Road to Endgame: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)

So considering I just tore into my entire family for not watching Spider-man: Homecoming in theaters and everyone seeing them months or years after it came out, it must mean that it is one of my FAVORITE MCU movies, right? Eh, not really.

Honestly, I wanted more Spider-man action.  Spider-man was kind of underwhelming.  He spent most of the movie trying to work his suit, without even the fun of his suit wanting to eat people.  I do like the Instant Kill version of the suit looking similar to the Assassin Spider-man.

We also don’t get the same level of competence Spider-man showed in Civil War.  Save for the beginning of the Ferry fight and at the final battle, we don’t see much of his fighting ability.  In Civil War he clowned The Falcon and Winter Soldier.  Hell, he somewhat held his own against Cap.  . . .okay, he got a few shots in, but experiance won out on that one.  In this he spends most of the fighting getting dragged around, getting shown up, or overall just not doing a great job.

However, it does a great job showing Peter taking his role of Spider-man seriously.  He doesn’t use his powers to showboat.  He doesn’t use his identity as Spider-man to gain favor.  When his friend tries to convince him to show up at a party, Peter decides it is the wrong thing to do.  Good on you Spider-man avoiding an awkward situation.

Michael Keaton was brilliant, everyone says so.

Honestly, I wish the comedy came more from Spider-man’s wit than just what is happening to Spider-man.

The main problem is that they took Spider-man away from the buildings and the sky scrapers, and kept him on the ground and out of the areas where he can swing webs like crazy.  Tobey McGuire’s and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Spider-man were both amazingly quick and agile.  Tom Holland spends a LONG time climbing the Washington Monument and when he reaches the top he is winded.

The story is well done, and fortunately no evil Spider-man as the villain, but I wanted a little bit more from my Spider-man.  But I think we have some good foundations to build on.  Really excited for Far From Home.

Well, now we go to a funnier movie than Spider-man, Thor Ragnarok!

Road to Endgame: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

When I found out the title of the next Captain America movie, I freaked out.  When I heard rumor of Spider-man possibly making it into the movie, I lost it.  When the trailer dropped that included Spider-man, I had to change my pants three times!

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Okay, lets just say I was excited.  So I was dead set to see this AS SOON as it came out.

Which made me really frustrated when I was trapped on a cruise around the Carribean and was unable to make a theater on the night it came out.  (angrily sips rum punch from a pineapple)

So I ended up seeing it about 2 or 3 days after it released.  Most of the time, the MCU movies do pretty well to meet or exceed my expectations.

This was sadly not one of those times.  Mainly due to Spider-man.

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I wanted it to be “Spider-man makes the Avengers get along!”  Unfortunately due to the rights not being a sure thing, Spider-man’s role had to be expendable.  Ultimately he could have been taken out of the movie completely and not changed a thing.

Not going to say I didn’t enjoy him in it.  The fight at the airport where he takes on the Winter Soldier AND the Falcon was just fantastic.

Oh wait, I mean Amazing, Spectacular, or Superior.  Those are the adjectives I’m allowed to use.

My ideal Spider-man would have been the bridge between the two sides.  He is the nerdy scientist like Tony Stark, but also the idealist boy scout like Steve Rogers.  But due to Sony and Marvel dragging things out so long, that role got relegated to Black Panther.  Which made my sister happy at least (Black Panther is her favorite).

So with my expectations sky high, the movie that everyone was raving about kind of dissappointed me.

However, I have since gotten over it.  Kinda.

It is an amazing movie.  I really liked the change up of Baron Zemo.  I really like his characterization and motivation.  I hope we see him in more movies.  I am glad he isn’t just the next Hydra villain to keep the ball rolling.  As far as I’m concerned, Hydra is done.  Until the Russo brothers bring them back for something else later.

One thing I have to say is that I keep thinking back to the first Captain America movie and how it ends with triumphant victory music.  We haven’t really had that since.  Captain America movies always end with Cap winning the day, but there is a sadness there.

Every victory now is coming with a loss.  In this, there isn’t even a real victory.  They just managed to survive.  This time.

So we move past the science and technology, and move into the realm of the master of mysticism, Doctor Strange.

Road to Endgame: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

This movie more than any other on this list is going to require me to actually pay attention.  I think I’ve seen this movie about three times.  Once when it originally came out, once during the marathon for Age of Ultron, and probably one other time somewhere in there.

Like a good Marvel fanboy, I said I liked the movie, but had my problems with it.  The Villain was bland and boring, Odin was drastically different, and the plot was confusing.  But because it was Marvel it was good enough, right?

As time goes on, I think if I truly enjoyed it, I would have watched it more than just the few times I need to build my list.  But I guess that is what this marathon is for, isn’t it?

So going off what I remember not liking about it, the BIGGEST complaints I had were about Malekith and Odin.

Malekith is just boring.  He is just a grim dark villain seeking to destroy everything.  What’s worse is that Malekith in the comics was INSANE!  He was an entertaining villain in the realm of Loki and Green Goblin.  Sadly he was stripped bare for the movie.

Of course, drastically altering your character from the source material is one thing.  Drastically altering a character from one movie to the next is another.

Odin in Thor was a wise and good king.  He acted in the realms and Thor’s best interest.  He was the kind and wise father figure.  Yes he acted harshly towards Thor but it was because Thor was a bully.  It was to teach Thor a lesson about being TRULY worthy.

In this, Odin is unworthy.  He treats Jane Foster like a lesser being.  He is haughty, cruel, and dismissive.  Instead of trying to spare his people from war, he tries to draw war TO Asgard.  Odin also fully embraces Genocide of the Dark Elves where he sought peace with the Frost Giants.  Different threats maybe, but still, this Odin seems to be struck with madness.

I’m coming up on the third act and my opinion so far hasn’t changed on either of these characters.

One character that annoyed me the first time I watched The Dark World was Kat Dennings.  Every time she talked it just annoyed me.  This time around I actually enjoy her comedy a bit more.

Other than that, everything sort of stays the same.  Despite not liking the villain, I thought the jumping in between worlds gimmick in the climactic battle at the end was kind of fun.  Sure the Aether VS Lightning Hammer part was boring, but when it gets going falling through wormholes, it is just entertaining as hell.

So no, my mind hasn’t been changed.  I would say it is my least favorite Marvel movie, but it is not terrible.  I still enjoy it enough to recommend and force my Fiancé to watch it, but it probably won’t be getting any non-marathon play.

Next on the list is probably my favorite MCU movie of them all, Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Road to Endgame: Thor (2011)

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Thor (2011)

This movie is honestly one of my personal favorites.  Leading up to Avengers, I had Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: First Avenger digitally downloaded on my phone and would just loop from one to the other.  I didn’t have Iron Man or Incredible Hulk on my list because DVD was more popular than Blu-Ray with digital copies back when they were first released.

I loved the hero’s journey in Thor.  I loved how they characterized Thor.  Yes, I’ll concede that it is on the more serious side of Marvel(though not the Grim-Dark we would get in The Dark World).  Thor (the movie) is Shakespearian in quality, as appropriate considering it is Directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Thor doesn’t make snarky jokes and takes himself seriously.  The comedy comes from the fish out of water parts of the film.  I feel this is very well balanced.

A lot of people complain about Natalie Portman, and I can see it.  I’m not sure whether a different actress would have helped or if it was just a poor role in general, but honestly I don’t think she is movie wrecking.  Thor refers to Jane as “clever, far more clever than anyone else in this realm.”  I don’t know why.  Probably because she is the only person talking about wormholes.  She hit him with her car twice and thought he was crazy for most of their interactions up until that point.

It always annoys me when someone is considered “amazing” by other characters when they have demonstrated nothing amazing up until that point.  I call it “Amazingly Not Dead.”  Usually it is when a main character is seen as different and unique when they didn’t do anything other than not die when they should have.

One thing that bothered me was trying to figure out how tall Laufey was in comparison to everyone else.  Is he supposed to be a giant?  He actually seems to be human sized despite being king of the Frost GIANTS.

Although the final fight is kind of lacking, it is not meant to be Thor showing off his ability to kick ass.  Thor has already shown he is a capable fighter.  Thor battled an army of Frost Giants.  He took on several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.  We know he can fight.  The final battles were not about Thor’s prowess, it was about sacrifice.   It shows his growth as a character in such a short amount of time.

I don’t know why people don’t think this movie is great, I love it.  Clearly they want a funnier snarkier Thor, that’s why Thor: Ragnarok received ALL the monies.

Next, we jump back in time to see the birth of the First Avenger (though with Thor being Asgardian and likely centuries old, doesn’t that make HIM the first Avenger?).

Shazam!

This Week: Shazam!

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. . .the first half gave me such hope.

I might be losing the battle on super hero movies.  For comparison, I actually liked the original Thor more than Thor: Ragnarok.  I just liked the hero’s journey more in that film and I just liked the dialogue and interactions more.  Thor had to learn what it meant to be a hero and rose to the challenge.  In Thor: Ragnarok, he just needed to get over losing his hammer. . .and Asgard.  Yes, in the end Thor demonstrated himself to be a hero and extremely capable, but comparing Thor from the original film to the Thor we get in Ragnarok, it just seems diluted.  Then again he’s been hanging around Stark too much and snark is contagious.

Then again Thor pulled in $450 million and Thor: Ragnarok pulled in $854 million, so what do I know?

Shazam! will likely do very well.  It is funny throughout, but in my opinion, sacrifices moments where the hero should shine for a cheap laugh.  Then again, I was laughing every time they did it, so glass houses, stones, etc.

So to run down the cast list:

The kid they got to play Billy Batson just does a fantastic job.  Zachery Levi does a good job imitating him as Shazam!(so when just talking about the character name, does it need the exclamation point, or is that just the title?  oh well, to save me from lawsuits, I’ll keep it in).  With body swap movies, it is generally important for the actor to be able to act like the other actor more than playing his own role.  Zachery Levi plays a very believable man acting like a 14 year old.  Though there are certain points where I don’t quite see Billy Batson acting the way Shazam! does.  Honestly, it seems like Billy Batson acts more serious at times than Shazam!

(okay, I’m officially stating here and now that DC changing the name to Shazam! sucks.  It totally ruins the “I am not Shazam” trope. And it’s just confusing over all to have a character called Captain Marvel for over 70 years, then boom, can’t be called Captain Marvel anymore.  What’s worse is that I assumed there was a recent lawsuit stating that he couldn’t be Captain Marvel, and I come to find out, that it was DC that made that change, for no reason!  Other than they can’t market Captain Marvel.)

Mark Strong plays Thaddeus Sivana.  Mark Strong is always fun and rarely disappoints.  And he doesn’t here.  He plays the villainous part well and it is even pretty funny when he starts monologue-ing towards the end.

Jack Dylan Grazer plays Freddy Freeman.  I forgot that I recognized him from IT.  Originally when I was seeing him in the trailers, I found him kind of annoying.  Especially with his “YOU HAVE BULLET IMMUNITY!”  However, this got cleared up in the movie by showing his character is weird and that kind of person.  Freddy Freeman has the same issue that Billy from Power Rangers had where he would pick the most complicated way to say simple things.  Which ultimately fits into his character.

The Wizard Shazam! is played by Djimoun Hounsu, who you might recognize from all those other movies he’s been in.  He does a great job playing the Wizard Shazam!, but his outfit is just silly.  They could have made his hair and beard more believable and his robes could have been done better.  Great actor, shitty costume.

John Glover plays Sivana’s father.  John Glover previously played Villainous Father Lionel Luthor in Smallville, and Villainous Boss Dr. Woodrue in Batman and Robin.  Each of which spawned Super villains of Lex Luthor and Poison Ivy.  Kind of makes me want to keep an eye on John Glover’s kids to make sure we don’t have anything coming down the pipeline. (5 seconds of research) Okay good, no kids.  World destruction and domination avoided.

So to get my recommendations out of the way, yes I think majority of the people will enjoy this movie.  It has comedy, heart, and generally great performances all the way around.  I feel the goofed around a little too much towards the end and I don’t believe that Shazam! every really becomes the hero we need or deserve, but it instead decides to go the Family is important message instead.  I wanted a little bit more, but that might be my fault more than the movie’s.

So for Theater Reviews, I typically try and shy away from spoiling things too much, but there is so much material that I don’t want to leave it on the floor.  So this is the Spoiler warning.

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So as a basic rundown, we start with Thaddeus as a young boy who has to deal with a Father who is a piece of shit and a brother who is also a piece of shit.  As a result, when the Wizard Shazam! summons him, the Seven Deadly Sins(the actual Sins, not the Holy Knights or the Homunculi) are able to see that he is a piece of shit with potential and convince him to try and steal the Eye of Agamotto.  The Wizard Shazam! lightly tazes Sivana and says he is not worthy and sends him back.  Sivana then throws a tantrum that cause his dad to spin out and get t-boned.

We then jump to present day and Billy Batson is being a rapscallion by running away from home, trapping police officers in pawn shops, and using their computers to try and track down his mother.   Because he only knew his mother as Ma, he checks every Batson he can find.  We briefly flash back to younger Billy Batson with his mother at the Fair.  He briefly let go of his mother’s hand and got lost.  Despite police assistance, they never found his mother.

Back in present day, Billy gets arrested, sent back to the foster care system and has to live with a new Foster Family in a group home.  There he meets Mary, Freddy, Eugene, Darla, and Pedro.  I recognized the first two from the comics, apparently the other three are from later comics.

Freddy introduces himself by saying Romans used urine to brush their teeth.  Then says he broke his leg because the dad pushed him out the window, thus the game of thrones reference.  So it ACTUALLY works as a reference instead of a kid just namedropping a popular show.  I know, I was shocked too!

Freddy establishes that he is a nerd about superheroes.  And I mean proper nerd, he knows all the powers, has legitimate answers to super power questions, the whole nine yards.

We cut back to grown up Sivana who went to Evil Doctor school and is funding research into everyone else that got summoned by the Wizard Shazam! and was deemed unworthy.  On the 56th research case, he finally discovers how to open the door to the Wizard Shazam!’s lair.

(I gotta say, my grammar check is just LOVING all the unnecessary exclamation points)

Apparently, the Wizard Shazam!’s security measures against the Eye of Agamotto being stolen are no better than the Ancient One’s because Sivana just walks in, takes it, and now has all Seven Deadly Sins at his disposal.  Sivana blasts the Wizard Shazam! across the hall and leaves to take over the world!

We cut back to Billy Batson and Freddy having an argument after school and then Freddy gets hit by a truck!  Well, grazed, but the truck pulled up onto the curb outside the school and the bullies get out and proceed to beat him up for scratching their truck with his frail broken body.  Billy is about to walk away until they make a crack about Freddy’s lack of mother, which sparks Billy’s rage button and he sucker punches the bullies.  Who quickly recover and briefly start beating him up.

Billy manages to get away and runs all the way down to the local subway.  He makes it onto the train and flips off the Bullies as the train pulls away.  It is here that the Wizard Shazam! summons him.

Here is one of my problems.  The Wizard Shazam! offers Billy Batson the powers of Shazam! without any test at all.  Billy Batson even says that he is not worthy and he doesn’t believe anyone pure of heart exists.  The Wizard Shazam! essentially brow beats Billy into accepting the powers of Shazam!  The Wizard Shazam! even mentions they gave the powers to the wrong guy before, that’s why the test exists, but for the guy that actually gets it, no test.

As Billy gets the powers of Shazam!, The Wizard Shazam! lists off what the powers are, Wisdom of Solomon(which he uses maybe once in the entire movie), the Strength of Hercules, The Stamina of Atlas, the Powers of Zeus, the Courage of Achilles(he runs away A LOT), and the Speed of Mercury.  Then the Wizard Shazam! crumbles to dust, and Billy zaps back to the real world.

Where he finds a low rent version of Luis from Antman in his face critiquing his costume.  Shazem! runs off the train and goes home, but has the presence of mind to know he can’t just storm in claiming he is Billy.  So he convinces Freddy to come out and help him out.

Freddy is easily convinced and immediately proceeds to test Shazam!’s powers.  Shazam! attempts to fly, ends up just falling and hurting himself.

Explain that one to me.  It is later established that he is bulletproof (BULLET IMMUNITY), but a short fall to the ground apparently hurts him?

They figure out he has lightning manipulation when Shazam! points at Freddy and somehow the bolt hits a nearby telephone pole.  They figure out he has super speed and strength when he goes to thwart a purse snatching.  The lady had already managed to pepper spray the guy and not have her purse snatched, but Shazam! accidently hurls him across the park anyway.  The lady decides to consider herself mugged and hands over all her cash to Shazam! and Freddy.

Instead of being heroes of the common man and giving the money back or refusing it, they take it and decide to buy beer.  Which a couple of guys decide to rob the convenience store while they are choosing their beer.  They shoot Shazam! and we figure out he is bullet proof (BULLET IM- you get it).  At least they do the scientific method and have them shoot Shazam! in the face to make sure that it isn’t just the red suit.

Thank god all those bullets they shoot Shazam! with didn’t ricochet into Freddy or the poor cashier.

So Freddy and Shazam! drink their victory beer, and immediately spit it out.  So they go back for jerky, chips, and energy drinks.  After a while they attempt to sneak back in to the foster home.  They fail their sneak roll and end up with the foster parents trying to talk to them, and then they sneak into the wrong room and as Shazam! is quickly explaining what happened to Darla and ends up unintentionally transforming back into Billy.

We then cut to the next day and Sivana decides to barge into his father’s board meeting.  He then demonstrates his new powers by hurling his older brother out of the window.  Sivana then unleashes the Sins on the other board members.  Sivana lords his power over his father before the Sins point out that the Wizard Shazam! has found his champion and Sivana must kill him before he discovers his true power.  Sivana then goes off to find Shazam! and leaves Greed to finish off his father.

Another complaint I have is that although the Sins look really cool, you can’t tell which one is which.  I can figure out who three of them are.  Greed we know because Sivana tells him to kill his father, so we know it is the four armed guy.  Gluttony is easy to guess because he’s fat and has a big mouth.  Envy we learn later and is just a small gobliny fella.  But you can’t isolate the other ones easily.

The next day Billy proves how unfit for being a hero he is.  To begin with, he destroys the bullies truck, which just seems to be the most heroic thing you can do as a DC superhero.  He then steals a trench coat from the ninja turtles in order to cover up his super suit, transforms into his adult form and uses that to get Freddy out of school to do more power tests.  Mainly they just do a lot of property damage and the only real claim to public welfare is charging people’s phones.  Shazam! goes to help a few people and lowkey ask people to pay him for his heroism.

He also goes to a strip club, uses his lightning powers to hack an ATM, and uses the stolen money to buy a bunch of video game systems, computers, TV’s, and other nonsense.

Freddy tries to bank on knowing Shazam! by claiming that Shazam! will come by and meet him at lunch.  Billy doesn’t want to do it.  Is it because he views it as unheroic and an improper use of his powers?  Nope, he lets Freddy swing to instead go to the park and show off his lightning powers to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger.”  He even has a guitar case set out for passerby’s to put money in.

Freddy shows up and starts to call Shazam! out on his crap, but Shazam! just decides to show off more before accidently zapping a city bus causing it to careen off the bridge.  Shazam! rushes over and stands below it saying, “Oh Jeez, oh man, oh jeez,” before it finally falls off and he catches it, much to his surprise.  Though I thought we already established his strength, so the surprise would have been his climbing up to catch it.

Though I guess the difference between throwing a truck a mile in the air and catching a bus are two different experiances.

The local news calls him a hero, but Freddy continues to call him out on his shit.  On air.  Thank god we’re not trying to avoid super vill- Oh hi, Sivana, how’d you find us?

Come to think of it, what took Sivana so long?  Shazam! has been on the news and youtube for a while now.  Maybe it was just sitting still long enough.

Anywho, Sivana lets Shazam! know that he isn’t the only one with powers and drags Shazam! into orbit.  Then Sivana throws him back to Earth.

Now Shazam! gets his power of flight just mere inches from crashing into the highway.  Shazam! starts deliriously shouting how he can fly, just before getting hit by the same Truck driver from Iron Man 3.

Shazam! now summons all his courage and new abilities to. . .run the hell away.  Again taking the most heroic DC actions possible by going into a crowded mall.  They run through a toy store, and end up running over the same floor piano from Big.  Batman also makes a cameo appearance, but is easily thwarted by Sivana.

In this instance, I justify it as he is not brawling with Sivana, he is trying to get the hell away.  Shazam! transforms back into Billy and disappears into the crowd.  Unbeknowest to Billy, Freddy still has his best interest at heart and shows up at the mall shouting his name all over the place.  Sivana sees news footage of Shazam! and Freddy arguing and decides to kidnap Freddy.

Billy goes home to be grounded.  Mary figures out that Billy is Shazam! and Darla is happy everyone else figured it out without her telling on him.  Mary and the other foster children go to Billy and let him know they found his birth mother.  She apparently lives a few blocks away.

Billy finds his mother and gets emotionally punched in the dick when his mother says she saw him with the police and decided he was better off with them instead of her.  It is a really emotional scene that shows in flashback the idealized version that Billy remembers and the frustrating version that his mother remembers.  Billy then gets a call from Freddy, but SIVANA IS ON THE LINE!  AND THE PHONE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!

Sivana forced Freddy to take him to the foster home and Sivana calls it a shithole.  By the way, they RODE the PG-13 rating like no one’s business.  They use the word Shit so often, you’d think they borrowed the red suit from Deadpool!

So Billy runs to the rooftop and does the midair transformation.  Which is freaking awesome!  Shit is about to go down!

Shazam! shows up at the foster home and Sivana is threatening to kill all the foster kids if Shazam! doesn’t surrender his powers.  Shazam! agrees and Sivana takes Shazam! back to the other dimension where Sivana and Shazam! both received their powers.  Sivana is monologuing with all the Sins sitting in the thrones of the Wizards, when Freddy and the Foster Kids show up and Freddy chucks a Batarang at Sivana’s head.

Sivana has a head wound until he summons the sins back to him and he heals right up.  Shazam! witnesses this and you can see the wheels turning in his head.  Then he grabs the batarang, infuses it with magical lightning and stabs Sivana with it.

Then everyone runs away.  They end up at Santa’s hall of endless doors- (Dude, nobody read your Santa VS the Devil review, they’re not going to get that reference, go with Monster’s Inc.)  Ah come on, how can I build my brand if I don’t self reference and just go for low hanging fruit? (Dude, I’m telling you, No one read it.  In fact anybody STILL reading this review is just waiting to comment how they disagree with you.) God, fine.  So they end up in the hall of doors from monsters inc, which mainly seems to open on the monster side.

Eventually they figure out that the doors all suck and they are supposed to tap their ruby slippers together and say there is no place like home.  In which they end up at the Strip club from earlier.

Shazam! transforms back into Billy and they then run to the much more family friendly carnival grounds and try to hide out in the crowds, figuring Sivana wouldn’t harm random civilians to get at Shazam!

Sivana starts harming random civilians in order to get at Shazam!  Billy transforms into Shazam! and is ready to throw down with some Sins.

One of the Sins, I’m assuming Wrath, just starts clowning Shazam by whipping him back and forth like the Hulk did Loki.  Honestly, two more slams and they would have been sued by Marvel again.

Freddy and Mary figure out that Sivana is weakest without the Sins in him giving him powers.  So the Foster kids split up and Sivana has the other sins hunt them all down.  Eventually we are right back to Sivana having all of the foster kids captured and threatening to kill them unless Shazam! gives up his powers.  Mary shouts to Shazam! that Sivana will lose his powers if all the Sins are out.  Something Shazam! should have figured out on his own, but I guess that Wisdom of Solomon can’t be buggered.

Shazam! agrees to give up the powers (again), but remembers that the Wizard Shazam! said that he had 6 other Wizards to help him.  Shazam! then knocks Sivana back and has the other foster kids grab his staff(snicker! What, the movie made that joke earlier!) and say his name.

They shout BILLY and nothing happens.  Alright, good joke movie.  They correct and say Shazam!  Lightning rains down and we now have Mighty Morphin’ Captain Marvels- err Mighty Morphin Power Shazam!s?

So NOW is it beat down time?  Eh, kinda.  Everyone starts testing out their new powers.  Team Shazam starts taking on the Sins.  Darla uses her new speed to save a bunch of people, including Santa Claus.  Eugene starts zapping sins left and right well using phrases like Hadouken and other copyright protected phrases.  Pedro tries to use his super strength to prevent the ferris wheel from collapsing.  Freddy flies around and saves the bullies from the collapsing ferris wheel.  And Mary gets grabbed by one of the Sins and it suddenly sprouts a bunch of Tentacles.  Lets just say. . .

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Shazam! lures Sivana out into the city to battle in the skies.  After trading a few blows, Sivana and Shazam! face each other in mid air and Sivana starts giving a threatening speech(I know, I Know, monologuing, but my poor spell check is stressed out enough as it is).  We then cut to Shazam! who can’t hear a word of what Sivana is saying.  Eventually Shazam! just calls it and punches Sivana in the face.

Shazam! finally puts the Wisdom of Solomon to use and determines that Sivana still has one sin left inside.  Envy.  Shazam! goads Envy into coming out and attacking him.  Sivana immediately loses his powers and begins to fall to his death.  Shazam! calls down the lightning bolt as Envy is attacking him and transforms back into Billy and Envy gets blasted to smithereens.

Billy then transforms back into Shazam! and saves Sivana just before becoming street pizza.  Shazam! takes the Eye of Sin out of Sivana and uses it to collect all the Sins back into it.  Shazam! puts all the sins back and all is right with the world.  Billy has a family, the World has a new hero, and Sivana is behind bars.  Oh and Santa drops a shit ton of F bombs on the local news.  With bleeps.

Freddy is at lunch and all his foster siblings are at lunch with him.  Except Billy.  Suddenly Shazam! shows up and starts talking about how he is friends with Freddy.  Oh and Shazam! convinced another friend to show up.

We see Superman from the neck down shows up with a lunch tray.  Superman’s head couldn’t be bothered to make the appearance.  You can CGI a mustache but not the rest of his head?

Honestly this cameo just pissed me off.  Marvel never pulls this crap.  If they have an established character, they either cameo or they don’t.  If you wanted Supes, get Henry Caville in the suit and bring him in.

Ultimately I think most people will enjoy this movie.  I personally wanted more.  But I think that is because when it comes to DC heroes, I have these idealized expectations of them that kind of gets ruined when I see them grounded.  Marvel has deeply flawed heroes who have to rise to the occasion and are heroes despite their flaws.  DC heroes are closer to gods and we have these images in our head of what the heroes should be, so when they don’t meet that ideal, it seems like the directors and writers don’t “get” the character.

I will at, I was laughing along with everybody else with the jokes, but I wanted to see the hero that Shazam! was supposed to be.  Billy never got the same test Sivana and the other kids got.  And personally, I don’t think there was ever a moment where he demonstrated that he deserved the powers more.  He didn’t resist temptation, given the option, he likely would have reached for the eye of sin and been rejected like everyone else.  The only reason he didn’t take the power himself at the end was because he ALREADY had powers.

Ultimately I wanted more, but I still recommend it because most people will enjoy this movie.

Next Week: The Missing Hellboy.  A demon seeks the help of an explorer to find others like him.

Dracula (1931)

Originally Published on October 1st, 2017

Tonight on TEMPLARKNIGHT MEETS THE UNIVERSAL MONSTERS:
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Dracula (1931)

I dislike Vampires. They have become so much of a narrative staple now that I have given up on stories that the monster is a vampire, and become relieved when immortality is linked to ANYTHING other than vampires. Specific examples: I was reading Salem’s Lot years and years ago and was excited about what it could be about, until I put together it was a vampire story, then I bailed completely (I also had issues with my copy missing several pages) . Also several years ago when New Amsterdam was on TV, I was worried that his “immortality” was related to vampirism, but thank God it was just a Native American curse. Or gift. I don’t remember.

So how do I feel about the Vampire Tale that started it all?

It was decent. I recommend most people check it out.


At most, the characters are creepy within the context of the story, but that doesn’t extend beyond the silver screen.

Here are some of my thoughts as the movie progressed:

-Wolves! Bats! Spiders! . . .Transylvanian Armadillo’s?
-Spider has it’s own coffin?
-Okay, I can overlook the worried townspeople, the wolves, the bats, the fact the carriage drove itself most of the way, even the falling apart castle. But damnit, when the Count comes out saying all this weird shit and THEN makes you walk through an occupied Spider’s Web, that’s when I check the fuck out. Admittedly by that point, you have wolf infested woods to worry about retreating through.
-“Excellent, Mr. Renfield, Excellent!” Oh shit. This don’t look good for you, buddy. This is a twist from the novel in which we follow Harker up to castle Dracula, but nope, we were tailing Dracula’s psycho puppet.
-I like the change this actor (Renfield) made from polite and respectable to batshit insanity!
-Pervy old Vampire(staring in Lucy’s window as she gets ready for bed)
-So, are we actually going to see him bite anybody, or even have fangs?
-Hugh Jackman has ruined most versions of Van Helsing for me. Then again, that is because his version is almost completely different then all the other more accurate versions of Van Helsing.
-Only damn person here who is Genre Savvy though.
-You probably shouldn’t work at an asylum if you are going to go around calling people crazy to their face.
-(As Dracula sneaks up on Mina) fangs? Fangs? (Fade to next scene) FUCKING TEASE!
-Mina, how many old men are you gonna let at your neck?
– Harker: “Who could have done this?” The Maid from off screen introducing: “Count Dracula!” Ha! Nice
-Harker: Uh, when were you telling MY FIANCÉ these grim tales?
-oooh nice mirror trick.
-Ballsy old man. Very ballsy. Van Helsing is figuring out that Dracula is a vampire, and instead of building up information, keeping his knowledge a secret, and striking at the right moment, he just goes up to Dracula and basically says, “Say, what do you think of this mirror?” Dracula respects him enough not to murder him then and there.
-Ghost stories? No, vampire stories. Ghost stories focus on Ghosts. Thus the “ghost” part.
-Woman in white. Show don’t tell, SHOW DON’T TELL! We get a scene where you hear a child crying and then cut to another scene where a woman in white is walking creepily away, THEN cut to a scene where a guy is reading newspaper article about the woman in white and what she is doing to children.
-When the crazy guy calls you crazy. Van Helsing and Harker are plotting their attempt to kill Dracula and Renfield walks in(he has WAY too much freedom to walk around) and says plotting to kill people is crazy. Yeah, time to reexamine your life choices.
-That ended. . . abruptly. I actually had to rewind the DVD because the movie just ended and I wasn’t paying enough attention. Van Helsing kills Dracula, Mina is saved and the Harkers kiss and exit while Van Helsing says he will be along in a moment. Then movie over.

So no fangs, no bites, nothing. Creepiness mainly exists in Dracula and Renfield’s stares into the camera.

Still, not a bad film, could have had a little more to the ending, but hey, what can ya do?

Tomorrow: We investigate another Castle where we ask who is the real monster, the creator or the creature?

TemplarKnight meets the Universal Monsters!

Originally Posted September 30th, 2017

Coming this October. . .

TEMPLARKNIGHT MEETS THE UNIVERSAL MONSTERS!

So after last year ranking all my favorite Christmas movies, I thought, “Hey, I should do my favorite Halloween/Horror movies. But that would be a damn short list. It would be The Crow, Nightmare Before Christmas, a few Halloween specials, and maybe some Friday the 13th.

I have never been a big Horror buff. If something even SOUNDED scary, I would avoid it like the plague until I got FULL GUARANTEES it was not scary. Hell, I avoided Dead Poet Society for a time simply because I thought it was gonna be traumatic.

So as I am getting over some of my needless childhood fears, I figured I would watch some classic horror movies this halloween I had been avoiding and review them. One of the ones on the top of that list was The Shining, because Jack Nicholson looks fantastic in some scenes. So I was going to compile a random list of movies I needed to see and go from there.

Then Universal Pictures dropped this trailer for their Upcoming “Dark Universe” and that whole plan went into the trash.

I went to Amazon, found a set of 30 classic Universal Monster movies and planned my October. 30 Films, 30 reviews, in 31 days.

Can the original tales and monsters still inspire terror after all these years later?

Are these classic monsters still cinematic triumphs, or are they just campy movies of their time?

Only time shall tell.

Turn out the lights, say your prayers, and roll a SAN check. For tomorrow we start with the Count.

Tomorrow: Dracula (1931)