Incredibles 2 [a Film Review]

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The Incredibles franchise hits it out of the park once again with the sequel to the first film in 2004. 14 years later, not only does the first film still holds up as one of the best superhero films even among the over-saturated market of live-action superhero films, this sequel manages to find the formula to stay relevant, intriguing, respectful of the styles it draws from and resonate with the viewers that grew up with this superhero franchise.

Done with a stylistic homage of the post-war noir and 60s early morning cartoons in its art style, music and themes, Incredibles 2 retains elements that made the first film such a classic animated film while updating its themes to suit loyal viewers from the first film by giving each Parr family member enough character development for each growing viewer empathise with. Nostalgia, family values, social critique, adolescence, parenthood, they’re all there.

This is easily one of the best superhero sequels out there, and might even give Black Panther and Infinity War a run of their money as the best superhero film of 2018.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [a Film Review]

Insta-Review_FallenKingdom.jpgA lacklustre attempt at making us feel for these CGI creatures again, but comes off too similar to The Lost World with the tropes of a quirky couple, child in crisis, arrogant animal wrangler, dinosaurs loose on mainland, and a rooftop showdown.

The thing is Jurassic Park is a work of its time. The mixture of practical effects and CGI is a novelty in 1993. This early CGI allowed Spielberg to bring dinosaurs back to life, just like in the film. That makes Jurassic Park such a masterpiece. It is a work of its time.

Also, Jurassic Park has a deeper meaning of whether Man should play god and the consequences of crossing ethical and moral thresholds. Fallen Kingdom presents a chance to restart this franchise, or even, resolve this decades-old conundrum of genetics tampering. But it shits on these concepts by the end to give you a generic “monster on the loose” story.

P.S. They have teased us on that rejected Jurassic War concept of weaponised dinosaurs for two movies now. If they don’t show us an all-out war using dinosaurs in the third one (we all know it’s coming), I’m going to be pissed.

Solo: A Star Wars Story [a Film Review]

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It seems almost recent that the world had gone through a Star Wars craze (a controversial one), and yet, here we are at the next chapter of the decades-old franchise. This time, we explore the early days of one of the original trio, the scruffy-looking nerf-herder Han Solo.

Released at the start of the summer blockbuster season, one should go in just to have fun with the movie, and that is what it delivered. A fun, Western-inspired heist film. Released in May, Solo deviates from the usual December holiday season releases of the late slate of films, and rightfully so. Solo‘s not a family film, there are less heroes and more anti-heroes and “victors-of-circumstances”. Think of Solo as The Magnificient Seven or Fast & Furious, but INNN SPPPAACCEEE…

And now, to endure 19 months of Star Wars-lessness. Abrams, you better deliver, or we’ll maul you to death.

Deadpool 2 [a Film Review]

Insta-Review_Deadpool2.jpgRyan Reynolds promises the sequel to his first self-deprecating, fourth-wall-breaking superhero film to be “bolder and more risque” than ever. Deadpool 2 has everything you expect from a Deadpool sequel. From taking jabs at ensemble films while subverting that genre to recreating pop culture references, this film is a fun break from the somber superhero genre so far in 2018. The only problem comes in its attempt to be taken seriously as a film. A sequel to Deadpool probably isn’t the best platform for a commentary on mortality.
P.S. Stay for probably the funniest after-credits scenes ever.

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War [a Film Review]

Insta-Review_InfinityWar.jpgAfter 10 years of intricate planning and 18 films to flesh out the universe, Marvel Studios celebrates its 10th Anniversary (and the death of DCEU as a competitior) with a universal/cosmic-level event that threatens not just the cinematic world, but the way we watch movies too.

Joe and Anthony Russo (directors of Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War) take the helm of directing a film with 64 main characters from various sub-franchises within the MCU, carefully balancing screen time and narrative emphasis between A-List Hollywood stars. Rarely, would you see a scene between Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt and Benedict Cumberbatch without feeling any neglect of star power between them.

While the title is called Avengers: Infinity War, the narrative is clearly about new(old)comer Thanos (played by Josh Brolin). This may be his first main role in a film, be we have felt his presence ever since the first Avengers film, and he is here to make an impact.

There is not much you can discuss without going into spoilers territory, but the advertising campaign that this film “changes everything”, is greatly true. Unexpected arrivals and departures will leave you emotionally exhausted by the end.

The first Avengers might be fan’s dream come true, but Infinity War is here to make a statement, a nightmare-ish one, that leaves you emotionally distraught.

Ready Player One [a Film Review]

Insta-Review_ReadyPlayerOne.jpgTo make a film about nostalgic pop culture, one has to know nostalgic pop culture. Or at least create a good portion of it.

Steven Spielberg, whose films ARE nostalgia and pop culture, comes Ready Player One, an adventure film situated around the virtual world of Oasis, where nostalgia and pop culture never dies.

Based on the titular novel by Ernest Cline, Spielberg balances source material and real-world implications to create an accurate dystopian future where virtual reality is the only reality worth living in.

Not unlike Wreck-It Ralph, RP1 frames its storyline within a digital game that threatens both realities. Self-aware of video game tropes, RP1 arguably makes its case as one of the best video-game-based film out there. Perhaps the trick to be a good video-game film adaptation is to not even be one?

If you are a fan of Spielberg or pop culture, you will have lots of fun spotting the hundreds of cameos from all corners of pop culture.

P.S. Note the difference in resolution between the two realities. What does it say when virtual reality looks so much better than real life?