Quickie Reviews #15

 

Fantastic Four
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When reviews started coming out for this movie, I can’t say that I was surprised. Everything leading up to its release were like giant warning flags for me. I mean, they literally told the actors not to read the comics. This movie reeked of Fox trying to hold onto the film rights for the franchise rather than letting them slip back into Marvel’s hands. At this point, it might even be too late for Marvel to save these characters, after we’ve now had three absolutely abysmal film adaptations. The biggest bummer is, I might have liked this cast in a different FF movie. I’m not a huge fan of Miles Teller, but Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan, and Jamie Bell are all great actors that are completely wasted in this movie. No one has any personality, and the actors just look like they’re miserable the whole time. It’s a sad thing to watch.

It’s also important to point out that the bad guy isn’t introduced until the final 20 minutes of the 110 minute runtime. That’s completely bonkers. Seriously, they introduce the villain and then we’re immediately into the final battle, which doesn’t last very long and has absolutely zero impact. The stakes are certainly high, but only because the characters tell me that Doom is going to destroy the world. Nothing happening on the screen is dramatic or intense, and everyone has a vague bored look on their face. The movie’s sense of humor is also questionable. Miles Teller is doing his whole awkward Michael Cera bit and it’s hard to watch, and most of the dialogue between characters is cringe-worthy and on the nose. At one point, Victor von Doom, Reed Richards, and Sue Storm are arguing over something, and Doom says something particularly dark. Sue looks over at him and says “We’ve got Dr. Doom over here.” GET IT!? He’s a doctor, his last name is Doom, and his villainous alter-ego is Dr. Doom! She said his name but it’s not actually his name but it is! So tongue in cheek! I hated this movie.

4.4/10

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
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Poor Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. Hollywood keeps ramming them down our throats, and it just isn’t working. These guys just don’t have enough personality on camera, and that’s kind of the whole thing when you’re constantly playing young George Clooney roles. Even Alicia Vikander, who is usually a phenomenal actress, isn’t given anything interesting to do in this movie and comes off as kind of bland. As the stars of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., they all definitely fail. But for some reason it didn’t really hurt my enjoyment. Despite the unfortunate name (based on a comic book), this is a mostly fun, if kind of generic, Guy Ritchie directed spy movie.

The 60’s feel is definitely present in the costumes, tech, and atmosphere, and I loved that. However, the story surrounding the Cold War arms race and Nazi hold-outs feels unoriginal. The whole thing is a bit lifeless, and like stuff I’ve seen before in a dozen other movies. There just isn’t much special about this movie. The opening chase sequence is particularly good, and there’s some fun overhead camera work that helps heighten the intensity, but by and large it’s pretty forgettable. The ending is clearly trying to set up a franchise, but going from the mediocre performance at the box office, I’m not sure we’ll be seeing a sequel.

This review might sound overly harsh, but I actually enjoyed the movie despite its flaws. Maybe I’m just a sucker for spy nonsense and well-shot action. I remember the days of Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels when it looked like Guy Ritchie was going to take over the action movie world. Since then, he’s had mixed success. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. definitely won’t re-establish him as a spy movie auteur, but it’s still a fun time if you have a Sunday afternoon to kill.

7.7/10

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Season One
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When it came out, It’s Always Sunny felt like Seinfeld for a new generation. Nothing really happened, there certainly wasn’t an overarching story, and things generally reset every single week. It was a show about terrible people living their own self-absorbed lives, just like Seinfeld. Only It’s Always Sunny ramped everything up to 11.

Lasting only seven episodes and lacking the presence of Danny DeVito’s “Frank,” season one is on the weaker side of things for the show. There are still some great episodes (the show’s pilot still holds up quite well), but this definitely feels like the premiere season of a show still finding its footing. Plenty of topical issues like racism and abortion are tackled, and rarely in the manner you’d expect. But honestly, the most enjoyable thing is just watching these characters interact with each other. The staple formula seen in later seasons of “introduce scheme, team up, execute” isn’t really front and center, but that doesn’t stop the hijinks and insanity from happening. We were also introduced to the McPoyle brothers and Artemis in season one, which have been some of the strongest secondary characters on the show. It’s really fun to look back on how the show has changed over the years, and serves as great motivation for content creators to just get out there and make stuff. The show may be starting to show its age nowadays, but season one was the beginning of something special.

8.3/10

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