Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
Wonder Woman (2017)
Gal Gadot breathes life into the character of Diana, exalting her emotion and perseverance
In the fourth entry into the DC Extended Universe, Gal Gadot lights up the screen as the pure and brave Diana. The film begins with rather clunky exposition to establish who Diana is, where and what she represents, etc. Although essential to her character development, the first 20 minutes or so are rather painful to sit through, as there is nothing kinetic or noteworthy about the first few scenes on the Amazons' island. However, once the plot is jump-started to life by the arrival of Chris Pine's character, an American acting as a spy within the German ranks, this movie finally begins to bloom.
Gadot and Pine's chemistry is immediately recognizable, and a funny and thought-provoking scene on the sailboat is one of the highlights of the film. The rest of the acting is perfectly decent, but the two leads are downright extraordinary that it almost detracts from the supporting cast. Gadot in particular is perfect for the part: she was born to be Wonder Woman. She flows seamlessly from being the fish out of water to the fearless war hero; her consistent interpretation of the role was crucial to the success of the narrative especially considering most comic book origin stories have the hero evolve too quickly and/or drastically.
The action scenes are often plagued by cheesy slow-motion cuts, which would have worked much better in a lighter movie. Unfortunately, the confusing contrast between Diana's fervent battle prowess and her soft spot for preserving humanity was not readily apparent, and the way the action was shot further shed light on this flaw. On the bright side, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how refreshing most of the action set pieces were. A lesser filmmaker would have opted for larger, less intimate scenes, but director Patti Jenkins made the right call by focusing on tight, mostly self-contained battles where Diana's fighting carried more emotional weight.
The key success of the movie, besides Gadot's performance, is definitely what it has to say about humanity through its depiction of the final months of World War One. Even though many creative liberties were taken in regards to the actual historical events, "Wonder Woman" is the first DCEU film to succeed in matching its dark tone to a quality, easily-digested message. The revelations about the villain Ares, although predictable and not all that groundbreaking, rang true because of how well the film allows the viewer to see the conflict as Diana does.
"Wonder Woman" does have a few flaws, but thankfully it doesn't inherit too many from the three previous DCEU films. Nonetheless, the villain Ares suffers the same fate as nearly every comic book villain: pure evil and chaos with no nuance. The final battle between Diana and Ares, while visually passable, is too long, too flashy, and honestly boring. After watching Diana nimbly weave her way through German soldiers for the entire movie, being subjected to watch her awkwardly throw herself at Ares is really unsatisfying.
All things considered, "Wonder Woman" succeeds because it channels more emotion and less eye candy than its peers. It devotes itself wholeheartedly to trying to be different on a narrative level, to meld the otherworldly power of the superhero with the conscience and soul that all people naturally have. Diana just so happens to be the perfect superhero to perform this with, due to how well she can oscillate between compassion and courage; between empathy and valor.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
The new Alien film adds weak scares, keeps idiotic characters, and removes philosophical heft
After confusing a large portion of the audience with the nonsense-rich, Alien-scarce prequel film "Prometheus", Ridley Scott has caved to the complaints and pivoted the franchise in a different, horror-oriented direction with plenty of Alien creatures running around. Unfortunately, the dearth of Alien creatures was not the downfall of "Prometheus", as Scott apparently perceived. Instead, "Prometheus" failed on account of incredibly careless character decisions, frustratingly little plot elucidation, and implicitly assuring the audience that the sequel would fill in the missing parts. Guess what? All three of these flaws return and are perhaps even amplified in the prequel-sequel "Alien: Covenant".
In this addition to the franchise, a colonization ship called the Covenant is speeding towards an Earth-like planet that has been carefully vetted beforehand. The ship is carrying thousands of colonists and human embryos, as well as 15 crew members. On the way, a seemingly random stellar outburst halts the journey, and in the aftermath, a signal from a nearby, similarly Earth-like planet is recognized to be a John Denver song by one of the crew. Soon after, the crew nearly unanimously decides to abandon the primary mission of the original destination and instead visit the new planet on a whim. Why? Because then the movie wouldn't have happened. This marks the first infuriating folly of the universally stupid protagonists.
What follows is a rather impressive combination of both horror and science fiction clichés. First, the crew neglect waiting in orbit to inspect the planet in detail, but instead forge on during a raging hurricane and land in a random spot on the planet. Why? Because then the movie wouldn't have happened. Next, the colonists embark on an improvised trek across the surface without any helmets, armor, or precaution. Why? Because then the movie wouldn't have happened. After this the horror movie clichés roll in: man goes to "take a leak" and gets killed. Woman goes to "get cleaned up" and gets killed. De facto leader of the group takes a walk to "clear his thoughts" and gets killed. I know I'm paraphrasing but in the actual movie it's even more flagrant because the characters are both careless and dumb. It's impossible to convince me that the people chosen to helm a monumentally important expedition to an exoplanet are this uninterested in showing caution and exhibiting common sense. Worse yet, they never take the opportunity to clearly communicate to each other the graveness and deadliness of the Alien threat, which would have saved many of their lives and allowed for, in my opinion, more interesting subplots in which the humans have the upper hand.
When the bodies begin to pile up and the scares finally come, they are not unwelcome at first, since the gore effects and sound design of the movie are very good. However, there is no suspense and no real meaning behind the kills. The audience already knows and more importantly has already seen the biological wreckage that the Aliens can cause. It doesn't really matter how cool the kills are because the movie doesn't go above and beyond the original which came almost 40 years prior. It simply rehashes it.
Besides all this, the acting is good, and Michael Fassbender in particular is very good. His performance as both the suddenly evil David and the supposedly pure Walter is beautiful to watch. If you're a fan of his, please see this movie. If not, I can't find much else about the movie to recommend. The sequence in which the heroes escape back to the Covenant is actually very thrilling, but the final battle and the ultimate ending of the film is extremely rushed and is definitely the safest possible conclusion. There also exist a couple scenes that were very obviously shot just for the trailer and for some reason made it to final cut, which is bizarre, as films that Ridley Scott produces are usually well-edited.
The most mind-boggling thing about the movie by far, however, is how it relates to its predecessor. Although in hindsight I can see that there is not much that indicates a resolution to "Prometheus" in the trailers and pre-release publications, prospective viewers for the most part were hopeful for answers. Sadly, there are very few. Shaw, the protagonist of "Prometheus", doesn't make an appearance besides a photograph. There is a very pronounced thematic shift away from the ambitious "where did we come from?" question and towards the motif of the cycle of creation and destruction. These new themes aren't bad, but it's a little insulting to completely retcon elements of the first movie in order to have this movie, which finds itself bloated with half-hearted horror and missing philosophical intrigue.
All in all, "Alien: Covenant" was a triple disappointment. One, it failed to capitalize on the inclusion of more Alien scares by regressing back to familiar territory that we've already seen in many of the original films from last century. Two, the frustratingly incompetent and frankly stupid characters are still here from "Prometheus", and this time there are even more instances of illogical decisions. Three, Ridley Scott gave up trying to explain the previous film and took the easy way out, both alienating fans that wanted more of "Prometheus" and disappointing fans that just wanted something fresh.
It Follows (2014)
That one scene in Toy Story is scarier than this whole movie. I am not exaggerating.
Wow, this movie is something else. To start, the fact that it's claiming to be a horror film is borderline insulting to the viewer considering it has absolutely nothing remotely unsettling in its one hundred minute duration. Honestly, this film is so aggressively not scary that I'm impressed the director somehow got a studio to sell this as a horror movie. Seriously, who would genuinely get so petrified by some dude that incessantly follows you at half a mile per hour? Hasn't the guy who wrote this ever been to Baltimore?
Anyways, besides the complete lack of scares, the film also fails on nearly every other level. Both the cast and the monster are forgettable in every way. I can't decide which characters are given less backstory: the adolescents or "It". All the viewer knows about these elements are the humans' names and the mechanism by which "It" is transmitted. That's all. Why should I be rooting for the characters if the writers purposely made them so surface-deep?
Concerning the film's style and tone (which critics apparently couldn't praise enough), I thought it was lukewarm, although I will admit the score was the one thing I could begin to attempt to use the word "good" to describe. Unfortunately, no film can subsist on style alone. There is so little substance in this movie that I actually checked if I had accidentally chosen the wrong movie, given the above-average expectations that the critical acclaim caused me to have.
To sum it up, this movie is unbelievably bad, not because it was irrevocably lame and boring, but because there was nothing positive to glean from this film. If there was a message, I missed it. If there were scares, I missed them. If there was a beginning, middle, and end, I missed it. At least Eragon (2006), a similarly awful production, made me appreciate the source material a little more. This film gives its audience nothing. I am convinced that the ultra-high 97% fresh rating "It Follows" has is a practical joke. There is no way that is legit.
Don't see this movie. It is the movie that I most wish I never wasted time watching.