The whole production just works. Steinfeld, Lendeborg, and Cena are extremely likable leads, and there’s a soul and an innocence to Bumblebee that was never present in any of the previous Transformers.
Into the Spider-Verse really is the ultimate Spider-Man film in a lot of ways, the one that crystallizes the character’s moral philosophy, his life lessons, his arachnid athleticism, and his quirky sense of humor into one hugely appealing package. It’s pure dorky fun.
Instant Family didn’t just exceed my low expectations; it obliterated them. It’s the kind of honest, human comedy that’s so rare from Hollywood these days that when one finally comes along, you sit there in the theater in slack-jawed amazement and wonder: How does a movie like this happen?
The first Fantastic Beasts was a bit of a mess. The second one is actively bad. The longer this spinoff franchise goes on, the more damage it does to the legacy of the Harry Potter series — which knew not to overstay its welcome. Fantastic Beasts 2 has plenty of spells, wands, and wizards — and absolutely no magic whatsoever.
Creed II is very much a Rocky sequel. It’s bigger, louder, and more over the top than its predecessor, with a more formulaic story and more absurd boxing matches. It’s satisfying as a pop confection, but it’s not as special or as rich as its predecessor.
Ralph 2 does offer the action, racing, and goofy pop cultures jokes expected of this kind of Disney animated feature. It’s just that along the way it also has a very heartfelt theme about the complexities of longterm friendship, and a timely message about what happens when seemingly strong men begin to feel weak and threatened.
Although Malek looks the part, and has Freddie’s dance moves down, his performance is all stiff British accent and overbite (Mercury was born with four extra teeth). Singer never gets beyond the superficial to tell us anything profound or meaningful about Queen or Freddie Mercury or the perils of rock stardom.
If you are going to Venom for cool superhero action — or for compelling characters, pulpy science-fiction, impressive special effects, a parable about corporations run amok, or a single significant connection to Spider-Man — you will be sorely disappointed. If you can look past all of that (and the dreadful first hour), your reward is Hardy, delivering one of the all-time great unhinged performances.
The edges are certainly rough; the sound quality changes from line to line and occasionally from word to word. But a lot of that works into the film’s mixed-media approach, and to its overall mood of a life that is rapidly falling apart, held together by a thread that is unraveling before our very eyes.
Lots of mystery hangs in the air of the El Royale, but when all is said and done there aren’t a ton of surprises in Bad Times at the El Royale’s story, or the way that story is told. Even with a bunch of twists, things progress largely how you expect, only slower.
The fights and shootouts are too choppy to be clear and too bloody to be fun. It’s basically an over-caffeinated lecture about geopolitics with frequent cutaways to grisly murders. It didn’t necessarily need a page one rewrite, but a better and less hectic edit could have done wonders.
Although Teen Titans Go! to the Movies is ostensibly about spoofing superheroes and their hoariest clichés, the film is loaded from top to bottom with loving Easter eggs from DC Comics history.... As a result, it’s actually a far more affectionate portrait of comic books — and a more persuasive argument in favor of their escapist pleasures — than any of the so-called “serious” DC movies.
After two decades, Fallout might be the finest film in the series. (To me, it’s a toss-up between this and Ghost Protocol.) Either way, Mission: Impossible is clearly the best ongoing action franchise in the world. And nothing else even comes close.
The’re not a lot of momentum to Hotel Transylvania 3; this is a children’s film after all. But the character and location designs are inventive and appealing, and there are several memorable set pieces, including a wordless scuba diving sequence that draws heavy inspiration from classic Warner Bros. cartoons.