Summary: A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgangers appear and begin to terrorize them.
There will be spoilers at the very end of this review. The initial review is spoiler free. Also, I don’t like horror films and while this one will probably be classified as “horror”, I did not find it scary.
I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED THIS REVIEW!! I’ve been trying to finish this thing forever!
Cast and Characters. We pretty much stick with the family in this one. As they play two characters I’m going to try not to go overboard with talking about each character.
Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson/Red. So, Adelaide is a quiet woman, she says she has a hard time talking and that’s evident a little early in the film. She had a traumatic experience as a child and returning to her childhood home has her on edge as she sees coincidences that remind her of what happened before. When the day ends she tells her husband that she’s just worried that something will happen, and she finally tells him what happened when she was a little girl. Then of course, things happen. So, she goes on the journey in this movie trying to run from the horrors of her past while also trying to protect her family. She doesn’t particularly care about the world because it’s not her problem but she’s hellbent on protecting her family. Now, Red is Adelaide’s “shadow” and she has returned with her shadow family for her reasons I won’t spoil here. She’s terrifying in how she moves, her expressions, how she talks, and you can’t help but be transfixed by her. Lupita is amazing in this movie. Even if this movie wasn’t good in my eyes, I would still think Lupita is amazing in it. She’s so good. I think as Adelaide she plays the strength she needs, the fear, the anger, all of it so well. For Red, it’s such a different performance and it’s so haunting. It’s so good.
Madison Curry as Young Adelaide/Young Red. We see this young actress in the flashback portions of the movie and we spend enough time with her to see how she differentiates between the two characters as well. I thought she did very well, especially since most of her acting is physical and, in her face, as she doesn’t say much.
Winston Duke as Gabe Wilson/Abraham. It’s M’BAKU! lol But Gabe is that type to want to keep up with the Joneses because he does things in this movie, at the beginning to try and match up with their friends who seem to be rich. He buys a boat, he wants to go to the beach and talk about the things they have and are getting. He also doesn’t seem to take a lot of things as serious as he should. When Adelaide tells him of her fears, he’s joking about it and almost dismissive of her worry and fear. When the Shadow family first appears, he’s like “Um okay, y’all need to leave” but it doesn’t get serious for him in terms of the stakes until Abraham snatches his glasses from him lol. Even when they’re talking in the living room, he keeps talking and it’s like, bruh shut up lol. Now as Abraham, he’s big and imposing and he doesn’t talk so you’re not sure what he’s going to do at all. Winston Duke plays the two characters who are also so different and it’s like night and day. I thought he did a great job at being kind of goofy as Gabe and then imposing as Abraham.
Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora Wilson/Umbrae. Zora is their teenage daughter, she ran track prior to their summer and has decides she doesn’t want to run anymore. She’s always on her phone and she does get into it with Jason but it’s not like how they usually show brother/sister relationships where it’s antagonistic. Zora seems to think quickly on her toes as the film gets going, and she’s probably like 13 so she wants to drive but her parents are like “nah”. But she manages to handle the situation like a pro. Now Umbrae doesn’t talk either, but she just smirks and giggles the entire time. It’s great and I found her the most unsettling. Being that she’s Zora’s shadow, she’s a runner and she also seems to be the most brutal as well. Shahadi did such a great job as both characters. For her to just keep that smirk on her face and giggle and be so unsettling is a win.
Evan Alex as Jason Wilson/Pluto. He is the youngest child and he’s a little strange. He seems to keep to himself and loves magic tricks. Jason seems to know different hiding spots in the house and he utilizes them when he needs to. He’s very observant and a lot of times it’s worth watching his expression for clues and realizations because he’s clearly figured it out before you. He’s a sweet boy though and I like his and Zora’s relationship gets stronger as the movie goes on and that he’s also willing to do what he needs to. As Pluto, he’s little monster who wears a skin-tight mask over his face and who likes fire. He’s a scary little monster lol. Evan Alex does a good job as both characters. He of course cannot talk as Pluto, but he makes little grunting noise and sounds like an animal. I think that was in line with what he was in Red’s eyes lol.
The Story. The story is interesting and fully in spoiler territory, so I’ll be brief about this. So, basically Adelaide experienced something traumatic as a child and she has now returned to her childhood home where she begins to see all kinds of coincidences that make her think of what happened before. Just as she finally expresses what happened to her husband, a family shows up and begins to terrorize them. We learn this family is a shadow of our current family and the ride never stops from there. I think this story is a dig at a lot of things. What you take from it I think will be different from person to person. It’s a commentary on identity in ways but also on the government. Not to mention, on how people deal with their choices and the implications of that. That is all I will say here.
The Horror/Thriller Aspect. While I don’t think the movie is scary overall, it does have horror elements. Jordan Peele sets up scenes that are meant to leave you tense and trying to prepare for what’s about to happen. Not to mention, this movie doesn’t seem completely far-fetched. You can’t help but to wonder. Not to mention, what would you do in this situation? How would you react? It’s thoughts like that that linger that makes this scary. Also, the performances are unsettling and the whole idea of what the doppelgangers are trying to do… it’s a lot for the senses but it’s not scary! At least not in the traditional sense!
Musical Score. The music is beautiful in this movie. Particularly the scene during the opening credits with the rabbits. It was so haunting! The music really helps elevate parts of the film.
All the Signs. I watched this movie twice and on the second viewing, it really helped put things into perspective now that I knew what I could expect at the end. I really liked how they were used to foreshadow what was coming, what we were going to learn about the characters and the story. I thought it was clever. I think it’s easy to notice on the first go around, but there’s nothing like watching and experiencing it again once you’ve already seen it and now know the truth.
Not Enough Answered Questions. I talked with my brother-in-law and older sister about this movie briefly and we had a nice discussion. However, I still think there were a lot of questions that were raised in the movie and not enough were answered. I know movies can be left up to interpretation but when the movie itself poses questions or poses situations and doesn’t answer them or give clarity to what it’s presenting us. For example, we get a ton of information when we first meet Red, which poses some questions and gives a bit of answers. Then later, we get more information that gives us even more questions, but nothing is truly answered. It’s just frustrating because when those questions arise, it’s hard to ignore them.
Weak Last Act. I think the story remains interesting but compared to the set up, I think the last act is weak in how it’s portrayed to the audience. So, we get a lot of information in the last act which raises a ton of questions, but it’s delivered to us in a “villain’s monologue” and the information is not only a lot to take in, but it leaves a bit of head scratching. Sure, sure, you can argue that it was meant to be taken how the audience takes it but you’re clearly setting up a narrative and while it’s crazy, like don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the reveal, it doesn’t hold a clear weight.
The Other Family. I know why they were there, I know why they were included in the movie, but I would have rather just spent the entire movie with the Wilsons without spending the 10 minutes we do with that other family. Other than to show us Gabe’s whole thing of “keeping up with the Joneses” they could have been left out. It wasn’t a necessity personally.
Overall, I really liked Us. I don’t think it’s as good or tight as Get Out is but Us manages to find its way through some of its weaker and confusing aspects and still provide a thrilling experience. The acting is good all around, the Wilson family are all interesting people and I would love to just spend a day with them that doesn’t revolve around their doppelgangers coming to visit. The story is interesting and provides a lot of metaphors and allegory that can be interpreted in different ways by different people. The music is fantastic and adds to the creep factor. The horror aspect, while it’s not a scary film, works as it provides tension. Plus, all the signs that foreshadow what’s to come are handled so well that on the second watch, you find yourself taking note of them all. Now, I did have a few minor problems. I think the film has a weak last act compared to the first two. It also raises too many questions and not answering enough of them. It doesn’t come off smart but confusing and irritating. I also think the other family could have been cut from the film or at least not given an entire sequence by themselves later, who really cared about them? ANYWAYS, great movie, I really liked it and I think it’s worth the watch, especially to see what Jordan Peele thought up.
Rating: 4.0 out 5 stars.
Spoilers Below This Warning.
So, I knew I wasn’t going to do a spoiler review for this film. I could but I don’t think I want too. So, at the end, we find out that Adelaide who we’ve been hanging out with the entire movie is actually one of the Tethered. At the end, once they “win”, she has a flashback where she remembers what happened the night she got lost. As a little girl, she went into the hall of mirrors and found her shadow. So, Adelaide choked the real Adelaide and switched places with her. So Red in the movie, is the REAL Adelaide.
I hope that’s understandable lol. But I was like damn that’s a good twist because it was. I didn’t see it coming, at least not till the end when I wondered if they switched places as children after Adelaide killed Red. So, Adelaide went back to the beach after Red took Jason. She went into the hall of mirrors and went back to the place where she first saw her shadow as a child. She goes down into the tunnels (which I wondered just how she knew the door was there, she didn’t act to me like she was trying to see if there was a secret but like she knew it was there even if it was subconsciously), anyway, she goes down and again, I wonder just how she knew where to go. But she finds Red. They have a confrontation and a fight and Red slashes and stabs her a lot. Finally, they go into one of the bedrooms and Adelaide ends up stabbing Red with the poker. She was dying but then started to whistle “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and Adelaide uses the handcuff chains to break her neck.
During this entire sequence, Adelaide does a lot of screaming, frustrated noises, grunts etc. When she drops Adelaide down to the ground, she makes some other weird carnal/animal noises. My friend said, “Did they just fuse together or something?” and I was like “Nooooo” because then I started to think they must have switched places at some point because what she just did was very animal like and we never saw Red make any of those noises outside of telling her family how to go after Adelaide’s family. It was just so interesting to me so how that all worked out in the end.
She finds Jason and he looks at her all weird and she tells him “it’s her, he’ll be safe, and things will be like they were before” and he is just giving her this weird look. When they’re in the car driving away, Adelaide is remembering that she is not the real Adelaide and Jason gives her this look and then she smiles at him and he puts his mask on.
So, with the ending, I know there are a lot of theories floating around about it and I wanted to add in my two cents. One is that Jason and Pluto got switched at some point. I don’t buy that because when would they have been able to switch him? It doesn’t seem like the visit their summer house all the time and how would they not notice that suddenly Jason is different? Was he different? I mean there’s too many holes with that. Young Adelaide couldn’t even speak when she first switched, her parents thought her trauma affected her speech. Plus, the tethered can’t speak, at least not human language, so why can Jason (who may still be odd) speak clearly but Pluto, cannot, plus he moves like an animal most times and his face is badly burned. So, I just wanted to put my two cents in that theory.
The other theory that Jason and Chris from Get Out, are the same people is also ridiculous. Just because Chris doesn’t like talking about his mom doesn’t mean he wouldn’t talk about his sister and dad? Plus, why would Jason change his name to Chris? AND even more so, why would he forget the trauma that he witnessed as a kid with the tethered and then go off to some backwoods house with his girlfriend? I would be so cautious if that happened to me, I would never go anywhere with anyone. NOT to mention, didn’t we learn that his mother died in a car accident or something? Something where he felt like he killed her? Idk.
The other theory that Get Out and Us exist in the same universe. Meh, maybe but how far apart do they exist?
So, I have a few questions. These are some of the questions that were raised, that I can remember right now that I don’t think the movie did anything to answer, or at least do it well enough.
Where did Red get all those red jumpsuits, gloves and scissors? Obviously, she was inspired by Michael Jackson, as his t-shirt was the last thing she wore before the switch.
It’s implied that her dancing is the reason why the tethered looked at her like she was different. I did seem like at the end with the confrontation with Red and Adelaide that Red had better control of her body, even though Adelaide was hurt… it got wilder whereas Red remained tight in her movements. Sooo, during that dance scene, who was really controlling who in that scene?
How did Red get all the tethered to meet and understand her plan? How far do those tunnels go? Was it just California or was its other places?
What was her plan after the tethered took over? Were they just going to stay with their hand in hand? She said to Jason and Pluto when she sent them to play “Don’t damage our house” so I would assume they were just going to live out their lives up top but how long was the holding hands last?
What about the tethered finding their husbands and wives like the ones up top? Because they were revealed to be clones of the surface people instead of actual “shadows”, how does that work?
These are just some things I thought of while writing this review and when watching the movie.
Summary: Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land.
This is a short review.
Cast and Characters.
Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry. For all the Aquaman purists (*coughs*Jonathan*coughs*) he is not a full blond lol but he makes his Ombre work. Arthur grew up with his father after his mother left when he was a toddler. He pretty much does his own thing but he does seem to take it upon himself to help people out in the water, especially since he just showed up where the submarine was at the beginning. However, he is reluctant to be King of Atlantis. He just doesn’t want that responsibility; besides, he’s been told that his mother was killed and so he’s definitely not into ruling a kingdom who murdered his mother. Arthur has the ability to communicate with other aquatic life. He can swim at supersonic speeds and possesses superhuman strength. He doesn’t get involved in things that he feels aren’t his problem and he won’t do things he’s not interested in which is part of his arc in the film. He has to figure out just how involved he wants to be and see how far he’s willing to go. I like Jason Momoa, I think he’s a fine Arthur/Aquaman, I don’t know how true he is to the comic character or anything but I think he’s likable, probably the most likable version I have seen on screen. He’s also funny and he does well with the physical stuff. I don’t think Arthur really got to have many emotional moments but overall, I think he’s cool.
Amber Heard as Y’Mera Xebella “Mera” Challa. She is the Princess of Xebel, and a warrior. She was raised by Queen Atlanna and groomed to become queen. She possesses hydrokinetic and telepathic powers. She can control the aquatic environment around her. I was unsure how I would feel about her in this film, but she’s really cool. She shows up on the docks and tells Arthur that he has a mission he has to do and she’s adamant that he comes back to Atlantis because she believes in his mother and she believes he’s the only one who can do what needs to be done. She has her beliefs and she sticks to it. The only problem she sees, is that he’s lazy and just doesn’t want to put in the effort. She’s pretty intense when she wants to be and very observant of their situation. She’s a warrior so she’s always ready to be on the move. I like Mera, she’s a “go get em” kind of girl. Amber Heard was fine in the role, I can’t say that no one else could play the part but she’s fine. My biggest problem, but it’s not her fault I guess, is her wig didn’t look good when it wasn’t wet or moving in the water. On land it looked pretty bad.
Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko. He is Atlantis’ counselor, he mentored and trained Arthur when he was younger. There’s not a ton to say about him but Willem Dafoe is always a win.
Patrick Wilson as Orm Marius. He is Arthur Curry’s Atlantean half-brother and ruler of Atlantis. He wants to unite the seven underwater kingdoms to declare war on the surface world out of the belief that humanity polluted the seas. He does a ton of talking in this movie about what he wants to do and how he’s going to do it. I mean, I think he has a point about some of the things he says, but he definitely spends this movie glaring and talking. I like Patrick Wilson so I thought his character could have used a bit more nuance overall otherwise he’s pretty interesting.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane / Black Manta. He is a ruthless pirate and a high-seas mercenary who seems to like creating deadly technological innovations. He already has a grudge against Arthur at the beginning because I guess he’s thwarted his plans before but he really ends up hating him and spends the entire movie trying to get revenge. I haven’t seen Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in a ton of things where he’s the lead but I like him, I think he’s charismatic and interesting to watch overall. I’m curious to see what happens with his character in the future.
Nicole Kidman as Atlanna. She’s not in this movie a ton, but in the beginning, she has this badass fight scene and I thought that was the best part of the film with her. Nicole Kidman is generally always a win and she was.
Cool Action. There are some really cool actions sequences in this movie. Particularly in that little Italian village, that entire sequence while Arthur is fighting Black Manta and Mera is running across the roofs, that was really nice. It made up for the random explosion that happened right before. I also thought the fight between Arthur and Orm at the end was pretty nice as well. Oh! I can’t forget about Nicole Kidman’s awesome fight sequence when the Atlantean soldiers burst into her home, it was sooo dope. I was like look at you Nicole!
Character Chemistry. I thought Jason Momoa and Amber Heard had nice chemistry. Whether or not it was romantic remains to be seen in further films but I thought they at least worked well together as colleagues. They had really nice banter when they went back and forth and it just seemed natural.
Visual Effects… Some.I will get into this more later. But some of the visual effects in this movie are dope. The one that comes to mind immediately is Mera’s jellyfish looking dress during the Ring of Fire. Y’all, that thing was amazing. I also think the swimming and talking underwater for the most part is pretty nice as well.
Opening Narration!I NEED MOVIES TO STOP USING OPENING NARRATION WHEN WE CAN CLEARLY SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE SCREEN! I don’t need Arthur to tell him his dad met the love of his life when I can clearly see it. Gosh it’s so annoying. You talking just ruins the moment! SHUT UP!
WHAT IS WITH ALL THE EXPLOSIONS!Y’all, I swear we get like five explosions in this movie that signal a shocking moment. I’m sure there’s probably less lol but every time someone was having a serious moment, it was undercut by the enemy finding them with an explosion! It happens so much. Like so much it’s ridiculous. Once okay, twice is pushing it but three times… that’s too much.
Inconsistent. This movie has a lot of confusing inconsistencies. I won’t even get into the stuff that connects this movie to Justice League, which is where we first saw Arthur because boy… but anyways, one thing I noticed is how Arthur reacts to things. It’s almost like the movie doesn’t know what they want him to be. Is he dumb? Is he smart? Is he just supposed to be commenting on things? I mean… you have him in one scene not being able to remember parts of the prophecy, but then later you have him talking about history stuff AND he does actually remember parts of the prophecy… was it just a joke? But why? It’s a serious moment? Not to mention, how dangerous the whole quest thing is but what about Atlanna? How did she know about the Karathan? Did she try and get the trident and failed but she managed to live? There’s a lot of this that goes on. Oram seemed to not trust Vulko but he waits till the end to say something? Meh.
Visual Effects. I saw a lot of talk about the visual effects in this movie and how it should have been nominated for an Oscar, so I was expecting like amazing effects but meh. I didn’t think they were that great most of the time. All of the Atlantis stuff looked really fake and it looked too much like a video game. It’s cool when a video game looks like a movie but not vice versa because things get into the uncanny valley and it’s too weird.
Villains Use and Storylines. So, we technically have two villains in this movie. Black Manta is one of them and I think he’s really wasted in the film. Don’t get me wrong, he’s interesting and the actor does a really good job. I really think he would be intimidating but he’s really wasted. We see him pretty early and we solidify his reasons to dislike Arthur, which I get but at the same time, y’all did that to yourselves… anyway, that could have been the last time we saw him until the end credit scene and then we know he’s the next villain. Instead they kept trying to pepper him throughout the film and I was like meh, it’s so unnecessary to have him be in this. The other villain is his half-brother… spoiler alert, I guess? I mean it’s kind of obvious right? Anyways, he thinks he’s doing the right thing, so that’s already set up for a good villain because the ones who think they’re right make sense, but he talks way too much, it doesn’t aid in me thinking he’s a good villain.
Too Long. This movie is 2 hours and about 38 minutes long. It’s just too long because there were things in this movie that could have been shaved down or even cut out because it wasn’t really necessary for this film. One of those things was the inclusion of Black Manta. Don’t get me wrong, he’s kind of interesting and I think the actor was great with what we saw of him, but the problem is he seemed like an afterthought. Cut him out in general and that’s a good probably 20 minutes from the film and they could have introduced him in the sequel.
Overall, I enjoyed Aquaman a bit more than I thought I would. I liked all the characters enough and the acting was fine across the board. This is a usual hero story where he needs to complete the prophecy in order to do the thing that needs to be done, even though he doesn’t want to. Ya know, that story. There is some cool action in this film, especially Nicole’s scene at the beginning and the little Italy scene. Some of the effects are really cool and the characters have chemistry. Now, on the other hand, I did not think the visual effects were as good as people were saying, it looked too much like a video game and there were times where I could barely see what was going on because the effects weren’t that great and it was murky looking. The villains weren’t that great as villain overall. I felt like they were wasted, particularly Black Manta. I also think the movie is ultimately inconsistent as well. Too many times Arthur’s personality just wouldn’t seem to PICK ONE! But ya know, the movie is fine.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Aquaman? What are your thoughts on the film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Summary: A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.
This will be a short review.
Dumbo. Dumbo is a newborn elephant who has oversized ears and HE’S SO CUTE! He is the newest addition to the Medici’s circus. At first, some of the people at the circus think he’s a freak and he is used to attract huge audiences. Once he learns how to fly, after prompting from the kids, Medici uses Dumbo as a flying attraction. However, his mother is taken away because she gets uber protective of her baby (which is understandable!). Dumbo then begins to feel lost because she’s gone and the kids become close to him to help him regain his confidence. Once he gets put into Dreamland, he’s really out of his element. Dumbo doesn’t talk at all, but his facials are super expressive. I think that and his endearing personality is what makes him an interesting hero albeit an unconventional one.
Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo’s Relationship. We don’t get to see a ton of them together as they get separated pretty early on but a lot of what drives Dumbo is the fact of getting back to his mother. He even seems to go along with the plans delivered at the end because he was promised to get back to his mom. I thought that was sweet and the part of the movie I wanted to see the most.
The Idea of Family. A big part of this film is the idea of family. The whole thing with Dumbo and his mother, and then Colin Farrell’s family and then the circus as a whole being a family. I did like how there were three different layers of family going on and that it was such an important part of the film that each plot point was directly related to “family” in some form or fashion.
Animal CGI. I think this movie has really nice CGI. I think Dumbo is precious and I want a baby elephant. I think all of the animals we get to see look really good to be fully computer generated. There is also a bit of the pink elephants part and it’s different from what we remember but it works for the tone of the movie but it’s also quite cool. I think the way they handle all the effects, there aren’t a ton, but the ones there are, it’s really good. Dumbo’s face, all of his expressions, especially in his eyes are so sweet.
Really Cute… Most Times. I feel like I’m mostly praising Dumbo but he is the most charming thing about this movie. There’s a part where Eva Green’s character goes into a room and she says “Bonsoir!” and Dumbo comes in behind her and repeats her in his way lol. It was super cute and got a lot of laughs in my theater. This happened a lot but mostly because of Dumbo!
The Acting. I don’t really care about any of the characters but I think all of the acting from the adults is good. They’re all well-known actors and I think they all do well with what they are working with and their fine in their roles.
The Entire Human Aspect. I didn’t want to compare it to the animated film because I am able to look at the two separately but the thing that makes the animated film charming is the fact that it focuses mostly on Dumbo and the mouse, THE ANIMALS! The humans are inconsequential and this movie shows WHY!! I did not care a bit about any of these humans in this movie. They force Colin Farrell’s family on us and I definitely did not care. I guess I could care about the circus people but the made Dumbo be a clown and made fun of his ears! I don’t care! Then there was this whole thing with Michael Keaton… jeez, literally cared about none of these people!
No Emotional Weight. I cry every time I watch the animated movie… and while this movie tries to hit the emotional parts that we know from the animated film, it doesn’t hit quite the same. The Baby Mine in the trailer made me tear up when I first saw, but I just went “aww” and then kept it moving. There’s a lot of aww’s but mostly because it’s cute not emotional the way I think the movie wants it to be. The whole thing with the dad and his kids, all of that stuff, it just doesn’t hit.
Unbalanced Story. This story is all over the place! We have this whole thing about Dumbo being weird because that’s the whole point of the movie. Then there’s thing with Colin Farrell where he’s come back from the war and lost his arm, which means he’s lost his act in the circus and his wife died… I mean there’s a lot going on that the movie wants us to care about. Farrell’s daughter is a boring scientist, the son has no personality other than to look wide-eyed at everything and then even more. I literally only care about Dumbo. There’s so much going on in this movie that I think it loses what is supposed to make it charming and that’s focusing on Dumbo and what he’s going through and what he feels.
The Little Girl. I don’t know the actress’s name and while she’s a kid, I want to give her a pass, but wow she was really bad. She was the one we spent a lot of time with because she is the one who figures a lot of things out because she’s super smart. I’m glad that she was smart and into science. However, she had one facial expression the entire time. Her tone was monotone and every time she spoke, I was like wow. It was really bad. Even when she was trying to be emotional it didn’t work. I don’t know if it was a choice or if Tim Burton told her to do that. Either way, it was really bad. Her little brother was better than her and he didn’t get much to do.
Overall, I wanted to like Dumbo more than I did. I thought it was cute overall and I wanted to love it about as much as I loved the animated film because I have been optimistic about these live action remakes, and I don’t mind them but this one left a lot left to be desired. IT was kind of a shame really because it could have been handled better. I don’t know if they thought we would relate more because of the humans but they don’t help the story at all. Dumbo is the selling point and he is the best part of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, the acting is good through all of the adult actors but you don’t care about any of them because it’s just added storylines we don’t need. The CGI is good and while I didn’t mention this separately, the soundtrack is lovely. Now, there isn’t any emotional weight, at least not to the point where the movie wanted it to land and the little girl’s acting was not good and she’s almost a main lead because of how much she’s featured. Also, the story is all over the place. *sighs* I think it could have been better otherwise, this one could have been left to its original place as an animated film.
Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Dumbo? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts down below!
Summary: A woman is transformed into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear.
This will be a short review.
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this movie, all of the supporting characters do their jobs, they’re funny, cute (for the kids) and do what they’re supposed to do. The bigger standouts are of course our main characters.
Regina Hall as Jordan Sanders. Jordan is indeed a ruthless tech mogul. She almost reminded me of Miranda from Devil Wears Prada just a bit louder in how she talks to people lol. She’s incredibly smart and has big goals for her future but she has to learn how to take the ideas and suggestions from others in order to be successful. She is mean, like for real, rude and she feels that because of what happened to her as a kid, that she is owed to do this to other people. I like Regina Hall and I think it’s clear she’s having fun in this role. She doesn’t appear in most of the movie but in the beginning and the end, we get to see her transform (not that much) but still. Good casting.
Marsai Martin as 13-year-old Jordan Sanders. We get a grasp of her as an actual pre-teen early on which shows that Jordan is super smart. When we see her as an adult in her pre-teen body, she’s acting the way she acted as an adult. Entitled, rude and thinking the crowds will part for her. She of course learns quickly that she doesn’t hold the same weight as she did before considering she’s now a child. Throughout the film, we get to see Jordan struggle with who she has become and who she used to be and I think Marsai does a good job with portraying both sides to Jordan. She is afraid of becoming that girl she used to be because of the pain she went through in school. I totally get that. I also loved how she reacted to Trevor as both an adult and in her younger body because she gets to see herself through the eyes of someone who actually cares about her. Marsai is very expressive with her face which I think is a strong point for her. I was impressed with her (as I don’t actively watch Black-ish yet).
Issa Rae as April Williams. She is Jordan’s overworked assistant. She basically is always on her toes when it comes to doing whatever Jordan needs from her. It’s clear that she’s good at her job as an assistant but she’s determined to be more than that. I love Issa Rae, she’s so energetic and captivating whenever she’s on screen that I enjoy her no matter what. Her character is relatable as we all have worked with people or bosses who just burn our grits and she gets to react and say things that we have either said or wish we said. April wants to be a creative designer in the company and is worried she’ll never get there because Jordan won’t let her. It’s also nice to see her have her moments to grow as a person and become stronger. Issa is great in this human, relatable role, it’s where she shines, I think.
Charming and Hilarious. There’s a lot of charm in this movie, it’s done with pure intentions and I think it shows. It’s definitely from the mind of a child and while it’s not obvious (like with The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl) it’s done with love and respect for Marsai’s vision. It’s also extremely funny. I was surprised at how much I laughed but I think I laughed mostly as Issa Rae who is hilarious on her own. Marsai Martin also does really well whenever she is bouncing off other adults, particularly the scene with her teacher. How it’s shown in the trailer is pretty much what happens in the movie but it’s still funny. However, there is great comedic chemistry with Issa Rae and Regina Hall and Marsai Martin. They all really bounce off each other well.
Overall Story. So yes, you can compare this to BIG if you want, Marsai even said she was inspired by that movie, which is an honor. I think the overall point of the movie, is made strongly. Don’t forget who you were, be yourself and go after what you want. Jordan reverted back to her 13-year-old self because she had to remember what she felt in those years that made her into the person she was. She had to grow from that in a different way. April had to learn to go after what she wanted by being herself and not do things that would compromise who she was as a person. I think that’s a nice message to give to anyone who watches the film.
Formulaic/Predictable. I mean this is in the vein of all the comedies that came before it with similar stories so it’s hard to be original (other than the fact the leads are black women and she’s a TECH MOGUL!) but it’s really hard to take the story seriously when I can predict exactly what’s going to happen. Jordan goes back to middle school and think she’s going to be the Alpha female but is quickly put on her ass by the head cheerleader. Not to mention, she ends up being ridiculed by the other students and has to hang out with the other outcasts who she takes under her wing and all that kind of stuff. I mean it’s textbook. So mostly I enjoyed the movie for the humor and the performances.
Unbalanced. A big problem is the narrative in that we seem to want to focus mostly on Jordan and her journey but we also have a lot of focus on April and her journey and I think the movie gets bogged down by trying to juggle both parts. It manages to do it but it doesn’t make for smooth storytelling. At times the movie even seems to focus on April more than it does Jordan which is a bit of a problem as that’s not what the movie starts off with or even really ends with.
Unearned Realizations. In movies like this there’s also a big moment of realization after our heroines go through something that makes them really rethink their life choices. I felt the conversation between April and Jordan where they have this moment where they talk about this… I was like meh because while we did see them both experience things that put them out of their depth, it didn’t feel earned, particularly for Jordan because outside of that one talk with Trevor, what exactly did she learn? The whole point of being reverted to a child is to see the world as a child and to embrace the part of her that she let go. It happened for movie sake not because she really earned that realization. At least to me.
Overall, I think Littleis a really cute and charming movie. It’s extremely hilarious, I laughed quite a bit and the performances are really the stand out in the film. I do think the intended messages manages to make its way across even though the story narrative is unbalanced and it’s very predictable and I do think Jordan’s 180 at the end comes a bit out of nowhere especially as Jordan never really seems to embrace the whole feeling of being a child again which is usually the point of these kinds of movies. It ends up coming off shallow and that’s not what I would want for a movie that’s told from the mind of a smart and charming child. Otherwise, I think it’s worth the watch, especially as a girl’s night out.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Little? If so, what’s your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!
Summary: Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda. To thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Cast Mostly and some Characters. I don’t find everyone that interesting, or at least not enough for me to be like OH YES, I NEED MORE! But I thought everyone did great jobs in their role. The acting is really good in this movie. Top Marks!
Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. This movie didn’t even really need to follow him but sure. Newt is as he was in the first. Awkward, sweet and loves his animals. In this one, he wants to travel again after getting in trouble from the events in the first film, but the Ministry wants him to be an Auror. That’s not his thing. So, he ends up being called upon by Albus Dumbledore to help him with something because Dumbledore cannot do it himself. Newt agrees and probably didn’t realize that he just might be the first person (but not the last) who Dumbledore uses to do the work to accomplish a goal. Aaaaanyways, most of the movie is Newt running around trying to find Credence while also trying to find Tina because he’s in lub and he misses her. I like Eddie Redmayne and he’s very good as Newt, very likable most of the time.
Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein. Tina isn’t seen for most of the first half of the movie. I didn’t like her that much in the first one and that hasn’t really changed. She’s also looking for Credence because she wants to save him from whatever Grindelwald might want of him, plus she’s trying to clear her name after the last incident that happened at the end of the first movie. She does a stupid thing and she and Newt are finally reunited. Then they’re pretty much together the rest of the movie, where he tries to explain what she saw wasn’t true and what not. Tina is still headstrong but as the movie isn’t about her, that’s all we really get. Katherine Waterston is again fine in her role.
Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski. Still a favorite character. So, at the end of the first movie, he loses his memory of what happened thanks to the rain from the Thunderbird. But basically, Queenie finds him and restores his memory but ya know, it’s frowned upon for witches and muggles (I DO NOT LIKE “NO-MAJ”) to be together so that whole thing is pretty much his introduction in the movie. He and Queenie arrive and he’s being all weird. Jacob is as fun supporting character. He’s the audience in how he reacts to the world and I love it. He’s good-natured and pretty much down for the ride. He does have a lot of emotional things happening in this movie, so I’m very interested to see what happens with him in the next one… *rolls eyes* Dan Fogler is funny, and he has some great emotional moments and you really feel for him.
Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein. Tina’s younger sister who is a powerful natural Legilimens. She fell in love with Jacob even though the wizarding laws forbid relationships with MUGGLES. So, in this movie, she’s really broken up about her feelings for him and what society doesn’t allow. That’s pretty much the bulk of her character in this movie. Her agonizing over this. *sighs* I don’t mind it being something she’s dealing with, but it didn’t have to be her entire storyline because she’s so interesting that it sucks that she’s regulated to that. BUT BUT Alison Sudol is really good as this character and she has some great emotional moments. The scene I dislike the most with her towards the end, is really good acting wise.
Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone. Following the events of the first movie, we see that he did not die the way they thought he did. He ran off to the circus. He now seems to have control over his Obscurus which makes him extremely powerful. We don’t get a ton of him in this movie and anytime we do, it’s mostly because he’s trying to figure out who he is and where he comes from. He is close with Nagini and they escaped the circus together. I think Credence is an interesting character, but we don’t see enough of him just yet, so I’m hoping that he gets more development in the third film. I also LOVE Ezra Miller and he’s great at playing the kind of character Credence is, kind of broken down but filled with rage over what he endured, not to mention, someone who is growing into their own man. He’s so good at that lol.
Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange. Leta is an interesting character, she went to school with Newt, and he was in love with her. She did something terrible that Newt took the blame for, which is why he’s an outcast in some circles. She comes from a well-known pureblood family who is known for the Dark Arts. She is engaged to Newt’s older brother Theseus and works in the Ministry as an assistant. Outside of what we learn about her from the flashback, we don’t get the chance to really know her to get any emotional attachment to her. But Zoe Kravitz is great as she always is.
Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander. He is Newt’s older brother and an Auror. He fought in World War I and is seen as a “War hero”, though he seems too young to be Newt’s older brother, because the actor is in fact younger than Redmayne and it shows physically. He and Newt seem to have an okay relationship, they’re just different personalities, like Theseus is a hugger lol. He spent previous years looking for Grindelwald and he’s engaged to Leta. Theseus was cool, and he seemed to not only care about duty but care about his brother because he must make some decisions that would affect both relationships. I like Callum Turner’s voice lol, but I think he makes Theseus likable because I feel like he would be one of those characters who would toe that line of likability.
Claudia Kim as Nagini. She is the main attraction a wizarding circus and freak show called Circus Arcanus. She is a Maledictus, who carries a blood curse that will eventually transform her into a snake permanently. She befriends Credence and becomes a confidant for him. They run away from the circus together in search of his heritage. She seems to be very wary of things in general but that’s about it. I don’t like the fact that she’s Nagini who later becomes Voldy’s snake, I mean whatever, but because of that connection, I just want to know how she met him and what made her want to follow him but not trust Grindelwald. I mean, they’re different but similar. Claudia Kim doesn’t get to do much other than look cautious and worried throughout the film.
Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore. Well hey there Dumbledore. He is an extremely powerful and influential wizard in the British Wizarding Community, known in the British Ministry of Magic and throughout the wider wizarding world for his academic brilliance, currently a professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He and Grindelwald grew up together and he had some kind of relationship with him over the summer and it ended badly. It’s already been told to us that Grindelwald and Dumbledore were romantic, or at least it was leading that way but ya know, it fell apart. Dumbledore is the one who brings Newt into the situation because He “cannot move against Grindelwald” for reasons we learn later. Also, the Ministry, as always, is frustrated with him because while he’s on their side, he won’t/can’t do what they want and so he ends up being forced on the sidelines even more. Jude Law was a great choice for Dumbledore. I was kind of shocked at how much I liked him in this role. He manages to have the same presence as those before him while also having swag lol.
Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. He is a powerful dark wizard who caused mass violence, terror and chaos. He wants to create a new Wizarding World Order about wizarding superiority. He doesn’t want to exterminate muggles (like Voldemort) but he wants to subjugate everyone who isn’t a pure wizard. They all have their place he says. He was captured by MACUSA in New York after wreaking havoc, and of course the whole thing when he pretended to be Colin Farrell’s character in the first one. By the way, he’s more powerful than Voldemort lol. Anyways, I think he kills a few people, the wizards who were transporting him and a muggle family but then he just spends the movie talking to people. He wants to “free” their minds to see things his way and he just talks a lot. While I have problems with the scene overall, my favorite scene of his is when they’re in the graveyard with the blue flames. I thought he did great there and seemed crazy while also powerful and intriguing. I can see the pull but not enough to sway me personally. I have always loved Johnny Depp and despite the mess that’s been around about him for some years, I’m glad he got to be in a mainstream movie where he does well with an interesting character. I don’t particularly like how stark his two eye colors were, maybe if the blue wasn’t so vibrant, but perhaps that was the point. But he manages to command the screen whenever he’s on it.
The Costumes. As always Colleen Atwood is great at her job. I recognize her talents lol. I miss Newt’s old blue coat but the coat he wore in this was great too! Albus also had a great look! I mean wow! Leta’s clothes… *Swoons* the costumes are great okay.
Musical Soundtrack. I can’t remember if I liked the soundtrack in the first one, but I think the soundtrack in this one was good, particularly in the emotional scenes like the entire graveyard sequence. I think this soundtrack is superior to the first one. I’ll have to listen again to verify this, but I thought it stood out quite a bit.
Use of Magic. With it being part of a magical world, the use of magic is very important, and I think it’s used in ways that keep the film moving forward. I like the creatures we saw, old and new ones, the designs on them are still great. With the blue flames in the graveyard sequence and how that was used was cool as well. Not to mention, Nagini’s whole transformation thing and how Credence used his powers. If anything, this movie does well, it’s the magic.
The Title. WHY IS THIS STILL CALLED “FANTASTIC BEASTS”! It has nothing to do with that. Just because you sprinkle in other magical creatures and the fact that Credence is an Obscurus does not mean that this movie needs to be part of that series. Why couldn’t Fantastic Beasts just exist on its own as well as this movie? It feels so much like a forced effort.
The story is all over the place. It is. End of story.
Nothing Happens in This Movie. All the reveals come at the end of the movie. So, any questions we had from the first movie, get answered at the end. It’s not like we got them throughout the film, or at the beginning and then we now have new questions that are because of good writing, not questions like “What even is this movie?” It just feels like a movie with nothing going on until the last 20 minutes or so. That’s a problem because this movie is 2 hours and some change. I watched people talk and people go places. That’s about it. It’s so much building that it never actually gets to where the building is going towards at least not in this movie. It should be able to stand on its own even if it’s a sequel.
Queenie’s Development. Not happy with what happened with her as I loved her character in the first one but there must have been a ton cut out with her character because she just does so much that seems out of character for her. I don’t understand the choices. By time we get to the end with her big decision, I was like “huh?” Like, I get it on the surface because sure, but how did she exactly reach that decision as if it was the only way? It was a 180 and I did not expect that from her because there was NO REASON AS TO WHY!
Leta Lestrange. Her character was interesting from what we saw in this movie and I thought Zoe Kravitz was great in her minor role. I also do not like how the movie handled her overall because we do not have the chance to get invested in her emotionally. Why should we care about her? They made such a big deal and it didn’t matter. We know the name Lestrange because of Bellatrix, which is fine, but Leta was someone I wanted to know because if you’re going to introduce a new character with connection to someone we’ve known before… then explore it! Especially when we get her backstory. But… I don’t know if they decided she wasn’t important moving forward, or if they wanted something like what we’ve seen in previous HP movies or what, but she was wasted. Not over it.
Credence’s Background. I knew what it was going to be, and I was not thrilled. As a Harry Potter fan, not thrilled at all and completely unnecessary. But that’s not the problem, my problem is that they spend way too much time trying to fake Credence and the audience out by jerking us around with his heritage. It’s not that serious. There was no reason to wait till the end of the movie for us to find out who he is. If Grindelwald wants him on his side so badly, he should have just told him as soon as he got out and got some of his followers back, what’s what. It felt like a waste of my time and I wasn’t happy about the journey nor the ending. Which is shame because I find Credence a very interesting and compelling character but pfft, ruined with that reveal.
Overall, I wanted to like this movie because I love Harry Potter and the Wizarding World. But I think this one is such a disappointment that I was upset when it was over. The first one I enjoyed enough but this one I barely enjoyed. Ugh. The characters are still interesting, and the acting is good across the board. The costumes are beautiful as always and the soundtrack is beautiful. Also, of course, the magic is used very well in the film. Now, there are a lot of issues. The story is all over the place, which means nothing happens in this film because there hardly is a story! The development of certain characters is so bad that I was like UGH! WHY did they do that!? And the title is still stupid… drop the Fantastic Beasts. Jeez. Anyway, it might be worth the watch if you’ve seen the first one but if you don’t really care for them, then I wouldn’t bother.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Did you see Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald? What did you think about it? Where do you think these movies can continue to go in terms of direction? Are you a Harry Potter fan and do you think these movies are necessary or just fanfiction? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!
Summary: A war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown.
Short review and mild spoilers I guess.
The Two Leads. Normally I would do “cast and characters” but honestly, the only interesting characters in this movie is Robin and John. Friar Tuck was also interesting, but I don’t think we get to know him enough to really care about him, other than the fact that he’s a cool dude and kind of a “ride or die”. Also, the actor is likable.
Taron Egerton as Robin Hood. So, Robin is the Lord of Loxley and he’s pretty much doing his own thing. He doesn’t seem to be a douchebag or anything like that, he’s just a young guy living in his manor. He meets a girl, falls in love and all that whatever. He gets drafted to fight in the Third Crusade against the Saracens. He ends up being in the war for about four years and he basically gets dishonorably discharged because he tried to save John’s son after a lot of their enemies were captured. Anyway, when he gets home, he finds that his land had been ransacked and Marian kicked out of his home. He finds out that she’s seeing someone else after they were told Robin was dead. He ends up working with John, who stowed away and John trains Robin to be a better archer to end the war by stealing the money that was taken from the people to fund the war. So, with all that said lol, Robin is a good man, he’s passionate about what he believes in, he can be a little mischievous and Taron is really good at that. He thinks quick on his feet… think of it like Robin is a Gryffindor lol. He’s brave, a bit brash and is prepared to rush head first into things which can also be labeled as “stupid”. Taron does a good job in this role. I always think he’s good. He’s active, he pulls off the look really well and I believed that he could lead a revolution. Keep ’em coming Taron, just pick good movies.
Jamie Foxx as John. I love how the wiki says that he’s Robin’s best friend and I’m like “Ummm… not in this movie they’re not best friends, at least not yet.” They become friends and trust each other, but I wouldn’t say best friends. Anyway, John or “Yahya”, which is actual name, but “John” is the translation in the common tongue”. He is an Arab soldier who fought against Robin’s… unit? and he almost killed Robin, but his hand cut off in the process. John’s unit was captured, and Gisborne threatens to kill his son. John really tries to keep him from doing so as does Robin, which prompts John to stow away on the ship sending Robin back and to confront him about helping him to end the war. John trains Robin to be a great archer and excellent marksman and he does an awesome job because Robin becomes awesome with his bow and arrow. John isn’t that much of a focal point in the film, he’s there to train Robin and to keep him focused on their goal. He’s a badass when he fights, even with his one hand, and he is loyal as he doesn’t give up Robin when he gets captured for a time. Also, very resourceful. I was curious to see how Jamie Foxx would do in this kind of role, I have never seen him play something like this and he was quite good. I really enjoyed him. I don’t know what accent was putting on if there was really one at all, but I could tell he had fun and it was fun watching him. He had great chemistry with Taron.
Pretty Good Action. I think the action was handled well in this film. I mean, it’s not grand or anything like that, but I think when Robin puts his hood on, it’s really cool to see some of the cool things he does. I mean, he’s no Green Arrow or Hawkeye with his special arrows but he’s fast and it really looks like Taron is doing it. I know he’s doing a good amount of his own stunts but I’m sure the intricate moves he’s probably not but it’s so cool! Archery is always my first weapon of choice, I am a long-range fighter first lol. There’s a scene towards the middle of the film, it’s like his second big mark, where he doesn’t manage to steal anything, but it was so good because he had so much opposition! It kicked ASS! I was impressed with how much fun the action was.
Character Chemistry. You would think this would be between Robin and Marian… BUT NOPE! The chemistry between Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton as these two different men who become friends under a common goal and respect was handled well. As I said before, I was little curious about Jamie Foxx in this kind of period piece and I thought he did well, and he and Taron really worked off each other. I liked the friendship we saw build between them. I am interested in a sequel just to see what more they do together now that they’ve created their group of Merry Men.
The Costumes… mostly Robin’s coat. I think the costuming in this film is mostly good. There are a few pieces that stood out the most, Robin’s coat which was turned into his signature jacket and of course the Sheriff of Nottingham’s blue coat. Both were pretty dope. The other costumes are nice, they fit into their period and almost have this future-esque feeling to them which reminded me a lot of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Is that you Mask of Zorro? Someone saw that classic movie with Antonio Banderas was inspired because this movie is pretty much that movie. Man is sent away by the villain for some reason (Not for the woman this time around), man returns with a vengeance, usually with the help of another person, some mentor, he learns to fight better and while he is being a vigilante he is also parading as a playboy who supports the Sheriff. I mean… there are plenty of stories like this, but this was so glaring to me that I was like “ummm…” and it also reminds me of The Three Musketeers with Logan Lerman, Luke Evans and Orlando Bloom towards the last act of the film. It really took me out of the film because I kept thinking of comparisons. I will help fix this in my second post about this film.
No Character Development. Honestly, there is hardly any character development from any of these characters. You have Robin and John who are the two main leads, but they are pretty much the same people they are at the end as they were in the beginning. The only thing that really changes is their circumstances. I guess, you can argue that they managed to get over their differences to work together, but they did that early. It’s not like they fought throughout the film while working together. You don’t really get to know anyone on their journey throughout the film. We pretty much know them as soon as we meet them. All the characters were flat. Not to mention, what a lame villain. Not compelling at all.
No Tension/Investment. I never felt there was a threat in this movie. Sure, you have the Sheriff, but he wasn’t really a threat because I didn’t believe he truly believed in his cause. It was a “just because” kind of thing. I think this was a disservice to Ben Mendelsohn because he’s a good actor, but his character was so underwritten that I was like meh. Also, there was this kind of “love triangle” thing between Robin, Marian and Will and I was like meh because I wasn’t really that invested in either side of the romance. We just didn’t get to see enough of Robin and Marian for me to be like “oh yeah they need to be together” other than the fact that they’re an iconic couple. If it was established prior to the film start, then sure, but since they met and fell in love in this film, I wasn’t invested. Not to mention, I wasn’t that invested in Will and Marian either. Was it love or just a rebound? Dunno. But anyways, it becomes a crux for Will’s “new beginning” at the end of the movie and I was like “whatever dude” lol. I also never felt like Robin was in any danger of actually being caught. I like when the hero is on the run from the villain and they get caught and stay caught, or it takes longer than five minutes for them to escape. I just wanted to be worried for the people at least once! I never was!
Lame Villains. Again, a disservice to all the villains that show up in this film. We get at least four of them. Of course, the Sheriff, who is iconic but since his name is just a title, he could be anyone, which is shown in this film. That’s fine but he was never really a threat. I mean shoot, the Sheriff in the Disney Robin Hood was more of a threat and he was a bit of a bumbling idiot. We later meet the Cardinal who is working with the Sheriff but why? I mean, dude why are you worried about this little town? You want more power? You want to be able to overthrow the King? Pfft okay. Is it King Richard? Good luck with that hahahaha. Then at the end, we meet a new Sheriff of Nottingham and while I would like to see a sequel with him as the Sheriff (I don’t think it’ll happen), I didn’t really find him a threat, but he could be a great one.
Overall, I enjoyed Robin Hood. I don’t think it was that great or anything. There was a lot of potential, but I don’t think the movie quite measured up to what it was trying to put out. Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx were good in their roles and their characters were mostly interesting. The costuming was nice, especially Robin and the Sheriff’s coats. I thought the action was handled well, it had nice choreography and Taron and Jamie had really nice chemistry which was needed for their characters. Now, on the other hand, I think the movie took too much from other films where it clearly reminds me of a better movie. The villains were lame, and I didn’t feel any danger or tension. I was never worried for what was going to happen. Ever. Lastly, there was barely any character development. You want to root for the characters and outside of just liking Taron Egerton and the fact that he’s Robin Hood, I don’t think I cared about him because we don’t know anything about him other than what we knew about him beforehand. Otherwise, it’s a fun movie. It’s not something I would necessarily recommend spending money for but check it out from your local library.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Robin Hood? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Summary: Two teenagers from very different backgrounds find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love (I mean that’s up in the air lol).
I saw a promo for this show on Facebook or something. I’ve heard of Cloak and Dagger before, but I knew nothing about them because they’re kind of secondary or even tertiary characters in the Marvel universe. So, with all the popular ones, I just never really knew about them. But the promo was cool, and I was like “hey it’s that girl from that Disney show”, that my younger brother loved to watch and would get excited when I would sit and watch it with him Kickin’ It or something like that. Some time went by because the promo was like a year in advance. Soooo then my friend and I watched Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu which I also loved, and then I decided to read the Runaways comics and they had a run in with Cloak and Dagger and I was like “Oh wow!” So, then I remembered the show. Then I started seeing way more promos, especially on Instagram and I was getting hype, the promos all looked so good! Then the show premiered, and I was hooked from the first five minutes.
I’ve been trying to do this review for so long but for some reason, I kept putting it off. Season two has started and now I really needed to get this out! Plus, I just rewatched season 1 so I am reinvigorated!
There will be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Cast and Character.
Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen / Dagger. She is a teenager and street thief. Tandy is connected to Ty through a shared childhood tragedy and she can emit light daggers. She also can see people’s hopes and later learns to steal them to give her some kind of high. Tandy is interesting because her character is very cynical and almost world-weary due to the way the death of her father tore her family apart. She lives in an abandoned church and makes her way by stealing from rich kids. She worked alongside Liam who clearly was in love with her and they did their thing for a while. I think it’s funny that Tandy is so pessimistic, but her powers allow her to see people’s hopes and the best in them (outside of Scarborough). I love that kind of juxtaposition of her character and personality. I don’t think she’s hard to like, I just think she’s a bit hard to get a grasp on because she’s so guarded. I like Olivia Holt in the role, I think she manages to make Tandy likable, perhaps if it wasn’t her, I wouldn’t like her. At least not this version of her. I like how smart she is and that she thinks quick on her feet and while she and Ty work best together, she does know how to get things done on her own. She has a hard time trusting people and tends to run away from her problems, but she grows through the show by learning how to face her problems head on. Tandy seems to have an addictive personality shown by how quickly she reverts to feeling numb through drugs. She’s like a viper. She curls in on herself but has no problem lunging out to attack you if need be. Olivia Holt is good here. She does do this thing where she’s like breathless in between each line of dialogue, she inhales really hard. Just me who noticed? Otherwise, I do think she’s the better actor out of the two but she’s also more experienced. I like her facial expressions and I can’t wait to see her not be so hopeless in season two.
Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson / Cloak. He is my favorite character in the show. He is connected to Tandy through their shared childhood tragedy. He can teleport, later he develops the ability to engulf others in darkness and transport them to the Dark force dimension. That happens in the last episode and it’s AWESOME! I totally freaked out because I’d been waiting for him to use that power. I guess he really had to get over his personal fears of the man who killed his brother and ruined his life before he could tap into that. He is also able to witness people’s fears as he’s lived in a world of fear since his brother’s death. I love that he’s able to see that he’s not the only one who is afraid. When we first meet him, he’s kind of coasting through his life. He’s very quiet, almost like he’s shy but he has a sense of justice. When he realizes that he was right as a child about the man who killed his brother, he makes it his mission to bring that guy down. He really starts to come out of his shell as his mission continues, but also as he hangs around Tandy and spends time with Evita. I like Ty’s growth because his journey is very similar to a lot of black people. Fear because of what they witnessed or of what happened to them. He deals with a lot of anger, anger he probably would never have let out before this moment and I love watching his idea of justice and how he feels even worse once he gets what he wants. I do believe Aubrey Joseph is a newcomer, but I think he does very well in the show. He’s a natural and I think he’s very likable in the role, though I think Ty would be likable regardless. I think his eyes are very expressive, which is good because a lot of Ty’s emotional moments are through his eyes. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for his character!
Supporting Characters. Obviously, we have our supporting “main characters” like their parents who I’ll kind of mention but not going into super detail about. I just need to mention them, as well as Evita who isn’t a regular but reoccurring.
Gloria Reuben as Adina Johnson. Tyrone’s mother and Roxxon employee who invests heavily in making sure her son has a good life. Ty’s mother spends a lot of the time emotional as she is constantly thinking of the men in her life, especially Tyrone. She’s already lost one son and her biggest fear is losing Tyrone as well. I’ve only seen her in Mr. Robot, but she is so good with her emotional scenes. Every time she talks to Tyrone, I just feel all her emotions.
Miles Mussenden as Otis Johnson. Tyrone’s working-class father who tries to provide for his family and is also an associate of the Wild Red Hawks. He’s like any good father, worried for his black son and wanting him to own up to his problems. He takes Tyrone to his old stomping grounds, so he can see where he came from, while also showing him where Billy might have been going if he wasn’t killed. He’s also the reason why Ty found his cloak. I like his dad, he’s trying to be a good man and he admires his wife for pulling them out of where they were and her strength. He talks about it a lot. It’s nice to see that.
Andrea Roth as Melissa Bowen. Tandy’s drug and alcohol-addicted yet optimistic mother. She’s going through a lot, I mean a lot, she still wants to get justice for her husband, but she is still unable to really push past her issues with drugs and alcohol. She meets this man who seems to be a good man, he’s helpful. She does work on getting better later and it’s clear that she wants Tandy to come home but on her own terms. She has some great emotional moments and you really kind of pity her in the first few episodes.
D. Evermore as Connors. An intimidating scar-faced detective of the New Orleans Police Department’s vice squad with a secret. Legit, Billy’s death was an accident and I don’t condone him being so jumpy that an explosion caused him to shoot Billy, but the real problem comes when he uses his Uncle’s position and his own in the police force to cover it up. Not to mention, he gets away with this murder, involuntary or not, and then goes on to do things that make him a dirty cop. I mean really? Besides, the way he treats Tyrone later… oooo boy. I wonder if we’ll see more of him later.
Carl Lundstedt as Liam Walsh. Tandy’s partner in crime and ex-boyfriend. I like Liam and I don’t think he’ll return, at least not as a regular. This boy looooooves Tandy. No matter what she may think, he loves her. He does anything he can for her. He gets into some trouble and Tandy for a long time doesn’t come through for him. It’s argued that she didn’t care, at least not enough for it outweigh her own issues. But later, she does come through and he basically repays the favor by stealing all the money she acquired. It was kind of funny. You feel bad for him because you know he’s in love with her and it’s hard to say if she feels the same. He was a very likable character though.
Emma Lahana as Brigid O’Reilly. A detective from Harlem with hardened New York sensibilities who believes no one is above the law, including other cops. She works hard to figure out what happened with Tandy in her encounter with the rich kid, but when that’s pushed under the rug, she meets Tyrone and makes it her mission to help him receive justice for his brother. She’s cool and I like how she manages to understand both Tyrone and Tandy and doesn’t judge them for what they want to do. Besides, she’s from New York, she knows Misty Knight and I’m sure she knows all about The Avengers and is hardly phased by anything she sees. I like her. I’m interested to see how things go with her in season 2.
Noëlle Renée Bercy as Evita Fusilier. A friend and love interest of Tyrone’s. Bercy, who is from New Orleans, was familiar with the voodoo culture of the city, and was able to speak to people regarding it for her part. I quite like Evita. It was a little weird at first because she did seem to pop out of nowhere at certain times and she came off a little pushy at first. However, when she and Tyrone started to really get close, I was like “Aww, I like this” and I do. I just hope that they don’t do something to her and their relationship to make Tyrone and Tandy get together. I just hope that Evita doesn’t die or become a crazy person… or something stupid. I like how she cares about Ty and she understands him and introduces him to things that help him understand himself on a deeper level. I also like that she’s smart and has her own thing going on. I like her! Don’t do anything crazy to her now!
Character Chemistry. Tandy and Ty have their first meeting in the first episode, but they don’t really come together again until episode four. The end of a powerful episode three ended with Tyrone going to Tandy’s church and then we get to finally see them talk and interact with each other. I don’t think I have ever seen such great on-screen chemistry in a long time. You have shows that want to force people together that don’t have any chemistry (looking at you Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars. Sorry not sorry.) and then you have shows where the characters have no romantic link (at least not yet) and have chemistry that pops off the charts. In the comics, Tandy and Tyrone have many relationships depending on the writer. Mostly it’s one where they depend on each other regardless if it’s a brother/sister or romantic one. Personally, I prefer the romantic relationship because it makes it less weird lol, but I love the idea of making them become really trusting friends. Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph just light up together on-screen. It’s amazing. It really shows in later episodes when they’re really spending time together. I also think Aubrey Joseph and Noelle Renee Bercy (Evita) also have great chemistry, which makes sense as they are dating, and I like them together actually. It was a little cringe at first lol, but it grew on me and they’re sweet. Olivia Holt and Carl Lundstedt also have good chemistry in their scenes.
Slow Burn. I love things that are slow burn because it takes its time to get to such big moments, which makes the payoff more satisfying. Yeah, it can be slow sometimes, but I think it worked in this show’s favor because we learned a lot about both Tyrone and Tandy that I feel like I know them intimately. Almost. I love how it took so long for the two of them really have the chance to have a real conversation because life doesn’t work that way. People don’t meet, have a magical reaction to each other and then put their lives on hold to find and talk to each other. Life moves on. I liked that the show wanted to make sure we as the audience knew and understood Tandy and Ty on their own before pushing them together. Evita and her auntie are integral to the voodoo and spiritual part of the show as Ty and Tandy are part of something bigger.
Storytelling Aspect. I loved the way the show told their story. In all the promos, they always had them doing things in their life at the same time through a split screen. They do things like that a lot in the show without the split screen. We see them in their separate lives and sometimes the lighting is different, sometimes the music is different depending on who we were spending time with. I loved those little details.
Strong story. Of course, with it being an origin story, we must have a lot of set up for things and while the “villains/Roxxon/Connors” operate in the shadows most of the time, the main villain, I thought was Tandy and Tyrone themselves and being slaves to their feelings of revenge for what happened to his brother and her father. It was a season about facing your own demons more than a physical villain. I like it when shows or even books/films do that. It makes the journey more personal. This goes hand in hand with episode 9 “Back Breaker” where Father Delgado gives a nice monologue about heroes and their journey. It was to be a backdrop for what was going on with Tyrone, Tandy and O’Reilly as they all fall from “hero” status to a darker place. Such a great episode. It’s moments like that that really stand out. Also, in episode 3 “Stained Glass” which is my favorite episode of the season, we see Tandy in a spiritual vision watch Ty, get his revenge but he never is victorious, something always happened. We see Ty watch Tandy run away from her fears and get stuck each time. They help each other in these visions and it was so powerful. I watched that episode three times in a row because Freeform played in three times in a row that night lol. But while they had their bigger reasons, the smaller ones, I thought, were much more powerful.
Steeped in New Orleans History. Being honest, I don’t know a lot about New Orleans history and the show wasn’t a crash course in it either, but I think it was cool how they used the history and connection of voodoo. It’s not the way it’s normally shows like this evil kind of thing, but something that’s important to the spirituality of black people. Evita and her auntie are integral to the voodoo and spiritual part of the show as Ty and Tandy are part of something bigger. Not to mention, how Ty found out about the cloak, and the group his father used to be part of which is how he found the cloak in the first place. I hope we continue to see more about New Orleans and that they continue to make it be its own character, the same way some of the Marvel movies make New York its own character. That’s important.
The Cloak and The Daggers.
So, in this promo picture, we get to see Tandy’s daggers and something Ty is using as a cloak. It looks like a sheet which is what he has when we first see him use his powers, but it could also be the hoodie. Now in the comics, his cloak has a very specific look to it. I’ve seen it in a few different ways but the most common way I’ve seen it is this picture below.
Very kind of textured looking, with the black lines on a long purple cloak and a very distinct hood. It is exciting is when he gets the cloak. I wondered how they were going to incorporate that very particular look without it looking cheesy and too comic booky, but I thought they managed to do a really good job. Ty’s cloak in the show looked awesome and I loved how they managed to bring it into the show by having it be tied to a New Orleans’ tradition and belong to his older brother the same way the hoodie he wore as a kid also belonged to his older brother.
Also, the way it moved whenever he used it was amazing. Good job show! *round of applause* However, before he gets the cloak, he would accidentally teleport using other things that were black and flowy. The first time he teleported it was with the sheet from his bed, there was also a black curtain, some black tarp… and it was cool each time. I loved that they had smoke be the way of which he would appear and disappear. I’m glad it wasn’t just the cloak that made him teleport but a way for him to control it or to use to make it easier to concentrate. He does end up losing the cloak in the finale, so I hope he makes another one because that thing is iconic and awesome.
As for Tandy, she doesn’t have a costume, at least not yet, I’m curious to see what they’ll use for her white jumpsuit down the line. It might be interesting if she takes ballet up again (according to the promo for season two she does! Look at me predicting stuff before it happens lol) and makes her suit from a leotard or something. I don’t want them to make it like the classic Dagger suit with the major cutouts because she’s 16 lol, make it more like the animated version.
It would just make more sense and be more realistic. I’m sure they’ll find some way to make her first suit be something that makes sense. Anyways, about her daggers, they seemed to appear whenever she needed help, like when that rich boy tried to attack her, and she stabbed him unknowingly of course. Later, she can control it better after she saves herself after she tried to drown herself. After that she was able to summon them more often. It wasn’t until they got stuck in the mind of Ivan Hess and she stayed behind that she got good at throwing them (Ty was also pretty good at teleporting at this point). I loved how they looked like pure light and energy and that they fit perfectly in her hand and of course were super sharp. It’s interesting that her power is active while Ty’s is passive (until we see the one he develops later which I spazzed out when he got to use it). Her daggers looked real and not just fake things she was supposed to use.
Powerful Dialogue. I really noticed this the second time watching it. I noticed it before and thought it was great but rewatching, I often would go “That’s so good”. In Tyrone and Tandy’s first conversation, they talk about their powers, their lives and it turns into a conversation about privilege. After she mentions she’s thought about killing herself, he says “it can’t be that bad”. Now, I know that conversations about suicide should not be taken lightly in any situation, but I don’t think this conversation, with Tyrone said, was meant seriously. At least not in the way I saw people on Tumblr talking about it. But anyway, she asks him where he lives, what his family is like because she’s alluding to the fact that he has it good because he lives in a nice house, goes to a prep school and has both of his parents in his life. He needs to “check his privilege” before he starts judging her. He then retorts what it’s like to be a black boy in America. Even though he lives in a nice place now, he spent most of his childhood in the hood. He can’t walk down the street and not worry that someone thinks he’s a threat, or he can’t just walk around with his hood over his head (even in the promos, he walked with his hood up, and when he came past police, he lowered it). Tandy then retorts that she’s had to steal everything she has, and he says, “because you can!” It was such a great moment. I totally get Tandy. I’m not saying that she hasn’t had it hard, she has. However, she can get away with the things she’s gotten away with because of her skin color. I mean, that girl is smart and she’s able to get around some obstacles that if she was a person of color, she probably wouldn’t have been able to. She can do things that Ty couldn’t get away with doing. Just by walking into a store, Ty would be considered a threat and probably watched throughout the store. It shows a lot of their pain and their roles in society no matter where they are in the social classes. I thought it was a great piece of dialogue. Also, the scene with Tyrone and Duane in episode 6 “Funhouse Mirrors” where they talk about justice. Then a great scene between Tyrone and his mom in “Ghost Stories”, episode 8 about her fear when it comes to her son. Ugh, I teared up. Also, in “Lotus Eaters”, Tyrone has some great lines when he’s trying to get through to Tandy… listen, the dialogue is good. Sometimes it can be cheesy, but I think most times it’s good when they’re talking about real life stuff.
Future Possibilities. There are a lot of directions this show could go in and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do. Cloak and Dagger have a lot of stories to pull from, and one of them I hope is a crossover with The Runaways. I feel like Ty and Alex would be friends in this moment in their lives (they both need some friends honestly). I know they can’t really crossover with Spider-Man/Peter Parker since he’s in the big leagues in the movies, but it’d be cool to maybe spin it and throw in Miles Morales. That would diversify the show even more and put into place that he exists but make him younger since he started out with his powers at like 12 (maybe not 12) but you get the idea. There’s also the whole thing with the X-men (which since the Disney/Fox merger, not sure what that means for that show The Gifted) where they (and by they, I mean Tandy) wondered if they were mutants, there are ways around that lol and then the whole thing with Mr. Negative…. I just hope we don’t get watered down plots since the first season was so strong in the storytelling aspect. So many options! OH, before I forget, Tandy and Ty technically meet because they ran away from home and got involved with Roxxon who experimented on them with drugs… they become very against drugs because of that… curious to see what happens in the future with them and Roxxon. I don’t think that fight is over.
Shaky Camera. A big pet peeve I have while watching movies and TV shows is the shaky camera. It’s annoying when something emotional is happening on-screen and the camera isn’t still, or if there’s action and the camera is shaking like someone is running behind the actor with a camera attached to their chest. It should be steady. In some instances, it can work to show the intensity of a moment but when it’s ALL THE TIME that’s a problem. It was literally all the time in the show to the point where I would always notice it and while the show itself is basically a masterpiece, the technicality of it was annoying. The only time there should have been shaky cam (preferably never) could have been in the finale and in episode three. That’s it. NO SHAKY CAM NEXT SEASON PLEASE! It’s not cute.
Teenagers So Dramatic. Overall, I like both Tandy and Tyrone but they’re teenagers so there are moments where I’m like “y’all need to sit down somewhere”. Sometimes Tyrone gets smart with his parents and I’m just surprised at their reactions because if it was me, I’d be ready to hit him upside his head like ‘who are you talking too?’ While I rewatched, being that he lives with his parents, Tyrone answers to them, (whereas Tandy only answers to herself), he reacts in the way a teenager would. He keeps secrets, he lies (like with the bolt cutters), he has his outbursts. He told his mom “enough!” he got smart with his dad, I was like boooyyy. I kind of give him a pass because he’s a teenager but I wish the parents stood firm more. They did later as things got more intense, but I hope moving forward, if he shows back up, they’re more involved and they don’t allow him to just do his own thing. I mean, he just be out and about and I’m like “I know he can teleport, but do they know he’s not home??” lol. I hope we get to see more of them because Gloria Reuben is so good as his mom.
Slow Pacing. So, I mentioned the slow burn aspect which I liked, but I do think the show has an issue with pacing. Sometimes, it lingers on things for too long when it needs to keep it moving. It’s like transitions have a hard time transitioning. I think all of Marvel’s shows has this problem (especially Daredevil, my goodness lol). I think this is most prevalent in the first few episodes, while I loved episode 3, it was almost jarring whenever we switched back and forth between the two. As Tyrone and Tandy only met that one time at the party and jump started their powers, they didn’t really meet again so the show would bounce back and forth between their stories. I liked it because we could see their lives apart, but it also made progress feel slow.
Overall, I adore this show. This is my favorite Marvel show. It just feels so raw and genuine and it’s not trying to get you to the superhero stuff so quickly but for you to feel these characters and understand them. I think that’s what’s important when you’re making an origin story. I love Tyrone and Tandy as people, they’re so layered and interesting and Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph do such a great job at maintaining who their characters are throughout the show, while showing us their fall from grace at some points in the show. They also have fantastic chemistry with each other. The show rides on them working. The supporting characters and cast are also all very good in their roles, no matter how small. The dialogue has been handled very well, with some moments and monologues standing out more than others. There are political messages there but they’re not overwhelming. The slow burn of the show, while the pacing isn’t great, allows for the characters to grow. The use of their powers is handled extremely well, I think they have translated Cloak and Dagger’s abilities that they look realistic. I mostly dislike the shaky camera. It’s like in a constant state of shock which I hope it stops that in season two. Of course, they’re teenagers but sometimes it’s like “y’all are children, parents tell your kids to shut up!” lol plus, I hope the parents are more involved. I also hope the pacing of the show improves in season two. Listen, I think this show is great. I can’t wait to see what they continue to do with these characters. I truly hope we see a lot of power and character growth and that we start tapping into some comic reserves of story lines and villains. I like the contained feel and I hope it doesn’t lose that because that’s what makes it so great. It’s intimate and it works.
Rating: 4.8 out 5 stars.
Have you watched Cloak and Dagger Season 1? If not, what’s wrong with you!? Give it a try, especially if you’ve watched Marvel’s Runaways. Let me know your thoughts below if you have watched it, I would love to hear other people’s thoughts.