It took a long time for DC to get the formula right for a fun, light-heated adventure like ‘Shazam!’, but here we are! In a world saturated by superhero movies, one rises up to prove itself to be a little different than the rest, and that turns out to be a good thing. It is hard to believe we came a long way from the dark, grey matter that was ‘Man of Steel’ to a bright and colorful rainbow known as ‘Shazam!’; it has the makings of ‘Big’ if it were a superhero movie and has the giddy childlike nature to show, but does not risk its intensity and punches to make for an entertaining action movie.
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As of late, Marvel Studios’ newest installment ‘Captain Marvel’ has been the subject of political discussion and controversy. Most of the haters who do not tolerate what star Brie Larson had to say (if she said it) took to Rotten Tomatoes to bash the film, mere weeks before it came out. Yet, it has not stopped the film from being a cultural and financial phenomenon, becoming one of the highest-grossing female-led movies of all time; grossing close to $400 million worldwide, and showing no signs of stopping.
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It has been (almost) fourteen years since ‘The Incredibles’ was released in theaters; I say “almost”, because the first film was released sometime in November, whereas, this sequel was released in June. However, since superhero movies have been the new “Summer Blockbuster”, last month was a perfect way to ring in the summer. Let me just tell you that ‘Incredibles 2’ is a delight from start to finish. Not only does the animation look as clean and fresh as ever, but the film is pretty darn entertaining, both as a superhero movie, and as a family comedy!
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Believe it or not, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is the seventeenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; and the franchise does not seem to be slowing down. However, since 2014’s surprise hit ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, Marvel Studios has felt the need to fuse the action genre with more comedic elements. That does not seem to be a bad thing, since audiences still seem to have a blast at the movies every time. I even enjoyed ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ with all the jokes and some of the spectacle it had to offer, more so than the previous ‘Thor’ movies. While ‘Thor’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’ had spectacular visuals and humor to even the tension, those movies were quite fine with what they gave us. I will go so far as to say that ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is a fast-paced, humorous, and somewhat epic ride, thanks to director Taika Waititi’s energy and Mark Mothersbaugh’s score.
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Gal Gadot may be a sight on screen, with her lush lips, flowing locks of black hair, and ability to kick ass, yet so is the gorgeously shot atmosphere that feels like a breath of fresh air after trudging through the grey area in ‘Man of Steel’, the dimly-lit/darkened hallway of ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (where Gadot first appeared as Wonder Woman in a supporting role in order to set up the ‘Justice League’), and the neon-drenched city of ‘Suicide Squad’ (I would say we shrunk ourselves through a rainbow of colorful bricks in the play set for ‘The Lego Batman Movie, yet whether you count is an addition to the DC Expanded Universe is up to you. I assure you, it’s not.). It feels like it has been forever since we experienced the beauty of being outside again, and director Patty Jenkins has given us something to admire. (Even though I had a good time in the city of ‘Suicide Squad’, and will come back again when the sequel comes out.) The air of Themyscira is fresh, while the atmosphere of London, England during WWI is busy in the daytime, yet quiet and peaceful at night, with the occasional fight/riot to give us an adrenaline rush.
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It’s a funny coincidence how two superhero movies are playing over the same weekend. Not only that, but the two superheroes I am talking about have been long overdue for a movie. While almost everyone else is seeing ‘Wonder Woman’ – which took 75 years to bring to the big screen as a solo effort (She had a ‘Lego’ incarnation of her in ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘The Lego Batman Movie’, as well as a supporting role in ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’) – I went to watch my childhood dream come true, with ‘Peanuts Movie’ style of brightly colored animation and funny juvenile humor that captures the original source material’s spirit without trying to be too serious. (‘Baywatch’ should have taken notes.)
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I was excited for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ after seeing the first major trailer which showed the original cast (including the likes of Chris Pratt, a green-skinned/sexy Zoe Saldana, an excitable Dave Bautista, a CGI-raccoon with Bradley Cooper’s close-to-Italian accent, and a tiny version of one of everyone’s favorite repetitive could-be annoyances in tree form.) doing some action/comedy exercises intercut with Sweet’s ‘Fox on the Run’. I was given more exciting action, humor, brightly colored footage compared to the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s dimly lit cinematography, and excitement that thrilled me.
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