Review: Shazam (2019)

8

“Billy Batson, I choose you as champion.”
– The Wizard

SYNOPSIS: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM. – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam. – via IMDB

I caught this on opening weekend and have just been faffing around about publishing. This wasn’t really on my radar until Zachary Levi was cast in it, and then I was sold. I mean really? Chuck Bartowski? Beyond sold! Then it was forgotten until a few months ago and I saw the trailer, and it looked like plenty of fun. When it was released, it was legitimately the first movie in months I was willing to go to the cinema to see. Glad I did.

Shazam certainly is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it. It is not the greatest movie of all time, but it is an easy watch. Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer have fantastic chemistry, and you can certainly tell that Levi is having a total ball. Asher Angel, too, is quite sweet as the young Billy Batson. I really liked how Victor and Rosa try to make a difference in these kids’ lives, and they seem to be such genuine, sweet people.

The third act of the movie is just a little bit too cheesy for my taste. It got a little bit too much and was a bit cringy, but not so much that it spoils the movie. I also feel that Mark Strong’s villain was very flat and generic and not really developed as much as he could have been. Also, some of the humour was most certainly geared at kids, but that isn’t really a problem because I think this is a great movie for kids.

Anyway, while Shazam has some issues, it is still amusing, and was certainly worth a watch.

Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

9

“If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”
– Tony Stark

SYNOPSIS: Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City. – via IMDB

Okay, so I finally got to this. I was not super amped to hear there was going to be yet another Spider-Man, because seriously, how many different ones? So I didn’t rush to the cinema for this and didn’t lap up all the news, except that a lot of people said it was good and that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man of all time. Well, uhm, no, actually. The movie is generic as all hell, and while Holland is good, Garfield still remains the Peter Parker/Spider-Man king to me. But we will get there.

I found this to be… so generic and forgettable and bland. Sorry, but I did, and I know this opinion probably won’t make me super popular among the “Marvel is King” crowd, but yeah. Okay, I know we didn’t get yet another origin story, and I am down with that and all, but I really don’t see the point of another Spider-Man movie just yet. Also, this movie is Tony Stark/Iron Man heavy, and instead of being a drawback (as it sometimes can, sometimes we just want to see the new movie), it actually helped a lot in this one, gave me something to look forward to. Tony and Pepper were what kept me watching, and I was thrilled to finally catch a glimpse of Pepper lately, it’s been too long.

Back to the movie… generic. The score wasn’t amazing, the movie was standard, it was overly long for what it was, it was annoying, Ned grated on me, too, and yeah, I don’t know, it was just totally unnecessary, in my opinion. I also didn’t like the new suit essentially being a Spider-Man one with the same inside engine type thing as the Iron Man suit and (seriously, Karen????) and so super tech heavy?! I didn’t really have fun with this, either. Most times you can at least have some mindless fun, but this just felt forced.

I don’t really have much to say about this except that it was passable. Yes, put together well and all that, it still doesn’t make it a good movie, and still a totally pointless affair for me. And no, I do not think Hollander is the best ever Spider-Man, but he is good.

Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

9

“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
– Diana Prince

SYNOPSIS: When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny. – via IMDB

So I am sure my husband and I were some of the few who did not see Wonder Woman in cinema. I didn’t expect much of it before it came, and I was really surprised when the rave reviews started pouring in, which piqued my interest. I then wanted to know if this was really as good as everyone was making it out to be. So finally we sat down to it and watched it, and I liked it (but didn’t love the crap out of it like most did).

This is probably one of the best DC films to come since Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. For reals. Warner Brothers churns out some fantastic trailers for these substandard films for sure, and it is a pity because DC has some super awesome stuff to bring to the table. Wonder Woman is certainly not perfect, but it definitely demonstrates a marked improvement on what we have so far.

Yes, yes, there is the strong feminist message here that has been discussed to death and debated back and forth, so I only want to touch on in long enough to say that it was really nice to see a female heroine, a woman to come in and own on screen, and Gadot did just that. She is impressive to watch here, and I certainly think she is a great casting choice. It is refreshing to see how a woman here can be strong while being feminine, optimistic, emotional and be allowed to cry and not be looked at as weak. The movie addressed how women have been dismissed for centuries, but it didn’t feel too preachy or anything, just showed that it is a bizarre concept, and that Diana was going to do her thing despite what society expected of her. I liked Gadot and Chris Pine together, I thought they shared some decent chemistry, though I really feel that their romance was a bit too brief and quick.

I feel that the CGI was a bit awkward and rather bad at the best of times, and I feel that the movie had an incredibly long run time that didn’t seem justified. It was really long, but didn’t feel like it actually used the time properly, if that makes sense? It was like not much happened, or was fleshed out properly. I guess we will just call that pacing issues. Also, the humour was quite cheesy at times, too.

I also felt a little cheated that Robin Wright was in and out so quickly – it made me think of how Bryan Cranston was used as a big selling point for Godzilla, and ultimately you are left feeling cheated. That being said, she was really good here. I thought that Hippolyta was quite annoying – she was overly possessive and came across as cowardly and not like a strong queen, which is a pity because I think that is because something here was rushed and not looked into quite properly.

Overall Wonder Woman is quite a decent watch. Not the perfect movie, and certainly not the first super strong woman we have seen on screen, but it is quite a fun watch. It didn’t feel too long, though there were some issues with what it felt like the movie contained afterwards, and had some good costume design. Gadot is particularly good here, and certainly has you interested in Wonder Woman – totally interested in seeing where she goes from here, and how she holds her own with the guys later on. I am looking forward to seeing what comes from future DC films, to see how Wonder Woman influences their marketing, writing, and implementation.