Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok is a superhero film. It is the third of the Thor movies and seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Set two years after Age of Ultron, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself captured by the fire demon Surtur (voiced by Clancy Brown). Surtur is eager to start Ragnarök, an end-of-times prophecy for Asgard when he puts his crown in Asgard’s Eternal Fire. Thor assures that his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) will prevent the calamity from happening, only for Surtur to reveal that Odin is not on Asgard at all. Thor handily defeats him and his army before returning through the Bifröst. The bridge is being guarded by Skurge (Karl Urban) instead of Heimdall (Idris Elba). Thor confronts Odin, only to reveal that it’s Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in disguise. After some help, Loki and Thor find Odin on the cliffside of Norway. Odin warns that his death is imminent and his prisoner Hela (Cate Blanchett) will be released and threaten Asgard. Sure enough, Odin disappears and Hela displays her power by destroying Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Loki makes a call so he and Thor can return to Asgard, but Hela cuts them off and throws them into space. Hela recruits Skurge to conquer Asgard, believing herself to the be rightful heir to the realm.

Thor finds himself on the planet Sakaar. After a brief altercation, he is captured by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson) and forced to compete in the Contest of Champions. Thor is prepped by the organizer of the contest Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and former contender Korg (Taika Waititi, who also directs the movie). Thor is forced to compete, but is happily surprised to see his competition is his “friend from work” Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Together they endeavor to leave Sakaar.

Plot

The main narrative of the movie is put out right away but still leaves a lot to be desired. It quickly glosses over the time lost between previous Thor/MCU movies and only spends about 10 seconds on how the Hulk managed to land on an alien planet. Besides those two points that connects this movie to the universe it’s in, the plot as a whole is paced at an acceptable rate.

7/10

Characters

Despite being a sequel with several already established characters, this movie introduces a lot of characters with varying levels of interest. Skurge, for example, is present throughout and presents to have ambitions but doesn’t have the opportunity to fulfill them. Hela, on the other hand, is the primary antagonist and is fully fleshed out with a plan, abilities, and motivation. Finally, Grandmaster makes his presence known in every scene, either in the way he’s dressed or the mannerisms of his speech.

As for some of the established characters, I’m sad to say that some of them are absent or have so little screen time they’re hardly considered to be in the movie at all. Thor’s allies on Earth, such as Jane Foster, aren’t in the film. Since the film only touches down on Earth in two scenes, it’s understandable that there’s not screen time, but the characters aren’t even mentioned despite being so important in the previous films. A few significant Asgardian characters are done away with so quickly it’s tantamount to character assassination.

Still haven’t quite gotten over the last one.

7/10

Language

The film builds off of previously established vernacular and Norse pronunciations. The character that sticks out the most when it comes to his words is Grandmaster, whose speech patterns always gets attention; nevermind that it’s literally broadcast throughout the planet. In an attempt to connect with Hulk, Thor tries to apply the same patterns that Black Widow uses in the Age of Ultron movie.

Aww, a bromance!

8/10

Theme

While most of the movie is very straightforward with its presentation of “stop the villain,” it briefly touches on one theme on three occasions. Distorting the past to make it more palatable is shown off by Loki (disguised as Odin) and corrected by Hela, who is revealed to be Thor’s older sister but hidden away by Odin. Hela seems that their past accomplishments should be celebrated, while Odin kept them hidden to seem more benevolent. I don’t know if this is supposed to be a reflection on society past or present, but it was definitely something that could have been fleshed out more.

8/10

Music

“Immigrant Song” is present in one of the trailers and carries over into the film. Superhero themes for Hulk and Thor are sprinkled in the film, but the only other piece of licensed music comes from a certain confectionary manufacturer to comedic effect. While this movie seems to borrow a lot from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, it draws the line at using nostalgic music as part of its narrative, which I’m actually thankful for. Still, the lack of music overall seems to be the lowest point of the movie.

7/10

Spectacle

Taking place in space seems to be a big challenge in terms of the graphics department, but I feel that they’ve pulled it off well. Loki uses his visual tricks as he did in the previous films. Interestingly, the only unbelievable scene in the movie was in the first act in Norway. Thor, Loki, and Odin are all on a cliffside that was poorly rendered on the greenscreen it was shot on. But for everything else; the trash-laden planet of Sakaar, the royal halls of Asgard, and the Rainbow Bridge connecting the realms, are all finely set in the movie.

9/10

Star Power

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston return to the franchise as Thor and Loki respectively, as well as Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. Newcomers include Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum, and Tessa Thompson. Idris Elba returns as Heimdall, and Clancy Brown has a voice role as the fire demon Surtur. Plenty of high profile stars and–holy smokes, cameos!

9/10

Audience Demographic

As with the previous films, Thor Ragnarok caters to the superhero film-goers. Honestly, the film doesn’t build much further to reach more demographics, and it this point it doesn’t have to; the film can just build off of the reputation of the previous films in the franchise.

8/10

Post-movie thoughts

As fun as this movie is, it seems more like a stepping stone to the upcoming Infinity War than its own movie. It doesn’t stand up on its own in the greater MCU, and just satisfactory when compared to the previous Thor films. I’ve mentioned before that much of the secondary cast is absent or put to a quick end, which is a shame. I would have liked to see a little bit more elaborate of a resolution for the characters if they aren’t important for this particular story.

6/10

Universe Building

The film takes several things from the comic book source material, particularly the titular story arc Ragnarok and elements of Planet Hulk, where Bruce Banner finds himself on an alien planet. The cosmic films of the MCU, like Guardians of the Galaxy, are going to be a bit difficult to connect to the traditional MCU movies like Iron Man or Captain America. As I’ve mentioned before, this seems as more of a connecting story to bring space and Earth together for the big event in May than a concluding story for Thor, if it indeed ends up being a concluding story for the franchise (film contracts are a funny thing).

8/10

Overall: 77/100

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Movie Review: Dunkirk

Dunkirk is a war film based off of World War II’s “Operation Dynamo,” which has also been called “The Miracle at Dunkirk.” The film was written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) and a small group of soldiers walk through the empty streets of Dunkirk, which propaganda posters fluttering in the space above them. The team is attacked and only Tommy makes it through English lines and on the beaches, ready to be picked up by military ships. He comes across Gibson (Aneurin Barnard), who is burying a fellow soldier. After being attacked in the air, a ship prepares to leave for Dover, England with the wounded but living soldiers of the war. Tommy and Gibson realize a wounded soldier is still on the beach and they rush to get him on board. They narrowly deliver him in time but are not allowed to board themselves, leaving them desperately waiting for the next ship to come by. Colonol Winnant (James D’arcy) and Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh) look on trying to organize who boards the ships and hope that the Operation to evacuate goes according to plan.

In England, small civilian ships are being commandeered by the Royal Navy so they can be driven to Dunkirk to get as many men off the beach as possible. Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) get ahead of the Navy by emptying their pleasure yacht and refilling it with blankets and life jackets. George (Barry Keoghan), a friend of Peter and deck hand, insists on going with them to join in the war effort and make something of himself. The first person they come across is a shivering 2nd Lieutenant (Cillian Murphy), the sole survivor of a U-boat attack on his vessel. George and Peter do their best to accommodate him, but he is more occupied with staying as far away from Dunkirk as possible. Mr. Dawson insists that getting the other soldiers home is the right thing to do.

Three Supermarine Spitfire pilots do their best to provide air support for the evacuation. After one of their planes go down, Collins (Jack Lowden) and Farrier (Tom Hardy) are left to distract and destroy the German Luftwaffe planes.

Plot

The movie focuses on three parts of the evacuation; The Mole (the beach and pier where the soldiers wait for evacuation, “One Week”), The Sea (Mr. Dawson’s boat, “One Day”) and The Air (The Spitfire pilots, “One Hour”). Each are focused on for a few minutes at a time in that order for the first half of the movie. As the plot moves forward, it becomes clear that the narratives don’t immediately align. However, this is not as much of a chore to keep track of as Nolan’s earlier narrative-vs.-plot film Memento. Each story is well-paced and keeps the audience engaged in the moment.

9/10

Characters

The film follows about a dozen characters, most of whom are introduced in the first 20 minutes of the film. The motivations behind the characters are almost unanimously straightforward: the soldiers are tired and want to go home. Commander Bolton and Colonol Winnant are in charge of keeping the soldiers’ morale high enough to see the evacuation through while hiding the fact that there are little options to get them home. Mr. Dawson, with his son and crew, want to be a part of the war effort and save whoever they can. The key differences are how they go about expressing their wants. The shivering soldier (his actual name is never given) is desperate to go home because he’s the only person left alive from his ship and suffers from Shellshock (now known as post-traumatic stress disorder). George, one of the deck hands, wants to make something of himself.

What’s noticeably absent is the face of an antagonist. While the German forces were the catalyzing force of WWII, no German soldiers get any screen time.  This led to think that the Germans aren’t exactly the enemies of this film, but the Dunkirk shore. If the soldiers don’t get off the shore, there’s no reason to keep fighting; the losses would have been too great. Putting the film in this context almost makes the location itself a character worth considering.

10/10

Language

What was most surprising in this film was the lack of regular dialogue. There are perhaps two sentences spoken in the first ten minutes of the film. Conversations were kept minimal throughout the film and things were explained through context, not words. One descriptor that stood out was the use of “shell shock,” reflecting the sign of the time before it was identified as PTSD.

Another brief and important moment was the use of French in one scene. French soldiers are among the English-speaking when they are lined up ready to board the ship. A guard prevents the French soldiers from boarding, insisting on “English-only” and raising tensions for those who don’t speak the language. The soldiers start arguing with the guard, again in French, which only makes everyone angry because of the language barrier.

Nolan’s exposition through limited dialogue allows the audience to immerse themselves into what’s shown, which I think is a very nice touch.

10/10

Theme

Hope is a weapon. Survival is victory.

That is the main tagline for the film and is present throughout. Hope is a fleeting feeling that things will work out in the end and has to be grasped constantly by the protagonists of the film. With each attack, the hope is momentarily lost. The soldiers convey, “Will I survive? How do I get out of here? Will I make it home?” and is encapsulated by the fact that their destination is so close.

“You can practically see it from here…Home.” – Bolton

Weather played an interesting part in the film. The misty atmosphere of the beach magnifies the gloom and overwhelming sense of dread that the soldiers on the beach need to get away from. Light coming from the sun or bouncing off the moon is in short supply and you’ll notice when it happens.

Another framing device I’ve considered while watching this movie is the speech given by Winston Churchill following the evacuation (which was used in at least one of the trailers for this movie):

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

What I caught in particular are Churchill’s mentions of fighting them on the ground, the water, and the air; the exact framing for the narrative. Even when Nolan’s film is grounded in reality, I’ve come to realize there more to be examined than what’s just showing on-screen.

10/10

Music

Hans Zimmer returns as the composer for the movie’s score. As I think back on his other works with Christopher Nolan, I’ve come to realize that identifying Zimmer’s patterns for music has become easy to do. With the fantastical story elements come orchestral sweeps and climactic notes. For this film however, these are tied to the plot in a different way. The first piece of music you hear combines the ticking of a pocket watch with a heartbeat, slowly but noticeably getting faster as the scene progresses. Time is running out and the audience feels it through the music. This quickening in the music is present all over the movie as hope is lost an restored, as I’ve mentioned before. Everyone is engaged through the music until the denouement of the movie where things finally slow down.

9/10

Spectacle

During the credits I noticed that a special dedication is given to the organization that restored planes and ships for use in the movie. A majority of the film is practical effects and that makes me enjoy this movie so much. While Nolan is famous for the mind-bending special effects of films like Inception and the Dark Knight films, he makes it a point to be practical where possible and only use CGI if it can’t be worked around.

Another thing is minor because it seems there was no intention behind it but something I couldn’t help but notice: sea foam. All of the movies I’ve seen never show any foam building up on the shore but makes itself present in the film. This shoreline isn’t polished and primed for aesthetics, it’s as down to earth as the events taking place in the film.

9/10

Star Power

Christopher Nolan has a habit of rehiring actors for his movies. Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy have worked with Nolan in the past with the Dark Knight movies and Inception. Michael Caine, pretty much a Nolan staple since 2006, place the radio operator for the Royal Air Force and is not seen on-screen. Fionn Whitehead, who plays Tommy, is relatively obscure, having only done one other major acting project before being selected for this film. Harry Styles, who plays Alex in the film, isn’t introduced until the second act but is instantly recognizable as a member of the pop band One Direction. Apparently, Nolan wasn’t aware of Styles as a singer when he was chosen to play his role, which will Styles’s first foray into acting. Mark Rylance, who plays Mr. Dawson, was the actor and character model for The BFG released a year ago.

9/10

Audience Demographic

The film is set to attract lots of history buffs, curious to know how the fantastical Christopher Nolan will tackle a real-world event. Fans of Nolan’s previous films will also want to see how Nolan will pull this off.

7/10

Post-movie Thoughts

This movie made me care a lot more about the progression of the story than Nolan’s previous films. It doesn’t let up and allow the audience to relax. There’s always something happening on screen instead of a breather discussion providing exposition; it’s shown instead of told. As a result, the film is shorter than Nolan’s other films, stopping at about an hour and 45 minutes. Everything is packed into a short, digestable movie that you can get away with watching only once, unlike most of his other films.

9/10

Foregone Conclusion

This film has the unusual opportunity to have the audience care about an event that they already know the ending to, such as All The President’s Men or Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. The framing has the audience, for the most part, know that Operation Dynamo was a success and the soldiers went on to continue the war to eventually win. Although the characters were ultimately fictitious, it gives the audience a sense of what it was like on the beach of Dunkirk, waiting and hoping that they will get a reprieve from the terror of war.

9/10

Overall: 91/100

 

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Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming is a superhero movie and second reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise. This film is introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe after an agreement was made with Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Immediately after “The Incident” of The Avengers, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his crew received a contract to clean up and salvage the materials left behind. Toomes’s excitement gets derailed by the U.S. Department of Damage Control gaining jurisdiction over the contract and, more importantly, any revenue from cleaning up the Chitauri rubble. It is revealed that Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), has controlling interest in the USDoDC. Adrian and his crew relate this to Tony Stark getting paid for the mess he helped make. With little options left, they decide to utilize the Chitauri weaponry they’ve already salvaged to make and sell weapons.

Eight years later, a homemade film by Peter Parker (Tom Holland) chronicles his time with Tony Stark and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) as he suits up as Spider-Man against the Anti-Accords team as depicted in Captain America: Civil War. Sometime after, he’s told to keep in touch with Happy as big events happen and to stay low to the ground as Spider-Man. Peter masquerades as Spider-Man under the cover of “working on the Stark Internship,” much to the chagrin of his Aunt May (Marissa Tomei) and negatively affecting his school activities.

Plot

As a superhero movie, this one hits all of the beats as I expected it to; exposition, conflict, rising action, fateful hour, climax, and resolution. The stakes are raised at a consistent level, but at different points for Spider-Man than the villain Vulture (who isn’t directly named that). The points of focus are Peter growing into his powers and prioritizing his responsibilities. Yes, Peter Parker still has the underlying theme of “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Fortunately for the audience, the best part of the plot is the element that’s missing; the origin. The spider bite and Uncle Ben’s death are absent in the film, the latter only vaguely mentioned in a scene where Peter remarks about all that his aunt has been through. Despite being another reboot for Spider-Man, the audience members that don’t know the origin is limited to the people that deliberately avoided it or the children that have yet to be introduced to the character. This allows for the plot to focus on the interactions with the hero and villain instead of the hero and a character absent for the majority of the film.

8/10

Characters

Peter Parker is established early as an awkward sophomore and maintains throughout the film. His alter ego of Spider-Man reflects that as a hero growing into his own powers. The villain, Adrian Toomes, is figuratively more grounded than other superhero movie villains in the sense that he has no delusion of grandeur or lust for supremacy. He’s pushed into making weapons with the alien artifacts salvaged by his contracting company. His contempt is on a personal level, but not such a way that garners a revenge plot like Whiplash from Iron Man 2. The auxiliary characters seem to have one distinct personality and seem to be less compelling as the movie goes on. Flash (Tony Revolori) is openly antagonistic to Peter Parker and acts as a bully in public settings. It’s revealed he is in competition with Peter on an academic level, and Peter’s intelligence fuels Flash’s negative behavior. Liz (Laura Harrier) is Peter Parker’s love interest and head of the academics decathlon team of which Peter is a member. Ned (Jacob Batalon) is Peter’s best friend and confidant in the movie, always wanting to be Peter’s “guy in the chair,” helping him from a base of operations. Ned also bombards Peter with questions regarding his abilities as Spider-Man, which gets old pretty fast. Michelle (Zendaya) is the last of Peter’s classmates, which acts as the Allison Reynolds (The Breakfast Club) of the movie. While of equal intelligence to Peter’s group of classmates, she’s set apart by her nonconformist attitude and chiming in at the strangest times in the film.

Along with Vulture we also have his henchmen. The non-action henchman spends his time in the base building a Chekov’s Gun like ability for the Vulture suit. The other two main henchmen have a bit more ambition and use some of the gadgets that they invent and sell.

Tony Stark acts as a mentor at a few points in the film and discourages Peter from being a full-fledged hero despite his abilities. Happy Hogan has the most to prove in this film aside from Peter Parker, having to look after Peter and asset protection in Stark Tower. Aunt May is perhaps the least developed and has few scenes. Her main objective is basically adjusting to taking care of her adolescent nephew and his sneaking about.

6/10

Language

The film calls back to technology and language established in earlier films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the most part, it refers to the alien batteries left behind by the Chitauri and technology found in the Spider-Man suit. In a brief and humorous exchange, Peter shows off that he knows more than English when a store owner makes a comment about Aunt May.

For those that were curious (like I was) the subtitle Homecoming seems to stem from the fact that the movie takes place at the week of the Homecoming dance for Peter’s school.

8/10

Theme

The movie touches on the balance of power and responsibility. Tony Stark insists that Peter be a “low to the ground” hero and act locally, leaving the heavier stuff to local authorities or, worst case scenario, the Avengers. Peter pushes against this boundary and ends up neglecting the responsibilities expected of him as a student; dropping out of band and the academic decathlon. When one gives way to another, Peter is left picking up the pieces and making more important decisions.

On more personal levels, Peter also goes through the trials of puberty and transition in the context of high school and his powers. Not only does he have to make adjustments being a hero, he also has trouble with social interactions and romantic interests in school. The other and I feel more important theme affects Adrian Toomes and his motivations. He grows to despise government influence on his ability to earn an honest living, taking over the cleaning and reconstruction contract that he put a large personal and financial investment. He ends up targeting Tony Stark because he ends up getting the revenue from the contract that was taken away, leaving Toomes out of a contract and out of legitimate ways to conduct business. Toomes reflects the anger of the middle and lower class when their concerns are pushed out of the way in favor of the rich getting richer.

9/10

Music

The film bookends itself with the use of “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones. Other licensed songs include “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” by the Rolling Stones and “Space Age Love Song” by Flock of Seagulls. The score was composed by Michael Giacchino and builds the mood of chase scenes and dramatic moments. If you listen closely, you’ll also be treated by the original theme of the Spider-Man TV series during the Marvel Studios logo.

8/10

Spectacle

There’s plenty of high-flying moments in the movie, which is to be expected if the main character is Spider-Man. My favorite parts come from the interface of the Spider-Man suit. Whether it be from the focus of the eyes in the suit (solving years of wondering how he emotes with a full-face mask) or the scenario analysis of the computer programmed into the suit. The complexities of the Vulture suit also deserve some mention here; showing off more skills or gadgets as the film progresses.

9/10

Star Power

Tom Holland is the title star who’s made his first appearance in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War. Holland has also starred in the stage performance of Billy Elliot and The Impossible. Jacob Batalon, who plays Ned, is a newcomer to movie acting. Laura Harrier, playing Liz, is known for her role in the rebooted soap opera One Life to Live. Tony Revolori who plays “Flash” Thompson, is most famous for his role as Zero Moustafah in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Zendaya is a well-established actress in several Disney shows. More adult actors include MCU veterans Robert Downey, Jr. and Jon Favreau (who also gets directorial credit for the first two Iron Man films) as well as Marissa Tomei as Aunt May. Michael Keaton plays Adrian Toomes, is no stranger to being in superhero films (starring in the Tim Burton Batman films as the titular character) nor playing an aven-based character (playing as the titular Birdman) Other brief appearances include comedian Hannibal Burress as the coach, Donald Glover as Aaron Davis, Jennifer Connelly as Karen, and Chris Evans as Captain America.

9/10

Audience Demographic

Spider-Man is perhaps the most iconic Marvel superhero of all time, resonating with kids when his comics first came around and being on TV during Saturday morning cartoon blocks in the 90s. This coupled with the fact that this iteration of the character is completely tied into the Marvel Cinematic Universe gives is a lot of attention to get movie-goers in seats.

10/10

Post-movie Thoughts

I really enjoyed this film. I’m excited to see where this goes for the rest of its involvement with the MCU and how it will stand on its own. There were plenty of moments that reminded me what I liked about Spider-Man and what I missed from his previous iterations. However, there was a moment that called back to the Tobey Maguire films that was perhaps the stand-out moment of Spider-Man 2. The image shows that Sony, who’s partnering with Marvel for this film, remembers its roots and implying that it’s raising the stakes.

10/10

Continuity Snarl

There are a couple of concerns I have with the timing of this movie and a bit of it at the beginning of the film. The film opens more or less after the events of the first Avengers movie, which takes place in 2012. There’s a cut title saying 8 years have passed before the proper start of the movie, which should put it in 2020, but actually takes place shortly after Civil War. Also, and just as a minor detail, Peter’s homemade film excludes an exchange between him and Iron Man (“Underoos!” and “Hey, everyone”) as well as Peter’s reaction to *SPOILER ALERT*Ant-Man’s transformation to Giant-Man. *END OF SPOILER ALERT*

But on the plus side, there’s a retroactive continuity addition to the film with the relationship between Peter Parker and Iron Man. During the post-production of the movie, it was decided that the child wearing the Iron Man mask in Iron Man 2 was a young Peter Parker. This connection could not have been officially before because of the separation between the movie properties.

8/10

Overall: 85/100

 

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Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is a superhero space movie and the third installment of Marvel Phase 3.

Back in the early 80s, Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock) drives with her boyfriend (Kurt Russell) to a secluded place. She is shown a special plant by her boyfriend as they confess their love for each other. The film then cuts to the Guardians of the Galaxy a few months after the events of the first movie. Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) leads the group as they defend high-quality batteries from some eldritch monster. Peter and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) approach their employers, the Soveriegn, for their reward: the captured Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister through adoption. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) steals some of the Sovereign’s batteries in an attempt to make more money. Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), leader of the Sovereign, is made aware of the theft and orders they be captured. Their attempts are foiled by a lone spaceship piloted by Peter’s father, who reveals himself as Ego.

Meanwhile, Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his band of Ravagers are confronted by the high-ranking Ravager Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) for trafficking children, a call-back to Yondu taking Peter Quill in the previous film, ultimately sowing discontent among Yondu’s team. Ayesha approaches Yondu to capture the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Ravagers are able to capture half the crew, but the crew ultimately mutinies and throws Yondu in a holding cell with the captured Guardians.

Plot

The movie has a main plot and a smaller plot that converge together in the middle of the second act. The film sets up for a generic hero plot of the heroes being pursued by the villains until unlikely allies team up and save the day, but this movie takes a different and much appreciated approach. The pacing is well done, making it so the film does not get too dramatic or over-the-top comedic. It pushes against the edge of absurd and realistically sad, but pulls back at the right times.

8/10

Characters

With this being a sequel, much of the broad character development is already known to the audience, leaving time to finely tune their personalities or to introduce new characters. The movie does well to do both with the interactions of new characters to the already established, such as Ego with Peter Quill or Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). The relationship between Nebula and Gamora is also expanded, detailing their troubled childhood adopted and raised by Thanos. Among the new characters is Mantis, an empath working with Ego that channels emotions but largely unable to feel any by herself. She ends up spending a lot of time with the Guardians and discovers her own personality through them.

9/10

Language

Keeping with space and planets largely unfamiliar with the audience, the movie will reference places and aliens without much context, though they do reference previous places like Xandar from the previous film. Also, though not as prevalent as I would have hoped, Groot (Vin Diesel) has spoken lines in the film, but have to be derived from the context of the situation or translated by Rocket.

7/10

Theme

The primary theme of the movie revolves around family, genetic or found. Star Lord is immediately questioned about his genealogy after speaking with the Sovereign. A moment later, Gamora is questioned about her relationship with Nebula, to which Gamora says that she’s more interested in Nebula’s bounty instead of being sisters. Ego is eager to reunite with Peter and Peter needs to adjust to meeting his father and catching up for lost time.  The idea of family is touched on almost every level: those who are missing, those who are present, those we don’t want present, and making a family out of our closest associates.

9/10

Music

The music is easily my favorite part about the movie. Much like the previous installment, the soundtrack features songs from the 70s and 80s. The songs not only help with the pacing of the movie, some of them are addressed directly in the film. Ego and Peter discuss the lyrics of “Brandy,” the song Ego and Meredith listen to at the top of the movie. Peter also has the opportunity to listen to “Father and Son” at one of the most emotionally invested moments of the film.

However, my absolute favorite use of  music comes during the opening title crawl. While the rest of the Guardians fight the giant space squid, Groot takes advantage of the speaker system Rocket set up to dance to Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” The song itself has a way to make people happy, but mixed with baby Groot and his interactions with his environment, I found it impossible to be sad during that scene.

10/10

Spectacle

Since the majority of the movie takes place on alien planets, extravagant scenes and makeup were used to capture the setting of the moment. The Sovereign’s intense presence of opulence is capped off by their skin and their world covered in gold. Ego’s planet is bright and colorful, with the only limits being his imagination. Contained sets, like taking place on spaceships, gave a claustrophobic feeling of everything closing in on the characters. The worlds built and rebuilt in this film are something to admire.

10/10

Star Power

All of the previous main cast return for the movie, while the special guest stars are big 80s icons. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, and Michael Rooker return for their roles, while Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell each play significant roles throughout the film.

9/10

Audience Demographic

As a sequel, it’s very hard to get people interested halfway through the film franchise without the context of the previous film, or perhaps a general understanding of the 2008 run of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books. Also, being the 15th film overall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a lot of it is counting on the momentum of returning fans and audience members instead of new ones.

6/10

Post-movie Thoughts

As with the rest of the MCU films, this movie has extra footage during and after the credits. This movie is special, having 5 post-film scenes throughout the credits instead of one or two as is the norm. These scenes prep the audience for future interactions with the Guardians of the Galaxy (a third movie has been confirmed and the Guardians are planned on being involved with the Infinity War). My biggest take-aways from the film on its own is the message about family and Groot dancing to Mr. Blue Sky, now being one of the most memorable movie openings that I’ve ever seen.

8/10

Universe Galaxy Building

One of the most difficult parts of the film is carrying the momentum of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film is set off of Earth, separating it from the Avengers. It’s also not tied with Thor, who also resides off of Earth, making their connection to the rest of the MCU very tenuous. The previous film briefly features Thanos, giving it a connection to the Phase 3 villain of the franchise. The connection is much less secure in this film, as Thanos’s presence isn’t at the capacity that it was for the previous film.

5/10

Overall: 81/100

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Movie Review: Rogue One

Rogue One is an epic space opera and spinoff of the Star Wars franchise.

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Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is an Imperial scientist living largely in seclusion with his wife Lyra (Valene Kane) and daughter Jyn. He is found by Imperial director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) and is recruited to return to the Empire to work on a super weapon. When Galen resists, Krennic and Imperial troops forcibly take him and kill Lyra, leaving Jyn to the care of Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Approximately 15 years later, Jyn (Felicity Jones) is left to her own devices, getting in and out of trouble with Imperial troops.

Meanwhile, Rebel Officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) receives word that a super weapon is ready to begin testing. The weapon can level cities with ease and has the potential to be a “planet killer.” His report back to the Rebellion leads to a search for Saw Gerrera, now a disbanded member of the Rebellion, to ultimately find the creator of this super weapon, Galen Erso. Jyn is rescued from Imperial capture and taken to Jedha, a moon containing Saw’s headquarters, with Cassian Andor and his reprogrammed droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). While searching for him, they come across Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), a blind monk with a strong belief in the Force, his heavily-armed friend Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), and defected Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed). When a transmission is received relaying details of the super weapon, called the Death Star, a frantic new mission starts to find the details of the weapon in a hope to stop it and turn the tide of battle against the Empire.

Plot

The movie starts without the exposition crawl of the other Star Wars movies. While the plot points are easy enough to pick up, it’s a nice change of pace of not being front-loaded with information regarding the movie. It takes place before the events of A New Hope, which should be obvious to the moviegoers about the success of the mission. It’s reminiscent of movies like All the President’s Men, where a movie with an obvious outcome can still be entertaining. We know where the journey ends with the Rebellion, but how did they get there?

8/10

Characters

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The movie casts a wide net to establish some key characters, giving them their own spot in the first act of the movie. The other main characters show up at the top of the second act and have their character develop through the context of the people around them. Chirrut Imwe, for example, is seen “praying” to the Force while other characters seem to deal only with the things that are seen rather than felt. Baze, Chirrut’s friend, is much more pragmatic and to-the-point. While both are foils for each other’s character, their personalities become even more interesting with the dynamics of the group. Cassian Andor is very much a Han Solo character of the movie, minus Solo’s neutrality to the Empire at the introduction to his character. The character I found the most entertaining and interesting was K-2SO, an Imperial droid reprogrammed to side with the Rebel Alliance. He has the sassy attitude of R2-D2 but can be understood like C-3PO. While droids are characteristically devoid of emotion, it’s hard not to like him for his delivery.

On the antagonist side, Director Krennic aspires to be a legend among the Empire, approving and overseeing the development of what will be the Death Star. He faces opposition among his higher ups as his reach exceeds his grasp.

9/10

Language

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“I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.”

The movie carries over established properties from other Star Wars films in the franchise. However, with the exception of Chirrut Imwe, mentions of the Force are few and far between. There are references to the prequel movies, particularly Revenge of the Sith, addressing why there are no Jedi to be found.

In one of the first trailers for this movie, there was a line spoken by Saw Gerrera that stood out.

What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?

Notice that he used the word “when” and not “if.” That level of certainty, or lack of faith in success, really puts a strain on the confidence of the mission.

Chirrut Imwe’s devotion to the Force stood out the most for me in this movie, with him repeating the mantra to himself. It’s not complex, but it gave him the confidence to drive forward. This, when put in the context of Saw’s warning given in the trailers, put up an interesting spectrum.

9/10

Theme

“Rebellions are built on hope.”

One of the most obvious themes of the movie is the hope of success in the face of a daunting obstacle. The Rebellion, throughout this movie and original trilogy as a whole, hinges on a hope that they will overcome the oppressive Galactic Empire.

One of the less apparent themes of the movie is a foil of A New Hope. Luke Skywalker is a young man living peacefully with aspirations to be a part of the war effort. Jyn Erso is a young woman living in the turmoil of war with aspirations to return to peaceful living.

Finally, and more in a meta sense than being directly addressed in this or other films, the idea that the Rebellion are painted as heroes and the Empire as villains. But if you look at the actions of the Rebellion, they can easily be labeled as terrorists on an interplanetary scale. Saw Gerrera was a Rebellion-aligned fighter before splitting and forming his own military faction against the Empire. Both his faction and the Rebellion have the same goals: stop the reach of the Empire. But their methods are the ones that separate “freedom fighters” from “terrorists.”

9/10

Music

I was honestly frustrated with the score of the movie and I had little reason to be. John Williams did not return for the composition of this movie’s score, instead going to Michael Giacchino. The music hits the same beats of the other movies, but there are intentional shifts before a theme becomes too familiar. Character themes and other songs were engaging and exciting, but I was immediately pulled out of it with a change to the established themes of the franchise.

8/10

Spectacle

The most exciting sights of the movie are the close-ups of the developing Death Star. In the past, the sights were mostly far away glances of the completed product. Star Wars films as a whole set a high bar when it comes to graphics in movies. This movie doesn’t stop at the close-ups of the Death Star, but of other Imperial vehicles like AT-ATs, focusing on their firepower instead of their slow walking. Fire fights and close combat are very fast-paced and exciting.

10/10

Star Power

D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA) ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)

Felicity Jones and Mads Mikkelsen, two of the central actors of the film, have both been nominated for Academy Awards. Diego Luna was recently involved in the films Book of Life and Elysium. Ben Mendelsohn has a long list of film and television appearances, most recently being involved in the Netflix series Bloodline. Forest Whitaker won an Academy Award for his role in The Last King of Scotland. Most impressive among the cast is Donnie Yen, an actor from Hong Kong. He has extensive knowledge of several practices of martial arts and expresses them in films, particularly the Ip Man films. For his role in the film, he toned down his physique and refined a martial art to portray Chirrut Imwe.

9/10

Audience Demographic

Fans of the franchise will naturally gravitate toward this movie, filling in gap between the prequel trilogy and the original films. With the collapse of the extended universe and tightening of the Star Wars canon, a lot is left to be desired and has to be sated with the comic books and spin-off films. Outside of the fans, the film will have many pockets of context that isn’t explained because it’s meant to be understood by the audience, potentially alienating newcomers.

7/10

Post-movie Thoughts

This movie was very satisfying for what it put forward. The dramatic irony forced me to come into this movie with a shifted perspective: much less “what’s going to happen?” and more “how is it going to happen?” The presence of Darth Vader, as it’s seen in the trailer, really tied this movie in with the main entries to the franchise instead of “we’re important because of the Death Star.”

8/10

Spin-off Series

This movie is the first of two or three movies that focus on events in between the prequel and original movies. With movies that focus on singular characters like Han Solo, this was an important bellwether to find out if this is what moviegoers want to watch. The infiltration to find plans for the Death Star is compelling despite knowing how it will end.

8/10

Overall: 85/100

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Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is fantasy superhero film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the title role. It is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the 14th of the franchise.

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The film opens in Kamar-Taj, a compound found in Kathmandu. Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and a group of his followers infiltrate the compound’s library and steals pages from one of the books. The group is forced to flee after encountering The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) in an attempt to take back the stolen pages.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is introduced as a stellar neurosurgeon with a spotless record. Immediately following a surgery, he is pulled aside by fellow surgeon and former lover Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) to address another patient who was considered brain dead by another doctor. Strange performs the surgery successfully, mildly rubbing it in his colleagues’ faces. After a car accident involving rain, high speeds, and distracted driving, Strange is left alive, but unable to steady his hands; effectively ending his career. He drives himself into debt to fix his hands and pushes away Christine, leaving him largely alone. During a physical therapy session, he is introduced to Jon Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt), a paraplegic that found his cure in Kamar-Taj. Strange spends the last of his money hoping to find the place, and is saved from a mugging by Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Mordo introduces Strange to The Ancient One, who introduces Strange to other dimensions. Strange humbles himself and begs to learn about the Mystic Arts.

Kaecilius and his zealots use the stolen pages to conjure a portal into the Dark Dimension. The dimension consists of a reality without time, and by extension, mortality. They plan to phase Earth into the Dark Dimension to prevent death.

Plot

This movie, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy, departs from the Earth-centered stories of the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in favor of one that spans several dimensions. Settings bounce from New York, London, Hong Kong, and at least two dimensions, but are all streamlined to be more-or-less connected to Kamar-Taj. Despite this, I didn’t find the movie to be disjointed or lacking in explanation.

10/10

Characters

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The title character has the most deliberate character development, starting as a successful and very arrogant neurosurgeon. He initially views the injury to his hands as the loss of his life, being unable to perform the tasks that made him wealthy and famous. Using any means necessary to get back, he shows he’s not afraid to bend rules to get results. He eventually humbles himself when introduced to The Ancient One, but his stubbornness is still very present. Karl Mordo is largely a foil to Strange, abiding by a strict moral code and accepting his position in the world. Kaecilius, the antagonist, starts as a student of The Ancient One after losing his family. His ambition eventually makes him turn on The Ancient One and find the portal to the Dark Dimension to prevent the deaths of others. This in mind, Kaecilius can be interpreted as a tragic villain instead of the straightforward villains of previous MCU films.

10/10

Language

A lot of dialogue in the movie involves magical realms and medical terms, but the movie puts them in a context that will make it easy for any moviegoer to understand. In addition, the movie addresses and lampshades a mnemonic technique used by Stan Lee when designing characters and events. Alliterative names where a staple for the early Marvel characters, which include but are not limited to Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Pepper Potts, Peter Parker, J. Jonah Jameson, and of course Stephen Strange.

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“Just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?” – Stephen Strange to Wong (Benedict Wong)

9/10

Theme

The most prominent theme of the movie, which shows up several times in each act, is the balance of arrogance and humility. Stephen Strange is incredibly arrogant as a surgeon and has to humble himself before unlocking his potential in Kamar-Taj. Kaecilius becomes deluded once he’s introduced to the darker Mystic Arts and commits to something he believes is bigger than himself. The other primary theme is accepting (or not accepting) the world as it’s perceived and the power of belief. Strange initially rebuffs the idea of chakras and the power of belief, only for these things to be central to the plot later.

8/10

Music

Early in the movie, Dr. Stephen Strange plays some music when performing an important surgery, which seems to be common in doctor portrayals (though I can’t say for sure that’s what happens in real life). What makes this one particularly interesting is Strange’s personal challenge to name the song, artist, and year of release while he operates. This is brought up at least twice in the movie. In addition, a humorous exchange with Strange and Wong in the Kamar-Taj library occurs when they are introduced to each other. Wong is a mononym, which Strange tries to relate to at least half a dozen singers that also use mononyms. Among the names is Beyonce, which Wong doesn’t confirm to knowing. But in the following scene, it’s clear he knows who she is.

9/10

Spectacle

This movie was the most graphically ambitious film I’ve ever seen. Warping scenes and city backdrops puts universe-shaping film Inception to shame. While I normally don’t recommend that movies be watched in 3-D for extended periods of time, this movie practically begs for it to be viewed this way. The most important examples are the introduction to different dimensions that The Ancient Ones gives to Stephen Strange and the battle in New York with Kaecilius.

10/10

Star Power

Dr. Strange Clockwise from Top Left: Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mads Mikkelsen Comic-Con 2016 Day 3 - July 23, 2016 – San Diego, CA Photograph by Matthias Clamer

Photograph by Matthias Clamer

Benedict Cumberbatch is the title character and known for a plethora of roles, most notably Sherlock Holmes and Smaug of The Hobbit films. Mads Mikkelsen, who plays the antagonist Kaecilius, is no stranger to villain roles, playing Hannibal Lecter in the TV show Hannibal and Le Chiffre in the James Bond film Casino Royale. Chiwetel Ejiofor is perhaps best known for his Oscar-nominated performance of Solomon Northrup in 12 Years a Slave. Rachel McAdams portrays Irene Adler in the Sherlock Holmes films alongside MCU alum Robert Downey Jr. and more recently was nominated for an Oscar in the movie Spotlight. Benedict Wong starred alongside Ejiofor in The Martian last year and has also starred in Prometheus. Finally, Tilda Swinton has perhaps the longest film career of the cast, starring in films since 1986.

10/10

Audience Demographic

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Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch seem to be flocking to this movie, citing his performances in previous fantasy films and TV shows. The comic book film community is also a set demographic, continuing to build as more movies come out.

9/10

Post Movie Thoughts

I feel that this movie definitely warrants a second viewing, if nothing else to try and catch all of the Marvel easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film as they’ve done with others. This film is very similar to Inception, one of my favorite films, in terms of world building and perception-bending, but has several years of development to improve on what they started. The tie-ins to the rest of the MCU comes in at the end of the film.

8/10

Source Material

The origin of Doctor Strange for the films is largely kept to the source material. Originally, The Ancient One is Tibetan and male in the comic books. In this film, The Ancient One is Celtic and female. Critics were quick to jump on the film for white-washing the character, a common occurrence in films as of late. However, the change was a little more complicated. International film releases hinge on the response for the Chinese market. China has a long-standing feud with Tibet, which would not bode well for the film’s box office returns. Tilda Swinton played the role with the intention of being androgynous, though she’s referred to with female pronouns. Other source material changes are in reference to Kaecilius’s original alliances, but for the sake of spoilers I can’t elaborate further.

7/10

Overall: 90/100

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Movie Review: The Girl On The Train

The Girl on the Train is a mystery thriller directed by Tate Taylor. The movie is an adaptation of the 2015 novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins. the_girl_on_the_train Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) rides the train into town in the same section every day. While watching out the train window, she comes across a particular house with a loving couple. Enough times go by and she develops a story about their lives. Also nearby she sees her old house, where her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) lives with his new wife and infant child. Rachel laments the breaking down of their marriage and the idea that someone else has taken her place. Rachel copes with this by drinking and living vicariously through the couple she sees from the train. She now lives with her roommate and landlord Cathy (Laura Prepon), who doesn’t like her drinking habits and urges her to get help before she loses her job or worse. Anna Watson (Rebecca Ferguson), Tom’s new wife, is a stay at home mother with a nanny to help her through the day-to-day tasks of caring for her child and maintaining the home. She originally got together with Tom behind Rachel’s back, but is occasionally frightened by Rachel contacting Tom several times a day and invading their home, including taking their child Evie from the house to the front yard. Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennet) is a nanny living down the street from Anna and Tom. She decides to quit her job as nanny suddenly, feeling that the profession is not what she had hoped it would be. She talks with her psychiatrist Dr. Abdic (Edgar Ramirez) about her home life and, on occasion, situations from her past. Her husband Scott (Luke Evans) usually spend their mornings on the patio within sight of the passing trains. On a particular Friday, Rachel watches from the train to find an unusual site, the woman she watches from the train is on her patio with someone who isn’t her husband. She is reminded of her husband’s infidelity and how it has now crept into her fantasy life. Her devastation is further fueled by alcohol as she decides to confront the woman. As the woman goes under a tunnel, Rachel calls out to her. Rachel wakes up the next morning with bruises and blood caked on her shirt, hands, and forehead. She can’t remember the events from last night. Cathy stops Rachel from coming in the house to tell her that the police are in the house. Detective Riley (Allison Janney) questions Rachel about Megan Hipwell, the woman on the patio Rachel idolized. Plot The plot of this movie is incredibly intricate. All of the main characters are very closely knit. It would be assumed that the movie would take time to develop those relationships, but instead speeds through them, leaving the audience to try and piece them together while the rest of the plot pushes forward. By the time the movie slows down, it’s the third act of the movie where everything is supposed to pay off. Most exposition seems to be brought up in short spurts before immediately moving on to the next character, leaving no time to it everything into context. 4/10 Characters rachel As I’ve mentioned before, the three main female characters have a good deal of depth to them. They’re all closely linked: Rachel watches Megan from the train and lost her husband to Anna; where Anna feels terrorized by Rachel and hired Megan as a nanny. While their relationship is made fairly clear at the start of the movie, many other aspects of their character is briefly touched on and not brought up again. Having the context from the novel helps, but if the audience has no point of reference, it leaves a lot of their characterization confusing and sometimes unnecessary. 6/10 Language Emily Blunt and Edgar Ramirez are the only actors with accents portrayed in the film, which is briefly touched on in the movie. Everyone else has an American accent and actually takes place in the New York area. While the psychiatrist Megan speaks to is supposed to be foreign, Rachel’s accent in the movie is not explained. All else is pretty standard for a police procedural and women who are at each other’s throats. 7/10 Theme As the title suggests, there are trains everywhere in this movie, moving from one place to the next and back again. Another prevalent theme is alcohol as a coping mechanism. Each of the main characters drink to become more comfortable with their situation. The theme is particularly aimed at Rachel, who at one point makes an attempt to stop drinking so she can remember the night Megan went missing. Finally, a theme I noticed with all of the main characters is transference, or projecting what that character wants onto someone else. 8/10 Music The score is composed by Danny Elfman. The music accentuates any moment of uncertainty or fear, but is low key enough that many moviegoers won’t notice the music influencing the scene. 8/10 Spectacle I feel that the movie was going to be this year’s Gone Girl in terms of a female-led thriller, but unfortunately the most intense moments of the movie fell short. Rachel’s breakdown at the start of the movie, while intending to be a heart-breaking kind of sad, ends up being unintentionally funny. The movie spills over into melodrama instead of being a compelling mystery. 4/10 Star Power the-girl-on-the-train-cast Emily Blunt is the draw here when it comes to casting. Haley Bennett, who is coming off the heels of The Magnificent Seven, maintains her presence in the movie theaters. Luke Evans, one of the three important male characters, is perhaps best recognized in The Hobbit film series and Dracula Untold. Justin Theroux’s involvement in this film isn’t typical of his previous filmography of comedies. But the performances of the actors and actresses are sub-par to what’s expected. 6/10 Audience Demographic The biggest pull to the movie are the people that read the book, perhaps to see the book acted in the visual medium instead of just in the readers’ heads. The next biggest pull are audiences that go to thrillers. With the movie coming off the very successful Gone Girl, many will think use that film as a bellwether for this one, with several points of view to advance the plot and a female-driven story. 7/10 Post-movie Thought The movie moves far too fast to gather a lot of interest for the characters. Even so much as a 15 or 20 minute extension of the movie would have allowed it to move at a reasonable pace to incorporate different events with all of the characters instead of just the focal character for that scene. 5/10 Source Material The movie was adapted from the novel by Paula Hawkins. The setting was changed from London to New York, which explains the American accents in the movie. However, it makes Rachel’s English accent stand out without any explanation. There are also a lot of points in the novel that make a revelation from the point of view of one of the characters, then follows it up with a reaction from a different main character. While the medium of film wouldn’t allow a smooth transition as reading it would, the film props up a scene and gives no follow up at all, leaving loose ends or unsatisfied subplots. 5/10 Overall: 60/100

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