So I’ve gotten off to quite a bit of a rough start this summer with the movies and all. Normally I’m packing the theaters to find the perfect movie to get my summer started off right, you know, set the tone for a scorching ATL season, but so far, the romp has been hit or miss. Last summer saw a lot of big flicks that really blazed memorable scenes in my mind that I could appreciate. But so far, this year’s offerings have fallen a bit flat. As I review the list of theatrical releases, I’m trying to put into words what is the essential ingredient that is missing, as not to come off too cynical. For me, a good flick is all about three things: Great story, Great action, and a Fantastic/Epic/Climactic finish. And while that may seem easy, in my most humble opinion, no movie thus far has it all three requirements sufficiently.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON did not disappoint at all. Everything you’d expect from a sequel – Action, bigger scope, larger than life enemies, additional characters, and a flowing story-arc that sets you up for the inevitable continuation of a saga. So what went wrong? Josh Whedon (Firefly, Serenity – my personal favorites of his) is story-telling beast that truly understands the content, but I could tell that there was something missing from this follow up to the first Avengers. It lacked a soul. As I did some investigating into the film and his departure from the sequels, I found out that he was at ends with Marvel over a couple of creative differences (uh, something I understand quite well with my own franchises mind you – so I can truly appreciate the difficulty). Most of it seemed to revolve around the dream sequences and the creation of Ultron. If you didn’t see the movie yet, I won’t spoil it for you. But take my word for it; the word ‘Scattered’ just doesn’t do the complaint justice. When things fall on the cutting floor of a film, it can be a terrible thing. Most people I spoke to felt it too, following suit with what I did and just blew any confusion I felt off and just saying, “Oh well, won’t try to figure it out after all.” It also lacked a sense of purpose in the shadow the AVENGERS: INFINITY that will be a two-part movie in 2018/2019. This felt more like a Segway for that. Beyond that, Whedon was going to be a victim to his own genius in the first film. I personally feel Whedon was so brilliant that it was going to be impossible for him to top it anyway. So all in all, the visuals and jagged story just wasn’t enough to satisfy my cravings just yet. 8.5/10
MAD MAX FURY ROAD actually surprised me somewhat. I didn’t know what to expect (even though I grew up on the originals) but anything with Charlize Theron and Zoey Kravitz – scantily dressed – couldn’t have been that bad right? True! If you needed an alternative to FAST AND FURIOUS (which I did – couldn’t take another ridiculous plot, over-the-top action, corny one-liner ridden film of the franchise; although I respect and Paul Walker and Vin Diesel to the fullest) – this was it. FURY ROAD never takes the foot off the pedal, even when plowing through miles and miles of dust and sand. From the start, the tone is set for a thrill ride with brutal warfare (albeit gruesome) as Max is introduced to us by being snatched into slavery in a savage dystopian universe. Enter Charlize’s character as the only voice of reason and soon, the two join the cause to liberate a group of young girls from a nasty COPD plagued Faction Boss in hopes of finding a new Utopian world. Visually, this movie is stunning and is a tour-de-force from a photography perspective. These scenes honestly could not be appreciated one time through and I salivate on the anticipation of the 3-D Blu-ray for my man-cave at the crib. But sadly, behind all the glitz (even the wet shirt scenes with Zoey) the plot is a bit thin, without offering any cool twists and is dripping with predictability to set up a sequel (which I’ve heard is already greenlit). 7/10
I’ve checked out a couple of other films, but will hold my opinion and your applause for another time. Check back soon for some more Summer Movie reviews. Tat-taa for now.