October 6, 2019
MBW is away on business. Thus, as you may have guessed by now, this web log post will consist of movie reviews.
The HA stayed at home with me. Thus I was unable to indulge in lengthy film binges, having to wait until I’d put the HA to bed before starting the evening’s flick. So, only three entries for you, reader, this time.
First up, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. The first two movies constructed a unique, stylized fictional universe. The third film was thus able to dispense with any exposition or world building and dives right into what is essentially two hours worth of fight scenes. And I was okay with that. The character arcs, plot, and world building were innocuous, too stylish and fresh to be pedestrian, but still consisting of recognizable genre trope. The second film indulged itself in expanding the mythology of this world. I cared less for the second film, but it did perform all the heavy lifting needed for the third film.
Look, the entire thing was silly. No one had any real motivation, no character was provided a believable backstory. The plot made no sense, the screenwriters didn’t even bother creating segues between scenes. And none of that mattered. Watching Keanue Reeves kill several dozen foes in creative fashion over the course of the running time was sheer pleasure.
We seem to be set for the fourth installment, wherein John Wick takes down the Continental. My guess: the Concierge will switch sides at the end, becoming the Manager himself and offering the job of Concierge to John Wick.
Second, Alita: Battle Angel. I am unfamiliar with the source material for this live action anime. If I had been familiar with it, I might not have been so unpleasantly surprised that I did not get a complete story. Instead this appears to be part one of an epic that will probably never get part two. Other than that, I suppose I have few complaints about this Rollerball (the remake) meets Real Steel meets the CliffsNotes version of Ghost in the Shell. It was, in keeping with recent James Cameron tradition, pretty but stupid, aided by Robert Rodriguez’s kinetic direction. I had no expectations for this film. For the best, since there is little substance. The world doesn’t make much sense, but it doesn’t really need to in order to provide a backdrop for wild Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots action. So, meh. But on the enjoyable side of meh.
Third, X-Men: Dark Phoenix. It has been decades since I read this story arc in the comics. As I recall it was a vast, galaxy spanning epic in which entire planetary civilizations were destroyed. (Correct me if I misremember.) This adaptation shows either a lack of budget, or an utter lack of imagination from the film makers. This is a wet squib of a film. It conveys no sense of peril. The cast of dozens fails to convince the audience of any iminent consequences. It doesn’t help that so many events are supposed to be internal, as indicated by the actors emoting with contorted features. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender perform heroically, which is impressive given the paucity of material they had to work with. Sophie Turner, however, doesn’t seem up to the task of carrying the lead role. Other than getting Jennifer Lawrence out of having to reprise her role in any future X-Men outings, there seems little point to this entire film.