Monday, August 27, 2018

Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)

First Ant-Man movie was ok entry to Marvel Cinematic universe. Nothing special but enjoyable to watch. I would like to say Ant-Man and the Wasp continues where the first movie ends but that is not the case. Comic books have events which mess individual heroes stories. Something happens outside comic book's continuity and heroes are in different position than in previous issue of said comic book. This is problem if you liked where the story was going to in said comic book. In Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers and Captain America movies are the events which mess individual character's movies' continuity. Ant-Man and the Wasp continues after events of Captain America: Civil War instead of interesting premise first Ant-Man left us with.

Interesting premise was Scott and Hope finding each other and probably working together in future. That was thrown into trash in Civil War where Scott was caught. That also made Hope and Hank Pym fugitives. Hank and Hope hated Scott but they had to work together because Scott had link to Hank's wife and Hope's mother, the original Wasp. Part of the story was Scott and Hope finding each other again. Then in end credit scene this was taken away because of another event, Infinity War. What happens in next Avengers movie might change Ant-Man's story again and we have two movies which tell partly the same story ending almost the same. And third movie will start somewhere else than where first two ended.

If we forget we might not have to care what this movie did to Ant-Man's story the movie is ok like the first one. It is more of the first movie. Enjoyable but nothing special. Lot of clever special effects but you forget what happened at which part of the movie because all action scenes are practically same scenes. Good guys try to get object important for the story while running away from the bad guys. Story itself is there to make movie to move from one scene to another. There is nothing annoying. It is just product of well functioning movie making factory. It is enjoyable while it lasts but you don't remember much about it after it is over.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Godzilla 2: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)

Godzilla 2: City on the Edge of Battle is second movie in anime Godzilla trilogy. First was Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters. This continues where Planet of Monsters ended. Humans did beat one version of Godzilla only to find out there is even bigger version of it. In first movie everything interesting happened in space when humans were not sure if they want to come back to Earth. Earth part was mostly fighting against Godzilla.

City on the Edge of Battle has similar structure. This time they start on Earth but there are similar discussions of what they should do until they figure out the way to beat Godzilla. However this time the fight against Godzilla is the interesting part. Mainly because there are character arcs and engaging conflict between characters. Different races didn't have much effect of what happened in first movie. Here different world views between races create conflict which was missing from first movie.

It is like someone told them what was missing from first movie and they fixed it for second movie. There are parts where dialog makes little sense but there is conflict between world views which makes some sense. Movie doesn't work on its own. You have to watch the first movie to know what is going on. There is lot of build up for next movie or movies and movie ends with cliffhanger.

I complained animation style in first movie. This probably has same problem but it didn't bother this time because story was more engaging. Characters are not as one dimensional this time. Movie don't try to rely too much on Godzilla. It is more like what the first movie's first half was. Next movie could pretty much go to any direction. I liked where this went but next one could go to different direction.

After two movies trilogy have had some good ideas but neither movie has been really good. Both have elements I wish they gave more time. I am still waiting for this to get really good. Second movie was improvement so there is still hope.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Fast & Furious 8 (2017)

After watching Fast & Furious 8 I wasn't sure what to write about it. Movie series is at point where they have got the formula and put out new movies every now and then. It had problems but I mostly enjoyed it. After watching several Vin Diesel movies during one weekend I was in correct mood for this. XXX: The Return of Xander Cage brought that franchise closer to later Fast & Furious movies.

Then I realized what the message was. Fast & Furious 8 should have subtitle In Group Bias The Movie. I don't think movie was meant to be this clever. They told more about their world view than they meant to. It is not just one thing where this happens. It is during the whole movie and with main two characters. Group bias means we don't judge people in our group as hard as people who are not in our group. You can see this everywhere and it is big problem.

Dom is blackmailed to turn against his family. He gets Rock to be caught be police and go to jail. He steals Russian nuclear launch codes. He goes to steal Russian nuclear submarine with nuclear missiles. When he gets back to correct side at the end everything is forgiven. One character makes joke about the situation. You could say this is normal action movie stuff where heroes have different standards than others. But same thing happens to one other character too.

Jason Statham was villain of Fast & Furious 7. He killed at least one of Dom's group and destroyed their house. The movie is not available on my streaming services so I can't check everything he did in that movie. In this movie he joins "the good guys" and everything is forgiven. Again once someone joins the group everything is forgiven. This gives good picture of some people's world view. They are willing to forgive monsters and blame the victims as long as the monster is part of their own group.

Embracing in group bias wasn't the only questionable message. There literally is a female character whose role is to give birth to Dom's son and then die so she won't be problem to Dom's and Letty's relationship. In this movie heroes actions have no consequences. She hasn't even given first name to the son because she thinks Dom should do that as a father. She didn't even want to get between Dom and Letty. She would rather have been single mother. Another reason to kill her of because those are evil to people who wrote this movie.

But wait there is more. Mr Nobody and Rock instructs Little Nobody how world works. Their third rule is there are no rules. You can do anything without consequences because you are saving the world or something like that. Good to add that with all the other questionable messages. Fast & Furious 8 tells lot about some people's world views in 2017. For that reason we shouldn't forget this movie.

Monday, August 6, 2018

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage (2017)

I remember liking XXX. XXX: The Next Level was ok if I remember correctly but I didn't want to see XXX: The Return of Xander Cage in theater. It came at time when I didn't go to theater that often and it got bad reviews. Now that I have seen it I am glad I didn't spent any money on it but I am also glad to see it.

First half feels like they wanted to kill the franchise. There is pointless cameo from Neymar Jr and Samuel L. Jackson. It kicks the movie but it was so bad. It referenced Samuel L. Jackson's MCU role as Nick Fury. Then there is nice action scene with Donnie Yen before Xander Cage was introduced really awfully. It doesn't get any better when he acts like jackass and every woman fells for him. I really felt bad for Donnie Yen at this point. He was doing good job when others felt like they didn't want to take this seriously.

But then something happens when Xander and Donnie Yen meets first time. If this was shot in order Donnie Yen's work ethics improved other's work. Movie had first big twist that point. It had introduced all important characters and was at its second last location. Before that it was more dialog driven. After that is became fun action movie. There are many reasons why movie started to work after that point onward.

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage is fun stupid action movie during last half. It is full of fan service. I remember first two to be more serious ones. This one is more about interesting characters kicking ass. Ending has same family feeling later Fast and Furious movies have. I kind of want to see more of this if it has Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa. Others had hard time keeping up with them in action scenes and Donnie Yen had interesting character. It is shame first half was so awful when they wanted to look so cool with looking like old folks trying to act like teens.