Maleficent

Hmm, I’ll say that when these life action Disney remakes first started coming out, I didn’t have a huge interest in them. I still don’t, actually, but I surely would watch them if they were on TV, like this one.

And Maleficent isn’t a remake, either. It’s a retelling of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, but with Maleficent as the main character. I will say that I really enjoyed the movie, actually. I could have used less action scenes, but I like twists on well-known stories. Maleficent does it pretty well and makes her a compelling character. Okay, I don’t remember the original Disney Sleeping Beauty much, but I don’t think either Aurora or Maleficent were too interesting.

This film has fun visuals, both in the fairy woods of the Moors and in the, uh, Sleeping Beauty Kingdom (I don’t know the kingdom’s name). Angelina Jolie does really well as Maleficent. We get to see a younger Maleficent introdution in the movie, and dang, she grew cheekbones like crazy. Aurora is also fun to watch.

As this changes events of the original a lot, I’m going to go more into detail in the spoiler section of the review. For me, I really enjoyed the changes and the new information present. Aurora is much more involved this time around, though the story is still definitely Maleficents. The two characters play off each other really well.

Oh, and Diaval, the crow, has gotten really fun.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The special effect battles are probably a bit overdone and mostly for cool action scenes, but beyond that, it’s a fun movie.

Onto some spoilery parts.

So, at first, I wasn’t sure who was really going to be the bad guy of the film. I mean, it could still be Maleficent, but seems kind of depressing for a children’s film to have the main character die at the end. And this Maleficent isn’t pure evil. She has a rather good reason for doing what she did.

And that’s what allows for some great scenes between Maleficent and Aurora.

By the midway point, you’ll definitely know who’s the bad guy of the film.

Now as for who was going to wake up Aurora, I knew it wasn’t going to be Prince Phillip. Fairy tale story aside, it doesn’t feel satisfying to have a true love’s kiss between two people that met once for all of five minutes or so. And there were only two other people that Aurora had constant contact with (on screen), Diaval and Maleficent.

Overall, I’m glad with the way it turned out in the end. Yes, it has a happy ending, yes, I’m fine┬áthat it’s so different from the original movie. It works for the story they’re telling. Maleficent is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that has enough changes to keep it interesting throughout.

The dragon scene is pretty rad, too.

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Spectre

Out of all the James Bond movies, I have only seen Skyfall fully. Spectre would be my second movie. So I am not hugely knowledgeable about James Bond lore and story. But hey, it was on TV, and I was interested.

First off, I’ll say that out of the two, I enjoyed Skyfall more. Spectre has payoffs that only really come if you know the story and watch the franchise. I have not seen even Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace, so I probably didn’t get the full experience.

Still, the movie does feel really slick and spy-like. James Bond just does things, all while being cool and suave. It seems like his intense gaze can get most women into bed with him.

In Spectre, Bond is trying to hunt down the hidden organization, named Spectre. The organization is responsible for a lot of crimes around the world. Consider it a Rogue Nation of sorts. I’m sorry. I had to say it. I know the movies were made at the same time and already had years of development, and that both of them use pretty standard plot points.

The first 2/3rds of the movie was great. It had nice action, stunts and scenes. There was a nice intrigue built up, and the meeting of the people in Spectre was a well-done scene. Mr. Hinx, played by Dave Bautista, was a fun enemy for Bond to face. Bautista brought about that physical threat and a menacing face. He also didn’t talk much, which really worked or the character.

Bond, of course, traipses all around the world avoiding Mr. Hinx and trying to track down the main base of Spectre. And for the most part, it’s pretty fun. The performances are all fine. I can’t think of anyone standing out, but they’re all spies. They should stay cool under pressure. So it works.

Now for the spoilers parts. If you like the previous Daniel Craig Bond movies, this one is alright.

Anyway, the movie sort of deflates after Mr. Hinx dies. None of his bosses are any real physical threats, and all of their random henchmen just die while hitting nothign with their own guns.

After Mr. Hinx, bond feels like he’s in total control. There’s one point where he’s captured, but then escapes really easily. Even if none of MI6 could help him, he still never really felt in danger.

the final action piece is a long way away from Skyfall’s. So overall, I liked Skyfall better. This movie had an interesting start, but a weaker finish.

Gotham

This show is crazy in all the right ways! Season one, they tried to be a serious crime drama using Gotham as a setting and certain Batman characters. Season 2, they said forget that, let’s go full comic book. And season 3 continues that trend of doing crazy things. Bruce is getting more and more Batman-like. Gordon is dealing with ever more dangerous criminals. Bullock is dealing with it all the best way he knows how, drinking (comedically, there’s no real drinking storyline here).

They manage to keep Penguin as a really compelling and fun to watch character. When they first started the show, I was curious how they could make Penguin remain interesting all the way up until the Batman time. But they do manage it well. Riddler is also getting better now that he’s a full villain.

They made a curious choice with Ivy by aging her up a bit through some Hugo strangery. And it still sort of feels like they don’t know what to do with the character. She still has the mind of an eleven year old (or however old she was before) but now she has the body of a twenty-something. It’s strange. Later on in the season, I enjoyed Ivy more due to her interactions with other characters.

Butch is woefully underused this season, unfortunately. He was always a fun character.

The plot starts off with a brand new threat, the Mad Hatter. With so many crazy villains, he still manages to stand out and is fun to watch whenever he’s on screen. His interactions with Gordon are some good stuff especially now that Gordon has adopted a too-old-for-this attitude.

This season, they are really pushing Bruce’s growth. It’s like they’re rushing him to be Batman a bit. It could work, and I suppose there’s only so many ways a kid could be involved in the crime world of Gotham. Still, the actor playing Bruce, David Mazouz, has grown up pretty well. It’s really noticeable on flashbacks to the first season. And his interactions with Alfred and Selina are well done.

This season keeps up the craziness of season 2. It brings back characters I didn’t really expect to see again and ties them all into the season long plot. Each episode is a wild ride, some a lot wilder than others. Sometimes, this show can be so comic-booky in the best way.

Onto some spoiler thoughts on this crazy season.

I think a weak point in the season is Isabella. There is just no way a character that perfect for Riddler shows up that looks just like his old dead crush. It never gets brought up as anything more than coincidence, and that’s even with a known clone running around. But Isabella isn’t likely a clone since why would the people that made the clones care about Riddler and Penguin?

Also, really like other Bruce and the little song that shows up whenever he shows up.

And after seeing Tabitha for two season us a whip as her weapon, somehow it never crossed my mind that Selina would eventually get training from Tabitha. Yet it’s so perfect when it does happen!

Let’s go, season 4!

Arrow, Season Finale

So, I heard a lot of good things about seasons 1 and 2. Some good things about 3. Bad things about 4. Haven’t watched any of them. And I’m here for season 5! Out of all the CW hero shows, this one felt the most cohesive. I think it’s from having one main villain through pretty much all of the season, and Arrow does one main villain well. There’s rarely any why don’t they just beat the villain already. Throughout the entire season, the interactions between Team Arrow and the villain were great. Everything just unfurls at the right speed, and the things that happen in between were fun, too.

So, new to the season is an entirely new team to help support Oliver. We have Ragman, who was a cool character. It’s too bad he never came bag, since he looked nice and had a cool power. I guess he was too powerful for the show where everyone else is normal.

We have Artemis, who I don’t get and wasn’t utilized enough really. I sort of think having her just leave the show on episode, uh, the one where Oliver got kidnapped, would have been a nice arc. As what we got, I don’t know. She’s just there, now.

Wild Dog is my favorite out of Oliver’s new team. Probably not surprising since he’s also around the longest. He gets the most development and really feels like a main character. And he still has more plot going into the future. So while he starts off annoying, he becomes a really strong character.

Dinah is cool. There wasn’t much focus on her after finding out her backstory, but she does remain kickass all through the season.

Speaking of kickass, Arrow has the best fight scenes out of the CW superhero shows, too. They can’t rely on special effects, so they need to have good fighting, and that they do. There’s just a lot of impressive stunts going on.

So yeah, really liked Arrow. It tells a rough story with a devious and threatening main antagonist. The side stuff is enjoyable, too. There were a few points I wondered why the villain wasn’t doing anything, but it didn’t happen enough times for me to care much.

And boy, that was quite a finale. Between Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, it’s tough to tell which finale I liked more. Both were great. Even for me, not having seen the previous seasons,┬áseeing what Oliver was doing was still awesome.

Supergirl, Season 2

Supergirl, now on the CW. Unfortunately, one of my favorite characters is now just a guest star. I’m talking about Cat Grant. She was the one Supergirl looked up to and got advice from. Now she needs to learn life lessons all by herself! Maxwell Lord also didn’t make the move, so we got Lena Luthor this time.

I really like Lena Luthor in the show. She has great chemistry with Kara, both as Kara and Supergirl. And I hear Lena is now a show regular for next season, yay.

Other new characters this season include Mon-El, the person in the pod. He’s from Daxom, a planet in Krypton’s solar system. The two plants dislike each other, and I think Mon-El had a fine arc. It was a bit Supergirl centric, but I didn’t mind that too much. He has great scenes with the others, though, and I wanted more of that.

There’s Maggie, who is a new love interest for one of the existing characters. She’s a cop, and I would like to see her doing more cop things. Much like Mon-El, she seems to only exist in relation to the person she’s dating. Having more time dedicated to her away from that would help, otherwise she’s simply there. Still a pretty good character, though.

Then we have M’gann, another Martian! She’s a love interest of Jonn’s, but the actors look like they have a huge age gap. Yeah, shapeshifting aliens and all, but still a huge age gap. Other than that, she was alright. Jonn is still the main Martian, though.

And finally, Snapper Carr, Kara’s new boss. He’s not around nearly enough to fill the same role as Cat Grant, but he tries. And he does put in effort despite his appearances. We just didn’t really get enough of Kara’s job at Catco in the season to make him important.

As a whole, though, the season was uneven and wonky. The fights are alright for TV. They work with that the budget they have. The plot is what’s a bit wonky. There are high spots and low spots, but the high spots are still really good. There are just large gaps between when the current bad guy does things so random adventures are slotted in. It makes the season feel pretty slow. But we do get more alien stuff this season, a lot more.

I think in general, it was trying to do a season long arc that just puttered out too often. There was no convincing big bad for a while. Things meandered along too much. If they could tighten things up for next season, that would work wonders. There’s no need to have a season long bad guy. I did like the two multi-episode bad guys that Supergirl had to fight. They just needed to be integrated better.

Oh, and Superman is in this season! And he’s awesome. He’s charming, happy and a great guy.

Time for season 3.

Wonder Woman

I will never get tired of hearing the electric cello rift that is Wonder Woman’s theme. It doesn’t fit into the period of the movie, but who cares. It’s completely awesome and everyone time it comes out, you know things are getting heated.

This movie is fantastic, everything I wanted out of a Wonder Woman movie. There’s a few modern pieces that relates to what happened at the end of Batman V Superman, but overall, the movie is self-contained, not trying to set anything up. It’s just one good story for Wonder Woman, and it works great. Most of the film takes place during World War I, and it all looks pretty good.

Gal gives a great performance as Wonder Woman from being upbeat and curious to being furious at the war causing so much harm to innocents. She wants to help and no one will stop her.

Steve Trevor is great, too. He’s the man that shows Wonder Woman more of the world. after the beginning, he stops trying to keep her safe because he knows she can handle herself. But he still worries because there is a lot of complexities in the world that Wonder Woman doesn’t know about, yet.

The two of them are both strong in their own way. The movie never needs to demean anyone to build up Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman stands taller than the others through her character and beliefs.

There are some side characters tagging along. While they don’t have a huge impact on the movie, I enjoyed their presence. They’re all shown to be more than just soldiers. All of them have aspirations unrelated to war at all. It makes them more than just tagalong parts of the team.

The action scenes in Wonder Woman are also pretty great. They lean a bit heavy on the slow motion, but they also mainly happen in important and emotional points. Also, I like how much they incorporate the lasso into Wonder Woman’s fighting style. I am curious why she sought to bring it in the first place, but she knows how to use it. And the fighting does have a lot of great stuff when there’s no slow motion going on.

The fighting really showcases just how powerful Wonder Woman is. And as a whole, the DC movies have great action scenes with great effects. They really show just how much beyond normal people their heroes are, especially Wonder Woman and Superman.

The movie has some humorous stuff, too, but it always knowns when to get serious. And the serious stuff is emotional. Wonder Woman has a solid storyline told all the way through without trying to set up other stuff, and it makes for one great movie. And Wonder Woman herself is a powerful force all through the movie.

It’s the best DC cinematic universe movie and a great comic boook movie, too. And now it’s time for my spoiler thoughts.

What I think the movie could have used. Early on, they have Steve explain why he was fighting the war. I think we could have used a short flashback or something to show why he was so committed because he stated he already tried doing nothing. They should elaborate on that! What nothing did he do that makes him regret his choice?

Also, they never say the words Wonder Woman once in the film. Just a bit of a namedrop would be great.

The villains for the movie have great screen presence, but not much beyond that. I have no idea why Dr. Poison is the way she is. She’s creepy and great to watch, but she’s also just there doing her stuff like some random scientist. She could also use a bit of backstory to help.

The final action sequence of the movie includes a lot of CGI, and I like it. They showed off a lot of super fighting, and now they get to show off super powered fighting. While I wouldn’t say it was necessary, I like the CGI stuff. It shows off just how powerful the enemy is and how powerful Wonder Woman is. That kind of stuff can’t be done without the massive effects.

I’m glad Wonder Woman is doing well. It certainly has me looking forward to Justice League, too.

The Flash, Season Finale

This is the first full season of the Flash that I have seen. I might go back and watch the earlier seasons, but it’s not a high priority. And gosh if Barry isn’t the guy that least knows how to utilize his powers ever. And you see why super speed is like the most broken power and why Barry has to fight other speedsters to get a challenge. If Barry just utilized his super speed to the best of his ability, most episodes would be over in ten minutes. Then it’s 50 minutes of having fun and 70’s music!

Anyway, powers aside, I liked this season. It might have gotten repetitive to long time viewers, but not to me, not yet. The thing I don’t like the most is how inconsequential Flashpoint felt. I know it had permanent effects on the world, but it was just such a small part of the season that it was just an excuse to do things. And not even a great excuse since any other excuse could be used to bring out a new bad speedster.

While there are some great moments in the show, I think it’s overall weaker than the other CW superhero shows. The main bad guys, Alchemy and Savitar just disappears for episodes at a time for no real reason. It is good that while Alchemy and Savitar are connected, they each get around half the season to develop.

The other adventures were more fun. Gorillas? Yes. Sharks? Of course. Time travel? Wouldn’t be Flash without it. Multiple dimension Wells? Bring on more. Long, drawn out Savitar stuff? Could use less of it. That’s what happens when the bad guy of the season is just too powerful to fight normally. They don’t do much at all.

Speaking of Wells, I really like HR. His other-dimensional antics never got old to me, and he stayed entertaining all the way through. And I saw enough of the Earth-2 Wells to get a clear difference between the two of them. More Wells next season, please.

Julian is a character I liked. He points out just how bad Barry is at the regular CSI job. I always enjoy a character that is against the main hero while having a good point. And despite being a special guest star for all of the season, he’s still around! What’s going to happen to him next season? He does fill another smart guy role on the show, so maybe he could show off more of that archeological and meta-human knowledge.

Gypsy was a character only in the season a few times, but she was cool. She’s just way to intense most of the time. It would be nice to see her on a time when things aren’t going bad, get a sense of fun Gypsy, otherwise she’s all business.

Spoilers for the final episode.

Killer Frost. What’s her deal? Why would she follow Savitar at all? And why the sudden change of heart? She, I don’t get. There didn’t seem to be any real reason for her to change sides at the end. It’s not like Savitar lied about his goals.