Fans occasionally refer to Shazam as “The Big Red Cheese” and this movie is very faithful to the spirit of that nickname. It’s warm and sentimental about blended families, and it sincerely believes in the importance of being a hero and doing the right thing. It’s got plenty of goofy kid-gets-to-play-superhero-for-real humor. And other than some friction between Levi and Asher’s performances, it all works.
Captain Marvel itself has none of that rebellious spirit. It takes very few risks in the way that something like Thor: Ragnarok did, beyond the fact that it is the studio’s first blockbuster with a female hero in the lead. Personally, I like my movies about rule breakers to actually break some rules.
The cast was the original’s greatest asset, and every single character of note is back, along with the original film’s mordant sense of humor and surprisingly charming sentimentality. Best of all, 2U weaponizes your knowledge of the original — your confidence that you have seen this all before and you know what’s going to happen — and uses it against you.
Alita barely considers any of the existential questions about humanity that are typically central to this kind of sci-fi film. It’s just a slick action film. That is one way, at least, it does feel like a Robert Rodriguez movie.
Very cute and very sweet. There was that part of me, though, that kept thinking about the first LEGO Movie, and how much of a genuine Hollywood aberration it seemed — if not a flat-out miracle. The Second Part is fine, but even its title suggests it’s more cog in the machine than disrupter.
I sat watching Fyre in a state of amused disbelief (while, yes, occasionally taking the Lord’s name in vain). There’s not too many places to see this much madness, ego, greed, and full-on stupidity on display at the same time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.