Annihilation (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply. 
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Natalie Portman as Lena. She is a biologist and former soldier, Kane’s wife. It’s been some time since Kane went on his mission and Lena has dealt with his absence in a quiet torturous kind of way. She keeps to herself, she always seems sad and when he returns, she takes it upon herself, after she’s taken to the facility, to find out what happened to him. Throughout the movie, we see her think quick on her feet, use her military background to make tough and smart choices and we see her use her biologist brain to learn about The Shimmer. I think Lena is an interesting character in that she’s kind of quiet, and you’re not sure if you like her or not, but she’s a survivor and usually those types of characters can be a hit or miss and I think because Natalie Portman is likable, she keeps Lena likable. I thought Portman was really strong in this movie and share carries it very well. The action she had to do was cool, the emotions she conveyed I felt. I mean, I think she’s always good.
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dr. Ventress. She is a psychologist and the leader of the expedition. She’s weird but she has her own agenda for leading the expedition. She’s also quiet, similar to Lena but you definitely don’t really trust her and what she might do. She seems really harmless but I would never let my guard down around her. We learn things about her,that reveal her reasoning and it begins to make sense. I don’t think I’ve really seen Jennifer Jason Leigh in much (outside of A Single White Female and I don’t know if I saw the entire film) but she has this uncanny ability to be very unsettling and she has a great scene at the end of the film.
  • Gina Rodriguez as Anya Thorensen. She’s a paramedic who goes on the mission because she’s one of the few who doesn’t have anything to lose. Anya is the cool one, who seems always up for anything, but she’s strong. She tries to protect her team, mostly Josie as she seems like the youngest and Cass. Anya is the first one to show being affected by their time in The Shimmer and it’s interesting to see that development. She has some pretty badass moments too. I’ve never seen Gina Rodriguez in anything, but she seems really likable and she is. This character I think is likable because she’s the tough one, but Gina really gives her some humanity and when we see the decay… she plays that really well.
  • Tessa Thompson as Josie Radek. She’s a physicist and I think the youngest of the group. At least it seems that way, everyone is very protective of her. We learn a few things about her too along the way, and I can’t help but to feel protective of her as well. I think Tessa Thompson does a good job making her characters stand out by being someone you root for even if she isn’t the lead. Josie is smart, but it’s easy to see that what she sees in The Shimmer unsettle her and she just wants to learn and understand. She also has a badass moment.
  • Tuva Novotny as Cass Sheppard. Cass is a surveyor and geologist. She seems like she’s the oldest of the group Lena meets. She, like the other women has a sad past, she’s at the site as a way of escaping just like the others. She is the one who reveals back story information to Lena. She was cool and though I’ve never seen the actress in anything before, I thought she was able to be this person who felt like she’s seen a lot.
  • Oscar Isaac as Kane, Lena’s husband and a soldier in a previous expedition. I love Oscar Isaac, no matter what he does, he’s such a great actor. When we first see him, he seems strange, like something is off about him which makes you want to know how he managed to make it out from the Shimmer. In the present, he spends a lot of the movie in a coma, but we do get to see flashbacks, as well as video footage of him inside the Shimmer. He’s always great and he always finds the balance of being a bit off and being the kind of guy who is adventurous and curious as he seems to be in the flashbacks.
Visuals. I think one of the best things about this movie is the visuals. It’s very beautiful in a lot of ways. It has some scary and gross imagery, and with me being a punk for nasty looking stuff, its gross. but a lot of it is also very beautiful. There is a scene where the group goes to this small town looking place, and you see these flower statue things and it was really weird but beautiful. Not to mention, what happened to Josie was handled really pretty. BUT like I said, the scary imagery, for me was definitely freaky.
The Soundtrack. I thought the music was handled really well. Especially in scenes of exploration, it had this kind of serene feel to it but at the same time, it was alien. There were times where the music overpowered the movie, where it was really loud, I don’t know if that was on purpose, but it definitely made me react to certain things in ways that I might not have without the music. Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow did a good job with the music.
Thought Provoking. This is the kind of movie that would leave people talking afterwards. Some will not like it, some will and some will see the depth of the story and create their own theories and ideas of the ending especially. I think that’s the making of an interesting movie in any aspect. My friends and I were definitely talking about the ending and what we thought it meant. We also chatted about what was really going on and what the aim was with The Shimmer. It was so interesting
Danger is Real. Inside The Shimmer is creepy okay. There were a lot of beautiful things that were evolved from things we know into something else but there were also some dangerous things that became even more dangerous. There are two scenes in particular that deal with the same thing that had me on edge. Between the acting, the visuals and the music/sound… it was so heightened.
The Lighthouse. Just the entire scene in the lighthouse is amazing. All of it. Probably my favorite sequence in the entire film.
Cons:
The Story. Now, I’m not the type of person to tell someone “Oh you just didn’t get it” because I think that’s condescending. Now, I may ask questions to get your thoughts on something but I will never say those other words. But, I do think the movie tries too hard to be… different that in ways it just feels like a giant question mark. Maybe that’s the point but it’s also really frustrating. Answers are not given and I think the movie thinks it’s giving answers, but instead it’s just vague and cryptic.
Boring/Starts off Slow. I do think this movie is really boring in the beginning. I like set up, I like to see characters in their natural element before they are suddenly put in a situation that it nothing they’re used to, but I still want to be interested in their life before. I don’t think the movie picks up until they go into The Shimmer. Everything before that, was really boring, really slow and while I was curious to see what was going to happen, I didn’t really care. If you like action and adventure, while this movie has that, that’s not the focus. Especially at the beginning.
The Flashbacks. Throughout the movie, we got these little flashback scenes of Lena and another man. Without going into detail, when we first saw it, I went “huh?” and when they showed it again, I kind of rolled my eyes. I get why it was there, it showed a bit more into Lena’s reasons BUT I don’t think we needed to see it. Honestly, the moment at the beginning was enough for a viewer to infer what might have happened.
Overall, I enjoyed watching Annihilation, I think it’s an interesting movie that I’m sure people will either love or hate, I don’t know how much middle ground there’ll be. I liked it. My friends and I did talk about it afterwards, with our own theories, and I even asked a coworker who read the book, some questions but after that, I moved on. I’m sure some people will talk about it for ages. The acting was very good, the characters were interesting and I’m curious to see what happened after the end, I hope there’ll be a sequel. The visuals were stunning and I bet seeing this movie in IMAX would be beneficial for the sight of it alone. I thought the music really helped set the atmosphere for the film, especially when in the Shimmer. The danger felt real. Also, the lighthouse, the entire scene was amazing. However, I do think the story is confusing on some levels, mostly because it leaves a lot of things open-ended, or open to interpretation, it’s hard to really get what the movie is saying. I think it’s talking about evolution in a lot of ways, testing the strength of a person but the journey to get there is a question mark at times. I also think it starts off slow and gets a bit boring as the pacing slows down. Lastly, the flashbacks of Lena and the other man, I felt were unnecessary. It just padded the film more. Overall, I liked Annihilation.
Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars.
I read that the studio wanted this movie to go on Netflix. After watching it, I can see why they would want that, it does feel like it could have been an awesome Netflix movie but I think it’s worth seeing in the theaters… if it’s still in the theaters. This review is overdue lol.
But have you seen Annihilation? Do you think it should have been a Netflix film?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments and don’t forget to like and follow this blog.
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Ready Player One (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts / Parzival. He is a Gunter, someone who is searching for the Easter eggs within the Oasis “Egg Hunter= Gunter”. He lives in the stacks of Columbus, Ohio and his real life is kind of meh, so he finds a lot of his relief within in the Oasis. Wade lives and breathes the Oasis, he loves it, he looks up to Halliday and the things he creates and loves. He also loves nostalgic things, particularly from the 80s. Wade is likable and Parzival is cool. We get to see him do some really cool things while in the virtual world. I like Tye Sheridan a lot, I’ve always kept my eye on him and films he’s doing and I think he’s good in the role. He’s likable and I think Wade could easily come off as unlikable or annoying but I think Tye who seems almost “too cool” for the role, manages to still feel like a teenager in this world. He also has some great facial expressions and I like his delivery of dialogue.
Parzival
  • Olivia Cooke as Samantha Cook / Art3mis. She is a famous Gunter who works with various allies to try to keep the OASIS free and out of IOI’s hands. She is enigmatic when we first meet her, she’s cool, she’s obviously been doing this a long time as she’s able to do some really cool things with really cool tools. She has a reason as to why she’s trying to win the contest, in ways, its noble and she has her mind-set on it. Tunnel vision in a way. However, compared to Wade, she has a distinct plan on what she wants. We do meet Samantha and she’s pretty much just as cool as Art3mis, she’s just a bit more self-conscious. She’s smart, quick on her feet and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. I’ve only seen Olivia Cooke in one film, I believe and I like her. She’s a good actress, I think she is emotional and you can feel it. She does a lot with her eyes, which is what I praised I think in my Me and Earl and the Dying Girl review.
Art3misSupporting Characters. We have our supporting characters who are all fun when they’re on screen. I believe at least two of them has either a really cool or really hilarious scene. The other has kind of running joke. I don’t want to really say who they are as if you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t want to ruin the moment where they actually show the real people. But definitely shouting out Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao and Win Morisaki. All likable.
  • Mark Rylance as James Halliday / Anorak. He is the deceased co-creator of the OASIS. He includes an Easter Egg hidden in the OASIS after his passing so that the winner will gain control over the OASIS. He seems to be a smart man, who also loves the 80’s and someone who is socially awkward and a bit…strange anyway. But he seemed like a nice guy. Mark Rylance is always good. I think you can’t help but to like him as Halliday and he manages to make you feel sorry for him as well.
Nostalgia. Unlike the trailers, which I thought threw a lot of nostalgia at you, I think the movie itself breaks it up enough where it doesn’t feel like a giant nostalgia bomb being thrown in your face. Besides, if you have no idea what any of it is, or if it doesn’t mean anything to you, I can’t imagine it being that big a deal to someone. I loved the nostalgia. Just seeing the DeLorean was great. The Iron Giant! There are a few other moments that I don’t want to ruin because either it’s cute or it’s funny.
The Oasis is Dope. So I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how many places on The Oasis they visit, but from what we see, it’s pretty cool. It’s a virtual reality world, where people pretty much do everything. I do believe in the book, school happened virtually, so that would have been cool to see, so that’s missing but that’s fine. I thought watching them travel to different places allowed some exploration which was cool (I feel like I’m using “cool” a lot lol).
The Race. I think that was probably one of my favorite scenes. It’s just this huge death race where you face off against the T-REX from Jurassic Park (I’m assuming), King Kong, and various other dangers. It was so cool, plus watching my favorite car the DELOREAN be used that way, was friggin awesome, I loved it. Plus, watching how King Kong demolished everyone, or how people lost while playing, it was pretty cool. I also loved the scene we see later where Parzival goes backwards.
The Shining sequence. There’s a part where they go into one of Halliday’s favorite movies, and they get to experience parts of the movie which was scary for them but hilarious to watch and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus, it later had this Haunted Mansion feel to it which was an awesome challenge. It was visually awesome, fun and something I would probably crap my pants if it happened to me.
The Visuals. This is a beautiful movie, mostly on the Oasis and I want to see it in IMAX 3D because I bet that’s just a feast for the eyes. I like the design of the characters and how you could really see some of the actor’s expressions and just their face within their character. I also loved the color choices that indicated Parzival and Art3mis. Though the OASIS was virtual, I thought all of the avatars looked pretty real, but still computer generated. I loved the visuals of what would happen when someone won a challenge. I think The Shining sequence had some great visuals.
Cons:
The Villain. So Ben Mendelsohn is the main villain, he’s the head of IOI and he has employed many people to learn and understand Halliday in order to find the Easter Eggs themselves so they could become the sole proprietor of the OASIS. I did not find him scary at all, or even very menacing. I think he would normally be a scary guy, according to a coworker, he is scary in the book, but that definitely does not translate in the movie. He’s comical. I think Ben Mendelsohn could be a great villain but the two times I’ve seen him be a villain it was kind of sad because he just wasn’t. Probably the writing. He was a threat… at one point but meh, wasn’t impressed with him at all.
Character Development. I think everyone lacks character development. In terms of Wade we don’t see him grow or become something else by the end of the movie. He’s a leader, and he stands up for himself but I thought he did that throughout. He’s awkward, he’s smart, and like a teenager, he does stupid stuff. I mean, I want to say there’s a character arc but he really just stays the same. Just maybe more bold? I don’t know, there’s a disconnect. Artemis is the next lead, she’s just mysterious and a bit self-conscious about her appearance (her real world self is) but ultimately a leader and a badass and we learn about why she’s leading a rebellion but we honestly don’t learn anything about the rebellion otherwise. Not really. Then we have Aech, Sho and Daito who are Wade’s online friends. Aech is probably the most important as we spend the most time with him but as they become more prominent in the story, we see them more but know nothing about them. They’re all awesome don’t get me wrong, and I like them but as far as characters go, they’re just there.
Character Motivations. Along with the lack of character development, we don’t get a sense for motivations. Samantha is doing this because of something that happened to her father, but she says it so fast out of anger, that if you blinked, you missed it. We do see her freak out when she comes face to face with where he died, but it’s so fast and unattached that I can’t get behind her “rebellion”. Plus, when she said “Welcome to the Rebellion”, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was being serious because we literally only see her doing anything, in terms of rebellion. There was no big group of people, I mean there were people but they were in the background. Was it really a rebellion or was it just some girl’s quest to avenge her father? Who knows man. Wade wants to win so he can leave the stacks and that’s about it. It becomes more important later but that’s about it. Everyone else, we never really learn their motivations, as far as we know, they want the glory.
Coincidences. These things happen every day, but it can’t always be chalked up to a coincidence because first of all, which is the biggest thing for me… how the heck did the others even know how to find each other? Or find Wade? You can argue that Samantha sent out her SOS but does that mean it pinged them to tell them where she was? Okay, I can dig that, but how did they find each other? I can imagine the Sho and Daito knew each other in real life but how did they find Aech?? Also, I know that lady was evil and crazy but there is no way she lived after how she fell out of that van.
Story Flow. This movie is non stop and it’s fun. I don’t think there is a dull moment in the movie but I do think the movie lacks story flow, or at least a clear line of narrative. I get what’s going on, I understand what’s happening, or what it’s trying to accomplish, but I think it gets so focused on the spectacle that the story gets muddled in all of the movement. You know what it’s trying to be, or at least trying to do but I think the movie loses sight of that by trying to make it be familiar but at the same time be different.
Overall, I really enjoyed Ready Player One, I haven’t read the book yet so I’m not comparing it all, but I had fun. It’s visually stunning when the OASIS is on screen. The cast is fine, the acting is good and I thought Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke had really good chemistry and played off each other very well. I loved the nostalgia that’s in the movie, I don’t think it was abused or thrown at you in an annoying way, it was used in an exciting way. I liked the soundtrack of the film, it was used in a way that felt familiar and new at the same time. I loved a lot of the challenge sequences in the film, particularly the Race and the The Shining sequence. They were fun and got me completely amped up into the action and adventure of the film. The OASIS is dope and someone needs to get on that lol. On the other hand, I think the movie lacks character development and motivation. It’s hard to connect to any of them without truly understanding them, or watching them evolve throughout the movie. No one in this movie does that. The villain is lack luster and comical when he should be menacing. There are some crazy coincidences that happen that I can’t ignore and I think the narrative isn’t strong nor does the story flow as well as it should. It’s a really fun movie and I think a casual movie goer or someone who likes fun action/adventure AND who loves to remember the past, will enjoy it.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Ready Player One? Did you enjoy it?
What bit of nostalgia from the movie was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more movie reviews!

Love, Simon (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.
This movie is based on the book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Nick Robinson as Simon Spier. Simon is a regular kid with a regular family but he has a big secret. Simon is a sweet kid, he’s nice to everyone, he’s funny, he’s good-looking, he has a nice family and he’s like the every-man. He’s closeted because he’s worried at how his secret could disrupt things so he’s often thinking about that while also trying to find a way to be comfortable with himself. When he finds out that someone else in his school is gay, he latches on to that lifeline and they create a friendship through emails. Simon also falls to the fantasy where he starts to put faces on his mysterious emailer due to his interactions with guys. It’s really cute actually because we all do that. I like Simon, he’s just trying to find his way. I also really like Nick Robinson, he’s very likable in this role and he’s also super cute lol. I think he has this innocence about him, but also this earnestness that makes you root for him. He carries this movie on his shoulders and he does such a great job.
Supporting Characters. I almost put Simon’s friends with Simon, but I realized this movie is Simon’s movie, his friends are kind of outliers but still important.
  • Katherine Langford as Leah Burke. She one of Simon’s best friends and they have a cute friendship. They’ve been friends for a long time so they’re obviously comfortable with each other and as the story continues, things are shown about her that I think are obvious but sure. I like Katherine Langford, she’s pretty and energetic and quirky.
  • Alexandra Shipp as Abby Suso. She is one of Simon’s best friends and I think she’s probably the next most important in the friend group since it’s because of Martin’s interest in her but she’s new to the town. We learn the most about her out of the friends, but she’s sweet, pretty, energetic, a social butterfly and seemingly fearless which perhaps shows why all of the guys like her. So far, Alexandra Shipp has made up for her lackluster run as Aaliyah and she’s fun to watch. Abby was likable and someone I can see a lot of people wanting to be friends with in these movie worlds.
  • Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Nick Eisner. He is one of Simon’s best friends and he plays soccer. He seems like a cool dude but at the same he’s kind of awkward. It’s really cute. He, Simon and Leah were friends for a long while and it’s easy to see that they’ve known each other longer but Nick could be the cool one of the group but Jorge doesn’t really play it that way. Nick just seems like the athletic kid who is also a every man. I’ve never seen Jorge in anything but he’s very likable.
  • Logan Miller as Martin Addison. Martin is a theater kid, who is a bit quirky but underhanded. He has a massive, obvious crush on Abby and he uses what he finds out about Simon to make him help him get closer to Abby. He’s kind of awkward and not considered a “cool” or even a “normal” kid but as the movie progresses, we see different sides of him and he becomes likable… kind of and a sort of friend to the main group. I saw Logan Miller in Before I Fall, and I liked him in that and I liked him in this too, his character was a mix between being likable and unlikable which he does well. There’s a good balance.
The Story. Just as Simon says when he’s introducing the story, he has a normal life, but he has a huge ass secret. Throughout the film, we see Simon go through his senior year of high school, dealing with the fact that he’s not alone in being closeted. He’s never told anyone, and sometimes he has to pretend just to keep his secret. But someone from his school anonymously comes out on their Gossip Girl blog and he starts emailing them since he’s found someone he can relate too. They have a pen pal like relationship but Martin sees his emails and blackmails Simon to help him get close to Abby. I like the whole thing of him emailing the stranger and how every time he meets a guy, he puts their face on the person he’s emailing, that’s cute because we all do that. I like the story of “I need to be comfortable with who I am” and how he wants to come out on his own terms. It gave depth to Simon’s character and made his emotional moments feel that more emotional. I’ll talk about the blackmail thing later because I didn’t really care for that part.
The Family Dynamic. I really liked the family dynamic in this movie. It was just a family of four, Jennifer Gardner as Emily Spier, his mother, she was supportive and cool. Josh Duhamel as Jack Spier, who used to be the quarterback but he’s like the cool dad and he has a great scene at the end with Simon at the end. Also, Talitha Bateman as Nora Spier, Simon’s little sister and I thought they felt like a family. They were a normal suburban family and they got along well, they were supportive of each other and his parents were cool. It was a modern family. It was a bit perfect but I guess in a way, that was the point where Simon felt out-of-place at times. I really liked his relationship with his dad, especially the scene between them at the end. I also loved the scene with his mom in the living room. They really felt like a family. I believed they were related, that they loved each unconditionally. The Spiers were a great unit.
The Friendship Group. I really enjoyed watching this friend group. Of course, they’re teenagers probably living in 2017, with their pop culture references and what not, and it was cute. Nick, Simon and Leah felt like they’d been friends for a long time and that Abby fit right in without a hitch. Their dynamic was realistic, I mean it’s based on a YA novel and most times these friends groups are a bit exaggerated, I mean there may be kids who act like this, I’ve only met them in books and movies… and when I studied abroad (but they all went to NYU which pretty much puts them in that category… no offence so any of y’all who read this lol)… I think I got off topic. BUT, I’m just saying that I liked the group, they felt like friends, they had great chemistry together and when the drama was revealed, they had realistic reactions.
It’s Emotional. I’ve gone through a lot this past week, so I’ve been emotional anyway, but I cried quite a few times during this. Nick Robinson did such a great job in his role, that in his moments where it’s just him, where he’s sad and emotional, I felt all of that. The scene where he’s angry and hurt, I really felt bad for him (not pity) and it made me tear up because he just did such a good job at showing his fear. I understand the conversation between him and his mom where she said he deserved everything he wants and more and that entire conversation… it was beautiful. My mom tells me the same things, about life, and being an adult and I felt that. It was genuine emotion. I also loved the scene with his dad at the end, that was really sweet and I think it was a big moment considering how his dad would joke throughout the film.
There are laughs. It’s pretty funny too. I wouldn’t label it a comedy but it does have its moments in there where you laugh or you might chuckle. I think a lot of it is the dialogue and how it’s delivered. Nick Robinson delivers dialogue that’s funny because of how he says it, or how he set its up. It’s definitely a feel-good movie.
The Musical Score. Now, I didn’t pay attention to all of it during the movie but there were a lot of movies that were really lovely that were accompanied by good music, but I went back and listened to the soundtrack on Apple Music and I really liked it.
Cons:
Predictable/Familiar. Being a teen movie, there are some beats that will definitely be hit. Oh you know, romance and then the one who lies to keep a secret, that whole thing and throughout the movie, I was predicting what would happen and I was right every time. Nothing really shocked me as the story progressed. Of course it’s hard to talk about teen movies, or “coming-of-age” films without them all feeling like ghosts of each other. While I very much enjoyed Love, Simon, it definitely has a lot of similar beats from other teen movies that don’t always feel fresh. Just something I noticed but not that much of a hit against the movie.
The Martin Blackmail. I also didn’t care for the blackmail story line. I get it, and while I had a love/hate relationship with Martin, I didn’t like how what he does is the driving force for a lot of Simon’s behavior later. I mean, it’s a teen movie so there has to be some kind of “villain” but that part just didn’t hit me as something that should have been part of the story. If it was there to force Simon out, it didn’t have to happen that way. I just… it just didn’t do anything for me. Plus, he doesn’t really get in trouble for what he did, yeah people get mad at him but nothing happens to him. No real consequences.
The Liar’s Reveal. So this trope happens a lot, where the protagonist of the story is lying about something in order to gain something, and then all is revealed later that they were a liar. IE: Aladdin. I think that trope is a bit cliché but it happens, shoot, I probably used it before in a story or something but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. So, while this movie does it and the way it’s handled of why Simon is doing what he’s doing, I still didn’t really like how his friends reacted. I think it was natural for them to be upset because don’t get me wrong, Simon does some pretty terrible stuff to his friends for his secret. I mean, it was definitely selfish and I would have said something to them because I’m not one to be blackmailed into something, but what he does is underhanded. However, they’re still his friends and something happens in the cafeteria that was extremely disrespectful and they did nothing. That really bugged me story wise. I know you’re mad but he was your friend for a long time, especially Nick and Leah. Man. That really annoyed me.
Overall, I really enjoyed Love, Simon. It is definitely a movie that people can go and see and just watch as this kid becomes confident in who he is and that those who love him, will always love him no matter what. I think the acting is really good in the movie, especially by Nick Robinson who does such a good job at just being a teenager. This movie has a great cast but Nick Robinson is the strongest aspect of the movie. Simon is a likable guy, he’s a normal dude and that’s what matters over everything. I loved Nick Robinson, he doesn’t try to do anything special, he just is. He’s very likable and cute and I see great things for him, if he keeps choosing good roles and movies. The other characters are also good as are their actors. I love the soundtrack. The movie is emotional, the moments that call for tears, might actually produce them, even the the people who don’t normally cry or tear up in movies. It’s also funny. It doesn’t hammer anything but the humor flows naturally. I also loved the dynamic of Simon’s family and friend group. My only problems with the movie is that while it’s special and put Simon’s character in the middle of a regular story, it just feels regular to me. I think movies that are similar should be able to stand on their own, without me thinking “oh that reminds me of that movie…” IE: The Breakfast Club, Clueless, Mean Girls (which pains me to say), Perks of Being a Wallflower… and I really dislike the trope of the “liar’s reveal” just because you can see it coming. But Love, Simon is sweet, emotional and I’m sure this movie will resonate for a lot of viewers. Also shout out to Natasha Rothwell as the drama teacher, she was great and a scene stealer!! Hilarious!
Rating: 4.89 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Love, Simon? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts down below!
What is your favorite teen movie?

Tomb Raider (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.
I love the newer games, I never really played the older versions but these newer ones are more intricate and I love the story. So I was super excited for this movie.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. I thought she was great. Lara is reckless and carefree and she lives on her own. As far as she knows, her father is gone and she has yet to put herself back in the “Croft” life. She’s independent and determined to make it on her own. She’s strong, when we first meet her she’s boxing, and she’s resilient and determined. We learn so much about her in that first scene, it set her up to be this awesome character. It was so cool to see Lara, a young woman, learn about her father, discover things about herself, test herself and see her actually be afraid. This Lara felt like a human which is awesome. She was also angry and sad which she used as a way to stay away from the life that was waiting for her. Alicia Vikander was great in this role, I was wondering about her when she was first cast because she looks so delicate and while I don’t think Lara needs to be all buff and stuff, it was odd. But I saw the pictures and then watching the movie, she was a great choice. She really put in the work. I believe that all of those stunts were her, I’ll confirm that later. Physically, she killed it. I also thought she did great with the emotions and how intelligent, witty, and quick Lara was. The emotional moments she had about her father were also good, I felt that. I also loved how she actually looked like she was scared whenever she was in danger, it wasn’t like she was trying to look pretty whenever she did something, I believed that she was scared. I loved her and I hope we see more Tomb Raider movies so I can see her be awesome as Lara Croft.
Supporting Characters. Lara is the main character but we do see some supporting characters throughout the movie.
  • Dominic West as Lord Richard Croft. Lara’s archaeologist father and he disappeared seven years prior to where the movie starts. Lara doesn’t really know why he went and she’s obviously angry at him for it, but we learn more about him as the movie progresses. But that’s all I’ll say and I don’t want to spoil anything else. I liked the actor though, he had great chemistry with Alicia Vikander, they felt like father and daughter.
  • Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel. He is rival archaeologist of Richard Croft and a member of Trinity, a shadowy organization. He is on the island when Lara lands and from jump he’s shady. I don’t think I’ve really seen Walton Goggins in anything, at least nothing where he stood out to me, and he was a menacing villain in that he was a quiet one. He didn’t believe in the myths like Richard did but he was doing a job and he was determined to get his job done. Goggins plays a villain who’s intimidating, obviously out of his mind since he’s been on that island for so long and unpredictable.
  • Daniel Wu as Lu Ren. He is the ship captain who helps Lara in searching for her father. We meet him when Lara goes to Hong Kong, she found a letter leading to him and it’s an interesting first introduction. Lu Ren isn’t really up for the task, but Lara does her thing and they go together. He’s a strong character too, he’s determined to survive, resilient and pretty loyal. Daniel Wu was likable and I wish we got to see a little more of him.
  • Kristin Scott Thomas as Ana Miller. She is an associate at Richard Croft’s company, Croft Holdings. She’s not in the movie a lot but she makes a nice little impression and I’m sure we’ll see more of her in sequels. I recognized her name though from the game. I’m hip.
It’s Fun. The movie is really fun once Lara sets out on her adventure. The scene with the boat, that was really intense and I enjoyed every moment of it. There’s a lot of action scenes once she gets on the island, plus the scene with the bikes. That was great too. If you go into this movie hoping to have fun, you will have it.
Tense Action Moments. I think the movie has some great tense moments. The scene with the boat was so tense and awesome that I held me breath for a lot of it. It was exciting to watch, what I could see anyway. Later, there are some great moments in the tomb where you’re worrying what’s going to happen and I would have been on the edge of my seat if I wasn’t in my reclining seat. I thought that was handled really well.
Video Game-Like. I think the movie feels like a video game in a lot of aspects which is cool. It’s easy to see that they were inspired by a video game and that they took a lot of scenes from the video which for me, was awesome! I was so excited to see familiar scenes, where I was going like “TRIANGLE!” for what would be quick time events. I even pointed out moments to my friend where I died like 3 times in that scene before I got it right. QT events are hard lol. But because of that, I felt a bigger connection to the movie. However, if you’ve never played it, I think it being video game like isn’t a deal breaker because you get to see this young woman be badass.
Cons:
The Opening History Lesson. So, the movie starts off with this narration by Lara’s father about what the movie will be about when they finally get to the island. It was fine… until we heard it again later when Lara goes through her father’s research. When we heard it again, I wondered why we didn’t cut one of them out. We didn’t need the one at the beginning if we were going to hear it again. The movie could have just started and we could have learned about what her father was doing later. It would have helped build up the mystery about him.
Starts off slow/Slows Down. So after the opening narration, there is a pocket of time where it was really fun. Watching Lara train, the scene with her bike…we learned a lot about her in those scenes but after that it feels like it takes a minute for the movie to get its sea legs. I checked my watch just to see how long it took for the adventure start and I think it was like 30 minutes. I can imagine restless people feeling a little bored until she at least gets to Hong Kong, or at least until she gets out on the water. There’s a moment in there where it gets really slow once Lara makes it on the island, I do think the movie has a bit of a pacing issue but once the action keeps going and the raiding and puzzles is happening, it’s fast paced.
Video-Game Like. While I think it’s cool that the movie feels like a video game in a lot of aspects, especially with the action scenes, I don’t think that’s always a good thing either. Because of the action scenes, it feels like any time people actually talk to each other, it feels like a cut scene. There were times where I felt the movie felt more like a video game and the video game felt like a movie a lot of times.
It was Dark. I don’t think the movie itself was dark, but it looked dark. I understand that they’re on an island and in tombs and what not, but we’re watching a movie and it shouldn’t be where I can’t really see what’s going on without lightning flashing. This happened a lot with the boat scene that kicked off the second act of the film. It was a really cool scene, I remember the game starting off that way, but it was also dark. Like I said, I get it, buuuut it should have been lit enough for it to still be dark but enough for me to see what’s going on.
The Puzzles. So the great thing about mysteries and watching people solve things, is being able to do it with them. During the scene where she was trying to figure out how to stop something from happening, I was kind of working it out with her, but it was hard to do that with anything else because it was a personal thing and it didn’t include the viewer. When Lara is tomb raiding, you want to be able to try to figure it out too, at least I do. That’s part of the reason why I like the newer games (which is what this movie is based on). There are a few things that we got to see, that I was able to figure out, but the other puzzles, I was like “awww, I wanted to do it too”.
Overall, I really enjoyed Tomb Raider, I think Alicia Vikander was a great Lara Croft and she really helped propel the movie forward. Yes, she does some stupid stuff but no adventure without stupid and determination lol. I thought she physically embodied this twenty-one year old Lara and it was great seeing where her adventures started. The supporting characters were also fine and did their job for the story. Dominic West had good chemistry with Vikander as her father, sympathetic and loving. Walton Goggins was a good and intimidating villain. The adventure was fun to experience and the action was tense and it was amazing to see all that she went through. It definitely felt video-game like in how some of the action was handled as it felt right out of the game. I also enjoyed being able to try to decipher some of the puzzles with Lara. However, because it feels like a video game, I think that also prevents it from flowing the way a movie should. There were a lot of moments where the dialogues were like cut scenes instead of movie moments. I also thought the movie was a bit too dark, it was hard to see action in certain parts. I also didn’t think the puzzles weren’t involved enough for the viewer to feel involved with the movie. But overall, I really enjoyed it.
Rating: 3.29 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Tomb Raider? What did you think about it? Was it a good adaptation?

A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Review

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Summary: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Storm Reid as Meg Murray. In the book her full name is Margaret. It sounded like it was Megan… not sure, but not a big deal. She is the oldest and a bit of an outcast. She seems to be very smart, especially in science but she is considered awkward, unpopular, she’s bullied by the “popular girls” and she’s pretty defensive around everyone. I thought she had a great scene in the principal’s office. She has a lot of potential, something that Charles Wallace shouts to her at the beginning, but she doesn’t really put her strength to big use. She obviously loves her family, especially Charles Wallace and she’s still upset, sad and confused about her father’s disappearance four years ago. It haunts her still. She is also a bit self-conscious about her appearance, she’s biracial but that doesn’t seem to be a big deal, more along the lines of she doesn’t think she’s pretty and I don’t think she likes her hair. I think she’s about 13-14 years old and of course the main protagonist.
    • I think Storm Reid was a great choice for Meg. I thought she held her own very well. My only problem with her is there were times when she mumbled but otherwise, I thought she was very strong in her role. She really felt like a big sister to Charles Wallace, even if he was adopted, that didn’t show. I thought some of her strongest scenes were definitely towards the end when they were on Camaztoz. I also loved her emotion, she did make me tear up a few times. I’m also a sap but still. I also loved how a lot of her personal struggle dealt with her hair. I don’t think the movie makes a big deal out of Meg being biracial, but there is an issue about black women and hair and I liked how it was used in the movie. We even get to see a glimpse of what Meg wanted down to her straight hair.
  • Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace Murray. He is the youngest at about six years old. He is very smart, and a bit precocious. Charles Wallace is the first to meet the Misses and he welcomes them with open arms as he obviously has some ability to “hear” things. I think Deric McCabe was likable though.
  • Levi Miller as Calvin O’Keefe. Calvin is like the boy next door, everyone likes him, without him even trying. He’s a popular kid even though he doesn’t really see himself that way. It’s learned that he doesn’t have the best home life, mostly that his father is really strict and gets down on him for not having perfect grades. He is drawn to Meg and he goes on the adventure because he feels a connection. Throughout the movie, he remains by Meg and Charles Wallace’s side, mostly Meg’s and it’s easy to tell that he begins to fall for her. I though Levi Miller was good in what he was given for this character. I really like Calvin and I think Levi Miller was a great choice for him, he’s the perfect mixture of handsome boy-next-door, but also someone who has a balance of innocence and someone who may have been through some things. I also loved how easy it was to tell that he loved Meg and to see the progression of him falling in love with her. It was really cute. I especially loved how he kept saying “I like your hair”.
  • Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit. She is the first Misses we meet. She is the youngest of the three, very energetic and spirited. She loves Charles Wallace and is a bit skeptical of his belief in Meg’s abilities to help them. Mrs. Whatsit is also a bit of a firecracker in that she gives smart-alec comments. But she interacts with the children the most because she is more of a free-spirit. She seems to in awe of everything and almost naive being that this is her first “mission” and she takes it seriously but is unsure of Meg’s role. I liked Reese Witherspoon in this role, she was fun, I really liked the red hair on her and I loved her personality. Yeah, she may have gotten on Meg a bit, but it was out of love and we see that by the end.
  • Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who. She lives in a weird old house and when we first see her, she is knitting a beautiful quilt. Mrs. Who only talks in quotes because her ability of language is higher than a human that she can only talk through quotes. She’s like the kooky aunt, but she really gets along with Calvin. I’ve never really seen Mindy Kaling in anything, but I liked her. She kind of had this “sensei” vibe going on.
  • Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which. She is the oldest of the three, and her appearance in the beginning is a giant as she doesn’t seem to understand how human’s understand perception. In the book she’s a shimmering light, so this was the updated version. She is the leader of the three, the wisest and the closest to Meg, as she understands her the most. She has vast knowledge and wisdom of the tesseract travel and human nature in general. I thought that Oprah was great, she was very motherly and teacher like to Meg and it was clear that she was the clear leader of the three. I loved how she carried herself and how her character was someone who I would want to learn from.
Supporting Characters. Everyone was really good. Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dr. Kate Murray was likable and I wish we got to see more of her. The ending scene with her and her family was one of her best. Chris Pine as Dr. Alex Murray was great. He was lost, scared and optimistic when he needed to be. I felt really bad for him but he also makes you a little mad as well. Michael Pena was Mr. Red and I almost didn’t recognize him at first but he was cool and unsettling.
Costume Design. Paco Delgado helms the costume design and I think it’s all beautiful. Of course the Misses are the ones who really show out with their clothes. Every time we see them, the are usually wearing something different. I like all of their clothes, but the part with them in the field right before they leave, are probably my favorite looks for them because it’s at this part, where they seem to have less compared to their other worldly looks. The details on the clothes, especially on Mindy Kaling’s costumes were just beautiful.
The Visuals. I think one of the highest praises for this movie is the visuals and how it looks for the most part. This movie is stunning. I loved the bright colors and how beautiful everything was, down to the flowers on Uriel. Mrs. Whatsit’s transformation was cool but the payoff from that was the creature she turned into. I believe they’re technically Centaurs but she turned into this leaf like thing, like she was a Centaur but instead of the bottom of a horse, she was the bottom of a leaf.
Musical Soundtrack. Ramin Djawadi is the composer of the music in the film and I loved it. It was very whimsical, and had this feeling of “other” to it a lot of times. I can tell the instrumental tracks will be the ones I listen to most when I get the soundtrack. I also loved the songs as well, Sade has a song, Demi Lovato sings for the end credits and I think they’re both beautiful songs and both sing it beautifully. Sia also has a song that I liked as well. I think some of my favorite tracks are towards the end of the film.
Cons:
Charles Wallace Development. So, while I liked Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace, I didn’t really think they gave him much development. I know that Meg is the main character, but Charles Wallace is a big part of the story as well. Which I think is where the problem comes in for him, the young actor wasn’t terrible and while I thought he did well in some parts there were other parts where it was cringy. I can’t help but feel he was chosen for inclusion, which would be fine if he could handle some of the more intense scenes better. But anyway, he is supposed to be this really intelligent kid, who is really close to his family and seems to be extra special. All that he is in the book, I don’t think we get in the movie. In ways, he’s very enigmatic but he also has times where he’s just gone and we never really get to know him. I think that doesn’t do well for the movie, because when what happens happens, we don’t really see what the big deal is to be honest. I also did not like how he was adopted. I think that ruins the family dynamic and I think causes a bit of an extra rift that didn’t need to be there. Also, since Dr. Murray disappeared when he was like two, we definitely don’t see how connected he is to his “father”.
The Murrays. So the family dynamic is supposed to be an important one. Calvin has a bad home life, which is why he gets so wrapped up in the Murrays. He loves their family, which of course he was introduced through Meg, but he meets the mom and Charles Wallace so fast and then he goes on the adventure, it was almost like ‘what? why would you go? You don’t even know them.” Which I know Charles Wallace says later when he’s under the influence, but it actually felt that way. Especially since we didn’t really get to know the Murrays as a family. First of all, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TWINS!! DENNYS AND SANDY!! I know it’s a movie but I felt like I was done a big disservice by them being left out, they are the “normal” ones of the family and considering how Meg and Charles Wallace are, it would have been cool to see the “regular kids” represented in the twins. While I love the fact that the family was interracial and Meg was biracial, I think by having Charles Wallace be adopted instead their actual son was also a disservice to the family dynamic and the character. Yeah, he’s kind of “other” in how smart he and kind of odd he is at a young age, but it doesn’t add anything to me to have him be adopted, other than to add more diversity since he’s Asian.
Calvin’s Involvement. So I like Levi Miller a lot in the movie, and I like Calvin, I remember liking him a lot in the book. However, he feels out-of-place. I mean, he’s a bit out-of-place regardless since it’s a family affair, but in the movie, it’s like he’s in the movie because he was in the book. He has no real purpose to be there other than to tell Meg she’s sensational and help her believe in herself. While that’s all good, he’s unnecessary. If he wasn’t in the movie, no one would miss him honestly which is sad because he’s a big part of the story.
Starts off Slow. While I think it’s a good thing that we got to see into Meg’s life and her family, I think it takes a while for the story to get going. We go through and see how Meg got into science due to her father, and we see her life after he’s gone where she feels out-of-place and what not, and it’s supposed to be building up these characters and it does but at the same time, I didn’t really feel connected to anyone. It doesn’t feel like it’s enough, it’s very surface level to me.
Audio Issues. I don’t know if it was the theater or not, but there were plenty of times where the characters would talk, more like they would kind of talk to themselves, or whisper (mostly Storm Reid) and I had no idea what she said. I don’t think it was because she wasn’t clear, maybe she wasn’t loud enough. Same with Charles Wallace, but his issue was mostly clarity. There were times where he would be yelling and his words were almost intelligible. My sister said at the beginning that she had no idea what he said, and while I did, it did take me a minute to catch up with what it was he said.
The Story. So I get the story, I also remember some things from the book to kind of know what to expect, but from what I do remember, the book is hard to adapt. It has specialness to it that I think can really only be captured in a book, unless someone did a high-end television show that truly allowed for character development. I think the movie focuses too much on the “love” aspect that it feels hammered in.
Overall, I liked A Wrinkle in Time, the acting was good for the most part, the visuals were mostly beautiful, the costumes were amazing and I really loved the music. I think the acting and visuals are what’s really important. Plus, the directing is really good as well. Storm Reid is definitely a standout in her role and she does make me tear up a bit throughout certain parts of the film. However, I think the movie has a lot of issues, mostly story wise and how certain characters are treated. I don’t think the Charles Wallace is handled that well in the film. He is an interesting and mysterious character but I don’t the movie really takes the time for the viewers to really get to know him, or to understand him. I also think that Calvin’s involvement was random in the film, you could really take him out and it wouldn’t do anything. I also don’t think the story is handled that well, it feels really rushed and that’s the undoing of this film unfortunately. I definitely say see it in theaters as the visuals are definitely a treat on the big screen, but if you’ve read the book, you might be disappointed and otherwise, it’s good.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
**I actually think that A Wrinkle in Time would do better, if it must be adapted to a screen, as a TV show. Now hear me out, the book isn’t that big but it has a lot of content and it’s a quirky, different kind of book. I think the movie was ambitious but it didn’t hit a lot of the notes it should have hit. I think for one thing, the first three episode at least, should focus on the Murray family to give us a chance to see how the family is with Alex Murray before he disappears. If it’s a mini series, then the first episode should focus on the family before Alex Murray disappeared. That way, we can feel his absence more and we can relate to Meg’s hurt and confusion without him, way more. Not to mention, we can see them as a family unit, they’re supposed to be a tight-knit family and this time we would definitely have Sandy and Dennys in there as well. So when Calvin gets involved, we see why he loves this family so much compared to his own (which we would see in a Calvin-centric episode). It should have a large budget too, maybe not GOT large but big enough to really get those effects in there. But they wouldn’t need the effects until like much later in the season. It would be better that way I think.

Alex Wilder- Marvel’s Runaways

So, it took me a long time to figure out what to call this piece. I wanted to make it part of the “Diminished Characters” list but there’s only been one season so far and I don’t really think he was diminished… at least not yet. Not completely. Kind of…*sighs* I don’t know. I just know I’m a bit irritated.
But this is about Alex Wilder from Marvel’s Runaways. It also took me a long time to do because of the fact that I wanted to rewatch the show to try to notice things I might not have noticed before and I read the comic up to his death so I really wanted to notice things.
There will be spoilers from the show AND the comics, so read at your peril. I’m spoiling everything… I kind of already did in my review but definitely here.
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I finished watching the show with my friend and we both enjoyed it. Probably finished it in three days. I was also reading the original comic run through Hoopla (I like reading comics online, it’s a lot easier to just blow through them) and I wasn’t finished with the story yet but I knew at some point that someone in the Runaways team was the mole. They were feeding information back to Pride and I was like “hmm… who could it be?” So let me give you some back story on the comic. This might be long but please read if you’re curious or if you feel the same way.
The Runaways- Comics
daid5oxSo the story starts off with Alex Wilder gaming, it’s clear that he loves superheroes, especially Captain America, as the character he is playing as is Cap himself. His parents make him stop (his dad even makes him cancel the subscription because he didn’t want to be paying a monthly fee even though they live in Malibu, which Alex points out lol) because they’re getting ready for their annual meeting and they want Alex to hang out with the kids of the group. He doesn’t want too because they’re all weird but he of course does.
We meet the others and their parents. Chase Stein, Gertrude “Gert” Yorkes, Molly Hayes, Karolina Dean and Nico Minoru. They all come back together in the Wilder’s house and when Alex comes down, he immediately sees Nico and love at first sight, it was cute lol. But moving on, Alex suggests that since it was all awkward and stuff that they should spy on their parents. They witness a weird ceremony and they all freak out about it. They meet that night, and they end up going to each house to see if they could find any clues, the others all learn about secret things about them. Karolina can glow and is an alien, Gert has a telepathic dinosaur (they also find the Abstract that details everything, they just need Mrs. Dean’s decoder ring), Chase finds the X-ray goggles and fistigons, Molly (who was being held hostage by her parents) is a strong mutant, and Nico absorbs the Staff of One after her mother attacked her with it.
They go to a hideout that Chase found, and they sit tight while Alex is trying to decode the Abstract with the ring they stole from Mrs. Dean. A lot of shenanigans happen and we find out there is a mole among the Runaways. Long story short, Alex decodes the abstract, while also being very distant from the others, he almost treats them (outside of Nico) as children… which Molly is lol. But they go after their parents, there’s a fight, Chase is put out of the fight and he gives Alex his weapons so he can fight. Everyone gets incapacitated and turns out Alex is the mole.
He dies, the parents are assumed dead and the others at the end basically run away after being separated.
Marvel’s Runaways-TV Show
So in the show, it starts off with Alex playing a game but instead of his father coming in to tell him to stop, he tries to play with him because Alex has been distant for the last two years due to a mysterious something that happened. We meet the others as well, and we learn that they all used to be pretty close but whatever happened, which we find out was the death of Nico’s older sister (suicide) they’ve fallen apart. Alex is against having the others over just because Pride was meeting, but after seeing everyone apart, especially Nico sitting alone, he tries to get them to come over that night.
They all kind of get into an argument when Alex talks to Chase first about coming over and no one does. It’s not until everyone’s plans fall through that they decide to go over to Alex’s house. They’re awkward and what not, Chase suggests that he needs alcohol if they’re gonna have to talk it over. So Chase goes towards the study where the parents are supposed to be, Nico and Alex have a brief conversation about why he didn’t go to the funeral. They all go into the study and Chase starts raiding the cabinet, Alex tells them they’re not supposed to be in there, but no one leaves. Gert and Chase talk, and Alex moves to get a coaster for her which reveals the secret passageway.
So moving forward, the show takes a longer time to allow us to get the parents and the kids. But for a while, Alex tries to make sure everyone is keeping their cool and acting natural. He basically becomes the man with the plan throughout the show. After Gert and Karolina find evidence on Leslie’s computer, Alex finds out that the information shows the amount of kids “runaways” that Pride has sacrificed and that Leslie Dean has been the one choosing their victims. Nico was with him and she wanted to go to the police, especially because she’s starting to think that Amy didn’t commit suicide but was murdered. Everyone was against this, but eventually, Alex comes around and says that he didn’t want her to be alone so they go together. Then he’s kidnapped and episode 5 is a Wilder-centric episode.
  • Side Note: I saw some people state that this episode was odd, or it seemed kind of weird, which I can understand, but Alex already doesn’t get enough credit so it was nice to have an episode centered around his family, more so his father, but still. Plus this was also when everyone (minus Gert) uses their abilities and weapons they gained. Sure, it was a bit odd in how they all came together to use their abilities, like how Chase’s unfinished Fistigons worked, or how Karolina popped her bracelet off and just blinded Darius to death… I don’t think she needs that bracelet to stop her from doing anything considering how it takes so long for her rainbow lightbulbs to come on. Not to mention in the finale, she wasn’t lit up the entire time and the bracelet is supposed to inhabit the lights and her powers. But anyway, I appreciate the “Kingdom” episode.
alexSo Alex shot this kid in the shoulder to protect his father, as the kid had a gun on him. So Alex is determined to save Andre, who was just following orders. They don’t find him and Alex feels guilty that he basically killed that kid. Now, I’m sure the Alex haters could say that he could easily have done that to help with the sacrifice since he’s “the mole” but unlike the comic, this Alex is a lot more emotional and attached compared to the comic who is way more cold. Not to mention, there isn’t an abstract so how would he know what the sacrifices were for??? So he and Nico make out after she comforts him through his guilty feelings. At the gala, they have a plan, Alex and Nico break into Tina’s office and this is where it goes downhill. Alex puts the password in without trouble and Nico is suspicious and he tells her “I’m just that good” but she doesn’t buy it. So skip other stuff, Alex is working on decrypting the hard drive they stole from Tina Minoru and Nico basically forces him to tell her how he knew Tina’s password. So he comes clean about Amy.
  • Amy’s Truth: So basically, while playing I believe Star Wars Battlefront, Amy’s computer starts acting up and Alex tries to help her out being a computer genius. He discovers that her computer was hacked and that someone is seeing everything she’s doing on it. Amy freaks out and runs off. She was snooping on Wizard’s servers trying to see what she could find to knock her mom down a peg (Wizard is created and owned by the Minorus). When she ran off, she was caught by Kincaid, who works for Tina, they knew someone hacked Wizard and he was warning her to back off. But someone else found out and was worried that she found out something she wasn’t supposed to. So Amy did talk to Alex on the phone as she prepared to run away, he tried to get her to calm down but she told him to promise not to tell, which he kept her promise.
So back to the story, so Alex tells Nico all of this and she’s upset. Don’t get me twisted, she has every right to be hurt that he didn’t tell her, but I don’t think her attitude and hostility to him the rest of the show is necessary. He was 14 and Amy was the oldest and she confided in him and I think he confided in her in ways, they were close, and she knew he liked Nico. It’s a natural thing to do. Keep a secret because you think it might do more harm than good, not to mention, he probably felt responsible once he found out she was dead. Imagine what that could do a teenager who knew what he knew. Again, I’m not saying that Nico doesn’t have a right to be mad, I just don’t think her nasty attitude to him afterwards was warranted. Give the kid a break. He’s done everything he can to help everyone. He finishes decrypting the hard drive and calls the others over to let them know what’s on it and how it could finally bring their parents down. Due to all that’s happened with Chase, he doesn’t want to turn the parents in anymore, Karolina is on his side since she’s talked to her dad (Frank) and thinks he’ll help. They argue, Chase and Alex have a fight and Chase deliberately breaks the laptop so all of their evidence is gone.
So, episode 9 is basically the lead up the finale in which the kids have their plan to try to find out what’s on the construction site, since Alex pieced together that the site is probably a front for whatever they’re doing. Before the dance, Nico called Alex from Amy’s phone. Oh yeah, she found the bag that Amy was going to use to runaway which confirmed that Amy was killed, which had her phone in it, which Nico charged IN AMY’S ROOM INSTEAD OF TAKING IT BACK TO HER OWN ROOM! This is why y’all need Alex around because that’s stupid. But she calls him from her phone, which would have freaked me out, and he goes over to her house to look at the text message on her phone. They have a chat, Robert Minoru comes in, Alex compliments Nico and she says “Oh you think I look nice?”
Alex: Yeah, you look great.
Nico: Too bad I don’t give a shit anymore.
Alex: You know how sorry I am Nico.
Nico: Not as sorry as I am. 
JUST UGH!! WHHYYYYYY!!??? GIVE THE KID A BREAK!!
So, they go to the dance, Gert and Chase hook up, Nico suggests looking for them and Alex says “Want some company?” and out of spite she says “Sure, Karolina want to come?” just UGH! And this is where Karolina reveals her feelings to Nico by kissing her. So jump forward to the construction site, they get there and Alex is going through making sure everyone is ready and I feel like Nico’s little “and what are you bringing to the party Alex?” was snooty and I’m over it.
So they go in, try to shut it down and the parents show up. They all argue and then Jonah shows up and he blasts everyone. Karolina tells everyone to run while she stands off against Jonah since they have the same powers. So, the others run and everything around them is fried. It was very anticlimactic, the fight we didn’t see between Karolina and Jonah. Nico wants to go back for her and Alex tells her to be smart, and to look at everyone… and everyone is terrified, tired and it’s time to go. She runs off anyway “We’re missing someone!” and ends up having to run anyway!! You’re mad that he said y’all need to go but y’all had to go anyway because the parents were coming after ya’ll. *rolls eyes*
She gets mad at him again because when they ask what do they do after waking up since they’re all tired, Nico says “Save Karolina” and Alex says “Get out-of-town” and Nico says “You’d seriously leave without her” and Alex says that they don’t know where she is, or how she is and Gert tacks on, if she even is still alive. Look, I get it. Karolina is part of the team, I would never want to leave without my full team, but I’m also not going to get bent out of shape when the smart thing to do is regroup and come up with a plan. A SMART PLAN. I swear, these teenagers are so flip floppy, it’s so frustrating but they’re teenagers. Because it’s Karolina, everyone’s like “okay yeah sure”. It’s just so ARGH! Because Alex says they need to leave he looks bad and he’s the last one to get on board, he looks bad. I don’t think he was doing that to be cold, or anything like that, just that he was trying to think of the group and how everyone needed to get themselves together. I would have deduced and I’m sure with how smart Alex is, he would have, or at least should have deduced that Karolina and Jonah were the same. I would doubt that they would hurt her which would give us more time. It’s smart.
But ya know, it’s totally smart that Old Lace doesn’t go with them because they could get caught with her. Everyone is on board with that plan from Alex… yup.
After they rescue Karolina, Nico finds Alex looking at the view and asks her how long do you think it’ll take to walk back home and she tells him that they’re never going back. This is probably the one time Alex shows a hint of weakness in terms of maybe, possibly doubting anything. Everyone else has had their chances to be on their parents’ sides, or to doubt that they’re criminals whereas he’s been pretty steadfast. I know that could mean a lot of things, but he was already distant from them, so this was pretty much a nail in the coffin for him, not to mention the stuff he learned about his dad in episode 5.
But he does leave and he calls someone. We don’t know who he calls but in the next scene with him, we see Darius pull up and Alex tells him that he needs something from him, and that the enemy of his enemy is his friend. Alex came back and spoke with Nico, she asks him if he called his parents and he told her no, she asked who he called and he said it doesn’t matter, he got what he needed and he shows her a roll of money. She says “must be some friend” and her expression seemed a little suspicious to me. Look, you’re mad or whatever, get over it, he just got y’all some money. None of ya’ll thought about that. Then literally in the next scene, we see the Wilders and Cat says to Geoff that he can’t will the phone to ring, she’s tried. I think that implies that Alex did not call them otherwise, why would she say that? Unless he only called his dad and Geoff didn’t tell her yet, but why wouldn’t he tell her? No reason not to.
So we don’t know who called them in as kidnappers, we can assume it was Geoff as he does it in the comics, and Destiny’s death is also included in this so it wouldn’t have been Molly’s aunt. He said he was going to get them to safety and then go to war, and getting them arrested would get them safety, relatively speaking.
So they run.
The Mole Storyline
So in the comics, a note is left behind in the Hayes’ house, after the kids manage to get Molly and the decoder ring, that basically says “I love you mom and dad and I’ll always be loyal to you. I understand why you’re doing this” and I was like Oh snap, one of the kids is on the parents’ side, this is crazy. WHY WOULD YOU BE? What could you possibly understand just from seeing your parents murder someone? So, we deal with the hijinks of the group and their parents trying and failing to find them, while wondering WHO IS THE MOLE. So, the mole tipped the police off to their whereabouts and they sold out Cloak and Dagger (the Pride erased their memories). They finally get down into the lair of the Gibborim and after they revive Chase, who technically died, the rest go to fight their parents. Now, I thought it was strange how Karolina kept suggesting they do the Heimlich on Chase to revive him while Molly was screaming that it was CPR. Now, we all know that CPR is what you do when someone can’t breathe, or swallowed water or whatever right? So, why is Karolina suggesting the Heimlich and she was so sure of it. So I of course started to think that she was the mole. But it didn’t make sense as she technically did not see the parents kill that girl, I think Alex told her to take Molly away so Molly wouldn’t see it.
Anyway, they get to the temple, there’s a fight with the parents. Molly uses her strength, so of course she goes to sleep. Gert is knocked unconscious by the Hayes or Deans (neither of them like her anyway), Nico was frozen by her parents and Chase was left behind because he was hurt. So Alex and Karolina were left, so Alex takes Nico’s staff and he knocks Karolina over the head with it and mind you, he has Chase’s fistigons and X-ray glasses and I’m like “NO!” So then we see this picture.
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Soooooo, Alex Wilder turned out to be the mole. Old Lace listens to him because Gert told her that should anything happen to her, then Old Lace was to listen to Alex. So, he has the dinosaur, the Staff of One AND Chase’s weapons. He tells Nico that he’s watched her with the staff and pretty much has figured out how to use it. So, I was devastated and in my mind, I couldn’t comprehend what I’d just read. Alex Wilder, my namesake, who this entire time, had been leading his team, who was in love with Nico, who while a bit short with the others, tried to be patient with them. Alex. *Cries* I was so upset but I had to keep reading. It’s such good writing and a damn good twist that I DID not see coming. He didn’t even cross my mind to being the mole. At all. So Nico is all shocked and stuff, and he releases her from her frozen spell and she’s demanding to know why and what not. He wakes her parents and his parents, who I believe were unconscious and he explains everything. He tells her that he came across the secret passageway a year prior, he saw what Pride did, and he found the Abstract in his parents house and he did tons of research to understand it. He knew what they were planning to do, to put forth their children into the 6 spots the Gibborim offered into the Utopia after they destroyed all humans. He goes on to say that he also overheard the Deans and the Hayes talk about killing the other families and their kids because they didn’t deserve the Utopia since they were the only ones not human. The Deans are aliens and the Hayes’ are mutants. So because they were gonna betray everyone, he decided that he would betray them and instead, he would take care of it. He loves her, so he wants to be with her in Utopia and since he loves her, he wants her to have her parents and of course they’re his parents. Nico does not like this and they argue, he doesn’t seem to understand why she’s acting this way. He gets a little beat up by the others as they all come to. Molly destroys the box holding the offered soul, the Gibborim appear and blame the parents, Alex doesn’t like seeing his father subjugated so he takes full blame aaaand he’s killed on the spot by the Gibborim.
So, I was so engrossed in this that when it happens, I paused and I think I screamed out loud lol. Since I work at the library, I have seen Runaways comics before, and I don’t ever really remember seeing a black kid on the cover, I mean Alex is very distinct with his afro, glasses and swag, so I guess in some way, I knew it… thinking about it now but I was devastated. Such good writing and part of me isn’t mad because it was handled so well but other part of me is pissed and I still am.
Alex’s Role in the Show
One of the biggest thing is that Alex starts off a bit more somber in the show. There’s a tragedy that pushed all of them apart and that will ultimately bring them together as Alex watches Nico be alone at school that he decides to bring everyone together. Or at least try.
So as you can see, in the comics, he was on the road to become a villain in the end, but he did his job in protecting the others until that point. In the show, I don’t see any indication that he’s going to be a villain, at least not yet. I see why people might be wary of him due to his comic book counterpart, but I don’t think that’s fair to him in the show right now.
Like in the comics, he didn’t want to have a get together, but he does it after seeing Nico by herself at school and he’s watching her. He sees everyone else as well but he’s watching Nico and he decides that he wants to have this get together for her. When he approaches Chase about in class, and after Chase, Karolina and Gert all leave, he says to himself that he wanted this for her. They’ve been apart for two years, and maybe their parents meeting would give them an excuse. But, as in pure teenage fashion, no one shows up.
black-crane-print-shirtAlex was not the first one to suggest going into the study like in the comics, it was Chase, who wanted alcohol. Alex knew he wasn’t supposed to be in the study, he even said his dad said “there is no reason for him to be in there without him” and he went for the coaster because obviously they can’t be in there and Chase gave Gert a drink and obviously they’re not supposed to be in there! Why leave evidence? He already asked them not to go in there, he already said don’t touch anything… in the comic, it was his idea to spy on the parents. Like out of the gate.
Molly also suggested going into the secret passageway first, it wasn’t really until he said “alright, let’s go” that everyone followed but still. He also did try to stop Molly from taking a picture.
When Alex suggested they split up to search their parents’ houses whereas in the comics they went to each house together. He wanted everyone to find their parents’ secrets so he could learn what they were. In this, he didn’t do that. What benefit would he have to do that if he was going to turn on them later? In the comic, he kind of kept a tight leash on everyone, but in the show, he led but he wasn’t a dictator or anything. Half the time, he would have an idea and someone would say something, or Chase would say “why does he come up with all the plans, what if someone else has a plan??” AND while his plans don’t always work, at least he tries. Everyone else goes along with it without offering anything to add. Alex is just there to be the plan man I guess.
It was Alex’s idea to shut off the power like a surge to hide the fact that there was a flash from Molly’s phone. If he was being set up from the beginning to be the mole, how would he know that Gert wouldn’t let Molly see, and that Molly would still try to see and take a picture? He’s a genius, not God. In the comic, he tells Karolina not to let Molly see but in the show he didn’t say anything to Molly. Alex is probably the only one we don’t really get to see be emotional about any of this until the end, he’s been keeping it together. Yeah, he’s been short with his parents, especially after episode 5, but he’s been the one that’s been pretty resilient the entire time.
I think it’s important that Alex thinks ahead as well, in episode 5 “Kingdom” which is a Wilder-centric episode, pretty much the only one, where he’s kidnapped by Darius, an old friend of Geoff’s. He asks Alex to give him his phone, Alex fingers the gun he took from his dad’s desk, he took it because he’s the only one without anything, and you can tell that he’s thinking “I could use it, but am I fast enough to get them all before they get me?” so he pushes it back down and gives him his phone. Plus, I think a part of him wanted to know more about his father’s past… which to me shows that this Alex, is more compassionate than the one in the comics. It may just be Rhenzy but so far I can’t see it.
I just think that his role is reduced. It’s not about screen time but more about his need in the group. Tv show Chase is secretly smart, which in the comics I’ve read, he’s not that intelligent but he’s very street smart and has a lot of wisdom whereas Alex is extremely intelligent but also extremely wise which he is in the show, but still a teenager, but by making Chase smart like that, kind of makes Alex seem unneeded which bothers me. Why do that exactly? To make Chase more three-dimensional? I don’t think he was ever one-dimensional, he seems really interesting and a good character, they didn’t have to do that to make him “special” in the show. He already was. By doing what they’ve done, they took what really made Alex “special” in the group where he has nothing else, away. I don’t understand that. Plus, he’s treated suspiciously, Nico gives him attitude after she learns about Amy and it just dries me up the wall to know that he’s been keeping it together, doing all he can to find evidence, he’s pulling a lot of the weight just to have Nico shout at him, freeze him out and pretty much decide “oh I don’t like you anymore” and then have Chase destroy his laptop. I mean are you kidding?
Alex & Nico
So from the beginning, it’s clear that Alex has a thing for Nico. It’s also, I think, clear to see that they were probably the closest in the group. Not only were they embracing each other in their picture, but he wanted to have them get together for Nico. He went to her, and he spoke with her… how he missed her. She made it seem like she couldn’t hear him with her headphones but we know she heard him.
It’s interesting.
Understandably, Nico was upset because he knew this secret and he didn’t tell her.
It’s hard for a 14-year-old kid, to want to tell a secret, even if it’s to the girl he loves, who happens to be the sister of the girl who committed “suicide” to not be afraid of the repercussions. Alex is a genius but he’s still human. He’s calculated but when it comes to Nico, he doesn’t always get it right. I think it’s unfair to expect so much from him and then treat him like he killed Amy himself. He did what he did to protect Nico and Amy, both whom he loves.
It seems like they wanted to add a reason, a more emotional reason, to push them apart. I don’t think they needed to do that, especially since it just makes Alex look bad, and then if they do go forward the mole storyline it makes him seem like a vindictive dick and we don’t need that on top of him being okay with destroying the world and his parents killing kids.
I’ve seen a lot of people say that since the show has done different things compared to the comics, that the whole thing between Nico and Alex could cause him to go bad.
  1. That’s stupid. Why would Alex allow his feelings for Nico make him go bad just because she decided she liked someone else and didn’t tell him?
  2. Alex being the logical person he is, I cannot imagine that being the reason. He would be hurt yes, but I doubt that would do anything.
  3. It would be out of his character right now. We do not have any indication that Alex is a vengeful person. So far, he’s been very caring, yes a bit methodical but not to the point where he would ruin the others because of Nico. That’s dumb.
There is no reason for this situation to make Alex a bad guy. If they do that… dumb and I’m already over it. Just the implication of it I’m over it. I really want there to be a heart-to-heart conversation between him and Nico, where they stop playing games and actually talk. Or she actually listens to him without being extra. Season 2, make it happen. Redeem my boy.
Alex & Amy’s Secret
I think this whole thing with Amy is the biggest reason as to why people say “he’s making it hard to like him…” which this HAS to be the only reason because otherwise, Alex is likable. I can’t see it otherwise. In the beginning we knew something happened to Nico’s older sister Amy, it was part of what drove everyone apart. It’s also said that Alex did not attend her funeral, Nico even asks him about it earlier on but he doesn’t get the chance to tell her. So we know that’s a big thing in the group, Alex didn’t go which made everyone upset. We still don’t know why so I hope season 2 gives the reason and I hope it’s not something dumb. The whole password thing started it, she doesn’t let it go rightfully so. I would want to know too. So, she demands to know more, so he finally tells her that he knew something was up with Amy prior to her death. Like I’ve said many times throughout this, Nico is mad. He tells her that Amy made him promise. Of course, Nico is like “she’s my sister, I deserved the right to know!” Especially since it looked like a suicide and Nico thought it might have been something she did. So going forward, it’s smart-ass comments, but this child is so wishy-washy I get whiplash. Sometimes she speaks to him normally and other times she’s just UGH!
For the 50 millionth time, I’m not excusing him for not telling her, but at the same time, Amy trusted Alex to not tell her secret and he honored that. He also didn’t want to make things worse for Nico and how would him telling her that help? Amy was still going to be dead. The only thing that would change is that Nico wouldn’t feel responsible but whose to say that that’s even true? Alex did the smart thing, the thing he thought was right, to protect the people he cared about. I get it. It was a secret, but that hardly merits him being distrustful at least to the point where people are like “I don’t trust Alex” outside of that… someone PLEASE tell me what he’s done.
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Everyone gets these cool action shots in the comics so this one is his. Him with his book lol.
The Mole
The first season only covers a few issues of the original run of comics. The season ended with them running away after seeing that they’ve been framed for murdering Destiny Gonzalez and kidnapping Molly Hernandez. So, as of right now, anyone could be the mole IF they do this storyline. I don’t think they should because I think it would ruin the dynamic of the show and unless they allow the character who betrays the Runaways to be redeemed (and alive), then I don’t think they should do it. All of the teens are good characters and they are interesting. Making one of them mole, at this point, especially with Jonah and possible the actual Gibborim being at the bottom of that hole, it just doesn’t feel right to me. However, if they do go through with it, it doesn’t have to be Alex, it doesn’t make sense for it to be him right now. PLUS HE COULDN’T EVEN HANDLE THE STAFF OF ONE!! IT BURNED HIM WHEN HE TRIED TO TOUCH IT WHEN HE WAS TRYING TO HELP NICO WITH THE SNOW SPELL!!!!!!!
If anything, it should be Chase or Karolina.
Chase because he has a lot to lose in his mind. Pride is taking care of his father, he knows that Pride is up to no good but he loves his father, who has been an abusive dick all of his life. But that’s his dad, so he gets a pass right? No. Chase destroyed the laptop. That’s already a red flag. He also used the fistigons to destroy the computer console that he was sure he could understand because his father designed it, caused the alarm to go off. Which he could have let Gert press the big red button the screen. Just saying.
Karolina because there was a text to Jonah in the finale that said “Mission Accomplished: Let me know what’s next” which kind of indicates there could be a mole if that’s from one of the kids. I mean, who could that be from? Jonah dismissed Leslie and Frank from Karolina’s side, he wakes her up and they talk. We have no idea what they talked about, what he might have said or anything. SOOOO it could be her. It definitely indicates that someone is helping him. His only other close supporters are the Deans. Frank? But what mission? We’ve see him directly helping Jonah and he seems like a major pawn. Leslie Why, especially after she helped make sure Karolina was rescued. I’m just saying.
At this point, what reason would Alex have to be the mole? People were complaining about Alex running off as soon as the team saved him from Darius but I don’t think that holds up. He shot Andre who had a gun on his dad. I mean, Geoff is still his dad just like Victor is still Chase’s dad. He ran back because he KNEW that he was in danger and he wanted to help, especially after learning that Andre was only following orders. Andre’s face said ‘don’t make me…please’ and he looks scared. Alex and his dad fought because he not only learned more about his father’s past and how he’s gone back on his word, he also knows that could happen to Andre. So he tried save that kid too. I don’t think him leaving the others to go and save a stranger, merits him being distrustful or ungrateful. I think that’s a flimsy argument.
Overall
This was long and if you made it through, I appreciate that. I just had a lot of things I had to get out and this is my outlet. I really want season 2 to explore the kids more, we understand the parents a lot which I think was a good choice but unfortunately, it was at the expense of the kids in a lot of ways. I hope season 2 really focuses on them. I really want Alex to get his chance to be the strong leader he obviously can be. It’s exciting to see a prominent character, who is a black teenage boy, who is a black nerd, who is smart, who gets the girl (a bit), and who is the defacto leader of the group. All of that is awesome and we don’t see that often. After re-reading the comic, I saw the little hints of Alex being… untrustworthy and the mole but in this show, I don’t understand how he’s unlikable. I don’t understand the dislike of him, nor do I see the purpose in making him the mole.
Movies and shows deviate a lot from their source material all of the time and sometimes they’re good changes. This should be one of those times where it should be deviated. He is a strong and interesting character who deserves more than what has been given to him so far. Plus, Rhenzy Feliz has been so great and he’s made some great choices for the character and I think he deserves to be on the show for a long time and not in flashbacks.
I think his character has a lot to offer and I don’t think he should be a scapegoat, a mole, or written off for any reason.
I guarantee you though, that if they do kill him off I’m not watching it anymore. At this point, it would be a big mistake. I was devastated when they killed Wes Gibbons on How To Get Away With Murder and I know I’m probably in the minority but he was also a good character. I haven’t caught up with the show this season and after thinking about it, that’s partly the reason. I’ll get to it eventually but I’m sure the same thing will happen to this show if they kill Alex Wilder.
It’ll be a big mistake. Don’t kill Alex Wilder. Don’t ruin Alex Wilder. He’s too important.
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P.S. Let the boy smile more too. Rhenzy Feliz has an adorable smile.

Black Panther (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this movie and I might just touch on all of them because I can!
  • Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa is mourning his father’s death, while preparing to ascend to the throne. He becomes king of Wakanda, who also has enhanced strength by ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb. T’Challa is definitely more comfortable now that he’s back home. He is aware of the responsibility that comes with being King and he’s worried about how he’ll handle it. He wants to be a great leader like his father. T’Challa is determined to uphold the values of Wakanda. He learns things as the film goes on which molds him into a great man and a great king. I think Boseman is a fantastic choice for T’Challa. His accent is believable, I’m not the leading expert on African accents but I believe his. He carries himself like a King, but also a young man trying to be great, fair and someone who his people can trust.
  • Michael B. Jordan as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. I think it’s important to note that there might be spoilers but I think the trailer kind of makes it easy to tell some things about him. But Erik is angry and seeks to overthrow T’Challa. He has his own opinion on how Wakanda has been run and should be run. He’s very strategic, patient, well-skilled and trained to the point where he’s playing the long game. Erik is the type of villain who doesn’t really see himself as the villain, I don’t think, because he thinks what he’s doing is right but he’s also thoughtful. His plans aren’t outlandish to be honest. I like the updated look from his comic book counterpart, his hairstyle is modern compared to his long ones in the comics. Michael B. Jordan was great as the villain, this is the first time he’s played a character like this, at least whose a villain because you can argue that Adonis Creed was also very angry but this role is very different from that. He really steals pretty much every scene he’s in, I mean, he’s my husband so I know he’s a great actor, but I was very thrilled to watch him be like this. He’s so great.
  • Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia. She is T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend, she’s a War Dog and an undercover Wakandan spy. She is from the River Tribe and she’s a strong character. Nakia seems very different from her comic book counterpart, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll go in that direction, I hope not at least not without proper cause. But anyway, she starts the film out fighting for enslaved women in Nigeria which already gives her a noble personality. She is stubborn, thoughtful, strong and she KICKS BUTT! Lupita Nyongo’o is great and I’m glad she’d played a role like this as she hasn’t been in much and I think she’s a fantastic actress. The emotions she can portray shows she has extreme range, not to mention, she really has great chemistry with Chadwick Boseman. I believed that she could go toe-to-toe with him if need be.
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye. She is from the Border Tribe who is the head of Dora Milaje, the all-women special forces who serve as T’Challa’s bodyguards. She loves her country and is a traditionalist in that she is determined to serve her throne. Okoye is stoic, but she does have a sense of humor that when it comes out, it’s really funny. She has a big heart and she cares so much for her people that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect that. I’ve never seen Danai Gurira in anything, I know she’s Michonne, but this is the first time I’ve seen her in anything and she’s badass. First of all, she wears that uniform like it’s nothing, and her facial expressions, especially during the interrogation scene, fantastic. She’s great and I wish we got to see a bit more scenes between her and W’Kabi.
  • Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross. He is a member of the CIA and we met him in Civil War. Ross respects T’Challa but maybe doesn’t fully trust him as he doesn’t want him to get involved. He ends up going to Wakanda where he learns a lot and does some pretty cool things. I like the fact that he’s not just some CIA dude who is rude all of the time, nor is he just comic relief. He’s able bodied here and I think Martin Freeman is great in this role. He’s likable, funny when he needs to be and I think he fit into the world, strangely enough.
  • Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi. He is T’Challa’s confidant and best friend. He is head of security for the Border Tribe, who serves as first line of defense for Wakanda. They breed rhinos or something. He’s a sweet guy who has his own painful past, which they incorporate well into the film. I can’t say much without spoiling it. But I like Daniel Kaluuya, he has this likability about him that I can’t help but like him regardless.
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri. She’s T’Challa’s younger sister and princess of Wakanda. I’m not sure how old she is exactly, but M’baku calls her a child so I’m assuming she’s a teenager. She designs new technology for the country, she’s innovative and she wants to forge a new path for Wakanda as she’s in charge of the technological changes. She’s super smart and considering all that she’s done for the country, I wonder where in the Marvel Universe (the comics and what not) she stands in terms of being smart. Letitia Wright was great! She has a great personality as Shuri, she’s likable, smart, and funny and I’m interested to see if she ever puts on the Black Panther costume because she does in the comics. She’s definitely a young spirit compared to everyone else, but she is wise and I love her.
  • Winston Duke as M’Baku. He is the powerful, ruthless warrior who is the leader of the mountain tribe, the Jabari. They protest T’Challa being the new king. Their animal is an ape as he is called “Man-Ape” in the comics but I believe they just worship the gorilla gods. M’Baku believes in the past and that it’s important to know it in order to move forward. Winston Duke is a giant of a man, so him standing up against anyone in this film is quite entertaining because he’s so TALL. But he’s also funny when he needs to be, but at other times very much intimidating. I like him though lol.
  • Angela Bassett as Ramonda. She is T’Challa’s stepmother, and the Queen Mother of Wakanda. She is probably T’Challa’s most trusted advisors and probably the only one he really listens to. She is wise and has a lot of insights even if she’s not always right. She is supportive of her children, holds a definite amount of respect from everyone. Angela Bassett is always a win and Angela Bassett in a long silver wig with locs is ALWAYS a win.
  • Forest Whitaker as Zuri. He is the keeper of the heart-shaped herb. He is a religious and spiritual figure. He is the one who is in charge of the ritual where T’Challa becomes King. There’s a lot of information we learn about him and Forest Whitaker is always good, and he plays this role very well.
  • Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue. He is a South African black-market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster who is allied with Erik. He has an arm cannon that is an advanced piece of Wakandan mining equipment, it’s a sonic disruptor arm-cannon. He is a threat to Wakanda as he’s an outsider who managed to steel some Vibranium and has access to it. He also has a personal vendetta against T’Challa and Wakanda as he feels their solitude from the rest of the world is hypocrisy. Andy Serkis is always, always a win and I’m glad that he got to play someone in person because he’s great at it. His South African accent was great and he’s intimidating but also humorous. I love it. He was great.
The Villain. Erik Kilmonger is a great villain. He is a staple of Black Panther’s lore and rogue’s gallery, but in this film, they really give him a backstory and allow him to feel like a product of his circumstances. I think lately Marvel has some good villains and I think Erik fits right up there as their best. He’s young but he’s angry and his reasons don’t feel like “oh yeah he’s just mad” but that he has reasons and you can sympathize with him. Like you root for him too and that’s what makes him a great villain and what makes the movie so great is because you sympathize with both him AND T’Challa. He has some great emotional scenes and you can’t help but fall even deeper into the hole of understanding him. HE IS THE BEST MARVEL STUDIOS VILLAIN.
The Story. This is a story about growth, revenge, courage to do what’s right even if it’s hard, redemption and family. There’s a lot happening in the movie but at it’s core, it focuses on family and how T’Challa, Ramonda and Shuri now have to live without T’Chaka. Not to mention the secrets that are in the family that we learn, it’s quite powerful to be honest. There’s also politics but not only are they not ridiculously complicated but it says a lot about ruling a kingdom. The story I think is easy to follow, it’s emotional, it’s a strong story and that’s all I can say without spoiling. A lot of moments are so profound.
Costume Design. T’Challa’s first suit is the same one from Civil War, which is amazing and sleek in it’s design. His second suit that Shuri builds for him, is one that forms around his body was inspired by a similar design seen in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther comic book run. The purple you see in the design is kinetic energy which is cool. All of T’Challa’s outfits are ALSO amazing. That black hoodie he wears during Klaw’s interrogation scene is amazing and I want it. I want ALL of his coats. ALL OF THEM. Shuri’s clothes are amazing. Ramonda’s clothes, especially her headdress, and then that blue dress she wears, oh my gosh. Amazing. Also those white locs were fantastic on her and I’m still salty Angela Bassett was nervous back in the day of comic book movies that she turned down Storm. Nakia’s clothes… wow. The Dora Milaje’s uniforms are beautifully realized and the attention to detail in the clothes, wow. Erik Kilmonger’s clothes were also great, especially that black cloak thing he wears towards the end. Also, the detail with his bumpy ritualistic scares is really cool. Shout out to Ruth E. Carter who did a great job!
The Dialogue/Humor. It’s funny. It’s not like super funny or are you laughing the entire time, but there are definitely some visual cues that are hilarious and require laughter. Don’t expect Guardians of the Galaxy humor or anything, but there is humor. The dialogue can be funny and the way it’s delivered is great! Shuri’s great line in her lab referencing T’Challa shoes. Erik going “hey auntie…”, the scene where T’Challa sees Nakia, it’s some great stuff. I mentioned before in the story section that there is a lot of profound moments in this film and it’s true. The dialogue is so powerful, I think all of Erik’s lines are pretty profound. Don’t get me twisted, his execution was wrong but I can’t help but to understand him and in ways, root for him. But T’Challa also had some great lines, especially when he spoke to his ancestors and his entire scene with Erik at the end. Wow. Kudos to Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole for writing such a powerful script.
Visuals! Rachel Morrison is the cinematographer and she does a great job because the film looks great. Wakanda is a beautiful country, very vibrant full of colors and I think the scene where T’Challa steps into the pool of water and the people are standing on the rock wall formation, it’s amazing just how beautiful that scene was. The way some of the action scenes are filmed, especially in South Korea, that’s very cool. Not to mention, the use of technology in Wakanda, the little forms of communication they have, it’s a different way than how we’ve seen “holograms”. Or how Shuri can help T’Challa from her lab by being in a simulation. It’s super cool.
Awesome Soundtrack! I listened to the soundtrack a bit previously and I thought it was awesome but with it in the film, it fit so well into the film. Shout out to Kendrick Lamar for the original songs. Ludwig Göransson who also composed Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, he does the score and it’s beautiful. During Erik’s ancestral visit, beautiful and the score at the end with T’Challa and Erik was also beautiful. The music fits in the movie very well, it doesn’t feel out-of-place and I love the songs, but I also love the instrumentals where there are some quiet moments, like when T’Challa goes into the spirit world where all of the Panther ancestors were.
The Fight Scenes. Outside of one scene, I think all of the fight scenes are really cool, well filmed and well choreographed. The scene at the beginning where T’Challa drops from the sky, that whole scene was awesome because we got to see him in his element right from the beginning. Also, all of the scenes where he fights Erik, I think are all handled well. Their first fight in the water, it’s savage, raw and powerful. I think it’s clear that Erik is stronger and a better fighter considering… and it shows because it was pretty brutal. T’Challa’s fight with M’Baku was also a good one. The entire third act was also great. The scenes with T’Challa and Erik fighting respectively in their suits, was super cool and just the effects along with that, and how emotional and brutal it was. I think it was fantastic.
Emotional Weight. This movie has a lot of emotional weight going into it. It starts off with the death of a parent, husband and a monarch which is already tough on this world and the people in them. Not to mention, there are things we learn about the family as the movie continues that just makes you really consider how hard it can be to rule and be a good person AND a good ruler. I think Chadwick Boseman really sells the emotion in this film, especially the scene towards the end as does Michael B. Jordan. It’s amazing. You really feel for the characters and I think everyone has motivation for what they’re doing. You can’t help but to understand them.
Cons:
Awkward Fighting Scene. So, I wanted to make a comment about it, it was pointed out to me that some of the fighting scenes were a bit awkward. I did think this, but only about the casino scene in some areas. I don’t think throughout the movie this was a problem. But specifically in the casino scene, I do think there is weird choreography in there. There is also a mixture of shaky cam where you’re not sure what’s going on, mostly on scenes where there are some closeups. I also think there are some points, mostly when Okoye is fighting with her spear, where it looks like slow motion which does make it look odd but it’s not slow motion. It’s just real-time, I mean, these actors are human and can’t move super fast but it does make it not flow as seamlessly as it should. But it didn’t really bother me, I just wanted to bring it up in case someone else noticed and commented.
Overall, I LOVE this movie. I like, I can’t even begin to continue to sing its praises. It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful, everything in it is beautiful. The people, I mean, these actors are all beautiful people, the clothes, the music, the visuals, the story… everything is beautiful. The characters are all strong and different people to the point where you know who the are, what their purposes are in the film, and the cast is extremely talented and I can’t even. Chadwick Boseman heads up this film as T’Challa and he is great at his job. My husband Michael B. Jordan is a great villain, he’s sympathetic and he is understood even if he goes about things the wrong way. He is great. GREAT. Everyone is great. The soundtrack is amazing, especially the score, and the costumes are beautifully made. The emotions in this movie are strong and completely understandable, everything is felt because it feels so raw and organic. The fight scenes are handled really well. The movie is funny and the dialogue is profound! The only thing I can pull out is that one awkward fight scene in the casino but that didn’t really bother me. FOR THE CULTURE! WAKANDA FOREVER!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
flat800x800075f-u2Have you seen Black Panther? If not, what’s wrong with you?? lol I’m kidding but go see it! Let me know your thoughts down in the comment section because I would love to have a dialogue with someone about it, especially if you don’t think Erik is sympathetic.
There WILL be a spoiler talk coming up soon. I’m determined to finish this one since I have so many I started and didn’t finish lol.
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