Review of “Fantastic Four” — Just See the Damn Movie. It’s Fantastic.

I’m kicking off this review with an informal letter to director Josh Trank: Come on, man. Don’t go cannibalizing your product by turning around and calling it shit just after everyone else started to. Besides, attacking the studio won’t help save your career. Just own what you made, because it was amazing.

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Here’s the truth of the matter: Fantastic Four takes a long time to get going. It’s only got a single action scene. Very few relationship tropes are achieved over the course of the movie. And for all those reasons, it’s probably the best origin story I’ve seen in ages.

Why do people hate it? Let’s go down the list. For each item, I’ll give a rebuttal of why I think it made the movie great.

1.) “The characters don’t develop.”

Some people are whining that Miles Teller and Kate Mara don’t bang by the end of this movie. Seriously, though? These kids have some brief moments of “will they or won’t they” in the beginning, much like any teens might have when they’re testing the waters. But priorities shift when they crack inter-dimensional travel, acquire super mutations, etc. Those are the sort of events that might stop a campy teen romance from developing, people. Biological anomalies and pressure from the government to be turned into a human weapon, as well as the impending threat of Doom, might impede on a shitty romance subplot. It’s a realistic sacrifice; get over your addiction to cliches.

2.) “Not enough action.”

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There’s no argument that there’s little action. A single fight at the end is all that the movie builds up to. But there are two things worth mentioning here: the final fight is a worthy conclusion to an extremely solid, slow-burn origin story and secondly, rumor has it there were meant to be more fights. Now, I’m not going to regard that last point because it doesn’t matter what was meant to be rather than what’s actually IN the final product, but understand that the rumor mill claims Trank wanted three fights and Fox chopped the third act in some weird ways. Regardless, I honestly loved the single fight aspect. It made the event feel far grander than it actually was, when for the first time in the whole movie, the heroes had an obstacle as great as them to overcome. If they’d managed to fight three different fights by the end of this movie, it wouldn’t really have been an origin on them getting their collective shit together, now would it? A single fight to unite them once and for all, though, was awesome. It capped off a slow sci-fi flick with some comic book elements about five young adults going through some insane shit together.

3.) “The main cast is bad.”

While I will admit I was a little let down by Miles Teller who occasionally gave off the impression that he was just in it for the paycheck, the other five main members of the cast were great. Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell and Reg E. Cathey all brought their A-game, and blended well together. And sure, they might not have been written as the overly common in-sync super team we were expecting, but that’s because they were written as individuals with flaws that needed overcoming. They were written as REAL PEOPLE, and most audience members can’t accept that, it seems.

4.) “Doom sucked.”

Shut up, right now. Doom was honestly the best comic book movie antagonist I’ve ever seen, tying with the Joker (TDK) and Zod (MoS). Some might call that statement blasphemy, but hear me out: *SPOILER ALERT* he does what no Marvel antagonist has had the balls to do thus far, which is actually try to achieve his goals. Douchey government guy standing in his way? Doom just stares at him and BLOWS UP HIS HEAD. Innocent nurse blocking his path? Head blown up. Red was painting the walls by the time Doom started his killing spree, with little chunks bursting and shit. It was gruesome, and for the first time in comic book movie history, I was actually slightly frightened (the primary goal of a comic book villain!!!). The Joker wasn’t scary because we knew Batman would win, with the same caveat applying for Zod, though the latter did tear shit up before the inevitable save-the-day sequence. Doom, though, managed to suspend my disbelief to the point where I genuinely thought he had a chance at winning and ending the movie on a sour cliffhanger. I’ll be surprised if I ever feel that kind of suspense again. Not to mention his origin of being a computer nerd who plays Assassin’s Creed Unity wasn’t unbelievable, far from it. It was a classic tale of a kid with great potential squandering his life away behind a screen. An overall excellent modern adaptation of Doom.

5.) “The movie is too slow.”

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Boo-hoo! I’m sorry this couldn’t be Spider-Man reboot #36 for you, where within the first thirty minutes he’s knocking out subway goons, zapping the Green Goblin’s mouth shut, etc. This movie tried to be Interstellar with a comic book conclusion, which meant that cheap action would have to be exchanged for a slow-burn sci-fi build. And, in my opinion, the gambit paid off. I cared more at the end simply because I hadn’t seen the heroes tested up to that point. It was methodically slow, in the best of ways.

Those are my retorts as a contrarian. I honestly liked this movie just a hair more than Ant-Man, to give you a frame of reference as to how I really feel (and I absolutely loved Ant-Man) about Fantastic Four. The soundtrack is phenomenal, the CGI is effective (and looks slightly more real based solely on how little of it crops up until the finale), the characters are believable and great, and everything is just awesome. Yes, if you want a run-of-the-mill action-churning, light-hearted origin story Fantastic Four will let you down. But if you want something unique, a movie that tried to be more than just a regular shitty comic book flick, give F4 a try. Just like Ant-Man was more heist than it was comic book, this is more sci-fi than superhero. And against all the critics, I for one will say it was a fantastic ride.

Review of “Terminator: Genisys”

It’s mediocre. Go for Schwarzenegger, or don’t go at all.

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There are a bevy of issues with Genisys, and there’s so many to get through that I don’t think I’ll have time to put them in a proper, well-formatted order. Instead, here they are as they cross my mind.

1.) The CGI is garbage

I cannot believe a high-profile movie like Terminator: Genisys has the worst CGI I’ve seen so far this year. Fucking Spy did special effects better. SPY.

2.) Emilia Clarke was baaaaad

Of course Schwarzenegger was going to be a boss, no one expected any less. Jason Clarke was awesome, just like he always is. Even Jai Courtney was good. JAI WAS GOOD. If he can be good for once, how could anyone possibly be bad? Well, Emilia Clarke showed us how. She played a Sarah Connor unintentionally suffering from bipolar disorder. One moment she’s acting like a wannabe stoic heroine, the next she’s crying naked in the locker room as Jai sweet-talks her. Honestly, while I haven’t seen Game of Thrones, from what I’d heard Emilia was supposedly really good. She doesn’t show it here, at all. But then again… in that show you got to see her tits, so maybe that is warping peoples opinions? Here there was just a lame push-up bra scene and one hilarious moment where they tried to show her full boobs but you could actually see her wearing pasties. Christ, the poor camera work.

3.) There’s no reason for this movie to exist, going by its own plot

The plot has a MASSIVE flaw right from the get-go. The machines have this secret weapon that can instantly win them the war right from the beginning, yet they only use it, once, when the humans are about to overcome them. This is literally just to set up a save-the-world plot, with zero accountability on the writers’ part. The machines could’ve used this weapon a thousand times over years before the human strike team attacked their top secret facility and erased every timeline where a rebellion survived, all before the first five seconds of this movie began rolling. But nooooo, just because the words ‘time travel’ are thrown around a lot, we’re expected to overlook this fact.

4.) It’s just a series of events

Not in the nice, flowing way certain movies pull off. Here, it’s just ‘thing happens, cut to next thing, big thing segues this thing’. It’s like they just made a two hour collection of trailer shots and called it a movie. Cool idea, not at all acceptable execution.

5.) While I’m yelling about the writing and plot, might as well point out the dialogue here is atrocious

I feel like a small fraction of the reason I tore Emilia’s horrible performance to shreds up above is because the writing is god-awful. I at least applaud her for not cringing every time she said something, because if it were me I’d be vomiting after the first table read. This dialogue is some of the worst, most immersion breaking dialogue I’ve ever heard. Seriously, it’s like the writers just looked up “shit ten-year-olds hear in action movies and think sounds cool or emotional” and compiled the top fifty quotes from that list into this movie.

6.) Stupid cliches up the ass

Why, why why why why why does every movie have to have some dramatic, emotional dialogue while the immediate threat is, like, five hallways away? At one point Emilia Clarke is giving this kid some long hand-holding cuddle session on a stairwell to make him feel good or something, while the terminator is marching towards them ready to slice and dice their squishy human flesh. This is the dumbest cliche on the planet. In real life, would you hold a little stairwell circle-jerk session right as a MORPHING ROBOT OF DEATH is on the same floor and coming to kill you and everyone you care about? No, you wouldn’t!

7.) Movie includes the star child from Mass Effect 3

You remember that little glowing blue piece of shit kid that ruined the end of Mass Effect 3 for you? He’s here at the end of Terminator: Genisys to ruin it as well (in case everything else listed here didn’t already). Seriously, star child is in this movie. Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh.

8.) The trailers really DID spoil the best part

Usually, over-marketing doesn’t bother me. I’ll watch the main three trailers for a movie, and maybe a TV spot or two, but otherwise I’ll hold off specifically because I know movies love to put half their runtime up on Youtube these days. To be honest, The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s trailers didn’t ruin that movie for me. Avengers: Age of Ultron, while still a shit movie, was not preemptively ruined for me because of the three main trailers. Yet Terminator: Genisys decided to include the ONE COOL TWIST IN THIS MOVIE in the second trailer. Not even the third. The second. Trailer. And, having now seen the flick in its entirety, I can say that it was in fact the absolute single clever twist this movie had going for it. Sigh.

9.) This movie can’t suspend disbelief for shit

There’s a helicopter chase where Jai Courtney is being hunted by Jason Clarke, and it’s horrible. The helicopters, besides being constructed of sloppy CGI, handle better than an Iron Man suit; making INSANE turns and whipping around faster than Superman ever could. It’s ridiculous and totally takes you out of whatever experience kind of existed before this scene.

10.) No, really, you don’t understand how bad the CGI was

Within the first five movies you see electricity effects and a CGI recreated younger Arnold, and they ACTUALLY look like assets plucked out of an animated movie. Seriously, the lightning from the finale of Back to the Future was better. That movie is 30 years old. This movie is three days old.

Aaaaand that about sums up everything I have to say about Terminator: Genisys, as far as gripes go. In terms of compliments… well, like I said above, Arnold was boss. Jason Clarke is my main man through and through, and definitely puts on the best show (besides Schwarzenegger). He also gets the best scene (it’s the one where he’s getting sucked into a thingy, but you can see that IN THE TRAILER). Other compliments… um… some of the action was cool. Hans Zimmer does an okay job composing a score, for someone whose music is starting to sound like a collection of factory-produced “bwaaaaahs” rather than meaningfully crafted soundtracks.

THIS is the cool scene from the trailer that I mentioned in the above paragraph.

THIS is the cool scene from the trailer that I mentioned in the paragraph above.

Who am I kidding, just don’t go and see the movie. As Schwarzenegger might say, “I’ll be back”. To which I might respond: hopefully not, Arnold. Or at least, not like this.

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront Will Suck

UPDATE 10/8/15: Read my firsthand impressions fresh off playing the beta!

It’s a sad day when I have to make this article. Battlefront, as a series, is one my favorite of all time, if not my number one pick. The first two games were absolute masterpieces, and after seeing the rubbish Star Wars Battlefront Hoth demo at E3 2015, I reinstalled SWBF2 just to see how poorly the series’ reboot stacked up. Turns out, the original two are still as fun as ever and the reboot’s situation is worse than I thought.no_text_-_Star_Wars_Battlefront_Key_Art.0.0

5.) DLC plans before the game launches. Now, this is pretty low on the list since it’s (sadly) become industry standard, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sickening, still. The question jingling around in my head right now is, what content is being preemptively cut to be sold back to us as DLC? Which maps are being developed but won’t be included in the base $59.99 game even though they’ll be done before release?

4.) It’s made by DICE. These guys are very good at what they do, which is one thing in particular: making first person Battlefield games. Not third/first person-meshing BattleFRONT games. The footage that’s been shown already reeks of what looks like a Star Wars themed Battlefield knock-off, because that’s all it’s going to be, if we’re honest with ourselves. It’s not going to recapture the magic of the originals. Not to mention Hoth’s map design from the E3 demo looks awful. In the originals, Hoth was a sprawling, wide map of ice and snow that mixed tight corridor battles with tons of room for open, snowy field conflict. The E3 demo has the AT-AT’s walking down single file lanes like we’re in a fucking bowling alley, and an absurd overemphasis on trench warfare. That is not Hoth.

3.) Barely any content included with the game. We’re talking a handful of multiplayer maps (eight, if we’re lucky?) and a few throwaway single player/co-op missions. That’s it. Like, even Titanfall had the smarts to include 15 multiplayer maps out of the gate. This is just despicable, considering it’s going to go for full retail price. We’re reaching Evolve levels of bullshit here (that game just announced its second season pass by the way, lmfao).

2.) No space battles, no single player campaign, no Republic era factions. So, on top of having very little content to begin with, this all comes at the cost of cutting out some of the best aspects of SWBF1 and 2, specifically Battlefront 2‘s amazing space combat. We will not be flying transport ships into enemy carrier hangars and setting loose Rebel brigades aboard Imperial Star Destroyers. Not to mention we won’t even be allowed to play as the clones or CIS, meaning no droidekas (the best class in the entire series), no General Grievous, no bad-ass green plated clone jet troopers, none of it.

1.) Everything, absolutely everything, is wrong with it. They are tarnishing a legacy, solely to get this game out by the time Star Wars Episode 7 lands in theatres so they can make a quick license cash-in buck. It’s disgusting, looking at the corners they are cutting. No space battles, no Republic era, no single player campaign, no offline instant action mode, the third person perspective looks gimped beyond belief, the map design we’ve seen so far is appalling, there’s LITERALLY NO NEW FEATURES to the core gameplay (at the end of the E3 demo it ended with a pre-rendered clash between Vader and Luke, but I doubt they’ll even include Jedi v Sith capabilities in the game. And even if they did, Star Wars Battlefront 2 already beat them to it), and the overall thing is just turning out to be a travesty. If I can play as an Ewok with 4K resolution hair follicles thanks to shiny 2015 graphics, that’ll be the only saving grace in this embarrassment of a reboot.

Best Commenter Ever on Kotaku

Today in my haste to figure out whether to purchase Devil May Cry or Crysis 3, I discovered a fantastic review on Kotaku. Not only was the review itself of DMC fantastic, but so was a comment by a user named “Yankton”. Click here if you want to see the comment firsthand on Kotaku.com, it’s at the very bottom of the page, lefthand corner. Or, stay tuned as I quote it:

“I am the Devil Nephal, Apostate and feeder upon game hobbyists impotent anger. It is I who set the wheels in motion of a Devil May Cry reboot -lo, a thousand years before the birth of the Nazarene. My seed has borne fruit and I grow fat upon the red rage I suck like nectar through the internet tubes. Now sated, I go to slumber for an age. Only to awaken to reap the cruel harvest of my Pong reboot, the original of which will inexplicably find renewed popularity in the early 30th century.” -Yankton

All giggles aside, I ended up getting Crysis 3. A review will be coming in the near future.