Movie (and TV) Mini-Review Marathon: Spider-Man: Homecoming, Kong: Skull Island, Young Justice, and The Emoji Movie

I’ve seen some movies (and finished a TV show). Some, I’d see again. Others, not so much. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man is my all-time favorite super hero and when I say that I didn’t think anything could top Sam Raimi’s original two Spider-Man movies, I mean it. Spider-Man is finally portrayed correctly. Tobey Maguire was a good Peter Parker, and Andrew Garfield was a good Spider-Man, but Tom Holland nails both aspects of the character. His action sequences are agile and quick, and Spider-Man himself is shown to be intelligent and quippy, all the things that make Spider-Man great. Michael Keaton FINALLY brings another good villain to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s the Vulture… THE VULTURE!!! How do you make the Vulture a compelling and interesting character?  I liked Zendaya as the character Michelle. She’s funny, bizarre, and is a great foil character to Peter and his friend Ned (also, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED Ned!), but I did not like Zendaya as “M.J.” as she was revealed to be at the end of the movie. Zendaya’s portrayal is perfect as a new, original character, but I do not like her as a love interest for Peter in future movies. I hope we see more of her, but I hope a true Mary Jane is introduced in the sequels.

I give Spider-Man: Homecoming a grade of…

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)
The story of King Kong is classic. The exotic island, the intrepid explorer crew, and the beauty that killed the beast. The formula for King Kong movies has been played with over the years, but never quite as extensively as the 2017 remake. My favorite change to this age-old epic is taking away the damsel-in-distress and replacing her with a confident, free-thinking heroine who isn’t afraid to take action into her own hands and shoot a skullcrawler in the face with a flare gun. Monster movies usually take a while to show their monster, using foreshadowing and actual shadows to hint at their creature, making the monster reveal later in the movie climatic. Think of the recent Godzilla movie. When Godzilla finally stepped out of the shadows and bellowed his first roar on-screen, I applauded. This movie eschews that and shows us Kong in the first 10 minutes of the film… I’m not sure I like that. I would rather us have seen hints at him and then see him finally revealed in that cool action shot when he is fighting the apache helicopters and stands up slowly in front of the red setting sun. However, I guess the case could be made that Kong is the hero of this story and the skullcrawlers are the monsters… I like Kong: Skull Island for its action-sequences and additions to the story, but if I want to watch a King Kong movie, I think I’ll watch Peter Jackson’s remake from 2005.

I give Kong: Skull Island a grade of…

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The Emoji Movie (2017)
I went into The Emoji Movie with the solid expectation to give it an F, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, The Emoji Movie will not win any awards and won’t go down in the annals of great animated movies and isn’t much more than a cash grab at the texting pre-teens that will be herded to theaters by exhausted parents to see the movie, but the writers managed to actually make a movie of it! The Emoji Movie is basically Wreck It, Ralph meets Inside Out, but the combination of these two good things does not a great thing make. I mean, the movie’s title is “The Emoji Movie.” That’s like naming Dunkirk, “The War Movie.” The best part of the movie was James Corden as Hi-5, hands down. The movie had the opportunity to go very deep with looking at the superficiality of society, but didn’t quite go there and left the thread  started by the confident Jailbreak character unresolved. The fact that a coherent plot could be constructed around characters going to other patented trademark apps so the filmmakers can get their bank from Just Dance, Dropbox, and others is actually impressive.

I give The Emoji Movie a grade of…

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Young Justice (2010 – 2013)
As a fan of coming-of-age super-hero stories (already mentioned above), this has been on my to-watch list for some time. Like most animated “kids” TV shows, Young Justice falls victim to some simplistic plot and character development. Season 1’s greatest flaw is Dr. Fate’s helmet. That DAMN helmet! For a series of episodes, the audience is told repeatedly how dangerous the helmet is and what it will cost the team if anyone wears it, then the team cycles through until nearly half of them have worn it, used it, and to no ill consequence to be had! I was very happy when the helmet finally chose a new wearer and it couldn’t be used as the deus ex machina to all the team’s problems anymore. What Season 2 gets right with a more compelling and sequential plot, it gets wrong with introducing too many characters that didn’t get enough screen time and I didn’t care about at the expense of characters from the original lineup (Kid Flash) as well as interesting additions made to “The Team” at the end of Season 1 and relegates them to tertiary characters (Zatanna and Rocket). Btw, I hate that the team is called “The Team.” Just call them Young Justice. C’mon! Also, I’m not a fan of time jumps. While it does offer the opportunity for storytellers to creatively explain and reveal just what happened to characters during that time, not all storytellers can do it well. Young Justice does not capitalize enough on the time jump between Seasons 1 and 2, and really, I don’t even understand why there needed to be such a drastic time jump between seasons…

I give Young Justice a grade of…

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What about you? What have you been up to? I’ve recently renewed my Crunchyroll account and resumed watching some anime. Sailor Moon Crystal anyone?

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