‘The Dark Knight’ Ten Years Later

It’s been 10 years since Christopher Nolan’s comic book masterpiece. His finest work to date and still arguably the greatest comic book movie ever made.

The-Dark-Knight-Batman-and-Joker-Interrogation-Room-Fight.jpg

Christopher Nolan –  “You’ve changed things. Forever.”


Funny world we live in, can’t believe its been 10 years since I waited outside a packed theatre. The lineup was legitimately wrapped around the entire building. The hype was real, it was like nothing I had ever seen at this point in my life, and well Christopher Nolan and company didn’t disappoint. I saw The Dark Knight 9 times in the theatre, I couldn’t get enough of this experience. I was like LeBron James when he went to Miami – “Not one, not two, not three, not four.” It has everything you want in a movie, and I don’t mean just a comic book movie, this is such an enjoyable movie experience, it simply meets all your needs. One of the biggest takeaways all these years later, is that people forget that this just isn’t a comic book movie. It’s so much more. This movie simply changed the game, it changed everything. It took the world by notice, that comic book movies should be and can be taken seriously. Everyone saw this movie, even your Mom. People couldn’t stop talking about it, everyone wanted to be the Joker, everyone had their own Batman voice. Ever since this movie, other film makers have been trying to replicate this formula, without that much success (Power Rangers, Fantastic Four). Since the turn of the century this sticks out as one of the very best films we have set our eyes on, and remember you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Where does one even begin with this movie? The incredible opening scene, the best of any comic book movie to date. The way they introduce the Joker at the beginning of this film is so brilliant, and unique. Watching the bank heist in IMAX was such a treat. The whole premise of this bank job taking place with the Joker, yet the rest of the crew has no idea he’s sitting right in front of them, all while they are picking each other off one by one. I could rewatch this scene again and again and it would never get old. I think from the opening moments you knew that this would be something truly special. The way it was shot, the dialogue, everything about that opening scene was so different and transformative. It’s not like this is the only rewatchable scene in the movie, jesus the whole thing is rewatchable. Christopher Nolan was showing us moments that I will just never forget. The “sky-hook” scene and the 18-wheeler being flipped over are things that just blew me and the audience away. Speaking of the 18-wheeler, that entire sequence is one of my favourite in all of cinema. I remember seeing the trailers and knowing that the Batpod was going to make an appearance in the movie, and I kept waiting and waiting for it to show up, and when it finally does, and how they introduce it. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so hard during a movie. Gotta be one of the most “Batman” moments ever. Then the showdown between Batman and the Joker on the street – you know the one, HIT ME!!! Which ends with the reveal that Commissioner Gordon isn’t dead after all. Just next level movie making stuff. Dark, gritty, grounded are three words that surrounded this movie, it’s what Nolan built this franchise on. He took a character and moulded him the way he saw fit, and he didn’t rely on heavy CGI, insane action sequences to do so. When you think back to The Dark Knight, there isn’t much action to be had, in fact, for a summer blockbuster that just so happens to be a comic book movie, there is very little. His take on the Caped Crusader was so radical, that at first people didn’t know how to react. Since this trilogy, we have gotten another depiction of this character, which is more comic book like than Nolan’s approach. In Batman v. Superman and Justice League we see Batman fighting aliens from other worlds and teaming up with the worlds strongest heroes, that was not the reality in which Nolan’s universe took place. At the end of the day, I can never decide which version I like best. Scorn by critics alike, Ben Affleck’s Batman or “Batfleck” is incredible. People tend to forget that comic book characters are malleable. They can be shaped and formed however someone sees fit. Dark and gritty or fun and light. They can be part of a shared universe or not at all. These aren’t the things that make these movies special, it’s the vision, and having an idea about these characters that will, in the end, make them memorable. I say this because what followed Nolan’s Batman franchise was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie, where you could tell from the trailers that it had a definite Nolan influence. Man of Steel turned out to be the greatest Superman movie ever made, and one of the best comic book movies made to date. People were thrown off about his interpretation of this beloved hero, but it was his take, just like Nolan’s take on Batman. The new Superman is just so different from Richard Donner’s 70’s hero, that people believed it was totally wrong. They can’t see that these characters can be whatever we want them to be, and if you can’t see where the artist is coming from, doesn’t  mean the artist is wrong.

It all started with the legendary Batman Begins, at the end of the movie where they tease the Clown Prince of Crime. Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that “he’ll look into it,” and that was our first mention of the Joker. When that happened fans everywhere were on pins and needles to find out who would be playing Batman’s greatest foe. So when Heath Ledger was pinned as the Joker, the world didn’t really know what to think. He was a heartthrob, known for Brokeback Mountain and 10 Things I Hate About You. People were on the fence about the whole thing, they wanted this to be right, and some people didn’t think it was a great fit. Well we all know how that turned out, not only did Heath give us the greatest comic book performance we have ever seen, he even won an Oscar for his role. We all know the tragedy that comes with this movie, sadly Heath died shortly before the films premiere.


Some men just want to watch the world burn. Words can’t really describe how I feel about the Heath situation, for so many reasons. His performance is hauntingly beautiful, where it’s almost put a curse on this character because I just don’t see anyone ever topping it. There will be other interpretations no doubt, there’s already been one, but something about his is just magical. Here’s the other thing, if Heath doesn’t die, I don’t really know what happens over at WB. I know Nolan always had his vision for his Batman trilogy, but if he’s alive, there’s no way he’s not part of the final installment of the franchise. Maybe it keeps going. There’s no way we don’t get to see him in this iconic role again. It’s saddens me to say that, because it sounds selfish, but the way we leave his character, just hanging and laughing hysterically because he believes he has beaten the Batman. I just have always wanted more from this Joker, I want to know what happens to him, why he’s never mentioned again. I know these are all unanswerable questions, it’s just every time I watch The Dark Knight, this is always something that crosses my mind. One of films biggest “what-ifs” because I personally think the DCEU might not be where it is today if he were still alive. There was just to much story to flesh out with his character. I always dreamed of WB releasing never before footage or a scene of the Joker, maybe we will get something this week, it’s a pipe dream, but a man can dream.

The movie flows pretty flawlessly, I’ll admit though, the ending does get a little cloudy and messy. I just don’t believe everything that happens, from the ferry scene and the cell phone stuff. Something just seems off about that bit of the movie, but that is a serious nit-pick. Everyone is sitting atop apex mountain. Nolan, Bale, Caine, Eckhart, Ledger, everyone is firing on all cylinders. Comic book movies just aren’t written like this, the screenplay is just brilliant. Comic book movies didn’t tackle things like politics and and philosophical discussion that comes with being a hero and a villain. The interrogation scene, is one of the best Batman/Joker confrontations just not in the movies, but in all of history as well. Joker knows that Batman has one rule, and the way he manipulates and deceives Batman is incredible.

Harvey, Harvey, Harvey Dent. I’m so bittersweet about how they handled this amazing villain. The way he is introduced. I remember my first viewing and when Batman walks into his warehouse, and realizing that Rachel is about to die, it really made you think. It’s such a powerful moment, and happens with the voice over of Rachel telling Bruce that she is going to marry Harvey Dent. Within Nolan’s trilogy it’s by far the most vulnerable we see Bruce Wayne, he is crushed that she is gone, because he believes she was going to wait for him. Two-Face is one of many iconic Batman rogues, and I know when they were making this film they didn’t know what was going to happen to Heath, but again it’s a real shame that they killed off Two-Face at the end, because I think there was so much more to explore with him. They could have adapted The Long Halloween or another great Two-Face story.

What more can I say about this masterpiece of cinema. From Hans Zimmer epic score, to the cinematography, the acting, and everything in-between. It not only helped shape the landscape for movies but how the audience and Academy perceive them as well . The backlash that followed when The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated for best picture, ultimately led to the Academy expanding the best picture nominee category. It’s hard to imagine another comic book movie taking up the mantle of greatest of all time. Because this is more than just a comic book movie, it feels so real. There aren’t any super powers or even super heroes involved. That’s why it’s so special, Nolan was able to tap into something unique and make this so grounded, that it was just about a man in a mask and terrorist clown. It’s everything around that, that makes this a truly special piece of film. The Dark Knight didn’t just set the standard for comic book movies today, but it set a standard for movie making itself. It will never grow old and will be a timeless classic. It’s easy to forget why this movie is so special, because so many comic book movies have been made since. But for me, this is always looked at as a crime thriller-drama, that just so happens to have a man in a batsuit chasing a man dressed up like a clown throughout a city. These two are truly destined to do this forever.

‘SkyScraper’ Review

I’ve said it a million times, I’ll watch anything with Dwayne Johnson in it, but can he start doing better movies please and thank you.

Fun fact, someone took this photo to a scientist to see if he in fact would make this leap of faith. Guess what? Turns out he would plummet to his death, and that’s not even the most unbelievable thing that occurs in this generic blockbuster. Rawson Marshall Thurber the man who brought us Dodgeball and Central Intelligence brings us this cheap Diehard knock off, that is pretty painful to be perfectly honest. It’s been 30 years since one of the greatest action movies ever released came to theatres and this is by no stretch of the imagination an homage to that. But it fails miserably in every aspect of doing so. Skyscraper has a pretty straightforward premise. Man’s family is trapped in worlds tallest building, man must climb his way to the top. Simple enough, yet the movie trips over itself time and time again. This movie wanted to be Diehard so badly, the marketing team fully invested into that notion and produced replica posters for this movie in honour of Diehard and The Towering Inferno. Walking into the theatre thinking we could have a little Diehard on our hands was a fun treat, instead we got the worst of the worst when it comes to the Diehard franchise, and nobody and I mean nobody wants that.

It’s really hard to get behind a movie, when you know the whole point of the movie, “The Pearl” the worlds tallest building in Hong Kong was made in an editing room after the movie was done filming. As the movie chugs along it got harder and harder to believe anything I was watching. The whole movie feels green-screened and nothing felt real. When that occurs it’s very hard to buy into what you’re watching. It doesn’t make for a enjoyable movie going experience. If you can’t believe what’s going on in front of you, it’s really hard to stay focused throughout. It’s just another run of the mill disaster flick, which happens to star the most likeable movie star on the planet. I was hoping that if this movie did turn out to be a pile of fiery rubble, then at least I would get to see Dwayne Johnson kick some ass for 90 mins. NOPE. That doesn’t even happen, I was stunned that we didn’t get more action, because well, the worlds biggest action star is in the movie. The action is so weak and bloodless, where Diehard was the polar opposite. He’s never really trying to survive from the people inside the building. He is trying to survive from the building itself. So instead they have him doing things that are so preposterous, it leaves you shaking your head. But I’ll reiterate that the only thing this movie has going for it is well Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell. YES! The return of Sydney Prescott baby. I forgot just how wonderful Neve Campbell is and why it bothers me so much that she really doesn’t act anymore. It really bothers me that she decided this would be her triumphant comeback, because although she is great, the movie is not.

Everyone else just gets lost in the shuffle as the film plays out. You’re going to try and make Diehard for this generation but you don’t want to at least attempt to have an iconic villain? Hans Gruber is one of cinemas greatest foes, and the late Alan Rickman did a wonderful job in that role. I had to go look up the name of the bad guy for SkyScraper because that’s just how generic he was. Roland Moller plays Kores Botha, muscle for hire essentially and for me it just didn’t work. There are just so many forgettable characters floating around and you know all the twists and turns 20 minutes before they even happen. Even the bad guys plot is so mind numbingly dumb, by the end of the movie you forget why he is even doing this in the first place. Screen writing in big Hollywood blockbusters is dead. There is not one iconic line of dialogue in this whole thing, which was a total bummer. Everyone knows at least a fine lines from Diehard, that’s what made it so great. You’re telling me, that you have Dwayne Johnson in a movie like this and you can’t have him say one cool line? Who are getting to write these things nowadays? Is it monkeys using type writers? Did the Simpsons predict that as well?

This is just the definition of watered down Hollywood generic action. No one will be talking about SkyScraper in a few weeks, no one will be talking about this movie at all. I just didn’t buy a single moment of the film, because it was all to fake to me. This whole movie was put together in the editing room and that’s by far the biggest weakness of it. DJ is fine in this role, but it’s certainly not one of  his best performances, and he can do so much better. It’s just hard to get behind a movie, where it wants you to throw everything you know about what a human being can do out the window and quite frankly I just don’t think the studio cared all that much. We deserve better movies than this. It’s the middle of July right now and every summer blockbuster that has come out since Infinity War has been hot garbage. Lazy writing, sub-par acting and a film where nothing is believable is not a recipe for success. I expected so much more, I wanted to be reminded of Diehard, yet everything in this movie is a total ripoff of something that has come before it. There really isn’t one original idea to be had in the whole thing.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – SkyScraper = 45/100

‘Ant-Man & The Wasp’ Review

So we’ve gotten 2 solo Ant-Man movies in the last 4 years and zero Batman movies in the last 6………

After Marvel dropped Infinity War earlier this year, it was pretty hard to get yourself psyched up for the next Ant-Man outing. Rightfully so, after the events of Infinity War how could anyone really care what Scott Lang and the gang were up to? Let me tell you this, I have completely forgotten this entire movie. You look up bland and meh in the dictionary, well this might fall under it.

I like the Ant-Man character, I think Paul Rudd was perfectly casted. Just the whole movie was an excuse to show us an after credits scene. I’m not lying, the whole movie was a set up for a 90 second scene that – spoilers, shows Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) disappearing just like half the universe, all while Scott Lang is now trapped in the Quantum Realm. Pretty much indicating that Ant-Man once again will not be suiting up with the rest of the Avengers in next years Infinity War finale. That’s my biggest takeaway from the movie. It’s predictable, dull and I don’t understand the science behind anything that goes on and Marvel just decides not to explain this science to us. I’m not picky when it comes to this kind of stuff, but for this movie, where the laws of physics are just being thrown out the window, a little education would be nice. I was totally fine with the first Ant-Man it was a fun time, and I actually really liked the villain from it. Yellow-Jacket is a underrated bad guy, and their fight sequences were a ton of fun. This time around, Hannah John-Kamen suits up as Ghost and well, yikes. Marvel had kind of been on a hot streak for villains, but Ghost is so forgettable and she’s almost not even a villain. It’s murky with her, so that’s where Walton Goggins character of Sonny Burch comes in. He’s like a bad cartoon character come to life. A lot of the new characters introduced are just god awful. This might be one of the worst MCU villains.

So if you’ve seen the first you know a little bit of the backstory. Hank Pym was once Ant-Man and Janet was The Wasp, now after a rescue mission gone wrong, Janet has been stuck in the Quantum Realm for over 30 years. When Scott went into the realm himself at the end of the first movie, some how they became connected. Now Hank and Hope have the technology and the means to rescue her from the Quantum Realm. That’s pretty much the entire movie, Scott is on house arrest because of the events of Civil War, so when he has a dream in which he sees Janet, Hank and Hope bust him out and try to rescue her before it’s to late. Just like the first one, this has a ton of comedic moments and Michael Pena steals the show, because the only time I was really having fun with this movie was when he was on screen. There’s a whole bit about truth serum and it’s so great, and when he tells his stories, you can’t help but burst into laugher, but that simply can’t save the entire movie. The action sequences are just boring, I enjoyed them much more in the previous incarnation. The movie is kind of a blur, because everything really isn’t making sense and it’s almost like one long game of hot potato. They are able to shrink an entire building down, and it turns into a suitcase on wheels pretty much, and that’s where their lab is located. So it keeps going back and forth between the good guys and the bad guys, and that goes on for 90 minutes. Don’t get my wrong, this is a Marvel movie, it’s enjoyable, Ant-Man is a great character and you’ll laugh really hard in certain spots. But this shouldn’t have come out after Infinity War, it just felt so underwhelming. Knowing what we know now, and what’s to come, a solo Ant-Man adventure is just something I wasn’t really looking forward to. So I think they dropped the ball big time with this release date, and I honestly think this shouldn’t have taken place when it did. Like I previously mentioned this just felt like an excuse to tell us again why Ant-Man wasn’t around during Infinity War and that he sure as hell won’t be suiting up next summer. They could have just made this post credit scene after Infinity War and saved themselves a ton of work hours and money. This didn’t even crack 80 million dollars on it’s opening weekend. For a Marvel movie, that’s not great. I don’t see this movie having much legs either, because word of mouth won’t be great.

If you’re a fan of these movies go see it, if you’re on the fence about it, you should probably sit this one out. Movies keep disappointing this summer, we haven’t had to many hits on our hands. I didn’t expect much from Ant-Man & The Wasp but I expected just a little bit more.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Ant-Man & The Wasp = 65/100

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Review

This was one big pile of shit.

can-you-believe-that-owen-survives-this-scene-in-jurassic-world-fallen-kingdom

I can’t recall another franchise that has fallen farther from grace then Jurassic Park. In 1993 in all honesty the greatest summer blockbuster ever made was released and ever since then, they haven’t been able to make a competent dino movie. Three years ago when they decided this franchise needed a facelift and they released Jurassic World which became a box-office juggernaught. The 4th highest grossing movie of all time, think about that. So it was inevitable that a sequel was on the way, they planned on making this a trilogy. So when your movie grosses close to 2 billion dollars, one would imagine they would plan and put a ton of resources into the sequel. I’m not joking, at times it felt like 15 year old kids wrote this movie. I’m not asking for Citizen Kane here, but when the dialogue is so bad, it’s the first thing that takes you out of a movie. So as Ian Malcolm once said “that is one big pile of shit.”

Speaking of Ian Malcolm, he’s actually in this movie! But not in the way you wanted. Even his character, who was such a cool guy in the original had fallen from grace. Way to  just shoehorn him in just because Jeff Goldblum is a thing right now. So Colin Trevorrow is out as director, now he just has the writing credential. J.A Bayona fills in, and I’ll say this first. This isn’t a horribly made movie. It has some fantastic imagery and set pieces, and even the opening scene of this movie felt like the 93′ Jurassic Park. After that it kind of went downhill. The island’s dormant volcano is about to erupt and Owen (Chris Pratt) and Clarie (Bryce Dallas Howard) lead a team of people on a rescue mission to save the dinosaurs. This should have just been the entire movie, instead of the first 40 mins, because this could have been a really awesome concept of them trying to round up all the dinosaurs. Instead we get none of that, and to be honest it was just an excuse for a lot of dino death. Now of course it’s a double cross due to our run of the mill villain Eli (Rafe Spall).

Here’s the thing. This franchise isn’t suppose to be about forgettable human characters, this franchise has always been about the dinosaurs. I don’t need dopey characters throughout this movie, that are so forgettable. So now we aren’t even getting the dinosaurs we want to see. Enough is enough with these hybrids. It’s actually getting so out of hand and it’s just not what we want to see as fans. Two things have ruined this franchise since the relaunch; hybrid dinosaurs and this whole velociraptor being friends with humans. These are just two elements we absolutely did not need to see, it’s just plain silly. There’s just not a whole lot to say about this movie, quite frankly it’s so forgettable that I can’t really recall anything note worthy. It’s just a lot of dumb human characters making insane and hilariously stupid decisions. The last half of the movie is just dinosaurs trapped in a house chasing people around. Then there is one twist, THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING I’VE SEEN IN A MOVIE IN A LONG LONG LONG TIME. I was laughing so hard because it’s just so random and out of the blue, I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.

The acting is fine, no one is terrible, but it’s just really hard to work when the script is just god awful. Don’t get me wrong Chris Pratt is a superstar and I enjoy Bryce Dallas Howard, but I just don’t see them together. Their chemistry isn’t great and that’s a big part of the movie. I can’t believe how short this review is, but like for once I got nothing to say. Just skip this god awful movie, that had no business being made, and the worst part is, we have to sit through one more of these. They destroyed something that was so magical, and turned it into something so farfetched and ridiculous. One of the worst movies of the year, I really hate crapping on movies, because I know how much work goes into them, I’ll always say that. But we deserve so much better.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom = 45/100

‘Incredibles 2’ Review

Jack-Jack, you the real MVP.

So last night was a first for me. As I walked into the theatre, it was the very first time I had done so alone. Yes, when you wait 14 years for something you really can’t sit around and wait for people to tag along. I needed to see this opening night, this was a long time coming. Pixar knows that they made us all wait a lifetime. There’s even a tiny PSA at the beginning thanking everyone for being so patient. You never see that with a long awaited sequel. And I’ll say that it was worth the wait.

Brad Bird once again writes and directs what will ultimately be the best action movie of 2018. How can the best action movie be animated you ask? Well first off, you need to check this out, and secondly animated features can pull things off only live action movies can dream of. There are just some really incredible – no pun intended, action pieces, and that’s just gravy for me. The Incredibles is a superhero movie, but it’s about more than just violence and action, at the heart of this movie, it’s about family. I like to think of this movie as a combination of Mr. Mom meets Unbreakable. Where you have Mr. Incredible trying to be the super Dad at home, while Mrs. Incredible is out trying to save the world. Remember in this world Superheroes are outlawed and when Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) comes up with a plan to change the way society sees Supers, he picks Elastigirl to be the face of his project. The Unbreakable part comes from the villain Screenslaver causing disasters to make our heroes come out from hiding. Look the first Incredibles had such a memorable villain in Syndrome, with Jason Lee doing incredible voice work for the character. He was such a strong villain because of how personal he was to the story. He represents kind of nerd culture today, where you can become so obsessed with something, that you’ll do anything to have it be apart of your life, and when expectations fall short, or things don’t go the way you want them, well all hell can break loose. It would be really hard to follow that up, so I’m not shocked I wasn’t blown away by the villain, you see the twist coming a mile away, but ultimately this movie didn’t need a strong villain to be great. It needed a good story, and be more about the evolution of our characters, because remember this movie literally takes place right after the events of the first one. That’s what we get, the progression of this family, and learning what it means to be a Superhero family.

Once again the voice acting is spot on, with everyone chipping in. They add a bunch of great new voices to the cast, and this time around we get a lot more Frozone, which everyone wanted to see. The animation has come a long way in the last 14 years, and it really showed when they were showing off Frozone’s powers. But more importantly for when they were showing off Jack-Jack’s powers. He steals the entire movie, and when they released the first teaser trailer way back when, you knew that would be the case. He’s so cute and adorable, and has so many unique and hilarious powers, he keeps you engaged and laughing every time he’s on screen. Jack-Jack is a baby, but he’s a powerful and pretty independent one. He has a scuffle with a raccoon that was probably the highlight of the movie for me. He loves watching the Twilight Zone and eating cookies, and I was so happy they really showcased him in this film. It’s a great way for quick laughs just not for the kids, but for the adults as well. Dash and Violet are great again, Dash didn’t really have a lot going on in this, most of the time it was him trying to figure out his math homework, which I thought was a total letdown. I feel like he was the only family member who didn’t progress in this. Violet is trying to over come boy problems and figure out how to get someone to notice you, funny because her powers involve her being invisible.

I just had a ton of fun watching this, again Pixar knows what they are doing, and unlike their previous Pixar sequels, this didn’t feel unnecessary. It just felt right, and I think making it take place right after the events of the first movie made it feel like it belonged. Nothing was shoehorned in, and nothing felt rushed. Everything just kind of fell into place, and it was just like waiting a long time for part 2 of something you knew should be two parts. Now do I think this should be a trilogy? Yes I do. But I want it to end right. We don’t need another 14 year gap between movies, this is going to be a box-office juggernaut, but surely they must have some sort of idea of where to take this thing. There’s so many laughs to be had, great action sequences, a ton of heartfelt moments and overall a really great Pixar movie. Bring the family, bring a date, or pull a me and go alone. I know for a fact you won’t be disappointed.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Incredibles 2 = 93/100

‘Deadpool 2’ Review

Here’s the thing. Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool, but I felt like this was a pretty big drop off from the first.

So you know when you go to a restaurant and you eat the absolute best meal of your life? Then you to back to that exact same restaurant eat the exact same meal, but it’s just not the same feeling? You’re shocked, you were ready to be blown away again, you’ve had this exact same dish before, but for some reason, things seem different. Well this is how I would sum up Deadpool 2.

I remember back in 2016, sitting down to watch Deadpool and from the very opening credits I was laughing so hard and I was hooked right in. Not only was it such a financial success, the move itself paved the way for future comic book movies for years to come (like Logan). It simply changed the game, so it’s no surprise that it only took 2 years for FOX to pump out the Deadpool sequel. So as I sat down, things were oddly familiar, the opening credits poke fun at the James Bond openings, but I just wasn’t laughing quite like I did 2 years prior. It just felt shoed in. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I get it, these are Deadpool traits and they are what made the first so unique and ground breaking. I just didn’t want a repeat performance the second time around.

This time it’s a family story, this movie is all about the family dynamic and what it means to be a family. I’m serious, the whole meaning of the movie is finding out what it takes and what it means to belong to some sort of family. Wade and Vanessa want to put a bun in the oven but when tragedy strikes, Wade must place his heart else where and learn to be part of a new family; the X-Men. Along the way he attempts to create his own team, X-Force, which obviously goes horribly wrong, but a sequence involving said X-Force was one of the highlights of the movie for me. Don’t get me wrong, I had some fun with Deadpool 2, but now waiting days to write my review, I view the whole movie as forgettable. It just seemed so jumbled and all over the place, it’s a movie excuse to set up the future instalments in this franchise. They even make jokes alluding to this very thing, but it just seems so poorly put together. Yes, they introduced Cable (Josh Brolin) who did a fine job. He’s a great character but he really didn’t add anything special to this movie or universe. I want to explore his character some more and him and Reynolds have terrific chemistry together, so that at least is a positive but overall, Cable was a serious meh for me. The person who steals the show and is by far the best part of this movie is Domino (Zazie Beetz) I dont even wanna imagine this movie without her in it. She steals every scene she’s in, the way the movie portrays her super power of being lucky on the big screen, was incredible. It’s without doubt the best part of the entire movie and the sequences when they are displaying her powers were just special in my mind. She has some serious potential in this universe and I can’t wait to see where they take her from here.

Yes, there are a ton of little Easter eggs and references, they allude to a ton of world building but it didn’t add much. You can only make the same joke so many times before it runs dry and stale. The villains are sub-par at most. I think that’s the weakest part of the movie, and why I think the third act falls flat on its face. I’m just kind of disappointed by the movie. I know the effort is there, I love all the people involved, just something seemed off this time around. I think it’s because we’ve already had the experience. So when you try pretty much do the same thing over again, it might not stick and land as well as the first time around. This is just my opinion. I know people are going to love this movie, I just really didn’t. I want to keep seeing Deadpool and exploring the new characters that were introduced. But I think they need to seriously consider the future of this franchise and make sure the next one is a fresh take on this material. You can’t possibly get away with doing the exact same thing three times in a row. Fans won’t stand for that. You can go in so many directions that you need a good writing team and idea for the third.

Overall I found Deadpool 2 to be kind of a mess. I just felt like they tried to hard to build a universe for Deadpool rather than just make a great second installment. There is so much potential here because of how brilliant Reynolds plays the character and they want this to succeed. But maybe they rushed into the sequel, remember it took over a decade to get the first, great things take time. I still think this universe and the future of Deadpool has an insanely bright future. This was just unfortunately a miss-step.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Deadpool 2 = 76/100

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Review

Marvel raises the bar once again for the Superhero genre. Creating their greatest achievement yet. It’s perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

I laughed, I cried, I cheered. And that was all just in the first 10 minutes. I had to wait until Sunday night to finally see the much anticipated Avengers: Infinity War. Do you know how difficult it is to stay spoiler free from the biggest movie of the last decade? It’s extremely hard, I did my best to stay off social media, so when Sunday night rolled around I was ecstatic I was walking in spoiler free. So after a decade and 18 movies later, did Marvel hit a grand slam? Yes, yes they did. I’m not really sure where to start, this will be a spoiler free review, I’m going to write another piece about the future of the MCU and how I really thought about EVERYTHING that happens in Infinity War, but for now, here’s my review! Also just congratulations on this becoming the highest grossing movie ever domestically in a single weekend. It deserves it, this is bar none the best MCU movie ever made.

Boy did Marvel not hold back, from the very opening moments of the film, this felt like something epic. This review might be all over the place, because it will be extremely hard to write something spoiler free, which this will be! We are immediately introduced to Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his trusty side kicks – The Black Order. For sidekicks, the Black Order were pretty goddamn awesome I thought. Hats off to Tom Vaughn-Lawlor who played Ebony Maw, because if you tossed him into any other MCU movie, we could be talking about one of the best MCU villains here. Just so happens he was standing next to Thanos for the entire movie so it’s hard to really consider him truly great, because well Thanos climbed to the top of Mount Rushmore of comic book movie villains after this performance. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, it’s not like we have been waiting since 2012, when he first reared his big ugly purple head. Since then they have been building the MCU for this very moment. When everything finally comes together, crossovers you didn’t know you wanted, team ups we could have never imagined and more importantly the Avengers coming face to face with the Mad Titan Thanos. For the last 6 years all we have heard about is the 6 infinity stones and the unimaginable power they all contain. Put them all together and that person has the power to accomplish anything. Well Thanos is looking to round up all these stones and it’s up to our heroes to stop him. That’s almost the strongest part of the entire movie. It’s not an overly complicated plot, it’s simple. Thanos wants the stones, our heroes are trying to do everything and anything they can to stop him.

Thanos was such a terrific villain, we are coming off such a strong one with Killmonger in Black Panther, but Marvel stepped their game up even more with Thanos. What makes a truly memorable and great villain performance, is well, they need to have layers, and the character kind of needs to be flushed out throughout the movie. We get a ton of background and history about Thanos, we get to see inside his mind, what makes him tick and everything he truly loves. For being the most evil person in the entire universe, there are parts of the movie where you almost are rooting for him to get all the stones. Like if someone asks me, “Was Thanos a good villain?” Well, he’s unstoppable, terrifying, sadistic, at times polite and like i mentioned, in a few brief moments, sympathetic. He’s just not a power hungry mad man who has no sense or sense awareness to everything around him. He’s so much more complex than that, and you almost see where he’s coming from. He’s the most badass villain to ever show up in a comic book movie, and with that comes the fact he’s almost the most sympathetic villain to ever grace the big screen. So if you haven’t figured out by now, I really enjoyed Thanos, he makes the movie and I was glad that he got the most screen time out of any character in the entire movie. Frankly, us fans that have been waiting all this time for him to show up deserved it.

As for the rest of the team they all work so well together. Yes they all don’t have the most screen time, but if you love these characters and watching them, then you won’t care. The interactions between characters, like Rocket and Thor, Tony and Dr. Strange are all things I didn’t know I needed so badly in my life. The Russo Brothers picked the perfect little teams to divide into, and I think that was really important. If that doesn’t work, the whole movie doesn’t work. I thought Dr. Strange, Thor and Gamora were the MVP’s of our heroes. Thor has evolved into the best MCU character in my opinion and I can’t wait to see how he will keep evolving. The whole movie really flies by, they don’t really pussyfoot around at all. You’re in waist deep before you know it, and instantly the stakes are at an all time high. I saw a lot of people saying this was just another “funny MCU movie” and yes of course it’s funny. I’m happy this movie is funny, but when it wants to get down to the nitty gritty and be serious, it’s actually bone chilling serious. There are moments in this movie that I never saw coming, things that maybe I saw coming. Things I thought might happened, happened. Things that could happen, happened. A ton of available evidence and suspicion confirmed that, in the end that thing would happen. I WAS NOT PREPARED AT ALL TO WATCH THAT THING HAPPEN. This movie tugs on your heart strings and when the screen fades to black, you are gut punched. You are looking around searching for answers, you want to know what the hell just happened. I think that’s my favourite part about this whole thing. I have no idea where Marvel is going to take this thing. Well I have some thoughts and wild ideas, but I actually don’t really know the future direction of the MCU and for the first time in a long time, I am so intrigued about this whole thing.

Like I can’t even say much more, because all I want to do is talk about everything that happens within the movie. But I can’t, not here at least. What more do you want me to say? This is the movie of 2018, no other comic book movie will come close to making me feel what I felt during Infinity War. It’s damn near perfect, I can’t wait to watch it again. I saw it back to back nights, because I needed that in order to really process everything. Go see this movie, don’t be that weirdo that sits this one out. I will say this – It’s perfectly balanced as all things should be.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Avengers: Infinity War = 98/100

 

‘Rampage’ Review

It’s official. I’m only calling him Dwayne Johnson. The Rock is no more.

Lions, tigers and bears oh my! Well I guess, a monkey, a wolf, and a crocodile. Throw them in the Windy City make them 50 feet tall and you have the newest video game adaptation Rampage. According to rotten tomatoes it is the best rated video game movie ever, I know that’s not saying to much but a wins a win. For Dwayne Johnson – the King of the box-office he just keeps winning. I had so much fun with this movie, and will continue to support any project that DJ is involved with.

Imagine just walking down the street on a sunny day in Chicago when three larger than life animals come hurling towards you looking for their afternoon snack. Yes, I’m well aware this is a silly premise but as much as I like reviewing movies based on their technical achievements or story telling. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax and completely turn your brain off. It helps when you enjoy the movie you’re watching, but people can take movies way to seriously these days. Life is about having fun and enjoying things and movies are for the most part made for entertainment purposes. Is the acting in stupendous? No. Is the movie well written? Absolutely not. Will you crush the largest popcorn and soda while enjoying the heck out of Rampage. Hell yes.

So when an evil company Energyne cooks up some secret genetic altering, gene manipulating sauce in space and things go haywire, three canisters containing this stuff fall to Earth. Three unsuspecting animals come into contact with it. A wolf on Wyoming, and crocodile in the Everglades and George an Albino ape in the San Diego Zoo. George is best friends with Davis Okoye (DJ) and when George starts to grow at uncontrollable rate, well Davis gets a little concerned. Enter Claire (Naomie Harris) a once employee of Energyne. She works along side Davis and a government worker Henry Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to try and stop these animals from essentially destroying the planet. There you go, that’s the entire plot. It’s pretty simple, big animals running amuck and us trying and failing miserably to stop them. I like all three of these people, and I actually thought they worked really well together. I would love to see DJ and JDM side by side again. Something about them seemed to click and I really enjoyed that aspect of this movie. There are other human characters at play here, but they are the definition of disposable. The villains are pretty much cartoons, and in terms of the human side of the story the weakest part of the film.

The stars of the movie are our three larger than life animals. They really steal the show and when they are finally on screen together you really can’t look away. The last 40 mins is just a fun ride. I thought the effects were pretty impressive for the animals, other aspects not so much, but watching a giant ape and DJ fight side by side is just fun to watch. Why nitpick all the little things or the issues I knew this movie was going to have. It’s a video game move – they have a terrible track record. It’s just suppose to be fun, so why base it off anything other than that? The movie isn’t perfect, I wouldn’t even say it’s a great movie, but I had a ton of fun and at the end of the day, I think that’s what they want. I know that’s what DJ wants from anyone who goes. It’s got some really great comedic moments, plenty of destruction and Dwayne Johnson. The movie is called Rampage expect a bunch of stuff exploding and a ton of chaos. This is actually something I would like to see more of, because for what it’s trying to be, I think they accomplished their goal. Thinking about it, this very well could be one of my favourite Dwayne Johnson movies.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Rampage = 70/100

‘A Quiet Place’ Review

This is one impressive accomplishment. Such a new and refreshing take on the horror genre. A pulse pounding 90 minutes that pretty much doesn’t let up.

image3.1520777936.jpg

“A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.”

The miracle of birth. It’s truly a special moment in every women’s life. The joy of bringing a child into this world. We all know just how painful an experience it can be. I can’t even fathom it to be perfectly honest, but just imagine going through birth and not being able to make a sound. That’s right ladies, imagine the most painful experience the human body can essentially go through and you have to stay absolutely quiet. Sounds like the worlds worst prank if you ask me. For Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place, it’s actually a reality. That is the premise of John Krasinski new ground breaking horror film. Something has come to Earth and they hunt you based off sound.

I remember seeing the first trailer when it was attached to IT and was intrigued from the get go. You felt it from the trailer that this was going to be a tense and suspenseful film. I didn’t know it was going to turn out to be the scariest movie of 2018. Film-makers  have been creating horror movies for about a century so it is really hard to redefine a genre that has stood the test of time. It’s difficult to put a new spin on something and make it stick with the audience. A Quiet Place is that movie. The premise is pretty genius and the way that Krasinski was able to carry this thing out with his almost perfect directing makes for one terrific film. There are 6 people credited with roles and everyone of them accomplishes wonder. When you see the title of the movie, one would hope you realize there won’t be much dialogue throughout, but it doesn’t need it. From the opening scene, which is probably going to end up being one of the better opening sequences from any movie this year. It immediately thrusts you into this world. You’re on the edge of your seat from the mere moments the movie begins.

Creatures have come down to Earth, and actually very little is explained in regards to why this has happened. The movie picks up on day 89 of the “invasion,” so we are thrown into this new world. This is a movie about survival and about family. About how this one family is dealing with this new threat. This isn’t some creature origin story, or a big picture kind of deal. We are only looking through the eyes of the Abbott family, that is it. I didn’t mind that they didn’t give us any backstory, because the movie didn’t need it. You understand that the world has gone straight to hell, and it’s a fight for survival now. That the world has simply changed and this family is doing everything in their power to protect one another. That’s what I kind of liked about the movie the most. It didn’t try to hard to explain itself. You just go on this 90 minute thrill ride and you’re immersed into every single second of it. The movie is scary, I had my hands over my mouth during the first few minutes because you know exactly what is going to happen, but it’s still painful to watch and the fact that they can’t make any noise and watching everyones body language and faces during this type of scene is why the movie is so special. It really makes you think, about going through all these painful experiences and really not being able to do anything, not even cry. I don’t know if I could live in a world like that, and Emily Blunt is so just damn good in this movie. She really brings the whole thing together, and the fact that her and Krasinski are married in real life, I think made the bond between these two people even stronger. The two kids, Noah Jupe and especially Millicent Simmonds who is just fantastic both bring their A game to the table. They really felt like a family.

You can tell Krasinski took some inspiration from other great monster movies. Like Jaws for instance. He knows exactly when to show you the creature and when to tease it. That’s what makes monster movies so good, is when they show their cards at the exact right moment. I thought overall the creatures were pretty cool. I was into their design, and I really liked how they feed off sound. And towards the end of the movie you begin to realize some things about them and how everything ultimately comes together is really well executed. Tons of great jump scares, that aren’t your typical jump scares and a few even caught me off guard. You need to be in a crowded theatre for this one, because it makes the experience so much better. Which luckily I had, I thought it almost made the movie a bit more tense, because you can feel that all around you at certain moments in the film.

Walking out, I wanted more of this world, there is so much more that could be explored. But what we get is just a fantastic 90 minute journey that sucks you in from the very second the movie begins. Sometimes that’s all you need, no big set ups, no world building, no after credits tease, just a really well made film. The setting, the cinematography, the score, everything in this movie is pretty much flawless. It’s a beautifully made movie, with only a budget of 17 million dollars. It made that back on Friday night. I’m really happy for Krasinski, this movie is going to be a juggernaut at the box-office. I’m sensing a Get Out kind of reception and acclaim.  I can’t recommend this movie enough, it’s a incredible movie going experience, and it’s movies like this, why I enjoy going to the theatre so much.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – A Quiet Place = 92/100

‘Ready Player One’ Review

Ready Player One. More like, Ready Player Fun. Am I right!?

ready_player_one_sdcc_04.36.jpg
(WARNER BROTHERS)

“When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.”

Nostalgia literally means “wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life,” and when you enter the OASIS that’s exactly what you get. The feeling of nostalgia can bring about all sorts of emotions and feelings, some good, some bad, most of the time it brings you back to a “better” time in your life. Enter Ready Player One, the newest Steven Spielberg (yeah that guy) epic based on the 2011 Ernest Cline novel that shares the same name. The world right now is kind of in a pseudo nostalgia phase. Obsessed with once was, things like Stranger Things, IT and now Ready Player One. The thought of going back to maybe a time when things were a little simpler seems to be a trend in Hollywood these days.

So when beloved game maker James Halliday (Mark Rylance) dies, the world is heartbroken. Halliday is responsible for creating the OASIS, and as our hero Wade Watts/Parzival  (Tye Sheridan) puts it “People come to the OASIS for all the things they can do,” and “They stay for all the things they can be.” It is now 2045 and people need an escape from their miserable lives. The world has lost some important resources and people are sick and tired of the dreadful world they live in. You can be anyone you want in the OASIS, big, small, beautiful, a giant, a robot, an orc, anything your imagination can think of. The OASIS gives you the freedom to do so. When he died Halliday left behind an “Easter Egg,” and the first person to find this egg would take over complete control of the OASIS and essentially the future of the world. The wonderful thing about the OASIS is well freedom, like I mentioned, freedom to be and do whatever you can imagine. The possibilities are endless inside this virtual reality, until well an evil corporation is trying to find this egg, so they can run a profit off this game and ruin all the fun for everyone. IOI is this corporation and they are run by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelssohn) and they will ultimately stop at nothing until they find this egg. Halliday was a man who grew up in the 80’s, he loves Atari, War Games the movie, any arcade game you can think of. So when he died, the popular culture within the 80’s blew up, because the more you know about Halliday, the better your chance at finding the egg are. Parzival isn’t alone on his quest to find this egg, his best friend Aech/Helen (Lena Waithe),  the love of his life Art3mis/Samantha (Olivia Cooke), Sho (Phillip Zhao and Daito (Win Morisaki) are all in this hunt together. Together they make the “High Five,” and one hell of a team. The hunt consists of finding three hidden keys, that will lead you to the prize. It had been years since the death of Halliday and not a single key had been found. Not until Parzival stumbles upon a clue that leads him to the Copper Key. From there it’s a race against time, winner take all battle royale if you must to find this egg. There won’t be another movie where you can see King Kong, Chucky, the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and the little twins from The Shinning all make an impact on your movie, and for me, that is pretty special.

When I first walked out of the theatre Wednesday night, I didn’t know how I felt about this movie. I love the novel, I read it twice and I wanted to see it come to life on the big screen. This is Ready Player One the movie, it doesn’t really capture the spirit of the book. Sure it takes the most important elements, but this is not a faithful adaptation and I didn’t know how I felt about that. Because I wanted to see this incredible fun story come to life, but I know adapting a book onto the big screen, especially one like Ready Player One can be extremely difficult. So I needed to go in a second time, so I could just sit back, relax and watch this as a movie. And I must say, I absolutely love Ready Player One.

People will be on the fence with this film, I think you can immerse yourself into this world pretty easily, but others will have a hard time doing so. The references and the amount of characters and easter eggs inside this movie alone are too many to count. Here’s the thing they don’t do it in a way, where it’s just “Hey, look at thing that, I know that!” They aren’t shoving these references down your throat. Everything intertwines perfectly, and I thought Spielberg did an incredible job building this world. I was just caught off guard with how different the movie was from the book, so I was disappointed in that sense. But this is a film review and it’s a pretty damn good movie. No one really knows how to do a great chase scene like Spielberg, and there’s a pretty fantastic one in this, if I say so myself. He has a knack for fast, clean, precise and well shot action, he’s a legendary director and you’re basically giving him the keys to the kingdom here. How he manages to shoot scenes with so much going on and so many pieces and characters all at once, but it feels so natural. You can understand what is going on at all times, and how he was able to pull this off is just remarkable. Whenever we are transported to the OASIS I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, so inevitably when we are back in the real world, all you want to do is go back, where everything is brighter, faster and way more entertaining.

The cast is great, Tye and Olivia are great leads, and Mendelssohn continues to prove he can play a really good corporate asshole, he’s such a fantastic villain. But you almost learn to love their avatars more then their human counterparts. Especially for a character like Aech, who just had one of the best looking character designs I’ve seen in a movie. Ready Player One is very Spielbergian at times, all the things we love about his movies come to life here, and I’m happy he was the man to tackle this. There are moments of sheer delight, where my face was hurting due to the amount of smiling I was doing. This is more than just a pop culture nostalgia-fest. There’s heart and real life connections to be made. About how reality is real, and you can’t hide forever. That no matter who you are or what you do inside a game or on the internet, none of that really matters, it’s what happens in reality that counts. Reality can be scary, but it can also be great and as James Halliday puts it – the only place to get a decent meal.

Yes it’s a ton of fun, pointing out all the different characters you see, all the songs you recognize, but I think at the end of the day, Spielberg just made a really enjoyable popcorn flick. I think he knows it, and I think that was his main goal. No Oscar bait, no awards, just pure fun and a trip down memory lane. Imagine Willy Wonka decided to created a virtual reality instead of making candy, and he had all the money in the world to do so, that’s what the OASIS is. The more I think about it, the more I fall in love with the movie. I don’t think it’s ground breaking or anything like that, I just think it’s such a fun ride, and if you get on board with it, you’ll love it. My displeasure of them not being more faithful to the book is a nitpick, but one that can’t take away from the actual movie itself. That would not be fair to the movie. It gives me hope that perhaps down the road we will get that adaptation, but for now I am perfectly okay with the version we have right now. It’s a movie about the future but deals a lot with our present and again Spielberg just made another incredible movie. If you like the movie or didn’t like the movie but haven’t read the book, I highly recommend that you give it a try, because it’s an easy, short and super fun read!

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Ready Player One = 85/100