Over twenty years ago I took my little brother to the first Pokémon movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back. Back then Pokémon was a fad; it was going to be a flash in the pan and then kids would be on to the next thing. Of course that did not happen. Pikachu is one of the most recognizable cartoon mascots in the world and Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a blockbuster with a massive $150 Million budget hoping to gross over $450 Million worldwide. Even more surprising? It is a good movie.
Detective Pikachu is about Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) who has to visit Ryme city to deal with his father’s recent death. His father Harry, a detective, died in a car crash, but things get complicated when Tim happens across a Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) he can understand that tells him Harry is alive and that they need to solve the mystery of why Harry’s death was faked to save his life.
Detective Pikachu has kind of been billed as Deadpool for kids and that makes sense considering they share a lead in Ryan Reynolds. However, while the jokes do come fast and furious at times, I would say these are still two very different films. Deadpool does have its charms and a bigger heart than most people give it credit for; Detective Pikachu is more of a sweet kids movie. Pikachu and Tim are earnestly looking to build connections in their lives and this movie is about their relationship.
While the base movie fine, the real stars of Detective Pikachu are the fully realized Pokémon. They look great and they act exactly like you would expect them to. In fact, I wish the movie was more about them. I know this is a common complaint for these types of movies – more Transformers in the Transformers movies, more Smurfs in the Smurfs movies, but the Pokémon are so good that it is hard not to want more time with them.
The biggest flaw with Detective Pikachu is that the story is pretty generic, but it is saved by charismatic leads and cute little monsters. If you don’t like Pokémon this movie may not work as well for you, but if like me you have been around the franchise for over twenty years it is a fun experience. It also seems to work for younger children as well, my five year old loved it, so it looks like a winner for families. I am ready for more live action Pokémon movies!
I have every belief that John Wick was supposed to be a one time low budget action movie, but with the hope that it would catch on like a revenge fueled Liam Neeson. Never in their wildest dreams did they think it would be a summer blockbuster, but here we are. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is the first movie to take the number one box-office spot away from Avengers: Endgame, and it may hold its own against a slumping live action Aladdin this Memorial Day weekend. Why? Because it is awesome.
Much like John Wick: Chapter 2, Chapter 3 takes place moments after the last one ends. John Wick has been ousted from the Continental and declared excommunicado by the High Table. There is a massive bounty on his head, and he has one hour to make a plan to survive. The plan he comes up with involves killing a lot of people. So many people.
Much like Chapter 2, the story telling isn’t flawless. They explain too much of the lore surrounding the John Wick universe for my taste, and in order to explore that lore the movie takes a second act detour that ends up going nowhere. Had he not gone down that rabbit hole nothing would have changed, but it doesn’t matter much because they deliver on what the fans are in their seats for: none stop action.
There are so many amazingly choreographed action sequences it is hard to pick a favorite, and even if I could I wouldn’t spoil it for you. They say they got even more planed for Chapter 4, and I am here for it. John Wick: Chapter 2 upped the ante of the first John Wick, and now Chapter 3 (Parabellum) has upped it again. With the only let downs being the unwieldy name and some iffy plot points. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum may not be perfect, but it is more than worth your money.
Avengers: Endgame feels like an impossible movie to review. Either you have spent the last decade at least partially keeping up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or you have not. If you have, Endgame is a great way to put a bow on the last eleven years of films and clear the slate for the next eleven. If you have not, it is all noise and references to things that don’t make any sense. Which makes it a unique piece of media.
Avengers: Endgame picks up right after Avengers: Infinity War. Our heroes have failed, and they are struggling with their failure. Though they wouldn’t be the Avengers if they didn’t Avenge something from time to time, so they assemble to save the universe one more time.
I am not going to lie, while I found a lot of moments in this picture really moving, the character work is really great, I have a lot of problems with the plot. Problems I cannot get in to without spoiling the movie. Just know that while you are watching it everything seems to hold together, but afterwards don’t think about anything too hard, or it all turns in to mush.
At the end of Avengers: Infinity War it was no accident that the original Avengers were the ones that survived. Because Endgame is about those heroes’ journey to where they are now, and how they have grown and changed. The new class will get their movies, this was one more trip with Cap, Tony and the gang. Plus, Rocket and Nebula. So, it is not surprising that the best parts of this movie are those characters interacting with one another. Everything that is not that those interactions is a little sketchy.
Endgame had me laughing, cheering, and crying, so in that regard it was a success, and it is a must watch for anyone with even a passing interest in Marvel’s films. What the Russo brothers did to tie up all these plot threads in the last two movies is astounding. It is an incredible achievement for them and Marvel’s producing team, but not quite all those pieces fit together as nicely as they want us to think they did. Though I am still quite excited to see what Marvel brings us next!
Sometimes from the beginning people hear of a movie, and they are like, “That is a bad idea.”, but given some time people come around. Like Detective Pikachu, but sometimes it is just a bad idea. I give you exhibit A: The live action Sonic The Hedgehog trailer:
Oh man this looks bad. Sonic looks like an unlicensed knockoff, and they just let Jim Carrey off of his leash to try and salvage things. Then they spoil the movie’s twist for no apparent reason. Anyway, I know one movie I will not be watching come November. Though you are welcome to disagree.
Oh man this movie. The first Fantastic Beasts movie wasn’t perfect, but it was fun, and it expanded the Wizarding World in some interesting ways, but Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald flushes that all down the toilet. It takes a fun, wonderous, and exciting world and makes it sad, muddled, and boring.
In the Crimes of Grindelwald, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes from wizard jail, so he can kill babies and talk to people. Sooo much talking, and it is not just Grindelwald who talks to everyone, everyone wants to hunker down and chat about ‘serious’ things. Oh yeah, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his beasts are here from time to time.
The Crimes of Grindelwald feels like the middle part of a long book where they are introducing new characters and growing old ones, so that the climax will have more meaning. The problem is that they don’t really have time for any of that in this movie, so people just kind of show up and we are supposed to care about them, and then nothing happens and the movie ends because they don’t have time for the climax either.
It was also strange that they replaced Newt with Grindelwald as the protagonist of the film. Newt is just trying to find Tina (Katherine Waterston) and doesn’t really care that much about what is happening until he is forced to. Which means we are forced to watch Jonny Depp growl and snarl his way through dialog as he executes his ‘plan’.
There are so many things wrong with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald that I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. It is a real shame too because Edie Redmayne is still great as Newt, and he is a cool character. Had this movie continued to focus on him and his beasts, Warner Bros probably would have had another hit on its hands, but instead we are getting the dark, grim and worst of all boring prequel to the fun stories about The Boy Who Lived. Unlike the babies in this movie. They died.