Must every intellectual-property (IP) succumb to the Marvel formula?
If you like your characters bland, your dialogue snarky and your battles meaningless, then you'll love "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves," a movie that wants you to like it so bad, that it actually hurts.
It has finally arrived.
The long-awaited sequel to what had at one time been the #1 box office movie of all-time, Avatar, is now in theaters...and I'm happy to say that it's been worth the wait.
***MINOR PLOT SPOILERS TO FOLLOW***
If there was ever a stereotype for what a superhero comic book would be, there's a good chance that the word-bubbles with the sounds "Whiz!", "Bam!", and "Pow!" would be included in that cliché. And if there was ever a stereotype for what a superhero comic book MOVIE would be, just refer to "Black Adam," the latest swing-and-a-miss from the flailing DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU).
"Black Adam" does it all, in that it is definitely a superhero movie. It looks great, and contains plenty of slick CG, action and fighting. But sadly, it is as hollow as they come, a film where neither the protagonist or the antagonist is all that interesting. It's everything you think a superhero movie is, but in the day-and-age of Marvel movies (or even the stellar DCCU film from earlier this year, "The Batman"), audiences require - heck, deserve - more than what The Rock was cookin' with "Black Adam."
When did superhero movies stop being fun?
Review: 'Hocus Pocus 2' will cast a spell on those already entranced by the original...but that's about it
I'm not sure exactly what the allure of Disney's "Hocus Pocus" is, other than it is a dearly beloved Halloween event for many. Originally released back in 1993, the film, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as three enchanting witches, was a box office dud. And yet, it has become an undeniably loved cult-classic, and for its coven of fans, a must-see yearly Halloween-time ritual.
Generic in its design, the solid work from Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton isn't enough to make "Three Thousand Years of Longing" worth the trouble.
Those in search of some real answers following the recent string of Marvel's Disney+ series, will find "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" ("DSITMOM") to be a maddening experience indeed.
But as a sheer piece of blockbuster entertainment, this film delivers, with a wild, rapid pace and some of the best visuals ever created thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There are clearly some geniuses that work for Marvel Studios...but their collective effort seems unable to keep the MCU continuity from tangling itself up in giant knots, resulting in a truly dizzying - and increasingly tiring - exercise for the loyal viewers to take part in.
(Plot Spoilers to follow...you've been warned!)
Review: 'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore' a continuation of the worst film franchise spin-off maybe ever
If you live, eat and breathe Harry Potter, I still can't fathom a world where you would accept the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise as worthy of sharing the same film universe. Where the original Potter films were full of magic - both literally and figuratively speaking - the "Fantastic Beasts" film have been a flimsy rip-off since the get-go.
The cash-grab continues with the third film in the series, "The Secrets of Dumbledore," a film that not only doesn't live up to its title (what secrets???), but once again fails to hold a floating candle to any of the original Potter films.
Instantly in the running for one of the worst movies of 2022, "Big Gold Brick" does its best to squander it's several well-known actors, and succeeds.
Review: 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' prefers the same old haunts instead of providing new ones
More of a remix than a reboot, "Ghostbuster: Afterlife" definitely taps into the correct vein that made the original 1984 "Ghostbusters" such a roaring success, and such a beloved movie. It opens up the franchise for a new generation of kids, while simultaneously offering plenty for parents and old-school fans to chew on.
But while nostalgia alone might be enough for many who call themselves fans of "Ghostbusters," this latest effort is just another unfortunate reminder that, seemingly, there are no new ideas left in Hollywood. They've resorted to attempting to resurrect intellectual properties that are clearly dead and gone, literally relying on ghosts of the past to fuel their financial futures. In that spirit (pun intended), "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is running on fumes and is to the original "Ghostbusters" what "The Force Awakens" is to the original "Star Wars" film: A new cake baked from the same old ingredients.
(Minor spoilers to follow...minor! Promise!)
Since "Avengers: End Game" in 2019 and the pandemic that would follow, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been mostly a slow-burn...much of the excitement has shifted away from cinemas to at-home Disney+ series like "WandaVision," "Falcon & The Winter Soldier" and "Loki," with the MCU having started to set the stage for its "Phase Four." The only theatrical MCU film since "End Game" has been "Black Widow," a movie that chronologically took place back following the events of "Captain America: Civil War," so it feels like forever since the movies have actually propelled us forward in any major way towards whatever the MCU might have in store upcoming.
With "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," the Marvel origin-story formula is palpable, but while it fails to launch us forward into the teased "multi-verse" that we know is around the corner, it introduces one of the coolest, original characters the MCU has seen in quite a while: Shang-Chi. Unlike the TV shows that have introduced possible "new" versions of The Falcon, Captain America and Loki, Shang-Chi and the artifacts known as the "Ten Rings" feel fresh, and they open up new possibilities for the MCU at large.
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