Power Rangers – Movie Review

Hold on to your power morphers.

HEADS UP!

  • This review was “pre-gamed” in a previous post! If you’d like to read up on some juicy background and what I was looking for when I walked in the theater, click here!
  • This review contains NO major plot spoilers. Other easter-eggs and points already public on the internet before the release may be discussed. Enjoy!

“Power Rangers” is directed by Dan Israelite and is a story about 5 struggling teenagers who end up becoming armor-clad superheroes to save the world from evil. Unless you lived under a rock during your childhood, you also know that this is another big-screen reboot of an extremely popular kid’s show, and that caused many to audibly groan when they first heard this was happening.

I really don’t know what to say, guys. I genuinely didn’t expect this movie to be so…GOOD. I know the Tomatometer is rating it pretty low, but if you don’t know what the tomatometer actually is by now PLEASE remember that it is an aggregate score of all the reviewers that chose to critique the movie and if they found it “rotten” or “fresh”…it isn’t just a simple average of scores. If you paid attention to what was being said by film critics that actually grew up with this content, you would know that it was the right amount of faithful and right amount of different that we just haven’t seen in these “childhood cartoon reboots”.

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The most important thing about this movie was the characters who were surprisingly all fleshed out and pretty relatable. They were all just kids dealing with their own demons…and it worked really well. The standout performance goes to RJ Cyler playing Billy/The Blue Ranger for some of the best acting I’ve seen in a big-budget sci-fi blockbuster, and for being talented enough to portray a character with a mental health disorder. Ludi Lin, who played Zack/The Black Ranger, was just fantastic as well. His performance and character almost makes up for all the crap that asian-americans have received in Hollywood in the past year. I was initially worried about Becky G (a teen pop-star) playing Trini/The Yellow Ranger..especially due to the immense pressure of doing justice to the original Yellow Ranger who passed away very young and was the only original who couldn’t make it to the movie…but I definitely regret doubting her because she convinced me that she was the only one in her family that “wasn’t normal” and struggled with it constantly. Even Jason/The Red Ranger and Kimberly/The Pink Ranger (WOOHOO THE FIRST INDIAN POWER RANGER. TOOK US LONG ENOUGH, DAMN. AND SHE’S FEMALE TOO? BLESS UP), who were the most “vanilla” characters in the original, got an arc each that was pretty realistic and relatable, which was awesome because my obsession with the Red Ranger started with “Time Force” season of Power Rangers where he was the “screw up” of the group. This reminded me a lot of that, and believe me when I say that you actually care about ALL of the Rangers…rather than watching a Transformers movie and secretly hoping that the main characters get run over. These were not some expendable teeny-boppers, this wasn’t an “edgy” reboot of characters you loved. These well-acted characters were teenagers with attitudes…they WERE the Rangers.

Even the bigger name celebrities actually felt like they wanted to be there, which is unusual for these kinds of projects. Bryan Cranston as Zordon was just awesome, and Bill Hader as Alpha-5 was a much less annoying but just as lovable version of the popular robot (HE SAID “AY YI YI” AND I WAS SO HAPPY). Oddly enough, I think Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa might’ve gone a little too 90’s on us, but hey it reminded me of the original Rita and I was fine with it in the end.

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The Rangers actually don’t spend that much time in their power suits, and I’m okay with that because they spend time developing the characters. They fall victim to some of the “origin story” cliches we’ve come to know and tolerate, but it really does almost feel like a sci-fi “Breakfast Club” for a bit. There is a drastic change in tone from when the movie starts to when Rita confronts Trini because they drag just a little bit in the second act and its as if the writers suddenly realized “Oh, wait a minute…we have to wrap this up and make the final fight happen! Uhh…okay here it goes!”. Additionally there’s some REALLY bad product placement in the movie and I almost wish it was toned-down a bit/wasn’t there entirely but hey, the final fight happens and It just keeps getting better. They say “It’s Morphin Time”, they fight the putty-patrollers, the theme song comes back (!!!!), the original actors for Tommy/The Green Ranger and Kimberly/The Pink Ranger have a cameo, the MegaZord vs Goldar fight happens and the entire theater applauded ALL of this (we had a great audience). This whole thing was the right amounts of knowing the source material, knowing how campy you have to be at times, knowing when seriousness is appropriate…my friends and I all loved it. There also IS a mid-credits scene that just made me happier. Guys, we’re getting a POWER RANGERS movie franchise that starts in 2017…and I couldn’t be more pleased.

I’m doing something different this time for my rating, I will just say this: IF  you watched power rangers as a kid in any capacity, you will like this movie. If you grew-up with power rangers and watched multiple seasons, you will LOVE this movie. If you didn’t watch much power rangers but know how to have stupid fun at the movies, you should give it a try. If you didn’t watch power rangers at all and just don’t care about sci-fi/superhero franchises and only watch “films”…please don’t see this and try to “filmsplain” it to casual moviegoers/people who love their childhood shows. You have no business watching this if you don’t have the nostalgia at all or don’t know how to have fun with dumb movies, save your money and your time and don’t be THAT guy that ends  up on /r/iamverysmart.

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As always, thanks for reading and I hope you’re as excited about a movie like this that respected its source material as I am! 2017 has been great for nerdy movies so far, lets hope it stays that way!

That’s all for now,
Soggz out!

Pre-gaming “Power Rangers”

It’s Morphin Time.

Welcome all to the first installment of a new Soggz Blogs segment called “Pre-gaming”. Basically, these posts will be a preview to the actual film review that should come shortly after where I run down things like: Success/failure of previous related content, personal biases, production issues, what I got from trailers, and what my personal expectations are. This way for my actual movie review, I can jump straight into the movie itself without much background!

So following the trend of reboots and big-budget versions of your favorite childhood shows, “Power Rangers” is being produced and distributed by Lionsgate and is based on the giant 24 season television franchise featuring colorful teenage martial artists (with attitude, of course). This particular movie is based off of the first season (and the one you probably remember the most), “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”.

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Now I know when Transformers and TMNT were being rebooted for the silver screen, many indulged it out of nostalgia from their childhoods. I DO remember these shows and remember the cooler moments enough to have favorite characters (Optimus Prime/Raphael respectively, for the record) but they weren’t huge attachments for me. However…if you were to ask me what my FIRST real fictional obsession was..and I’m talking WAY before Batman, Spiderman, even before Dragon Ball Z or Pokemon…it was 100% Power Rangers.

I used to eat, sleep, and breathe Power Rangers. Halloween? Red Ranger costume. Friends of my parents asking me what I want to be when I grow up? Red Ranger. Favorite toys? my 3 different Megazord sets. Snack time at school? Power Rangers fruit snacks. First fictional character I ever related to? Wesley Collins: Red Time Force Ranger. First crush? Pink Lightspeed Ranger Wanted something to binge watch during the summer I came back from one year at college? 5 seasons of Power Rangers. At the age of 22, I’m still well-versed in my Ranger lore from “Mighty Morphin'” all the way to “Dino Thunder” and I even remember theme songs and morphing sequences. In case I haven’t emphasized it enough: I. LOVE. POWER RANGERS.

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The moment in my childhood where I started believing that good things happen.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I’m very vocal about making things needlessly “dark and gritty” and that some things just aren’t meant for a big screen adaptation. I loathe the Transformers and TMNT movies, and even mentioning “Dragon Ball Evolution” could make me angrier than the Hulk. So when I saw THIS trailer…you can bet I was worried:

  1. Barely any color…in a POWER RANGERS TRAILER
  2. 2 seconds of half a ranger suit
  3. Looked like a lifetime drama
  4. It just didn’t even seem like Power Rangers..huge disappointment

In my opinion…to make a good live-action adaptation of something like this, you have to recognize why people liked it. This show was for kids, so it should retain some of that classic 90’s campy feel that we’ve all come to love. To make it a watchable movie, just develop your characters and give people real motivations and arcs, don’t wipe your butt with the source material and disrespect it, and add a bunch of pretty CGI shots with explosions. I don’t think its unfair for audiences to want SOME quality of plot and character development with their block-buster “popcorn movies”, as there are so many of that nature now. I’m just not a fan of the “oh its so dumb but it looks cool, so whatever” logic that basically bankrolls more garbage in the theater. I DEFINITELY don’t believe in the Michael Bay method of hyper-sexualizing your female lead, having horrible characters that you kind of want Megatron to brutally murder, and having a LITERAL SHOT WHERE DOGS WERE HUMPING. Most of all, I wanted some nostalgia, something to make me feel like I was a kid again watching the Power Rangers..except way cooler. That’s why when we got THIS trailer….I couldn’t contain how excited I was:

  1. It just felt right from the start, teenagers being stupid with each other
  2. We get to see Zordon, Alpha 5, and the command center clearly
  3. The Kanye song drops AND we see Rita…okay, way better so far…
  4. OH MY GOD THEY SAID “Its Morphin Time”??!? TAKE MY MONEY. TAKE IT NOW.
  5. WAIT WHAT?? MEGAZORD VS GOLDAR. I REPEAT, MEGAZORD VS GOLDAR!!!!!1

In all honesty, I am SO excited to see this movie on Friday. Am I going in with the same expectations I have of the MCU or Star Wars or Star Trek? Definitely not…even as a fan, I know to scale my expectations down by now. As long as they don’t try too hard to add “grit” into this and its a fun movie that makes me nostalgic…I will be happy with this movie.

Power Rangers releases on Friday, March 24th and I should have my review up the next morning. Thanks for reading, support for Soggz Blogs is appreciated as always!

Oh, and GO GO POWER RANGERS.

 

Logan – Movie Review

Insert “Hurt” by Johnny Cash here

Back when Y2K was the most ridiculous thing we had ever heard of and back when I was in the first grade (I know…), Australian actor Hugh Jackman first appeared on the big screen as Wolverine, one of the most iconic comic book characters/Poster-Hero of the X-men. For 17 years, Jackman appeared as Wolverine in various X-men movies and was always met with positive reception.

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It has been a crazy ride seeing so many superheroes come and go on the silver screen, but Jackman has been a constant for me through my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. I’m a HUGE fan of Jackman’s Wolverine, and when I heard this was his last time, all I wanted was for him to have his swan song and be remembered for how amazing he is.

To be perfectly honest…this is a tough one. I was silent for a few minutes after the movie was over, I distracted myself, slept on it, and thought about it on my morning commute…and I’m still a little unsure of where EXACTLY I stand. However, as of me writing this sentence…”Logan” is one of the best comic book films I’ve ever seen.

First thing to get out of the way, holy WOW this is a bloody one. The R-rating is fully utilized, and every fight scene is a plethora of gore and stabbing…and I LOVE IT. They even got Wolverine’s fighting style right, adapting it to account for the lacking physical state of the character as well.

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The lazy analysis I’ve been seeing lately is along the lines of “Logan is the Dark Knight of X-Men” or that “People are going to debate for years between Logan and the Dark Knight”. Let me shut this down right now, “Logan” is different from, and not as good as, “The Dark Knight”. The reason I understand why this comparison is being made is because, like Nolan’s trilogy of Batman films, Director James Mangold decides to incorporate a lot of realism when it comes to the themes of the film. Add in the fact that both directors understood their characters and the situations these characters are in 100%. While different in the sense that “The Dark Knight” is Batman’s fall from grace, and “Logan” is about what Wolverine will do after already fallen far beyond recognition, the two films both feel very real and can connect to a larger audience. Similarly, this is why “The Empire Strikes Back” is revered as the best of the Star Wars films, because we see the Rebellion struggle in a very human way and we love those characters. Unfortunately, this translated over to “So ALL OF IT has to be dark and gritty?” in the realm of comic/sci-fi movies and caused some problems, but Logan was a nice reminder that it is possible to achieve similar tones without sacrificing clarity, sanity, and originality. So, yes, I see why the comparison is being made…and while you can draw similarities, other criticism of “Logan” using the Nolan trilogy should stop there. Its different, and X-Men deserves this win.

Emphasizing on Mangold’s understanding of the character, even the first sequence we see with old man Logan just feels like he’s letting himself down. This is the most beat-down version of a hero I’ve seen…Logan isn’t just depressed for the sake of it. This guy is so obviously broken, lost, apathetic…he’s simply lost all will to do anything, and therefore doesn’t know why he is doing anything in the first place. Throughout the film, Logan avoids purpose even when it is staring him right in the face.

Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier also delivers one last time. To me, he represented the small good part of Wolverine that might still be in there, which is why I love that the two constantly bicker, almost as if Logan is constantly denying who he is “supposed to be”…but he is still taking care of the 90 year old Professor because he owes that much to Xavier and himself.

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There are a few imperfections I think are present in this film. The first one being, there isn’t much of a villain. You don’t really have a “Joker”  or…anyone really. Yes, there’s a solid plot structure and there are “bad hombres” (couldn’t resist)…but you can’t really point to someone to bring out a unique anger in Wolverine…because he’s pretty much just angry half the time anyway. Additionally, the flow gets somewhat interrupted in the second act and focus veers off a bit from Logan himself. It ties together when you look at it as a whole, but in the moment one could feel a slight drag in the 2nd act.

Despite the lack of a sinister presence, Logan does have a motivator. Logan and Xavier are traveling with a young girl, Laura…who I will not say much about for the sake of keeping things spoiler free.

The other notable thing is that this movie doesn’t do the “classic comic book movie” thing of setting anything up. This is it, what you see is what you get..and they’re focused on telling this one story. The greater X-Men universe is referenced slightly, but a new fan could jump right in to “Logan” not knowing much and still feel unexpectedly moved by it.

Since the X-Men have come and gone in this distant future where “Logan” takes place, the stories and legends are all documented in the form of comic books, where Wolverine is viewed as a fearless hero…so to see him at such an opposite end of who he used to be just makes the film so tragically beautiful.

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I feel almost blessed to have seen Jackman’s Wolverine portrayal through for 17 years. This is one of those things that I’m going to be an annoying Grandpa about ~60 years from now…never shutting up about how back in my day, Hugh Jackman was Wolverine and he was the best (assuming the X-men get a reboot at some point because studios love money and eventually people run out of ideas….right?).

“Logan” is gut-wrenching, and feels somewhat fresh after being bombarded with DCEU nonsense and the MCU doing what they have to do…at the risk of overselling it just a little bit, “Logan” gets a soggz-blogs rating of 9.5/10.

 

Academy Awards? The 2017 Soggz-Blogscars

Take a drink every time someone makes a speech about Trump, chug a drink for every tweet he writes in response after. Sad!

It’s that time of the year again for the night where filmmaking, screen acting, writing, directing, and animation are all celebrated and awarded…and hey, they actually nominated minorities this time!

Now that I got that joke out of the way, welcome to the 1st annual “Soggz-Blogscars”, where I, Soggz, will be your host and give you the rundown of my personal picks and honorable mentions for a select few of the Oscar Award Categories. These past few weeks, I bought the pass for Regal Cinema’s “Best Picture Film Festival” and got to see all 9 nominees for Best Picture. Let it be known that I think there isn’t a single “bad” movie here. I’m used to mostly spending money on movies where things are blowing up and someone is struggling with their powers up until they have to fight a disposable villain we’ll never see again…BUT since I adult nowadays I can afford to make more time for film, and I absolutely loved what I saw. True, the Oscars do hold some amount of pretentiousness and there always are a fair number of snubs (Sorry Amy Adams…I’m sure Leo knows the feel and he’s all better now!), but I do enjoy the Oscars and usually make time for it even if I haven’t seen the best pictures. That being said, I do resent the fact that there’s a big possibility of “La La Land” sweeping everything (Hollywoo just LOOOVES getting its own ego stroked) because there ARE better movies out there, especially this year…so I’m hoping that this post brings some of those to light.

Like I said, these are my PERSONAL opinions. Please do not come after me with an ax when “La La Land” doesn’t get best picture (better I break it to you now). These are SUBJECTIVE viewpoints. Here we go!
*indicates that I didnt get to see every nominee in the category, so can be taken with a grain of salt

Best Lead Actor: Denzel Washington – Fences

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There could be a movie advertised about Denzel riding a unicycle for 2 hours while juggling sex toys and I would still be interested in what he would bring to the table as an actor. This man just overflows with talent and I was blown away by what I was watching. I think it says a lot when an Actor gets you to absolutely loath the character he is playing. Not in the sense of being a villain or a well-written antagonist, but just that every scene he was in made me want to punch his character, Troy Maxson, right in the face. The best part is that he gets the audience to sympathize with him for JUST A SECOND…then goes back to being horrible again. If you’re a fan of excellent acting, you HAVE to see “Fences”.

Honorable Mention (HM): Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Best Lead Actress*: Emma Stone – La La Land

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As much as I like bagging on the movie, It does deserve to be commended for certain things they did very well. For me, this was Emma Stone’s career performance..honestly, I’m just happy she’s no longer playing high school girls…or a “half asian” (lol…). The part that really sealed it for me was her performance of the “Audition” (Fools who Dream). Plus, in all her scenes with Gosling, I just thought she was the much more charismatic one…sorry, ladies.

HM: Natalie Portman – Jackie

Best Supporting Actor: Dev Patel – LionDev Patel stars in LIONI’m so happy to say that I finally don’t hate this guy. Dev Patel gives the best performance of his career and one of the best performances in general. For those who don’t know, he only appears into the movie after an hour, to play the main character as a young adult (who we only see as a child in the first hour). I just thought it was incredibly impressive for Dev Patel to deliver on what the film had already set up before his appearance, and on the true story of the main character. Of all the nominees for best picture, “Lion” was the one that brought me to tears. I had my foot in my mouth while leaving the theater…the same guy that is forever associated with the ruined version of one of my favorite fictional characters was now compelling me to actually cry and feel for this character. While its always good for me to see a fellow brown guy out there, its WAY better for me to see one giving an Oscar-worthy performance.

HM: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis – Fences

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Almost everything I mentioned for Denzel can be said for Viola, she absolutely nailed what it was to be this motherly, concerned, nurturing woman that just wants the best for everyone around her. She was on par with Denzel’s acting, even outshining him in a number of scenes. On review, Viola was the ONLY redeeming factor of that dumpster fire “Suicide Squad” because she brought Amanda Waller from my childhood cartoons to life. She even recently got her Hollywoo Star of Fame and I’m SO happy. Viola…keep being awesome.

HM: Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Best Director: Hacksaw Ridge

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To be honest, I wanted to hate this film SO much as I walked into it. If I recall, the thought process was “Really…do we need ANOTHER WW2 movie with too much blood and gore? One directed by Mel Gibson? Didn’t this guy burn all his bridges yet? And why can’t Andrew Garfield just go away already? (#NotMySpiderman)” After walking out, I just couldn’t say anything bad. These were some of the best directed battle scenes since “Saving Private Ryan”. The movie was telling the story of a pacifist, and instead of glorifying wars as something for honor or thrill, we saw absolute horror to the point where adults would have nightmares.

HM: La La Land

Cinematography*: Arrival

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It is tougher for me to get detailed about Cinematography and Visual effects because I didn’t actually go to Film School..but hey, cool things look cool. Arrival was beautifully shot, even outside of the scenes where Amy Adams confronted the Aliens. I actually also thought the “flashback (heh)” scenes were done pretty well and almost makes sense why they were shot that way once the big plot-point of the movie is dropped on us.

HM: La La Land

Visual EffectsJungle Book

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I know, I know…how could I betray the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While “Doctor Strange” was trippy and a blast in IMAX, the remake of Jungle Book had the absolute best CGI that I’ve ever seen, and sets a new bar. Not only that, but if I recall correctly, its ALL BLUE SCREEN. They CREATED a darn Indian jungle and all these animals…and that’s pretty cool. Throw in the fact that this kid was acting alongside characters that weren’t actually there too.

HM: Doctor Strange

Best Makeup and Hair Design: Literally anything but Suicide Squad because there’s no way in hell that flaming sack of crocodile turd should win an Oscar for anything that would validate the BS version of my beloved DC universe that WB is churning out

I know 0 about hair and makeup. I just really don’t like “Suicide Squad”…seriously WB, get it together (Even my Oscars post had to have some mention of comic book movies).

Best Animated Feature Film*: Zootopia

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Joke of the year, to be honest.

“Zootopia” was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2016. I’m not going to lie, the animated movies have lost me lately (probably because I’m 22..) where I feel like they’re re-tellings/cliches or I feel as if all the ones from my childhood were better (s/o Emperor’s New Groove). For me currently, I want an animated movie not only to be kid-friendly but to also have a message in there for the adults or tell a compelling story with more mature themes. Don’t get me wrong, I love animation…but I find myself mostly indulging in the shows/movies with adult themes, some even with an R-rating. “Zootopia” absolutely knocked it out of the park for me, and this is my favorite thing from Disney since “Tangled”. Plus, we FINALLY got people to shut up about “Frozen”!

HM: Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Picture: Okay…so before I do this one, I just wanted to give a little run-down of how I rate an Oscar nominated/critically acclaimed film, because its much different from how I rate anything from nerd culture. To me, the most important factors are: storytelling, acting, cinematography, social importance, consistency of themes, and overall message. Art of all kinds is so important because its meant to make us feel things and grow as people. Art IS a form of education, and that’s said as a really stupid kid who learned a lot of lessons from movies or music…and a really sad/angry kid who could only express himself through dancing. Its on artists to give an audience some perspective, entertain them, and to pour passion into their projects. So when I look at all 9 nominees…the best one for me ends up being..

Hidden Figures

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Everyone NEEDS to see this movie. You’re really missing out if you don’t…especially with the current political climate, this movie is so optimistic and important and tells the story of American Heroes. It was as uplifting as “La La Land” while being as socially important as “Moonlight”, and I truly think everyone can enjoy and learn from this film. Those are my thoughts on this years Oscar’s! Hope you all have fun tonight and just remember, even if the awards don’t go the way you want them to, these great films will always be there for us to come back to and for audiences to enjoy/learn from! Look forward to my review of “Logan” next week! SOGGZ OUT.

HM: Lion & Hacksaw Ridge

 

The Lego Batman Movie – Movie Review

First Lesson: Life Doesn’t Give you Seat-belts

In 2014, Warner Animation Group gave us a movie that most of us thought would just be a shameless plug to sell some plastic toys…and we were right, in a sense. The only thing was that none of us expected what we got: An amazing animated movie with a great voice-acting cast, pristine animation, and an actual plot that made some adults cry like babies and made other adults buy new lego sets (the latter for me, personally). Out of all the funny lego characters we got, Will Arnett’s hilarious narcissistic and edgy take on Batman stood out in that movie…so much that here we are in 2017 with the spin-off “Lego Batman” movie, and a “Lego Ninjago” movie coming soon as well.

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Because “The Lego Movie” revolved around original characters like Emmett, Lord Business, etc, The comedy in that movie had to also have a sense of originality and had to come from the situations that the characters were in. With a property like Batman that’s been having its own movies since the 60’s, however, that wasn’t as necessary. Reviewing and recommending this movie is fairly simple: IF you like self-referencing humor and the Batman films, you will absolutely love this movie. This movie is a spoof of the property, made obvious through the medium of legos and the animation style. The more Batman you’ve seen, the better. If the Batman films and comics are always fresh in your head, you will catch all the humor and it will be a delight.

Aside from that, just wanted to mention a few things I liked and noticed:

  • This movie BARELY takes a break. It is joke after punchline after pun after self-burn after…you get the idea. If you’re in a low energy mood, this is NOT the film for you. I personally wish I wasn’t as tired when I saw it, I probably would’ve enjoyed it even more. There is a slower section in the 2nd act, but it is mainly to focus on the story…which even comedic movies need, so no complaints there.

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  • Dear Lord, some of these references were just marvelous (DCous?…get it?..sorry). There’s the things you would expect them to make fun of (Suicide Squad, BvS, Shark-Repel-ant, Batman brooding) and then there’s some stuff that I haven’t heard been referenced in a while. One of my personal favorites was Joker explaining his plan to a Security Guard, and the guard telling him its going to fail so he brings up some of Joker’s other failed plans…specifically “That one time with the parade and the Prince music” (Burton’s Batman movie in 1989). I couldn’t hold in my laughter during some of these even if I was one of the only ones laughing.
  • The dynamic with Joker wanting Batman’s attention like an overly attached crush was one of the best parts of the movie. It was just really funny to see a spoof of Joker having a purpose, I honestly didn’t expect that much thought to go into this when they just as easily could’ve went: “Oh Joker’s crazy anyway, lets just have him do clown things and focus the movie more on Batman giving one-liners”…but wow, they actually gave the audience something to work with and it’s great.

You probably saw this coming already, but since I love spoofs and meta-jokes, and since you all know my feelings about Batman as a superhero, I’m giving the Lego Batman movie a 9/10. 

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This was no doubt a shorter review since there wasn’t much to go into, but expect a longer review for “Logan” which comes out in about a month…which I am SO excited for. It took me a while to get started for 2017, but be on the lookout because some cool stuff that is out of the usual realm of film reviews is coming soon. Thanks for reading!

That’s all for now,
Soggz Out!

the-lego-batman-movie-gif-cool

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – SPOILER FREE Movie Review

I am one with the Force, The Force is with me.

Rogue One is Disney’s first Star Wars spin-off movie that takes place in the middle of Episode III and Episode IV, focusing on how the Rebels received the famous Death Star plans that shape the events of Episode IV. I’ve got to be honest, when I saw the first trailers and news about reshoots, I wasn’t very thrilled about Rogue One. I thought this and the ideas about a Boba Fett and Han Solo movie were going to be lame “try-hard” attempts by Disney to turn the franchise into a Cash-Cow by making it predictable yet good enough to attract massive audiences. I especially started believing this after I watched Episode VII for the 3rd time and realized that it was basically Episode IV (Not that “Force Awakens” is bad…it did its job of setting up a new trilogy very well. It just did it in the same exact way that “A New Hope” did).

When I left the theater last year after watching “Force Awakens” for the first time, It felt odd…as if something just didn’t sit right with me afterwards. When I left the theater yesterday after watching “Rogue One” for the first time…I felt like I finally got the Star Wars movie that I’ve been waiting for since Disney acquired Lucasfilms in 2012.

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Lets start with filmmaking and technical aspects. This is THE most beautifully shot and animated Star Wars film I’ve ever seen. I wont get in to specific scenes, but everything just looked so flawless. There was one slight issue with a motion capture character that blew me away at first, but started to become less believable as the movie progressed. Regardless, the shots, effects, the CGI, the cinematography, fight scenes were all just so spectacular. Additionally, the movie has so many action scenes where they put all of this to such amazing use, making “Rogue One” instantly deserving of awards for best cinematography for 2016. It’s that good, I’m not kidding.

But since I didn’t actually go to film school and since the”lens” I look a movie with encompasses storytelling and characters…I did find some flaws here. The most important thing about Star Wars is, in my opinion, the characters. Its the things they say that become iconic, its their personalities that made other filmmakers refer to characters they make as “a Han Solo type”, its their actions that become memories we remember forever. The characters in “Rogue One” just didn’t have that. I understand that this is the only movie they got to be in, but one thing JJ did very well with “Force Awakens” was get us to care about every new person we saw…audience could easily refer back to things said and done by Rey, Finn, Poe, and even Kylo Ren…and he did that in one movie. “Rogue One” had so much exposition to deliver in the first act, which was admittedly slow, that we cut down on development for some of our “main” characters in the squad. Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, gets about one moment where you get some background and Jyn Erso, the main character played by Felicity Jones, gets the most. Everyone else somewhat falls in to generic tropes, which bums me out because these performances by these actors are great. Donnie Yen and Riz Ahmed (ugh this is such a diverse cast and I love it. Shout out to the FIRST BROWN GUY TO BE AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER IN STAR WARS! WE MADE IT Y’ALL! HOW HARD WAS THAT, AM I RIGHT??) were particularly wonderful in their roles of Chirutt Imwe and Bodhi Rook, respectively.

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Despite the last paragraph, we still had some great moments with characters that I’d likely attribute to the writing and direction. The droid, K2SO was genuinely a hilarious sasshole that I wish we could get in future. He easily is my favorite droid character in all of Star Wars now (fight me, BB-8 fans. You and I both know he’s just there to sell children’s toys). Moments between Jyn Erso and her father, Galen Erso (portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen) were also very touching, and Chirrut and Baze (Wen Jiang) become one of the best Star Wars bromances right up there with Han/Chewbacca and Poe/Finn. I also really appreciated how this movie showed the “Scumbag” side of the Rebellion that other Star Wars movies never really did, specifically with Cassian Andor and some of his actions. Also…Darth Vader…wow. He isn’t in the movie much, but most of us knew that because the marketing or the press didn’t shove Vader in our faces *COUGHCOUGHSUICIDESQUADJOKERCOUGHCOUGH*, any time Vader is on screen is just such an utter delight and it does justice to one of the greatest villains in all of cinema history.

Perhaps my favorite thing about “Rogue One” is how well this fits into the Star Wars canon. There is a massive plot twist that not only clears up a huge hole in the Original Trilogy, but adds another layer to the entire story of this galaxy far far away. We even get a connection to the prequel trilogy with a certain character being brought back (one that those of us who’ve played “Force Unleashed” know helped Start the Rebellion itself). References to other Star Wars films aren’t beating you over the head constantly and actually all tie in very well. I was insanely pleased with how well this all worked out, ESPECIALLY the ending!

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To wrap this review up, I’m noticing that this is polarizing some people and I’ve seen a lot of dumb criticism for this movie. Honestly, I think its because of how high general expectations became after “Force Awakens” (which also explains why that got more praise than it deserved…because the last thing to compare it to that we had was “Revenge of the Sith”…opinion, not fact). “Rogue One” isn’t perfect like I’ve mentioned, it has its flaws. However when you look at the overall movie and its great moments, effect on the canon, direction and storytelling…”Rogue One” is so incredibly enjoyable and I think most, if not all, Star Wars fans will like it.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story gets an 8.5/10

For fun, I’ll throw in my updated Star Wars movie ranking:
1. Empire Strikes Back
2. A New Hope
3. Rogue One
4. The Return of the Jedi
5. The Force Awakens
6. Revenge of the Sith
7. Phantom Menace
8. Attack of the Clones

As always, I appreciate any support! I really have fun doing this and I hope anyone reading this at least has fun too even if they disagree. I’m making it a personal goal to write more in 2017, so I’d really love it if you show your friends and help get the soggzblogs name out there!

That’s all for now,
Soggz out!

Invasion! (The CW’s DCTV Crossover) – TV Review

As many of you know, the CW is currently home to four different DC Superhero shows: Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. Even though I’m aware that most of my readers and friends only stick to watching Barry screw timelines on “The Flash”, that would still mean they were aware that this was happening due to all the marketing and effort the CW has put out for this crossover event. Despite the four shows attracting different audiences and receiving very different reception (I’m not going to open the can of worms that is “Arrow”‘s 4th season…at least not on this review), I’ve gotta say I’m a fan of this crossover event and I enjoyed a vast majority of it.  

DC managed to find their strength when it comes to live action media, and that strength happens to be making corny, fun, awkward, and exciting TV shows over at the CW. I stuck with “Flash” and “Legends of Tomorrow” since day 1, had to catch up on “Arrow” before its 3rd season and went from there, and I haven’t had the chance to check out “Supergirl”…but man oh man, I enjoyed almost EVERYONE in this crossover. The four episodes managed to entertain me and actually have implications and consequences for the individual plot-lines of each show. I’m really excited about this, so I’m going to go into spoilers and talk about each of the 4 episodes briefly. Here it goes!

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All of the hype.

[SPOILERS START HERE]

 

Supergirl – Okay so a lot of people missed this, but it was already revealed that this episode of Supergirl would serve as a “small prologue” for the crossover rather than being the actual first part of it. I know some people feel like they got tricked into watching an episode of Supergirl when they didn’t want to…but honestly I could watch Melissa Benoist any time of the day and never complain…siiiiigh…..Huh, what? Oh, right, the review. Basically we get an episode of Supergirl that gives some insight into her personality and her world until the last 30 seconds where Barry and Cisco show up and tell Kara that her help is needed on their earth. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

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If I had a type…yeah…in case anyone was wondering…

Flash – So THIS is where the crossover really starts. We’re introduced to The Dominators, a group of aliens that have attacked earth before and do not come in peace. The all-star team is assembled and consisting of: Flash, Green Arrow, Spartan, Speedy, Supergirl, Heatwave, Atom, White Canary, Firestorm, Overwatch, and Vibe….aka (respectively) Barry, Oliver, Diggle, Thea, Kara, Rory, Ray, Sara, Jax/Martin, and (unfortunately) Felicity and Cisco (who’s basically the Felicity of “Flash” right now). Barry, Oliver, Jax, and Martin stay back to talk while the rest of the team goes out on reconnaissance, which gives us a scene here with the Future Barry’s message (revealed in Legends of Tomorrow) and the consequences of Flashpoint being realized by everyone in this universe. This was great because we really get to see Barry appear to be the “villain” in this group of heroes after he’s been looked to as an amazing guy this entire time…it shows that Barry is flawed and now even his friends are beating up on him rather than just himself. There’s a scene here where Oliver explains the deaths of his parents to Barry…and boy, that gets intense. The chemistry between Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin has never been stronger than it was in all the crossover episodes, and I REALLY hope we see these two interact more often. The episode wraps up with Barry and Oliver freeing the rest of the team from the Dominators’ mind control devices, only for five members of the team to be immediately abducted by a Dominator ship.

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Quicksilver who?

Arrow (Happy 100th episode!) – I’m going to be honest, this show hasn’t had an episode this good since season 2. The 100th episode of Arrow reminded me of why I stick with it: for moments like the ones we saw here. Oliver, Ray, Sara, Diggle, and Thea all end up in a shared hallucination that represents their ideal lives. Oliver is marrying Laurel (IT’S WHAT I WANTED ALL ALONG), Thea and Oliver’s parents are still alive, Ray is engaged to Felicity, and Diggle is the Arrow. Oliver is the first one to realize what is going down here and convinces everyone one-by-one that this isn’t real. The tension is so well done here…Oliver and company can actually enjoy this hallucination and choose to live happily for, what it seems like, the first time. After realizing that its best for them to face reality and fight, they’re greeted by the villains of the past season for this EPIC fight scene where our heroes fight the ones they have super personal beef with. Thea fights Malcom Merlyn, Oliver fights Deathstroke, and Sara finally gets to have her revenge against Damien Dahrk…and this whole thing was one of the best action scenes I’ve seen on any of these shows. Our heroes wake up and try to escape the Dominators’ ship on an alien pod, and are saved by the Waverider, where Gideon reveals to us that the Dominators are planning on using a weapon against earth.

Legends of Tomorrow – The concluding episode of the entire crossover felt like Television’s “Avengers”. Most of the action takes place here as everything wraps up,  after a time-traveling shenanigan with some of the Legends (what else is new?). It was one of those moments where your inner-12-year-old was so hyped that you begged your mom for a Flash action figure as soon as the episode was over. I can’t even explain it through words, its one of those things where you just need to watch it yourself. Oh, and that final scene with Barry and Oliver having a drink? Perfect.

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The funniest thing I heard all week (Superman Returns, if you don’t get it).

I’m not sure that a crossover would be such a good idea in the future, since there are few circumstances that could actually get the 4 shows together. Since this was the first one, it was acceptable to use “generic faceless army” as an excuse for some awesome superhero fan-service. This is one of those things where I geeked out so hard, probably to the point where my rationality gets a little skewed…knowing that, I’m still giving the DCTV “Invasion!” crossover event an 8/10.

I apologize that my Pokemon Sun review is taking so long, i’m still playing through it! I WILL write about it once I’m done. As for the Suicide Squad extended cut, I’ve decided not to review that and instead give my thoughts on the DC films as a whole in a future post. Let me know if there’s some content you think I’d enjoy that you’d like me to review, and please help me get my blog some more exposure if you like what you see!

That’s all for now,
Soggz out!