Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of books, movies, music, and maybe even games.

Avengers: Infinity War

I enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War, but not unreservedly. It has brilliant, beautiful moments, and it does some daring and wonderful things with character and story, but there are reasons why audiences are not exuberantly cheering on their way out of the theater.

I want to make a recommendation, but I can’t do so without brushing right up against the threshold of spoilers and pointing at some interesting footprints on the other side of that line. Here’s the line.


And here’s my recommendation: If you’re an adult with kids who love the Marvel movies, you should see Infinity War without them before deciding to see it with them. This film is about 75% what you expect from an Avengers film, but that other 25% is definitely not what you expect. It might be more convenient for you, as a parent, to have already processed those bits before you have to process them with small people.

Avengers: Infinity War marks the point where the Marvel Cinematic Universe fully and finally commits to being a collection of blockbuster films that are also serial installments, with everything that the word “serial” implies. It does not cross my Threshold of Awesome yet. I hold out hope that it will do so in 2019…

 

 

Rampage

Rampage was everything I wanted from a cinematic adaptation of one of my favorite video games. The writers did a fine job of splitting the difference between making the monsters our protagonists, and giving us human protagonists we can relate to.

It’s worth seeing on the big screen, because big. I experienced actual glee during some of the rampaging monster scenes because it was just so pretty.

Rampage clears my Threshold of Awesome, and is going to end up in the Blu-Ray collection. Also, I think THIS version of the film’s promotional poster is superior to the one used in the United States.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One was a visual extravaganza with a story that gave it convenient excuses to feature pop-culture icons from the past thirty years. I enjoyed it a lot, but the most innovative part about the film was that zipper thing on an expandable suitcase which allowed the producers to say “oh, wow, we can put EVERYTHING in here! And it all fits!”

It didn’t ruin my childhood, but it did aggressively strip-mine several shallow deposits of nostalgia. It comes in at number 3 for me this year, just below my Threshold of Awesome.

 

 

Pacific Rim: Uprising

The last fifteen years have spoiled us. Back in MY day when we heard that a movie had a sequel we were mildly enthusiastic because we knew it wouldn’t be as good as the first one. Smokey and the Bandit II, and Sister Act: Back in the Habit present themselves as typical examples.

Pacific Rim: Uprising takes me back to those days by being a “2” movie. It positioned itself for further serialization, but I don’t think they’re doing a very good job of serializing it. They simply sequeled it.

Granted, they made a fine sequel. By my “back in the day” standards we’d have been floored by how good this particular sequel was… for a sequel, of course. The movie does a number of things right, starting with fine performances by John Boyega and Cailee Spaeny. There there were several action sequences that were simply delightful, and it even had surprising-yet-inevitabe plot twist. It didn’t clear my Threshold of Awesome, but it certainly didn’t disappoint me.