WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020)

Eh.

Feels like an 80s movie through and through, from direction to VFX composition, it’s as much the aesthetic of the Donner-era Superman as anything else.

Thing is, there’s some super-sketchy political messaging in there regarding the Middle East, and the final hopeful climax of the film that sees all the people of the world renouncing their wishes to heal the chaos… well, it’s kinda far-fetched for 2020, even in a pulpy superhero film.

The pacing is slow and it treads on its own feet trying to tell you its themes rather than embodying them and there’s really no iconic moments that match the No Man’s Land sequence in the first.

As a blockbuster it’s fine. Serviceable, a bit naïvely optimistic and uncritical of the world it uses as its backdrop and regularly too-convenient in its plot devices. All tell, no show. Even the chemistry between Gadot and Pine is stunted compared to the last round. Pascal looks like he’s having fun, at least.

Dodgy CGI all over the place, but it’s a pandemic film so it’s hard to judge too harshly even though we have television shows with better output this year. Unfortunately it does the same videogame boss battle climax the last one did.

Overall, never really rises above “okay”. Hard to even find a lot to highlight — I watched this just hours ago and it’s already smudged together. Can’t even work up enough passion to rage post about it.

Probably skip it.

HARLEY QUINN (s01/02)

A motherf***ing charming, bloody delight.

You might feel inclined to dismiss this for its proximity to the aggressively mediocre SUICIDE SQUAD film, or that on the surface it looks wannabe-DEADPOOL edgy — it’s really anything but!

Think of it as Adult Swim-toned Elseworlds DC universe satire wrapped around a sort of romantic comedy and garnished with all the obscenities and gory violence they can cram in. I’m talking people decaptiated by an ice-skating routine and an alcoholic Commissioner Gordon obsessed with trying to make an emotionally distant Batman his bestie.

Thanks to sharp writing, tonnes of heart, a stellar voice cast and some of the funniest characterisations in the DC canon this one’s way better than expected.

Two seasons, fingers crossed for a third and beyond cos this is a gem.

BIRDS OF PREY (2020)

A movie with an identity crisis: trying at once to step away from the pre-existing DCU while at the same time still allowing itself to be shaped by it in all the wrong ways.

I don’t really care a whole lot for the sort of post-production face-tattoo neon-edgelord style that SUICIDE SQUAD had going on, and I really feel like this was a pretense deserving of a few more polish and tighten passes on the script and some snappier direction more akin to a SCOTT PILGRIM or a DEADPOOL than the fairly middling thing that’s happening here.

The titular “Birds of Prey” don’t even really enter into it until the last part of the final act for some fairly stagey action sequences and it never really coheres into the sort of character piece it wants to be. Everyone except Harley (Robbie, who looks like she’s having a blast) is just sort of “in the movie” for the most part.

There’s some good stunts and the performances hit all the notes but it’s cut together in a way that feels like an afterthought rather than an intention.

Low mid-tier DCU, not the worst, but felt (like Harley herself) to be too defined by the shadow it’s trying to escape from under.

REVIEW SPECTACULAR SIX

Somehow I’ve managed to run up a backlog of stuff to review while editing my novel, and I’ve not the time to paint up something for each of these so here’s a handy bundle all in one place!

JOHN MULANEY & THE SNACK LUNCH BUNCH
UNCUT GEMS
MARRIAGE STORY
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE
THE GOOD PLACE (finale)
BOJACK HORSEMAN (finale)
FINAL SPACE (s01)
WHAT DID JACK DO?
TITANS (s01/02)

Enjoy!

Continue reading “REVIEW SPECTACULAR SIX”

JOKER (2019)

I took a while getting around to this largely because the hyperbole was exhausting, and look, having literally just watched it, I still don’t really see the need for an origin story for a fundamentally enigmatic character, even if this is the best version of that story we were ever going to get.

It’s incredibly well shot and put together, Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is fantastic and there are real moments of greatness… but it didn’t really elevate into some magical realm of reverence for me like so much of the conversation about it was trying to convince me that it was.

It’s good, worth a watch, especially if you’re a fan of TAXI DRIVER. It’s a film that people are bound to take the wrong messages away from – every generation has a FIGHT CLUB except this is not quite as dark or brilliant as it wants to be.

SIDE NOTE: I’m interested to see if Matt Reeves/Robert Pattinson’s THE BATMAN is going to pick up in the continuity given this box office success.