The Fate of the Furious (2017)
The Fast and Furious franchise is not even my guilty pleasure. I was proud of being its super fan, as it was apparent in my review of “Furious 7” few years back. I actually expected it to be the last movie of the franchise, forever gone with Paul Walker. I wasn’t a least bit excited when they announced the coming 8th film, because while Walker wasn’t my favorite character in these movies, he was undoubtedly the heart of the franchise. I didn’t go to see the 8th installment in the theaters like I did almost all the others, because I’ve lost faith in it. And coming from the biggest FF fan I know (aka yours truly), it’s saying something. I watched it at home later and to put it shortly, it was absolutely terrible. FF has always been about the car chases and the stunts, stunts that are absolutely crazy but still somewhat believable, balancing on a really really thin line between awesome and ridiculous. Finally, after seven movies, on the 8th, they crossed that line. I found myself calling bullshit on almost every action scene, and especially the whole video-gamish car chase in the center of the city and the ending scene aka chaos on ice, they didn’t only crossed the line, they crossed it by miles. The story was also so weak it was painful to watch, managing to waste Charlize Theron, The Rock and Jason Statham. The hand to hand combat, and I usually have a very high standard when it comes to fight scenes, they were mediocre and downright boring. I sincerely have not one good thing to say about this installment. It reeked money milking, not that the previous ones weren’t but this time around they weren’t even trying. It’s a sad day when a good franchise comes to this. I’ve heard they are making the 9th installment and even a spinoff for The Rock’s character. Sad to say, I won’t be watching out for those.
My IMDb rating: 4 stars out of 10
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” was my absolute favorite movie of 2015, earning ten out of ten stars from me and my undying fangirly love (which was apparent in my review). Naturally, I was super excited about the sequel while being aware that it’s very rare for a sequel to surpass its predecessor. In that sense I was right. “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” was not as good as the first one, one of the biggest reason was that I have expectations now. I wasn’t aware of what I was walking into at the first one. Both the original bar and church scenes are extremely hard to better, but not from the lack of trying. Oh man did they try hard. I would just concentrate on the things I like in the sequel. I really like the relationship between Eggsy and the princess, because again, I wasn’t expecting that at all. But it forever endears Eggsy further in my heart that he stuck with his first ‘conquest’ and fell in love too, unlike so many spy movies where spies just hop from woman to woman. The choice to bring Colin Firth back, because this would have sucked hard without Firth grounding the whole movie. I just wished that they could have kept it all under the wraps so that I would be genuinely as surprised as Eggsy was upon seeing Harry. That’s the problem of movie promotion and marketing these days, they just have to reveal absolutely everything, which has turned a trailer-lover like me away from trailers slowly but surely. But come on, they even put him on posters… Anyway. I actually like Julienne Moore as the villain. There are of course some miscast too, like Pedro Pascal as Whiskey, even with his best attempt to imitate the American southern accent, it was horrendous, making his character hard to believe. The action and fighting scenes are as flashy and entertaining as ever, but I actually didn’t like the taxi scene that so many said were their favorite. I found it blurry, hard to follow and fake-looking. Points for being freaking ambitious though.
My IMDb rating: 8 stars out of 10
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
While waiting for Thor: Ragnarok to hit the theaters, I decided to watch a movie from Thor’s director Taika Waititi , this tiny movie about the mundane lives of the undead. Movies and TV shows always depict the vampire lives to be dramatic and mostly glorious, or torturous in a sparkly way, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is anything but. It’s about some really real problems about vampires’ everyday lives, like washing the dishes and finding food aka humans and trying not to get the blood everywhere while dining. Shot in a documentary style, the small-budget movie did some pretty impressive and down-to-earth looking CGI with the vampires (not so much with the werewolves though). The humor is black and as-matter-of-fact, which makes it even funnier. It’s the not trying to be funnily funny, which really is my favorite kind of humor. The audience would quickly come to care about these bloodsuckers, never have they been more relatable and lovable, especially the co-writer and -director Taika Waititi’s character Viago, a hopeless romantic and a nice and gentle guy who took care of the household. After watching the movie, I was very confident at Waititi’s skills to transform the Thor franchise for the better and I was very sure that the humor is going to be off the chart. I also believed that Waititi was going to bring some much needed realism to the shiny and colorful worlds of Thor, and hopefully to the action scenes that could also easily go overboard like say in the Spiderman Homecoming.
My IMDb rating: 9 stars out of 10
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
[SPOILER ALERT] Then came the day for Thor. He is not my favorite avenger, but I’ve always enjoyed the Thor movies, because they would always mean Loki, and I’m a slave to Loki’s charm. As mentioned before, director Taika Waititi did manage to inject some freshness into the franchise, adding humor and color to the worlds and innovation to action scenes. While Thor is definitely a lot of fun to watch and it was one of the most, unless the most entertaining MCU movie so far, it suffered from the same problem that has bugged MCU movies for a while now, and it’s the abundance of humor, downplaying any dramatic scenes to the point that I no longer feel a thing. I live for those dramatic moments, for me, they are the bread and butter in superhero movies. They are the soul and the heart. It all started with Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. I’m definitely not blaming Joss, it’s that Hollywood fails to understand what makes Joss Whedon’s creation great. His humor and nerdy jokes are marvelous, but it’s also his ability to make these superhumans more normal, more human with heart-felt moments and dramatic scenes. Joss Whedon’s style is not easy to master, that’s why Joss Whedon is Joss Whedon. But ever since Avengers, they are trying to duplicate the same atmosphere in every movie, injecting humor every chance they got. But like jump scares in horror movies, humor and jokes would defuse a dramatic moment, crushing all the emotion except laughter. And that was my main problem with Thor: Ragnarok. I felt nothing. I felt nothing when Thor and Jane broke up, or when daddy dearest die, or when Hela killed half of the Asgard, or when the whole Asgard goes poof. Where are the feels? With the feels, Thor: Ragnarok would have been a perfect superhero movie.
My IMDb rating: 8 stars out of 10
Justice League (2017)
What a long winding road to this day. I watched Justice League on its premiere night. It premiered on a Wednesday in Finland, and maybe because of that, the theater was half empty. Still, some nerds on the back row actually clapped when it ended. I laughed with a tinge of sadness, cos it was terribly sad that DC got some claps just because JL didn’t suck. It’s time to stop holding DC on different standard, especially when they actually have better heroes than its nemesis Marvel. There, I said it. DC has always had the more interesting heroes and backstories but they seemed to be continuously challenging to convey them successfully to the big screen. The biggest problem with the DCU is indecissiveness, mainly on its tone. It’s either too dark, sometimes literally, or too light (like the 90s Batman movies). I guess DC listened to the audience when many complained Batman vs Superman to be too dark. Their solution? Copying a page from Marvel and dropping jokes here and there to lighten the mood. The result? A gringe-fest with forced humor and out-of-character one-liners that were absolutely terrible to witness without facepalming. The only character that did the jokes well was Barry Allen, but with all the jokes, they made him clownish. Many, including me speculated that not giving all its heroes their own movie first before the team-up is going to be a mistake, and it totally was. Especially when DC wasted its screen time on stupid jokes instead of giving the time for some dramatic scenes. Like giving two minutes to show how isolated Wonder Woman was for a century, or how alone Barry feels in this slow world, or even Batman’s struggle with his aging body. I know they are going to give Aquaman his own movie, but what was included in Justice League was not enough for me to care about the king of fish. All in all, Justice League was written and shot like a kid movie, straight line, utterly predictable and at the end, it made zero impact on me. And just when is DC going to realize that what makes a superhero movie great is always going to be the villain. And the last great villain that DC had was Heath Ledger’s Joker almost a decade ago. And that was because of Ledger was phenomenal. Suicide Squad proved that much. Joker is a character that can go either way. Justice League was slightly better than BvS, but not as good as Wonder Woman. I would’ve given it 5.5, but since half stars are not possible in IMDb, I rather pull it down to a five than push it up to a six.
My IMDb rating: 5 stars out of 10