of the cut & paste script (there were extensive reshoots of the ending) and amateur direction than her ability as an actor. Simon Kinberg has a long and distinguished track record as a producer, but his only other directing credit was an episode of Jordan Peele’s rebooted Twilight Zone. To take on a project of this scale as his first feature was madness; he’s way out of his depth and it shows.

If you want to compare it to Captain Marvel, which is also a film about a super-powerful female set in the 90s, you can see just how much Captain Marvel gets right and Dark Phoenix gets wrong. For a start, Dark Phoenix makes little to no mention that it actually IS the 1990s, where Captain Marvel played with the fashion and music and pushed a few nostalgia buttons (for some of us). Captain Marvel spends time telling us the hero’s backstory and personal relationships so we actually care when stuff happens to her, Dark Phoenix thinks it can accomplish the same thing by having a couple of quick smooches between Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and Jean Grey.

I must have a little rant about the awful shoe-horning in of Jennifer Lawrence’s line: “Considering how often women save the day around here, you might think about changing the name of the group to X-Women.” Now I’m about as big a lefty, liberal feminist as you can get, but this is so clumsy. The X-Men have always been about diversity, back before it was fashionable. Back in 1963 they were already tackling these issues and anyone who doesn’t realise that mutants – those born differently through no fault of their own – were an allegory for homosexuality, race, etc. is missing the point. I always assumed the term X-Men was a gender-neutral term, much like in the original series of Star Trek where they called men and women Mister. It was a way of levelling the playing field and treating everyone the same. These flag-waving moments in films recently are just embarrassing. Sci-fi and fantasy have been giving messages of tolerance, equality and acceptance for decades, but subtly. Are people so much dumber now that they need this stuff spelled out in big clear letters?

Dark Phoenix is a terrible mish-mash of a movie with the bones of an amazing story at its core, but the writer/ director fails to address the elements that matter and instead jumps from one CG extravaganza to the next. For those of you who thought X-Men: The Last Stand was the weak link of the original trilogy, if you compare it to this, you might look at it now and see how good it actually is.

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Captain Marvel (2019) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Captain Marvel Review, Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by)
Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Lashana Lynch, Annette Benning, Gemma Chan, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg

When it comes to superhero movies, I suppose kicking franchises off with an origin story is almost unavoidable. After all, not everyone’s a comic book reader, so explaining what compels a guy throw on a cape for the public good makes narrative sense (though Tim Burton’s Batman never bothered and it turned out just fine).

Even if that has a tendency to render a lot of superhero films somewhat predictable, Marvel has done a pretty remarkable job introducing everyone populating their cinematic universe. And rather ingeniously, Captain Marvel actually gives us two origin stories.

First, of course, is the story of Vers/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), whose circumstances leading to her emergence as the titular character are more interesting than those of Doctor Strange or an umpteenth reboot of Spider-Man. After a rather mundane opening act – a flashy-but-rote clash between the Kree and Skrulls – once Vers arrives on Earth in 1995, the story really takes off. She already has her considerable powers and stands-out like a sore thumb, leading to some amusing moments and frequent clashes with the shape-shifting Skrulls. Larson’s confident performance is enjoyable, displaying just the slightest bit of superiority over us puny humans (at least until she begins to remember where she came from).

Vers also meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain Marvel’s other origin story. At this time, Fury is just another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (made plausible by some Oscar-worthy CGI that makes Jackson look 25 years younger). One long-standing criticism I’ve had of the entire MCU is that, with the possible exception of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Fury has never been given anything interesting to do. Here, Fury arrives early and does a lot more than provide exposition. Jackson is great, of course, like he’s been unleashed to make Fury funnier and more charismatic than we’ve previously seen, especially once he befriends Goose the Cat. How he came to need an eye-patch provides one of the film’s biggest laughs.

Elsewhere, Captain Marvel tells an interesting story that not-only fits comfortably within the MCU, but provides a few welcome, surprising twists. Speaking of which, can we give another tip-of-the-hat to Ben Mendelsohn, once-again stealing every scene he’s in? As Talos, not only does he make a terrific initial adversary, he’s personable and often very funny, no small feat considering he’s covered in alien make-up for most of the film.

Of course, Captain Marvel has plenty of the action and visual fireworks we’ve come to expect from the MCU (as well as a few moments of wonky CGI). But like the Ant-Man films, it never threatens to collapse under the weight of its own spectacle. As origin stories go, this is one of Marvel’s better recent ones.

Shazam (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

Shazam! Review, We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's case, by shouting out one word - SHAZAM. - this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam.

Director: David F. Sandberg
Writers: Henry Gayden (screenplay by), Henry Gayden (story by)
Stars: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel

Movie Couple here!  We saw Shazam! this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.

Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Shazam the latest in a strong run of comic book movies, known from this point on as CBMs, is the latest in the DCEU or DC comics line of movies.  It follows in the footsteps of Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman (I know I left out Justice League and Suicide Squad, it wasn’t a mistake). Based on the creation of CC Beck in 1939, Shazam features the origin and adventures of Billy Batson, who with the utterance of a magic word, transforms into a super powerful adult version of himself!  Ironically, in the 30’s and for a long time in publication history Billy’s alter ego was called Captain Marvel way before a young woman named Carol was going by that name at Marvel Studios.

Much to the shagrin of many comic book fans on the internet, that is neither here nor there, just an interesting tidbit.  So much like the comic before it, but with a few modern updates, we learn of the orphan Billy, The Wizard Shazam, his foster family and of course Dr Sivanna and the Seven deadly Sins incarnate!  This film stars Zachary Levi as Shazam! (The hero not the Wizard, that can get confusing) Mark Strong as Dr Sivanna, Asher Angel as Billy, Djimon Hounsou as The Wizard and a fantastic cast of child actors as Billy’s foster family (Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ian Chen, and Jovan Armand).  The family all need to be listed because they all are so good!  Directed by David S. Sandberg perhaps best known for his horror flicks.  Surprise, surprise!  So plot be damned, Kid, Magic, Superhero, Super villain, Evil incarnate!  Do I have to tell you more?  We are not here to spoil any plot.  That is all you should need to know going in!  So did we like it?  Say the word and find out!  Shazam!

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I had a blast!   The advertisement for this film is pushing the “Big” meets “Superman” angle and there is no debating that is a big (no pun intended) part of the film, but there is so much more than that!  The superhero is the big sell, but this is first and foremost a family film at heart.  And its a great one!  The message of being selfless, and what a family truly is and the many forms it can take are deep and special in this movie.  It conveys it’s message without a sledgehammer and still provides a really good super hero movie at the same time.  The kids are all written and acted perfectly in this film, but the foster parents are also a great movie couple that need to be spoken of as well.  The foster parents are a mixed and diverse couple as are most of the children in the home.  Again, which makes for a really excellent example for all the kids that are going to see his film.  The humour is perfect and not forced, like a certain other superhero movie that will not be named right now.

Zachary Levi absolutely owns the role of the adult Billy.  His expressions and his delivery of his lines are spot on.  His earnest portrayal of Shazam sells this film.  This movie would live or die on his believability as a boy in a man’s body and boy does he hit a homerun!  He was born to play this role!   Mark Strong as Sivanna does what Mark Strong does best, he can play this type of villain in his sleep.  But what separates this character from his many other characters, is the story behind his evil rise.  No spoilers, but he had an amazing opportunity and lost it, and like many of this generation refuses to take responsibility for that loss.  This creates a very apropos bad guy for today’s audience.  The children as I’ve mentioned were perfect!  And I have to give shout outs to Grazer and Herman as Freddy and Darla they really steal the show!  Yes, I loved this film and recommend it with all the strength of Hercules and the power of Zeus!

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She was not as enthused.  At this point, my poor bride is suffering from Superhero overload.  She is starting to see all caped and non caped crusaders blending together and she finds their origin stories all to often to be cut from the same cloth.  She enjoyed the humour and laughed more than she expected to.  She found the kids adorable and loved the family friendly message and setting to be excellent.  She felt Levi was an amazing Shazam (the hero not the wizard, sorry don’t want you confused).   She couldn’t stand Sivanna, she even commented that Mark Strong seemed to be sleepwalking through this and giving his “Stock Bad Guy” performance (her words).   She even felt that Sandberg’s horror background came out a little too much in his creation of the seven deadly sins, so mothers of young children beware.  Overall, she found it fun, but too much of the same for her taste.  She didn’t hate it, but she would not rush out to see it again.

On the way home, I did most of the talking.  Praising the performances and commenting on the Shazam history from comics to the new film.  It was a mostly one sided conversation, LOL.   I give it 6 Bills, the Mrs. gives it 3 Bills, So we give Shazam 4 Bills!  I say take my money!  I can’t wait to go back!  She says Meh.  So we’ll go with an average of Pretty Good!  Money well spent.

So until the next date night, and I’m told it better not be another CBM (Nobody tell her Avengers: Endgame is only weeks away!)  We will see you next time!  Movie Coupe out!

 

Captain Marvel (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

Captain Marvel Review, Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by)
Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn 

Movie Couple here!  We rushed out to see Captain Marvel this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film students we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.

Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

I love all the MCU films and have not missed one in the theatres yet!  I have read comic books my whole life, so I can remember the character of Captain Marvel from the printed page,  back when she was Ms. Marvel!  Mrs. Movie Couple  does not.  She has seen all the MCU movies, but her history of the characters does not go much beyond the films.  This is just to let you know the type of familiarisation we both are bringing with us to see this film.  We both were anticipating this movie the way we do most Marvel films, we expected this to be connected to the MCU, but also an introduction to a hero we had never seen before. Much like Ant Man and Doctor Strange. Black Panther was in Civil War prior to his solo film (which we loved BTW), but Captain Marvel seemed to remind us of Ant Man and Strange as we have never seen her until this film.

I will do the set up for this review but since we saw it on International Women’s Day, we will let the actual reviewing be done by Mrs. Movie Couple this time!  The film starts in space, on a Kree homeworld, if you don’t remember the Kree alien race brush up on your Guardians of the Galaxy films to not feel lost.  This is where we meet Carol Danvers as an amnesiac known as Vers on this planet played by Brie Larson and Yon-Ragg portrayed by Jude Law.  We get introduced to some very alien concepts very quickly.  The Kree seem to be inconstant war with an alien species called the Skrulls that can shape shift and are a somewhat conquering, terroristic race.  How Carol (Known on this world as Vers) is a part of the Kree soldier squad and has the ability to fire energy from her glowing hands is part of the mystery and teased early on.  The Kree has a Supreme Intelligence that all Kree meet sparingly and seems to rule all.  Imagine a space Wizard of OZ if it helps.  It appears to each Kree as the person they admire most.  To Carol, that is the form of the amazing Annette Bening, for reasons you will learn later and we will not spoil.  We are shown part of the conflict, as the secret “Star Force” encounters a nasty cell of Skrulls during a mission gone wrong.  Suffice to say, Carol ends up escaping to Earth (circa the 1990’s, as we are shown constantly thanks to a Blockbuster video store, Nine Inch Nail T-Shirts and slow internet) where she encounters not only a Skrull infestation, but a young Nick Fury and Agent Coulson (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg with a little CGI help)!  Oh and she learns a lot about her true past and how she got her amazing powers.  There are a few twists along the way, that we will not spoil.  A great cat sidekick, some human allies, a surprise call back to Carol’s comic book origins and a final fight scene that sets Captain Marvel up as the “Superman” level power house of the Marvel Cinema Universe!  We are not here to tell you the entre movie, so that’s all you get in the form of a description.  Did we enjoy it?  Take it away, Mrs. Movie Couple!

Mrs. Movie Couple here!  So let me get right down to the brass tacks, I loved Wonder Woman!  It was one of my favorite superhero films and I was super (forgive the pun) excited to see another solo female hero given her very own film!  Bottom line though, this movie was bad.  Brie Lawson as Carol Danvers gave a wooden almost forced performance in my opinion.  She was amazing in Room and I expected so much more from her.  Sam Jackson was his regular self, but the chemistry the script tried to create between them never came across on film.  Their banter and jokes fell flat as if they were reading from a script rather than bringing words to life.  I felt more chemistry between Jason Mamoa and Amber Heard in Aquaman and I wrote that they had zero chemistry!  Not sure if the fault lies with the script itself or the direction of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, but it was notable.  The action scenes were a bit on the shaky cam side, which I find distracting, but that’s a preference.  The entire train fight scene and chase set piece had a TV energy level and was no where near the movie cinema quality I expect from these huge Marvel blockbusters.  The comedy fell flat as well, other than a scene or two featuring the cat Goose (a scene stealer) and a joke or two involving the Skrulls all other attempts were grown inducing.  Most Marvel films have a great use of comedy!  See The Thor films or the Guardians of the Galaxy movies to see it done in spectacular fashion!  Even Paul Rudd’s Ant Man series has a nice and easy flow to its comedy.  Even tense or serious solo MCU films have found natural ways to drop humor in their movies, look no further than Black Panther or Dr Strange for how to do this correctly.  Speaking of groan inducing!  My eyes rolled halfway into my head, during a scene where Carol is tossing bad guys left and right just as No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” plays in the background!  I am not kidding!  Subtle this is not!  Besides the observations of lack of chemistry or good humor, this movie just bored me.  I did not feel any stakes, never for one second felt that Carol was challenged, she overcame any and all obstacles with nearly zero effort.  This MCU entry felt like a cash grab at worst and at best an introduction forced just so we all know who Captain Marvel is before she shows up to pick up Thor’s hammer, grab Captain America’s shield and kick Thanos tail all by herself and save the Avengers in Endgame, as Alicia Keys “This Girl is on Fire” plays in the background.  I was really disappointed.  The acting, plot and directing all ranked this in my book,  as the weakest Marvel entry yet.  Here’s hoping for Wonder Woman ’84 to come quickly.

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  Who am I to disagree with my wife on International Women’s day?  I agree with most of what she already said.  As a lifelong comic fan I loved seeing the Skrulls on screen!  Not sure I agree with a twist involving them toward the end of the film, but those of you that are comic readers can judge for yourselves.  Again, the comic fan in me wanted more explanation about where her powers come from and how she uses them, but maybe that will come in Captain Marvel 2. Sadly, all that Mrs. Movie Couple said about acting, chemistry and balance of comedy and action all ring true. This movie will get far more positive reviews then negative, because its simply not acceptable to be hard on this movie without being labeled a misogynistic, anti feminist.  This is a shame, because the character is fine, but the film just isn’t good. Marvel has many strong females portrayed in film, Wasp in the Ant Man series, Shuri from Black Panther, The Black Widow, Scarlet Witch from the Avenger films and of course, Agent Peggy Carter from the Captain America films who also starred in her own TV series! They are all strong female characters, that is not the issue.  The issue is this movie isn’t nearly as entertaining as the previous Marvel films. Just being honest. Mrs. Movie Couple hit it right on the nose!

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She hated it!  She found its message as subtle as a hammer to the head and the direction, acting and script well under par. On the drive home she told me she wanted to watch Aquaman on demand to cleanse her palate and she didn’t even like Aquaman!!!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I was really disappointed as well.  Larson and Jackson let me down.  The script was dull and the direction was choppy and lacking.  The largest sin for me was that everything felt forced and due to that it was not enjoyable.  Even the worst Marvel films so far have been enjoyable.  Just a huge let down for me.  Please don’t label me.

The car ride home comments were all negative, so we both decided to give this movie 2 Bills.  Mrs. Movie Couple wanted 1, but I say 2 for the Cat and Skrulls alone!  Captain Marvel gets 2 Bills!  A waste of both our time and money!

So until we head out to the cinema again, See you next date night at the movies!

Aquaman (2018) Movie Review By Gerry & Elizabeth Brown (The Movie Couple)

Aquaman

Director: James Wan
Screenwriters: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall
Stars: Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman

Ok, so we went out and saw Aquaman!  We will be covering this movie in a basic review style.  We will try hard to stay away from spoilers and just let you know whether the movie was good or not.  If you’re looking for a cinematic breakdown of everything from camera angles, movie score details or Federico Fellini homages, well this ain’t that kind of review.

Mrs. Movie Couple and I, are not trying to impress or dazzle you with our cinema knowledge.  What we will do is simply tell you what we liked, what we hated and what we loved!  You will also get two distinct takes on the film in one review!  Finally we will let you know if it was worth paying a sitter for!  Our final ratings system will use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

We were both excited to see this as the trailers looked great and we have followed Jason Momoa’s Aquaman through the Justice League film and were looking forward to this release.  Now I know a lot about Aquaman, From old comics, through the New 52 and DC Rebirth.  If any of that rings a bell, then you know from whence I come.  We can smell our own.  Mrs. Movie Couple, now her knowledge of Arthur Curry begins and ends at the Super Friends cartoon.  It can be summed up with the quote “Meanwhile at the Hall Of Justice.”  Nevertheless, we both were eager to see this movie.

James Wan has directed a great looking film with plenty of over the top actions pieces.  He deserves a lot of credit for making Aquaman come to life.  But its not all Sebastian and the gang singing Under The Sea.  Let’s get started. You learn early on just who Arthur Curry is and why he is unique to both Surface Dwellers (Us) and Atlanteans. Again trying to stay spoiler free.  He is indeed conceived in love and a special child.  Although, as in many heroic tropes, he just doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. His origin is handled well and is nearly without tragedy, a surprise in comic book characters unfortunately.   Soon he is thrust into the political world of Atlantis.  A world he knows very little about, nor does he care to.  Alas, fate holds all the cards and he is forced to join the fray as Atlantis is setting its sights on his home, the surface world.  A threat he can not ignore.

Before all that, we see him in action!  Apparently after the events of Justice League, he has begun to help those less fortunate than himself more often than before. He is seen rescuing a Russian submarine from high tech pirates. It is here that he meets who will become his long time arch enemy.  It is a good action sequence with a corny line or two thrown in, but what occurs here is the genesis of the villain Black Manta! If you do not know his origin and what sets him against Aquaman for the rest of his life, you will find it all explained right here and it is handled very well. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does a great job in the role of Manta!  He doesn’t just chew scenery and twirl an evil mustache, his pain is real and his anger can be felt.

Not all of the enemies Aquaman faces can say the same.  Patrick Wilson, who we both love in most everything else he does, plays the despicable (I chose that word on purpose) villain Ocean Master, nearly channeling Daffy Duck the entire way.  The plot of Ocean Master is typical and poor Patrick doesn’t have much to play with here in my opinion.  Again my previous knowledge of Aquaman and Ocean Master may have gotten in the way, but they have had many interactions on the comic page that out shine what we get here, but I nerdly digress.  Willem DaFoe is serviceable as wise Atlantean advisor Vulko, but even he seems to be sleepwalking through this one. Nicole Kidman as AquaMom was great in my opinion, but the Mrs. found her to be mailing it in.  We both agree that Amber Heard as Mera was the worst.  Sorry, if you’re a huge Amber fan, but she was wooden the entire time!  Despite Mera being an equal to Aquaman in the comic books and a fierce warrior in her own right, the attempt to get that across on film fails on every level.  Heard and Momoa attempt to create a ‘Romancing The Stone’ type back and forth which falls on its face.  They just have ZERO chemistry together.  Jason Momoa makes a great Aquaman.  The Mrs. agrees with me on that,  but the guy really is not a great actor either.  He is carried by nearly everyone he shares the screen with, thank goodness, but when the caliber of actor he is working with is less than stellar (looking at you Amber) you can painfully notice it.  The personality he brings to the part of Aquaman wins you over most of the time and that’s a good thing, because he needs a bit more acting polish.  Which he will get.  If you’ve followed his career up till now, you can see the improvements, but lets just say The Rock and Jason Statham are not losing sleep over him just yet. The movie looks beautiful!  It’s colorful and bright, a change of pace for the DCEU. It looks gorgeous, like a comic book come to life. The underwater scenes and the world of Atlantis are like Wakanda was placed underwater after being crossed with the world of Avatar!

So the final verdict?

Mr. Movie Couple: The movie has great action set pieces and looks amazing!  Momoa’s personality goes very far to rising above the sub par acting, but the movie goes on for way too long (much like this review!) it throws in everything from Ocean Master, Black Manta, The Trench, The Lost World, Atlantean history, and nearly anything anyone ever thought was cool about Aquaman (Yes he even rides a seahorse!)  But at the same time, it never takes the time to make a real connection between Arthur and Mera, nor even explains why Arthur and Mera’s powers are unique and different from other Atlanteans!  Can all Atlanteans lift a submarine?  Talk to fish?  Can all Atlanteans create weapons out of water?  I knew the answer thanks to years of reading comic books, but the Mrs. did not, even after the film was over she couldn’t answer these questions!  As a huge comic reader,  I liked the film despite these misgivings, but wanted it to be even more!  It doesn’t match the success of the Marvel movies, nor does it resonate as well as DCEU’s very own Wonder Woman did.

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She hated it.  Couldn’t wait for it to end were her exact words.  Despite the positives I mentioned, she has had it up to her teeth with comic book brothers (Cousins count she says, while looking straight at Black Panther) fighting over titles, power or love.  Yawn!  The acting of Kidman and Heard drove her crazy!  She would only say the visuals were great and Momoa was OK. She enjoyed the action, but found the romance between Arthur and Mera forced at best and non existent most of the time! Two dead fish were what she actually said. Pun intended. In fact, she never bought AquaMom and Arthur’s dad either. The thought of them was fine, she said, but it never seemed real. It was Meh, bordering on good.

I felt it was money well spent, while she felt the entire evening was a waste of money.  So we average it out to the low end of 3-4. 3 Bills it is!

I’m sure this will upset many. The movie is making bank!  Which makes me happy as a fan of Aquaman, maybe the acting and chemistry can improve in the inevitable sequel.  And a streamlined plot couldn’t hurt as well.  Stay for the mid credits scene  to see where they are heading in the soon to be produced sequel. Mrs. Movie Couple rolls her eyes at the mention of a sequel. She just told me I’m going to see Aquaman 2 by myself. Sigh.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Spider-Man Into the Spider- Verse

Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey
Writers: Phil Lord (screenplay by), Rodney Rothman (screenplay by)
Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Zoë Kravitz, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Kathryn Hahn

Where do I begin reviewing this Marvel (pardon the pun) without sounding like a total sycophant. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse not only took me by surprise but knocked me for six with its stylishly stunning animation, taking a combination of 2-D and 3-D effects to create a modern masterpiece. Am I coming on too strong? Well I don’t care. Using the largest collection of animators for a Sony Pictures Animation project (somewhere in the region of 180 individuals) The technical aspects of this film is half of what makes this film a ten on ten (I don’t normally rate films in this fashion) and the other half being a combination of great characters and a strong storyline. A combination of various “Spider” superheroes an hour in really surprised me and knocked me off my stride for a few moments before appreciating how the filmmakers managed to create these different styles but somehow make them fit into this film. Sounds crazy right?

Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and meets his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality. I have known about Morales for a number of years now and when it was announced that the character was finally appearing in a cinematic release, it was music to my ears. My brother Kevan introduced me to this character a while ago and it intrigued me on how the character would be accepted and received by the Spider-Man traditionalists. Fear not.

Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and Spider-Ham with all of their different perspectives shouldn’t work on paper but thank the maker for Spider-Ham. The MCU for many years now has mastered the right of humour in the darkest of places to perfection. Well here Spider-Ham is to an extent the “Comic Relief” in this film. That’s not to say the character is two dimensional, he has done heart warming scenes also. Peni Parker is a welcome addition that I liked. The Anime style gives the character a real bubbly feel and is the mirror opposite of Spider-Man Noir. The character wouldn’t be out of place in Watchmen. In fact, Noir reminded me of the incarnation of DC’s Batman character in Gotham By Gaslight and was clearly a hero from yesteryear.

Peter Parker on the other hand surprised me. It’s crazy saying this due to the film being an animation but the character doesn’t waste any screen time. Parker is flawed in many ways mentally and physically (check the gut on him) he still has those loveable characteristics that make you route for him and this film reminds you of this.

The cast is amazing. Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Zoë Kravitz, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, and Kathryn Hahn all play their part. At no point do you pinpoint the voices to the ensemble of talent. Their audio participation just threads through the fabric with ease.

Overall Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is a new take on a classic character. The introduction to Miles Morales will surely have been a tie dipping exercise for the studio testing the water with their fan base. They need not to have worried as Miles is a great interpretation of a character we all ready know but want to know more about this kid and how he will deal with “with great power, comes great responsibility” I really hope they go one further with a live action film in the next few years. Technically a masterpiece and a storyline on par with the visuals means I can’t recommend this enough. A must see!