Death on the Nile (2022): Kenneth Branagh Brings a River of Intrigue in This Engaging Murder Mystery

“Death on the Nile” is directed by Kenneth Branagh (Belfast, Thor), who also stars in the film as Hercule Poirot. Joining him in this Agatha Christie novel adaptation is Tom Bateman (Demons, Murder on the Orient Express), Annette Bening (American Beauty, Captain Marvel), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Arthur), Ali Fazal (Mirzapur, Furious 7), Dawn French (French and Saunders, Coraline), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Criminal), Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., On the Basis of Sex), Rose Leslie (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones), Emma Mackey (Sex Education, Eiffel), Sophie Okonedo (After Earth, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls), Jennifer Saunders (Sing, Shrek 2), and Letitia Wright (Sing 2, Black Panther). In this film, Hercule Poirot finds himself on a voyage, set on the Nile River, and ultimately has to investigate the behind the scenes shenanigans of a murder during said voyage.

I want to make a couple things clear. I have never read any Agatha Christie works, therefore I have nothing to compare this movie to as far as her material goes. I also will note that this could technically qualify as a sequel. “Death on the Nile” revolves around a group of people under the eye of Hercule Poirot, who was also portrayed by Kenneth Branagh in 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” He directed the film as well. I have never seen the film, so I cannot tell you anything in regards to Branagh’s previous efforts, whether they are in front of or behind the camera in said film. I was not particularly interested in it at the time, and my lack of interest unfortunately contributed to what I call a lack of knowledge in this circumstance. Nevertheless, the trailers intrigued me enough, Kenneth Branagh is on fire right now with “Belfast” having just come out, and the cast is stacked to the brim.

Well, there’s also Armie Hammer, I should also mention that.

With that being said, I kind of saw “Death on the Nile” on a whim, I bought a ticket less than an hour before the show because I was in the area, although I did intend to see it by the end of the weekend, and I have to say the movie in some ways pleased me in the ways I expected it to. Although it does have a double-edged sword.

One of the best things about “Death on the Nile” is the feud between the newlywed couple, the Doyles, and this one woman, Jackie, played marvelously by Emma Mackey, or as I call her, Samara Weaving’s lookalike. Prior to Simon Doyle’s connection with his new wife, Linnet, he used to be in love with Jackie, who just so happens to be following everyone else. I loved getting to know these characters and every scene Mackey is in is one that had my attention, partially because of how well she played the character. But this also brings me to my main con with the film, and it is that it takes a bit longer than I expected to actually see the murder shenanigans go down. Now don’t get me wrong, the film is entertaining from start to finish. I was invested in most of the scenes that were written, but that would have to be my big pacing issue of the film. For a film that calls itself “Death on the Nile,” the “death” is not exactly much of a standout until the film’s second half. Is the book the same way? Again, I do not know. I do not plan on reading it anytime soon, so frankly I do not care to know.

Although if I had to bring another positive to the table, it is that the film is easy on the eyes. The film is as exotic as it is suspenseful. The color palette throughout feels like an old-timey flick but with a modern twist. It is a film that feels like it simmers itself in tradition, but infuses some sugar and spice to make it more attractive.

The performers all do a great job at bringing their own flair to the mix in “Death on the Nile,” I cannot recall one performance that either underwhelmed or annoyed me. Well, kind of…

Going back to Emma Mackey’s character of Jackie, I want to focus on her for a bit because I admired Mackey’s performance, but I did so with the acknowledgement of how much I disliked her character. Let me just be clear, I watch a lot of movies, and usually when I watch one I like, I usually like all the characters because they make the movie fun and enjoyable to watch. This one is different. I can only recall a few movies I watched in my life where I hated a character who was in it, and used that hate to remind myself of how effective the movie was at doing its job. “Whiplash” and “The Lion King” are the first two titles that come to mind. Mackey’s behavior in the film made me feel like I was part of the film, and films are always better when they can immerse you into the frame. Mackey did so in a way that made me want to punch her in the face, and all respect to the actress. Emma Mackey, if you read this, I think you have an amazing future ahead of you. I would totally cast you in a film if I find the right role, but I will not lie when I say, your character should have been thrown into the Nile to sleep with the fishes.

I like you, I hate your character. And for that, the movie did its job.

I also want to talk about Gal Gadot. She is an actress I have admired ever since I saw her in “Batman v. Superman,” because while that film showed a weakness from her as a performer, specifically on some line delivery, I saw enormous potential in her, because she carried the action sequences like a champ. I probably said this a couple times in my life. In “Batman v. Superman,” the real winner is Wonder Woman. And I think in just about every movie that has come out since, she has at least improved in some way. In “Death on the Nile,” I think casting Gadot as Mrs. Doyle is appropriate, partially because Gadot looks like someone who can symbolize beauty and wealth at the same time (also, she statistically is very wealthy), but this film shows that she has improved as an actress. She is more able to carry a film now than she has ever been, and there are a couple of scenes where I was able to feel the weight of some of her lines.

And of course, I cannot ignore Kenneth Branagh, who not only makes this film look as pretty as it is, but he carries his weight to bring a lively performance to the table. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch Kenneth Branagh rock a mustache? If they’re making a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” adaptation set in Northern Ireland, I think Branagh would slay as Willy Wonka, and it would be better if the mustache stays. I think Branagh flat out just looks like someone who would be a detective in his spare time, so the fact that he’s cast as Poirot is undeniable. It’s perfect. Again, I have not seen “Murder on the Orient Express,” so I have nothing to compare this performance to franchise-wise. Having said that, “Death on the Nile” is good enough to the point that I want to go back at some point and give “Murder on the Orient Express” a try. Maybe compare the two and see which one’s better.

In the end, “Death on the Nile” is intriguing from beginning to end and offers an ensemble that gives you all the feelings from grace to anger to sadness. This may not end up being the best film of 2022, after all, the year is only beginning, but as far as this year’s fare, I recommend “Death on the Nile.” It has one or two pacing issues, but I feel like that could be a fairly subjective notion on my part. I probably won’t remember every single character, but there are quite a few that stand out to make this film one of the more entertaining experiences of the past number of months. I’m going to give “Death on the Nile” a 7/10.

“Death on the Nile” is now playing in theaters everywhere, tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed this review, I have more coming! My next review is going to be for the movie “Uncharted,” which just hit the big screen over a week and a half ago. Also coming up, I will be tackling my thoughts on “The Batman,” which hits theaters everywhere this week. If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Death on the Nile?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Agatha Christie book? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021): A Mediocre Display of Social Media-Based Materialism

“Ron’s Gone Wrong” is directed by Sarah Smith, Jean-Phillipe Vine, and Octavio E. Rodriguez. This is one of those interesting cases where a film has three directors, don’t usually see that. This film stars Jack Dylan Grazer (Luca, It), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Missing Link), Ed Helms (The Office, Vacation), Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, All the Bright Places), Rob Delaney (Catastrophe, Deadpool 2), Kylie Cantrall (Just Go with It, Gabby Duran & the Unsittables), Ricardo Hurlado (School of Rock, Glitch Techs), and Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Father). The film is set in the future where a giant company unveils their latest invention, the B-bot. The B-bot is a personal companion robot that is designed to make friends. Everyone has one, except for Barney, who lives in a slightly unusual household. One day, he opens up what appears to be a B-bot, only it is glitchy and all over the place. After a series of events, the two stay together, form a friendship and navigate themselves through a trend-based crowd of middle-schoolers.

When I saw the trailer for “Ron’s Gone Wrong” earlier this year, my expectations were somewhere in the middle. I liked the fact that it was an original property, which is nice to see. I liked the idea that it sort of connects to our reality (even though this film is set in the future). And the ultimate kneeslapper at the end, the “6 feet apart” joke, which probably would have been nowhere near as funny if it were not for COVID-19 happening. It’s the old saying, comedy equals tragedy plus time. And for the record, I did find out that this film was recorded and animated during the pandemic, therefore it is completely possible that the 6 feet apart joke could be a reference to it. My expectations were neither high or low, I was just looking for a good time at the movies.

And was it a good time at the movies?

Welllll….

I have watched a lot of animated movies. For this blog, I typically watch at least five in a year. But I always notice that in these movies, the filmmakers always intend to hide a lesson about something to children by the end. “The LEGO Movie” had a lesson telling children that just because you’re ordinary, doesn’t mean you’re not special. “The Lion King” taught children that life is hard and the truth will always come out, even if the consequences are deadly. “Cars” teaches children to keep their friends close and sometimes you do not need to win to be the best. I love when animations are more than just farts and giggles for the sake of farts and giggles. This is why I hate when someone says “x movie is for children, therefore x does not have to try hard at being great.” Uh… That’s lazy. That’s like saying the Boston Celtics won 17 championships, why not suck for one season? No, you give it your best shot and try to stick the landing.

“Ron’s Gone Wrong” has an obvious piece of social commentary within it. This film mainly follows Barney, who lives in what could be described as an “under a rock” setting compared to everyone else in the film. Once he acquires his B-bot, which is way different than others, this makes him more normal than before, but not in the ways that one would consider positive. There’s a moment where we see Barney encounter his bullies, and Ron helps fight back against them. I could not really decide whether I like this pair together or not, based on what I saw on screen at the time, because I doubt the movie is trying to encourage fighting for children, but I could imagine some could see it coming across that way if they don’t pay enough attention.

Although one of my favorite things about this film is how much it reminds me of today’s franchise and gaming culture. I don’t play “Fortnite,” but I know one of the big things about that game aside from the terrible hidden narrative that elevators are freakin’ useless, happen to be the skins. During the film, we see all these B-bots, and they seem to cater to the personalities of those who possess them. There’s one that displays a basketball, another one’s a monkey, another one’s a grizzly knight in armor. It’s kind of playing on the notion that the working B-bots all belong to trendy people who have no problem fitting in.

Another big allegory of the film that I picked up on was the idea that social media ruins lives. Now, these B-bots are not just personal companions to their owners, but they also run social media. Basically, the B-bot is a walking phone. There’s this great look into this one person who has something in particular happen to them during the film that makes them go from being the cool kid to the one nobody wants to sit next to during lunch.

If I had to compare this movie to anything else, I would say this it is a mashup of “Jingle All the Way” and “Free Guy.” While this film does not take place during Christmastime, unlike “Jingle All the Way,” this film heavily relies on a story that makes fun of materialism and certain things making children look cool. As for the “Free Guy” comparison, much of this film is spent from the perspective of a massive corporation who is responsible for the creation of the B-bot. The story is very similar, one guy came up with the idea, he had all the marbles and strings attached, but of course, someone else at the company is more concerned about making money and stocks. It’s your show friends vs. show business kind of story. I like bits and pieces of this, but for what I remember about the film, I don’t think I agreed with every move the characters took. Maybe I’m just an ass, I don’t know.

When it comes to animated fare, this one does not pass, but it also does not fail. I was endlessly annoyed by Barney’s B-bot. Now I get it, it’s out of control, it’s got problems. But the voicework for it became increasingly infuriating to listen to, and I’m a fan of Zach Galifianakis just to be clear. But the thing about his voiceover is that the B-bot literally says the same words the same way every single time. If they were trying to go for the typical robot thing where the bot is monotone, that’s one thing, but it’s a mix between monotone and expressive to the point where I feel like I myself am going to glitch out.

I also want to talk about my experience of watching this in the theater. It’s been a month, so I don’t remember everything. But I do remember this… After the movie had it’s big climactic moment, we see this one scene where there’s these B-bots rolling around, and one of them is in the form of a Stormtrooper. I believe there was a Darth Vader version in the movie as well. This movie is obviously making fun of the corporate way, the endless franchise propaganda we’re getting today. But if you’re a kid, it probably doesn’t matter. There was a mother and son next to me, and the son says something along the lines of “I like that one, it’s Star Wars!” Kids might not get the lesson just yet. Either way, Disney probably wins. They made this movie (under the 20th Century banner) and now they get to sell a kid more “Star Wars” stuff. That’s business!

Freakin’ corporations.

In the end, “Ron’s Gone Wrong” made me leave the theater with such a confused reaction. I did not hate this movie, but I didn’t love it either. I would not call it good, but I also would not call it a disaster. It has some occasional funny moments, but I did not always care for every character and there were certain parts I liked more than others. The film does come packed with lessons for children, but whether or not they take them, is a mystery at this point. I’m going to give “Ron’s Gone Wrong” a 6/10.

“Ron’s Gone Wrong” is now available to rent or buy. You can find it on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Blu-ray in stores. It is available to stream on Disney+, HBO, and HBO Max. It is also playing in select theaters.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed this review, be sure to look out for more of my upcoming reviews including “King Richard,” “tick…tick…BOOM!,” and “Encanto” just to name a few. The end of the year is here and there are plenty of movies to talk about. Let’s do it. If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Ron’s Gone Wrong?” What did you think about it? Or, what is one item you always begged for as a kid? Perhaps as a gift? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Last Duel (2021): Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Finally Reunite to Pen a Brilliant Display of Alternate Perspectives

“The Last Duel” is directed by Ridley Scott (The Martian, Alien) and stars Matt Damon (We Bought a Zoo, Good Will Hunting), Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Marriage Story), Jodie Comer (Free Guy, Killing Eve), and Ben Affleck (Justice League, The Way Back) in a film where two friends are divided over the claims Marguerite de Carrouges brings forth about her rape. The two friends agree to duke it out in a trial by combat where one lives, one dies, and the outcome of the battle will also determine the fate of Marguerite de Carrouges herself.

I have been excited for “The Last Duel” since 2020, which is when I believe I first heard about it. I may have been looking at the list of films coming out that year on Wikipedia, which at this point, almost looks like a shell of its former self with titles like “A Quiet Place Part II,” “No Time to Die,” and “Black Widow” moving dates. At that point, upon seeing some of the names attached, this had some potential. This looked like some Oscar caliber material. It kind of had this “Braveheart” feel to it that empowered the heart. I was genuinely curious of what was to come.

When the trailer came out this summer, confirming that this movie was finally coming, it honestly promised something beyond my prior expectations because as someone who did not know the full story, I did not know if this was going to be a film of slow or fast pace. But getting a peak of Jodie Comer’s performance, which ended up being one of the film’s highlights, was a symbol of how exciting this movie could potentially be. Everything about this movie going in looked great, Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography, the performances from one of the best ensembles of the year, the set design, the locations. All of it had promises.

And frankly, those promises were met. When it comes to big battle type of films that take place long before I was even born, this one stands out. Partially because of the amazing directing from Ridley Scott, whose legacy has not died yet, and after seeing this movie, I only want more from him. Of the three main performances from Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer, each one did a really good job at conveying rawness, pain, and fear amongst each self. No matter the situation each character finds themselves in, they each find themselves within their own pain and we get a sense of that. One is obviously the hero in this story, but that is also something that at various points, the movie sort of spins on its own head.

In most movies you see a linear path from start to finish with the main hero having a major screen presence. Or in other cases, the main villain. Look at “Avengers: Infinity War.” That whole movie started with Thanos going after the infinity stones and ended with him resting on a farm. Yes, the movie is called “Avengers,” is about the “Avengers,” and heavily features the “Avengers” during its runtime. But you could also argue that the film is technically Thanos’s story once it started and once it ended. “The Last Duel” has a somewhat typical act structure where it has your act 1, act 2, and act 3, but it doesn’t necessarily use those acts in a way where you see a progression of time, which in most cases would be from past to future. For the most part, the acts take place quite literally at the same exact time, but you see certain events play out whereas others are left behind. In some cases, the exact same event will play out but you get a greater emphasis on whichever character’s perspective is put into frame, and it’s not like they’re sitting in a room narrating the story in front of your eyes, you’re seeing it from a visual standpoint.. For some people, I imagine this sequencing procedure will seem repetitive or irritating, but for me, it made me understand the way in which this movie was trying to tell its story. In fact, I honestly think when it comes to the act structure, the movie placed the least compelling act, or as they call them, chapters, before the others, and there’s a reason for that. The other two chapters highlights a certain event in the first chapter that you’re only told about, but as you see more of it in the other two chapters, the bigger the impact it has by the end of the movie. The film shows how important all the perspectives are to create one big picture, thus highlighting the rivalry, the controversy, the infighting, the drama. This is a script that I would honestly put up against many others this year.

The movie does take a bit of time to get into, although it admittedly starts with some quick pace and a promise, there’s that word again, of what’s to come, but once it gets into the nitty gritty, it’s basically full throttle, non-stop, and as for me, the viewer, I’m completely engaged with what’s going on. This movie is called “The Last Duel” and of course, the duel, which is the literal climax of the film supposedly, I mean, you could almost argue that this film kind of has four acts, is incredibly exciting and gritty. But it does not mean the material prior to that going down is inferior in any way. If I have any other cons with the film that I could think of, I would say that the way Matt Damon’s character handles a serious matter in chapter 3 made me a bit uncomfortable. Granted, I think that was kind of the point, but it almost made him less relatable or less likable than maybe he was earlier in the film. May just be a personal reaction.

By the end of the film, when they get to that last battle, I was shaking. Because the film has done such a brilliant job at establishing the perspectives of the main trio that they all came together so well in the last moments. When we see the position of Jodie Comer’s character, the stakes she has to go through as the fight between a couple friends goes down, it only adds to the tension. This film is one of the best of the year and despite coming out the same weekend as “Halloween Kills,” “The Last Duel” felt ten times as disturbing.

In the end, “The Last Duel” is one of the best ways to retell a story in a two and a half hour runtime. This is a film that at times made me feel a pit in my stomach, but it did so in the best way possible. The technical aspects from the camerawork to the sound is all done to perfection. As for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck getting back together to write a script so long after “Good Will Hunting,” it was worth the wait. Granted, Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) also has a credit, but still, it was worth the wait. I love “The Last Duel” and I would personally give it an 8/10.

“The Last Duel” is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that Halloween is coming up and we will be starting my brand new mini review series that day, on the 31st exactly, “Ghostbusters: Before Afterlife.” Expect a review then, and I will be following that up the Sunday after, November 7th, with my thoughts on “Ghostbusters II,” which as of typing this, I have yet to watch once in my entire life. Be on the lookout for these reviews and also stay tuned for my reviews of “No Time to Die,” “Dune,” and if I get around to it on time, “Last Night in Soho.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Last Duel?” What did you think about it? Or, have you seen “Good Will Hunting?” Tell me your thoughts on that! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Free Guy (2021): Grand Theft Awesome

“Free Guy” is directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Real Steel) and stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Proposal), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, The White Princess), Lil Rel Howrey (Uncle Drew, The Carmichael Show), Utkarsh Ambudkar (The Mindy Project, The Muppets), Joe Keery (Stranger Things, Chicago Fire), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit). This film is primarily set in Free City, a massive sandbox video game where players can control characters through a massive city and go on missions. Guy, an NPC (non-playable character), discovers the secrets of the game and breaks the rules of his own character. While he is typically a bank teller who often finds himself in the middle of a robbery, he gets bored of doing the same thing over and over again and decides to level up his life while also trying to win the girl of his dreams.

I love Ryan Reynolds. The word “movie star” does not have as big of an impact as it may have years ago with faces including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Will Smith dominating the big screen with their blockbuster titles. There are a few big “movie stars” that have risen to astronomical heights over the years including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and others who have maintained their fame for years including Tom Cruise. When it comes to the conversation of which actor is currently the biggest star in the world, Ryan Reynolds has to be in the conversation every single time. He is one of Canada’s finest exports and adds a flair to every movie he’s in. This even includes ones I don’t like such as “The Croods” or “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.”

The concept of “Free Guy” by itself, where a video game NPC increasingly gains a sense of consciousness and humanity, is already one that could be considered a recipe for greatness. But if you put Ryan Reynolds into the picture, you’ve taken a great movie and bumped up its power by five times. This is a film that had a bumpy road in terms of its marketing. In fact I think the best trailer we got of the film was in 2019 when it made fun of Disney for putting out its animated titles in live-action form. I thought it was genius because it sounded like humor that would associate with Ryan Reynolds, especially considering how he has dominated the meta humor concept with a film like “Deadpool” and its sequel. The trailers after weren’t bad, but they did not live up to the original for me. Although there was a great piece of marketing that had Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool sitting next to Korg (Taika Waititi) doing what could only be a parody of a YouTube trailer reaction video. I was excited for this film despite the mixed road to get to the official release. And I say that even without acknowledging the ongoing pandemic, not that it should be forgotten.

What did I think of “Free Guy?”

Simply put, I had a lot of fun with “Free Guy.” When it comes to movies set in a video game universe, I think “Ready Player One,” which “Free Guy” reminded me of at times and is coincidentally also written by Zak Penn, is a slightly better film. But “Free Guy” takes a cool concept and gives it a smooth execution in the end. And I should not be surprised that this film is as good as it is. Because director Shawn Levy, whose recent projects include Paramount’s “Arrival” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” is a master at creating a film for everyone. One of my favorite films from my childhood is “Night at the Museum.” It is a film that does not exactly feel like it is being targeted at kids, but when it comes to both titles, many children could watch the film, understand much of what is going on, and appreciate everything in front of them. At the same time, adults could watch this film and have a great time with it. The first two films in that particular franchise have been a cornerstone of movie nights in my family. To see Levy do a movie like this does not surprise me, and if anything else, it pleases me.

For starters, it is an original idea, which in terms of blockbusters, feel very few and far between. In fact, this is technically the first Disney original live action film in years (technically because 20th Century Fox made it). I just love seeing creative, never before seen ideas come to life and “Free Guy” is a fine example of that.

Also, if the last couple decades have proven anything, people love video games, including me. Much of my childhood has been spent pushing the buttons on my Nintendo devices, so the idea of this film has a special place in my heart. I find it fascinating that this movie chooses to focus on someone who could be anyone and have them evolve. We look nowadays at video game NPCs as tools to let the player do their thing. But to have what is technically a tool sprout into something more is flat out fascinating. Yeah, it kind of feels like that cliche idea that “anyone’s special,” which as Dash from “The Incredibles,” would suggest, “which is another way of saying no one is.” It’s a cliche idea, but it is brought to life through something incredibly creative in addition to Ryan Reynolds’s terrific encapsulation of Guy.

One thing I’ve always noticed while I play a video game is that when you go by NPCs, they’ll often spew the same things out of their mouth over and over. A big part of that is because they’re portrayed by a certain actor, and actors will record a limited number of lines for a certain character, therefore they can only do so much. Therefore, NPCs are usually one-dimensional, do not have much personality, and are often in the background. In the case of Guy, I think Ryan Reynolds did a good job at making the character not feel flat or putting him in a sphere that makes his personality limited. In fact, Reynolds brings a sense of hyperactivity to his character despite him having a life that most would consider boring. Guy is a banker who drinks the same cup of coffee every day and says good morning to his goldfish by his bedside. This is an everyday routine for him, but he seems to accept it because he’s programmed that way.

Now I like Taika Waititi, but I think “Free Guy” has only increased the chances of me wanting to get together with the dude for lunch. You know how a lot of films directed towards young audiences will have an over the top villain? Taika Waititi’s character of Antwan almost seems to find himself within the confines of that description. Not that this movie is specifically for children, but nevertheless. In a lot of cases, this could be a turnoff because then the film could become a live-action cartoon, but not in “Free Guy!” If anything, Waititi’s performance is an utter enhancement in this film. The mixture of his lines and hyped up antics arguably makes him the best character of the movie. It kind of reminds me of another film Shawn Levy directed, “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” because that film’s villain was Kahmunrah, and he was perhaps written and presented in such a way that could arguably make him cartoony, but it was presented in such a way where Levy and actor Hank Azaria seemed to embrace the silly that the script listed. As far as “Free Guy” is concerned, Taika Waititi plays a guy who might as well be jacked up on Red Bull all the time and does not seem to care much about others. As far as I’m concerned, I love the execution of this character, and I almost wonder if part of why it worked so well was because of the casting. I cannot imagine anyone other than Waititi playing Antwan at this point.

Without spoilers, the climax of “Free Guy” is a thing of beauty. The film just goes straight into becoming “Garry’s Mod” of all things. There’s some stuff in this climax that I had almost zero warning about going into it, and I think if you want to have the same reaction, do everything you can to avoid any online discussion about the end of the film. It is in a word, “epic.”

If I had any problems with “Free Guy” it would be that the film does get into some impractical nonsense by the end that comes off more or less as a plot convenience more than anything else. It is not a humungous turnoff as the rest of the film is nicely structured but there’s one moment towards the end that feels jumbled in terms of execution, and it’s a pretty important one. Maybe in the script, it sounds more coherent, but in the final product, it sounds kind of… pun intended, pixelated. It’s kind of sad considering the impact the moment was trying to deliver, but for some reason, they could not stick the landing.

This one moment does not take much away from the literal joy I achieved from watching “Free Guy.” “Free Guy” is a crazy, fun adventure. I love the setting, I love the idea, I love how it seems to have fun with our modern video game culture and how much of a cash cow it has become in addition to being heavy entertainment. I left this movie wanting more. I want to see more of Guy, Molotov Girl, Buddy, all the characters in this film were utter delights. I legit think that this is a movie that anyone could watch and enjoy. I sometimes go to see movies with my mom, and most of the movies I see with her are ones that usually are not action heavy or horror heavy. Despite the action heaviness of “Free Guy,” I legit think that this is a movie that my mother could put on and have a ball with despite some things being there that she may not usually tend to see on screen. If you like action, you’ll definitely like this movie, but the crew behind “Free Guy,” whether they intended to or not, did a really good job at creating something that a lot of people could find themselves attached to, even if it wasn’t specifically made for them. In that sort of way, I highly recommend “Free Guy” to anyone reading this and their friends.

In the end, “Free Guy” may solidify Ryan Reynolds as one of the finest Canadians to ever live and the film itself is easily one of my favorites of the year. Disney did not release this film on streaming. Granted, I do not know if they could have contractually, 20th Century Fox movies still go straight to HBO months after release. But from everything I’ve read, Disney practically had all the faith in the world given towards this movie. Based on what has been created, “Free Guy” has massive franchise potential. Heck, I could see this thing becoming a Disney ride at some point. The film is immersive, fun, bonkers, and just a straight up good time. “Free Guy” by the way is set in two different places. The real world and the game of “Free City.” to my surprise, the stuff that happens in the real world has the same level of intrigue as everything that happens in the world of “Free City.” To have the escape be as interesting as the world from which people are trying to escape is definitely pleasing. I’m going to give “Free Guy” an 8/10.

Also, if you need another reason to see this movie, you’ll get to see Alex Trebek one last time. Seeing him on screen brought a smile to my face and I am sure it will for many other viewers as well.

“Free Guy” is now playing exclusively in theaters and IMAX. Get your tickets now!

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that on Monday, August 23rd, I will be sharing my thoughts on “Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation.” The film is not as often talked about as the original, partially because it was made for television. But I am here to talk about it as we dive deeper into my ongoing review series, “Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds in Review” as we celebrate Scene Before’s fifth anniversary. And speaking of reviews, be sure to stay tuned for my review of “Don’t Breathe 2.” I just saw the film last night and I intend to talk about it soon. If you want to read all this and more on Scene Before, be sure to follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Free Guy?” What did you think about it? Or, if you could put yourself in the universe of any video game, which one would it be? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ford v Ferrari (2019): Damon and Bale Blaze to The Finish

mv5byzcyzdnlndktowrhyy00odq5ltg1odqtzmfmztiymjg2yjk5xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtkxnjuynq4040._v1_sy1000_sx675_al_

“Ford v Ferrari” is directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, Logan) and stars Matt Damon (The Martian, Good Will Hunting) as a car designer and Christian Bale (Batman Begins, Vice) as a driver. This film takes place in the 1960s, during a time where Ford Motor Co. was seemingly in a bit of a sticky situation. To get out of it, it is proposed that the company tries to develop a car that could win Le Mans, the 24 hour racing competition in France. Throughout, we get interactions between the two leads as they try to complete the ambitious project handed to them.

“Ford v Ferrari” is one of those movies that just sounds like it would be worth seeing just from hearing what it’s about. The film is based on a true story from over fifty years ago and describes Ford’s efforts to rise to superiority in a realm they don’t traditionally associate with. Plus, racing on the big screen always packs a punch. Now let me tell you about my history of going to the cinema.

The first movie I have seen in a theater is Pixar’s “Cars,” the film where a rookie racecar tries to win a big event and make history, ends up in a three way tie, eventually gets stuck in a town in the middle of nowhere, and must adapt to the current situation and deal with whatever consequences get in his way. I remember when I first watched “Cars” in the theater, one of the things that stood out to me the most that day was the sound. Let’s face it, racing movies are always better in the theater. Not that I have anything against watching them at home, but to hear cars blaze at hundreds of miles per hour through an advanced audio system is orgasmic to say the least. Such a notion can also be applied to “Ford v Ferrari,” whether it was intentional or not. I saw this film at my local IMAX Laser cinema at Jordan’s Furniture, where the sound is perhaps better than any theater I have been to. Although Dolby Cinema at AMC comes pretty close. If “Ford v Ferrari” does not at least get consideration in the sound categories during awards season, then the voters must be smoking something. That’s the only conclusion I can come up with at this point.

Speaking of praise, I have to say the performances in this movie, pretty much all over, are worth saluting. Matt Damon plays car designer Carroll Shelby, who has this swagger to him that kind of makes you like him even before he speaks. Maybe it’s because Matt Damon is, well… Matt Damon. The guy in general just manages to have this charm to him that makes him so damn admirable. Maybe it’s because I’m a Bostonian, I dunno. But Damon plays a character that fits directly within the specific time period. He feels like a guy I would want to have lunch with, kind of like Cliff Booth from “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” or Joel Goodsen from “Risky Business.”

Christian Bale, if you ask me, personally does a better acting job in this film than Damon. And part of it honestly has to do with his physique. Because for starters, Bale lost weight for this film. While Matt Damon is definitely giving a solid portrayal of his characters, looks sometimes matter. Bale’s last role was Dick Cheney, and to hear Bale trimmed himself down for this already gives me a proper first impression. I also really enjoyed seeing his character’s arch as well. One of the main ideas behind Bale’s character is that he does not represent the idea of a team player. Without going into much detail, such an idea made the movie eventually feel charming and to my surprise, heartwarming.

Screenshot (4)

But if you ask me, neither of the main two actors in this film hold a candle to the performance given by Tracy Letts (Lady Bird, Divorce) who plays Henry Ford II. From the first scene he’s in, I automatically got the sense of who his character truly is, a no nonsense type of boss that will do anything to make sure s*it gets done. Pretty much every moment of his presence was pure joy. There is a scene that takes place where he is discussing what Ford can do to have a place in society, you know that part of the trailer where Carroll is told to “go to war?” Yeah, that one. I imagine that directing had a lot to do with how delivery of his dialogue came out, but seeing Henry Ford II attached to his chair, almost as if his wife happened to be present and he was giving her the silent treatment, was gritty as hell.

I will also say that this film does one thing very well, and I already talked about how immersive the sound is, and that is definitely a win for this film. However, that is not the only way this film ultimately immersed me. As mentioned, “Ford v Ferrari” took place in the 1960s, based on my experience of watching this film, I felt like I was a part of that environment. It almost felt like everyone was into cars, and in a way that is sort of a representation of our history, specifically in the United States. Plus, the fashion styles popped for me, seeing various environments happened to be pleasant, and it almost made me want to be a part of this time period. Because, you know, there is no reality like fantasy. Only… this was reality over fifty years ago.

Screenshot (5).png

Now I know that I’m probably raving about this movie right now, and it is definitely worth seeing in the theater, but I gotta be honest, if there is one thing that I think could be a bit of a turnoff for me personally, it’s the product placement. I get it, some people gotta eat. I understand the purpose of product placement, and bits of it, kind of work. But there are various moments in the film where it gets annoying. I remember one shot just pans over to some advertisement on a building. It feels rather tacked on if you asked me. It’s NOWHERE near as bad as “Uncle Drew,” but that movie was partially responsible because of Pepsi, so there you go.

Speaking of complaints, I’ll have you know that I happened to be at this movie with my mom. She went to the restroom afterwards, and I was waiting outside for a short time. While she was in there, she just overheard somebody else going “That ending sucked.” My mother and I pretty much agreed that such an opinion is perhaps surprising. Partially because, based on recent research, the ending I’m referring to actually happened and is not completely inaccurate. I do want to know if there is something I am missing here, because I thought the ending was awesome. If anybody here did not like the ending to “Ford v Ferrari,” please leave a comment as to why you don’t like it. I seriously want to know. Maybe you’ll bring a new perspective to the table that could change my ways, or maybe I’ll never want to hang out with you. We’ll have to see.

In the end, “Ford v Ferrari” is a fast-paced, epic thrill ride to the finish. The characters are a mix of fun, charming, and gritty. The theatrical experience of going to see this movie is one you don’t want to miss. Yes, “Star Wars” is coming, but if you want a cinema experience that packs a punch and dials the immersion levels up to a 10, “Ford v Ferrari” is for you. I do think the product placement, while it definitely sometimes fits in and makes sense, is on the brink of being forced. Nevertheless, “Ford v Ferrari” is a delight of a movie and should get some attention during the awards season. I do not think it will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but do not be surprised if it at least gets nominated. I’m going to give “Ford v Ferrari” a 9/10. Thanks for reading this review! Just this past week, I saw two more movies, specifically “Knives Out” and “Dark Waters.” We are in a fine time to go to the movies, folks! Stay tuned for these reviews, and more great content by following Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page!

Screenshot (6).png

I also have one more announcement to make. This week I’m planning on dropping my possible final trailer for the Top Movies of the 2010s countdowns I’m planning on doing. That’s countdowns, with an s. I’m going to be doing a best list, followed by a worst list the day after. I already started working on them, and here’s hoping that the end of 2019 will not change that list significantly because I’m working really hard on them. The trailer should drop by the 30th of November, but if you want to know my ideal motives, I’m planning on either releasing it on the 28th, which is Thanksgiving, because then your family can talk about something less controversial than politics, or on Black Friday, the 29th, that way you can watch something to relieve yourself of the crowds at the mall. Also, with that in mind, stay tuned for my Top Movies of the 2010s countdowns, coming this January.

I want to know, did you see “Ford v Ferrari?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite racing movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Jojo Rabbit (2019): Hitler Can Be Fun

mv5bzjnmyzjiotatyzbmzs00ndi0ltkzotetywy4owi2mtg2mmvixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtkxnjuynq4040._v1_sy1000_cr006701000_al_

“Jojo Rabbit” is directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, The Hunt For the Wilderpeople), who also plays the character of Adolf Hitler in this movie. Alongside Waititi, the film stars Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, and Sam Rockwell. This film is about a young boy living in Nazi Germany by the name of Jojo. We see him at the start of the movie, trying to become part of Hitler’s force. However, he is eventually revealed to be wimpy compared to those around him, which partially inspires the titular nickname “Jojo Rabbit.” The film also explores Jojo’s life at home, when he eventually finds himself in a situation where he is living with an enemy of many Nazi Germans, a Jew.

I have not seen much of Taika Waititi’s work. Admittedly, as much as it makes me look like a bad moviegoer, the only film of his (specifically, the ones he hasn’t had an acting role in) I managed to see happens to be “Thor: Ragnarok.” Judging from that, Waititi definitely has his own style when it comes to his movies. Granted, judging from the fact that “Thor: Ragnarok” is a Marvel movie, it follows a lot of the beats to fulfill the requirements of what makes one of those films possible. If you ask me, I think “Thor: Ragnarok” is almost the most overrated Marvel movie. It’s good, but I really think they should have toned down on the humor, and the vibe should have fit with a lot of the dark ideas the movie seemed to have going for it. I mean, THE CITY OF ASGARD IS IN DEEP S*IT! Now that “Ragnarok” is in the past, Waititi went on to direct this film, which if I had to be honest, is better than “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Now that I had a week to think about “Jojo Rabbit,” I just realized that this film and “Ragnarok” manage to have something kinda sorta in common that I could not quite grasp at first. Both of them feel like parodies. Granted, “Jojo Rabbit” IS a parody, but that’s not the point. When I watched “Thor: Ragnarok,” I was not able to appreciate the humor that they were trying to hammer inside my head. I thought it was quite unnecessary. But there are various parts of “Thor: Ragnarok,” and I won’t get into them, that might as well be part of a rather effective big budget “Saturday Night Live” sketch. I have not gone back into the past to view Waititi’s earlier work, but it does make me curious as to what he has up his sleeve in the future. How far will he go with the humor? If he goes on to direct “Thor: Love and Thunder,” is he going to make it a pure comedy? I don’t know, but it would at least be interesting to see.

And speaking of long, deep thoughts, this movie managed to do something quite extraordinary and rather unexpected. Once again, this is a parody film. Keep that in mind. But Nazism is one of the most serious subjects that one could talk about or put in a motion picture. As someone who knows the Nazis were objectively evil, I cannot help but point out that this film made Nazis look fun. Based on pure entertainment value, I wouldn’t say that’s an entirely bad thing. I don’t mean any offense when I say this, but between Hitler, a book burning scene, and a few funny moments here and there, “Jojo Rabbit” managed to surprise me immensely.

Keep in mind, for those of you who are thinking this movie is about Hitler, guess what? It’s not. Adolf Hitler in this movie plays an important role, but if you are expecting this to be a movie about Hitler, you MIGHT be disappointed. Personally, the real concept behind this movie is one that I would love to shout from the rooftops. As mentioned, this movie is about a young kid, who goes by the name Jojo. There are various scenes in the film where Hitler appears, but each time, it’s all a figment of Jojo’s imagination. Basically, Adolf Hitler in this film is Jojo’s imaginary friend.

AWESOME.

Staying on the topic of Hitler, Taika Waititi does a really good job at playing him. The movie also somehow did a good job at making him a charming, relatable character. One of the first scenes where I see him talking to Jojo, he talks about how people made fun of him in the past. He then advises Jojo to “Be the rabbit,” which is a suggestion to take a nickname that is seemingly derogatory, but use it to make yourself a better human being.

I will also say that the kid who plays Jojo, otherwise known as Roman Griffin Davis, did a pretty good job. For the record, as I write this review, I have looked at both his Wikipedia page and his IMDb page. According to both sources, “Jojo Rabbit” is the dude’s only acting credit. The only other piece of media, at least according to IMDb, featuring Roman Griffin Davis in some way, shape, or form is an episode of “Entertainment Tonight Canada.” I am not sure how much training or practice Jojo had before taking on this film, but for a first time performance, this was nothing short of a job well done. Personally, despite being a actor of his particular experience level and age range, this didn’t feel like a first time performance, which may be the best compliment I can give.

Overall, the cast of “Jojo Rabbit” completely stands out in the best possible way. Again, I mentioned that despite the evils of Nazism, certain elements of the film made it look like a party, which made the final product particularly interesting. This is why I liked the performance from Rebel Wilson’s character, which I’m glad to say because if you know me in real life, I am not that big of a fan of her. To be honest, her acting job in “Jojo Rabbit” may be the first likable performance I have seen from her. This may be the first movie I liked featuring her too. “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” comes close, but it just misses the mark.

I think one of the best parts of the movie, even though it ended up going in a direction I did not think it was going to go, is the screenplay. When I saw this film being marketed, I thought it was going to be a full-on satire. Imagine “Spaceballs” but with Nazis. And in a way, I kind of got that, the movie wasn’t as funny as I was originally anticipating it to be. That’s a small problem of mine, but the movie also has a serious plot to it that I can kind of get behind. There is a scene, about two thirds of the way through the movie, that has an enormous amount of tension that I really dug. When I walked into “Jojo Rabbit” I was expecting to laugh myself to death. I cannot say I did that. Instead, this movie managed to bring a surprising smile to my face. I felt utterly alive.

In the end, I had a good old time with “Jojo Rabbit.” It’s probably not the gutbuster I was expecting it to be, but it is still a damn good couple of hours. This is a movie that manages to make Nazis look fun, while also reminding me of their evils and what terrible things they have done. The movie kind of concludes on a surprisingly less than pleasant note. I say that because this film starts out with a clear humorous vibe. It’s kind of wacky and silly overall. Is it perfect? I wouldn’t say so, there are some minor issues. But I think there is enough in the film for me to think to myself that I’d want to watch it again. I’m going to give “Jojo Rabbit” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! My next review is gonna be up very soon, which is for the new Amazon movie “Honey Boy.” I was just recently at a free screening at a local arthouse theater for the film, so I will have my thoughts on that very soon. Also, I just saw a new movie this weekend at my local IMAX, specifically James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari.” A review for that will soon hit the interwebs, and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it. If you want to see my thoughts on either of these movies, or other content from the Movie Reviewing Moron, be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account! If you are on Facebook, be sure to check out my page and give it a like, it really helps me out! I want to know, did you see “Jojo Rabbit?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie that you went to see, not to mention liked, that you were expecting to be funny, but turned out to be serious? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Alita: Battle Angel (2019): A 26th Century Fox Film

mv5bmtqzywywyjcty2jhzs00ntyzltllm2utzwy5ztk0nmywyziyxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzgxodm4njm40._v1_sy1000_cr006751000_al_

“Alita: Battle Angel” is directed Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Spy Kids), written and produced by the critically acclaimed James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic) and stars Rosa Salazar (Parenthood, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Spectre), Mahershala Ali (Green Book, Moonlight), Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones, Deadpool), Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children, A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Keean Johnson (Nashville, The Fosters). This film takes place in the year 2563, or 300 years after a massive war between planets leading to Earth’s devastation. When the film starts, we see a scientist assemble a girl who clearly has a consciousness but has no memory of major events that happened in the past. With that in mind, she decides to go on a journey to recover her memories.

This movie, to me, had a very bumpy road up until its official release. Word of mouth about it in terms of its development has been spoken since we hit the 21st century. At the turn of a new millennium, Fox registered the rights to the domain battleangelmovie.com and James Cameron registered the rights to battleangelalita.com, who has said for years that this film is in progress. He was going to do it after the production of the TV series “Dark Angel,” but he didn’t get to it. He wanted to get the thing done after the film “Aliens of the Deep,” once again, he didn’t get to it. After all, Cameron’s biggest priority during the late 2000s was “Avatar,” mainly because he wanted to bring awareness of environmental preservation to public audiences, which to be fair, is a pretty good reason to focus on a movie like that. Well, in addition to raking in over $2 billion at the box office… In August 2010, over a year and a half after “Avatar’s” release in theaters, Cameron stated he wanted to work on the “Alita” film, but he is having trouble getting around to it. Then came 2013, where Cameron happened to be in an interview with director Alfonso Cuarón (Roma, Gravity). Cameron suggested 2017 as the time to start working on the film. Coincidentally, shooting began in late 2016. And a year before that, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Robert Rodriguez was in talks to direct the film (a confirmation to direct would be announced in 2016). Said director was supposed to “condense and combine Cameron’s 186-page screenplay and some 600 pages of notes into what could be the shooting script.”

So basically, James Cameron is approaching his “Alita” project similar to how I would approach my high school crush. I’d start out looking at her, admiring her, trying to talk to her abd say hi once or twice, get her to notice me, only til I get to the point where I either lose that crush or I think she’s too good for me.

Although, I haven’t even gotten to the trailers yet! The first trailer for “Alita: Battle Angel” released at the end of 2017, and at the time, the film was scheduled to come out in July 2018. Then, the second trailer, which came out last year in July during San Diego Comic-Con, suggested the film would be out at the end of the year in December. If you ask me, that was a terrible decision made by whoever was in charge of the release, because then the film would have to compete with other titles such as “Aquaman,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Bumblebee,” and more. Luckily, they made the smart choice of moving the release date once again, this time to February 2019, as suggested in a trailer for the film which came out this past November. And it seems to have worked out in the film’s favor because it ended up making over $400 million worldwide, which is more than twice the film’s budget of $170 million.

But the real question is this… How was “Alita: Battle Angel” as a movie? Was it good? Was it bad? Was it ugly? My answer, none of the above! In fact, it was awesome! Remember back in 2015 when “Mad Max: Fury Road” came out? Personally, I don’t particularly like it as much as everyone else, but I for one have grown to appreciate the flick as a visual spectacle. There are numerous thrilling action sequences, the cinematography took a lot of effort to pull off, and damn it pulled off well! And the film is filled to the brim with practical effects. There are tons of vehicles specifically built for the film, the locations fit every scene quite well, and there are a number of stunts and movements throughout the picture that are kind of brilliant when you break them down. To me, this was that, but with CGI. Kind of like “Avatar” or “Gravity” or the 2016 “Jungle Book” remake because like those films, I almost questioned how the CGI looked as polished and stunning as it did. This film is the very definition of a visual spectacle, and I’m almost surprised that I am even saying that, because when I first looked at Alita herself from the first couple of trailers, I thought she I’d be slightly offput by her appearance. Not by her body, I am not a guy who wants women’s bodies to look a certain way, but… her eyes. Honestly, they didn’t even bother me in this film, and to be honest, they made Alita stand out to me in a positive way as the film went on. It let me know of the character I happened to be looking at. After all, when we first look at Alita’s face at the start of the film, she didn’t even have eyes. The eyes we see in the film were added on.

If anything, if I had to compare “Alita: Battle Angel” to another film visually, I’d say the best example would have to be last year’s “Ready Player One,” which if you have followed this blog for some time, you may know I adored that film. Visually speaking, it was hard at times to recall if I had seen anything like it. To this day, “Ready Player One” has some of the best CGI I have seen in a film because it creates this immersive video game world that I kind of wanted to be in, especially considering how it highlights the real world and how it has gone to s*it. I don’t think I’m going to have a great 2045, I think we’re going to be super low on resources! Give me my video game world now! Much like “Ready Player One,” “Alita: Battle Angel” spends much of the runtime being rather glossy, but in its own case, it also has some grittier looking images to take a gander towards. Down in Iron City, it kind of has a similar look to Wakanda from “Black Panther,” but with more to do around the area. Then again, I don’t typically imagine many Wakandans walking down a street to sample some chocolate so who knows? Plus, there’s one part of the city scenes that captured my attention.

The introduction of motorball.

Holy s*it, I seriously don’t get how people can watch football. I can watch motorball all day every day!

Motorball: The new sport for the universe.

Now I should point out that I have never introduced myself to the original source material of “Alita.” In fact, despite calling myself a nerd, anime and manga are two of my weakest areas when it comes to following the main aspects of geek culture. So in case you cannot tell, the concept of motorball is fairly new to me. But damn, I love it. It has the physicality of hockey, although perhaps greater physicality since everyone’s occasionally trying to kill each other, not to mention the adrenaline of NASCAR. It is a sight for the eyes if there ever was one.

And speaking of awesome moments with tons of CGI, let me just point out that you all should check out “Alita” just for the action alone. There’s some creative ideas to be witnessed, and there is one character in particular who has these chain wires coming out of his arm, it reinvents the word epic. Honestly, to me, these action scenes are up there with films like “The Matrix,” “Man of Steel,” and the “Lord of the Rings” franchise of how fantastically exhilarating the action can tend to get. It almost reminds me of a video game, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that in comparison to a bunch of flashy video games where everything is eye candy and it almost makes you feel like you want to be part of the action despite the possibility of getting killed. Damn, this movie is the bomb.

But this movie is not all looks, it has some decent characters too. I was rooting for Alita the entire time, I really liked the love interest she interacted with, specifically Hugo (Keean Johnson). I bought into the chemistry Alita had with her “father” and I really liked the backstory as to how Alita got her name.

But at the same time, since I have been talking about how unbelievable this film is, it should come as no surprise that my biggest problem should have to do with the characters. This is not to say that I hated anybody in particular, I have no beef with anyone. But when it comes to the film’s antagonistic side, it almost feels as if it doesn’t exist at times. For some reason, there have been numerous moments throughout the film that make it feel as if there happens to be no real threat. Granted there is a threat, but even when there is, it almost feels like it barely has a reason to be in there. And speaking of problems, there is a moment in the film where the “father” character, Dr. Dyson Ido, establishes a couple of rules with Alita, and that conversation tends to almost go nowhere in terms of how the rest of the film plays out. Granted, it partially goes somewhere, but it never feels like it has a full reason to exist. I won’t go too far into the rules or where they tend to go, but it’s something I wanted to point out. This is slightly nitpicky, but nevertheless, I feel it is also something that is important to establish.

In the end, “Alita: Battle Angel” gave me pretty much what I wanted. It’s enormous, it’s lively, and it’s boisterous. Overall, it’s probably the biggest spectacle of the year (maybe aside from Endgame). And based on how much I enjoyed this film, it kind of makes me forget about the development and post-production problems a little bit. I watched this film on 4K Blu-ray because I wanted to provide myself with as much of a spectacle as I can. Having done that, it kind of makes me mad at myself for not going to see this in a theater. Especially in IMAX 3D. There are several moments that if you have a 7.1 surround sound system, it will make you feel like you’re inside your screen. It’s what a movie is supposed to be, an escape. And in this case, “Alita: Battle Angel” is one escape that put me in a world which I never wanted to leave. I’m going to give “Alita: Battle Angel” a 9/10. I don’t know if this film will end up being for everyone, but for me, this was Heaven. As a nerd, I found myself loving the sci-fi and fantasy elements brought to the story. And from a technical perspective, “Alita” shines as bright as the sun. Plus, you know how a lot of people are still waiting for that “excellent video game movie?” Films based on anime and manga are almost in the same league as video games. The only ones that stand out, happen to do so for not so good reasons. I have not watched “Dragonball: Evolution,” but knowing enough about it, there is enough to support why I have not watched it yet. I don’t dive into anime and manga all that much in general, but still, this movie, unlike a lot of other similar entrants to its genre, is something special. I dig it, I would love to see a sequel, and if it comes back to theaters, I am there.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that I just recently watched “Missing Link,” the new animated film from Lakia. I will have a review for that up as soon as possible, be sure to stay tuned for that! Also, this upcoming weekend, I will be at Terrificon so I will not be watching anything new from Friday to Sunday. But fear not! Because I will be doing a post reporting my activities from the con! That should be up sometime next week, hope you all get a chance to read it! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! And while I cannot promise you I am sharing my epic wins from playing motorball on there, be sure to like my Facebook page! It has updates on upcoming posts, it lets you know when new content is available, and I’ll even remind people of various milestones I hit on the blog every once in a while. Check it out, please! I want to know, did you see “Alita: Battle Angel?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite fictional sport? Willing to bet most of you are going to say Quidditch, aren’t you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Kid Who Would Be King (2019): Knights of the Kiddie Table

mv5bmjmzotuwnzgyov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjk3mtqwnzm40._v1_sy1000_cr006761000_al_

“The Kid Who Would Be King” is directed by Joe Cornish (Attack the Block, The Adam & Joe Show) and stars… some kids you may have never heard of. Patrick Stewart’s here though. Anyway, in all seriousness, this movie stars Louis Ashborne Serkis (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Girl on the Train), Tom Taylor (The Dark Tower, Legends), and as mentioned, Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, American Dad!). This film revolves around a young boy named Alex, who eventually finds Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur. Alex eventually comes to a realization that he must use this sword to stop the enchantress Morgana from destroying the world.

I didn’t see “The Kid Who Would Be King” when it came out in theaters. Partially because on its opening weekend, I wanted to go see “Serenity” instead, which was kind of a mistake. I remember seeing the trailer not too long before the film came out and it looked like a fun adventure film for a family demographic. I can dig a solid adventure flick. But unfortunately, due to life, college, and other movies getting in the way, I missed out on this film during it’s theatrical run. And apparently a lot of other people did too. This movie is a box office bomb and made over $30 million, which is fine for an R-rated, small-budget horror film. But having seen “The Kid Who Would Be King,” there are a few effects-heavy sequences that give that traditional fantasy film vibe. According to IMDb, the film’s production budget is estimated to be $60 million. I just bought this movie on 4K recently and I decided to watch it on Thursday night. As I was watching the movie, I didn’t know how to feel. In fact, now that the movie is no longer playing on my screen, there is a massive part of me that still doesn’t know how to feel. But for the sake of not spoiling anything, I cannot go into everything that happened.

This movie is not exactly what I would call a guilty pleasure. Who knows? Maybe it will become one overtime depending on how much attention it picks up in terms of our cultural trends. Maybe the “The Simpsons” could make an episode based on it that would make people go back and watch the movie. I don’t know, I can’t tell the future. But this movie has a collection of decent sequences and scenes, some interesting characters, and cool ideas (some of which MIGHT be better remaining on paper), but it occasionally gets bogged down by one or two heavy plot points. In fact, without spoiling anything, there’s something that really ticked me off about the mother, and it honestly made her one of my most hated characters, probably in movie history. Don’t get me wrong, she’s cast pretty well, and she definitely fits the role’s requirements, but the way she’s written was pretty anger-inducing. Part of me wonders if that’s the intention, but regardless of whether this intentional or not, I still got a bit irritated, which is not good. Without giving away my final verdict just yet, but there were a couple of fluctuations of said verdict. It’s kind of like ordering the same meal at a fast food restaurant repeatedly. Chances are you are not going to be completely satisfied as you may have been at a certain time because it doesn’t always come out the same way.

But one of the biggest perks I can give towards this film may as well go towards the acting, because if one were to pitch to me an idea of a movie with a ton of kids in the cast, I’d probably hesitate on getting it greenlit because there’s that stereotype of child actors being difficult to work with. So I not only have to give props to the kid cast but also the work that director Joe Cornish had to take on. There were barely any moments that any of these child actors felt out of characters except for one. There is one kid who goes by the name of Lance (Tom Taylor) who starts out the movie as a bully, then he befriends the main character, which felt a tad rushed for him, but that’s not why he felt out of character for me. That befriending moment was sort of convenient but it was not my main problem. My main problem kind of occurs during the midway point of the movie.

One of my minor problems in this movie as well has to do with chemistry. The chemistry manages to improve by a tad as soon as the movie comes to a close. But the main problem with the chemistry between our four leads manages to carry through from the first act and extends for a good portion of the movie. The characters almost feel like they’re randomly placed together. Granted, one advantage is that the four leads originally were in duos, and these duos cross over. So these characters, as duos, have chemistry, which to me, works. And this was all previously established before the movie’s main course began.

Another minor problem of mine is that this reminded me a lot of another movie that was trying to go for a similar demographic last year, specifically “A Wrinkle In Time.” I say so because you see the main character at his school, trying to prevent something happening because to him, it’s what he thinks is right. And much like that movie, we eventually meet a weird being that can’t fit into normal, 21st century society. I will say however, unlike the mediocre combination of the odd trio in “A Wrinkle In Time,” this film did a better job with its solo being.

That weird being by the way is Merlin himself, who goes by two identities. Although, without diving into much detail, Merlin may have disguised himself well from the outside, but his fake name, which is exposed during the movie was ridiculous. Why? Because it sounds almost exactly the same as his original name. It would be like if I were trying make a fake ID or something and change my name to have my last name come before my first name! I might as well settle for some fake mustache I can buy at Walmart or something. I mean, I don’t know about Medieval Times as much as other people. However, I would probably assume that Merlin wasn’t the first definition people thought of that would relate to the word “idiot.” Then again, that is his only trace of idiocy throughout the entire film, so he could definitely be worse as a character. Plus another odd thing about this Merlin is that while he is often stereotyped as an old man (which is where Patrick Stewart comes in), he is represented as a young man who looks like he often jams out to rock music (which is where Angus Imrie comes in). The reason? He mentions he can age backwards. I have a question. Can he turn into a baby? I honestly don’t want to see him turn into a baby, but that is a question I continue to have.

As for how this movie concludes, I will admit that this film feels like it goes on for a bit too long. It could have ended at a certain point, but it almost feels like because this movie “needed some big climax,” it just had to continue. Granted, the climax was pretty cool at times, but it almost feels forced or tacked on. And it does partially involve a couple major plot points exposed throughout the film, but I didn’t care about some of those plot points so why should I fully care that we’re getting a flashy climax? In fact, without it, the movie probably could have made its budget back. They would have spent less on it and theaters could have added more showtimes. Although at the same time the movie could end up feeling rushed, so who knows?

In the end, I almost feel confused on my ultimate thoughts towards “The Kid Who Would Be King.” It’s not horrible, yet I am pointing out a lot of flaws. It’s not great, but I am willing to say there are many positives brought to the table. There were even a couple of shots I really liked in this movie. There’s a landscape shot that shows our main characters walking through a field, it’s eye candy on my 4K TV if you ask me. There are a few creative ideas brought to the table, especially with a movie like this that kind of has a predictable formula. But there are some parts of the movie that truly got me angry. Even with that, it’s met with fun action, a likable duo between the main character of Alex and Bedders. Although if I were to have kids one day and sit them down for a family movie night, this would not be my first choice. I’m going to give “The Kid Who Would Be King” a 6/10. Honestly, this movie could also be a 5/10, but I’m not going to give it that. Because this film still manages to be fun while making me slightly irritated. That’s just me. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to have my thoughts on “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Be sure to look forward to that review very soon. But I will point out something to you all. You may or may not know this, this is my 299th standing post. My next entry to Scene Before is going to be a special 300th post giving you guys an update on my Blu-ray collection! I’ll posting that as soon as possible so look forward to it! Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Kid Who Would Be King?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie involving Medieval Times? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Love, Simon (2018): A Movie About Emails, Love, and the Weirdest Principal Ever

mv5bntmyzddimzutzjcxns00mjc3ltljy2utyji4ymy5nzjlyjc1xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymta5otkwntc-_v1_sy1000_cr006771000_al_

“Love, Simon” is directed by Greg Berlanti, who you may know as a producer for a lot of content that’s coming out in relation to DC Comics and this movie stars Nick Robinson (The Fifth Wave, Jurassic World), Jennifer Garner (Juno, Daredevil), and Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Safe Haven). This movie is about a teenage boy who is nearly done with high school and all of his life he’s been hiding the fact that he’s gay. His parents don’t know, his friends don’t know, his family doesn’t know, nobody knows. One day, Simon comes across something online about someone who has never come out, seeing this, he begins communicating with the individual who happens to be just like him. This leads STRAIGHT into this coming of GAYGE story.

I bought this movie on Blu-ray for 25% less than the sticker price (originally $34.99), and I will bring up the fact that despite its recent release date, I missed “Love, Simon” in the theater. My sister saw it, but on the same day, she was with her own demographic and I was off with someone else seeing another movie at a different theater, specifically “Tomb Raider.” However, when I saw a couple of Blu-ray copies available at a store I went to multiple times while on vacation, I asked my sister if she thought I should pick up this movie, mainly considering how she’s one of the few people I know who saw it. Once I got her seal of approval, I thought I should take a gander at what this was. Having seen this movie now, it’s fine. Just fine. Did I expect it to be great? Not really. I thought it was gonna be really good, and while it didn’t quite MEET my expectations, I can’t say my disappointment levels are enormous, because “Love, Simon” is an entertaining, somewhat fast-moving, enjoyable experience I guess.

Let me just get something straight. I’m straight. I can’t say I completely relate to Simon entirely because I’m not gay, but with ways not having to do with sexual orientation, the writers did a really fine job at making the character of Simon feel like a normal everyday person just like he himself says he is at the start of the flick in narration form. And that is one of the biggest compliments I can give to “Love, Simon,” as a coming of age story, the script does its job (FOR THE MOST PART, THE FLAT-OUT ODD AND OVERUSED SEX JOKES, NOT TO MENTION OTHER CRINGE GOT IN THE WAY). Not only that, but all of the characters around Simon’s age seem to come off as authentic high-schoolers. And I will say, that if I were talking about the first half of this movie, I probably would have a gun to my head while threatened to say what somebody else wanted. I’m not saying the first half was terrible, but certain parts of the first half were not really as lovable the other half. There is some cringe to be had throughout the movie that was rather unexpected.

One such moment comes into play during a scene in a Waffle House. While everyone is reading a play script, A character by the name of Martin, who might as well be young Lex Luthor in “Batman v. Superman,” has a crush on Abby, and it just leads to one of the weirdest exchanges of dialogue I’ve seen in a movie this entire year.

Speaking of cringe, let’s talk about the principal. Ooooh the principal. You know how sometimes maybe you’d think of a school principal as a big, tough, menacing figure? I wouldn’t say that’s who this guy is, I’d say he’s a combination of a clown without makeup, and a f*cking whackjob! Listen, I would sometimes consider myself a horrible person who doesn’t mind talking about sex, I’ll admit it. But in what universe does a principal go up to students and talk about their Tinder date in detail? And this movie also goes to show how ridiculous it’s gotten in terms of people not being able to have control of their own phones in school in perhaps the creepiest way possible! It’s like watching a really bad episode of a cheesy sitcom on ABC. If you remember the movie “Fist Fight,” which I’d honestly be surprised if you do at this point, at least they made the phone controversy that’s going on in schools all over today rather funny!

I already talked about Simon, but when it comes to the way Nick Robinson portrayed this character, I’d say he did a fine job at being authentic, not putting himself over the top, and just acting like a typical teenager. I’ve seen a few other flicks where Nick Robinson happened to be present, but “Love, Simon” is the first one where I happen to see him stand out. I remember bits and pieces of him in “Jurassic World,” I’ll admit it’s been awhile since I’ve watched that movie. I also watched him in “The Fifth Wave,” which was just AWFUL, but his few seconds in that movie worked for me. “Love, Simon” took me from being intrigued into looking for more of Robinson’s work to keeping a good eye on him now.

One thing I’m kind of surprised by when it comes to this movie, and I wouldn’t consider this a huge negative is how tolerant this movie’s list of characters appear to be about alternate orientations. I say this because in real life there’s probably gonna be that one person who either thinks differently than everyone else, or just two sides clashing with each other. While I’m not complaining, this does come off as a shock to me. Although at the same time, considering how much more open-minded we get as a society each and every day, that sort of idea becomes a tad less surprising. When I was in high school, I never really ran into anyone who was flat-out AGAINST homosexuality or the LGBT community, and if there were anyone that falls into that class, no names related to that come to mind. My parents seem to have nothing against said community, some people related to me I can probably tell have nothing against them. I can’t speak for everyone in my family, I don’t discuss this sort of thing with them. Even so, I didn’t expect the world of “Love, Simon” to be so one-sided. Granted, it could be to establish that there are more people that are accepting of the LGBT community than one would think, but still. And also, I will say, despite how many people appear to be on one specific side altogether during this movie, one character, specifically the character Simon is emailing all the time happens to have people who would disapprove of his ways in his family, but other than them, nobody else stands out in that side of the spectrum.

In the end, I gotta say “Love, Simon,” while it did make a neat turnaround in quality as the movie progressed still didn’t have enough in order to make me go “wow.” In fact, while I’ll mention again, the screenplay is one of the better parts of what make up “Love, Simon,” it had too many moments of cringe mixed into all of the decent parts. I didn’t even get into the football field scene which I’m avoiding for the sake of possible spoilers. As a coming of age story, it does its job, but I wouldn’t go all out in saying it does its job well. Plus considering what might be a small potential replay value, an ending that could have worked but had some dissatisfying elements mixed in, and some moments of the movie that might feel forgettable, I wouldn’t say I loved, “Love, Simon.” I’m gonna give “Love, Simon” a 7/10. I have a feeling however based on some thoughts spinning around in my head that I am gonna eventually change “Love, Simon” to a 6. I dunno, only time will tell. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to post my review for “Game Night,” which I do intend on watching sometime this week. Be sure to look out for that, make sure you follow me here on Scene Before that way you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Love, Simon?” What did you think about it? Or, what is one of the most cringeworthy movies you’ve watched in recent memory? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Deadpool 2 (2018): X-Men Origins: Peter *SOME FOUL LANGUAGE, SPOILERS IF YOU LIKE MOVIE REFERENCES*

mv5bmtu0njq5njiznl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtq2nzczntm-_v1_sy1000_cr006851000_al_

Before we dive into this “Deadpool 2” review, I should have you know that I am actually writing this review on vacation. You might be asking these two questions:

QUESTION 1: “Jack, why are you taking a vacation? You don’t deserve a vacation! I want more content out of your blog! I’m your overlord! Why aren’t you listening?”
QUESTION 2: “Jack, you’re on vacation, why are you doing this? Just enjoy yourself! Doesn’t blogging get in the way of your relaxation!”

I have a couple answers. To specify, I have one for the first question and another for both questions.

ANSWER 1: My latest piece of content here was published during this exact vacation, so f*ck you.
ANSWER 2: No, blogging is not getting in the way of my vacation, I intended on blogging no matter what people think.

Nevetheless, the powers of my creative juices are flowing and I’m willing to deliver some great content! Speaking of which, you may be asking, where am I vacationing? The answer, Walt Disney World, and I must say, this place has tons of kids. One place that will be getting more kids is the US state of California. A couple by the name of Paul and Genevieve are currently expecting, and to add in another piece to the puzzle, they live in California. their journey to reach this point however, was one through hell. This is all explained… in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is a relatively new series on YouTube starring the recently mentioned couple, Paul and Genevieve. This series documents everything up to the duo’s journey to conception, and unfortunately for them, it wasn’t all that pretty. Actually, I take that back, it was pretty. I’d say it’s pretty terrifying! The two encounter unfortunate realities in sex, tests, appointments, and scary things that are smaller and less attractive than the Seattle Space Needle. You can find the latest “WTIVF?” content on the series’s dedicated YouTube channel. One such example is their latest episode, where as the title says, the two try EVERYTHING. I think that’s just amazing, because the two didn’t try bungee jumping. SPOILER ALERT! Be sure to subscribe to the “WTIVF?” YouTube channel, check out their website, and visit their other social media pages! All the links are listed below, so please check them out! Also be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent ya over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

mv5bmji3njg3mzaxnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnji2oty0ntm-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

“Deadpool 2” is directed by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, John Wick) and stars Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, The Hitman’s Bodyguard), Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Gotham), Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War, No Country For Old Men), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta, Geostorm), Terry Crews (The Expendables, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), Lewis Tan (Into the Badlands, Iron Fist), TJ Miller (Silicon Valley, The Emoji Movie), and Rob Delaney (Catastrophe, Burning Love). From the asshats of a studio known as Twentieth Century Fox, known for making pieces of trash including “Snatched,” “Fantastic Four” (make your choice on that one), “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise,” and “Freddy Got Fingered,” comes their latest attempt at not trying to f*ck up the character of Deadpool. The movie “Deadpool 2” is about Wade Wilson, who is trying to form a team of mutants in order to protect a boy from the evil Cable.

This review, at least to me, is rather overdue. “Deadpool 2” was released on the third weekend of May this year. I REALLY wanted to see this a lot earlier than I did, but hey, I finally witnessed what I’ve been missing all this time. Apparently “I Feel Pretty,” a movie dedicated to a completely different audience and one that didn’t even get many great reviews, was a much more important task to take on during “Deadpool 2’s” opening weekend. I didn’t even see “Book Club” around that time, a much more recent release and something more people were talking about at that point. Let me just say, I’m an idiot, but at least I’m smart enough to know that. The point is, part of me regrets not seeing this movie earlier. And I say this regardless of my ultimate thoughts.

“Deadpool 2” is one of my most anticipated movies of the year, BY FAR one of the best marketed movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve had positive thoughts delivered to me from people I know. Any movie that embraces the fact that they’re from the studio that brought you “27 Dresses” is a movie that you know is going to be good. In stores like Walmart, to promote the new movie, Fox released special slipcovers to some of their older movies, including some in the X-Men universe, where “Deadpool” is photobombing! Not to mention, this is a sequel to one of my favorite movies of 2016. When I did my top 10 list at the end of the year, “Deadpool” made it to my top 5. I loved the humor, the action, Ryan Reynolds’s performance, the overall script, and the fourth wall breaking. I was, naturally, very excited for the sequel as time passed. I mean, why wouldn’t I be? In a day and age where we are saturated with comic book movies and superhero movies, the IP of “Deadpool” in the realm of film delivers a breath of fresh air in ways. I was really looking forward to this movie, and as far as my response to it, I gotta say this was absolutely worth my time. Now I will say, like most sequels, this installment doesn’t surpass the original. However, it does what a sequel should do. It manages to maintain a similar feel to the original film while still effectively continuing the journey of the characters we care about. All the interesting and lovable characters, Wade, Vanessa, Weasel, Blind Al, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Colossus, Dopinder, they’re back, and they have not turned to s*it! They’re all funny, charming, and raw. That last one may be a bit of stretch, but regarding the universe which this movie takes place, everything just felt like it fell into place. You’ve even got some FANTASTIC new characters, a couple who by the way we will eventually get to.

Without revealing enormous details to this movie, “Deadpool 2” is told in such an interesting manner that just makes it more enjoyable than it would be if it were told in other fashions. Deadpool narrates throughout and just makes it a thrilling experience of a film. After some serious thoughts, I gotta declare Ryan Reynolds an official utter god of narration. Congrats, Ryan Reynolds! You have officially joined the ranks with people like Morgan Freeman, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and William Shatner as the official gods of narration. I will say though, Ryan, if you’re reading this post, this will not make everyone forget about “Green Lantern.” This story is told in a somewhat similar way to how the first one was told, but with some differences in the mix. I don’t see it as unoriginal, I think it’s one of the most effective ways a story such as the one “Deadpool 2” provides can be told, so well done!

Speaking of things that are well done, this movie contains a number of references to things you may know from pop culture. If you are trying to go into this movie completely blind and you don’t want to know a SINGLE SOLITARY THING THIS MOVIE REFERENCES, either skip over this list or leave the post. Keep in mind, these are not the exact references, these are just properties that has some sort of reference in the film.

Some references include:

  • Top Gun
  • Say Anything
  • My Little Pony
  • Other Marvel properties
  • Passion of the Christ
  • Bambi
  • The Lion King
  • Saw VII
  • The DC Universe, and Batman
  • John Wick
  • Fox & Friends
  • The Human Centipede
  • The Terminator
  • The Goonies

I like all of these references, and I even gotta say that a number of them were possibly better than some of the references in another movie I watched this year, “Ready Player One,” which is amazing, because some would argue that movie is sort of built around references.

Let’s talk about Wade Wilson. I’ll say, even if the alter ego of “Deadpool” weren’t a thing, I gotta go ahead and say that I would love to hang out with Mr. Wilson himself. And part of it has to do with, much like in the first movie, Ryan Reynolds’s overall performance as the character. If I had to think about the best superhero interpretation of all time, although in this case it’s more of an anti-hero, Ryan Reynolds’s Deadpool would certainly be in the conversation. He just takes a character which on paper, is already funny enough, takes it, and applies “awesome cream” to it. Two movies in, Ryan Reynolds has nailed the character to the tenth degree that at this point, I can’t imagine any other actor playing the character of Deadpool. Seriously, watch this movie, or the first one for that matter, and you can’t imagine someone else on screen saying “Is there a motherf*cking tub somewhere?! This f*cked-up unicorn needs a f*cking bath! Seriously! I’ll put this bitchface somewhere! For f*ck’s sake! It needs to be inside of something and I can’t take it to Cher because apparently I now have a restraining order from her! And no, don’t say take the unicorn to Stan Lee! That guy’s a c*ck! He didn’t sign my f*cking comic book!”

Next up, we have Morena Baccarin’s character of Vanessa, and over the past couple of years, this character has truly grown on me. Part of it may be because I’m a straight, white, hormonal teenage boy who doesn’t know all what the world is cracked up to be, but nevertheless. Let me just say that the romance between Vanessa and Wade in these movies, is one of the all time best romances I’ve seen on film. The dialogue between them, the vibe given off from watching them, the overall sense of connection they have, it’s a dramatic symphony on screen. The character of Vanessa, by herself, is great. But put her together with Wade, you’ve got a whole different ballgame.

When it comes to this film’s main antagonist, Cable, I got to say, he’s terrific. He might be just as good, if not better, as Francis, the villain from the first “Deadpool.” He’s played by Josh Brolin, who I think is a spectacular choice to play the role based on his performance, not to mention it brings a very coincidental moment in movie history since Brolin was in another superhero movie based on a Marvel property released a few weeks prior to this one as the main antagonist. If you have to ask me if I had to choose between Cable and Thanos and tell you which villain is better, I’d personally pick Thanos, however when it comes to the character of Cable himself, he does not disappoint. And that’s a good thing because Cable was probably highly anticipated since his name was mentioned at the end of the credits in the first “Deadpool.”

One thing that might come off as different and interesting about “Deadpool 2” is that we find out a couple things about Negasonic Teenage Warhead. First, her character is LGBT. Second, she has an on-screen relationship with someone of her sex. This is the first relationship of this kind in a superhero movie and while it didn’t really have much of an effect on the movie as a whole, it made me think to myself, I haven’t seen everything in a superhero movie, and there will probably be more to see as time goes by. And I will say, having seen this, makes Brianna Hildebrand a solid casting choice for Negasonic Teenage Warhead considering she’s gay in real life.

I’m not gonna talk about all of the X-Force addons, but I really do want to talk about two in particular, and to start this off, let’s talk about Domino. She’s lucky, which as of watching this movie, I’ll say is TOTALLY A SUPERPOWER. Domino is played by Zazie Beatz, and while she is on the FX show “Atlanta” and somewhat known by a number of people for that sort of thing, this movie is probably gonna help her in the future and make her land more roles! Also, after watching this movie, I will say that luck is not only a superpower, but at times, a funny superpower. Be sure to look out for what I mean.

Now, let’s dive into my most anticipated character in the entirety of “Deadpool 2,” a guy by the name of Peter. When I did my review for the final trailer of “Deadpool 2,” here’s a bit of what I said:

“I seriously want some more promotion with this character, I want the merchandisers to shove this character into every store as an action figure! I want Funko to make him a Pop figure! Also make exclusives for him at GameStop! FYE! Walmart! Hot Topic! Target! Walgreen’s! 7-Eleven! San Diego Comic-Con! New York Comic Con! Emerald City Comic Con! Rhode Island Comic Con! Toys R Us even though they’re going out of business! Blockbuster if they come back as a toy shop! RadioShack if they make a comeback and rename themselves as ToyShack and develop a bigger market for remote control cars! Maybe somewhere in Kim Kardashian’s ass! I want Peter to go far and wide as Peter’s eyes can see!”

I apologize to all souls who happen to go by the name of Peter, but a major lesson I was focusing on was “F*ck everyone named Peter (except this one we’re talking about).” Honestly, I was a tad disappointed by Peter. But then again, I had REALLY high expectations for him. I had nothing against Peter, but you barely get Peter in this movie. So I kinda blame the writers on this one. Peter himself was awesome, and also goes to show that people without powers can also be heroes. It just goes to show that it doesn’t always matter who the character is, it doesn’t matter how amazing they are in one way, in this example it’s on paper or a trailer, they can ultimately be a disappointment in another medium. You can take a character as awesome as Batman, and put him in something s*itty like “Batman and Robin,” which kind of can ultimately make that iteration of Batman s*itty as well. I like Peter, and what you see of him here in this film, is nice, but I wanted to see MORE of him.

One thing that’s totally great about not only the first “Deadpool” movie but the property of Deadpool in general is its need if you will to poke fun at random things. This movie manages to poke fun at another superhero movie with an R rating, “Logan.” I will say, I didn’t see “Logan,” so I won’t get into detail about it, but I know some things about it, and what this movie does regarding that movie is nothing short of a treat. The first line in the movie is “F*ck Wolverine.” You know you’re getting something fantastic with that line! I won’t go into detail, but the way they handle the meta humor not just with that, but just about everything else in “Deadpool 2” is marvelous!

Something that honestly kind of shocked me is that the movie, based on the trailers and the way that this movie’s marketing made me think before actually going to see it, is the vibe that was provided at various points, especially towards the end, of the film. This is the second installment of this iteration of “Deadpool,” and usually when I see second installments, I think to myself, if this goes well, there might as well be another sequel. While I would love to see another “Deadpool” movie, I feel like that could potentially come off as forced depending on what happens. This second movie had a very satisfying ending that if “Deadpool 3” were to ever be announced, I would sort of be excited, but another part of me would ask why that’s even a thing. I don’t even know why I’m keeping a comment like that, considering how I read that “Deadpool 3” is already in development. To my utter surprise, I’d actually prefer getting a sequel to “Blade Runner 2049” despite its super satisfying ending because I feel like there is more to be told in the “Blade Runner” universe. I’d even rather see a sequel to “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” because while I didn’t particularly think that movie had the overall quality the first one contained, I can still imagine more in that franchise being told. “Deadpool 2” has an ending that makes you go, “Well, that felt like an ending.” Part of it may be due to other events that occur beforehand, but still, when all events are taken and put together in a timeline, someone like me would think to themselves, I saw what I need to see. I’m not saying I didn’t like what I saw, it’s not like I hate the franchise now and I’m just done with it, I just think the franchise has really reached a point if anything else is told, it would be tacked on or unnecessary.

Although if they do make a third one, I gotta say, something I saw in this second installment, gave me an idea for the third one. Since TJ Miller has been in the news recently for some bad reasons, the crew should either get Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World, A Beautiful Mind) to play his character of Weasel, or if they can’t do that, don’t bring back TJ Miller, but get some random guy, maybe someone who looks like Weasel in ways, and CGI Plummer’s face over. I say this because there was a segment where there happened to be a news feed playing, and on the bottom of the screen, there was a bulletin, and some of the text included something along the lines of “Christopher Plummer turns down role in ‘Deadpool 2.'” Also, if the crew actually got in contact with Christopher Miller, please let the world know! I would love to know if that’s actually true!

In the end, one of the best marketed movies I’ve ever seen is also able to deliver one of my favorite movies of the year. I definitely want to buy “Deadpool 2” once it comes out on 4K, and after seeing this movie, it reminded me of how much I want to go to Rhode Island Comic Con this November because they’re getting a few of the “Deadpool” cast members including Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), Stefan Kapičić (Colussus), and Morena Baccarin (Vanessa). This is not even my favorite superhero movie this year, but this goes to show how much better this year’s superhero movies are compared to last year’s superhero movies. I didn’t see “Logan” last year, but I did see “Wonder Woman,” and I know that the DCEU is usually regarded as the inferior story as far as comic book superhero cinematic universes go, but I LOVED that movie. “Deadpool 2” is the third GREAT superhero movie I’ve watched in 2018, the only superhero movie this year that I saw which I didn’t think made it to that sort of mark is “Black Panther,” which is saying something because I thought it was actually pretty good, and I saw it in theaters twice. Fox, if you’re reading this, I gotta say, if you want to make a “Deadpool 3,” go for it, I’ll probably see it, but don’t just do it to force a story down our throats for money. I’m gonna give “Deadpool 2” a 9/10. This is the same rating I gave “Incredibles 2,” another superhero movie that came out this year. And if you ask me, I’d say that “Incredibles 2” was better, but if this were a marketing contest, “Deadpool 2” would blow so many movies out of the water! Not only is it creative, but as I watched the movie, I was thinking to myself, so many of the movie’s funny parts weren’t even shown in the trailers. THIS IS WHAT A MOVIE SHOULD BE.

Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to stay tuned for a post that I keep talking about, and don’t deliver on (because I’m working on it and I’m getting other stuff out first), my upcoming mysterious “2001: A Space Odyssey” post! Please stay tuned for that, and no, you’re not getting a single hint as to what it is! Don’t even think about asking for anything! However, stay tuned for that, and also stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Deadpool 2?” What did you think about it? What would you say is better? “Deadpool” or “Deadpool 2?” Comment down below, please give me your thoughts, I’d love to hear them! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!