Maze Runner: The Death Cure – Review

It’s funny how the poster and slogan for this movie bring up the maze even though it’s only really been a plot point for the first film (only appearing in a dream sequence in this one). I guess it’s so they can justify calling all of them Maze Runner but really it just calls attention to the fact there isn’t a maze in this one.

The quality is more or less the same as the other two, decent but nothing special. But overall I’d say this was certainly the most fun as being the finale there’s a lot more action sequences that just keep getting bigger as the film goes on. It’s just a fun action movie and I like fun action movies. Also good on Wes Ball for not splitting the last book into two parts like most YA adaptations did even though Deathly Hallows was the only one it made sense for.

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The returning cast are all great. Some I already knew from other roles while others like Dylan O’Brien and Roza Salazar I’ve been introduced to through this series and will be looking forward to seeing in future movies. While I’ve had my issues with the series at times the characters themselves have always been entertaining.

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So like with other film series I’ve reviewed it’s time to say how I rank them;

The Death Cure > The Maze Runner > The Scorch Trials

So what’s next? Well I do still have some more 2017 films to watch while I wait for The Shape of Water to come out.

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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Review

So it turns out what was being setup was a zombie movie. That’s a bit disappointing as one of the strengths of the first film were how cool the Grievers looked, I’d hoped we’d either see them again or a similar creature that’s a bigger threat. Instead it’s zombies.

Judging it as a zombie movie it’s at least an enjoyable one once the disappointment of “oh, it’s just zombies” wears off. The focus is less on the zombies themselves and more on escaping the company behind the events of the first movie. The post apocalyptic city desert does look pretty cool, though considering the film’s use of the word scorch the sunlight never seemed to be an issue.

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The new character with the most focus is Brenda who even gets to be on the posters for the next movie. She’s a decent character but I didn’t really care for the love triangle element they threw into a weird drug scene in a club owned by regular Disney voice actor Alan Tudyk. Yes, that’s a scene that happened. The weird thing is I though Teresa was supposed to be Thomas’ sister in the first film but now she’s his love interest?

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I’ve seen better zombie movies (most being comedies) and I prefer the first film but this was alright. One more film to go now, this was a short marathon but I do have longer ones planned.

The Maze Runner – Review

This series has never really stood out to me. I knew it was a thing but it never came across as something I should consider watching or avoiding. But knowing the new movie is the last one made me want to do a movie marathon of it. I knew nothing about the series going in other than it probably involved a maze and running.

It’s decent. Not great but an enjoyable movie with an interesting enough world that I’m curious where the story goes from here. It’s got a talented cast including Ki Hong Lee from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Thomas Brodie-Sangster from Phineas & Ferb. It looks like the main four characters are sticking around for both sequels which is good because they work well together.

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I like the designs of the different sections of the maze and the main threat are these cyborg monster things called Grievers that look really cool, I don’t know if we’ll see any more of them in the next two films but I hope so.

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I can’t really judge the story because it really feels like I need to look at the series as a whole for that. So far it’s interesting but heavily relies on setting up events in the other two movies and with stories like that knowing where it goes can either strengthen or ruin the part that sets it up.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight – Review

This might be the worst Batman movie ever made. I’m going to be discussing spoilers for this movie so if you just want my opinion I hated it, however in order to explain why I hated it I need to discuss character deaths and the identity of the killer.

First to be fair on the movie the voice cast do a decent job. The animation is what we’re used to with DC animation, it looks fine but much like The Killing Joke when you compare it to the art of the comic it’s a clear downgrade that takes away any sense of individuality. But the main issues come tied with the focus of being Batman vs Jack the Ripper.

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Now fictional versions of Jack the Ripper are nothing new, in fact the comic this was based on is from 1989. However the way this version, which from what I’ve seen is nothing like the original comic, mixes him into the Batman cast is pretty messed up. In the first 6 minutes Poison Ivy is stabbed to death, she doesn’t have her powers and there is no reason for her to be Poison Ivy instead of a random person or one of the real victims of Jack the Ripper. It seems like they picked her as fan service but it’s her being brutally murdered by a real life serial killer.

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And the identity of that real serial killer? Commissioner Gordon. This is one of the biggest insults to a Batman character I’ve ever seen. And this wasn’t the identity in the comic, that had an original character. Someone at DC’s animation team thought that making Commissioner Gordon a real serial killer that murders other Batman characters was a good idea. It goes against everything that makes Comissioner Gordon who he is in the comics, the guy who is often the one arguing against Batman going too far. Now yes some people will argue that makes it work as a twist but when the reveal happened rather than shock my reaction was “seriously?”

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I hated Batman V Superman but most of my problems with that movie were tied to the way it handled Superman characters. It’s a worse movie as a whole but as a Batman movie specifically this is worse. It’s a shame after such a good year DC had in 2017 it’s gone downhill already and looking forward at the rest of the year the two films that have the best potential are a Teen Titans Go! movie and the next part of the DCEU.

Early Man – Review

This is a nice surprise. A 2018 film being released in cinemas in January. Being the new Aarman film directed by Nick Park this was also one of the films I was looking forward to this year so while there have been some direct to DVD and Netflix Original movies out before this I picked this as my first 2018 film of the year to start things on a high note.

Stop motion animation has a unique charm that differs not just between companies like Aardman and Laika for their methods but between the individual filmmakers working on them and this film made me realize what sets a Nick Park film apart from other Aardman films.

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The film itself is very funny with a nice mix of puns, visual gags and delivery driven lines. I even enjoyed a lot of the football specific jokes, even if like me you don’t care for the sport (or any sport) if you know someone who does the jokes will still be funny.

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This is a film most people should enjoy but especially fans of animation. There’s a fun tribute to Ray Harryhousen and as well as the stop motion other forms of animation are also implemented when appropriate such as CGI to give the backgrounds a larger scale and even a bit of 2D animation. It’s a great first 2018 film to go with… the second 2018 film I’m watching however I have a feeling is going to be a huge downgrade.

Darkest Hour – Review

This was the last Oscar bait movie I watched before the nominees were announced, in fact it was Oscar bait when the film started and a nominee when it ended. I probably would have skipped this if I didn’t have Limitless, but because I do and my top 10 is still being delayed I figured I might as well try and watch most of the Oscar contenders/nominees.

It’s ok. There’s some decent shots and performances but it just feels like a very typical based on a true story movie. And while all of last year’s true story movies had those “this is why you’re really important” scenes the one in this movie was one of the worse ones (though not as bad as the one in The Greatest Showman), which is a shame after the more refreshing take The Post had of having that scene take place in a scene where the person it was about wasn’t there.

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There is also the topic of Gary Oldman. He gives a very good performance and the makeup is so good whenever trailers for the film played I always forgot he was Gary Oldman until his name popped up. However there is the issue of the allegation his ex-wife made back in 2001 that he assaulted her in front of their children which were brought up recently after he won a few other awards for this performance. Obviously people are going to have conflicting opinions on this topic and I don’t think I’m the best person to discuss it but I felt it was important to bring up because it was on my mind when thinking about my opinion on the movie.

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I can’t really compare it to the other nominees yet as the only other Best Picture nominee I’ve seen was The Post and I’ve yet to see any of the other Best Actor nominees. I will say though that if there is one Academy Award I’m certain it’ll win and deserve it’s Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

Brigsby Bear -Review

Looking through a bunch of people’s top 10/must-see/overlooked films of 2017 lists this was a film that came up a few times that I liked the look of. It also had positive reviews from some of the critics I follow.

It’s got a very good balance of silly comedy and serious drama that just works. I really liked it and wish I’d gotten a chance to see it sooner. Mark Hamill is especially great in it, while his character doesn’t physically appear that much his presence is there throughout the whole movie through the Brigsby show footage where he gets to show off his voice acting skills in a live action movie.

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The heart of the movie of course comes from Kyle Mooney’s character James. His love for Brigsby being both what helps him bond with people and what pushes them away makes him relatable. It’s a film about fandom that does a good job capturing the way it feels to have a show you really like that no one else knows about, especially the reactions you get when you go into detail about something.

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If like me you’re trying to catch up on last year’s movies this is a good one to go with. As they say in the movie it’s “dope as shit”. I will finally start watching films from this year in the next few days, I have a specific one in mind to be my first 2018 film. But before that I should look at some more Oscar bait…