November Blind Spot Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012)

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bourne legacy poster

“Well, if you’re going to reprogram human genetic material, you need a delivery system, and nothing works better than virus. It’s like a suitcase.”
– Dr Marta Shearing

SYNOPSIS: Aaron Cross, a new hero, experiences life-or-death stakes that have been triggered by previous events. – via IMDB

bourne legacy

GRADE 6.5Okay, there we have it. I have finally watched this. After putting it off for so long. Like, forever, because you can’t stamp “Bourne” over something but discard of Matt Damon. Honestly, that’s how I feel. Well, watching this I could think only that this isn’t necessarily a bad movie at all, it just suffers heavily from being cast under the Bourne banner. The movie spent a lot of time establishing that this was going down concurrently with The Bourne Ultimatum, though at a later stage it flicks to Jason escaping, again, Pam Landy being in a lot of trouble, and this story continuing independently. Which would be fine, except what this story was relying on was probably one of the thinnest thread in movie history. Like, really. There is so much potential here, and they got the meat of it down, just the implementation of it was messy. Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross was definitely not like Bourne. Well, trained, maybe, and sporting a great jacket, but aside from that? Totally different. Maybe that has to do with the fact that the original Cross, who was in actual fact Kenneth James Kitsom, was a little bit slower than your average person. Not saying this offensively, he just comes across as more caring, softer. He was emotional. Yes, he will do what it takes to get away and all that, but Marie was initially a necessity for Jason, and that grew into something. I suppose the same could be argued for Cross and Marta Shearing, but it really isn’t the same. The logic didn’t quite follow as cleanly in this installment to the Bourne franchise. Case in point? When the “psychiatrist” started yelling, Marta should have realised something was amiss. One thing that really was super sad for me was seeing Kitsom before he became Cross. It was depressing and sad, and raised a whole bunch of other questions for me. Such as, if he was 12 points shy of the minimum requirement for the US Army, surely that means that he is not legally allowed to consent to them experimenting on him? I mean, if he cannot legally join the military, surely he cannot legally tell them to create a super soldier out of him? Just saying. Interesting avenue to explore right there. I found Cross to be quite endearing towards Marta, and Weisz and Renner worked well together. Renner was a great Cross, and I enjoyed his character quite a bit. There is potential to work with there. I think the biggest downfall of this is that Cross’s story feels like it was shoved in between Bourne’s stuff, to introduce him, but it was done sloppily, and his whole story was a giant thing of survive and get the drugs. No more, no less. I felt as if the exhilaration of the previous three films was missing here. Yeah, action involved for sure, but nothing that really thrills. Small gripe from me, too, is that there were times were there were very awkward attempts at subtle humour. As I said, not necessarily an awful film, it’s just not really a Bourne film. I suppose, like The Godfather: Part III, if you look at it as something that does not belong to the canon, then it isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. But if you compare it to its namesake, it will fall quite short of the mark.

 

Rapid Review: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

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birdman poster

“Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige.”
– Mike Shiner

SYNOPSIS: A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play. – via IMDB

birdman bang
GRADE 8There was hype around this movie, but it was something I had been waiting for and looking forward to see, then it released and got rave reviews. I had to know now if the cast was worth getting excited over the movie for. Let me tell you, it was. I loved the comedic aspect to Birdman, it was sharp and dark with a dash of quirk, and I liked it for the most part, though it certainly isn’t my favourite film or the next best thing I have seen in ages. Birdman was carried by a great cast. In all honesty, I wanted to see this specifically for Emma Stone and Edward Norton, both whom I absolutely love to watch. It all paid off. Michael Keaton delivers a powerhouse performance and just owned his role. I had a giggle to see Norton play an actor who is so difficult to work with, especially when he has a reputation of being so much like that in real life. Naturally, he was worth the watch every second he was on screen, and the interactions between him and Keaton’s Riggan were just fantastic. Emma Stone really sunk her teeth into the role of pissed off, drugged out, damaged daughter and she managed to rock that role, too. She’s just so good to watch, no matter what. My other half specifically commented on the camera work in this film, so now I will have to make mention of it. He loved the feeling it gave you and the way it made the whole movie look and feel different, and he was right. The incessant drum score worked, too, and it had all the potential to fail but never actually went there. I liked how, watching Birdman, it was aware of being a film but also brought in so many real life aspects (looking specifically here at Keaton’s career and choices and Batman as well as Norton and his reputation of being difficult to work with). It’s like… a film being real being film. I don’t know how to explain it properly, but those who have seen this will understand. Cara gave a wonderful explanation of this if you want to know a little more in her review of the film. I enjoyed Birdman and thought it was well worth looking into, though I can see how some people aren’t going to like it. As much as I liked this, though, I also feel that there is some extreme over-hyping going on over it. It is definitely going to lose out with some viewers who won’t appreciate everything, but overall it’s a nice watch.

Review: The Avengers (2012) – Overhyped and underwhelming

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The following statement will be deemed heresy by the firm believers in the franchise, the fans and my friends: I was seriously underwhelmed by The Avengers.

I heard about it for months. It was everywhere. I did not see it in theatre, although many of my friends did and went back repeatedly. I was not that desperate to see it, I would wait for the DVD release, after all, The Dark Knight Rises was my extreme freak-out superhero movie for the year.

Just before the release of The Avengers, I rewatched all the movies pertaining to what would become the crime fighting squad. I own both Iron Man movies (big time Robert Downey, Jr junkie, I love his work), and started with them. I progressed to Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was duly impressed (aside from the fact that I am still trying to reconcile Chris Evans being both Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers – I sort of expected to hear “flame on” come up somewhere) with the role that Chris Evans portrayed. He was what I would have expected for a Captain America, and he aced it. It was believable. The movie was entertaining. Then there was Thor. I really like Norse mythology, so this promised to be a treat. Not really. It was ok.

Hulk out

Superhero movies so often fall short of the mark. They are alright to a point, and sometimes are not even semi-decent. Of all the movies, I skipped The Hulk. I watched the Eric Bana one when it was released, and I was not thrilled about it, but I refuse to subject myself to watching Edward Norton do it (I respect him far too much to watch the flawed logic of a brilliant scientist go daft when he hulks out). My friends keep telling me it is not so bad, and a friend’s father, who is big into his comic books and especially the Hulk, said that Edward Norton was definitely worth seeing in that film. Aside from that, I was now ready for The Avengers.

THE PLOT (very roughly):

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), S.H.I.E.L.D. director, gathers a group of crime fighters together when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his followers decide to invade Earth. Loki has teamed up with the Chitauri Army, and have stolen the Tesseract to open portals to Earth. Loki starts up with some mind control of a crazy different level, and S.H.I.E.L.D. soon realizes that the Avengers might be the only way to survive it all.

Thor and CoulsonThe Avengers Initiative is back on track, and Norse god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets with the rest of the freshly assembled team: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is Iron Man, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is the Hulk, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is Captain America, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) is Black Widow, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is Hawkeye. They meet to stop his stepbrother’s insane plans.

Despite all their differences and separate ways of dealing with things, the group needs to band together to stop Thor’s stepbrother Loki from taking over the world. They would be doomed should it happen. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is slightly overwhelmed to have the entire team together, as he is fans of most of theirs. Loki is intent on destroying Earth in the most public and humiliating way – to have the people become his slaves, and though Nick Fury has gathered them all together, the Avengers project seems dead in the water before takeoff has even been established.

Iron Man and Captain America

When the ages just don’t correspond

Loki is brought into custody, and plans go awry when Thor is convinced that he can reason with his brother, and talk him out of the disaster he is setting them all up for. Many things would (naturally) go wrong, nothing can be as simple as someone wanting to take over Earth and just quickly apprehending the traitor. A death in the unit brings the members closer, and gives them a common goal to fight for. Together they work on their strong points and try to work out the bad points, leading them to becoming a great unit of heroes.

Thor and Captain America the Avengers

Fighting for Earth

Earth has long since needed saviours such as the Avengers, but now is the time. Loki holds the key to closing the portal to ensure his defeat: his staff. Manhattan is in danger of being permanently eradicated due to Loki’s presence within it. Will the Avengers be able to stand up to him, to defeat him without bloodshed, and restore  Earth back to its calm and peaceful ways?

THE VERDICT:

Overall, I give it a 6.5/10. You know, I got home, all excited. It was time. I was going to have my mind blown. I was going to be super impressed. I was not. I was not pulled into the movie to that extreme at all. The cast was solid and phenomenal, the story was pretty much non-existent, and there were inexplicable inconsistencies with the story lines. The humour was, however, entertaining (at times, when it was not too childish), the effects were good, but that was it. It is not a dreadful movie, not by a long shot, but I cannot comprehend why people went so ballistic about it. I did, however, think that Mark Ruffalo played the best Hulk I have ever really seen on film, so well done. I don’t think I would have been as disappointed had it not been called the movie of the decade, best thing this year, blah blah blah. It was overplayed, that is all there really is to say about it. I thought The Dark Knight Rises was way better, and not just because I am a fan, but because it was way more consistent.