FlixChatter Review: AQUAMAN (2018)

I’m not the biggest comic book reader, in my younger years I’ve only read Batman and The Punisher comics. So, I’ve only learned about Aquaman from the show Entourage. During that show’s second season, its star ended up playing Aquaman and fans of the comic were hoping an actual film based on the character would be a reality soon. That’s over 10 years ago and now fans can finally see the super hero from the ocean make a splash on the big screen worldwide.

In a long and very cheesy opening, we learned how Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) became a super hero known as Aquaman. One day his father Tom (Temuera Morrison) found his wounded mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) on the shore of the ocean. Atlanna told Tom she’s from an ancient city under the ocean called Atlantis, I didn’t really pay attention as to why she decided to come to the surface. Anyhoo, Tom and Atlanna fell in love and had a son and they named him Arthur. One day the army from Atlantis came and took Atlanna back to her home land.

Years later, Arthur is now a full-grown man and known to earthlings as Aquaman. The story took place after the events of Justice League. One day a princess named Mera (Amber Heard) came to the surface and asked Arthur to come to Atlantis and claim his place as the king of the ocean. She also needs his help to stop Arthur’s half brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) from starting a war that could wipe out everyone living on the surface of the ocean. Reluctantly, Arthur agreed to go with Mera and both must face many obstacles in order to save the world from a mad king.

Five screenwriters were credited with the story, yet the plot of the film is a very simple one. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before and some of the dialogs were very cheesy. Now maybe that’s the goal of this film, many people have complained that DC films are way too dark and serious, so they’ve decided to make this one a very light and cheesy. Director James Wan took inspirations from many films including Star Wars, Avatar, Indiana Jones, Tron: Legacy, Batman Begins and countless others that I couldn’t think of right now. And that’s my main gripe with the film, I don’t mind when a director decided to copy other films, but I expect them to re-interpret it as their own. Wan decided to just copy films that I mentioned, in fact there were two sequences in the film that he stole from Tron: Legacy and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. His pacing is also a bit off, at almost 2 and half hours long, a lot of scenes could have been cut out.

Performance wise, Momoa is definitely the main draw. He looked like he had a great time playing the silly super hero and his charisma really help made this film watchable. Veterans such as Kidman, William Defoe, Dolph Lundgren and Morrison also looked like they had a good time in the film. Unfortunately, the other leads Heard and Wilson looked too stiff or bored in their respective roles. I didn’t really see any chemistry between Heard and Momoa, mostly because I thought heard just looked too stiff in the role. Wilson’s villain is another long line of one-dimensional superhero antagonist and he looked bored.

I think the only saving grace for this film is its beautiful effects, with limitless budget, Wan and his team did a great job of creating the underwater world. They also did a great job with the 3D effects, heck I thought this film might have been one of the best I’ve seen in 3D. I didn’t really hate Aquaman, it’s just too long and kind of a mess. With more originality in the script and action scenes, it could’ve a been a fun superhero film.

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So have you seen AQUAMAN? Well, what did you think?

FlixChatter Review: CREED II (2018)

The first Creed film was a big hit with both audiences and critics, so of course a sequel must be made. I was skeptical with the first film, but it blew me away and when it was announced that the sequel will be about Creed vs. Drago, I was pretty excited. I’m sure most fans of the Rocky franchise will tell people that Rocky 1 or 2 is their favorite because those films were considered more prestigious than the later sequels. But Rocky 4 is my favorite in the series. So, a rematch of Creed and Drago got me all pumped to see this film.

After becoming a world champ boxer, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is living the high life with his beautiful girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thomson) and father figure Rocky (Sly Stallone). While in the Ukraine, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) trains his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) to take down Creed. With the help of a boxing promoter Buddy Marcelle (Russell Hornsby), the Dragos challenges Creed to a match that the boxing world has been waiting to see for over three decades. Adonis is considering taking up the challenge because he believes this will be a revenge for his father’s death he always wanted. Rocky on the hand, fears that Adonis might not be able to beat Victor and don’t want to lose another person who is very close to him and basically the only family he has left.

The screenplay by Stallone and Juel Taylor were very well-written. Even though the storyline is pretty straightforward, they were able to focus more on the characters and it worked for me. The focus this time around is family and we see the struggle Adonis and Bianca is going through once they got married and became parents. Rocky and Adonis also have to deal with their sometime difficult father and son like relationship. I really appreciate that they gave the Dragos some backstory, so they’re not just one-dimensional villains. Fans of the franchise will probably recognize some of the elements from Rocky 3 and 4 were integrated into this one.

Stepped into the director’s chair this time is Steven Caple Jr. and I thought he did a pretty decent job. With the template set by the first film’s director Ryan Coogler, Caple just have to follow it. I thought he should’ve come up with a better way of filming the fight scenes though. The boxing scenes weren’t bad, I just wish they came up with something more creative.

I was most impressed with the performances by the lead actors. Jordan and Thomson have such an amazing chemistry that I really believe they’re real couple. Mid way through the film, they both shared a dialog free and heartbreaking scene that almost made me tear up with them. Stallone could play Rocky in his sleep. He’s more of side character this time around, but he’s always great when he’s on screen. I really enjoy his chemistry with Jordan. Both Lundgren and Munteanu didn’t get a lot of screen time but I thought they delivered a pretty decent performance.

I’ve seen this film twice now and I feel like it’s as good as the first one. I gave that film 4.5 stars but I’m giving this one half a star less mostly because there’s nothing new we haven’t seen before and it’s predictable. But it’s well made and I truly loved the performances by the three leads. If there’s another film, I’m pretty sure a third Creed film will get made, let’s hope they come up with a more refreshing storyline like the first one.

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So have you seen CREED II? Well, what did you think?