Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review

Crimes of Grindelwald

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’m going to talk about The Crimes of Grindelwald, the latest film in the Harry Potter franchise! Unlike most of my reviews, this one is going to be absolutely full of spoilers. I should also note that I haven’t seen the first Fantastic Beasts movie in quite a while, so I may not have all my facts straight. If I get something wrong, feel free to let me know! This review will mostly focus on things that stood out to me. Hopefully I don’t forget to include something!

I’ll start by saying I enjoyed the film overall. I felt it fleshed out the wizarding world well, and I liked the characters, particularly Leta, Albus Dumbledore, and, well, Grindlewald. Jacob and Queenie’s subplot felt particularly believable. As far as Newt’s tale goes, I felt sort of like I was watching him chase the important people. Some interesting things happened around him, but it didn’t feel like he himself was essential to the plot. As a result, the movie felt more like an expansion of Harry Potter lore with a few really cool scenes at the end than a story that develops its main character. The takeaway for Newt seems to just have been: “Okay, I don’t like Grindelwald.”

I was much more interested in Leta’s backstory than Newt’s. It was interesting to finally meet a Lestrange who, despite having made mistakes, was ultimately a good person. I felt like she could go either way going into the finale, so when she turned on Grindelwald at the last moment, it was really satisfying.

Grindelwald himself was a compelling villain, I found. They did a good job of making him relatively sympathetic despite his obvious role as the antagonist. I found it especially interesting that he predicted World War 2 and its conclusion; it makes you wonder whether there’s more to his side of the story than we were initially made to think. I hope they expand on that in the next film.

I love how Queenie sided with Grindelwald but Jacob refused. It was beautifully ironic to see how he separated them in their journey to be together. I’m super eager to see what happens to these characters next!

Somewhat like Newt and Tina, I felt Credence and Nagini just kind of wandered around, dancing to Grindelwald’s tune without diverging from the path. While I feel sympathy for Nagini knowing what she is destined to become, I just sort of don’t care about Credence. Yes, even after the ‘Aurelius Dumbledore’ twist. (I’m not gonna even try to tackle that other than to say I think Grindelwald is probably lying about it.)

I thoroughly enjoyed Jude Law’s performance as a younger Albus Dumbledore. His influence on the plot of this film was limited because of the blood pact he made with Grindelwald, but, going forward, I would like to see the two of them together. I wonder whether there are even more twists to be revealed about their history with each other!

Nicholas Flamel was amusing to see on screen. His presence at the end did feel a bit too convenient, though.

Overall, my rating for The Crimes of Grindelwald is 4.1/5. It provided a lot for series fans to think about, but I feel like it focused on the wrong characters and, in doing so, detracted from itself as a story. But, like I said, I still really enjoyed it!

Have you guys seen The Crimes of Grindelwald? If so, what did you think? How do you feel about the Harry Potter series in general? Please let me know in the comments! Till next time, I hope your lives are… fantastic!

Yeah, I know, that was kind of predictable…

Venom Review

Venom

Hiyo, everyone! Firstly, I would likely to apologize for my relative inactivity these past few weeks – life has been quite hectic. That said, today I’ll be briefly reviewing a movie that I recently saw – Venom! Since it is another entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I felt compelled to make the time to see this film in theaters despite my schedule. I guess that’s just my fangirl side being obsessive! As usual, I’ll avoid spoilers here, though I will discuss the premise of the film. Anyway, let’s dive right in!

Venom stars a journalist named Eddie Brock who is known for uncovering corruption and who has his own show. As of the beginning of the film, things are looking up for Eddie, who lives with his fiancée, Annie Weying. Things change when Eddie’s boss demands that he interview Carlton Drake, the CEO of an organization called the Life Foundation that strives to advance humanity’s ability to adapt to the changing world – but that secretly uses unethical methods to achieve that end. Eddie snoops around in Annie’s email, finds some evidence against Drake, and, unable to help himself, confronts the CEO during the interview. That prompts a swift end to the interview, the firing of both Eddie and Annie, and the end of the couple’s relationship.

Some time later, Eddie finds himself listlessly living out his life using his dwindling assets. He becomes apathetic about his previous work and desperate to get back into Annie’s good graces. That’s when he’s tracked down by one of Drake’s employees, a scientist whose scruples no longer allow her to just go along with Drake’s methods. She reveals to Eddie that Drake is performing lethal human experimentation on people – experimentation that involves them making contact with alien specimens Drake obtained called symbiotes. After a little convincing, Eddie agrees to sneak into Drake’s lab to get evidence and report on it. However, to no one’s surprise, one thing leads to another and Eddie ends up as the host to one of the symbiotes – an organism named Venom.

After being on the run from Drake for a little while and conversing with Venom, who can speak inside Eddie’s head, Eddie is forced to make use of the abilities granted to him by the parasite in order to survive – and, perhaps, to do something more.

Though it’s certainly not up to par with the likes of Avengers: Infinity War, I found Venom to be an overall enjoyable movie to watch. The main characters were likeable, aside from Drake, who was fun to hate even while being slightly sympathetic. There were a lot of intense action sequences, so if those are your thing, you’ll find yourself right at home with Venom. I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between Eddie and Venom. The film takes a while to start up, but once it does, it movies quite quickly.

The one character who disappointed me most was the main villain aside from Drake, whose name I will not mention. I found him generic, and he fit a trope I dislike that is common in superhero movies. Still, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment very much. Overall, I found Venom to be fun and engaging, though a little short for a Marvel movie. I rate it 4/5.

Have you guys seen Venom? If so, what did you think? What are your favorite Marvel-related movies? Infinity War is high on my list. I should note that I’m not at all familiar with the comic books, so some references go right past me. The first of Venom‘s post credit scenes had me going straight for Google! Anyhow, thank you for reading my review, and, until next time, I hope your life is intoxicatingly enjoyable!

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review (spoilers)

Solo

Hiyo again, everyone! I know I’m a bit late to the party, but today I’ll be reviewing Solo: A Star Wars Story. Since it has been so long since the movie released, I’m gonna assume all the diehard fans have seen it already, so, as the title of this post indicates, there will be spoilers everywhere. So watch the film before reading this!

Since I’m assuming you guys have all seen the movie, I won’t bother with a recap – instead, I’ll just talk about the stuff that stuck out to me.

Unlike Star Wars: Episode 8, I found Solo to be a fairly predictable film except near the end. In part, that’s because we already knew the outcomes of many of the events that happened. We knew Han wouldn’t end up with Qi’ra because she never shows up in the original trilogy. We knew Han, Lando, and Chewy would survive throughout the film, since they’re around in the original trilogy, which left us with only Qi’ra, Beckett, Dryden Vos, and minor characters to perhaps have die. We knew Han would survive the Kessel run, and we knew he would eventually end up with the Millennium Falcon. I found all that bounty of knowledge to rob the movie of much tension. So much screen time was devoted to showing us the pre-existing backstory.

Even the things that weren’t already known were, in large part, predictable; for example, that Han and Beckett’s attempt to rob that train would end in failure and with Val dead. The briefly touched-upon relationship between the two just raised her death flag through the roof!

All of that is not to say I didn’t enjoy the predictable parts of the movie, ’cause I did. I felt the actors all did well with their roles, and the action sequences were solid. One of the few things that did surprise me near the middle of the movie was Lando’s feelings for his droid, L3-37. A human-droid relationship would have been quite interesting to explore; it’s a (predictable) shame that L3-37 died.

Throughout the movie, I found Qi’ra to be the most interesting character. I had a feeling she would end up siding with Dryden Vos, but her feelings seemed mixed enough that I felt she might go either way. I also expected her to die, which she very much didn’t. That was the best twist in the movie. She betrayed both Han and Vos, killing Vos and letting Han go. I didn’t expect her to take leadership for herself, setting up a potential sequel.

The sudden appearance of Enfys Nest (the leader of the riders who attacked Han, Beckett and co during the train scene) to show up near the end of the film was also surprising – it felt rather abrupt, and Han’s decision to side with her seemed to come to him too easily. For someone who’s supposed to be a scammer, he sure ended up getting played by others a lot throughout the film.

If you’ve seen Solo already, you already know about the one thing in the movie that absolutely blew my mind. Darth Maul is alive? Initially, I thought it made no sense for him to be alive with the Empire in power, but, apparently, he survived being cut in half at the waist and falling down a very large pit. I did some looking into it; Disney’s animated Star Wars T.V. series gave him an out, and those series remain canon even now. Honestly, the twist was shocking enough to make up for much of the previous predictability. It makes me hope our favorite two-sided lightsaber user will play a more active role in a future Star Wars story film!

(Also, did you notice the total amount of words spoken by Maul in Star Wars movies was like quintupled because of his brief scene with Qi’ra? He’s become chatty!)

Overall, I did quite enjoy the film despite its flaws, so I’ll rate Solo a 4/5. It’s definitely worth watching if you’re a Star Wars fan… although, if you’re reading this, I guess you probably already saw it. xD

What did you guys think of Solo? Do you agree or disagree with any of my opinions? Is there anything I should have discussed but didn’t? Please let me know in the comments below! Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful week!

Avengers: Infinity War Review (Massive Spoilers)

Avengers Infinity War

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I want to talk about a nifty little movie I’ve recently seen called “Avengers: Infinity War.” You may have heard of it.

For context, I don’t read comic books at all. My only real familiarity with the characters in this movie comes from watching others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (I think I’ve seen them all so far.) So, I can’t compare this movie to the comic book version of the story or anything like that. I also assume most others with an interest in this film already know the general premise, and are decently-versed in the MCU themselves. Therefore, I won’t hold back; this review is going to be full to the brim with spoilers. If you intend to see the film but haven’t yet, I suggest you not read further until you do.

With that out of the way, Infinity War started with a bang! We were thrown right into the action, and we had a tiny lil character death right away – the beloved and charismatic Loki! He was one of the best things about pretty much every movie he was in, so, geez, I hope that one doesn’t stick.

Instead of linearly going through the movie, I’m just going to spout my thoughts in whatever order they come to mind. That’s just how I work! That said, one thing that struck me near the beginning of the film was how powerful some of Thanos’ minions were. Thanos’ prophet (I forget his name – was it even mentioned in the movie?) sticks out in particular. Y’know, the guy who is all ‘Rejoice, for your lives will be sacrificed for the great Thanos’ sake!’ He held off several Avengers at once with a cavalier attitude that made it look easy. It was enjoyable to watch, though his eventual death was just as satisfying.

I wasn’t expecting the Scarlet Witch/Vision romance at all. Maybe I just didn’t pay enough attention during Civil War. Anyway, they were easy to root for, but I still couldn’t help but feel from the outset that they were doomed. (Though I still wonder whether Shuri managed to pull off more than meets the eye; she seemed really determined at the end there, when the attackers were entering her workspace!) The scene where Wanda was forced to destroy Vision herself was a bit painful to watch, though not as much so as it would have been if I hadn’t seen it coming a mile away. Also predictable was Thanos’ casual reversal of that event; he had just obtained the Time Stone, so I figured he would use it.

Speaking of Thanos, what a well done villain! His desire to promote prosperity by keeping the population in check was a fairly believable motive, though it does have a few flaws. (For example, once wouldn’t be enough; he’d have to keep doing it over and over. Also, some worlds may have been prospering, and I imagine losing half the labor force wouldn’t help them very much.) Even so, I went into the movie expecting some all-powerful, indifferent monster, but instead I was treated to a Thanos capable of loving, sacrificing, and crying. He was shockingly relatable!

I feel many of the heroes didn’t get all that much character development. Among the ones who did were Spiderman, The Scarlet Witch, Vision, Gamora, Thor, and Tony Stark. A lot of the others just felt like they were along for the ride – I guess that’s inevitable in a movie with such a large cast.

If there’s one character this movie made me think less of, it’s Star-Lord. Upon learning of Gamora’s death, he lost his cool and started going to town on Thanos’ face – freeing him from the grasps of the others just before they could pull off the Infinity Gauntlet. Congrats, Quill, you just carried Gamora’s killer to victory! I felt bad for all the other characters present, who worked so hard only to have things screwed up by a teammate. They nearly had him!

But, in the end, they didn’t. Thanos collected all the stones and committed the foreshadowed snap of his fingers. Honestly, that was my favorite part of the whole movie. Watching half the heroes I rooted for across over a dozen films evaporate before my eyes. What a daring step for the writers to take! I love it. I totally basked in the despair engulfing the end of the movie, adored the shock of those watching their loved ones vanish, and reveled in the chaos that followed. Thanos actually won. For now, at least. Of course, they’ll all be resurrected later. I mean, Marvel has already announced sequels for several of the dead characters, such as Spiderman. Spoilers much?

Still, as things stand, we’re left with the original Avengers (minus perhaps Hawkeye; he didn’t show up in the movie anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter if he vanished or not), Rocket, and Nebula to continue the battle, along with possibly Ant Man, who was mentioned but also completely absent. (He’s got a sequel coming up, so we can’t kill him right now.) Obviously, in Avengers 4, our little crew is going to revive a bunch of the ones who died. I just hope they save Loki. 😦

Overall, yes, there were some small flaws, but I don’t really care. I had a lot of fun. 5/5

Aaanyway, what did you guys think of the movie? If you ignored my warnings and let me spoil you rotten despite not having seen it yet, who are your favorite characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? I’m eager to see what others thought! Until next time, ciao, and I hope your days are Marvelous!

Get it? >.>

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Thoughts and Review

The Last Jedi Poster

Hiyo, everyone! Just yesterday, I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and I really wanted to talk about it, and I figured this was the perfect place for me to share my opinions.

This isn’t the first review I’ve done on this blog, but I’d like to say up front that it will be different from my previous reviews in two ways. Firstly, I won’t be summarizing the movie’s premise. There must be thousands of reviews doing just that. Instead, I’m directing this review toward people who have already seen the movie. That may seem counter-intuitive, but the movie has been out for a whole three days now, and I figure most of the die-hard fans who are likely to look up blog reviews have already seen it. xD

Secondly, unlike my previous reviews, this one will be absolutely filled with spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to be spoiled, I recommend you turn back now!

Okay, here goes! I’d like to start by saying I found the action in this movie to be a blast to watch from start to finish. At the beginning of the movie, I was a bit worried The Last Jedi would mimic the structure of The Empire Strikes Back much like The Force Awakens imitated A New Hope, since both films start with the Rebels fleeing from a compromised base. The ensuing chase only strengthened my concern, so I was pleased when the plot turned in another direction after the First Order caught up with the Rebels.

Meanwhile, on a remote island/planet, we found Luke and Rey exactly where we’d left them: staring each other down. I was a bit disappointed to see Luke subsequently play the grumpy old man shtick after that; it felt entirely too cliche. Rey’s arc for this movie became a lot more interesting once her force-enabled conversations with Kylo Ren began popping up. I found myself quietly shipping the two of them throughout the movie. =p

To be honest, as the movie progressed, I found Luke to be more and more of a letdown. The revelation that he contemplated killing Kylo in his sleep suggests that he learned nothing from his father’s redemption. Obviously, Kylo’s subsequent murders were an unwarranted, but I can’t blame him for hating Luke and turning away from Luke’s teachings – nor can I blame Rey for storming off of the planet.

The scene with Yoda came off as rather silly to me, especially the part where Yoda made lightning strike and started a fire. If he can do that, why not materialize on the First Order’s ship and blow things up? But I digress. xD

The Rebel’s defense against the First Order was a far more interesting arc to me. I could really feel their desperation as things kept getting worse and worse. That said, I couldn’t quite suspend my disbelief when Leia survived being thrown into space. That entire sequence seemed a bit contrived. At first, I was as wary as Poe of Leia’s replacement, Vice-Admiral Holdo, but – well, we’ll get to that later. =p

From the scene where the two of them met, I found Finn and Rose to make a cute couple. Their little adventure gave us a fun look at the financial elite of the galaxy, although, ultimately, I feel it only served to bring the two of them closer together. (And to show off BB-8’s badassery. =p ) Their plan completely fell through, which is fine and all, but I feel it didn’t really progress the story forward except by leading up to Finn’s epic duel with Captain Phasma.

The scene between Rey, Kylo, and Snoke was where The Last Jedi really began to distinguish itself from the other Star Wars movies in my eyes. Much like Palpatine, Snoke was a completely obnoxious, arrogant jerk – and it was an absolute delight to watch him die for his smugness. He completely underestimated Kylo, who I was outright rooting for at that point. However, Snoke did leave one burning question in his wake – who was that mighty Sith Lord who seems to have materialized out of nowhere?

The battle between Rey, Kylo, and Snoke’s guards was absolutely thrilling to watch, and my internal fangirl cheering was at its peak as the two of them helped each other survive. To be honest, I really, really wanted them to join forces, regardless of which side they chose – but, alas, the story took a different turn. xD

Meanwhile, as the rebels fled via escape pods, we were given the privilege to bear witness to what I consider the most breathtaking scene in the entire movie – Vice Admiral Holdo’s use of hyperdrive to take down a star destroyer. Everything about that scene, from the visuals to the temporary silence to the implications of that action was just perfect, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Holdo’s attack was so effective it left me wondering why hyperdrive-kamikazi ships are not widely used weapons of war. Surely, someone in the history of the galaxy has to have done that before, right? =p

The battle outside the abandoned Rebel base was visually a pleasure to watch – the juxtaposition of white and red birthed by the planet’s surface remind me of the movie poster shown above. Projection-Luke’s appearance took me by surprise, and I find it hard to believe it worked. The trinket Luke gave Leia upon his appearance was shown to be a complete illusion, so it seems strange that Leia didn’t have a reaction to being given something immaterial. Still, it was fun to watch the imperial army focus its fire on Luke to no avail, and amusing to witness the non-existent battle between him and Kylo. I was kind of surprised General Hux didn’t try to kill Kylo once the illusion was revealed, but I suppose he had already publically acknowledged the latter as his new Supreme Leader.

The ending left me with a few strong impressions. Firstly, Rey is growing more powerful at a staggering rate. I can’t wait to see what she’s like in Episode 9! Secondly, Luke’s death felt a bit abrupt. I suppose the stunt he pulled put a lot of strain on his body, but it felt like a rather anti-climatic way for a legendary Jedi to die. I suppose Yoda just died of old age, too, though. Thirdly, the scene at the very end with the children suggests to me that the badly wounded Rebel Alliance will largely be rebuilt by the next generation of freedom fighters. That makes me wonder whether there will be a large time gap between Episodes 8 and 9.

As a side note, The Last Jedi took a very unexpected route concerning humor. It felt a bit surreal to see some of the sillier scenes actually in the movie, but I have to admit, I did laugh at some of them. Slapstick though they were, I felt they made the film a bit more engaging.

Overall, The Last Jedi is far from a perfect film, but it’s one I thoroughly enjoyed nonetheless. As you may know if you’ve read my previous posts, I like to acknowledge the faults in the media I experience and find ways to look past them. None of The Last Jedi‘s flaws ruined the experience for me at all, and the sheer quantity of awesome moments left me really hyped for the sequel. Therefore, I rate The Last Jedi 4.5/5. I thoroughly enjoyed its willingness to tinker with the formula a little.

Have you guys seen The Last Jedi yet? If so, what did you think? Which scenes stood out the most for you? Were any of the flaws unforgivable in your eyes? As always, I’m eager to read your feedback. Buh-bye for now!