Into the Badlands, Finale

The third, and sadly final, season of Into the Badlands. With old enemies gone, it’s time for a new shift in how the Badlands works. Most of the barons are gone, leaving only the Widow and Chau vying for everything. A huge ware is taking place all over the area. Then there’s Pilgrim, a devout from the city of Azra, only he’s trying to build a new Azra inside the badlands. Everything will collide in blood and steel.

This is the second half of the third season. I will have spoilers from the first half. Go watch it if you haven’t. I like the show. It’s a fun, and I think non-adapted show full of martial arts action. The world of the Badlands is imaginative and brutal.

When we left in the first half, Pilgrim just got the power of the gift as well as the ability to grant it to everyone. Now he is in full takeover mode. It’s his way or death.

Together, the other main characters must band together to save the Badlands from Pilgrim’s rule. It’s great to see the characters grow closer together as allies starting with Bajie and the Widow. It does help they have a few other problems to take care of that helps them bond. Sunny and the Widow also has some good scenes.

The rest of the season wraps up most of what’s going on with the plot. This season wasn’t meant to be the last one, so unfortunately, that means a final episode that sets up new stuff. I would really like more episodes.

The second half of season three is more violent with some great actions scenes. Pilgrim and Cressida goes into full conflict with the rest of the Badlands, and both of them are creepy and unsettling.

Season three has a different feel compared to the first two. This time, there’s all out war everywhere, and a threat big enough that the main characters must put aside past grievances to deal with it. Just having them interact with each other more is great. It’s unfortunate that this original show has ended. I would be up for more.


King Arthur, Legend of the Sword

This is the 2017 Guy Ritchie film about King Arthur. There have been a lot of stories about the legendary king, this one is quite a out there take on it. This could probably pass for an original story, but they just threw on King Arthur for the name recognition. There’s a lot I found wrong with the film, but also a lot I enjoyed about it. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but it’s not like things are too unpredictable here.

What I like. This film has a lot of style. It does remind me quite a bit about his previous works with slow motion, camera work and shot composition. Things are really stylish, perhaps too much so. This is a King Arthur with modern music, and it is rocking. The montages and cuts between two different scenes are done really well. The action scenes are also really cool and fun to watch. They are slightly choppy, but the camera work does add to the intensity and super-human style of the movie.

I enjoy watching the montages. They are inventive and entertaining. However, and this is a big one, the movie seems to use montages in place of actual character development. Most of the characters feel a bit flat. I think the film uses the notion of King Arthur as an excuse not to develop the characters as much. They think we all know who they are already, so they can do some stuff in montage.

It does feel like this could be an original film, but someone thought it wouldn’t stand on its own that way. Also, Arthur gets too many heroic resolves before he actually wins. They needed to cut down at least one of them, because the later ones just feel less impactful.

This movie has too much style and uses it as a substitute to build on characters other than Arthur. The rest of them just happens to be there with some scenes, but not really enough for me to bond with them.

I do like that there’s no forced romance in the film. And I think the kid character is actually quite good. While not a huge part of what’s going on, he’s endearing.

The story is fine. Nothing stands out that much, but it shows off a lot of fun stuff. If they went less on the pizzaz and more on the characters, it would have made for a more interesting film. As is, it’s fun to watch when on TV but not something that needs to be sought out.

Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell no Tales

I remember when the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out. It was great fun. And I enjoyed parts 2 and 3 as well, though it was getting over the top by part 3. Then there’s movie four, which didn’t feel too memorable to me. Now, it’s time for the fifth one!

Hmm. As a concept, I really like what they set out to create, a pirate fantasy story full of swashbuckling, magic and all that. But the constant resets done in the fourth movie and fifth movie really drags things down. Jack Sparrow, too. He is sort of just there, now, because he’s the most popular character.

In this movie, there are two new characters, Henry and Carina. Henry is the son of Will Turner (and yes, Will does show up for a bit in this film!) And he’s trying to break his father’s curse. Carina is a scientist that’s trying to find the destiny her father gave her, a diary of a navigator.

Henry has a cool introduction as a kid and another one as an adult. Those scenes work alright. But later on, both characters get swept up in some zany thing, partially kicked off by Jack Sparrow. It feels too much for trying to ground the characters. I didn’t have time to appreciate what they were doing because of all the craziness going on.

Hmm. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the characters in the fourth and fifth films just feels uninspired. I didn’t care for them like I did Will and Elisabeth and even Bootstrap Bill. The characters in this movie is there because we need someone to get involved with the action and craziness.

The main bad guy, Salazar, had a pretty cool effect. I liked him and his crew. The Pirates of the Carribean movies always does some really great villain crews, and this one is no exception. They also do great crazy ships that’s always fun to watch.

There’s also some element of the law in this movie, but they feel really not worth the time. The movie would have been better cutting down on them and instead putting more focus and slower scenes in regards to the characters.

This movie just feels sort of there. They do drop hints for a next movie that may be interesting, and I hope it is. I really like the ideas and the world they have here.

What I think Pirates of the Caribbean could use is a toning down of the crazy action scenes, but keep up with water myths and magic. Have some good proper swashbuckling. Make some nice, distinctive crews and ships. But yeah, not so many complicated and comedic action scenes.

Fate of the Furious

This will be a bit shorter of a review. Not because I didn’t enjoy the movie. I liked it, about as much as I like the Fast and Furious stuff after they became superheroes in cars. But it’s also about on par with what they’ve been putting out. So, if you enjoyed Fast Five, Furious Six, Something Seven, then Fate of the Furious will be great for you. And me.

This is trailer information, but it is spoilers for the movie. This time around, the team is fighting Dominic! For reasons that will be revealed during the movie, Dom is now working for the bad guy. And boy, do they make for some great action and character scenes. The movies always talk a lot about family, and this one is no different. So why is Dom going against his family?

The movie is full of all new over-the-top car sequences. And I’m sure they still have much more crazy ideas for the next one. Ramsey is still here, and I think she’s a fun addition to the crew. She is a non-combatant, non-driver, but still gets a lot of great scenes. The other characters are all still doing their thing, getting a few scenes now and again.

The villain is decently threatening while not being a direct physical threat. This time, it’s Cipher, the best hacker in the world. Like some of the previous movies, Cipher is the boss without being the strongest around. She’s the boss by being smarter and planning better, and I find her quite effective.

Maybe moving into some spoiler territory here. But joining the team this time is Deckard! The villain of the previous film. He’s more fun being sort of a grumpy ally. This movie knows it’s goofy and plays it up, especially with the scenes between Deckard and Hobbs.

Fate of the Furious is a cool ride on crazy cars. You already know the characters. Now they’re trying to ramp up the villains and give more wild stunts. Still not boring, yet. Waiting for The Fast and the Furious Nine, or their own version of that name.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Ah, this movie brings back memories. Not complete ones. I was young when the first Independence Day came out, but I went to see it, and that movie was so great to me. So I was pretty excited for a sequel. There are many things I concentually like about this film. For one, it takes place in real time. The sequel came out 20 years later, and in their version of the world, 20 years had passed. And society developed entirely differently thanks to the arrival of aliens. I got to see enough of the world, and it looked pretty great until the aliens attacked again.

I still had a lot of fun in the film, though it was overstuffed. The characters weren’t that fun or interesting. Really, there was just a lack of meaningful character interaction all around. And there are a lot of characters around just to be love interests. Aside from repelling the alien invasion, that was the main story arc for about half of the characters.

The movie has a lot of great action scenes in space, in strange locations, and on earth. Thanks to modern cinema special effects, the aliens are now a lot more comfortable taking on humans on foot. I say it works well. The first film, they were mysterious. Now, humans have studied them for twenty years, so the time for mysterious is over. It’s time for aliens to bring in the big guns, hard. And that they do. Their new mothership is really impressive in scale.

Overall, there was a lot of character and plots they could have cut from the movie. But on an individual level, I don’t know which ones they should cut. I was entertained by most of the side plots. They might not be necessary, but I wasn’t bored following them. Perhaps I would remove the pyschologist (David’s new love interest).

One side plot I really liked was Julius (David’s father). He had the least to do with anything, but his part showed off more of what normal people was going through while the invasion was happening. It wasn’t dark, either, but a rather different take on everything to the story.

What I really like about the film is seeing the kids of the first movie now all grown up and taking the charge in the fight. Despite both of them being played by different actors, it was still nice to see.

But the film overall is just an excuse for a lot of space battles and explosions. The characters aren’t compelling enough, and there are too many of them. And the big epic speech wasn’t as great as what we got in the first film. Or the speech from Pacific Rim. Or Lord of the Rings. And that’s a shame.

300: Rise of an Empire

I saw a TV version, so I will blame TV edits for most of the fight scenes being worse than the original 300. And I’m pretty certain that’s accurate since they cut out most of the direct hits. But there is something worse about the fights that can’t be excused by TV edits, and that’s the overuse of slow motion. I know it was awesome in the first film, but this time, they use it so much more.

300: Rise of an Empire, is the sequel to 300. Perhaps it came too late for people to still be interested, though. I liked seeing more of the war, how some other parts of Greece was doing, but the film doesn’t execute as well as the first one on most things.

This time, we follow Themistocles, an Athenian general and his defense of the coast. Now him, I liked. He’s great and works as a counterpart to Leonidas. Themistocles is the tactician. He has sly strategies that helps his group claim victory against an overwhelming Persian navy.

The other characters on the Greeks side, though, feel mostly forgettable. Like knockoffs of what they had in the first 300.

I do like what they did to the Persians in this film, though. It gave a lot more context to the war. It’s not historically accurate, but I appreciate how the Persians are no longer some monstrous army. And the main antagonist of the film, Atermisia, is done really well. She’s an intense character that commands the screen whenever she shows up and works really well as someone to fight Themistocles. Atermisia has a intense backstory, and it shows through her modern actions. Her intensity is just always turned way up.

Overall, I do want to see more of the war between Greeks and Persians told through an over the top style, but they need to make things better than the original 300.

Black Panther

Marvel’s Black Panther now has his own movie! First introduced really well in Captain America: Civil War, he is now the star. The Black Panther is T’Challa, king of a fictional African country known a Wakanda. Wakanda is traditionally isolationist and has technology far greater than what the world has.

The movie is fun and really Marvel. I wouldn’t say it’s groundbreaking, but I would say it’s solid and well-made. If you enjoyed the previous Marvel movies, this one is great. If you’re looking for something new, it won’t be here.

What this movie does have is great characters and a cool tour of Wakanda. They enjoyed crafting the country and showing it off to the viewers, and I enjoyed the trip. The country is a mixture of high tech and old traditions, and it combines into a dazzling visual style.

The characters are all great in this film. We get to see a softer side fo T’Challa, but he’s still stern and kingly when he needs to be. And you know from the beginning that T’Challa is ready to be king. This isn’t him learning about that. He does take other lessons from the movie.

The side characters are fun and engaging. T’Challa’s allies are all important. None of them could be removed without drastically changing the film. The villain, Klaue, is fun to watch. He just always seems to be having the best time. The other villain, Killmonger, is really well done. He makes some valid points while going too far to the extreme to achieve them. He’s menacing and out of place in Wakanda, but he knows how to get things done. The ending scenes with him is really fantastic.

But, the one character that stands out the most, M’Baku! Leader of the Jabari tribe! He’s the comical character of the movie, but he’s so much more than that. M’Baku is a leader, and he shows it. At the same time, he’s dismissive of the Black Panther while still being respectful. The man balances things just right to be entertaining all the time he’s on screen.

The movie does get repetitive, though. Like I said earlier, it’s a Marvel movie and follows a lot of the same style and story beats. But it also gets repetitive within itself. Certain events happen multiple times. Each time is important, but it still stands out.

Black Panther is still a great addition and really well done. The villain is engaging. The side characters are fun. Overall, a solid movie in an already-great Marvel Cinematic Universe.