SUICIDE SQUAD Review: Is DC Even Trying?


I’m tired of giving DC movies poor reviews, I really am. I’m not a Marvel Fanboy, I believe in both teams. It is true I have more favorite Marvel characters than DC and like Marvel Studios’ movies better, but I have read far more DC books; all the essential Batman graphic novels (Year One, Dark Knight Returns & sequels & prequel, Long Halloween‘s family of books, The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, Knightfall, Prey, Hush, Mirror’s Edge, and even No Man’s Land), every issue of Batman, Detective Comics, Hellblazer/Constantine, and Supergirl, New 52 to the present,  as well as a good number of Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Batman & Superman New 52 story-lines. I also love older DC movies and TV including Batman: The Animated Series, Batman (1987), the animated films like Year One, and especially the Dark Knight trilogy and all four of Arkham video-games.

Yet, in 2016, I keep having to knock DC for blown opportunities like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman: The Killing Joke, and now Suicide Squad. I love these characters and their world, I really do. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than Marvel and Fox forming an alliance to bring X-Men into the MCU, DC should hand off their characters to Marvel Studios so they can make amazing films using these iconic characters. They can keep the universes separate, but for God’s Sake, give these movies to someone who knows how to make a good movie, because at the moment DC Entertainment, as well as their writers and directors, are incapable of it (except for the shows… I hear they’re pretty, pretty, pretty good and I still miss Constantine).

Going forward, I will clearly announce any SPOILERS, and most will be vague. What I absolutely won’t do is spoil Suicide Sqaud‘s antagonist’s identity, because (most) the trailers have been good at keeping it hush-hush (no, the bad guy is not Batman villain, Hush, I will say that).

I’ll also break this Review into Parts for easy navigation, because this will be a very long one.

Overall:Suicide Squad Review Task Force X Boomerang Harley Quinn Deadshot Katana Rick Flag Killer Croc DiabloSuicide Squad reminds me most of the so-so (here I go using that descriptor again…) first X-Men movie from the year 2000, before the modern age of truly good Superhero movies cemented by Marvel Studios 6 years later. This movie a muddled, bleak, grey world inhabited by underdeveloped characters that are mere shadows of their comic counterparts,  with unexplained plot points and character motivations, as well as completely “blah” action scenes. Forget the pop-y,bright visuals and tone of the many trailers and prepare for a movie less appealing visually than Batman V Superman.

Humor:Suicide Squad Review Captain Bommergang UnicornWhat humor? You mean the “jokes” you’ve already seen in the trailer? Because other than that, the biggest joke is that Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) has a Unicorn fetish, which may have been funny… before we saw Ryan Reynolds jerk off to a plush Unicorn in Deadpool back in February. Sure, this film was shot before Deadpool‘s release, but being 2nd to the Unicorn Orgy looses all the thunder. At least Will Smith as Deadshot is funny enough through attitude alone; Smith hasn’t been this snappy since his 90’s classics like Independence Day and Men In Black. Everything else is bleak as Batman V Superman. Suicide Squad seems like it wants to be more like Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool, but it fails, miserably.

New Characters:Suicide Squad Review Harley Quinn Margot Robbie and Deadshot Will Smith 2Part of the excitement going into Suicide Squad is seeing all these fan favorite DC characters – Deadshot, Harely Quinn (Margot Robbie), Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agabaje), June Moon/Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and Captain Boomerang – on the big screen for the 1st time. I never thought I’d ever see these characters brought to life  after the Christopher Nolan films grounded DC more in reality than ever before. And then there’s Diablo (Jay Hernandez)and Slipknot (Adam Beach), who I’ve never heard of. 

None of these fantastic characters are done justice. The film is overstuffed with characters. You can do Suicide Squad with less… Katana and Enchantress are more often associated with Justice League Dark’s “Magic” corner of the DC Universe (this should have been a Justice League Dark movie…), Diablo and Slipknot are nearly complete unknowns, and Killer Croc has never been a Task Force X member until now. Focusing on essential characters Waller, Quinn, Deadshot, Rick Flag, and even Captain Boomerang would have been ideal. Guardians of The Galaxy proved you can flesh out a party of characters without Avengers-esque origin films preceding them, but Squad feels lost in characters like X-Men: Apocalypse (which is NOT a flattering comparison).

Part of this is actually Will Smith’s fault (or WB, depending how you look it).  Because they cast such a giant actor to play Deadshot, who rides 2nd fiddle to Harley Quinn and Rick Flag in the comics, he now becomes the focus of the movie and steals screen time from other characters who are more important in the source material. But wouldn’t you do the same if you had Will Smith in your movie?

This Amanda Waller is a perfect adaptation of her comic counterpart, perhaps one of the most faithful Comic Book to live-action interpretations ever. Will Smith brings snarky-ness to Deadshot, though his motivation to see and care for his daughter seems half-baked and one-note (especially compared to Scott Lang in Ant-Man). It feels like Harley Quinn just exists to justify Joker being in the movie, and her arc with Deadshot transitioning from a “Bad Guy”to someone with enough empathy to save the world is not earned at all; feels forced. Diablo is given some interesting motivation too, but again, it’s one-note with no depth. Every character seems to want one thing and one thing only, without any growth. Meanwhile the rest barely exist. Katana’s origin is delivered in a quick sentence right before the final climatic battle!

Batman and Joker:Suicide Squad Review Joker Jared Leto Harley Quinn Margot Robbie and CommonThough his appearance is brief, Ben Affleck’s Batman may be even better in Suicide Squad than in BvS! He moves differently, even more gracefully than than BvS, and seeing him from Deadshot’s POV is damn intimidating. Bruce Wayne even has a bit to do, in one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

On the other side of the coin, Jared Leto’s Joker is simply a mess. A mess AND a complete miss, as if writer/director David Ayer hasn’t read a Batman comic since “The Golden Age.” This latest Joker is simply a mob-boss who is a little crazy; not Joker crazy, but more like TV’s Dexter crazy.

Slight SPOILERS: Joker only kills other gangsters and people directly in his way of rescuing Harley, without any of the collateral damage or joyous mayhem the character is known for. His voice is a Heath Ledger knock-off and his laugh is creepy, but continues to miss the fun Mark Hamill brought to the animated version in the 90’s. And his motivations are very questionable to a comic fan such as myself. All Joker wants to do is rescue Harley Quinn. Though he breaks her out of Arkham all the time in the comics, he’s always willing to throw her at Batman to escape (which he sort of does here) and often abuses and mistreats her. Her love is often one-sided, but this Joker seems to care about her more than Mayhem… or getting Batman. SPOILERS OVER!

Flashbacks & Strong 1st Act: Suicide Squad Review Joker in Straigh Jacket Jared LetoThe characters that are actually deemed necessary are given flashbacks, which, though quick and also underdeveloped, are the best part of the movie. The movie starts strong with these quick stories explaining their origins (sort of), which also happen to be the only visually appealing sequences of the film. There are too many though, and while the 1st act is the most enjoyable, it does feel like an extended trailer. Some flashbacks are saved for later in the film, which really, really, slows down the story and feel completely unwelcome. So, it’s all downhill from the 1st act.

The 2nd Act & Action Sequences:Suicide Squad Review ZombiesJust a mess. All the pop-y fun of the 1st act is drained away in favor of poorly choreographed action sequences against the most generic soldiers since Loki’s Chitauri army in The Avengers or Ronan’s “Ninja Turtle” aliens in Guardians. Task Force X’s mission also seems misguided and a little unclear. Like I said earlier, Suicide Squad feels like a Superhero movie from the early 2000’s before Nolan and Marvel Studios figured out how to elevate the genre.

Main Villain & 3rd Act Finale VAGUE SPOILERS Section:Suicide Squad Review Harley Quinn Margot Robbie Baseball BatAs I mentioned, the “zombie soldiers” Task Force X faces are another example of giving a superhero team an army to destroy without murdering tons of human beings (though these “monsters” were once human, but Flag assures us they aren’t anymore…). The Avengers had the Chitauri army and Avengers: Age of Ultron had a robot drone army.  This feels similar, with a less interesting design and no charismatic leader like Loki (Tom Hiddleson) or Ultron (James Spader) to taunt the “worst heroes ever.” These soldiers are literally black blobs, a metaphor for all the bland visuals and fight scenes showcased here.

Just like with X-Men: Apocalypse, we’re back to a super-villain set on destroying the entire planet, doing just as much damage to Midway City as  Zod and Superman did to Metropolis (with a lower body count, as many were evacuated… I guess). In an era where we are transitioning to villains like Heath Ledger’s Joker who want to destroy the hero, not the world, including movies like Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War, it’s just another goddamn destroy the entire world plot. Not awesome. Or original.

The finale shares so much in common with the end of the original Ghostbusters (1984) to a point that there is no way these similarities are coincidence. The villain is magical, reads the team’s thoughts, and is even uncased after the fight, like when the Ghostbusters pull Sigourney Weaver out of the husk of melted “dog.” Worst of all, it totally has that slow motion monument where (most) the team all does their part to destroy the villain; more akin to the cheesy versions in the original Fantastic Four (2005), X-Men: Apocalypse, and Batman V Superman than that awesome team fighting shot in The Avengers.

Rockin’ Soundtrack:Suicide Squad Review Amanda Waller Viola DavisIs it really rockin’? Full of great songs, Suicide Squad tries hardest to be Guardians of the Galaxy with its Soundtrack. I’m sure it does make for a great Soundtrack, but in the movie this overload of music seems distracting and overbearing; every time we meet a new character (every 3 minutes or so) we get a new song. Sloppy and simply thrown together like the rest of Suicide Squad.

Conclusion:Suicide Squad Review Enchantress June MoonAnother giant missed opportunity by DC. Suicide Squad tries hard to replicate the success of team-up movies like X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even The Avengers, but in doing so feels like a paint-by-the-numbers formulaic team movie, bringing nothing new to the table. The movie doesn’t even commit to its one chance at being unique; the twist that they are the villains, not our traditional heroes.

I can’t determine if I like the movie more or less than most because I know the comics. After all, I notice all the incorrect characterizations like the Joker’s motivation, the team dynamics, and the odd choice of including characters like Katana and Killer Croc (who is more impossible to understand than Bane, by the way). But, like BvS, there is a lot of set-up for future films and Easter Eggs that comic fans recognize, but will confuse and alienate the average movie-goer (SPOILER – like the Flash’s cameo… most may say, who is that? Especially with the new costume. – END SPOILER). I guess it some strange combo of both for me, disappointing on nearly every level.

Get your shit together, DC! If Wonder Woman and Justice League aren’t dramatic improvements, your Extended Universe may be dead in the water. I love the characters and the comics, I’m just saying it like it is.

5_Star_Rating_System_2_and_a_half_stars

 

 

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE Review: Really Weird Batgirl Prologue Drags Down So-So Adaptation


I’ve seen Batman: The Killing Joke (obviously, that’s why you’re here!), the WB Animation adaptation of the classic graphic novel by masterminds Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons! It’s… a mixed bag. The original story you know and love (or should read so that you know and love it) is there, but it’s surrounded by Batgirl filler… including a really, really, weird choice. This adaption of Killing Joke also lacks the unique visuals from the book or more distinct animation that made adaptations of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One so successful.

NO SPOILERS except where noted!

The Killing Joke, originally printed in 1988, has become the defining Joker story. It tells a possible origin of the Joker, that many have taken as gospel. Killing Joke is also incredibly dark and disturbing in subject manner, leading to the first animated DC film that is Rated R! Maybe that expectation is why this adaptation just can’t do the original justice. I wasn’t expecting an animated adaptation as great as the source material: Year One, though accurate, is only good (the comic is great!) while The Dark Knight Returns film feels neutered compared to Frank Miller’s startling original work.

Expectations were heightened still, as Killing Joke has something Year One and Dark Knight Returns lack; the original voice actors that defined Batman: The Animated Series, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill (who also played Luke Skywalker… du’h!). Hamill is by far my favorite Joker in any medium, while Conroy does bring a fun, unique, almost goofy interpretation of Bruce Wayne, balanced with a great “Bat Voice” (though this movie, like the comic, has no Bruce Wayne). And both actors are still great! It is though, a little silly hearing Conroy’s version of “Swear to me!” after it appeared in Batman Begins. It’s almost a shame when their characters aren’t on screen, and Joke and Batman are missing in action… a lot, due to the Batgirl story-line that was added so it was long enough to become a feature film (though it’s still on the short side).Batman The Killing Joke Batgirl Barbara GordonThis added story is half the problem with The Killing Joke, as it is mundane, yet surprisingly odd and perhaps questionable.  I have nothing against Batgirl (Tara Strong), but watching what is basically a twenty-minute episode of her generic adventure taking down a mobster (it doesn’t always need to be a Super Villain, but it helps) is like an unwelcome opening act for the band you really came to see. Though peppered with Batman, the Joker is no where to be found until after over 20 minutes in to a 76 minute film that is supposed to be about him! Knowing who Batgirl is does add emotional context to the story and that’s why a whole act of Batgirl was added. I don’t believe the original book ever addresses the fact that Barbara Gordon is Batgirl in addition to Commissioner Gordon’s (Ray Wise) daughter. I’m not saying Warner Animation shouldn’t make a Batgirl movie, I’m just saying it takes away from a story that is fundamentally just about Batman and The Joker at each other’s throats.

The prologue doesn’t necessarily take away from the film too much, except for one scene that completely baffles and slightly disturbs me as a Batman fan. Here’s the BATGIRL SPOILER AHEAD moment. Batman and Batgirl have sex, on a rooftop, and it creates sexual tension between them as Barabara (sort of) explains to her token Gay co-worker. What was that first part?!?! Batman and Batgirl have sex? Yes! I don’t know if it has ever happened in the comic (there are 76 years of Batman stories) but Batgirl and Batman having sex feels… creepy and wrong. Though he is not a father figure to her like Robin –  Jim Gordon, her biological father is still alive and plays prominently into the story – and she is not as young as Robin, it seems really rape-y of Batman to have sex with one of his proteges. Plus, what would Gordon think if he found out?! Uh-Oh! And isn’t she with Nightwing/Dick Grayson at some point in comics… and/or Red Robin/Tim Drake? What will the Robins think?! SPOILERS OVER!The Killing Joke Batman and Joker Mark Hamill Kevin ConroyBesides the Batgirl story with that controversial choice, the rest of the film is a pretty straight adaptation of the comic with great leads, yet unappealing animation that does not give Dave Gibbon’s artwork justice. While Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One imitate the style of the original artwork, Killing Joke is simplified into an update of Bruce Tim’s vision from The Animated Series, with a slightly more modern and higher quality look with just a hint of what the comic’s original art. It’s especially noticeable during the flashbacks to Joker’s origin which were originally in black and white with vivid red items in every panel. The red in the film version is far too muted and it makes a big difference. Also lost are the mirror images that were used to transition between panels set in the past and present. In short, Killing Joke should have looked a lot better!

In Killing Joke‘s defense, the story and themes are timeless, so it’s worth a viewing for someone who appreciates a good Batman story but hasn’t read the comic.  Hell, Nolan lifted Joker’s mission to drive a Batman alley mad/drag him down to his level for his 2nd Batman film, The Dark Knight.

If you need a new Batman story to see, give Batman: The Killing Joke a chance. If you love the graphic novel and want to see it done justice… skip it. Either way, that one choice they make is really, really creepy.

5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

 

DR. STRANGE Trailer #2: Marvel Drops Acid and Looks Through a Kaleidoscope!


It seems like whenever DC releases something awesome, say the new Teasers for Wonder Woman, Justice League, and The Lego Batman Movie, Marvel strikes back and eclipses them.

While these DC titles are all higher profile (it’s Wonder Women, Batman, and The Justice League for Christ’s sake), Marvel Studios has turned one of their lesser known comics into another unique genre crossover that explores a new corner of the MCU (magic!) with a fresh visual unlike anything we’ve seen. Lofty statements, I know, but just check out the trailer and try not to let your brain melt.

The visuals are stunning, like Inception on Mushrooms (seriously, this movie is probably a druggie’s wet dream). To remember just the insane worlds and architecture literally folding in on each other is a mistake; we also see gorgeous portals and an amazing realization of what using magic looks like in the MCU. Though you could argue Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) uses magic, nothing she’s done in Avengers: Age of Ultron or Captain America: Civil War looks as well executed as the magic we see Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) perform in battle.

Like with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, Marvel is showing us something they haven’t done yet. Something less conventional and more of a genre crossing movie that surprises us again after a more conventional film like Civil War.Dr. Strange Poster #2 SDCC“You [DC] show them something, we’ll show you something better,” sayth Marvel! And it was great.

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE SDCC Trailer & Poster: Life Doesn’t Give You Seat Belts


Yet another gift arrives from DC during San Diego Comic Con 2016!

Earlier DC showed us teasers for Wonder Woman and Justice League, but now we have a longer trailer for the best looking upcoming DC Film of all: The Lego Batman Movie!

Producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord promised The Lego Batman Movie “is chock full of stuff for Batman aficionados. It is just a 90-minute Easter egg.” The trailer certainly confirms this statement as it is full of Batman references of all types, from the ridiculous versions of the character that exist due to action figures and strange comic story lines to every film iteration of the character. Watch the trailer now!

“Bruce Wayne Lives In Batman’s Attic.” Love it. Not just because it’s hilarious, but because that exact idea is key to a strong Batman interpretation.  The Batman is real, Bruce Wayne is the mask.

That sort of detail confirms that though in Lego form, this version of a Batman film is still more than welcome, approaching the character in a way we’ve never seen on the big screen; through humor. In an age where Batman is at his darkest in the films (though lightening up a bit in Justice League), I cannot wait to see my favorite comedic actor, Will Arnett, voice Batman/Bruce Wayne in this spin-off from the The Lego MovieThe Lego Batman Movie Trailer Joker and RobinJoining Arnett is his Arrested Development co-star, Michael Cera as Robin, bringing a refreshing combination of more wide-eyed excitement and innocence than the traditional Dick Grayson. Ralph Fiennes is the perfect sarcastic Alfred (though I love what the DCEU has going with Jeremy Irons), and though we have yet to hear dialog, Zach Galifianakis has the Joker laugh down.

Finally, the poster. Enjoy!The Lego Batman Movie Poster

 

Trailers for JUSTICE LEAGUE, WONDER WOMAN and SUICIDE SQUAD! New Posters & Artwork Too!


Just like Marvel Studios’ Netflix Presentation, DC Entertainment didn’t  just bring a trailer for their next movie, Suicide Squad, to San Diego Comic Con, they also brought a teaser and poster for their movie after that, Wonder Woman… AND even a trailer and official image for their own super team team up film, Justice League! The Justice League trailer, unlike Netflix’s The Defenders Series “teaser,” actually has new footage… a lot of it!

There’s defiantly one theme I’ve noticed with all the trailers; each movie going forward is beginning to feel a lot more like Marvel than previous DCEU films, Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.Suicide Squad SDCC 2016 Joker Smile Hand TatooLet’s build up to the most exciting trailer shall we? (Justice League, duh!). So we’ll start with Suicide Squad, a movie for which we have many trailers already, though the new one still offers quite a bit of new footage. While not going as far as the Batman V Superman trailer that spoiled Doomsday, the villain is revealed more than before in this latest trailer, and there are a lot of new scenes that will wet your appetite. If you are already at footage overload, don’t feel too bad about skipping the San Diego Comic Con 2016 Suicide Squad trailer. The film may feel fresher on August 5th without it.

New action, extended dialog scenes among the Squad with an emphasis on Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) as well, and more Joker (Jared Leto) and Batman (Ben Affleck). Still a winning combination, though the music is the least inspired of the many trailers.

Up next we have the Poster AND first Teaser Trailer for 2017’s Wonder WomanWonder Woman Teaser Poster SDCCThat’s the poster, obviously. Now here comes the trailer:

Wonder Woman looks like an interesting mix of Thor, a Jane Austin novel, Captain America: The First Avenger, and a Zack Snyder movie, even though it is being directed by Patty Jenkins. The Amazon scenes and costumes remind me of Thor‘s Asgard. The costumes and non-action scenes remind me of romance films based on Victorian era novels. The World War I elements are painfully First Avenger-esque, especially the emphasis on Wonder Woman’s shield. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) uses her shield to dispatch a German Solider just like Cap, in a scene involving extreme slow motion action which gives it that Zack Snyder feel, as well as the muted colors in the overall tone of it’s look.

It’s slightly baffling why DC would use their chance to introduce Wonder Woman to make a film that looks so close to Captain America: The First Avenger; both being a World War period piece with a superhuman brandishing a round Shield.Wonder Woman does also get her trademark Lasso, but there’s no invisible jet! (Thank god for that). Chris Pine as Steve Trevor does bring more humor than in either BvS or the Suicide Squad trailer, especially compared to the continued stoic take on Wonder Woman herself.  This lightness really does gives the trailer more of a Marvel feel than what DC has given us thus far. Justice League SDCC First Image Flash Batman Superman Wonder Woman Cyborg AquamanWhich brings us to the most Marvel-y trailer of all, the 1st teaser for Justice League! The trailer focuses on Batman recruiting the Justice League as Bruce Wayne, always out of the suit, which is a very interesting choice. In fact, because Justice League is still being shot, we’re treated almost entirely to recruitment scenes without costumes or special effects, but it still looks great, despite being handled by Zack Snyder who ruined Batman V Superman.

Though you may recognize them all, the heroes featured above are Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), Cyborg/ Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). All appear in the trailer, except Superman, who most be “dead” during recruitment but will obviously return based on the above photo… and the fact that you can’t have the Justice League without Superman (but you can do it without Green Lantern, who has been a member forever)!

Justice League looks surprisingly good thus far, with even more humor than Wonder Woman or Suicide Squad, most of it coming from the Dark Knight himself, traditionally the least jokey character in comics (his nemesis makes up for his lack of humor). I like how the teaser plays with the difficulty of recruiting some, like Aquaman, while others like Barry Allen jump at the chance to join up because he needs friends… and is blown away he is actually meeting Batman! Again, it feels a lot like The Avengers, as it should, with great humor and hints at team dynamics that will likely include a little bit of friction/in-fighting at the beginning.

San Diego Comic Con 2016 is the gift that keeps on giving, worrying me a little with Wonder Woman, but restoring good will towards Justice League.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a good time to be a Geek!

Did STAR TREK BEYOND Reference SPACED?


“Skip to the end.”

Though not a term exclusive to the 1999 UK television series Spaced, the phrase quickly became one of the show’s running jokes, being recited throughout both seasons frequently and even serving as the name of the Documentary about the making of Simon Pegg’s breakout show.

Spaced was created & written by Jessica Hynes (who also appeared in Shaun of the Dead and voiced a character in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and Simon Pegg (Scotty in current Star Trek), who also starred as the show’s two leads. Simon Pegg also wrote Star Trek Beyond, so it seems like more than just a coincidence when Captain Jim T. Kirk (Chris Pine) utters the line in the 3rd act of the film.

Kirk tells either Spock to “Skip to the End” as he rattles off Sci-Fi jargon. As a big fan of Spaced I immediately thought of the show when Kirk uttered the classic line, even without the thick accent and 2 second speed.Star Trek Beyond Captain Kirk Chris Pine Sulu Jon Cho Chekov Anton YelchinSpaced referenced Star Wars and Star Trek all the time as it was a show about failing professionals in their early twenties that happened to be geeky stoners.  It was also the first time I had heard the theory that only the even numbered Star Trek films are good, as explained by Simon Pegg’s character Tim Bisley:

“I mean, it’s a fact, sure as day follows night, sure as eggs is eggs, sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is shit.”

Skip to the end!

Fine. If you haven’t seen Spaced and are a fan of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, or World’s End, you really should, as that show was a testing ground for much of the humor that followed in the films. The show and all three movies were also directed by Edgar Wright. And apparently watched by Captain Kirk centuries later.

STAR TREK BEYOND Review: The Final Frontier Pushes Back


This year I’ve had to review some stinkers (Hardcore Henry, X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day: Resurgence), a bunch of mediocre films (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Ghostbusters, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, The BFG), three good movies (Central Intelligence, Green Room, Keanu), and a great movie (Captain America: Civil War). Yet, none of these had me as excited to put my thoughts on “digital paper” as Star Trek Beyond,even if the film is not as mind-blowingly awesome as Civil War.

Star Trek Beyond may be my least favorite of the three Star Trek movies set in the “Kelvin Timeline” (J.J. Abram’s rebooted universe) , but don’t fret! I actually loved Star Trek Into Darkness, contrary to popular opinion, and I would give all three films 4 ½ Stars across the board!Star Trek Beyond Trailer USS Enterprise Warp FlashNO SPOILERS ahead. I’ll only touch on what you’ve seen in the trailers and content from the 1st Act of the film, avoiding a bummer of a Spoiler that some noticed in Beyond’s final trailer.

Star Trek Beyond is the logical continuation of the 50 year-old franchise, while actually being the most self-contained of the three modern films. Star Trek (2009) was burdened with the task of introducing the entire crew, leaving little time to do the villain, the Romulan Extremist Nero (Eric Bana), justice. Star Trek Into Darkness had tight ties to the 1st film, exploring the role of Jim T. Kirk’s (Chris Pine)  father figure Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) further and keeping the 1st and 3rd Acts on Earth/in our orbit. InBeyond we finally get to see Kirk and Crew just past the mid-point of their “Five Year Mission” which served as the basis for the Original Series that started it all in 1966.Star Trek Beyond Bones Kirk Spock Chris Pine Karl Urban Zachary QuuintoFitting for the 50th Anniversary of the franchise, Star Trek Beyond feels more akin to an episode of the Original Series than any of the 12 films that preceded it. If Abrams’ Star Trek films had a baby with an Original Series episode, it would surely be Star Trek Beyond.

Just as Into Darkness opened with an “Indiana Jones -esque”  action sequence that plays like the Final Act of an old-school episode,Beyond opens with a similar adventure involving Captain Kirk doing what he always did during the Five Year Mission; with all the humor and unique aliens you would expect. Unlike Into Darkness, this scene actually introduces a story driving MacGuffin, drawing further similarities to the Indiana Jones franchise. The film continues to feel like an original episode, with only two giant set-pieces, including the well-advertised destruction of the Enterprise and an incredible sequence on an amazingly designed Space Station that feels utterly unique. Not to say the film looks cheap or is small in scale, far from it; it has a special feeling of familiarity that every other Star Trek film lacked. Best of all, we spend no time on Earth! We’ve finally made it to deep space, beyond anyone has gone before (get the title, now?).Star Trek Beyond Final Trailer 10 Bones Karl Urban Spock Zachary Quinto Beam DownWhile Star Trek (2009) was tasked with “world building” and Into Darkness put too much emphasis on Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch),Beyond gives all your favorite characters meaty material and something to do, splitting the screen time between them in what seems to be an appropriate balance. Into Darkness focused on Kirk (as they all should to an extent; he is the Captain) and gave Scotty (Simon Pegg) waaaaay more screen time and a more important role than anyone else.  My favorite character has always been Chief Medical Officer “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), who hasn’t received his fair share of screen time since the 60’s, but has plenty to do here, as does everyone else. Scattered across an alien planet due to the attack that destroys U.S.S. Enterprise, Bones actually gets paired up with Spock (Zachary Quinto), and it is refreshing to see their relationship more in depth, rather than the usual emphasis on Kirk and Spock. But don’t worry, no matter your favorite character, Spock, Scotty, Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), or Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin) they are all fully fleshed out and have important roles to play, with plenty of screen time.

The new alien characters, both the villainous Krall (Idris Elba) and heroic Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), are not lost in the shuffle and are both very strong additions to the long standing franchise. Krall is the second best villain in the series, behind only Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Khan (I told you, I love Into Darkness). While Khan was a mirror of Kirk, right down to his sympathetic plight of saving his crew, Idris Elba’s Krall is a complex, super-strong alien, with other fascinating abilities I won’t spoil, more akin to the classic villains of the Star Trek Universe:  Klingons and Romulans. That being said, his motivation is much more intriguing than your typical Klingon, and fits in well with Star Trek canon. Meanwhile, Jaylah is a great strong female character akin to Furiosa (Charlize Theron) from Mad Max: Fury Road or Black Widow from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both are new species – no retreads or fan favorites here – giving Star Trek Beyond a more original feel than the past two films. Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Idris Elba as KrallTwo new interesting themes explored in Beyond are the idea of “Cabin Fever” and the repetition of everyday life after being on a starship for three years straight, as well as Kirk’s need to escape his father, George Kirk’s (Chris Hemsworth) long and heroic shadow.

Star Trek Beyond is fresh yet feels classic; no rehashed stories here (like Into Darkness). Justin Lin who directed three Fast & Furious films continues in the tradition and style of J.J. Abrams, not overloading it with action or making it feel like a Fast film. Writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung also seem to have a better understanding of the Trek legacy than previous writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damien Lindelof, and are willing to take more risks, not relying on previous characters, plot lines, or even alien species we’ve seen before.

Really, it’s a nearly perfect popcorn film and a strong addition to a storied franchise. As far as 2016 films go, it lands above Deadpool, but below Captain America: Civil War as the second best blockbuster of the year… thus far.

Now that Beyond is out of the way, I continue to look forward to Star Trek 4, which though it does not have a release date, we will see the return of Chris Hemsworth!

Live Long… and see Star Trek Beyond!

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars

STAR TREK BEYOND Final Trailer SCREENGRABS!!! Complete Set.


Earlier today saw the release of the final trailer for Star Trek Beyond, which hits the silver screen this Friday!… I’ve gone and done it again… I’ve killed someone for sport captured all the most exciting moments in Screengrabs for your easy enjoyment.

I focused on the glory,  action shots, because, let’s be real, we’ve seen all these actors in the same costumes twice already. So revel in all the CGI/Alien/Starship-Orgy glory! Star Trek Beyond Final Trailer 1 USS EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 2 SuluStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 3 Chris Pine Captain KirkStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 4 Enterprise LaunchStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 5 Enterprise Launch 2Star Trek Beyond Final Trailer 6 Enterprise Launch 3Star Trek Beyond Final Trailer 7 Federation Space StationStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 8 Anton Yelchin Shirtless ChekovStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 9 Chris Pine Captain Kirk MotorcycleStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 10 Bones Karl Urban Spock Zachary Quinto Beam DownStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 11 Scotty Simon PeggStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 12 JaylahStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 13 Alien Ship SwarmStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 14 Alien Ship Swarm BreaksStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 15 Alien Ship Swarm EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 16 Krall's ShipStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 17 Krall's Ship BreaksStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 18 Krall's Ship Hits EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 19 Krall Idris ElbaStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 20 Kirk Motorcycle BeamingStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 21 Kirk and Female Alien on MotorcycleStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 22 Sulu and UhuraStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 23 Jeylah BeaningStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 24 Jeylah Bones and SpockStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 25 Alien with Super GunStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 26 Super Gun BlastStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 27 Space MadnessStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 28 Space Madness 2Star Trek Beyond Final Trailer 29 Chris Pine Captain Kirk and Bones Karl UrbanStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 30 Space StationStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 31 Space Station 2Star Trek Beyond Final Trailer 31 Mysterious Alien GornStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 32 Mysterious AliensStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 33 Mysterious Aliens AttackStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 34 ExplosionStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 35 Huge Alien Ship SwarmStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 36 Huge Alien Ship WaveStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 37 Huge Alien Ship Wave crestsStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 38 Huge Alien Ship Wave crests ExplosionStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 39 Huge Alien Ship Wave EscapeStar Trek Beyond Final Trailer 40 Chris Pine Captain Kirk and Bones Karl Urban

Final STAR TREK BEYOND Trailer AND Official Synopsis for STAR TREK 4 Confirms Return of Chris Hemsworth!


It is a great day (and week) indeed, fellow Trek fans! Not only was the final, “short and oh-so-sweet” trailer released for this Friday’s Star Trek Beyond, but Paramount also treated us to the official plot synopsis for the yet-to-be-dated  “new” Star Trek 4!

First, the final trailer for Star Trek Beyond:


Exciting, no? There’s nothing wrong  with a few explosions! I’m pumped for Thursday (and will have a review up no later than Friday afternoon, hopefully Thursday night)!

(By the way… is that the Gorn in that one scene?!? Those four legged Aliens look like the version of the Gorn used in the PS3 Star Trek game…)

Not excited yet? Well… I have some even more fascinating news directly from Paramount Pictures.

Remember George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth), Jim’s (Chris Pine) dad who died in the 1st (incredible) scene that opened J.J. Abram’s original 2009 reboot/sequel, Star Trek? Well, here’s what Paramount has planned for the now officially confirmed, Star Trek 4!

In the next installment of the epic space adventure, Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk will cross paths with a man he never had a chance to meet, but whose legacy has haunted him since the day he was born: his father. Chris Hemsworth, who appeared in 2009’s Star Trek, will return to the space saga as George Kirk to star alongside Pine.

Wow! What a spectacular move! Star Trek 2009 Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk

What’s better than one Chris? Two! And the same can be said about two Kirks!

This news really does open very interesting territory for Star Trek 4 to explore. Not uncharted territory, per say, as time travel is nothing new to Star Trek Canon (it was even used to set up the new “Kelvin” timeline in the 2009 film), but fun none-the-less. George Kirk was a short role for Hemsworth and came before he was even cast as Thor, but it did leave quite an impression on me. The scene in which George has to pilot the U.S.S. Kelvin into a collision with Nero’s Romulan Vessel in an effort to save his wife and son, is perhaps my favorite in the entire franchise. Shot expertly by Abrams completed by Michael Giacchino’s heart-wrenching score, it’s hard to find a more touching scene in Sci-Fi.

Now father and son will be reunited in Star Trek 4! Will it be time travel? More alternate dimensions (“Mirror Mirror?”)? Is it all an alien ploy to defeat the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise? Will father and son get along? Will they clash? Because I would love to watch Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth fight!Star Trek Beyond Chris Pine Captain James T KirkWhat’s most interesting about this official synopsis is that it comes in advance of the 3rd film, this week’s Star Trek Beyond. In fact, this sort of thing is nearly unheard of. Studios may promise sequels before they know if their current film is a success, but they almost never give you a plot this far from release. Ghostbusters (2016) is a good example of this; a sequel has been announced, but we haven’t been told the plot. Hell, they don’t give you the plot to Iron Man 3 when Iron Man 2 is released, and Marvel plans their films farther out than most!

So the question arises: why now? Was this announcement made to further promote Star Trek Beyond? Is Star Trek 4 planned out this far in advance to serve as a “Part 2” to Star Trek Beyond?

After all, the earlier trailers for Beyond have made it clear that Kirk’s emotional arc in this film involves becoming his own man and escaping the long shadow his father, a Hero of the Federation, has cast.  Will Beyond end on a cliffhanger, somehow blasting Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest through a Black Hole to the past? Or is it merely an arc the writing team has had planned since the inception of Star Trek Beyond?Image converted using ifftoanyI guess it will take a few years to find out all these answers. But,in the meantime, we have a new Trek film coming this week and the idea of two Kirks to salivate over!

Star Trek 4 will be written by newbies  J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay (an uncredited writer on Star Trek Beyond according to IMDB) and produced by Lindsey Weber and J.J. Abrams. No word yet if either Abrams or Justin Lin will return to direct.

Live Long and Prosper!

GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) Review: Bustin’ Makes Me Feel… Okay… I Guess


It’s hard for me to determine how much I liked the new Ghostbusters. I did like it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure how much of my enjoyment came from the new product versus how much was Nostalgia driven.

Not that there is anything wrong with counting Nostalgia as a factor when reviewing films based off classic franchises from my childhood. Jurassic World’s extreme Nostalgia factor certainly influenced my review of the film, but my review of Independence Day: Resurgence proved that a long delayed sequel can’t rest on its Nostalgia factor alone.

Let’s look at the facts, scientifically, shall we, like the three Scientists and one Transit Worker that make up 2016’s new roster of Ghostbusters! NO SPOILERS ahead. If something doesn’t appear in the trailer or doesn’t happen in the 1st act, I won’t mention it here.Ghostbusters 2016 Review Melissa McCarthy Kate McKinnon Kristen Wiig Leslie JonesTaking over for Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, the late Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson from 1984, are Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, respectively, as each does fill the archetype of their predecessor. Erin Gilbert (Wiig) is the new Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray), leader of the group and biggest skeptic, without any of Murray’s charm or sarcasm. Gilbert may be the flattest character in this film, and that’s a problem.  Abby Yates (McCarthy) is an update on Dr. Raymond Stantz (Aykroyd) with just as much enthusiasm and dopey humor. Patty Tolan (Jones) is more or less Winston Zeddmore (Hudson), Black, street-smart, and last to join the team.  The only actress to stand out in her role, separating herself from the archetype that existed previously, is McKinnon as Holtzmann, a much wackier version of Egon (Ramis) that steals the show, with the exception of…

Chris Hemsworth rocks this film so hard. While gender swapping the Receptionist feels right at home in a cast of all female Ghostbusters, Kevin (Hemsworth) is nothing like his predecessor Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), filling a completely different role in the film/plot that elevates him past background character. If anything, this sexy Blond hunk has more in common with Rick Moranis’ Louis Tully; both in lack of intelligence and the desire to be a Ghostbuster (which, to be fair, in Moranis’ case, wasn’t examined until  1989’s Ghostbusters 2). The humor in this film is solid, and no one looks to be having a better time than Chris Hemsworth and Kate McKinnon.Ghostbusters 2016 Review Chris Hemsworth KevinIt does seem a pattern is arising, does it not? Aside from each female Ghostbuster bringing a slight twist to their pre-assigned archetype, none of it feels fresh except the aforementioned Kevin and Hotlzmann. The plot, while not using the same ghostly entity as the big bad from the 1984 film, does feel recycled, with little new to offer. If anything, it offers much less, with a much simpler plot than that involving the Gatekeeper, Keymaster, and Zuul, which was deliciously bizarre and mysterious, with a real sense of danger. While I appreciate the reboot’s successful attempt to explain why Ghosts are suddenly a thing in New York City, the evil Ghost plot falls flat on its face and the finale is more goofy and action packed than the original; a remake in the modern age of CGI in every sense of the word. There feels as though there is no peril in the end of the film, just an overabundance of CGI Ghouls. It also lacks charm. These new female comedians certainly have the chemistry and the comedic chops deserving of the roles they landed, but there’s still something missing. The ending to the 1st film is so great, with those four men on a roof, facing a God and a Building-Sized Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, with only their wits and whit. The stakes and the chemistry just isn’t all the way there in this new Ghostbusters.

And since when can you “murder” a ghost? Aside from trapping one ghost, these new Ghostbusters expand to weapons that can pulverize ghosts… killing them again? The tricky fun of trapping ghosts is gone in exchange for modern day violence and unnecessary action.Ghostbusters 2016 ReviewThe humor does feel a bit off, but that is because the original film excelled in the humor of the 80s, while this reboot is obviously very modern. That being said, I think, like most modern takes of classic genres, the film is a little heavy on the humor and a bit light on character development, plot, and even the supernatural. Just compare Lethal Weapon (1987) to The Nice Guys (2016) as an example; both are the same genre and written by the same man, but the later goes overboard on the humor, losing the more poignant moments from the former.  I was a bit turned off by all the jokes at the ladies’ expense, considering Director Paul Feig downplayed the fact he cast women in roles originally inhabited by men. I expected there to be some differences; obviously female character behave differently than men and will get into different comedic situations, but by the end of the film I was so tired about hearing jokes about women being able (or not being able) to do “a Man’s Job.” I don’t think it’s just the sexist haters that need to get over the fact that the Ghostbusters are now women; Feig should take a chill pill of his own.

Is this 2016 Reboot better than the original Ghostbusters? Hell, No! Is it better than Ghostbusters 2? Hell, Yes! Now that all that pesky world building is out of the way, I expect the inevitable NEW Ghostbusters 2 to be an even better film, hopefully relying more on originality than Nostalgia and tried and true archetypes. If you’re going to reboot a movie for a new generation, take some risks!

5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

THE BFG Review: Old School Spielberg with New School Tech… and Fart Jokes


Though I may have outgrown it, The BFG proves that my favorite director, Steven Spielberg, still has that magic that very few directors bring to their “Kid’s Movies.” While not as enduring and endearing as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (wow, Spielberg loves his acronyms), a film I still enjoy as an adult, that “Spielberg Magic & Wonderment” is back, after being absent in his last children’s film, The Adventures of Tintin, and not appropriate for his recent run of historical dramas. While not among his greatest works (the man is far too prolific), The BFG feels like classic Spielberg from a different era, which is always a fantastic thing!

NO SPOILERS present in this review.nullI may have mentioned magic and wonderment (I have), as that’s what The BFG has in Spades, and is its greatest strength. If anything, the plot often gets lost in the magical realm of giants. Similar to the wonderful Children’s Film, Coraline, as well as (nearly) every Tim Burton film, The BFG has a style over substance problem. It’s a slow moving film that really, really pulls off all the visuals, from the startlingly realistic appearance of the CGI Giants to the beautiful tree of dreams, and even the foggy streets of London. It is certainly a lovely looking film that also finds visual charm in the way Big Friendly Giant (who apparently doesn’t have an actual name, unless I missed it) utilizes regular size objects across his whimsical, giant home.

The plot isn’t terrible; this is a fairly good Spielberg film, everyone. The film lingers on the most magical elements, and when there is a big plot point or progression, it feels rushed, as if to get it out of the way. The narrative itself isn’t great for a film and it contains little tension, but I assume it’s because it’s tethered to the source material, “The BFG” by Roald Dahl. The wrap up is a little convenient and doesn’t feel earned, feeling more like an afterthought than the finale to a Summer Blockbuster, meant for kids or otherwise.  That being said, there are several very poignant scenes made even more wonderful by fantastic actors like Mark Rylance, Spielberg’s current Muse.The BFG Review Mark Rylance Holds Ruby Barnhill SophieThe main cast is glorious under the direction of arguably the Greatest Director of All Time, from the aforementioned Mark Rylance to newcomer Ruby Barnhill. Rylance voices and did full motion capture to bring BFG to life, and if this Giant looks vaguely familiar, that’s because Rylance won an Academy Award for playing the Russian Spy in last year’s Spielberg film, Bridge of Spies. As I also mentioned, Rylance is Spielberg’s current Muse (this director’s Tom Hanks days may be over), attached to Spielberg’s next two movies, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara and Ready Player One; also rumored to be on the cast list for Indiana Jones 5.  In her 1st film, Ruby Barnhill as Sophie thrives under the direction of veteran “Child Director” Steven Spielberg. As proven by E.T., A.I. Artificial Intelligence (acronyms again!), Jurassic Park, and Hook, among others, Spielberg has President status over the exclusive club of directors who can make Child Stars shine, membership including J.J. Abrams (Super 8) and Richard Donner (The Goonies). The BFG is no exception to his legacy.

THE BFG is a strong Spielberg Children’s Film that hearkens back to his classic 80’s films like E.T., with a very modern touch of CGI magic he couldn’t have pulled off thirty years ago. If  you are a fan of his work, not even a Geek, just a normal person who recognizes his uber-Household Name and allows it to slightly sway your movie going decisions, then “Sway away!” Even if it won’t go down as one of his best films, it is a great addition to Spielberg’s monumental career.The BFG Review Angry Giants But… there are Fart Jokes. Two scenes of Fart Jokes! Which would normally piss me off in a Spielberg movie (in an interview he says he’s never done one), but again, it’s from the source material, and they aren’t awful Fart Jokes like every other Children’s Film… ever… they’re… charming.

Magic and Wonderment, man. Magic and Wonderment.

And Fart Jokes. (Not one… plural! I want to make that very clear.)5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars

STAR TREK BEYOND Final Trailer #3: Rihanna? Really?


In what seems like one of the most “un-Star Trek-y” moves ever, there is a new, final, trailer #3 for next month’s Blockbuster Star Trek Beyond complete with a Rihanna single written exclusively for the movie? What the Fuck? Are you Battle-Shitting Me??

The 1st trailer, released last December, featured a Beastie Boys’ song, “Sabotage” and fellow Geeks reacted negatively. I personally didn’t mind. Sure, using a classic hit song reeks of a Guardian of the Galaxy ploy (that Suicide Squad is duplicating quite well), and it is no secret that Paramount requested Star Trek Beyond be more akin to Guardians of the Galaxy than the Star Trek Legacy (though Simon Pegg assures us, the film is a Trek fan’s wet dream).Star Trek Beyond Captain Final Trailer #3Well, Mr. Pegg, are you quite sure? Because licencing a Rihanna song (titled “Sledgehammer”) and debuting it on your final trailer does not seem very Star Trek-y at all! Not… on… bit.

Watch the Trailer Now!

Hopefully my fears are unfounded. Star Trek Beyond remains the movie I am most excited to see that is left this Summer 2016, with expectations it can be the 2nd Best Movie of the Season, behind Captain America: Civil War (there really isn’t too much competition… it’s been a disappointing summer…). The new trailer really doesn’t show us much of anything new, just extended scenes of all the great footage from the 2nd Trailer, released not a month ago.

Star Trek Beyond hits the States on July 22nd! Live Long and Prosper!

Especially you, Anton Yelchin. RIP, sweet Chekov.Star Trek Beyond Poster Anton Yelchin Chekov

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE Review: Nostalgia Gets You Nowhere


Independence Day: Resurgence proves that delayed sequels can’t rely on Nostalgia alone. It’s as if the filmmakers watched Jurassic World and drew the conclusion that its success was a result of pure repetition. Sure, Jurassic World shared a lot in common with it’s over twenty year old predecessor, 1993’s Jurassic Park, but it also brought something new to the table; upping the ante with a fully active park with the dinosaurs you already loved like velociraptors, as well as a bigger, scarier monster (Familiar, but New!). Most importantly, Jurassic World gave us new endearing characters you fell in love with, upping the stakes and making for some great interactions. Independence Day: Resurgence, another sequel following a full twenty  years after the original, goes bigger, if more destruction really qualifies, but lacks any new interesting characters or any twists that keep it from being an unnecessary, disjointed rehash of what we saw in 1996. If Jurassic World is a study in how to make a rewarding, delayed sequel, then Independence Day: Resurgence is a lesson in what not to do.

Minor SPOILERS ahead. Basically everything I will reference is already in the trailers.Independence Day Resurgence Review DestructionYes, director Roland Emmerich (ID4, Godzilla (1998), The Day After Tomorrow, 2012), attempts to go bigger, with an alien ship the size of the Atlantic Ocean, and we get one scene of London buildings and vehicles being lifted into the air (the ship has its own gravity… or gravity guns… or something) as well as some “Moon Base Destruction” (I’m stealing that for my band’s name), but the stakes somehow feel… lower than the 1st film? There was something mystifying about all the ships parked over landmarks across the globe in the original, while this one feels almost, more local? This extends to the finale where there is no world-wide effort to fight back like in the 1st Independence Day; all the action is limited to the desert wasteland around Area 51.

Everything about this sequel just feels less clever and more-or-less simplified. Instead of using technology to give the Mothership a Computer Virus like in the original Independence Day, this sequel uses a more direct, “Just Blow It to Hell” approach. No strategy… just alien tech on alien tech warfare. Sure, there is the idea of the Alien Queen, but it just feels like an Aliens rip-off crossed with one of the monsters from Gareth Edwards’ (NOT Roland Emmerich’s) Godzilla (2014). The aforementioned Alien Queen is the most original part of the film, making for the best action sequence, which really isn’t saying much because it’s still not a very worthwhile scene. The biggest twist in the plot (which I WILL NOT SPOIL) seems misguided and sets up a sequel I really don’t want to see.Independence Day Resurgence Review - Liam HemsworthThe lackluster destruction, action, and plot aren’t the films biggest shortcomings, the characters in this movie just suck, especially the new ones. The new young cast of heroes, Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), the late Captain Steven Hiller’s (Will Smith in the 1st film) son Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher), and the still living President Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) daughter Patricia Whitmore (Maiki Monroe) all share a backstory that seems like it was rejected from Top Gun, with no chemistry between the characters. William Fichtner plays the criminally underdeveloped General Adams, a character who could have been this film’s President Whitmore, had he any motivation or personality. Finally, including an African Warlord and a “Government Pencil Pusher” as supporting characters just seems like a questionable choice at best.

The returning characters don’t fare any better. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) has become the one note scientist who is the resident expert; a watered down version of his cynical return as Ian Malcolm in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) seems to just be here to deliver the worst inspirational speech ever (seriously, did the Aliens kill the member of his staff that wrote his rousing speech in the 1st film?) and look worried. And I don’t know why the bothered bringing back David’s father Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch), Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner), or Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox) at all, except in an attempt to fill the void left by Will Smith.Independence Day Resurgence Review - Jeff Golblum William FitcherIndependence Day: Resurgence is an uninspired retread, recalling other lazy sequels like The Hangover Part II, Jurassic Park III, and Dumb and Dumber To. It tries to repeat what made 1996’s Independence Day such a summer smash, forgetting what actually made that film great (note to director Roland Emmerich… it wasn’t just the destruction!). Dumb plot and dumber characters make for… you guessed it… a dumb sequel.5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE Review: A Little Hart and a Big Johnson Go a Long Way


Central Intelligence follows the long tradition of “Buddy Cop” movies, pulling off humor, action, and a mismatched pair of heroes who must learn to work together. It pairs this formula with a Mission: Impossible style “Spy on the Run” plot; the film’s biggest weakness. While the plot doesn’t always click, Dwayne (formally “The Rock”) Johnson and Kevin Hart certainly do, with “Buddy Cop” chemistry we haven’t seen the likes of since Hot Fuzz.

Note: Yes, I realize neither Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), nor Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) are cops, but Bob Stone is a CIA Agent on the run (with a name that fits his line of work perfectly) while Calvin is dragged into the action in a movie that still feels more “Buddy Cop” than any other sub-genre. Now that we have that clarification out of the way…CENTRAL INTELLIGENCECentral Intelligence works best when it’s all jokes. Johnson and Hart are hilarious together, with this film perhaps being Johnson’s most funny thus far. It was this pairing, not the unoriginal plot, that had me excited to see the film and this aspect of the film certainly delivers! Johnson is side-splittingly-funny as the muscle bound CIA Agent Bob Stone whose personality does not fit his ripped facade. Bob Stone still has a chip on his shoulder from being the fat kid who was humiliated in High School, also never outgrowing his nerdy personality, to a point where he still loves and wears a Unicorn shirt… and a fanny pack… as a CIA Agent…

Meanwhile, Kevin Hart plays “the straight man,” in a very broad sense of the word, as he too is at the top of his comedy game. The exact opposite of Bob, Calvin was the coolest kid in school, voted “Most Likely to Succeed,” yet 20 years later he doesn’t want to attend his High School Reunion as he has amounted to an accountant in a building with an inflatable gorilla out front. Yikes.

Bob clings to Calvin because 20 years later he still doesn’t have any friends, all because he has misconstrued an accepted friend request on Facebook as an invitation to bug Calvin, not unlike Jim Carry in The Cable Guy. Of course, Bob is more than the clingy loner Calvin and thinks he is; he is instead a CIA Agent on the run who needs Calvin’s accountant expertise to track and stop the sale of satellite coordinates before the CIA catches up with him. The plot may be weak, with all the clichés and twists you expect, but the humor is what makes this movie work.Central Intelligence Review Bob Stone Dwayne the Rock Johnson Aaron PaulThe supporting cast is full of great actors and comedians, including Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Kumail Nanjiani, Melissa McCarthy, and an incredibly funny role for the incomparable Jason Bateman. All add a nice flavor and a bit more comedy into the mix (Aaron Paul even gets to say “Bitch,” immediately calling to mind his Breaking Bad catch-phrase, intentional or not). Calvin’s fear and resistance to being pulled into Bob Stone’s world, including his interactions with Agent Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) and inexperience/fear of danger make for some funny laughs, but nothing tops the glee of Bob as he goes about his violent business with a big smile on his face and a bigger fanny pack on his waist!

The weakness here is the aforementioned plot and an unbalanced ratio of humor to action. The action is great, but similar to nearly every “Buddy Cop” movie since the 2nd Rush Hour film, the comedy seems to outweigh the action. The action isn’t bad, there just isn’t very much of it, though when there is, it does call to mind films like Lethal Weapon or Beverly Hills Cop.  Yes, the comedy to action ratio is no accident on the filmmakers’ part; Central Intelligence is best billed as a comedy first, with the action being more of the icing on this Johnson/Hart cake. This is more a personal pet peeve of mine; I wish other modern “Buddy Cop” style movies like The Other Guys and even Hot Fuzz put more focus on action and a realistic world while still sporting great comedic moments like Lethal Weapon,Beverly Hills Cop, and even Rush Hour.Central Intelligence Review Bob Stone Calvin Kevin Hart Dwayne the Rock Johnson 2If more of a comedy is what you’re looking for, and you enjoy the antics of the now fun-loving Dwayne Johnson (whose older movies used to take him too seriously; The Rock’s a funny dude) and/or the comedy stylings of Kevin Hart (Get Hard comes to mind as the closest comparison), then you will love Central Intelligence. It is exactly the film as advertised by its great trailers. If you’re looking for a more traditional 80’s “Buddy Cop” movie, this still isn’t it, but that’s not a deal breaker.   The chemistry and comedy are great, the supporting cast is solid, as is the action (if only there was more of it…).

Central Intelligence certainly takes a little Hart and a big Johnson to make for a pretty successful summer flick. Hopefully what follows is a long line of comedy roles for the artist formally known as “The Rock.”

5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS Review: Turtle Power!


I am shocked, shocked I tell you (shell-shocked)! I never thought I’d write this, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is… good! Not great, but good! Unlike the 1st film, this sequel has lost all of its Michael Bay/Transformers sensibilities and production design in favor of a film that feels like a direct adaptation of the Animated Series from the 90s!Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows ReviewI watched 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Hulu the other night in preparation for this sequel. Watching the 1 st film, my initial worries were confirmed: it was a Michael Bay-esque mess (you’d swear he directed it) with more visual cues from the Transformers movies that anything in Turtle “Canon” and a brand new origin that stripped the characters of their complex relationships and personalities from the original animated series and live action movies of the 90’s. Shredder was a God-Damn transformer, William Fichtner played his typical Michael Bay role (Don’t trust that guy! Remember Armageddon?), and Megan Fox was a smoking reporter… with no reporter skills, nor any resemblance of classic April O’Neal besides having breasts. The Turtles were created by April O’Neal’s (Megan Fox) father with evil Fichtner, the former destroying his creation after learning about his research’s application (a la Amazing Spider-Man’s unnecessary backstory). They were April’s turtles that she saved only to throw down a sewer. Splinter (Peter Donald Badalamenti II) was just a rat that was experimented on, same as the turtles, instead of a former Ninjutsu master that trained under the same Sensei as Shredder. This Splinter learned Ninjutsu from a book! He was never trained AND was lacking the history with Shredder that always made their conflict personal and Shredder’s hatred appropriate. Worst of all, the plot was about poisoning New York and using the Turtles DNA as a cure, a dastardly plan that doesn’t fit the MO of the Shredder we once knew. And… the CGI was terrible, even for its time.

While not erasing the events of the first movie like it never happened, this year’s sequel, Out of the Shadows, fixed all these problems and modeled itself off of the 90’s Animated Series which is the most popular iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to this day, even though they initially came from the pages of a comic book. In fact, as far as comic book movies go, TMNT: Out of the Shadows is better than last week’s release, X-Men: Apocalypse.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows Review Bebop and RocksteadyThis movie is all about giving kids of today the same feeling I got from the Animated Series, while also serving as sweet nostalgia for those that grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like myself.Shredder (Brian Tee) has been toned down to a guy in a costume nearly identical to the show; no more whirling robot arms that look like an Iron Man suit got jacked by a Transformer. The Foot Clan has stopped using guns like in the previous film and are back to being actual ninjas! Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) are nearly perfect adaptations of their TV counterparts, as is Krang (Brad Garrett), fully realized with perhaps an overabundance of CGI, but cool none-the- less (his suit looks a lil’ like a Transformer, but it’s also true to the character). Casey Jones (Stephen Amell from Arrow) is awesome and fits in nicely with the other new characters. Best of all, with the introduction of all these fan favorites, it never feels crowded, though Shredder and Krang deserved a little more screen time.

The tone has been nailed this time as well. It’s humorous and fun! 2014’s initial entry took itself too seriously (again, look no further than the updated origins and generic terrorist plot) while Out of the Shadows reminds you how fun it is to be a Turtle, of the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety. The Turtles, Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), and Raphael (Alan Ritchson), have distinct personalities past their archetypes: the leader, the brains, the goofy one, and the badass. They grapple with issues having to do with simply being brothers vs. learning to be an actual team, even if Master Splinter doesn’t offer as much sage advice as he did in the old days.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows Review KrangAnd the plot feels just like it came from the cartoon. No more terrorist acts like poisoning all of New York; instead, after a portal transports Shredder to the wrong location, Krang tasks him with collecting 3 relics to complete an inter-dimensional doorway which will allow Krang to invade the Earth with his warship. Meanwhile, Bebop and Rocksteady are mutated so the Foot Clan have a fighting chance against Mutant Turtles and Casey Jones takes up the vigilante mantle after he allows Bebop, Rocksteady, and Shredder to escape on his watch during a prisoner transport. Who can save the day? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Who still love Pizza!

The one plot point that worried me was in the introduction of the Purple “Ooze.” Unlike the traditional origin, there is not simply Green Mutagen which transforms any being into a combined version of their species and the last species they touched (in the old days Splinter touched the Turtles so they became humanoid, while his touching a rat made him half rodent). The Purple Ooze turns you into the animal you are in your soul (what mumbo-jumbo is that Dr. Tyler Perry?), creating Bebop and Rocksteady… who are apparently a Rhino and Warthog on the inside… while also offering the Turtles a chance to become human. Luckily the latter idea is not over explored, with the Turtles deciding not to use the Ooze without too much time spent ruminating on the subject.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows Review Megan Fox Middrift April O'NealOtherwise, the other characters are fine as well. Megan Fox remains better eye candy than a fully fleshed out April O’Neal, while Will Arnett continues to bring the funny as comic-relief Vernon Fenwick, now calling himself “The Falcon” after receiving all the credit for saving New York City in the 1 st film so the Turtles could remain a secret. Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman is a fun addition, especially knowing his character mutates with a fly eventually in TV show continuity. That fact, as well as the ability to easily bring back Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang, leave the franchise with a lot of places to go!

When you get down to it, this movie just feels like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while the 1 st film felt misguided and over Michael Bay-ed. Sure, it’s meant for kids and it’s not the smartest Comic Book Movie out there, but if you’ve ever liked the Turtles, it’s damn fun!

Oh, and as an added bonus, the original theme is played during the credits: new version, classic lyrics!

Bonus Points for Nostalgia!

5_Star_Rating_System_2_and_a_half_stars

Turtle Power!

X-MEN APOCALYPSE Review: Why Can’t They All Be Like DEADPOOL?


Only MILD SPOILERS  ahead. There’s nothing here that you couldn’t surmise from the trailer.

Even as a huge Comic Book Movie Fan who has Marvel leanings, X-Men is one of those franchises I’ve never really cared for. X-2  is fine, I do really like First Class, but Days of Future Past and The Wolverine are simply okay. The 1st X-Men ages terribly, while  X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men: Wolverine Origins are completely unwatchable. Deadpool is by the far the best film in Fox’s X-Men Universe, but that’s because it’s the only film that doesn’t feel stale and clichéd. (Did I miss any?)

That being said, I don’t feel I have a mutant prejudice. I want these movies to be good, I really do.  Deadpool  and First Class (and The Wolverine… sort of…) proved that these characters can work, but only when they are treated as unique, genre films that avoid the generic superhero formula that the other X-Men films follow. Deadpool was a whole new spin on the superhero genre as a whole; a deconstruction of the genre, if you will. First Class used Pre-Magneto Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) as a Bond type assassin, hunting down Nazi’s before the film slipped into classic origin story territory. The Wolverine had limited mutants and was more Samurai movie than Superhero.xmen0002Even the best of the other 6 X-Men movies were average superhero films that brought nothing new to the table; not terrible (Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were terrible, actually), but not  memorable either, repeating storylines like the Weapon X program, the antagonistic “friendship” between Professor X and Magneto, and “love” triangle between Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey. Unfortunately, the latest outing, X-Men: Apocalypse is no exception, repeating yet again, many of these same story beats.

Repetition is what hits Apocalypse the hardest. Part of the problem is that the original X-Men trilogy and X-Men Origins: Wolverine used up many interesting characters just to cram new mutants into every movie, without any thought or plan put in place to continue their storyline like what Marvel has done with even minor characters like Scarlet Witch and Vision. They’re using Storm, Cyclops, and Jean Grey again? Yup, but this time it’s the origin (groan…). Haven’t I seen Nightcrawler, Angel, and Havok before? Again, yes, but they were one dimensional characters abandoned in the sequels that followed their initial appearance. X-Men Apocalypse Review Michael Fassbender as Magneto ErikAs alluded to earlier with my comments about Magneto having an almost 007 like adventure in the 1st half of First Class, I’ve always found Michael Fassbender’s version to be  the most interesting character in the X-Men Movie Universe (aside from ANY character from Deadpool), but here he has nothing to do. Sure, we see him with a new family that he loses (he says it right in the trailer to James McAvoy’s Professor Charlies Xavier in the trailer, so that ain’t a spoiler!), but how is this new trauma necessary when we’ve seen him losing his mother at Auschwitz twice before (with flashbacks again in this movie, for a 3rd go around)? Fassbender’s version of Magneto has been less interesting each film he’s in, so at this point his decision to go with the bad guy, and his on-again/off-again friendship with Charles are incredibly overplayed and uninteresting.

But Magneto’s just the tip of the iceberg: the film has a giant villain problem (and that’s not a reference to Apocalypse growing giant in the trailer). These bad guys are boring. Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) might as well not be in the movie at all. They’re left with nothing to do but pose during the dull and uninspired action scene that finally ends the film. X-Men Apocalypse Review All the VillainsEven worse, Apocalypse is just a boring villain, plain and simple. He wants to create a world where only Mutants survive? I haven’t seen that in about half the X-Men movies already…  Oscar Isaac does nothing to elevate the part, easily making this his worst film (because he’s usually so great!). And what exactly are his super powers? I’ve seen the movie but I couldn’t tell you what he can do and what he can’t.

The heroes are stronger than the villains, as far as characterization and giving them something to do, but even this department is repetitive as hell. Oh no, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) can’t control her powers, just the same as X-Men and X-2, and she’s not even given an origin (thankfully?). We see nearly the exact same scene of Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) getting his powers that was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And though I couldn’t wait for the Wolverine scene from the end of the final trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, it did give us the most animalistic version of the character, but it’s literally the same Weapon X escape we’ve seen twice before!X-Men Apocalypse Review Wolverine Hugh JackmanI apologize for repeating myself, but this movie is completely repetitive on every level and I guess I want to drive that point home. Oh boy, another Quicksilver scene set to a rock song. There’s Jenifer Lawrence using her star power to avoid the Blue Paint, negating the lesson she learned in First Class about being comfortable showing her true, blue self.  Oh, but here’s something new… we’ve never seen Professor X’s hair literally fall out of his head. That’s about as fresh as this movie gets.

Simply put, Apocalypse is not a bad movie, but it gives us nothing new and suffers from a weak villain and incredibly weak action. Director Bryan Singer is doing the bare minimum to bring you a safe Superhero Film that doesn’t take any risks or attempt to subvert the genre. This is the superhero genre at its most generic.

So, I will continue to wait until Fox can show me on the screen, what makes these characters so interesting in a comic panel. Except for Deadpool. Did I say I liked Deadpool? I like Deadpool.

5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars

 

STAR TREK BEYOND Trailer #2 HD Screengrabs!


You know me, I like Screengrabs (and they sell, baby!). Here are some I made on my own, originals if you will, covering EVERY shot in the trailer (mostly…mostly). Because I’m nothing if not a completist.

Yes, they are all HD. But these are moving pictures, kiddies, so sometimes they come out blurry. Trust me, I’m an expert.Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 PlanetStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Planet & EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Planet & Enterprise 3Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Planet & Enterprise 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer Captain Kirk Chris Pine HallwayStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Enters BridgeStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine and Bones Karl Urban DrinkStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine and Bones Karl Urban Drink 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer USS Enterprise WarpStar Trek Beyond Trailer USS Enterprise Warp FlashStar Trek Beyond Trailer USS Enterprise Warp 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Classic Yellow UniformStar Trek Beyond Trailer Captain Kirk Chris Pine at Starfleet HQStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 USS Enterprise Launch Tube StarfleetStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Spock Zachary QuintoStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Bones Karl UrbanStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Uhura Zoe SaldanaStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Simon Pegg Scotty Plugs In CablesStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enterprise Detaches from Space StationStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine and Bones Karl Urban On BridgeStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Bones Karl Urban Spock Look to StarsStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enterprise Shoots Into SpaceStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enterprise Shoots Into Space 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Swarm EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine WorriedStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Swarm Enterprise 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Swarm Enterprise 3Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Simon Pegg Scotty Plugs WorriedStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Swarm Enterprise 4Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Swarm Enterprise 5Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Explosion CrewStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Uhura Zoe Saldana WorriedStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Takes a BreathStar Trek Beyond Trailer Door Explodes Boarding Krall Idris ElbaStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Alien Boarding Party2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Alien Boarding Party1Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Escape Pods Shoot from EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Chekov Anton Yelchin in Escape PodStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Escape Pod LaunchStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Sulu Jon Cho in Escape PodStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Sulu Jon Cho in Escape Pod 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Bones Karl Urban In Escape PodStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Swarm Enterprise EngineStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Destroy EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enemy Ships Destroy Enterprise 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Alien PlanetStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Female Alien Fights Bad AliensStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Simon Pegg Scotty Plugs On Alien PlanetStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Uhura Zoe Saldana in Alien CityStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Idris Elba as KrallStar Trek Beyond Uhura Zoe Saldana and KrallStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Krall Idris Elba Talks to UhuraStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 starfleet under attack by alien shipsStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Uhura Zoe Saldana ScreamsStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Motorcycle Phasing TransporterStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine On MotorcycleStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Spock Zachary Quinto Talks to BonesStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Female Alien HeroStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Starfleet BaseStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Misses SwitchStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Starfleet Space Station Kirk Falls Chris PineStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Bones Karl Urban Talks to Spock Zachary QuintoStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Uhura Zoe Saldana Fights AlienStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Slides Down destroyed EnterpriseStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Slides down Enterprise 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Fires PhaserStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 New Female Alien Prepared to FightStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Jumps From ExplosionStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Idris Elba as Krall Reads Kirks FileStar Trek Beyond Trailer New Female Alien HeroStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enterprise Crew on Alien PlanetStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Uhura and Sulu on Alien PlanetStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Starfleet Space Station Kirk Under AttackStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Simon Pegg Scotty Talks to New female AlienStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Idris Elba as Krall 2Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Uhura Zoe Saldana Kisses SpockStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine New Uniform With PhaserStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Hold OnStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Sulu Hold OnStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Punch ItStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Captain Kirk Chris Pine Jumps MotorcylceStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enterprise Explodes 1Star Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enterprise ExplodesStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Enterprise Explodes 3Star Trek Beyond Trailer Space StationStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 New Female Alien ShoutingStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Bones Karl Urban Spock Uhura With PhasersStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 New Ship Swarmed By AliensStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 New Female Alien Sits in Kirks ChairStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 New Female Alien Sits in Captains ChairStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Bones Karl Urban Raised EyebrowStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Akward Spock and ChekovStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 Simon Pegg Scotty He Really Likes the ChairStar Trek Beyond Trailer 2 New Ship Flies Into SpaceStar Trek Beyond comes out in exactly two months, July 22nd!

STAR TREK BEYOND Trailer #2: No Ship, No Crew, No Problem!


Wow, it took them (Paramount) long enough, but we finally have our 2nd trailer AND the 1st poster for Star Trek Beyond!

Seeing as how the movie is only 2 months away, this is cutting it close for a full theatrical trailer, especially considering the teaser came out in time for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, over 5 months ago! Often, a lack of footage and poster this late in the game can spell trouble, so I’ve experienced some concern for the continuation of the Star Trek franchise these past months. The Teaser Trailer didn’t help; going with The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”instead of the classic orchestral score in every other recent Trek film, seemingly confirming Paramount wanted less of a Star Trek movie and something closer to Guardians of the Galaxy.Star Trek Beyond Captain Kirk Chris Pine Sulu Jon Cho Chekov Anton YelchinThankfully, the 2nd trailer for Star Trek Beyond has put my worries to rest. While I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness quite a bit, the new footage for Beyond has more character moments in it than that entire film (I’m sure Spock would see this as an exaggeration, not logic, but there you go)!

Go ahead and watch that trailer now!

I love the ties to the 1st film, bringing full circle Kirk’s father’s sacrifice and what it means for Jim to escape his father’s shadow and become his own man; the Jim Kirk who will go down in Star-Date Recordings as one of the greatest Starfleet Captains the Federation has ever had. Star Trek Beyond Bones Kirk Spock Chris Pine Karl Urban Zachary QuuintoThe new footage may include a motorcycle (which was present before), but this feels no less like Trek than J.J. Abrams’ two films, though this time Fast and Furious director Justin Lin is at the helm. All our favorite characters are back, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and Sulu (John Cho) along with the brand new kick-ass Alien Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and, of course, Idris Elba as the big baddie, Krall. Though Idris Elba may be completely covered in make-up/mask, it makes him no less intense, following in a line of what I consider to be 2 great villains, Nero (Eric Bana) and Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch).

The action’s there, the aforementioned character moments look great, and this is most definitely a Star Trek movie, not a Guardians wanna-be!

Star Trek Beyond hits the States on July 22nd, 2016! Check out the poster below and salivate.Star Trek Beyond Poster

A Layman’s Guide To The Returning Characters In CIVIL WAR: #TeamIronMan


If you are going to see Captain America: Civil War this weekend, or if you’re trying to figure out a few Civil War moments after seeing the film, and you haven’t memorized all the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films like myself; this catch-up will help you better understand the film’s many character threads and relationships!

This time it’s all #TeamIronMan (Read #TeamCap Guide HERE); those that alley with Tony Stark or share his viewpoints about the Sokovia Accords. Why is Tony Stark so guilty? Haven’t we seen William Hurt in these films before? What’s Vision’s deal again, Age of Ultron was so confusing!?!

Never fear! I’m here for you with a guide to all the returning players in Captain America: Civil War, from Iron Man to Thunderbolt Ross (Yes, William Hurt is a returning actor!). NO SPOILERS for Civil War. Many Spoilers for any earlier MCU film including the character we’re discussing.

Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)Captain America Civil War Tony Stark Iron Man Robert Downey JrMovies He’s In: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron

Powers: Super Intelligence allowing him to design weaponized suits allowing him flight, super-strength, and a wealth of weapons.

His Story So Far: Tony Stark has a lot to feel guilty for. As he admits to in the opening of Iron Man 3, he creates his own demons. He was the 1st Avenger made public in the modern age. He feels like he started it all, as he says in Age of Ultron.

Going into 2008’s Iron Man, Stark Industries was mainly a weapons manufacturer; that is until Tony Stark found himself wounded by one of the weapons his company produced. With shrapnel headed toward his heart, Stark invents a small version of the Arc Reactor, which keeps the shrapnel from reaching his heart. Not content with this, Tony utilizes the power of the Arc Reactor to power his Iron Man suits, of which he’s had over 45 since the 1st film.  He also scrapped the weapons program at Stark Industries due to guilt over the death of American soldiers, killed with the very weapons he created.

All of Stark’s enemies seem to be a creation of his actions, from those responding to his tech, to those challenging his power, or even those he screwed over in the past. We’re talking his old mentor Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger (Iron Man), Ivan Vanko/Whiplash & Justin Hammer (Iron Man 2), and Aldrich Killian (Iron Man 3). And that’s before we even get to Ultron!

Stark has experienced a lot since he announced to the world he was Iron Man, including great trauma following the Battle of New York in which he had to fly a nuclear bomb through an alien wormhole to save Earth (the one problem he didn’t create). He’s guilty over Stark Industries weapons, those he’s screwed who have become enemies (like Aldrich Killian), and most importantly, his creation of Ultron; an artificial intelligence that attempts to destroy the world by using the European City of Sokovia as a meteor. His guilt runs even deeper than that, based on the vision Scarlet Witch shows him in Age of Ultron, he’s convinced he will fail the Avengers, leading to their deaths and the impending invasion of Earth (Thanos is out there, ya’ll).

Such guilt leads to stupid decisions like creating Ultron, who ended up destroying Sokovia with countless civilian lives lost. By the end of Age of Ultron, Tony “retires” again, hoping to live a quiet life with his girlfriend and head of Stark Industries, Pepper Potts.  This after destroying all his suits in Iron Man 3 and having the Arc Reactor removed from his chest as a sign of good faith towards Pepper.

Finally, it is worth noting Tony has had a rocky relationship with his father, Howard Stark, who served along with Captain America during WWII and founded S.H.I.E.L.D. with Peggy Carter.

War Machine/James Rhodes (Don Cheadle)Captain America Civil War War Machine James Rhodes Don CheadleMovies He’s In: Iron Man (played by Terrance Howard), Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 (as Iron Patriot), Avengers: Age of Ultron

Powers: Not a scientific genius, but a well trained soldier in a suit with just as many weapons (if not more) as Iron Man.

His Story So Far: James Rhodes is a Colonel in the US Airforce and a long time friend of Tony Stark (long before Stark became Iron Man). Rhodes eventually got an Iron Man suit of his own when he stole one of Tony’s in Iron Man 2, only to have it retrofitted with more weapons by Justin Hammer.  Since then, he’s also been Iron Patriot, assisting Stark in defeating supervillains in both Iron Man 2 & 3, no matter his suit’s name. Unlike Stark, he starts as an officially sanctioned Military Weapon flying hundreds of missions for the US Government: he’s a soldier at heart, like Steve Rogers (albeit, with different outlooks on modern day governing bodies). He was even given the opportunity to help the Avengers at the Battle of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron, becoming a full fledged member of Captain America’s New Avengers by the end of the film.

Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) Captain America Civil War War Black Widow FightsMovies She’s In: Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Powers: Perhaps S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most lethal agent, she is extremely skilled in hand to hand combat. Also has “Stingers,” weapons that literally shock the enemy.

Her Story So Far: Black Widow is always the double Agent. Guilty over her past as an assassin, she has defected to S.H.I.E.L.D. after S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Clint Barton/Hawkeye recruited her instead of killing her on a mission. She has shown loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D. and after its collapse, Steve Rogers/Captain America. She was on the run with him after he was made a wanted man in The Winter Soldier, and she helped bring down the Hydra infected S.H.I.E.L.D. by dumping all its secrets onto the internet (“It’s trending.”).

Black Widow has always been a full fledged member of the Avengers, including in Age of Ultron, where she helped save the world,again, at the expense of Sokovia which was blown to smithereens. Black Widow has had close relationships with Hawkeye and Steve Rogers, but the only one she’s truly shown affection for was Bruce Banner, who disappeared after the events of Ultron.

Vision (Paul Bettany)Captain America Civil War War Vision Paul BettanyMovies He’s In: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Powers: Like Scarlet Witch, his powers are hard to lock down. He’s a “Synthetic,” with elements of Jarvis and Ultron’s psyche, powered by the “life respecting” Mind Stone on his forehead. Can phase in and out of physical forms to pass through walls and people, and can shoot a laser of sorts from his Mind Gem. Oh… and he can fly/hover.

His Story So Far: Paul Bettany started by playing JARVIS in Iron Man 1, 2, & 3, The Avengers, and even the beginning of Age of Ultron. JARVIS is Tony Stark’s program (not quite artificial intelligence) that runs his lab and his suits, named after his father, Howard Stark’s Butler. He’s been comic relief and a sort of sidekick for Stark since Iron Man (2008), becoming a weird combo of JARVIS’ personality, Ultron’s intelligence, and the Mind Stone’s power in the form of a “Synthetic” (robot of sorts) super being that has the already mentioned abilities.

Vision’s powers come from the Mind Stone, which was originally cased in Loki’s staff, also used to give Scarlet With her abilities.  Based on that and his rescue of Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron, the two share a close kinship; neither sure of the origin of their powers or their limits. Though he’s the only being, besides Thor, “worthy” enough to lift that Hammer, showing his attentions are good, he struggles to fit in with his “human” counterparts and makes his decisions entirely based on the loss of life. He is even regretful when killing Ultron, only doing it because he believes in life, knowing Ultron wishes to extinguish it.

General Thunder Bolt Ross (William Hurt)Captain America Civil War War Thunderbolt Ross William HurtMovies He’s In: The Incredible Hulk

Powers: Formally a General hellbent on stopping Bruce Banner/The Hulk, now he has the political powers that come with being the Secretary of State.

His Story So Far: Yes, Thunderbolt Ross is finally back; the 1st time since 2008’s Incredible Hulk. A General in that film, Ross is known for his hatred of The Hulk, especially since his daughter was dating Bruce Banner at the time of his “accident,” that turned Banner into a raging green monster.

While he doesn’t fight along #TeamIronMan, as you’ve seen in the trailers, Ross is now the Secretary of the State forcing the Sokovia Accords on The Avengers, who he sees as vigilantes now that S.H.I.E.L.D. and The World Security Council are gone.

Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) NO SPOILERS!Captain America Civil War Review Spider-ManMovies He’s In: 0!

Powers: Does whatever a spider can!

His Story So Far: This is a new Spider-Man! Don’t expect Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield! The MCU has a brand new Spider-Man, with none of the events in Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man films or the two Amazing Spider-Mans having any impact on this Captain America: Civil War. We all know his backstory: bit by a radioactive Spider, letting Uncle Ben die by not taking action in a robbery… that’s all you need to know!

Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) NO SPOILERS!Captain America Civil War Black Panther Chadwick BosemanMovies He’s In: 0! 

Powers: Wait and see!

His Story So Far: Nada!  Zilch! This is a brand new character you’ve never seen on the screen before. So I won’t say anything here, except… be prepare for something amazing!

Pepper Pots (Gweneth Paltrow)Iron Man 3 Pepper Potts Gwneth PaltrowMovies She’s In: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3.

Powers: None (anymore, she was kick-ass in Iron Man 3!). Tony Stark’s girlfriend and head of Stark Industries.

Her Story So Far: From Tony Stark’s Personal Assistant to head of Stark Industries, Pepper Potts has come a long way.  While Iron Man avoided having the two hook up, in Iron Man 2 Tony and Pepper finally kissed… and the rest is history. In Iron Man 3, Potts was bothered by Tony Stark’s obsession with his suits, leading him to destroy them all at the end. But since then, he’s not only came out of retirement in Age of Ultron, he created a robot that tried to wipe out the human race… you fill in the blanks…

Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper, Jon Slattery)Ant-Man Howard Stark john Slattery.pngMovies He’s In: Iron Man 2 (Slattery), Captain America: The First Avenger (Cooper), Ant-Man (Slattery), Agent Carter (ABC TV Show – Cooper)

Powers: Smarter than his son? Creator of Captain America’s Vibranium Shield.

His Story So Far: Neither #TeamCap, nor #TeamIronMan, just an important character from each hero’s past. After helping Steve Rogers during WWII and becoming and alley to Peggy Carter even after Captain America was lost (for 70 years), Howard was a founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. And… he was kind of a dick to his son. In Iron Man 2 he is shown as a father that cared more about his work than his son, while in Ant-Man shows him as a S.H.I.E.L.D. leader who desperately wants the OG Ant-Man, Hank Pym, to join S.H.I.E.L.D./give up his technology.  That’s why Hank Pym instills in new Ant-Man, Scott Lang, that you never trust a  Stark!

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) & The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)The Avengers Thor and the HulkMovie’s They’re In: Doesn’t matter! They’re MIA in Captain America: Civil War!

There you go, between this article and that about #TeamCap, you should know all you need to know about every returning character in Captain America: Civil War!

You’re welcome.

A Layman’s Guide To The Returning Characters In CIVIL WAR: #TeamCap


Captain America: Civil War is a bona fide hit! It made $179.1 Million opening weekend, Critics love it, and I love it! If you are going to see Civil War this weekend, or if you’re trying to figure out a few Civil War moments after seeing the film, and you haven’t memorized all the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films like myself; this catch-up will help you better understand the film’s many character threads and relationships.

We’ll start with #TeamCap; those that alley with Steve Rogers or are tied to the Captain America films (like Brock Rumlow). Why did Ant-Man and Falcon have that exchange? Why is Bucky such a polarizing a figure? Who is that burned dude? Haven’t I seen that Blond Agent before? What’s Scarlet Witch’s deal again, Age of Ultron was so confusing!?!

Never fear! I’m here for you with a guide to all the returning players in Captain America: Civil War, from Captain America to Agent 13. NO SPOILERS for Civil War. Many Spoilers for any earlier MCU film including the character we’re discussing.

Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)nullMovies He’s In: Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World (sort of…), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron

Powers: Super strength, enhanced reflexes, fast metabolism/healing (the man can’t get drunk), leadership skills, superhuman morality (I say that counts), a Shield made of the strongest metal on Earth, Vibranium.

His Story So Far: Steve Rogers was too scrawny to serve with his life-long friend Bucky in WWII, so he underwent an experiment in which a “Super Soldier Serum” not only made him the beefiest Avenger, but taller (along with the powers listed above)! After rescuing Bucky from the hands of Hydra, the two proved their bond was just as strong on the battlefield as it was growing up. Now known as Captain America, Steve Rogers receives his Vibranium Shield from Tony Stark’s father, Howard, a friend of his during the Great War. During the events of The First Avenger, Steve Rogers watches Bucky plummet to his assumed death. Rogers defeats the head of Hydra, Red Skull, stopping his attempt to to conquer the planet. In the process, Captain America crashes into the Arctic and is frozen for 70 years.

Captain America is awakened in an age of superheros (or “the enhanced”) in which a man with a weaponized suit of armor, a giant green monster, and an Alien with God-like powers are all known to the world. Under the direction of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the four heroes are brought together with two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to form The Avengers, just in time to stop an alien invasion. Though the aliens are dead, New York is decimated by damage from the battle. Even in saving the world,  Steve Rogers has reservations about organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D and the World Security Council which governs it.

Following the climatic Battle of New York in The Avengers, Steve Rogers finds himself as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., carrying out missions for Nick Fury and his bosses, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) and the World Security Council. While working for S.H.I.E.L.D. Rogers comes to blows with The Winter Soldier, a Hydra Agent who has been carrying out assassinations for the evil organization for years. Captain America learns that the Winter Soldier is actually Bucky, who survived the fall during WWII due to Hydra experimenting on him, was given a metal arm, brainwashed, and was frozen and then unfrozen for decades to carry out said assassinations. Cap also learns that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been Hydra all along (more or less), lead by Alexander Pierce who is himself controlling the Winter Soldier/Brain-Washed Bucky. With the help of allies including Black Widow, Sam Wilson/Falcon, Agent 13, and Nick Fury, Captain America destroys three automated Helicarriers that are targeting all of Hydra’s potential enemies. In the process, his team sends all three flying ships crashing into Washington DC below, with many casualties. Pierce is brought down, but not before killing the World Security Council and leading to the end of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the finale, The Winter Soldier and Steve Rogers fight, the latter refusing to kill his old friend in hopes he will remember him. In the end, Bucky does save Rogers from drowning, before disappearing without a trace. Let’s just say the whole process cemented Rogers’ concerns about government organizations and their control

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America fights alongside his old teammates to defeat the evil Artificial Intelligence, Ultron, created by Tony Stark and bent on destroying the human race. Rogers and The Avengers stop Ultron, but at the expense of a European City known as Sokovia. The death toll in Sokovia is higher than ever and by the end of the film Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Tony Stark/Iron Man leave the team in favor of Steve Rogers’ led “New Avegners,” made up of Black Widow, War Machine, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Vision.

The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)Captain America Civil War Bucky Barnes The Winter SoldierMovies He’s In: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Powers: Super strength, a metal arm that can even deflect bullets.

His Story So Far: Bucky Barnes grew up with Steve Rogers before he was Captain America, being the only one there for his friend when Steve lost his parents. Enlisting without his scrawny friend, Bucky’s unit is captured by Hydra. Captain America rescues his old friend, but not before Hydra’s best scientist, Dr. Armin Zola, experiments on poor Bucky. Bucky serves alongside Rogers in a unit known as The Howling Commandos, until he falls from a train-car into a canyon with a freezing river.

Bucky is rescued by Hydra, who experiment on him further, replacing a limb he lost in his fall with a metal arm. Now The Winter Solider, he is brainwashed and used by Hydra as an assassin for decades, kept in cryosleep  between missions. Eventually, The Winter Soldier battles his old friend, Steve Rogers/Captain America, confused when he is called Bucky. The Winter Soldier is brainwashed again and sent to prevent Captain America and his allies from crippling Hydra’s Helicarriers. The two old friends fight, and with Steve Rogers refusing to kill his old friend, he is defeated and plunges into the water below. The Winter Soldier rescues Steve Rogers, and though at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we do not know what Buck remembers as we see him inspecting his own memorial in the Smithsonian’s Captain America Exhibit.

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)Captain America Civil War Sam Wilson Falcon Anthony MackieMovies He’s In: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man

Powers: Special Flight Suit that resembles a Falcon, with wings that can act as a Shield, and googles which increase his eye sight.

His Story So Far: In The Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson is a Veteran who meets Steve Rogers, and the pair quickly become friends. When Captain America learns S.H.I.E.L.D. is actually Hydra, he seeks out Wilson as his number of allies are limited. Falcon more than pulls his weight, taking down one of the Helicarriers, before having his wing ripped off and being thrown from a Helicarrier by the Winter Soldier. Falcon survives the fall and fights Hydra Agent Brock Rumlow in the S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ building, winning only when the building collapses and he escapes!

In Age of Ultron, Sam Wilson is carrying on the search for Bucky following the events of The Winter Soldier. At the end of the film though, Falcon is revealed to be one of Captain America’s New Avengers. Finally, in Ant-Man, Falcon is beaten by Scott Lang/Ant-Man while trying to defend the New Avengers Compound. Wilson takes note of the tiny Superhero, in case he is ever needed to assist the Avengers.

Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner)Captain America Civil War Hawkeye Clint Barton Jeremy RennerMovies He’s In: Thor, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron

Superpowers: Best character with a bow and arrow in the history of cinema (suck it, Legolas  and Katniss!). Also has a variety of arrows for many uses.

His Story So Far: Hawkeye is a former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who served with the Avengers in both the 1st film and Age of Ultron. In Ultron, he is saved by Scarlet Witch’s brother, Quicksilver at the cost of Quicksilver’s life. For this reason and the pep talk he gave Scarlet Witch during the battle that destroyed Sokovia, he has become closer to her than perhaps anyone but Vision. Clint Barton has a secret family kept even off S.H.I.E.L.D.’s books which he retires to at the end of Age of Ultron.

Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen)Captain America Civil War Scarlet Witch Wanda Maximoff Elizabeth OlsenMovies She’s In: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (post-credits scene), Avengers: Age of Ultron

Powers: The true limits of Scarlet Witch’s powers are unknown. She is able to move objects with her mind, create telekinetic shields, and induce crippling images of your worst nightmare.

Her Story So Far: Wanda Maximoff and her brother volunteered to be experimented on by Hydra after a bomb made by Stark Industries kills her parents. Using Loki’s Staff from The Avengers, she and her brother are the only survivors of Hydra’s experiment, endowed with extraordinary powers making them the newest “Enhanced.” Due to their hate for Stark, “The Twins” team with Ultron until Scarlet Witch realizes his goal is to destroy the world. Siding with The Avengers, she helps defeat Ultron, but at the cost of her brother’s life and her entire city, Sokovia.

Wanda shares a special relationship with Vision because their powers both come from the same place; Loki’s Staff revealed to be the Mind Stone. She also sees Hawkeye as a sort of mentor after his speech to her during the Battle of Sokovia. By the end of Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch is a member of the New Avengers.

Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd)Captain America Civil War Ant-Man Scott Lang On Arrow Paul RuddMovies He’s In: Ant-Man

Powers: The ability to shrink and return to normal size instantly at the push of a button, with extreme super-strength and speed when tiny. Can also “control”Ants with his helmet.

His Story So Far: Scott Lang is a known felon, recruited by the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, to take up his mantle and save the world. Ant-Man fights Falcon and wins, when he is sent to the Avengers compound to steal some Stark Tech. Taught by Hank Pym never to trust a Stark, Lang still hears through the grapevine at the end of the film that there may be an Avenger interested in recruiting him.

Agent 13/Sharon (Emily VanCamp)Captain America Civil War Agent 13 Sharon Carter Emily VanCamp and Martin FreemanMovies She’s In: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Powers: None, but a former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent with incredible fighting skill.

Her Story So Far: Sharon aka Agent 13, was the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury put in charge of watching Captain America prior to the fall of Hydra. Living across the hall from Rogers, posing as a nurse, Agent 13 is the 1st to respond when Nick Fury is shot by the Winter Soldier in Steve Rogers’ apartment. After Hydra was revealed to be S.H.I.E.L.D. she was one of the primary Agents that sided with Captain America in order to take down the Hydra Agents and prevent the launch of Hydra’s lethal Helicarriers. Though there was some sexual tension between her and Rogers, and Black Widow recommended to Steve that he ask her out, the pair have never even kissed.

Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell)Captain America: The First AvengerMovies She’s In: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-ManAgent Carter (MCU Short), Agent Carter (ABC TV Series)

Superpowers: None, strong WWII Agent and Founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Her Story So Far: Peggy Carter was partially responsible for selecting scrawny Steve Rogers for the Super Soldier Program. She served with Rogers and Howard Stark during WWII, the latter two being S.H.I.E.L.D.’s founding members. Peggy was in love with Steve, but she never got that dance she was promised when Steve Rogers plunged that plane into the Arctic, saving the world. She was an important Agent during the Cold War as well, being an important decision maker at S.H.I.E.L.D. through the 80’s. When Steve Rogers finally catches up with her after he is unfrozen in The Winter Soldier,  she is an old woman in a hospital bed, suffering from extreme dementia. At least these two have kissed (when she was young, you sicko!).

Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo)Brock Rumlow Captain America The Winter Soldier Frank GrilloMovies He’s In: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Powers: None, just a well trained special forces Hydra Agent who worked with Captain America long enough to know his moves and what makes him tick.

His Story So Far: This one isn’t #TeamCap at all, but a villain from the Captain America film franchise. Brock Rumlow was Captain America’s right hand man as leader of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team STRIKE. He ran countless missions with Steve Rogers and was the first one sent to take in Captain America when Rogers started having doubts about S.H.I.E.L.D. When Hydra was revealed, he fought to defend it, coming to blows with Sam Wilson before having S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ dropped on him. Though badly burned, at the end of Winter Soldier, we see that Rumlow has survived.Brock Rumlow Burned Captain America The Winter Soldier

That’s really all you need to know about all the characters that make up #TeamCap (more or less)! Read our Leyman’s Guide to #TeamIronMan NOW!