Scoob! (2020): Scooby-Don’t See This Movie

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“Scoob!” is directed by Tony Cervone (Back at the Barnyard, The Looney Tunes Show) and stars Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth, The LEGO Movie), Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Ted), Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery, Star Wars: Rebels), Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation, Carmen Sandiego), Zac Efron (Neighbors, High School Musical), Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, First Reformed), Kiersey Clemons (Angie Tribeca, Transparent), Ken Jeong (The Masked Singer, The Hangover), Tracy Morgan (The Last O.G., Rio), Simon Cowell (The X Factor, America’s Got Talent), and Frank Welker (The Smurfs, DuckTales). This film is yet another addition to the “Scooby-Doo” franchise created by Hanna-Barbera, but this was a rare case for the franchise in which this was supposed to be a big theatrical movie.

…If only more theaters were open…

Now, it has premiered on streaming services and On Demand. Nevertheless, the film’s ideas themselves remain the same. “Scoob!” centers around the popularized gang of characters who split up as the vicious Dick Dastardly plans to unleash a “dogpocalypse” to the world and its people.

I saw the main trailer for this film and I was pretty indifferent about it. I had no strong feelings of excitement towards the movie itself, nor was I thinking it would be the worst thing I’d ever see. When it comes to children’s content, I was pretty sure that “Sonic the Hedgehog” was going to get on my nerves more, which didn’t turn out to be the case whatsoever as it might be my favorite movie of the year so far. But, judging this year’s resume of films, that really doesn’t say much as the highest score I have given to a film so far this year remains at a 7/10. Speaking of things that get on my nerves, “Scoob!” is a crime against humanity that has officially engulfed my brain in flames.

Let’s start out with the positives, and I’m not saying there are positives because I’m a nice guy, in fact, isolation is probably turning me into an entitled asshole, but nevertheless. The film is decently animated. A lot of the images are shiny and vibrant. Then again, it is 2020, and at this time, good animation is a requirement. Plus, I did rent the movie in 4K. The other thing I liked about the film, and while I wouldn’t call it some of the best material I have ever seen, are the introductory scenes. The way that Shaggy and Scooby-Doo meet is kind of nice to see. Granted, I saw it in the trailer, but the way it plays out in the movie makes for a somewhat entertaining scene. However, there is one moment in the scene that I probably consider to be a little too far-fetched. Even so, it’s still a delightful scene. I will also add that getting Iain Armitage to voice young Shaggy is a perfect casting choice. The first scenes of the film where Shaggy and Scooby grow up together make for good buildup while also focusing on the mysterious and spooky elements of the “Scooby-Doo” franchise. The way the gang meets and sticks together makes for a fun scene and montage and even though it did not seem to promise an absolute masterpiece, I did at least expect to be somewhat amused throughout the hour and a half runtime of this movie.

As soon as we get around the first scene with Simon Cowell playing himself, I lost any and all interest I could have possibly had with this film. Because as soon as the main course starts, this movie basically becomes the latest incarnation of *insert superhero title here*. “Scoob!” is essentially an attempt to turn the “Scooby-Doo” franchise into a superhero movie. Everyone at Warner Bros. must have been thinking, “Marvel’s popular. Our very own DC is popular. Scooby-Doo? Not cool enough.” I guess this is one reason why Warner Bros. thought it was okay to release this film in May and not October. The movie takes place during Halloween, geniuses!

As for the heroes in this movie, both super like Blue Falcon and Dee Dee Sykes and less than super such as Scooby and Shaggy, I basically rooted for none of them. Everybody felt stupid, underwhelming, and even though Scooby and Shaggy have probably never been a part of a superhero mission in their lives as this movie likely suggests, some of the things that go on in this movie make me think that they need to look The Official Encyclopedia of Predictable Superhero Movie Actions. That sort of thing does not exist, but goddammit I would buy it if it were out there! There are one or two moments in this movie that drove me so mad, both as a fan of superhero movies and as someone who wants the characters in “Scoob!” to be competently written. Now I do not mind predictable movies as long as the people behind the project can make it fun. I just talked about “Onward,” which I could think through, but the overall fun and emotion provided within the movie makes up for its predictability. But “Scoob!” reached a level of predictability that I did not only avoid expecting to see, but as far as how the characters handled it, it angered me to the moon and back. When a decent amount of your movie’s characters are morons, why should I root for them?!

As for the villain, Dick Dastardly, he kind of feels like a D-list Thanos. He’s heavy, he’s got kind of a punch-able face, and he might honestly be the best character in the movie. Keep in mind, compared to Thanos, he’s nothing. But I liked the way they handled his character because there was some depth to him. Granted, they tried to dive deep into some secondary superheroes who play a role in the plot, but I couldn’t even come close to rooting for them. There is a saying that a movie is only as good as its villain, but when the heroes turn me into a villain, then it probably doesn’t matter how much I liked the antagonist of “Scoob!.”

May I just remind everyone that four people are credited for the screenplay for “Scoob!?” How did we get here?! Also, three people worked on the story. When it comes to these bloody genius writers, some of their previous credits include “Playing with Fire,” “Norm of the North,” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” just to name a few.

I’m not lying when I suggest that this movie is basically trying to copy the success of a superhero film. There’s a big team trying to stop the bad guy, there’s a couple scenes with hi-tech gadgets and techno wizardry that develop the plot, and you know how I mentioned that Dick Dastardly is basically Thanos in this movie? Guess what his plot is? Trying to find a series of bones to complete his collection! We get it! “Avengers: Infinity War” is one of the most successful movies of all time! It happened! Just be “Scoob!!” Actually, you know what? I take that back. Don’t be “Scoob!,” “Scoob!” is terrible. Be a better movie.

To add on to the superhero craze, you know what Warner Bros. is planning on doing in the future? Well, if you look at the Wikipedia page for “Scoob!,” it suggests that “Scoob!” “is intended to be the first installment in a series of films set within a Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe.” F*cking hell.

If you have ever been remotely interested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you should be thankful that critics gave “Iron Man” positive reviews, otherwise the MCU probably wouldn’t even exist today. As far as I am aware, “Scoob!” is getting mixed verdicts across the board. Who knows what’ll happen there? But nevertheless, if I have to sit through a cinematic universe full of material as bad as this, I am officially no longer a movie person.

In a world full of superhero and comic book movies, “Scoob!” is like that kid trying to join the cool kids table saying, “Hey, I like Fortnite,” but everyone else thinks the kid is just trying to get attention. I will give a ton of credit to the animators behind “Scoob!,” because the film does look nice on a screen. Again, I watched it in 4K, the colors really stood out to me. The one thing I wish I could do right now as a movie-watcher is declare whether or not something is worth checking out in theaters. But, I can’t do that. So instead, I shall pose the question, is “Scoob!” worth renting for $19.99? As far as I’m concerned, that question earns a strong “no.” This film feels like a Marvel flick that doesn’t even know who its audience truly is. The film tries its hardest to “modernize” the “Scooby-Doo” property, which I honestly think was a big mistake. Well, at least they got Frank Welker to voice Scooby. There’s even a joke regarding the character of Fred Jones that involves him being compared to one of the Hemsworths! This film is infuriating and unbelievably forgettable! In the end, “Scoob!” is ninety-something minutes of “what the f*ck just happened?” and I’m going to give it a 3/10.

Thanks for reading this review! I usually don’t talk about movies that avoid a theatrical release, but as long as movies are not hitting theaters or as long as there are no theaters open to play them, I will be talking about movies that hit streaming or DVD early. There will likely have to be some sort of previous intention to have the film theatrically released, but that’s just what I currently have in mind. I just want to watch movies that are better than “Scoob!” at this point, that’s all I care about. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, be sure to check out my Facebook page, which will hopefully be updated with content involving much better movies in the future.

Also, movie theaters, PLEASE COME BACK.

I want to know, did you see “Scoob!?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Hanna-Barbera property? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man Is BACK IN THE MCU!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! So next week, I’ve been thinking about seeing “Joker,” the latest of the neverending trend that we like to call “comic book movies.” And I’ll tell you, the movie looks pretty freakin–WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD THE PHONE! SPIDER-MAN JUST RETURNED TO THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE!

This information, to me, came completely out of the blue. I was just enjoying my Friday off from school, summing up my thoughts on the latest movie I’ve gone out to see, when all of a sudden, I’m on social media, and a Variety article comes up with a headline that at this point looks too good to be true. Once I saw the headline “Spider-Man Will Stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” there was only one thing to do.

DO SOME CARTWHEELS AND ALERT THE FREAKING MASSES!

I try to maintain a level of professionalism on this website. There are definitely signs that may suggest otherwise, but that’s because I want my blog to be fun, not boring, not unoriginal. I want everything to stand out. So with that in mind, THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE HEARD IN MY LIFE! HELL TO THE FREAKING YEAH! BOOM!

Now, let me just say, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time, and if you have not been following my favorite superhero of all time in the news recently, you’d know that Disney and Sony had a little scrap. For some years now, Sony had the ability to spend money on a new Spider-Man movie, but Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) helps out in making those movies come to life and in return, their side gets a portion of the money, all of the merchandising rights, and a couple of chances to show Spider-Man off in other movies they happen to be making. Sony also gets the chances to retain rights to solo Spider-Man filmmaking as they have already come out with films like “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” But this was recently interrupted because Disney asked Sony for greater permission on the content, but Sony said no.

The original deal had Sony making 95% of the box office totals on films that would eventually be known as “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This means for those movies, Disney would gain 5% of the box office. After the exciting news of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” becoming Sony’s highest grossing movie ever, it was a great sign that the deal seemed to have worked out. Both Disney and Sony are making money on Marvel Studios films, Disney is getting merch money, and Sony gets to make money on their own “Spider-Man” films outside the MCU. But Disney asked for Sony to co-finance and split profits on upcoming “Spider-Man” films. Sony wasn’t satisfied with Disney’s new proposal, so they were no longer involved with the MCU. But, a “Spider-Man 3” was still planned. So they were going to make the movie on their own, without Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s involvement, which seemed kind of difficult because if you ask me, Spider-Man currently represents an enormous part of the MCU’s current storyline. With several main characters we currently know having disappeared, Spider-Man may be the next crucial main character for Marvel’s phase 4 and on. He was taken under the wing of Tony Stark, he tried to make him proud from time to time, and now he is trying let Stark’s legacy live on. This separation would have been bad because Sony probably couldn’t use any of Marvel Studios’ other properties or characters if they needed to, and future Marvel Studios films would probably have to come up with some lame or cheesy excuse as to why Spider-Man is not with the Avengers.

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Did he have too much homework?

Is he busy with The Daily Bugle?

Did he not feel so good? I mean, come on!

Nevertheless, as of Friday, Sony and Disney have reunited with new terms that may seem to work out for both of them. And that was one thing that I personally was worried about, because as much as I want Spider-Man in the MCU, I understand why Sony left, and I would have rather had Sony leave the way they did as opposed to having them go along with the 50/50 terms because that means they lose control, or at least partial control of their biggest property, and let’s face it, if this were a game of Film Studio Monopoly, Disney would be winning. They own Boardwalk (most of Marvel), they own Park Place (Lucasfilm), there are hotels on both properties, and you might as well say that they own Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Pacific Avenues, all of which represents the remains of 21st Century Fox, and they are starting to build on those properties as we speak. If Sony were playing this game, they’d be better off landing on the go to jail spot over and over again. I’m not saying they are in danger of going out of business, but still. Luckily, things are being kept in check, because while the deal is no longer a 95/5% difference between sides, it is now 75/25%, with Sony gaining most of the profits. And while this may seem like a significant increase right now for Disney, it may be worth it in the end. Because Sony is still putting some of their eggs into the basket of their own Spidey content, including “Venom 2” which is currently in development.

Despite how much I may point out how Disney is making “too much money,” there’s not much wrong here with Disney wanting more money for these “Spider-Man” films. They’ve done their part when it comes to inserting soul into the character. But I think this deal should probably not go much higher, because Sony is the one distributing the film, and they are the ones paying for it to be made. I personally think 25% is the highest that I would be OK with Disney earning for these movies. Because if they are allowed to earn anything greater, then they might as well be snatching “Spider-Man” from Sony. Yes, Disney technically owns Marvel, but Sony is also in a position where Spider-Man movies are “their thing” and will probably end up being their greatest asset for the time being. It would be like Universal giving up “Fast & Furious” or Paramount giving up “Mission: Impossible” or STX Entertainment giving up “Bad Moms.”

I should also point out that in addition to this whole reunion, the spreading of joy and good news across the movie fandom, Sony put out a post recently of a little announcement that I think you all might enjoy.

One word. Hype.

I honestly almost couldn’t be happier because while Disney is still increasing their control on Spidey, it’s not like they’re hogging the entire plate. Sony gets to keep the rights, and Marvel Studios gets to keep Spider-Man in the MCU. And even if it is just for one more movie, it would help me as an audience member in getting some closure after the AMAZING mid-credits scene of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” What mood am I in right now? Well, look down below!

I feel like dancin’ like I just don’t care! Booyah!

Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that “Joker” comes out next weekend. Now, I want to go see it next weekend. I have time to go see it next weekend. But chances are, I’m not going to. I will say though, I do have tickets booked for the second weekend! I’m going to see “Joker” on Friday, October 11th in 70mm! Hopefully I can get a review up by the end of Columbus Day if I go see it then for the first time, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day depending on your preference, I cannot wait to check it out! As for this next weekend, I am not sure what’s going on. Maybe I’ll watch “The Fanatic,” the new John Travolta movie that just came out, because I kind of want to talk about it. It just seems like it would make for good material, so we’ll see what happens. Be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account if you want to see new posts in your WordPress feed, or if you just want to subscribe with an email, you will be notified of new posts immediately through email. Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the latest news regarding Sony, Disney, Marvel, and Spider-Man? Are you happy to see him back in the MCU? Do you think a better deal could have been made? Or are you disappointed? Did you want to see what Sony could have done with Spider-Man without Marvel Studios? Leave your thoughts and opinions down below and I’m not sure about you guys, but bring on “Spider-Man 3!” I want it now! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“This is terrific, Peter Parker’s story took a dramatic turn in ‘Far From Home’ and I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes.” -Amy Pascal (Producer, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME)

Spider-Man Out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?!

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Sony? Disney? I don’t feel so good.

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This past Tuesday has been one of the most peculiar days of my life. I scraped my knee pretty bad and I broke my bed. But that might not even be the biggest piece of news that I have to share with you all, because this past Tuesday I have heard that Spider-Man, my favorite superhero of all time, is leaving the hands of Disney! Now when I say that, I mean whatever hands of Disney it has, because if you are not familiar with what’s going on, a few years back, Sony (who owns rights to make Spider-Man movies) negotiated a deal with Disney to put Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the same time, Sony would still be allowed to produce and distribute their own “Spider-Man” films with the same iteration of the character in the MCU. So far, they have come out with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” both of which were critically and financially successful.

This deal was working very well for both sides. Disney would get some of the money made for the Sony-owned “Spider-Man” films, specifically 5%. Spider-Man would also be included in various Disney projects including “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Much like the recently mentioned “Spider-Man” movies, those Disney projects also received positive reviews and each one went on to gross over $1 billion, with two of them reaching past $2 billion. Disney and Marvel also had 100% of the merchandising rights to the character. This means, Sony is making money through making “Spider-Man” movies, along with titles such as “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and Disney is getting some or all of the money depending on the occasion from live-action movies with Tom Holland as the webhead. Plus, Disney is getting money from toys, clothes, etc.

In fact, Sony just hit a nifty little achievement from receiving their all-time highest grossing film, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which grossed $1.109 billion, beating out 2012’s “Skyfall.” Sony’s making money! Disney’s making money! Everyone’s making money! And since it makes the world go round, it should not be surprising that money is the reason why Sony and Disney are separating! Sony has decided to back Spidey out of the hands of producer Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios! Why? Disney’s side wanted a raise!

Now let me just say, if they went to Sony and asked them for 10% of the money earned on the next “Spider-Man” film, maybe 20% or 25%. That would be a different story. But Disney, otherwise known as the box office kings of 2019, said “MORE! We want more!” And wanting more is not a bad thing. But ten times more? This is easily comparable to Spongebob asking Mr. Krabs for a raise because he has recently shown to be doing such quality work for him. Of course, being the krabby snob he is, he’d probably say no. But if Krabs were a gentleman, he would definitely raise Spongebob’s pay just a little bit. I’m fine with Disney getting a little more because financially speaking, this situation has been working out for both sides to the point where they can both give themselves a pat on the back. But the fact that Disney literally wants half of the box office intake for the next “Spider-Man” film reveals their true colors to me. Let’s face it, all movies, in some way, are made for the purpose of profit, but Disney is a different animal when it comes to this. They recently remade one of their most popular films, “The Lion King,” an animated classic which I happen to adore. But the new one is exactly the same as the original! It has little to no differences, and whatever differences do exist don’t seem to stand out. And let me just remind you, it has the same formula as “Hamlet” and “Kimba the White Lion.” Let me just remind you all, it is now in the top 10 films in terms of box office of all time. That happened. Granted, I also feel bad for Disney because as much as I *HATE* them for buying Fox, they have to deal with a slew of several finished films that will barely see the light of day. Plus, they laid off tons of employees and shut down Fox 2000. Although at the same time, they made “Avengers: Endgame,” which is now the Mount Everest of box office champions so there is a hint of achievement in sprinkled somewhere.

Is Disney doing this because of the recent failures of Fox? I have no idea, but based on their recent achievements, I don’t know if it is necessary. I understand the desire to go bigger, be bolder, but with Disney, they already have such a stronghold on the film industry to the point where I feel the need to remind them that they need to calm down. This is one reason why I get Sony backed out of the deal. “Spider-Man” is their highest-grossing property. And for Disney to come in and ask, “Hey, you know that ‘Spidey’ thing, can we take half the money?” It is the literal definition of unexpected and it makes them look like a giant s*ithead of a jerk. As a kid, one important lesson some people are taught is that “sharing is caring.” Both companies have hands in about a half of the deal. Why does one want the high ground?

Wait…

Image result for i have the high ground gif

This is Disney right now. I don’t know if they intentionally want to dismantle or destroy Sony, but the only way that I could see a deal like this working is if not only both companies earn 50/50 on box office, but they put 50/50 into the budget. But as far as I know, Sony is the one spending money on the film to begin with. I don’t want to point any fingers, but if I had to make an assumption, I am pretty sure this one could be on the money.

Now some of you might be thinking of past experience when it comes to Spidey and how Sony would usually tend to screw it up at a certain point. Let me just say first off, I LIKE “Spider-Man 3.” Sorry, it’s true. As for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” however, that is a different story. But if this is a matter of Disney wanting more money, I would say that this is a sacrifice worth taking. Disney has enough. They have merchandising rights to the character, they have two to three Marvel films every year now. They have the profitable live-action remakes. They have “Star Wars.” They have the entirety of some people’s childhoods. AND… they have most of Fox. They are literally the Veruca Salt of entertainment. Granted, I imagine everyone at Disney is MUCH more well behaved (for the most part, I don’t have enough insider information). But this is honestly a reminder to Disney to sometimes be thankful for what you have, otherwise there will be consequences.

And let’s address another big issue, getting Spidey out of the MCU’s relevance. One of the biggest problems for this dealbreaker when it comes to both Sony and Disney is trying to get Spider-Man to not interact or have connections with the Avengers anymore. This begs a question. Is he still going to be part of the team but without mention towards said connection? Will either side try to find a way to get rid of his “Avenger” status? A few movies ago, he was just declared an Avenger. From “Avengers: Infinity War” to “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” there was an important story in Peter Parker’s arch to allow him to emphasize his importance as an Avenger. Granted, that arch has come a long way since “Infinity War,” but at least from my view, there is still more to be explored regarding Parker and this story of his.

Oh, let’s not forget this…

*IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN “SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME,” THIS IS AN END CREDIT SCENE FROM THE FILM, DO NOT WATCH IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS*

Yeah… I want answers. Now.

So in all honesty, this breakup may end up being good for nobody. Granted, Sony agreeing to Disney’s terms would be be bad too, but this reminds me of divorce. You know how they say divorce is hardest on the children? This is hard on all fans of “Spider-Man” who happen to be enjoy both his solo films and MCU crossovers. It’s hard for Disney because they lost an interesting character, and as for Sony, we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of movie they end up making in order to determine how hard this is for them. The MCU will very likely survive without Spider-Man. After all, they have a bunch of other characters they can work with, and since Disney owns Fox, this now gives them the opportunity to insert “Fantastic Four” and “X-Men” into the mix. This leave may hurt them a little bit, because in a future project they’ll probably have to come up with some sort of excuse as to why Parker would be out of the realm. And for all I know, we may never see another Tom Holland “Spider-Man” story again, which would be disappointing, because, again, I want answers. Maybe Sony will do another reboot where Uncle Ben dies, which, I’ll say, I don’t mind seeing again. I get why people wouldn’t want to see it again, but seeing it can highlight the pain Parker goes through and it could emphasize the drive the character will have down the road.

Do I want Spider-Man in the MCU? Sure, he’s a cool character and I like Tom Holland’s portrayal. I think it is very well done, and when it comes to how the character is written in films like “Avengers: Infinity War,” he had my seal of approval. But I understand why Sony did what they did. I personally think “Homecoming” could have been slightly better when comparing it to other “Spider-Man” films, but I ended up loving “Far From Home” even more than “Endgame.” I have very mixed thoughts, but this is a tough time in the trendy comic book movie genre.

AND JUST BECAUSE SONY AND DISNEY ARE NOT GIVING YOU WHAT YOU WANT, DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN RAID THE STUDIOS! IF THERE IS GOING TO BE A BIG RAID AGAINST EITHER STUDIO, MY FAITH IN THE HUMAN RACE IS GOING TO GO DOWN THE CRAPPER! DON’T. EVEN. THINK. ABOUT IT. CAPICHE?!

I’m just about done. I have nothing else to say except… Disney, stop your plan for world domination. This is the same corporation that gobbled up Fox for Pete’s sake! Give Sony a reason to be with you, or move on. Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that I just recently saw “Ready or Not” which just opened in theaters a few days ago. This is the first full weekend the movie will be shown and I imagine a lot of its money will be earned over the course of said period of time. If you want to check out my review for that film, click the red box below and see what I have to say! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! And if you want, check out my Facebook page! Go to my Facebook page for the latest info from the Movie Reviewing Moron cluttered inside a space full of “friends.” I want to know, what are your thoughts on this whole “Spider-Man” fiasco? Do you want him in the MCU? Do you want Sony to keep making movies with him outside the MCU? Do you think there should be some sort of reboot? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019): Highest Grossing Box Office Movie Ever (My Thoughts)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I’d like to start off this post by saying, I’m sorry if this post seems as if it is being put up late. I’ve been busy, I’ve had other posts that got in the way, and I had to (or should I say got to) go see a movie for a post I wanted to get up by the end of this weekend. I have so little time, so much to do! But with that aside, let’s stay on topic! If you have been living under a rock for the past few days, let me just say, 1: I hope you’re enjoying that rock. And 2: Chances are that at least SOME of you may have heard the big news coming out of the movie industry recently. As many may know, Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” has hit many milestones during its theatrical run, but most recently, it hit the milestone to end all milestones (at least in theaters). As of now, “Avengers: Endgame” has dethroned James Cameron’s “Avatar” as the highest-grossing film at the box office of all time. The movie has been in theaters for just about three months, and over the weekend where it was just days away from approaching its three month mark, it made “Avatar” feel blue.

Anybody? I officially quit comedy.

Nevertheless, before “Avengers: Endgame” swooped in, “Avatar,” which in my opinion is a good movie for its visual effects, not to mention a thrilling experience, but a little lackluster on some script elements, had the all-time box office record of $2,789,679,794. As of now, “Avengers: Endgame” is sitting at $2.79 billion! And I knew, from the start, that the record was bound to be broken. Let me just give a list of some records “Endgame” broke before this all happened!

  • HIGHEST GROSSING OPENING WEEKEND WORLDWIDE
  • HIGHEST GROSSING OPENING WEEKEND IN AMERICA
  • FIRST MOVIE TO PASS $300 MILLION ON OPENING WEEKEND IN AMERICA
  • FASTEST MOVIE IN ADVANCE TICKET SALES
  • FASTEST MOVIE TO $1 BILLION (5 DAYS)
  • FASTEST MOVIE TO $1.5 BILLION (8 DAYS)
  • FASTEST MOVIE TO $2 BILLION (11 DAYS, WHICH IS THE TIME IT TOOK INFINITY WAR TO REACH $1 BILLION)
  • BEST THURSDAY PREVIEW
  • BEST OPENING DAY

To me, this record shatter was inevitable as soon as the opening weekend totals were revealed. It might have been inevitable since the tickets went on sale. Remember that virtual line from Fandango? Remember AMC’s site crashing? Never forget… 4/2/2019. This movie not only had legs, but it had a sense of being this big event. After all, this is why I wanted to see the film as early as possible. This is why I bought tickets for opening Thursday! I treated my adventure to “Avengers: Endgame” as if it were an official holiday. You know how some kids count down to Christmas? That was me with “Avengers: Endgame.” Its predecessor, “Infinity War,” impressed me to no end, I declared it to be my 2nd favorite film of 2018, and this made me realize that while it is a cinematic event, it is practically something that I felt was generational. I got into the MCU when I was thirteen years old, back when I started watching the first two “Iron Man” films after recording them and watching them through my DVR. Technically speaking, I watched the original “Avengers” movie back when I was twelve, but I still had little to no realization of what the MCU actually was. I eventually got the concept, and started watching more movies that took place in this cinematic universe that I cannot even believe still exists. It felt like something my entire life has been leading up to. Yes, “The Force Awakens” was a resurrection of a property I have loved for years. Yes, I have been excited for several films from worlds I have never been exposed to before such as “Interstellar.” But as soon as the release date of “Avengers: Endgame” hit, nothing else mattered. Even though I had to go to school and do a final presentation, that was secondary to me. “Endgame” mattered. Although this does bring up one thing. We live in a society where everything feels as if it is supposed to be done in a nanosecond.

We have tiny computers that fit in a pocket. These things have a free dictionary, encyclopedia, and study book all in one! We can preorder whatever the heck we want at Dunkin’ through an app on our phone! We have streaming services that drops an entire season of a brand new show for everyone to watch so they don’t have to wait for the next episode! While I thought it was unavoidable that we would see this film become the biggest in history, there was a point where I thought I should take that statement back because of how many people went to see it when it first came out. Some people went back, but not everybody did. To this day, I have only seen the film in theaters once. As a film critic who needs to review a diverse selection of content, I need to save my money! If I had AMC Stubs A-List maybe I’d go see it again, but I am still debating on whether or not I should get it.

Although there are factors on this film getting people in the theater for a repeat viewing. For one thing, critical reviews helped. Many people related to the film industry praised the film for many aspects, not to mention the reviews that come from the fan side of things. The film received an A from CinemaScore, a 91% audience rating from Rotten Tomatoes, which is 3% less than the combined critic rating, and the film has a spot on the IMDb top 250! The public response to this film is enough to warrant a repeat viewing in some way.

But I do have one question: Did the folks behind this movie use bad marketing to get people in the theater towards the end?

As some of you may know, Marvel and crew put out another version of “Avengers: Endgame” in theaters about a month ago. This was marketed as a “rerelease.” What did this rerelease contain? No additional footage for the movie, but a tribute to Stan Lee, some cut out footage featuring the Hulk, and a preview for what audiences were going to get in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” If anything, this is almost deceptive because while I was not exactly expecting much out of this rerelease, this brings nothing new to the table. As suggested by Box Office Mojo, the rerelease brought an increase in the movie’s domestic box office totals by 207%. I’m not calling the folks at Marvel Studios frauds. There is new stuff in the rerelease, but… barely. It’s just marketing that feels cheap, instead of calling it a “rerelease,” call it the “After Credits Special” or something.

Although this does bring up something interesting. “Avatar” had a rerelease as well. While not done in the same fashion as “Endgame” since their rerelease happened about 8 months after the film’s original release, it was little less… I guess I can say deceptive. The new cut featured extended footage of the film despite how it was already shown on home video. Nevertheless, it felt like there was a reason for the rerelease to happen based on timing and new content. Plus, let’s bring this up. “Avatar” beat “Titanic,” which is now third place in all-time box office totals, in just a month. Granted, “Endgame” beat “Titanic” faster, but that’s irrelevant. “Avatar” still remained the same film the entire time. The release an of an alternate edition didn’t happen until months later.

And I will still say, “Endgame” is better than “Avatar.” While “Avatar” is a visual spectacle, “Endgame” is that with story. Granted, if you are not familiar with the MCU, I’d say wait to watch this film until you maybe watch some other films in this universe. You would probably still have fun watching this movie, but there’s a good chance that you’d be asking some questions as to what might be happening. I know there are a lot of people, based on discoveries through the past number of years who like to point to “Avatar” as overhyped (which it kinda is), but much like “Endgame,” “Avatar” is a cinematic achievement. Granted, I don’t like how it is one of the major contributors to how we present movies in theaters (digitally). Although it helped bring the 3D craze, which isn’t a complete success, as some of you would also suggest, but there have been a number of movies that I feel have personally been enhanced through 3D technology. Movies like the “Hobbit” trilogy, “Gravity,” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

If I had to make a comparison, “Endgame” might start a revolution. Granted, it is a continuation of the superhero/comic book movie craze that has been going on for years now, but it could have sprung something new. And it reminds me of how much credit I also gave to the preceding installment, “Infinity War.” Why? Because that movie was essentially a culmination of a ten year span. While I do think “Infinity War” is the superior film, “Endgame” is not just a culmination, it’s the perfect capper for the MCU itself. Then again, “Far From Home” just came out and we seem to be getting at least two more phases so we’ll see what happens. The revolution I think it could start is the successes of multiple cinematic universes, if not successes, I’m at least expecting a number of attempts to be remembered through the years. However, that is not a guarantee because everyone is flocking to Marvel, but it makes me optimistic about the storylines and quality that could possibly go into future cinematic universes. DC has their own universe that seems to have gotten off to a rough start, but I think it recently turned itself around if you ask me with films like “Aquaman” and “Shazam.” Although I do think “Wonder Woman” is better than most Marvel movies so there is that. Warner Bros. seems to be having some success with their “Conjuring” universe that is quite honestly bigger than I ever thought it would be. And while there was a big bump in the road when it comes to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” I am still curious to see what else is in store regarding the MonsterVerse.

And I am willing to bet, despite how “Avengers: Endgame” comes out on digital in just a few days, there will still be room for it in theaters. After all, it’s one of those films that kind of resembles why movie theaters were built in the first place. It’s epic, it’s boisterous, it’s glorious, it’s built up for periods of time, and the potential audiences that could show up are immense. And despite the flak that I’m probably going to continue giving the marketing team behind this film for that “rerelease” fiasco, I don’t care because this movie deserves just about every penny it earned so far (despite being released by Disney) just for its quality and ability to entertain.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled to see this in my lifetime because I think “Avengers: Endgame” is an excellent film that deserves tons of praise. I gave the film an 8/10, which still stands to this day. In fact, it’s not even the best comic book movie of the year, that honor belongs to “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Even with that being said, “Endgame” is a game-changing movie. It feels like the cinematic events to end all cinematic events. Not only was it successful, but quite damn good. I was not alive to see this, but remember “The Phantom Menace?” At the time, that might have been the biggest cinematic event of all time. While there is still a debate on what might be the biggest of all time, “Endgame” is definitely a contender and I am happy to have this film be a part of my life.

Thanks for reading this post, I am sorry if this information appears to be irrelevant at this point, but I’m better late than never. I have a ton of things to do this week related to Scene Before, I was planning on doing this earlier but my review for “Yesterday” got in the way because… well, I had to talk about it. It was too bad to be ignored. Anyway, speaking of reviews, my next post is going to be for my review of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” I just got back from seeing it in the theater, and I cannot wait to talk about it. It is one of those movies that is gonna be fun to describe to those who haven’t seen it yet. And for those of you who are still thinking about “Endgame” at this point for whatever reason, be sure to check out my review for “Avengers: Endgame,” which I originally posted back in April. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! And while we are on the subject of breaking records. You know what isn’t breaking records? The likes on my Facebook page! Please like my page so you can be on the lookout for Scene Before news, recent content, and maybe I’ll throw in a random thought every once in a while! I want to know, what are your thoughts on “Avengers: Endgame” breaking the all-time box office record? Also, would you say it doesn’t count? Maybe for inflation? The rerelease factor? Something else? Or, how many times did you see “Endgame” in the theater? As for myself, I only saw it once, but once that 4K disc drops, perhaps the exclusive version from Target if you want to be totally specific, I am definitely picking it up! Let me know how insane you are down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Endgame (2019) REVIEW

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019): The Truth Is… I Am Spider-Man

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Well, I waited over two weeks, I finally get to say it. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car, The Onion News Network), who also was the director and one of the writers behind the preceding film in this franchise, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” This film stars Tom Holland (The Lost City of Z, In the Heart of the Sea), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Snakes on a Plane), Zendaya (The Greatest Showman, Shake It Up), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, Safe Haven), Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Chef), Jacob Batalon (Blood Fest, Every Day), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley, Knocked Up), J.B. Smoove (Uncle Drew, Hall Pass) with Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, Chaplin) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Stronger). This is the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the second Spider-Man film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the eighth big screen “Spider-Man” film of the 21st century. So much for originality! Yay! This film continues the adventures of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in a post universe-wide snappening setting. As everyone adapts to a world that has changed forever, Peter Parker and his classmates are going on a field trip to Europe, only to run into chaos through unexpected encounters including Mysterio, and Nick Fury himself.

When it comes to Spider-Man, he is by far my favorite superhero of all time. Spider-Man is the perfect embodiment of your average teenager trying to live a normal life, but various struggles and obstacles beyond their control manage to get in their way. As for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, my love for him is unbelievable. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Homecoming,” I really enjoyed him in other films including “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” If I had to a superhero to relate to more than any other, Spider-Man is definitely number one. This is a reason why I really enjoyed a movie like Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2,” because it emphasizes the internal conflict of what Peter wants vs. what he needs. That film by the way, is my favorite comic book flick of all time. And in some ways, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sort of takes me back to the time frame of Sam Raimi’s films.

Mary Jane has a screen presence in this film that I personally did not expect.

This movie has the result of Sandman getting a makeover due to incoming tides.

Not to mention, the film is freaking awesome!

In fact, you know how “Avengers: Endgame” perhaps stands as the most anticipated film? Like, ever? As the release for “Endgame” got closer and closer, my hype levels increased. Can’t say that for “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” I saw the first trailer, thought it sucked, and while going into the film, I appreciated this film’s efforts to try reminding everyone of the effects of “Endgame,” I was still somewhat nervous. Then I came out of the film, got home, and made the following tweet.

For all I know, this could be due to just seeing the film, my opinion could change, but I felt a bigger impact through the smaller and slightly more individualistic story of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” than I did for perhaps what has been marketed as the biggest geekfest in history. But much like that giant nerdgasm-inducing experience, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is not perfect.

Much like “Avengers: Endgame,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” suffers from minor pacing issues, but similar to “Endgame,” “Far From Home” has pacing issues which I can live with simply because of everything else that is happening. And this is not an issue in every sense of the word, but this movie has a lot of moments in its script that are incredibly convenient to what is happening on screen. But at the same time, I feel like that is one of the big improvements I can give to “Far From Home” when comparing it to “Homecoming.” Why? One of my biggest issues with “Homecoming” had to do with the script in a crapton of ways, one of which included the unbelievable amount of comedy inserted. And honestly, there was not a lot that landed. When it comes to Spidey’s quips and one-liners in “Homecoming,” they don’t feel as hysterical as they could be. I could tell that Tom Holland was trying his hardest with the material that may have sounded great on paper, but for one reason or another, the jokes just didn’t stick the landing for me. Here however, there seems to be a lot less comedy, and the bits of comedy they have in this film, when present, completely works. Because let’s face it, this movie is the first installment in the MCU that has to reflect on the past couple of “Avengers” flicks, which honestly would present the need for a slightly more serious script. Plus, Sony’s distributing this film instead of Disney. When the mouse is away, the spiders will play!

Also, while I keep talking about “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as if it happens to be the last “Spider-Man” film to be released, keep in mind that we just got “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which many consider to be the best “Spider-Man” film to date. While I don’t know whether or not I enjoyed this film or “Spider-Verse” more, I can confirm that when I saw “Spider-Verse,” it was perhaps the biggest acid trip of a superhero film I have ever watched. Guess what? I might need to rethink that statement, and I won’t go into why, BUT LET ME HAVE YOU KNOW THAT “SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME” IS ONE HELL OF A DRUG! If you drop acid before this movie, I wish you luck on getting out of the movie theater when the film ends because there are a couple of head-spinning moments that kind of left me speechless.

And you know something? Another shocker for this film to me is MJ, because when I saw her in “Homecoming,” I did not like her, I thought she some clowny individual who barely had a personality. This time there is depth to her, and even though I was nervous back in 2016 when they announced who was playing MJ, specifically Zendaya, she pulled it off in this movie! Mainly because she had a take on it that made the character her own. After all, her name isn’t really Mary Jane, it’s actually Michelle. If she was a redhead, I’d want the character a certain way. But I appreciate Zendaya’s take not only because her character was well written, not just because she did her part with excellence, but because it did not feel like the type of MJ I thought she would be, which would be a black person trying to playing the typical white Mary Jane, almost as if it were a s*itty impression. Zendaya has her individual flair which brought some pizzazz to the final product. Rock on! Granted, seeing her in the beginning of the film was a little sloppy, in fact, that’s not the only issue I have with the start of the film (there are a couple minor moments leaning towards cringe), but as it went on, I began to admire her.

And the surprises don’t even end there, because this time around I actually liked Ned! If you don’t remember my “Homecoming” review, this is what I said about Ned.

“One character in this movie goes by the name of Ned Leeds, he was played by Jacob Batalon, and there was a point in this movie where I wanted some sort of technology that existed which could allow me to jump into a movie’s universe. I could go into this one, find Ned, and give him the finger!”

You know what? Forget about that statement, f*ck it! Because in this movie, Ned is the opposite of annoying. In fact, he’s pretty charming at certain times. There’s this portion of the film dedicated to this relationship he has with this one girl, which honestly, had its ups and downs, but there are moments when I can approve of it.

Also, if anything, it reminded me of the Schmoopie relationship from “Seinfeld.”

And while I won’t dive too deep into this, another problem I had with “Homecoming” that somehow gets fixed here is my displeasure with the AI from that film. Remember Karen? I do. And I don’t like her. While she could have been charming in that film, she had a few quirks that did not sit well with me. Karen does not make a return here and I won’t go into detail, but there’s an AI here that is honestly charming, and even sets up an entertaining and thrilling sequence on a bus.

Moving onto our main character, Peter Parker is back and now the important question is this: What would be a bigger feat for him than going to space? Europe? That’s nothing! Any idiot can fly a plane to Europe! But nevertheless, Parker is vacationing in Europe, and now he has to deal with a side mission, which takes away from whatever relaxation he can get. This is why I really enjoy the character of Spider-Man, because other heroes, specifcally in the MCU, always seem to be built with this sort of drive to save the world. Granted, with an interpretation such as Tony Stark, maybe he’d get a little drained from it and prefer to lay low for awhile like he did in “Iron Man 3,” but there are not many moments where I have seen an MCU hero flat out refuse to do hero work. When the Avengers got together, just about everyone showed up. Thor always seemed to have a knack for defending Asgard with a hammer by his side. Captain America would always be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. But Spider-Man… Needs his alone time. While in some instances, I imagine this would make a hero look like a dick or a coward, it works for Peter Parker because he’s just a normal, likable, not to mention, relatable kid. He just wants a normal life despite various perks of being a superhero. In fact, Peter’s story and actions in this film kind of remind me of what is like to be me when I was younger. I had my crushes, perhaps constantly imagined plans to get together with said crushes, and if you know me, they did not work out, and I’m fine with that. By the way ladies, I’m single! Plus, Peter in this film has to deal with following in the footsteps of those above him, which is something that I did think about out sometimes when I was younger. Granted, probably not a lot, but the thought definitely did come up in my head once or twice.

I also really liked Mysterio in this film, they managed to go in a direction with the character that I for one personally did not expect, and as for Jake Gyllenhaal, he was basically perfect casting for this role. I remember back in the day I wanted him to be the next Batman if Affleck were to leave. Granted, he’s not, but still. But even though I never imagined Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, I cannot help but dig him. He did a really good job, and I love his costume! It’s amazing!

Now despite what the box office can make me think, there are still people out there who have yet to see “Avengers: Endgame.” But in “Endgame,” there is a lot that happens that leads to this film’s events. In fact, the beginning of this film is a tribute to a couple of major characters who have encountered a common barrier in “Endgame.” And this movie, while I won’t go into context, shows off perhaps the most heart-wrenching footage of the snappening I’ll ever see in my life. If you thought that collection of deaths on Wakanda was disturbing, I’ll remind you, the effects to me were personally diminished (although still slightly powerful) because going into “Infinity War,” I kinda knew we were going to see people die. Granted, I didn’t know who, how, or when, but I knew something was coming. What made it really disturbing is that it was just a bunch of innocent people going through their everyday lives. Granted, that was sort of already shown during “Infinity War’s” end credits, but this movie did it better because for all I know it was shot on somebody’s phone or some other everyday camera. It almost reminds me of the found footage movie “Cloverfield” the more I think about it, because in a way, I felt immersed into such a disturbing situation, not to mention from a rather shaky first person perspective.

In the end, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” can be summed up in one word. Fun. It has a vibe that is almost reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films while also managing to be a product of its own. The movie, in more ways than one, made me feel young again. I talked to death about the relatable teen year experiences this film provided, but I grew up watching Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films and in some ways, this film managed to take me back to when I was somewhere between 6 to 14 years old. “Spider-Man 2” still stands as my favorite comic book movie ever, but I cannot deny that this is definitely another solid second “Spider-Man” movie. As I was writing this review, I’ve been having a constant debate in my head on whether or not this is better than “Spider-Verse,” and this debate is far from over. I’m willing to bet that this won’t end for awhile. I’d probably have to rewatch both films to know for sure. But if I had to make my thoughts on this film as finalized as possible, I’d say that unlike “Spider-Verse,” I felt that “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” while just as entertaining, if not more, had a greater quantity of issues that stood out to me. So with that being said, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” despite “Endgame” being a more conclusive chapter to the entire three phase saga of the MCU, is a damn fine way for Marvel to cap off their third phase. I’m going to give “Spider-Man: Far From Home” a high 8/10. I love the constant joke about how we are getting too many “Spider-Man” movies or movies that have Spidey in them. Well, if we’re getting films that are this good, why should they stop making them? I’ll wait for the next “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and then we’ll revisit this topic later. And I also will say, I almost forgot to consider this about “Spider-Verse,” it basically was a game-changer for the comic book genre in cinema. The animation style was unlike anything I have seen on the big screen up until that point. How many live-action “Spider-Man” films do we have right now? I don’t care about real numbers at this point. Let’s just go with umpteen because it sounds kind of fun. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that next Monday, July 22nd, will be the release date for my final Quentin Tarantino review series installment, specifically, “The Hateful Eight.” I’ll be reviewing this film just in time for Tarantino’s new film coming out next week, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Stay tuned!

Also, if you love “Spider-Man” like I do, or if you simply want to know more of my thoughts on the “Spider-Man” movies, I posted a review for every big screen “Spider-Man” film since the original Sam Raimi flick from 2002. If you want to check these out, click the links down below! Be sure to follow Scene Before through a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, I have a Facebook page, if you could do me a favor and give it a like or follow it would be very much appreciated! I want to know, did you see “Spider-Man: Far From Home?” What did you think about it? Or, as painful of a reminder as it may be, this is the first MCU film without a Stan Lee cameo. RIP, by the way. So with that being said, what is your personal favorite Stan Lee cameo? If you ask me, I’d go with the one where he tries to get into Reed and Susan’s wedding in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” Tony Stank from “Captain America: Civil War,” the bus driving scene from “Avengers: Infinity War,” or even though it’s not Marvel, “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” which basically takes the Stan Lee cameo and manages fetishize it to the core. Nevertheless, let me know your pick, that way your name will make a random appearance as a cameo in this post! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man (2002)

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Shazam! (2019): Manchildren For the Win!

Shazam! (2019)

“Captain Sparklefingers,” I mean “Captain Marvel,” err I mean “Shazam!” is directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation, Lights Out) and stars Zachary Levi (Tangled, Chuck), Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, The Imitation Game), Asher Angel (Audi Mack, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), Jack Dylan Grazer (It, Me, Myself, and I), and Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator). This film is about a young, adopted boy who comes in contact with a wizard. Once finding himself in that particular situation, he is chosen to wield magical powers. To engage with such powers, he transforms himself into an adult by utterance of the word “shazam.”

Wow! Finally! I’m reviewing this movie! This is long overdue! I saw this film in April, a week before “Avengers: Endgame” came out, so this review is not coming in at a time I’d personally prefer. Am I a Marvel fanboy for this? Nope. I’m just a busy college student. Life happens. However, I did manage to see this film a couple weeks after its initial release in 3D, which somewhat enhanced my viewing experience. And this is a comic book movie that admittedly, sounds somewhat different than others that are coming out today. Yes, much like some others, it’s packed with humor. Although, the thing that makes this pop is its elements of a coming of age story. The two main characters are young boys, one of them was just recently adopted into a family, and they learn to bond with each other. Another main difference that I won’t dive too much into is it doesn’t really make the story of fighting the villain the main factor. Origin-story-wise, it puts A LOT of emphasis on testing powers and seeing what could be done with them. The execution that went into the power testing scenes is beyond brilliant. Especially when you consider the undeniably delightful chemistry between the two main characters involved.

Speaking of positive reactions, this movie was definitely worth a watch! And I’ve been noticing something. If you have been following the DCEU for sometime during its inception, you may have noticed it has built up to a Justice League team-up. One of the neat things about this movie is how it tries to stay in this cinematic universe viewers have come to know, but there is practically little to no connection to outside lore. There are slight exceptions, but I can dig those exceptions. For example, the young brother who was already living in the main character’s new home possesses a bullet used in a fight against Superman and he’s even got a Batarang. There’s even a scene where we see a toy section in a store displaying figures of previously established DC characters. When it comes to this kinda sorta maybe cinematic universe approach, part of me digs it because this would perhaps allow filmmakers to have more freedom to think outside the box. Although then again, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Kevin Feige, Warner Brothers hired Walter Hamada (The Conjuring, Lights Out) as the president of the Detective Comics Extended Universe. As much as I can appreciate Marvel for its consistent vibe and TV series-like format, I also appreciate DC for being less about making a connected story and more about making a story in general.

Let’s talk about Zachary Levi as the adult version of Shazam. HE’S FREAKING AWESOME. And despite meeting him in person at New York Comic Con, this is totally not biased! If anything, this is probably one of the best modern day superhero casting choices I’ve witnessed in my life. And I think part of it his to do with, believe it or not, my first impression of Levi upon meeting him in person. Think about it. He’s supposed to be playing the “adult” version of this main kid in the movie. He knows nothing about that life. At heart, he’s still a kid, but stuck in a man’s body. While I cannot really say I thought about this much when meeting him, he was kind of hyperactive and happy to be in his current position. This energy is also applied to the character of Shazam, or Billy Batson if you’d prefer to call him that. It’s like a slightly more paranoid version of Po from “Kung Fu Panda” or something. Hyperactive, curious, but also cautious of his surroundings. But one of the best parts of Shazam’s character that I already sort of implied is his will to check out his powers just for s*its and giggles.

Let’s face it, if I were a kid and I magically became a superhero, of course I’d want to try out my powers! Think about it! As a kid, I would roleplay and it would partially involve superheroes from time to time. If I have enough fun pretending to be a hero, how much fun do you think I’d have using something like a flashy laser beam to break my own window and be forced to pay for by my own parents? It would be f*cking worth it! Because, ya know, superpowers! That’s honestly where this movie happens to display some of its biggest strengths, but it doesn’t stop at superpowers. There’s actually a scene where Shazam is dealing with a couple robbers in a convenience store. Words cannot describe how funny it is. It’s almost… I dunno, god-like humor.

But in all seriousness though, I am not joking around when it comes to Zachary Levi. He is the perfect Shazam. He looks like what an adult version of Billy Batson would be, he’s occasionally hyper, not to mention an incessant goofball. As a superhero, he may not look that intimidating to villains, but this is one of those cases where that actually works from a screenwriter’s and artist’s point of view. C’mon, there’s a time when this guy happened to be referred to as “Captain Sparklefingers.” I mean, “Captain Marvel” might as well have been taken, so yeah, I can see why he’d be called that.

Now I mentioned this movie focuses more on its hero’s development as opposed to its villain story. Granted, that may be an understatement, because this villain has some family matters that play throughout the story. That villain by the way is Dr. Sivana played by Mark Strong. I have nothing against this character, in fact, if I had to complain about him to y’all, I’d be a liar. This guy is a great villain, but he partially suffers from a partial lack of memorability. There are one or two scenes where his true power is absolutely displayed that made me attached to the screen. But based on the excessive amount of time focused on our hero, the villain almost does not seem to matter as much. Part of me wants to call this a fault of this movie that shouldn’t be left undisclosed, but at the same time, based on the execution of our hero’s origins, I almost cannot even complain.

But speaking of our hero and mistakes, there is one thing I have to bring up. The main character in this movie is adopted. There is a sideplot to the film where he is trying to find his birthparents, and I won’t go into whether or not he finds them. I won’t go into much about it, but as that side plot manages to come to a conclusion, there is an utterance of dialogue that may not only be cheesy, but conceptually, it is FLAT-OUT IDIOTIC. I won’t go into it for the sake of not spoiling anything yet, you might not even know what I am talking about, but if I were doing a spoiler review right now, I’d probably make a mention of this somewhere because it sort of pissed me off. You know how some people may watch a really good movie but the ending just SUCKS? This was not the ending, in fact the actual climax of the film itself is freaking spectacular. This is almost what it reminded me of. I can tell the filmmakers wanted to get some sort of audience reaction out of what I am talking about. And they succeeded. I say so because I for one reacted angrily.

With that aside, there is still a lot to enjoy in “Shazam!.” There are a couple of cool action sequences, a ton of humorous scenes and gags, the writing is off the chain! The story feels very self-contained and unlike some MCU movies, you don’t really need to watch any thing that precedes this film. Granted, I have no idea where the DCEU is going to go, but I have a feeling that depending on whether or not the franchise continues to have success, that is going to change. But for now, I am willing to appreciate this film’s intimate screenplay. In fact, the closest that this movie actually gets to being connected in the same universe is probably towards the last scene, which I won’t talk about that much. It doesn’t necessarily tease an upcoming film, but it is something to take note of.

And one last thing I have to note before moving onto my final verdict, for those of you who are not that invested in comic books, you may not be aware that Shazam is not this movie’s hero’s original name, it was actually Captain Marvel, but due to a legal battle between comic creators DC and Fawcett, Marvel Comics eventually started their own series with a hero by said name. How MARVELOUS indeed. Now, as most modern moviegoers know, one of the most recent films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “Captain Marvel” starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. I gotta be honest, the movie was not that great. So you know what? When it comes to “Captain Marvel” films, DC did this concept better! I know a lot of people look at the DCEU and consider it to almost be a joke, but in all seriousness, not only is it getting better compared to how it was in say 2016 with movies like “Suicide Squad,” but this is just another scenario where I thought DC did a film concept better than Marvel. Coincidentally, if you guys have ever read my “Captain Marvel” review, you’d know that I said towards the end that when it comes to doing solo movies with female leads, that’s another win for DC. I personally liked “Wonder Woman” better than “Captain Marvel.” Yes, Marvel seems to have the better collective universe, but much like anyone else, they have bad days at the office. Ever seen “Thor: The Dark World?” Please don’t.

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In the end, “Shazam!” is just a good time at the movies that can put an idiotic grin on your face. It’s hilarious, charming, and conceptually pleasing. Also, I would not mind watching it again and buying it on Blu-ray in the future. Maybe if Best Buy puts out a steelbook, I’ll shell out some money for that. I like my collector’s items. Zachary Levi is a national treasure and I would like to see more work for him in the future whether it is in the DCEU or in some other realm of media. Something like comedy, perhaps a buddy cop film maybe? I’m going to give “Shazam!” a 7/10. Again, one thing that takes away points for this film is the whole side plot and that one thing about it that kind of pissed me off, other than that, this is a fun and wacky superhero flick that is certainly worth your time and money.

MARVEL: We’re making a “Captain Marvel” movie! Dope, eh?

DC: Same bat-hold. Same bat-my beer.

Thanks for reading this review! If you are interested in more superhero related content, I reviewed two other comic book movies this year, and no, I have not seen “Hellboy.” If you want to get your fix of comic book movie reviews, click the links below and check these things out! I’ve got my review for “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” please check em’ out! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Shazam!?” What did you think about it? Or, what would you do if you happened to be a kid and found out you had superpowers? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Captain Marvel REVIEW

Avengers: Endgame REVIEW

Aquaman (2018): A Big Splash of Fun

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“Aquaman” is directed by James Wan (The Conjuring, Furious 7) and stars Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian), Amber Heard (The Danish Girl, 3 Days To Kill), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, xXx: State of the Union), Patrick Wilson (Fargo, Insidious), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Masters of the Universe), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down, The Greatest Showman), and Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased, Big Little Lies). This film is based on the Detective Comics property that is probably mocked more than any other. Fittingly, this movie is most likely to be seen by people who are mocked more than any other. The plot to “Aquaman” is that Arthur Curry is the heir to the throne in his underwater kingdom, Atlantis. He also must unleash his inner hero and defend the world.

The world as we know it seems to have a very complicated relationship with the Detective Comics Extended Universe, and this includes myself. I have seen all the movies in its franchise thus far. I really enjoyed “Man of Steel.” “Batman v. Superman” is not as good as I would have hoped, but it’s still watchable. “Suicide Squad” is just plain awful, even though I enjoyed it the first time around. “Wonder Woman” was spectacular, and at one point, was probably my favorite movie of 2017. “Justice League” was pretty good, in fact, I honestly think I enjoyed it more than a lot of other people did. However, there is no denying that the turnout of the movie, almost felt like a movie that went through development hell. There were some clashing tones, lackluster effects at times, and Steppenwolf was kind of a one-dimensional villain. Then again, it’s hard to blame everybody because the technical director, Zack Snyder, needed Joss Whedon to fill his shoes for post-production because he lost his daughter to suicide, but nevertheless. I personally thought while DC was not as big or as close to quality as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they were heading in the right direction. This direction personally tends to continue with “Aquaman” because it’s just a damn good time at the movies.

Comic book movies are perhaps the biggest trend in film right now, and I don’t know when it is going to stop, or even IF it is ever going to stop. If somebody were to ask me, what the definition of “comic book movie” would be, I’d just point them straight to “Aquaman.” Now I mean that in the most generous of ways, because the reality is that I tend to be a complete nerd who enjoys comic book movies. But when I think of comic books, superheroes, and stuff like that. I tend to think of big spectacles, compelling characters who have interesting backstories, epic fights, and stories that don’t necessarily need to be completely catered to logic. This is THAT movie. Without getting into heavy spoilers, let me just tell you about some of the weird s*it that goes down in “Aquaman.”

  • An Octopus plays the drums!
  • Laser sharks!
  • Underwater gladiator fights!
  • Occasional cartoony music!
  • Jumping off an aircraft and landing into a desert with no pain whatsoever!
  • Getting inside a giant fish who apparently doesn’t eat everything in its mouth!
  • Witty banter!
  • A shark nearly breaks the glass in an aquarium!
  • And of course, a man can talk to fish.

This is not just a movie, it’s a Saturday morning cartoon in all of its glory. And in all honesty, it’s actually better than “Thor: Ragnarok,” which I’ve heard from some people is like a Saturday morning cartoon, but in my eyes, that’s not what it should have been. I would have much preferred seeing a darker version of the story, one where there is despair! But no, you gotta get kids in the theater! La-de-frikin-dah! But the thing about “Thor: Ragnarok” is while it is a superhero movie and might as well be something that kids can enjoy, it seemed much lighter compared to the previous two “Thor” movies. It feels like a change of pace that I wasn’t able to grasp onto. “Aquaman” has yet to have his own standalone film, so therefore, I didn’t really know what to expect. A lot of information prior to the to release of “Aquaman” can be interpreted in one’s own imagination. What really matters is how people like me react to the execution. And I thought the execution was pretty swell if you ask me.

Visually speaking, this is one of the best movies of the year. Someone really must have had fun with the concept art for this film, because this film feels like what happens when you create Dungeons & Dragons underwater. I wanted to know more about the lore and mythology behind Atlantis. I mean, it really doesn’t surprise me that this movie looks good. After all, I have the fighting game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” and Atlantis happens to be my favorite stage in the entire game.

Let’s talk about Arthur Curry, AKA “Aquaman.” He’s played by Jason Momoa who we’ve seen in “Justice League” as the title character but now we get a much more personal look. One thing I will say about many superheroes is that they seem to highly associate with one certain word. With “Spider-Man,” he seems to clearly define an outsider, a nerd. With “Thor,” he seems to define a powerful god. With “Aquaman,” he may be that “chosen one” cliche per se, but he also seems to come off as a regular, everyday gay. There’s a scene with him at the bar where I got this vibe that he is that character on a sitcom that a main character would want to have a beer with. Also, out of all the superheroes that I’ve seen on screen, “Aquaman” by far, possibly might be the most masculine out of all of them. He’s ripped, he’s ready to have a good time, and that haircut, while it makes this dude look like a lady, it certainly just screams “MAN!”

Also, Mera? Yeah. She’s cool. I’d just say she’s hot and leave the description at that, but that’s not the point. I will say that prior to seeing “Aquaman” I went out and bought Mera’s Funko Pop before even going out to see the film. Not only did it look cool, but based on how awesome Mera is in this movie, the Pop was well worth the money. When I saw the “Ghostbusters” remake back in 2016, I imagined personally how much better the movie would be had it included half a team with girls and half a team with boys, to show gender equality, not to mention men and women working together for the better of society. This dynamic duo does not disappoint! Mera doesn’t feel like a sidekick and instead feels like Aquaman’s equal. They go together like bread and butter!

Also, one common complaint that many comic book movies seem to be getting nowadays is the inclusion of lackluster villains. Out of the DCEU films, I gotta say that one of the villains of “Aquaman” is the best one in the DCEU thus far. Specifically, Aquaman’s brother, King Orm. And to add to all of this Saturday morning cartoon glory, in my eyes, this guy really does resemble the word dick if you ask me. He reminds me of Legolas’s father from “The Hobbit.” Also, one thing that we’ve seen in a couple of recent comic book films like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is that the main villain has some previous relation to the main character, “Aquaman” manages to continue that trend, while not necessarily improving upon it, but not destroying it either.

I really want to talk about the action in this film. One thing I’m noticing a lot nowadays is that in certain action flicks like “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” there is a really long one-take sequence where the camera does not cut away from whatever is going on in terms of action. While this movie doesn’t have THAT, there is one notable longer than usual take action scene in the beginning of the film that completely set the tone for what’s to come. Now keep in mind, this movie was directed by James Wan, who also directed “Furious 7.” That is not my favorite “Fast & Furious” film, but in terms of action and stunts, it’s probably the best. Based on his stellar action choreography and directing in that movie, it provides an excellent transition from there to here. Going back to Saturday morning cartooniness, a lot of the fighting is not just stylistically pleasing, but it’s big and loud, it kind of sent chills down my spine at this point. And, to compare this movie to “Black Panther,” Aquaman has to duel against his brother in a gladiator style ring, all of it is epic, brings things that I usually don’t see in movies. The most notable difference is that a lot of the fighting is done underwater. Granted, it’s not like the filmmakers went into the water and created a gigantic world by hand. In fact, if they actually did that, this movie actually would have probably been worse because it wouldn’t look as fantastical as it does now. Granted, there are times where I do draw a line on a movie looking fantastical, but this to me is a believable fantastical vision.

When I got home from this movie, I was able to say that this movie in no way breaks new ground. Granted, some of the action is stellar, but I felt like I’ve seen a portion of it before. However, the movies I was able to compare this to were actually likable choices. One of the easiest picks was “Black Panther.” You have this guy who is heir to the throne, who is eventually challenged by somebody for that position. The way they get to determine whether someone is worthy is through a duel. And honestly, the way they do the duel in this movie is honestly better than “Black Panther.” It feels more like an event, whereas the duel in “Black Panther” just like a couple of friends watching you play Classic mode on “Super Smash Brothers.” It was more like an underwater version of the Planet Hulk scene in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Coincidentally, this movie reminded me of “Thor,” because you have this one slightly out of place being trying to be a better version of himself. Not to mention, like in “Thor,” Aquaman is destined to rise to the throne. I also said this film kind of reminded me of a “Lord of the Rings” movie. While this is nowhere near as compelling as say “Return of the King,” it had elements of “Lord of the Rings” intact. There is a scene where our main characters have to trek through a piece of land for some time. At times the movie feels like a road trip, one moment you’re in the Sahara, the other you’re in Italy. La-de-la-de-da. Not to mention, there are some big, massive fights in the film with tons of special effects. This is where you also get to see the laser sharks in action at times. The other film this reminds me of is “Fast & Furious,” which to me is no surprise because of the director once being attached to direct “Furious 7.” It’s big, loud, absurd, and overall just balls to the wall.

Going back to the action, I gotta point one thing about it. As I said before, the action in this movie is f*cking amazing. This is one simple comparison I have to make because I’m a complete and total nerd, and nerds have opinions. When it comes to Marvel, they know how to create a story, they know how to write something, maybe not always something compelling, but something that is structured properly and is not in danger of breaking apart. When it comes to DC, one thing I’ve noticed in all of their movies is that the action is always worth the price of admission. Granted, Marvel tends to have good action, but it doesn’t hold a candle to DC. It’s always fast paced, rumbly tumbly, and it feels like something that would be in a nerd’s fantasy world. I would like to thank “Aquaman” for keeping DC’s action-based identity alive.

In the end, “Aquaman” is not the best superhero movie of the year. In fact, it came out a week after “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” so it already has a tough competitor. What it really is though is the definition of what a superhero movie should be. Fun, big, and a fine form of escapism. This is certainly a crowd-pleasing movie, and honestly, I enjoyed it more than “Black Panther.” I know some people will want to kill me for saying that, but I’m just telling the honest truth. Jason Momoa’s great as Aquaman, Amber Heard is equally as wonderful as Mera. The two have great on-screen chemistry together, and I loved every minute of the movie. I’m gonna give “Aquaman” a 7/10. Before I go any further, I gotta point out something about this movie that sets it apart from a film like “Justice League.” One thing I noticed about this film is the runtime, and it is two hours and twenty-three minutes. While some people might consider that a bit long for their liking, I honestly don’t mind it, and in some ways, it’s better than “Justice League.” When it comes to “Justice League,” it comes in nearly a couple of hours even. That is a movie with more heroes and a lower runtime. It really just feels more like a corporate cash-in effort than anything else. Granted, somewhere around the two hour mark is your typical superhero movie, but some could argue that “Justice League” deserved to be more than two hours in order to make a better product. “Aquaman,” which comes in nearly two and a half hours, feels more like it is part of a vision as opposed to a corporate product. And for that, I have nothing but respect for the studio and the filmmakers. Granted there is an argument to be made that “Batman v. Superman” is too short at a two and a half hour long runtime, but I imagine there are some people arguing it is also too long. This world is divided! Also, to enhance your experience as much as possible, go see this in a theater, on the biggest screen possible, with the highest sound quality possible. Go to RPX or IMAX, you won’t be disappointed, and stay for the mid-credits scene! Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’ll have a couple of reviews up for “The Mule” and “Instant Family,” as far as I know, those will be my last reviews before I put up my countdowns of my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of the year. Stay tuned for all of that, and if you like content like this, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Aquaman?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite superhero movie of 2018? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Venom (2018): A Turd in the Wind

Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)

“Venom” is directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 Minutes Or Less) and stars Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Eddie Brock, a reporter who we as an audience discover is living his life in the city with his partner, but one thing leads to another and he loses everything that’s important to him. At the same time, a symbiote lands on Earth and starts taking over people. A lab got their hands on the material and now they want to do whatever they can with it in regards to experimentation. Also, for those of you who know the comic books, you’d know that Eddie Brock eventually becomes the violent, mind-controlling Venom.

Let me just start this review off by saying I did not want this movie to exist before it came out. My earliest memory of hearing about this movie got me worried just from the concept alone. I had a feeling that comic book movie fatigue was starting to kick in for me after the painfully disappointing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and I felt like it was a really weird idea for someone to do a movie revolving around someone many people would associate as technically being a comic book villain. Granted, this movie treats him as a protector (sort of, really an antihero), but still. Then I saw the first couple of trailers, they were, “alright,” but I still was not fully onboard. The trailer we got over the summer however was definitely the best of the bunch. It showed Venom as this dark, crazy being and it made me want more.

That trailer was a few minutes. This movie is around the two hour range. Two hours is certainly more than a few minutes. But more isn’t always better. In this case, more is f*cking worse. The good thing about trailers is that they usually are quick. You get tons of shots and information regarding an upcoming movie in a short amount of time. It’s hard to say one can actually get bored by a trailer. This movie, to me at times, reminded me of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” It’s a movie that takes a profitable or popular IP that nobody asked for, nobody wanted, but the studio is going to poop out anyway. Then again, based on what I’ve been hearing going into both movies, I think more people wanted “Venom” than “Solo.” Although unfortunately, I actually had a crapton more fun with “Solo.” You want to know how much fun I had for “Solo?” Well, when I saw the movie, I CLAPPED. Yes, I gave it a barely passable grade of 6/10. Here, I just questioned whatever was happening on screen.

In fact, you want to know how much I hate “Venom?” Here’s a tweet I recently posted.

If you didn’t already know, I actually reviewed “Spider-Man 3” and I managed to give it a 7/10. I will probably say that falls into the hot take category because a lot of people hate “Spider-Man 3” but in all seriousness, this movie just felt like it was an excuse for Sony to make a movie with “Spider-Man” characters that aren’t Spider-Man. At least there were some attempts of passion to potentially be put in “Spider-Man 3.” Granted, the attempts at putting Venom in the movie weren’t that way, but at least I had a reason to care about the people on screen. Here in “Venom,” I was bored, irritated, and just wanted to leave. And this is a weird complaint, but this movie felt like it was too fast. I say that most likely because it has barely any “Venom” in it. Maybe that’s an illusion, but that’s the way this movie felt to me. You get a lot of focus towards Eddie Brock, the human, to the point where I consider despite how this movie is actually called “VENOM,” it has a tad less of that character than I’d probably prefer. It’s the “Transformers” all over again! Granted, I will say, what we do get of the Venom character in this movie is a positive.

Some of the best scenes with Venom include him in a fight between the movie’s main villain (I won’t get into it), Venom calling Eddie a pussy for not jumping from a super high distance to the ground instead of taking an elevator, and one scene at the end that we saw in the trailer. And I will say, the voice work for Venom technically qualifies as my personal favorite performance in the entire film. I say that because when I compare the voice work to literally everything else, including Eddie Brock himself, everything else was just cringeworthy. While the character for Eddie Brock was well established, not only did I avoid caring about him, performance-wise, this might be the worst Tom Hardy performance I’ve ever seen. So many lines just feel like they’re processed by Hardy himself or they were written in the first draft. I can seriously imagine this movie had a first draft that sucked balls but because Sony wanted money sooner than later, they just let the first draft fly. It’s “Venom,” not “Spider-Man!” Who f*cking cares?! I don’t know who to really blame here! I want to blame the director. I want to blame the actor. I want to blame the writers.

“Venom” was written by three people and one of them probably wrote this movie because they have a good relationship with Sony. This writer in particular has written other Sony projects including “The Dark Tower,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “The Fifth Wave,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” By the way, those last two films, I reviewed those and the highest grade I gave to one of those movies is a 3/10. Another writer worked on “Kangaroo Jack,” which I heard was horrible. The third writer worked on “Fifty Shades of Grey” so when you add this all up, you get one word. S*it.

Speaking of writing, another problem with it from my personal view can also translate to the directorial vision of the film as well. You know, if there even is a vision with this uninspired garbage. A lot of people wanted this film to be rated R. Having seen “Venom,” I understand why. While this film has some scary elements intact, it feels a lot more comedic than it should be. The director has done some work in the past involving comedies, and I feel like the comedic vision of the film when combining the writing and directing just make this film something it really shouldn’t have been. “Venom” should have been dark, it should have been gritty. “Venom” is PG-13, and admittedly, you can get away with some stuff in a PG-13 film. But this film probably would have been better if it actually didn’t cut away from certain violent happenings and show us more close-up action. “Venom” is throwing people around, eating them, and I didn’t see that much of it. F*cking stupid if you ask me! Although in the UK, “Venom” managed to get a 15 rating. I’m willing to bet it got a rating that high because the movie had a headbutt.

There are probably multiple reasons why “Venom” could have been kept at a PG-13. For one thing, “Venom” was in “Spider-Man 3” and that was PG-13. And speaking of “Spider-Man,” one wonder in my head is whether or not Sony plans to put Venom into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, Spider-Man, whose movie rights are owned by Sony, is currently under a deal where the character can appear in the MCU, which is run by Disney. Sony probably wants to get kids into the theater and if they succeed, this only increases their chances of Venomizing the MCU.

Also, reason #3, money. If you want to bring in the money, bring in the kids.

I’ll be honest with you, if comic book movies weren’t a priority to me for movie reviewing purposes, I would have probably gone out to see “Venom” maybe not right away, but maybe later on if it were PG-13. But if it were rated R, I would have probably gone to see it sooner.

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In fact, the more I hear about “Venom,” the more I realize Sony has just about no faith in it whatsoever. For one thing, most of the movie’s screenings occurred on the week of the film’s release, the film was met with poor reviews from critics, and the review embargo was not that far from the release of the movie. Without going into spoilers, they play a clip of one of their upcoming films in the end credits. And you know something? This isn’t a minute, it’s more like a few or four minutes! It just basically says, “Hey, our film sucks! If you were patient enough to stick around for all of this time, we have a special treat for you! Check out this amazing footage to one of our upcoming movies!” I know some of you might be thinking, “Hey, Jackass! Don’t people like you praise Marvel Studios for their end credit scenes?” Again, those don’t last nearly as long, and they stay in their own universe. This promotes a movie in an entirely different universe. It’s just s*itty!

Speaking of the credits, there was also a mid-credits scene. This one however managed to stay in the same universe. Without going into detail, I gotta say, it kind of reminded me of “The Amazing Spider-Man” because it takes place in a prison. It just goes to show that maybe these Spidey-related films are probably more processed than maybe we’d all realize. Also, I mentioned that one of the writers for this movie worked on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” I am someone who loves “Spider-Man,” and the fact that one of the writers from one of the worst “Spider-Man” movies and perhaps one of the all-time most abysmal comic-book movies came back to work on “Venom” just makes me angry. We’re seeing ideas that have been done before, and maybe even done better.

Wayne Pére, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Sope Aluko in Venom (2018)

Speaking of horrible, let’s talk about the antagonist. His name is Carlton Drake and he’s played by Riz Ahmed. If there were a word to describe this guy, I’d say it would be “ass.” While his presence on screen could have been worse, there are so many moments where I look back and he comes off as this processed, cliche bad guy who we eventually find out does cliche bad guy things. Not to mention, there’s one moment where we see this character staring at the symbiote and he refers to it as “beautiful.” The way that line comes off is cringeworthy. Actually, I take that back because cringeworthy is too much of a compliment. Instead, that line is an abomination.

Tom Hardy and Scott Haze in Venom (2018)

Let’s also talk about the action here. I recently mentioned this movie is PG-13, I wanted it to be rated R, yada-yada-yada. One reason I wanted an R rating is because of how the movie was shot, directed, and edited. This actually feels like it could have been done better by a high-schooler. I feel like that’s a good comparison because the action here just feels standard and conventional. At least when you’re younger, you probably have a tendency to think outside the box. Just think of those mind games where you have to, say, I don’t know, put a giraffe in a refrigerator or something. Maybe the high schooler’s action looks cheap, but at least it’s stylistic. The action easily felt like it could be compared to scenes in movies like “Skyscraper” or something. Nothing felt raw, or at the very least, intriguing.

“Deadpool” is rated R, and a phrase often associated with the character is “maximum effort.” This PG-13 pile of garbage? It doesn’t feel that way! And sticking with the rating idea, I will admit that some people I come across on the Internet would call this film cheesy. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Cheesy doesn’t always mean bad. “Power Rangers” is cheesy and a lot of kids enjoy it. “Big Trouble in Little China” is probably the epitome of cheesy and it’s tons of fun. “The Meg” is a summertime blockbuster that is clearly meant to just be a good time while still being somewhat packed with cheesy humor. It’s all good. There was cringe in this movie, involving directing, acting, and writing that made me take my eyes off the screen and turn my head as I placed my hand there. Part of me couldn’t even believe what I was watching. I wanted this to be dark. Venom is not a comical inner voice. Venom is in fact, essentially a monster that eats people. I know that the MCU seems to be succeeding in terms of delivering effective movies with humorous scripts, but not every comic book movie has to have tons of humor. This is why you have “V For Vendetta.” This is why you have “Batman Begins.” This is why you have “Man of Steel.” They say that laughter is the best medicine, but at this point laughter might as well be a drug and when it comes to “Venom,” I seemed to acquire the drug from somebody else and it wasn’t prescribed to me. Not to mention, this movie released in October, and given how everyone is getting into the Halloween spirit, this movie could have gotten a chance to fall more into the horror genre than perhaps the action genre. There are disturbing elements intact, but the shock value from bloodier and more violent scenes that can be triggered from an R rating can definitely contribute to being associated with horror. Then again, when you’re competing against horror films left and right along with some films made for awards season, I guess being a conventional comic book-based flick can make you stand out in the crowd.

Did I want “Venom” to be the next “Dark Knight?” Not really. In fact, that movie is PG-13 so that also partially contributes to my thoughts. I was not expecting “Dark Knight” material from “Venom,” I was expecting crap the whole time, and I turned out to have my expectations met. Over time, I have thought to myself that maybe comic book villains could get their own movies. The more I hear about the Joaquin Phoenix “Joker” film, the more excited I get. “Deadpool” is technically not really a hero, but he does have some motivation behind him to do as he sees fit which makes him an intriguing main character. The way they handled “Venom” is the same way I’d probably handle parenting. They dropped the movie on its soft spot.

Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)

I will give credit though where it is due, Tom Hardy has had his fair share of roles where he had to play a character in a mask. Out of all of them, this was by far the easiest to understand.

Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)

In the end, I sucked all the “Venom” out out of a snake. In case you haven’t figured it out, this movie made me stupider. How often does one say they would rather watch “Spider-Man 3” as opposed to another movie they can pick from their collection? This movie just gets so much worse the more I think about it. Upon leaving the theater, I thought the movie sucked. A few days later, I think it sucks balls. If you like cheesiness, I wouldn’t say you should shy away from this movie, but for me, this was too light. In fact, Sony is seemingly planning to release a sequel I GUESS by the end of 2020, but if that’s the case, I am not looking forward to it. As of right now, I gotta be honest. This is the worst movie I’ve seen done in live-action that has some sort of relation to the “Spider-Man” franchise. IT’S THAT HORRIBLE. I’m going to give “Venom” a 2/10. I was across the board as this film progressed. Maybe it’s a 5/10, maybe a generous 6/10, perhaps a 4/10. This movie is honestly getting the poor grade it deserves. It feels like a corporate studio effort (or lack thereof) to cash-in on “Spider-Man” and get some hardcore fans in the theater because this interpretation of “Venom” could potentially be better than “Spider-Man 3.” It’s as if the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has generated $17.5 billion dollars thus far, is the latest fashion trend and “Venom” is the latest thing to enter such a craze going off the MCU’s heels because it’s gonna make money. At the end of the day, movies are not all about trends or making something to just keep business going. They are an art form, and certain comic book movies have fallen into a category that makes them artistic. “Venom” is just not one of them.

Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’ll have my review up for “A Star Is Born,” which I can assure you all is a hell lot better than this movie. “Venom” may have crushed the weekend, but “A Star Is Born” dominated in just about every other way. Speaking of movie reviews, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get this out on time, but I do have plans to review “Apollo 13.” I already did a couple reviews in my space movie review series, both of which I enjoyed making. I would love to make a review for “Apollo 13,” but the fact is, I don’t know if I will be able to put it out on time. I have some things on my plate regarding these next couple of days, I have to deal with school, and this may be a weird thing to say, but I need to relax. I just got back from New York Comic Con, I have to do a post on that, and I took somewhere past 70,000 steps over the weekend. MY LEGS ARE KILLING ME. Nevertheless, be sure to follow me here on Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Venom?” What did you think about it? Or, who is your favorite “Spider-Man” villain? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

James Gunn FIRED From Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?! Who Should Replace Him?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I’ve got some very big movie news I want to go over very quickly here. When it comes to recent movies, a lot of people seem to think that Marvel has been killing it lately. With installments added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe such as “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” audiences have had something new from Marvel to rave about every few months. But something in particular could affect the future movies, mainly ones containing the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

If you have watched “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” you may or may not be aware that a guy by the name of James Gunn wrote and directed both of those films. Some may say that “Guardians of the Galaxy” may be what it is as a movie because of James Gunn, so therefore a lot of people praise him. I can personally agree, it almost seems that he knows the style of the film and that really pops off the screen right into my eyes whenever I watch both installments. I may not have enjoyed the second installment, but the first one is definitely one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Given the schedule of the MCU and success of both “Guardians of the Galaxy” installments, it just seems natural that the filmmaker suggested he was set to tackle a third installment in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. He seems to have made progress on a script, recent talks between him and “Star Wars” god Mark Hamill got fans wondering if he would be taking on a role in the upcoming film, everything seemed to be going according to plan. That is… until July 20th, 2018.

It has now become apparent that James Gunn has made some controversial jokes on his Twitter account. Some of these older tweets were reported by Fox News, which to me is false advertising, because there are rarely any foxes on Fox News. You think CNN is fake news? At least their name is accurate! They’re a cable news channel! Fox News may call itself what it wants, but the day they get a bunch of foxes running around the studio would be the day that they’d win the Internet! Anyway, Fox News reported some of these tweets, eventually earning Disney’s attention. Once Disney’s attention had been earned, they severed their business relationship with James Gunn.

Now we are in a bit of a sticky situation here, because there are two sides to this very story that I can personally get. Some of you may be expecting me to say, THAT JAMES GUNN IS A F*CKING CREEP! HE DESERVES NOTHING! And trust me, now that this has been brought to my attention, I’m on your side. If this means that James Gunn is actually a pedophile (which I highly doubt), then wow! As much as I appreciate dark humor, I can personally understand why some people would be offended or upset by this. If these tweets were maybe put in a movie script for a dark comedy then maybe I’d appreciate this just a little more, but this is real life, where there are consequences for actions such as this. But there’s also another hand that really makes me wonder what the future for “Guardians of the Galaxy” will truly be. Gunn has basically made the franchise his own and he seems to have a particular sense of style that can not only be closely associated with himself, but the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Having seen this, I seriously wonder if this situation has a bigger impact on moviegoers than say Mel Gibson’s controversy. Granted I was only ten years old when he made that rude remark towards his girlfriend. I think this may be bigger because I imagine some kids may look up to James Gunn or really appreciate the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, and it’s part of a big and relevant cinematic universe that gets brought up in conversation somewhere every single day now. Then again, let me just say, kids probably look up to James Gunn. They may not know who he is, but maybe without even knowing it, they look up to him. It wouldn’t be pretty for a kid to find out that their idol has been making rape jokes.

Plus, this has a bigger impact on me than a recent Disney affiliated firing that occurred. Some of you may know, FOR SOME REASON, they brought back “Roseanne,” with the forever lazy tagline “Same cast. New episodes.” Just a couple of months after the show started its revival season on ABC, the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, goes on Twitter and spits out a bunch of mumbo jumbo towards a senior advisor to former US President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett. This tweet ended up being controversial, and ABC therefore canceled “Roseanne,” which is something I’ve been asking them to do with “The Bachelor” for a very long time but apparently they won’t listen! Nevertheless, “Roseanne” was pulled off of ABC’s schedule, and any content related to it has been removed from the ABC website. The thing about “Roseanne’s” cancellation however is that I was never a fan of “Roseanne” to begin with. One of the first thoughts I had about “Roseanne” coming back to ABC was “Why?” Granted, once I saw the ratings for the premiere episode, I could kind of see the point, but still, why? “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t anywhere near my favorite movie of all time. I thought it was one of the better movies to have come out in 2014, I gave it a 9/10 when I reviewed it, and I thought it was a very fun time. Judging by that, you might as well say I find “Guardians of the Galaxy” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne.” Heck! I found “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne” and that says something!

I wouldn’t say Disney’s wrong for what they did, but at the same time, I imagine it could be a sacrifice in quality towards “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” But, I will say, Disney, if you’re reading this, I will give a list of directors I think are qualified to helm “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and for some of them, I’ll go into a bit of detail behind why I chose them.

  • Kay Cannon (Blockers, Pitch Perfect)
  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation)
  • Anthony & Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  • Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople)
  • Brad Brad (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol)

Starting my discussion portion of these directors, we have Kay Cannon. I’ve been exposed to some of this girl’s work. I saw “Pitch Perfect,” which personally I hated, I wasn’t really that fond of it for the attempts at humor coming off as typical Hollywood studio comedy jokes that you’ve seen before, and it just didn’t feel like anything I’d write home about. Although, that movie is probably not made for me, I’m definitely not in the target audience. There is one thing however that made me go from HATING Kay Cannon to LOVING Kay Cannon, and that is “Blockers!” Based on the trailers, “Blockers” looks like your typical studio comedy, although in this case it’s really trying to be the next “American Pie,” but I ended up loving it after seeing it in the theater because of how relatable it came off not only to me, but from what I imagine, a number of parents who have teenagers. And most of all, it was funny! Another thing to consider about “Blockers” is that Kay Cannon had to tie together all of these characters, all of their storylines, and give them all their own individual beginning, middle, and end. Cannon didn’t write the screenplay for the movie, but given the amount of characters that may be aruged as being the “main character” of the movie, she did a spectacular job with what was given to her. Given the size of the character list in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” she’s probably gonna have to deal with just as many storylines while simultaneously having to make sure all of the humor in the movie works. Plus, “Blockers” is Cannon’s only directing credit. Since that movie came out, I wanted to see more work from her, and this is a good opportunity.

Next up is Alex Garland. Thus far he has directed two films, “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.” While both don’t really have as big of a budget as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” they have been well received by critics. I personally thought both weren’t at the tippity top of my movie ratings scale, but VERY HIGHLY ENJOYABLE. Just a few weeks ago, I went back and watched “Ex Machina” for the fourth time, it’s that good. I’ve seen “Annihilation” twice, and while I don’t think it’s the best movie ever, I thought it was conceptually and visually beautiful. I will say though, according to IMDb, Garland’s directorial debut, “Ex Machina,” has an estimated budget of $15 million, and his next film he directed, “Annihilation,” has an estimated budget of $40 million. If he takes on “Guardians 3,” you might as well consider those past two films stepping stones towards the big guns. Plus, both films, kind of like “Guardians,” are in the sci-fi genre, so if Garland does well with “Guardians 3,” he would have three well received sci-fi films.

Up next, we have Anthony and Joe Russo. While these two may be known to some as the creators of the situational comedies “Community” and “Arrested Development,” fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know them as co-directors of three films in the series that have been currently released, and another that’s set for a release next year. To me, the Russo brothers have directed the two best MCU films to date, “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Both films, kind of like “Blockers,” involved a ton of characters that could potentially clutter the film. Personally, the way both of them turned out were phenomenal to me. Plus, let me say again, these guys have already directed four MCU films, one of which hasn’t been released yet. In fact, two of them have the Guardians in it! So not only do they have experience with superhero movies, comic book movies, Marvel movies, films with a ton of characters, but also characters from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise! From what I know, none of the actors from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise seem to have any major gripes with either director, so maybe that will allow the experience of making “Guardians 3” to be somewhat of a breeze.

Another director who has already helmed a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Taika Waititi, as much as I personally found “Thor: Ragnarok” enjoyable, I wasn’t afraid to criticize it. Can any of you guess what my main complaint with “Thor: Ragnarok” is?

Anyone?

Hello, anybody home? Think McFly, think!

The main problem I had with “Thor: Ragnarok” is that it’s too much like “Guardians of the Galaxy!” As much as audiences found the attempts at humor in “Thor: Ragnarok” to be hysterical, I was just sitting down thinking, this is not “Thor.” It’s just a weird change of pace towards his character and it’s kind of ridiculous. And maybe it’s not because of Taika Waititi. After all, he didn’t even have a writing credit on the film. In fact, what I think should be done is if the director “Guardians 3,” whoever it may be, doesn’t want to write the film, Marvel should try getting the trio that wrote “Thor: Ragnarok,” otherwise known as Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost to work on the script. This could be especially useful towards Alex Garland, because he doesn’t put much humor into his movies. Then again this is the same guy who had a writing credit on DMC: Devil May Cry, a video game with this exchange:

MUNDUS: I am Mundus.

DANTE: You’re an asshole!

Given the script of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Waititi’s direction must have worked well enough lead to this “Guardians of the Galaxy” wannabe, and if they really wanted to take “Thor: Ragnarok” and make it a “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, someone could have just told them, “Hey! Want to make ‘Guardians 3?'” Well, that movie is happening now, so now is this crew’s chance to take it on!

The last director suggestion I have listed here is Brad Bird. When it comes to animation, Brad Bird is probably my favorite director of all time. He’s done both “Incredibles” installments, “Ratatouille,” and “The Iron Giant.” If you ask me, if Brad Bird happened to work on the screenplay of the film, that would be great too, because I feel that Bird’s best films are ones that not only he directs, but also writes. As much as I liked “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” that’s a film he directed, but didn’t write. One of my other comments towards Brad Bird that may sound odd, is that I feel he does better with animated movies than live action movies. While I will consider “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland” solid movies, they’re not anywhere near masterpieces. Some of you may be questioning why I am saying this because “Guardians of the Galaxy” is live action. You’re right there, but another thing to consider is how much green screen that film has. It’s all on computerized backgrounds! Plus, Brad Bird seems to have a good relationship with Disney, having done multiple films with them, which is something that James Gunn apparently doesn’t have anymore.

Now before I close this off, I want to share a true story with all of you. James Gunn is not exactly my favorite director, however I do find him to be one of the bigger standouts when it comes to the directors who have done recent film work. But James Gunn, despite how I feel about him, was apparently worthy enough, to have earned something that I think you all as an audience might want me to change. Just over a month ago, I graduated high school, and around that time, I got my yearbook. In the process of making the yearbook, I was encouraged to put something in as a senior quote. So after some searching on the Internet, I found what I thought was the perfect quote. Taken directly from IMDb, this is the quote I used in my yearbook:

“I have a very strong imagination and have since I was a little kid. That is where a lot of my world comes from. It’s like I’m off somewhere else. And I can have a problem in life because of that, because I’m always off in some other world thinking about something else. It’s constant.”

Guess what? JAMES GUNN SAID THAT!

I made a post on my Instagram with photo proof that James Gunn is the speaker of my quote in my high school yearbook! If anyone that’s affiliated with the making of the yearbook is reading this, I gotta ask… Is it too late to change my senior quote now that everyone is calling this guy a creep? Jostens, if you’re reading this, let me know! I mean, it’s only been a month since I graduated high school, I haven’t even started college, and I already have an excuse to change my senior quote!

Guys, thanks for reading this post that goes over a life-altering moment I never thought I’d have to face. James Gunn is a creep apparently, who knew? I love the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I’ll miss James Gunn’s unique and somewhat quirky style, and while I heard that Disney never confirmed Gunn was going to direct “Guardians 3” in the first place, it would have been easily predictable for him to do such a thing. With that being said, I hope an official director is announced soon, maybe one of my suggested candidates. As for upcoming content, tomorrow I’m going to see “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again,” stay tuned for that review once it comes time to show it off, and also stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what do you think about this whole James Gunn situation? Also, if you were to find a director or writer for “Guardians 3,” what would your pick be? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): A Small Step Into the Ant Hill of Mediocrity

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) and stars Paul Rudd (Dinner For Schmucks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Michael Peña (American Hustle, End of Watch), Walton Goggins (The Shield, The Hateful Eight), Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One, Killjoys), with Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, What Lies Beneath), Laurence Fishburne (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix), and Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street). After the epic, destructive, game-changing events audiences have witnessed in “Avengers: Infinity War,” we might as well ask ourselves, what is next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe??? The answer… something much smaller. Take that last sentence in whatever way you want. In this newest addition to the series, we once again see Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, having to deal with home life on house arrest, not to mention his own daughter. At the same time, he is recruited on a new mission alongside Hope van Dyne, who is also referred to as the Wasp, that requires an uncovering of secrets involving the past.

This movie is the sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man,” one of my personal favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As much as I might complain that some of the more recent Marvel movies try too hard with comedy to the point where it gets annoying, “Ant-Man” is quite possibly the funniest movie in its universe. Speaking of the MCU, this movie is the twentieth installment in the saga. Just a year ago I said there were fifteen of these since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came out. WOW. When it comes to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I honestly had low expectations for it. If you asked me where my expectations were in 2017, I would probably told you I’m really looking forward to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” especially when you consider how much I enjoyed the first movie. And after seeing this movie, I’d say I had fun throughout my experience. Although I wouldn’t say I had enough fun to go see the movie again. While this is not my least favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it certainly isn’t my pick to watch on a Friday night at home.

I kind of had a similar experience during this movie to what I had during my time watching “Uncle Drew.” I had a few laughs here and there, but it wasn’t enough. Granted, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” isn’t really a comedy, but those numerous laughs may have been one of the few highlights of my experience. Now with what I just said, I will state, with an enormous smile on my face, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is FAR SUPERIOR to “Uncle Drew.” “Uncle Drew” is not even a movie. To call “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a restaurant. I’d even say calling “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a fast-food restaurant! By the way, drink Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron says that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Therefore, it just makes sense that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Also, be sure to enjoy that nice, cool, refreshing Pepsi, while reading my review for “Uncle Drew,” the most ambitious Pepsi commercial of all motherf*cking time!

UNCLE DREW REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/uncle-drew-2018-worst-pepsi-commercial-ever/

In all seriousness, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” qualifies to me as a movie. I never said however that it qualifies as a good movie. There are elements of goodness sprinkled throughout. It has some decent performances for the most part, especially from Michael Douglas. Some of the action is rather creative and fun, although personally it can’t beat the climactic fight during the first “Ant-Man.” The effects in this movie are really good, and you get to see a lot of them, especially when you consider how big of a role the quantum realm plays. All of the positive elements however are unfortunately clashing with another side of negative elements, ultimately leading to what I would consider a relatively average or mediocre experience.

I know that in comic book movies, suspending your disbelief is not only natural, but expected to the tenth degree. There were many moments where I was able to do that. I almost lost it on a building having wheels, but OK, it could be stranger. There is one moment however towards the end involving Ant-Man trying to jump over a vehicle, that almost looked fake as hell that some student who hasn’t even graduated high school could have created it!

I won’t get too much deeper into that, although I do want to talk about the characterization here. For the most part, everyone on the hero side seems to have some sort of dimension to them. There aren’t many complaints I can point out as far as that side is concerned, but when it comes to our villain side, you have multiple plot lines going on including one involving the security that’s supposed to keep Ant-Man inside his house, and another involving the main antagonist of Ghost. When it comes to Ghost, there wasn’t really much to her character (at first), she came off to me more like a bad guy who just wanted to do bad guy things. She didn’t have the depth or charisma that some of the other recent Marvel villains had. And just when I thought we were starting to get an epic streak of fantastic MCU villains (starting with Guardians 2), we’re suddenly back to this bulls*it. I know a good number of people weren’t particularly fond of Yellow Jacket from the first “Ant-Man,” but to me, Ghost made Yellow Jacket look amazing. I will say towards the end of the film, Ghost improves slightly, but for the most part, she was a lackluster villain.

Let’s talk about Ant-Man here. When it comes to his story, he is placed on house arrest. That is because his actions during the events of “Captain America: Civil War” was enough to be considered a crime. This prevents Ant-Man from exploring the outside world, which allows him to spend more time trying to entertain his daughter in creative ways, and master songs in “Guitar Hero.” I gotta say one of the biggest positives I’ll give Paul Rudd when it comes to his interpretation of Ant-Man, and maybe I should give kudos to the writing and directing as well, is how well encapsulated the chemistry between him and his daughter is. I think that is definitely one of the best parts of this entire movie. Seeing the two go through a cardboard maze at the start of the film seemed to capture that needed sense of togetherness. When it comes to Rudd’s overall performance, I thought it was good for the most part, but there is one scene in particular, where he was rather mother-like, which kind of felt out of place.

Alongside Ant-Man, you of course have the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. I think most of the cool stuff you see with her character, maybe except a few lines of dialogue some might find funny, is already revealed in the promotional material, which ultimately diminishes her character in a sense. Although she was fun to watch in certain action scenes and I totally buy Evangeline Lilly as her character. Her chemistry with Ant-Man, while not exactly a shining star in the movie, doesn’t exactly disappoint.

I already talked about the main antagonist and I do consider her to be one of the major flaws of the movie. When it comes to other problems, I’m gonna blame it on the pacing. I am eighteen years old. Once I walked out of the theater, entered my house, and proceeded to my bedroom to start cranking out this review, I imagined myself as if I were a ten year old kid going to see this movie. After all, a lot of ten year kids probably like superheroes, and maybe if I were that ten year old kid, I might walk out of the movie saying I enjoyed myself, but that’s most likely to be due to seeing superheros on moving pictures projected onto a giant screen. Even if I wanted to fall asleep, I’ll still say I had a good time. My brain can’t process what a bad movie is. Heck, I went to see three live-action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies in theaters as a kid and enjoyed them. What kind of person was I? Hint, it rhymes with stupid! When breaking down this movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe all the pieces in there made sense. But maybe it was a tad more convoluted than it should have been. The pacing overall just felt like speed bumps, and I especially say this specifically when it comes to the halfway point. At one moment you’re kinda sorta enjoying yourself… maybe. Then boom! The boredom kicks in.

And honestly, part of me feels like this movie is not going to be stuck in my memory as much as some of the other Marvel movies unless I watch it again. This might actually be the most forgettable Marvel movie I’ve seen since “Thor: The Dark World,” and that is saying something because that movie is S*IT. This film is nowhere near as objectively terrible as “Thor: The Dark World.” Sure, the villain here is pretty bad, but I still think the villain from “The Dark World” is probably the worst in the MCU. Let’s also not forget (no pun intended) how hard this film tried to be funny. When I watched that movie for review purposes, I might have only laughed twice. Here, I laughed a lot more than I did there. In fact, one thing that surprises me about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is how much funnier I found it to be than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” And as I think to myself, I believe the reasoning comes down to one word I had going into “Guardians 2” but lacked for “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Expectations.

If it were the beginning of 2017, I would have watched the first trailer (not the teaser, but the trailer) to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” multiple times. I was really looking forward to that film, and part of me thought it was actually going to surpass the original movie because it looked HILARIOUS. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t even that fun. I mean, it was trying to be, but I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I was instead feeling like I was going through a two and a half hour long toy commercial for Baby Groot with attempts at humor that seemed to land with most of the audience, but not me. I will have you know, I watched that movie twice, and the second time I laughed more than the first one. Maybe I was in a better mood the second time because I wasn’t sitting towards the end of the front row of a crowded IMAX, but it just didn’t impress me. Also, my original 6/10 score went down to a 5/10. The first “Ant-Man” was a movie that I thought was one of the funnier ones in the MCU, but the thing about the first “Ant-Man” is that it’s not really marketed to be comedic. OK, maybe it technically is, but it’s more focused on delivering action than anything else. It’s not the full scale balls to the wall action-comedy that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. Both “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are pretty hilarious at times, and you do get the light vibe you might find in certain comedies in the marketing for both films. Although for both films, I didn’t exactly come for the comedy, I came for the action and superhero stuff. This might make the comedy somewhat funnier because you as an audience member don’t expect humor all that much. In fact, this may be why I find “Avengers: Infinity War” to be one of the funniest movies in the MCU and possibly the funniest comic book movie ever made. In a movie that is advertised to be super dark and the exact opposite of happy-go-lucky, a part of you might come in and expect some lightheartedness or comedy to take a back seat. No way hosay! When it’s delivered in that movie, it totally blends in with the moment despite having a story that is meant to be dark. Maybe it’s also because I as an audience member have been following the storyline for the MCU for a long time therefore allowing me to care more about everyone in the film, but it’s just an interesting blend of light and dark. Also, sticking to “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and expectations, let me just remind you that those were something which I lacked prior to and during my experience of watching the movie.

Before we get into my verdict there is one thing I want to go over, and that is the end credits. There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. The mid-credits scene is more important if you’re a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its overall story. In fact the post-credit scene is probably so pointless that it only exists for the sake of putting on that “Such and such will return” thing at the end of every Marvel movie, but in case you feel that end credits scenes are a necessity to sit through, this is your notification to stay for them. One more thing, I think personally that the mid-credits scene might be better than the entirety of this movie. I felt more emotion (maybe for the most part) for everyone in that scene than I did during “Ant-Man and the Wasp” itself, so that says something right there.

In the end, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not really up to the quality I would expect for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s not to say that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an abomination, but it’s certainly not a movie I would think about for days. I thought it was more fun than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” but keep in mind, I had high expectations for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” While there are definitely movies that I thought would blow more than “Ant-Man and the Wasp” would this year, I didn’t think this particular film would be all that great. The trailers underwhelmed me, and it just didn’t have the same epic feel that the first movie’s trailers provided at various points. Would I recommend “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” Despite having some fun here and there, I wouldn’t say rush out immediately, but I do recommend the mid-credits scene. That’s just me though. I’m gonna give “Ant-Man and the Wasp” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” I just watched the movie for the second time and I’m gonna be going over my thoughts on it in preparation for the franchise’s new movie coming out on July 27th, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” What did you think about it? Or, which of the two “Ant-Man” movies do you like better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!