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The Love Guru (2008)
The Love Guru.
For the first time ever, I cannot muster the strength to write a quirky introductory sentence. After a long arduous thought-process of approximately 12 minutes after the credits rolled, I came to the conclusion that The Love Guru is the worst film I've ever had the misfortune of surviving. Yes, it is finally time for 'Movie 43' to pass the crown. So I'm sure you are all wondering "what makes this film the worst?". Quite simple really. Everything. Every single aspect, every single speck of dust, every God damn spoken word. Every-flipping-thing. I'm not even going to describe the plot. That's right, I'm breaking tradition for this one review.
As a fan of Myers' previous work, I was optimistic that this could've been atleast somewhat amusing, even in a silly parody way. But oh boy, I was wrong! I've never been so wrong in all my life. This film singlehandedly destroyed Myers' career, and he only has himself to blame. He co-wrote a screenplay that contains a record number of dick jokes. Visual dick jokes, audible dick jokes, imaginary dick jokes, abbreviated dick jokes, Hindu dick jokes, Justin "Trousersnake" Timberlake dick jokes and elephant dick jokes. There is not a single line of dialogue that is remotely funny. Just a colossal wave of crass outdated humour that has as much appeal as two elephants shagging on an ice hockey rink (which totally does happen...). A satire on Hinduism? Give me a break! There was no sign of genuine wit in this horrific script. And the worst part is that Myers thought he was actually being hilarious. "Yes Mike, say wiener one more time? And fart? And repeat the same joke twelve more times? Cut! That's a wrap!". Ben Kingsley, who I cannot believe agreed to be even remotely involved, was cross eyed for the entire film. Funny? No. Cringe-worthy? Definitely. Jessica Alba was only there for her dashing good looks so that Myers could pleasure himself between takes. Troyer makes a return, just so that we can all reminisce about 'Austin Powers'. Y'know, a time when Myers was comedically creative.
After the utter tripe of ice hockey, love advice, cock wrestling (rooster obviously, you dirty bugger) and celebrity cameos, the film concludes on a stereotypical Bollywood musical number that just leaves an incredibly sour taste in one's mouth. "Oh but, they are writing a love letter to Bollywood films! Everything looks so colourful and musical and..." STOP right there. You're telling me that Myers wrote this to show his appreciation for Bollywood flicks? Didn't think so. The worst crime is that they "Bollywood-ised" (Trade-frickin'-mark) Parton's '9 To 5', all in the first two minutes! I can't. Nope. I'm done. If a comedy is unfunny, unwatchable, uncharismatic and un-flipping-believably torturous, then it's a failure. No guru can advise me to watch this ever again.
I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
I Know Who Killed Me murdered itself with its baffling stigmatic plot.
Right, so this isn't the worst film I've ever seen (you can now breathe a sigh of relief...). But when I say this "thriller" truly makes no sense, I mean it with the deepest shade of blue. But more on the blue symbolism later. Sivertson's psychological execution had me guessing for hours...just how much Lohan paid the director to do a strip tease. Seriously it's enough to turn any straight man gay. "Oh, she's suggestively moving that cigarette...ohhh yes, it brushed passed her entrance. Delicious!". So, a young student is abducted and tortured by a serial killer. She makes it out alive but insists her identity is of another woman, a stripper named Dakota Moss. The story juggles between two theories. She's either delusional and her heightened state of fear caused her to create another identity, or she actually has a twin sister. I shan't spoil it for you, but the end result is predictably underwhelming regardless so you aren't missing out. Amidst the terrible acting, horrific screenplay and mediocre special effects, is a mysterious plot that has more holes than Lohan's cocaine abused nostrils. We are led to believe that the mystical phenomenon of stigmatic twins could be a potential answer to this mystery? To a point where entire limbs are severed in seconds!? Wait! We are led to believe that Aubrey writes an entire fictional novel about Dakota without any prior knowledge of her existence!? Hold up! Her prosthetic leg has the flexibility and manoeuvrability of a real leg!? Hang on! Dakota finds a blue ribbon and just happens to know "I Know Who Killed Me" and doesn't call the police!? Blue ribbon, blue roses, blue glass coffin, blue scene transitions, blue filters, blue bedroom, blue gloves. Why. Is. Everything. Blue? This isn't 'Suspiria' or some Lynch masterpiece where it's clever enough to uphold symbolic colours. This is Lohan stripping for men with a severed finger, where her mother actively listens to her having sex. If that sounds like the film for you, enjoy! To everyone else, avoid.
Dragonball Evolution (2009)
Dragonball Evolution made me "Kamehameha" my TV.
Listen, if you're going to adapt a thirteen episode season of a beloved anime into a film that is less than 80 minutes long, atleast try to capture the essence of the source material. Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here are shoddy cosplayers reenacting a script that was clearly written during a short lunch break as the writer was watching a completely different anime at the time, because sweet starry balls this was not 'Dragonball Z' at all! A white American Goku must find seven balls so that he can make a wish, which in turn will stop the evil forces of darkness. Let's re-visit some ground rules. First rule: if you are creating a western adaptation, ensure you don't succumb to whitewashing. Either have an all-white cast or not at all. Making the lead protagonist white and the supporting characters Asian is an insult to fans, audiences and the source material. Second rule: Authenticity. Stay true to the source material and don't, oh I don't know...make a complete left turn by butchering an already simple story. Third rule: cast decent actors. Not even Yun-Fat with his absurd overacting could provide a distraction from the woeful acting on display. Final and most important rule: make a good film. When the best scene of the entire film is Jamie Chung getting unexpectedly donkey kicked in the chest (unintentionally hilarious!), something isn't quite right. Goku has all the charisma of a restless sloth. The fighting sequences were plagued with half second jump cuts. The story was uninteresting and not even remotely developed. "We need to find all seven dragonballs!" 5 minutes later... "the enemy have all seven dragonballs!". Goku transforms into what looks like a werewolf, not an ape. Goku didn't care for his grandfather (still doesn't). Goku effortlessly lights a candle twice, but fails the third time. Goku beats up his future girlfriend and she doesn't care. Goku looks like a discount Aaron Paul. Goku is in this. This film is 79 minutes too long. I'm done. So, essentially, avoid this fan made film like the plague.
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The Kids Are All Right is a progressive drama that is actually alright.
To be fair, it's better than "alright". One of the first films to truly embrace the progressive decade that was to follow, it breaks away from traditional family dramas by featuring a lesbian couple. The beauty of the story is that the film is not about them. It's about marriage, proclaiming that the challenges faced within a tight family are universal, regardless of sexuality. That, to me, is a warm message that we should all acknowledge. A pair of children are raised by lesbian mothers, to which they soon want to meet their sperm donor. Unhappy that they are wanting to bring him into their family life, one of the mothers becomes persistent in keeping him away whilst the other (literally) embraces him. This is a drama that can only work based on its characters and the chemistry of the ensemble cast. Fortunately, both succeed remarkably well. Bening and Moore (I ship them both!) are two very different individuals with conflicting personalities, but their love for each other is incredibly emotional and tangible. Bening portraying an alcoholic and workaholic, she feels threatened by the inclusion of their father and inadvertently takes it out on her wife. This then pushes Moore's character away from her, believing that she is no longer valued and that their physical intimacy is dissipating. However the beauty of Cholodenko's screenplay is that it never makes the drama melodramatic, just because they are lesbian parents. In fact, it rarely forces you to acknowledge this family as a "special case". It felt natural. An important component in welcoming progression is the absence of special treatment. Everyone is equal, and I believe this script proves that with its warmth and light-hearted wit that made for a pleasant viewing. The ensemble cast was excellently constructed, with Moore and Ruffalo being the standouts.
Cholodenko however changes her perception of Ruffalo's character towards the end, and starts to view him as a source of hostility for the family. I think this is an unfair judgement. The lack of resolution in its conclusion ultimately left his character unfinished. Understandably, certain actions that occurred portray him to be disliked by the family. However if another certain individual can eventually be forgiven, so can he. It's a shame that his rejection wasn't resolved, as his charisma and bohemian-like lifestyle deserved better. Overall though this is a solid family drama that illuminates family values no matter the sexuality of the parents. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transsexual, we all face the same challenges in marriage regardless, and that is an important value to uphold.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is unfortunately rather ordinary.
Now, this is a film I absolutely loved when I was younger. I used to replay the Venice bomb explosion chase scene constantly on a weekly basis. And, this film started my fascination with Dorian Gray (no idea why...). However, much like these creative literary individuals, time is an unusual construct that uncovers cracks in what was once viewed as a masterpiece (totally not exaggerating...). It's a shame that Moore's source material was not fully realised in this adaptation, delivering only half the thrills and character interactions. A league of highly powered individuals are assembled to take down a vigilante known as "Phantom", who wants to start a war. There are predictable twists and turns and various sub-plots, but for the most part this is a straightforward story that relishes in its cyberpunk environment. It's not often you find yourself watching a blockbuster with Alan Quartermain, Dorian Gray, Captain Nemo and Dr Jekyll, and yet feel underwhelmed by the whole ordeal. One simple description for this: missed opportunity. The film that was delivered is fine, it's neither good nor bad. Plenty of disposable action sequences and visual effects that produce a dark gothic tone which will appeal to many. The casting was decent, particularly Connery, and they all pull their weight and get involved. Unfortunately, these characters are fairly one dimensional and lack any sort of natural interactions with each other. Sure, there is banter and harmless mentoring that acts as foreshadowing, but they truly never felt like a league. The dialogue resorts to mass amounts of exposition (including an entire voice recording of explanations, thinking that viewers aren't intelligent enough to piece the details together), and clunky conversations that resemble two blocks of wood silently communicating. It's a shame, as there was so much potential to be had here! But the outdated cumbersome screenplay negates any potential of excellence. As Quartermain wonderfully says, "Too Shoooon!".
Catwoman makes coughing up a hairball more enticing.
I have no words. I heard the chitter and the chatter, with many deeming this superhero disaster to be one of the worst films of all time. To say I agree would be an understatement. Holy leather catnip! This was torturous! Patience, a designer for a cosmetic company, is killed after witnessing the side-effects of their product. She is then (stay with me now) brought back to life by a cat who breathes on her corpse, granting her agile abilities of a cat. Thus becoming Catwoman. Completely disregarding its source material, Pitof's adaptation is "Purrfectly" terrible in every way. The story is quite simply nonsensical. A cat foresees the fate of Patience and decides to "test her" before choosing her to hone the powers of Catwoman. The eponymous anti-hero is not just the nickname for a jewellery thief. Oh no no! Pitof has better ideas! Catwoman is actually an entity of some kind that has been passed down since the Egyptians, bestowing the user the ability to climb walls, leap gracefully, devour fish and cat food, rub their nose in catnip and hiss at dogs. Quite literally embodying a cat (giving Patience a complete personality change). Why? Who actually thought this was a good idea!? Was it Halle Berry who nearly destroyed her career the same year as winning her coveted Oscar? Nope. Was it Sharon Stone who, much like her character, attempts to stay relevant and youthful? Perhaps. What about the overuse of horrific human visual effects that caused me to hiss at the screen? Nearly. The dull story that thinks it metaphorically showcases the negative connotations of using makeup? "Purrrhaps". Was it Pitof? Oh, definitely. The clichéd romance, plot conveniences and unusual addition of an R&B pop soundtrack made for an already outdated experience. But the sheer amount of quick cuts during the action sequences were unforgivable. Physically making me feel nauseous. To be honest with you I could go on and on and on, but you don't want to hear me drone on about how bad this disaster is. Everyone involved should be ashamed. Who even says "meowww!" after a fight?
Stan & Ollie (2018)
Stan & Ollie stands up with its classic comedy to portray a famous friendship.
Having never seen a film with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, I was sceptical that this biographical drama wouldn't be accessible for younger audiences. However what Baird manages to do is integrate the infamous slapstick humour that the duo prevailed in into a modern biopic that, for the most part, makes for a pleasant watch. Yet the reliance of typical narrative clichés that many biographical features contain does make Stan & Ollie occasionally stale. Set in the later years of the duo's career, they tour the United Kingdom whilst also working on a potential movie in a bid to stay relevant. During these times of excessive work and stress, their friendship and health is put under strain.
There is an underlying power that strives through Baird's ingeniously feel-good biopic, and that's the brute force of slapstick comedy. In a time where humour has "evolved" into crude behaviour consisting of sex, drugs and alcohol, the frequency of these comedies have caused the genre to become tiresome. Stan & Ollie acknowledges this and utilises the eponymous duo's unexpired material to create plenty of laughs. Seriously, you'll be smiling and laughing at the stupidity and nonsensical nature of their sketches (and that's coming from a dead person). Nostalgia plays an important part in the biopic, but it is never forced. The humour that has made these individuals so famous is actually replicated in their daily lives, which in turn inspires them to create new material. They are portrayed to be ludicrously hardworking, boisterously hilarious yet most importantly sincere. From the introductory one take scene, you automatically connect with them and the transitional segments where we see audiences laugh at their work shows how contagious they were as both staged personalities and individuals. Even during times when their friendship is rather rocky, you sense their unity. They are as one. After all, "there is no Laurel without Hardy". The conveyance of this mature friendship couldn't have been achieved without the two lead performances. Both Coogan and Reilly were enigmatic and truly became Laurel and Hardy respectively. Coogan's eccentric mannerisms and Reilly's physically demanding performance (t'was a large fat suit!) complemented each other perfectly. Fortunately the credits sequence included archival footage, to which cemented how excellent the acting choices were. It's a shame they are not getting as much recognition as they deserve.
As with other joyous biopics, it never attempts to reinvent the genre. It's narrative structure is fairly formulaic, and that unfortunately creates a few moments of predictability that somewhat detracts from the emotional investment. If you can immediately predict how the characters will play out in the third act, then you cannot fully feel the emotions that the script wants you to feel. Thankfully the screenplay is full of buoyancy and consistently keeps the pace moving. Perhaps slightly too fast, as the large time shift at the beginning will throw some viewers off.
So, what is the most imperative aspect to a biographical depiction of comedians/entertainers? The comedy. Stan & Ollie captures the slapstick humour that we've all missed and properly makes you laugh. I was laughing. The old couple in front of me were in hysterics, and the school child at the front was having a good time to. A resounding success! It just goes to show that Laurel and Hardy really are timeless.
Gedo senki (2006)
Tales From Earthsea lacks narrative depth and grounded characters.
Yet another epic fantasy that reeks of grandeur and adventure. The gentle imaginative breezes of life from 'Princess Mononoke' and the companionship and embrace of its protagonists from 'Laputa'. Yet Goro Miyazaki is unable to uphold an interesting plot and lacks the emotive storytelling that his father has perfected. Culminating in what is Ghibli's weakest and most forgettable animation. A young boy carrying a legendary sword comes across a roaming archmage who saves his life. Whilst looking after him, an evil wizard wants to kill the archmage and does so by corrupting the young boy. Oh, and there are dragons! Ploughing fields and other farming chores. Talking...lots and lots of uncharacterised dialogue. Hmmm, yes this is an absolute disappointment. The environment was there! A vast land that, could've been, filled with mythical creatures and exhilarating magic. But for some unknown reason Miyazaki instead settled for a tame drama set on a farm? Dabbling into lessons regarding life, immortality and the regression in consuming what I can only describe as "happy berries". Unusually slow for experienced Ghibli viewers and extremely dark for younger audiences, it's a story that just doesn't know what it wants to be. There are occasional glimpses of the studio's excellence, especially the final battle. But a ridiculously underdeveloped introductory scene leaves the protagonist to be unlikeable throughout the majority of the film's runtime. What also doesn't help is the host of one-dimensional supporting characters that make for unnecessary scenes. As always though, the animation studio have drawn beautiful landscapes that are populated with attentive detail and rich textures. The voice acting from the English dub, particularly from Dalton, was surprisingly fitting. Although Dafoe's sinister quiet voice didn't suit the antagonist and somewhat frustrated me. The third act does contain some excitement but it's all too late at that time. Earthsea has a worthwhile story somewhere, unfortunately this tale isn't it.
McQueen documents the artistic successes and personal failures of a creative genius.
Admittedly, I had absolutely no idea who Lee Alexander McQueen was. Incredibly naive of me, but the fashion industry is one that remains undivulged. Suffice to say after watching this beautiful documentary, I now understand why McQueen was viewed by many as a fashion master. A young craftsman fulfilling his passion and becoming the best designer out there. Quite simply inspirational. Chronicling the various collections that McQueen designed, this documentary chronologically explores how his artistry evolved over time and how he brought through his personal life into his work. A young uneducated boy living in Stratford quickly utilises his entrepreneurial personality to pursue his hobby for tailoring. Starting off as an apprentice in Saville Row and rapidly working for Givenchy years later. His talent and skills were only possible through one fiery trait. Passion. What Bonhôte and Ettedgui's documentary does best is capture his expressive collections and relate them to his personal life. Take the "Highland Rape" collection for example. A controversial show that ensured McQueen made a statement to the world of fashion. Then there's "Voss" that, whilst technically excellent, conveyed his darker emotions. A manifestation of the sheer amount of work he put himself through that unfortunately, mixed with mental instabilities, lead to his early demise. The documentary allows you to connect with McQueen not by excessively exploring his early life, although some further development should've been included, but by viewing his work. The narrative is segmented by various tapes, each one indicating a collection and a turning point in McQueen's life. As the film progresses, his confidence increases and the garments become more extravagant as he explores various themes, such as "Plato's Atlantis" depicting the human anatomy through futuristic evolution. The greatest statement a fashion designer can make is conveying their personality through their work. And the passionate McQueen did that sublimely. A beautiful documentary.
Thirst quenches Chan-wook's desire to craft a blood-sucking good time.
Well, this was bizarre. Not something I would have ever imagined Chan-wook to direct. It can be best described as a dark religious vampiric sex-comedy. If any of those descriptions match your genre criteria, then what are you waiting for? This is quite simply one of the best vampire films available, if you can ignore its underwhelming conclusion. A priest, who desires to help the needy, volunteers to undergo an experiment to find a vaccine for a deadly virus. He becomes infected, but makes a rapid recovery after receiving a blood transfusion that turns him into a vampire. It soon becomes an illicit love story, with Chan-wook's genre bending plot delivering one of the freshest entries in this undead sub-genre. No matter how driven by faith one is, there will come a point where sinful urges take hold. Unable to resist. The irresistible, although occasionally badly written, Tae-ju is the embodiment of temptation. As the plot progresses, she soon becomes remorseless and attempts to abandon Sang-hyun, conveying the idea that not everything is as innocent as it might seem (much like Sang-hyun). It's often cold, and the love story never quite feels embellished. But that is part of Chan-wook's charm. He can integrate visual comedy and sexualised characters (trust me, lots of sex) whilst still making the entire film nuanced and fresh. And yes, it is both humorous and dramatic. The various mahjong scenes showcase this balance perfectly. Sex scenes are hilariously interrupted by a bloated corpse (in which joins in one night from a group session (don't ask...)), a terrifying vision acting as a burden for these two sinful individuals. It just worked! Ok-bin's schizophrenic-like performance was infectious and overshadowed Kang-ho's role vastly. The first and last acts were underwhelming, with the former being underdeveloped and the latter ending unsatisfactorily. However once the vampiric romance is established, there is no stopping Chan-wook. A bloody delicious film that tastes fresher than a bag of blood from a comatose patient.
The Last Exorcism (2010)
The Last Exorcism exorcises typical genre traits before its diminishing conclusion.
Oh look, another "Found Footage" styled low budget horror. I'm sure this narrative will follow the exact structure from others that came before it. "Hi, I'm Cotton", "let's meet some of the locals", "I think this girl might just be possessed", "oh, yeah...too late". Well, who knew! To be fair, there are several good qualities to this personable documentary that enables it to feel fresh...until the last flipping ten minutes throws the plot off uncontrollably like a demon flailing an innocent girl. I knew it was too good to be true. A reverend who believes exorcisms is a scam, attempts to prove this by answering a letter from a family who believe their daughter is possessed. Once they arrive and perform the first "exorcism", a strange presence looms over their shoulders. I appreciated the perspective that it took, and its "Found Footage" technique assists in drawing you in. We watch a charismatic man of faith, Cotton (what even is that name!?), debunk an ancient practice from a religion he is devoted to. But to his mind, exorcisms does not necessarily mean vanishing demons from bodies. It is providing an ailment to a negative thought. And it is with this tangible concept that the film succeeds in developing an intelligent plot that lures you in, both sceptics and religious devotees. Cotton is the only character to have personality, all others are more wooden than a crucifix. But that's fine, as he is the front of the camera. The man we look for. The film continues with traditional jump scares and some gradual ramped up tension, before the last ten minutes. What. Even. Was. That? Seriously!? That's how you choose to end your well constructed film? It doesn't even make sense! Honestly, a ludicrous amount of plot holes. Oh, then ending with a foreshadowed "unexpected" death scene. I just...became overwhelmed with frustration! Unfortunately, the atrocious ending brings this film down substantially. Apparently there is a second part as well? Let's hope it doesn't run out of budget towards the end...
Hanna struggles to balance stylish girl power with dramatic coming-of-age development.
Wright is best known for acclaimed period British dramas that relish in classicism and Keira Knightley. So much to our surprise, he broke away from his comfort zone and directed this action thriller. For the most part, he succeeds. But, it is obviously clear that Wright is more comfortable with the dramatic elements as opposed to the supposedly exhilarating action sequences that ultimately did not work. Growing up in the middle of a forest with her father, Hanna braves the outside world where she is hunted by operatives. She is trained to be the perfect assassin, and it is with this central plot point that the theme of female empowerment and individualism reigns supreme. Ronan gives a transformative performance as she dives into a genre that is fairly unknown to her. Once the delicate father daughter relationship had been established, Hanna travels across Europe with a family she encounters, and it is during this time that we see her truly develop and experience a world unfamiliar to her. However, the vast amount of the runtime spent on her natural coming-of-age progression, meant that the main plot subsided, concluding in an underwhelming fashion (and unexpectedly instant!). Wright, unable to execute the action eloquently and excitingly due to over rehearsed cumbersome combat sequences, chooses to film what he is comfortable doing (despite The Chemical Brothers' euphoric score). A consequence of this is that it makes the other half of the film rather generic and unfortunately does not fully embrace its characters. Hanna herself occasionally feels cold as a character, despite a substantial amount of personable development. In fact, the entire plot was rather over-meticulous. Essentially, we have two genre films on offer. One is clearly better than the other, but with great supporting performances and rapid pacing, Hanna just about saves itself from being assassinated. It's unfortunate that both strands didn't come together as efficiently as I would've hoped for...
The Front Runner (2018)
The Front Runner sprints to its scandalous finish line whilst tackling heavy themes.
For some unknown reason, other than its political approach, this journalistic drama has disappeared from awards season. With mediocre critical reviews and a warm-ish reception by audiences, it looks as if Reitman's latest offering wasn't the best candidate for esteem voters. Well, they're wrong. What we have here is an astute, concise and consistently captivating drama that excellently balances its characters and themes. Quite riveting, actually! Gary Hart is running for presidency, his path looks to be clear. Reporters are then leaked information that he might be having an affair, and his presidential campaign comes crashing down. A scandal that tested the rights and responsibilities of one pivotal aspect. Privacy.
Reitman's screenplay explores the arguments for privacy though gruelling scenes of frustration and sharp dialogue. If one is opening themselves to be the next president, should they have the right to hide any aspect of their life if the public are to vote for them? Conversely, do journalists venture too far in the invasion of one's privacy and should it deter from their political campaign? Criticism comes from the fact that the plot doesn't thoroughly explore this central theme, to which I strongly disagree. The entire second half shifts from the chronicling of Hart's rapid rise in votes to this outrageous media frenzy that develops various character viewpoints. Whether it be his wife and daughter's disappointment, the sacrifice that his volunteers have made or specific journalists believing this news story to be just mere gossip. Various scenes felt claustrophobic, as colleagues are swarmed by the paparazzi, to enhance the idea of non-existent privacy. But what I really adore is the open-ended opinion. The film doesn't force you to sympathise with Hart or hate him for his immorality, it let's you decide. Was Hart just an innocent man robbed of his privacy? Or a womaniser who only cared for his reputation? The use of journalism made for exhilarating politics, and to be honest I breathe these kind of films. They are my blood. Writing a simple frivolous news story and transforming it into a superbly engaging drama, it follows the likes of 'Spotlight' and 'The Ides of March'.
The flustered campaigner is portrayed by Jackman who, once again, proves that he is a serious actor as well as a genuine entertainer. The slimy suaveness of Hart was imitated perfectly, as if he was a mirror of perfection. But, as soon as that mirror shatters, Jackman brings the ferocity. There's one scene where his campaign manager confronts him, and he literally bites his head off in fury. The evasiveness of his words combined with the shouting of his pitch just blew me away.
A criticism is that the supporting cast were underused, particularly Farmiga and Molina, which could've been better utilised to convey the negative repercussions of his actions. It's also worth mentioning that the film takes time to envelop you within its riveting drama. The first twenty minutes comprises of extensive scenes of boardroom meetings with generic looking actors, which makes it difficult to differentiate who is who and what is being said. However, once Hart becomes the front runner of his own film, it's "full steam ahead!". Tantalising drama containing several scenes of lingering dialogue (those press conferences were deadly) with an excellent central performance. Unfairly dismissed in my opinion.
The Iron Lady (2011)
The Iron Lady rusts into a melodramatic biopic that needed ironing out.
Political films, including biopics, are often fraught with personal views from critics and audiences. Atleast that is what I told myself to explain the low scoring reviews. Having now seen this, there is a more sinister issue that has manifested itself. An ageing Margaret Thatcher, now suffering with dementia, remembers the fading memories of her powerful and prolific life. Regardless of your own political views and whether or not you agree with the controversial choices that she made. There is no denying she was an important figure in British politics and an empowering woman who stood up against her peers and rivals. If you were to watch this, you would've got a glimpse of that power and ruthlessness. Unfortunately, The Iron Lady feels more like "The Frail Woman". Exploiting an illness such as dementia and utilising it as a plot device to build a narrative, is terribly unscrupulous for any individual. Purposefully attempting to inject sympathy for the eponymous figure, it actually makes the whole ordeal cold and disconnected. Her personable qualities are detracted as we watch this once strong person become frail and weak, preventing you from emotionally connecting with her. At only 104 minutes long, about half of that runtime is used effectively in portraying Thatcher's career. But even then the Brighton bombing, the miners' strike and Falklands War were vastly glossed over to make more room for her dementia. It's unashamedly insensitive, which is frustrating when considering Streep's magnificent transformative performance. She truly became Thatcher, to the point where Streep vanished. In fact, the entire cast were excellent, particularly Broadbent. Newman's score is consistently good as always, and cosmetic aspects were well executed. However, for a film about the most uncompromising and longest-serving Prime Minister of the UK, this biopic failed to provide that power. A fragmented narrative resembling the degenerative process of dementia was not the correct method of storytelling. At all.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter swings his axe and just about beheads the competition.
Remember when one of America's most famous presidents was also slaying vampires as a hobby? No? Well now you do. When we receive a title such as Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, instantly your mind thinks the worst. The implausibilities and historical inaccuracies (despite being completely fictional) would be enough to send historians into frenzy. But actually, and I would never lie to you, it's pretty damn good fun. At a young age, Lincoln witnesses the death of his mother by the fangs of a vampire. Fraught with vengeance, he soon becomes a vampire hunter. If you've seen any vampire film ever (sure, include 'Twilight'), then you know what you are getting yourself involved with. It doesn't stray away from the typical formula, which in itself does lead to several moments of sluggish monotony and instant predictably. But there is a style. A style comprised of slow-motion axe-swinging blood-swishing action, that just makes the whole damn film entertainingly watchable. Sure, it takes itself incredibly seriously and integrates several key moments of American history with vampiric fictionalisation (particularly the battle of Gettysburg), to a point where the absence of self-awareness is missed and could've made Lincoln's life satirically hilarious. Still, I didn't hate any of it. Walker's role as Lincoln isn't exactly Daniel Day-Lewis, yet he gets the job done with an assured performance. However the main appeal is the stylistic violence that is practically the essence of the narrative. Vampires hijacking a train packed with silver where Lincoln is running atop the carriages, swinging his lumbering axe (no innuendo) in slow-motion. Pure. Disposable. Entertainment. The 3D gimmicky visual effects aren't exactly welcomed either, but it's not too much of a deterrent. The final minute was stupid though, I hate it when cheap films end on a meaningless one liner. Overall, a light, rapidly paced plot with good performances and stylistic action made for simple, mindless entertainment.
Spawn should've stayed in hell.
Sony's PlayStation was released in 1994. The Nintendo 64 was released in 1996. Spawn was theatrically released in 1997. If you've seen the film, you know exactly where I'm going with this! An "innovative visual experience" some have said to describe this overbearing superhero flick. All I have to say is, did you see the polygons on Malebogia's head? Did your eyes bleed when Violator revealed his true form? Did the visual effects studio use Windows 95 and utilise an unreleased version of Movie Maker!? Holy flaming hell! Critics were right, it truly is unforgettable. You cannot wipe these visual effects away. They will be engraved in your mind forever. But despite its tragically hellish style, Spawn is exposition heavy and has as much personality as an extinguished flame. A Black Ops colonel is double crossed and condemned to hell. He is then offered a deal to return to Earth if he accepts leadership during the incoming Armageddon. There's also an evil businessman manufacturing a weapons system and oh look, no one cares. Sheen gives a half-decent performance and some of the action sequences were filmed well (and not plagued by unrealistic textures one would find in that "maze" screensaver (you know the one...)). But the intended dark, gothic and horror aesthetic appeal was missing. It wasn't even close. The screenplay simply consisted of dialogue that described the plot. Whether it be characters talking to themselves and unveiling their plans, enter exhibit A: Leguizamo's infuriating Clown/Violator who simply wouldn't shut the heck up, or Spawn himself selfishly throwing a hissy fit because the script required him to be "edgy". The "dark humour" was literally just toilet humour. Spawn himself had no personality, no backstory and towards the end was so overpowered that you felt no fear for him. We're supposed to sympathise with him but in actual fact we're all thinking "whip that cape out again!". Characters conveniently appear when the story requires them, and rapidly disappear without a trace when they've done their job. Essentially, one of the worst superhero films.
The Favourite (2018)
The Favourite deliciously balances courtly politics, devious deceit and sexual jealousy with dark humour.
Yorgos Lanthimos is a director that does not hide any aspects to his films. If it's unusual, explicit or perhaps even downright mad, he will show it. Audibly separating himself from Hollywood manufactured creations that would never dare to take such bold risks. Whilst The Favourite might be his most accessible film to date, it is certainly his funniest and most sumptuous. During the War of the Spanish Succession, two cousins attempt to convince Queen Anne to be the court favourite. However it soon spirals out of control and turns into a deadly game of jealousy.
Three powerfully inclined women that boast complex mental states. Writer Davis is almost a puppeteer, pulling at the strings of these characters. Each one horrendously unlikeable, whether it be Anne's inexplicable childish behaviour or Abigail's ruthless goal to no longer be impoverished. You dislike them, yet Davis' ingenious screenplay allows you to sympathise with them. They each have experienced sorrow and it is soon revealed that these characters are tragically broken. Their bonds are tested through viperous actions of lust, envy and greed. One spoken word could change your view immediately. One heinous act, particularly purposefully crushing a rabbit, could make you almost indefinitely despise a character you once thought to be the protagonist. It's not a story with grand gestures and lavish plot devices. It's entirely character driven. The subtle twists and turns that further the plot, come from these three sexually ambiguous women who would do anything for power. Lanthimos, whilst still embedding his signature surrealism, never goes over the top or makes the story abundantly dark (unlike 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer'). It remains grounded and Davis' unflinching humour adds that extra depth of ill-mannered politics. Five minutes in a frivolous Hoult exclaims the worst expletive possible in a high-pitched voice. It was from that moment I knew I was watching a Lanthimos feature. The unwavering sense of boldness.
The majority of acclaim that this film has already garnered is towards its three leading performances. I can categorically say now, these are career bests from all these actresses. Stone flawlessly pulled off a British accent and held your attention through falsified innocence. Weisz enigmatically remained captivating with an assured performance that explored the lengths one would go for Queen and country. However it's Colman that steals every scene. Predominantly a TV actress, she was absolutely sensational in this picture and translated to the big screen outstandingly, proving she is one of the best actresses working today. The change in character from a stubborn child to a commanding Queen, which can happen in a split second, was exceptional. The additional layer of melancholy and desire for attention was conveyed simply through Colman's facial expressions. A performance that quite simply deserves any and all awards. Even supporting cast members Hoult, Alwyn and Gatiss were excellent. But the praise doesn't stop there, oh no. Ryan's cinematography was gorgeous and presented 18th Century Britain with style and vigour. The inclusion of natural lighting also enhanced the authentic style that Ryan was able to capture. The use of fisheye and wide lenses enabled the characters to feel claustrophobic in the large room that is shown, capturing every detail within the luscious production design. The mixture of classical pieces from Vivaldi and Bach with modern composers allowed Lanthimos' contemporary filmmaking to intertwine with the period setting. Also the costumes were beautifully designed, particularly the royal dresses.
It's a two hour film, and occasionally it can be felt. The political subplot regarding a battalion in the war and bringing in state taxes was underdeveloped. Understandably the focus is on the behind-the-scenes of these courtly politics, however it never truly feels captivating. Consequently these various scenes allows the pace to dip. Fortunately the proceeding scenes shifts the focus back onto the favourites, with the rapid pace resuming. At first, I was not keen on its conclusion. It left me wanting more. But actually it was incredibly powerful and full of purpose, further asserting the Queen's power. Oh, also loved the chapter title cards. Found them to be rather humorous. In the end, The Favourite nobly presents love, honour and power through jealousy, deceit and manipulation. Proving that Lanthimos is not just a director, but an auteur filmmaker who is here to stay.
Welcome to Marwen (2018)
Welcome to Marwen feels more disjointed than its heroic dolls.
Starting off the year with what is possibly one of the most difficult films to critique. I'm sure Zemeckis had the best intentions when directing/writing this drama, a director who has become inconsistent as of late, and certain experimental aspects do work. Unfortunately though, his portrayal of pain and the delicately positioned doll fantasy comes across as overly sentimental and prevents us from emotionally connecting with this extraordinary human being. A victim of hate crime who suffers from PTSD is unable to remember his past self and decides to photograph a fictional story that resides in a doll's town that he built as a coping mechanism. I was tossing and turning last night as I attempted to settle on one of two ratings. Why? Because there were an equal amount of elements that did work compared to those that failed. Zemeckis is an innovator. For his new film, he creatively integrates a fictional fantasy involving doll versions of Monáe, Mann, Christie and more. The conceptual story that Mark vividly imagines is one that integrates rather well with reality. His fascination with women's shoes, the "women of Marwen" and who they represent, the reasoning for the involvement of Nazi officers and how Deja Thoris acts as an reminder of Mark's pain (physically representing the pills he takes). The problem is that Mark's beautifully visualised story feels more engrossing than his own life, to which it should be the other way round.
Zemeckis forces you to sympathise with Mark, you have no choice but to feel empathy. Yet, there is a sense of reluctance. Zemeckis is old school, reminiscent of Spielberg, but he is unable to evolve from typical Hollywood filmmaking which in effect has made Mark's story extremely "Hollywoodised". Silvestri's score is either too upbeat or too somber. Everyone talks to Mark in a condescending manner, treating him as if he was a young boy. The unusual blend of excessive melodrama and surprisingly explicit comedy. An absurd amount of narrative hand-holding, yet still lacking a personable backstory. And then concluding on Mark's rapid revelation that the pills are hurting him. PTSD is a painful mental disorder to experience where you want to assist those that suffer with it. Frustratingly, you don't want to help Mark, you just feel sorry for him instead. The narrative's tone is too sweet, absent of any emotional bite. However, I cannot deny the fact that I found this film to very watchable, despite disliking the way Mark's life was told. Carell's performance was excellent and was only hindered by Thompson and Zemeckis' lacklustre screenplay. The personality difference between Mark and Cap'n Hogie meant that he could showcase his acting talent. The supporting cast, whilst underused, were also good. Aside from Mann who was insufferably patronising. Zemeckis is a veteran behind the camera and utilises his great skills to seamlessly capture the exhilarating doll story and grant it a sense of scale in comparison to reality.
It's a conflicting film. The fantasy half works impeccably well whilst the realistic half embellishes its character study through melodramatic sentimentality. Problem is, they both rely on each other to create a successful integrated story, and it's just not there. Such a shame.
Predator 2 (1990)
Predator 2 falls prey to its own stupidity.
There's a fine line between silly entertainment and stupid irritations. This sequel to the testosterone packed 'Predator' is unfortunately the latter. McTiernan's creative and focused direction has gone. Schwarzenegger's charisma has been terminated. Luscious jungles have been substituted for the dirty streets of Los Angeles. And in doing so has somehow recreated its predecessor almost exactly, yet with mundane results. Amidst the turf wars between armed Colombians and Jamaican drug cartels, an LAPD officer comes across unusual killings which soon finds him encountering the eponymous extraterrestrial. The Predator. There are no "choppas" to get to. Just meandering through urban alleyways and dark subways, in an attempt to survive. Many perish as the alien lays its eyes upon its prey. But only one man can stop him. One normal old-ish lieutenant that lacks the intuition and beefiness of Schwarzenegger's character. Mike Harrigan. If a Predator can decimate an entire elite special forces unit, but struggle against a generic wise-cracking officer. Well, he ought to pack up and go home. For some unknown reason, this alien conveniently follows the lieutenant and kills the cartels for sport. No idea why it's just them, I guess the plot needed it. Then towards the end, the mask comes off. Glover ironically starts to say "you're one ugly mothe..." until the Predator actually speaks and shouts the expletive, completing the infamous quote. How. Ridiculously. Stupid.
It's not even a case of the Thomas Brothers' screenplay being clever enough to contain a commentary on drug warfare. It's just bad. Each character harnessing annoying clichés, and each actor hamming up their performances to maximum potential in an attempt to have relatable qualities. Paxton is obscenely irritating and fails as the comic relief. Glover just didn't work and felt more like "Lethal Predator" than a true sequel. The one liners unsuccessfully withhold any staying power, making the original even more unforgettable. Aside from the gritty opening sequence and the enjoyable final battle, there's not much content that substantiates originality. It follows the same narrative structure as its predecessor, just in a different environment and with stupid additions to the plot. And people wonder why it took two decades to reboot the franchise...
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine shreds its source material into little tiny pieces.
Oooof. Kids, this is why we can't have nice things. When a franchise gains continued success, the studio believe they can do no wrong. Well, this pointless atrocity is the perfect example in disproving that belief. It's not all doom and gloom for Logan, as there are a few good aspects. But the obscene amount of disrespect to its comic book origins is a heinous crime. Chronicling the early life of Logan and how he obtained his adamantium exoskeleton, he undergoes a quest for vengeance against Sabretooth who murdered the love of his life. I appreciate the darker narrative as it allows more grit and unpredictable actions to take place (y'know, like killing innocent old people in a barn). Jackman and Schreiber deserve better, considering they both gave decent performances. And when Jackman screams in fits of pure rage, I do get the tingles. But God flipping damn what was this!? It's one thing to deviate from the source material, it's a complete different thing to then change the origins of the protagonist that were depicted in a previous instalment ('X2' did it better). Wolverine didn't need this film. As a character, he was hugely developed in the original trilogy. There wasn't much more room for growth. The emotional resonance that was forced upon Wolverine, in an attempt to make audiences empathise with him, was a good aspect. Yet, the final scene which closely resembles a "it was just a dream" plot device, neglects everything that was shoddily developed beforehand! Making the whole ordeal unnecessary. We learnt nothing. It's just another X-Men film with different mutants. Gambit was pushed in at the last second. There's a stupid boxing scene with Blob. A cowboy Will.i.am (of all people!) "acted" so poorly that it made me want to "Scream & Shout". Then there is Deadpool or Weapon X or whatever. The merc with the mouth, with his mouth...sewn shut. Poor editing during action scenes. Horrific use of visual effects and noticeable green screens. And an airbrushed Charles Xavier! No wonder Jackman hated the final cut...
Megamind uses his super villainous cranium to create an unoriginal scheme.
Dreamworks animations are hit and miss for me. Will Ferrell is usually boisterously unfunny. And superhero fatigue started to develop back in 2010. With all that being said, Megamind was fine. However, it trails behind similar animations 'Despicable Me' and 'The Incredibles' by recycling specific plot points that unfortunately makes this story mega uninspiring. A large headed villain of Metro City finally prevails and destroys his nemesis Metro Man, only to realise that his life now has no purpose. The beauty of this family-friendly animation is its reversal of typical clichés often found in renowned superhero comics. Megamind's origins mimic that of 'Superman' and a certain creepy crawly is a reference to 'Spider-Man'. It adds light hearted humour to what is a predominately overly familiar plot. The plan to make everyone superheroes and an army of disposable minions (although less annoying) are two clear plot details that were utilised more efficiently in superior films. Consequently, this leaves poor Megamind overshadowed. What also does not help is the abnormally slow pacing during the second act as it attempts to balance several subplots, including a romance. Fortunately though, newly created Titan goes power hungry and the third act saves the entire film from being a total disaster. Increased emotional stakes, exhilarating action and a good message regarding fate. The voice cast were decent, Ferrell was surprisingly charming (although occasionally shouts his lines) however Pitt was vastly underused. The animation felt unfinished, lacking polish on specific textures and character models that did take me out of the story. Its visual and literary humour tried too hard and unfortunately missed the mark on several occasions. Still, for a family-friendly animation, it's watchable and will keep the kids quiet. However nothing stands out, lacking in originality, humour and visual flair. Wasn't for me I'm afraid.
The Heat (2013)
The Heat is a lukewarm effort that remains handcuffed to a mediocre script.
Director Feig is usually consistent with his comedies, particularly those that involve McCarthy. But despite the watchable chemistry of its leads, something was missing in this crime comedy. A "by the books" FBI agent must team up with a "shoot first, ask questions later" officer in order to take down a drug organisation. Bullock and McCarthy were excellent, both as individuals and as a unit. The latter's comedic experience only pushes the former further into doing more humorous scenarios that she would not typically do. McCarthy is somewhat typecast as the loud mouth (fortunately this was earlier on in her rise to film stardom), however the laughs come from the interactions between these differing personalities. Although if she mentions the warmth of her or anyone else's undercarriage in a film again, I swear...! And whilst I may not have laughed like my usual soulless self, it was entertaining to an extent. What really works is how the comedy is embedded into the plot. Rarely do we see pointless scenes that are only used to evoke hilarity. Each situation feels integral to the plot and works as a complete story. Unfortunately Feig relies on the "good cop, bad cop" narrative structure all too heavily, in which the humour starts to become dry and predictable. The lack of inventive deviations results in the first half starting off as a chore. Then when the focus shifts onto the drug organisation for the third act, their personalities rubbing off on each other feels too late. The Larkin reveal was especially underwhelming and proves that Feig only cared about the comedic aspects. For a film that received the highest certification, I was hoping for a more "balls to the wall" story that fully embraced these characters instead of restraining them. Not to mention the unusual soundtrack that accompanies the scene transitions (Azealia Banks' '212', really?). It's by no means a bad film. A light plot, adequate amount of humour and two good performances. But it's not good either. Feig's weakest film, without a doubt.
Elektra assassinated its "plot" for Garner's flat stomach and eternal breezes.
Oh my. Can no one write decent roles for the protagonist in female-lead blockbusters? I have never seen a character undergo so many personality changes in one film, until now. But that's the least of this film's worries as the problems that are littered throughout are ludicrously noticeable. So much so, that I started to wonder about menial issues like "why is Garner's cleavage constantly well lit for the camera?". Talk about unnecessary sexualisation. Anyway, after the events of 'Daredevil', Elektra is brought back to life and is tasked in assassinating a father and daughter. Unable to do so, she must then go up against "The Hand" and protect her targets. It started off well. Garner looked the part for the role, despite some wobbly acting, and committed to the infrequent action sequences. The character of Elektra had this serious persona, to which the somewhat dark narrative complemented her personality.
Then, after waiting thirty minutes, I realised that all I watched was training montages, a plethora of flat stomach displays and endless winds that made her hair and silky tassels gently wave in the breeze (even when inside...). There was a serious lack of plot that made the entire ordeal dull and monotonous. She meets a girl and a man who coincidentally turned out to be the targets. It was at that point I knew that the over reliance of my favourite criticism was in motion. Plot conveniences. The daughter is then apparently well equipped with a tiny whip, the dad disappears for the last half and one of the antagonising "The Hand" members unleashes wolf missiles. Stone, an impenetrable individual who stops bullets and breaks daggers, is crushed by a tree. The penultimate battle involves Elektra vigorously flailing her daggers...at floating cloths. Essentially what I'm getting at, is that the screenplay was atrocious. Inherently stupid. One scene Elektra is this tough flat stomached cookie, the next she is this joyous flat stomached motherly figure and then kissing the daughter's dad with no preconceived romance. Her schizophrenic-like behaviour is all over the place, and highlights the incompetent writing of its three writers. The action consisted of slow motion jumps and running. "The Hand" were underused (much like all of the characters). And, to be quite frank, suffers from an identity crisis. Aside from the decent opening sequence and Garner's resemblance of the character, Elektra pretty much "elektracuted" its chances of being a passable superhero flick.
The Greatest Showman (2017)
The Greatest Showman was unable to rewrite the stars with its formulaic story.
Every year there is a "crowd pleaser", a film that has garnered criticism from industry experts but received overwhelming popularity from audiences. This was that film in 2017. An infectiously joyous musical that was hailed to be a monumental rejuvenation of the genre (because apparently 'La La Land' failed to do that, despite being perfect). But beneath the showstoppers and audacious musical numbers, lies a predictably formulaic story that feels weaker than Efron's 'High School Musical' days. Loosely based on P.T. Barnum's life, this musical chronicles his showmanship years as he recruits a band of "oddities" to perform in his new show. However fame and fortune corrupts him as he succumbs to greed and...well, you can guess the rest. You may have noticed the supreme reign of the soundtrack throughout this year, as radio stations constantly blast out "This Is Me". That's because, and I'm starting off bold, this is one of the best musical soundtracks ever. Literally every track is memorable, both melodically and lyrically. From the powerhouse "This Is Me" to the gorgeously romantic "Rewrite The Stars". Each song has its own vibe and suits the situation they are performed in. It's just a shame the film itself doesn't complement the excellence of its soundtrack.
The rags-to-riches plot has been executed countless times, and is quite frankly becoming dull. Aside from the delicate (albeit forced) romance between Efron and Zendaya, the story lacks substance. Barnum remains unlikeable throughout, including at the very end when he encounters redemption. The wrong choices he obviously decides to take prevent him from being relatable. There's a fine margin between representing greed (whilst justifying it) and creating an inhumane character. The theme of acceptance that should've been flailing on the circus floor is unfortunately sidelined. Nearly every supporting character is underused. I mean Barnum's wife forgives him almost immediately, consequently diluting the much needed drama. Williams' fragility and delicate nature was severely misplaced, which frustrates me. It's clear that this is the "Hugh Jackman Show" and he does deliver on almost everything. He dives into the routines, brings naivety to Barnum and is most certainly having a good time. Efron and Zendaya were also excellent, and would love to have seen more of them. In fact, I would go as far as saying that the film could've benefited from adding an extra thirty minutes to the runtime. Spacing out the dialogue and drama between songs instead of feeling like a collection of music videos strung together with a lack of imaginative storytelling.
This review may sound negative, but that's only because I wanted more. In all honesty I enjoyed it. I was smiling, tapping my feet to the songs and even belting out "never enoughhhhhhhh for me...for meee...for MEEEEE". It's a joyous pleasing film that will appeal to the masses, with the numerous showstoppers disguising what is essentially a weak story.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
X-Men: The Last Stand is a mess of juggernaut proportions.
"Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut...". Well, not exactly the disaster that everyone harks on about, but still a substantial step down from the excellent 'X2'. Franchise fatigue? Nonsense. Plenty of good 'X-Men' stories to be adapted. The removal of Singer, who is replaced by Ratner, only makes the latter's mediocrity shine through even more so. Thus, concluding the trilogy on a low note. Jean Grey is resurrected as Dark Phoenix and is unable to control her formidable powers. There's also a "cure" available for mutants to remove their powers, where Magneto wants to use Dark Phoenix to rid "homosapiens". A predictably bland father/son crisis between Angel and his dad, who happens to be the individual to manufacture the cure. Not one, but two crucial characters get vaporised. Rogue is still going through puberty and having boyfriend troubles. Juggernaut smashes walls...Mystique is no more...yeah. It's an unfocused mess. The Dark Phoenix arc is arguably the more interesting plot, involving all of the X-Men with themes of love and loss. Unfortunately Ratner chooses to put the whole "cure" plot at the forefront, as he attempts to put his own argument into the mutant/human war. Problem is, it's been done before. Twice. We know where each character stands. We know their ideologies and motives. We wanted Dark Phoenix, we got a Dark Pigeon instead. The performances were all good, consistent as always. McKellen's Magneto gets a generous amount of screentime, who is irrefutably the best character. The increased action was somewhat mindless and messy, but was entertaining to watch. Except the monotonous third act, where Ratner unleashes his inner Michael Bay as flaming cars rain down on Alcatraz. The visual effects were decent, particularly the Golden Gate Bridge scene, and the narrative's pacing was perfectly fine. It just doesn't know what story it wants to tell. The character development had been substituted for frantic action and plots rarely intertwine. Resulting in a forgettable superhero flick. 'X-Men: The First Mess'.