By : Justin Hopkins
For someone who came into this weekend excited to see The Meg. Have to admit, quite shocked but how well it actually did the the box office. Bringing in 45 million dollars at the box office, taking the top spot in the box office, and was thrilled to see it succeed. The Meg was better then expected and gave us a true rarity in the form of a good shark movie.
The movie takes place largely in an underwater research center called the Mana One. Hoping to discover if the bottom of the area was in fact a thermocline. Meaning it would be deeper then the Mariana Trench. Once the the person team made it through were attacked by something huge. Trapping them there. Much to the chagrin of Dr. Heller played by Robert Taylor. They bring in Jonas played by Jason Statham, to rescue them. Heller and Jonas having an issue from a rescue that went wrong five years earlier. During his rescue of the crew this time, is where they show the massive Megladon for the first time around, and although he gets 3 of the 4 safely back. They disrupt the thermocline enough to let the Megladon out and becomes a race against the clock to stop it before it does to much destruction.
What seperated The Meg from all the other shark movies that we have been bombarded with throughout the past few years, was that it wasn’t a senseless shark eat’em up movie. The shark while rampt up was just a large shark. Didn’t stalk them throughout the movie but sought after food. Even when attacking swimmers. Went after frantic ones first and when it saw bigger food options. Swam away. While the science was off more then once. It wasn’t too zany or cartoonish. They stayed close to the lines where if one didn’t know it, might be passable.
The cast brought this all together so well. Making the film funny with one liners and jokes during the period where the Megladon was not around. Jason Statham stepped out of his normal role and was fantastic. Playing off everyone so well that you wanted to see what happened. Li BingBing was tremendous as Suyin. Suyin didn’t want to sit by and watch, but was right in the line of fire and was quick witted to boot, and Shuya Sophia’s Merying stole allot of the scenes she was in. They were able to being out various emotions on top of the main threat and was never really a back stab set up nor a sabotage situation. You even end up like Rainn Wilson’s and Robert Taylor’s villain characters who are made to be eaten. Only small issue is they don’t really show enough of Ruby Roses Jaxx character. Who seemed like she had more to bring to the table.
Go see The Meg in theaters. Don’t go expecting a scientific accurate or academy award winner, but go see this fun shark movie, with a great ensemble of actors and actresses on the big screen, because it’s exactly that; a fun movie.
By: Justin Hopkins
Weeks away from escaping pre-production, after years of toiling and rumors. A release date of October 11, 2019, and just like that, the remake of the 1994 classic The Crow have lost their lead actor Jason Mamoa and director. Effectively, pushing it all the way back to the start, and as unpopular as this opinion is; it’s depressing to hear.
James O’Barr created something really special in 1989 with characters brought back from the dead in seek of justice. There are so many stories and scenarios to tell, from Iris Shaw or Mark Leung or many many others. All of which bring a different theme and uniqueness to the table. Have to look at the singular fact that Eric Draven though, which is understandable. His being the name associated with the franchise. Albeit he also causes the biggest debate amongst the fan base.
I take nothing away from how amazing Brandon Lee did. His performance was excellent and story has stood the test of time, but that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t do an equally good job or even a better one. Bill Skarsgard outshined Tim Curry in It. Heath Ledger was more memorable then Jack Nicholson’s Joker. At the same time though we still recognize and love what Tim and Jack gave us. Just because someone else plays the role, doesn’t take away from Brandon Lee’s performance but gives us a new take on the character Eric Draven.
Whatever may come from this setback. I do hope it’s not long before they can get traction and get The Crow back up and running again. There are so many different stories to tell and directions to take. The right people who care about the characters and their back stories. Can really put together a great movie.
By Justin Hopkins
I have been stoked for Ready Player One ever since I saw the trailer for it. Everything about it appealed to me right from the start. So much so that I went out of my way to avoid any sort of spoilers. With all the nostalgia and cultural icons shown in the trailers. Wanted the surprise factor as high as it could be. Letting the hype fuel my excitement. Going in with high hopes and Ready Player One delivered on it and then some. Creating twists and turns and complex storytelling and excellent foreshadowing. As well as characters people could relate to.
Starting off with the real world was the perfect way to go. Allowing them to both explain about the Oasis and how the creator put his whole inheritance to whoever found his hidden Easter Egg. You got to see some of how tough life was for some people were, and how the Oasis became as important to them as a chance to get away from the bad parts and be who they wanted to be, and how finding that Easter Egg would be the biggest moment in not just the game or whoever found it, but would effect everyone.
To wade it’s a way to make his life better and make Oasis the way he thought it should. To the Villain Sorrento, who employees gamers to play for him, you learn as the movie goes on. He doesn’t just look at it to squeeze as much cash out of the players it can, but would in turn control the world. Then the rebels like Art3mis who does everything they can to stop him and what his company does to people in the real world.
That’s where this movie did so well. For someone such as myself who didn’t know much of the story going in. You really feel like you’re growing and learn the details along with Wade. That this may have been an escape from his reality. How much more was riding on the line in the real world.
As great as the storytelling was, big credit goes to the actors and actresses who made it all possible. Tye Sheridon was immediately likable as Wade/Parzival. As much as one wanted to pull for him at the start. Hard not to route for Olivia Cooke’s depiction of Art3mis. Wanted to see her get the win after all she had to fight through. Ben Mendelsohn was perfect as the diabolical corporate villain and Lena Waithe turning out to be Aech was a great twist.
The nostalgia and video game references were not only fun but added much more to the movie. Didn’t know what to expect next and used to get the best they could from them. The brawl pitting Gundam and Iron Giant against Mecha Godzilla was epic, Chucky as a weapon was hysterical, and The Shining level was thrilling. There was so much in this film that you’ll find something new every time you watch it.
There was one flaw and it was a minor one. Was so much fun to see the chemistry between the characters and feel they could have gotten more had they gotten more time. Stretch it into two movies or even done a trilogy. That said this is a movie that got to be seen on the big screen and done sooner then later.
By: Justin Hopkins
2018 is well under way. Start of the new year is all about recollection. To look back and build off the great moment and leave behind the bad from the year prior. Just have to take a glance at the year to see there is still alot of big bucks around the Comic Book Genre. Marvel got better with each passing movie. Logan was tremendous. D.C finally had a hit with Wonder Woman and Justice League was pretty good. These six movie alone brought in over over five billion dollars worldwide. Not even counting the Arrowverse, Netflix, and various others. So, it’s still a ripe market place. While it’s always exciting to see Marvel about to set the stage for new Superheroes to come up in the next few years, and D.C is trying to bring up some fresher faces with Black Lightning and Cyborg, but there are so many in their library that deserve a push forward and of course, these are not the only two comic book companies out there. There is a wide world out there full of characters that come with depth and emotion. Worlds that scream out for live action treatment. So, I present to you, my top five list of comic that should be developed into live action, and the forum that I think will serve them and their fans the best.
Honorable Mention- Spawn due to his show being in the works. Black Widow due to believing she will get her own movie one day, and Miles Morales, since he is getting the animated movie and pressure from fans will see him apart of the MCU before the end of this new run.
1. She-Hulk – Netflix
Jennifer Walters, cousin of Bruce who became She-Hulk after a blood transfusion. While we may all still be longing for a solo Hulk Movie, there is no reason why they can’t pull the trigger on her being in the Netflix world. The differences between her and her cousin is what makes her realy special. Fact that she prefers to be She Hulk then Jennifer. Able to retain her intelligence in that form. The way she gets stronger is through training while being Jennifer. Works hard to be a lawyer, with a fun ensamble of support casts and has history with the Defenders. Netflix would be perfect home for the more adult themes of her character and She-Hulk show would be a breath of fresh air and can be unique on its own.
2. Prometha- Trilogy
Hollywood has not been neccessarily kind to Alan Moore’s work, but that should not sway anyone away from the mind blowing story of Promethea. Created by the great Alan Moore and Illustrated by the steller J.H Williams III. Telling the story of Sophia Bangs, looking up folklore on the fabled Promethea. To turn around and be possessed by the very same. Prometha being the embodiment of Imagination. J.H creating stunning immagery of Imaginative lands and different planes of existence. In the hands of Guillermo Del Toro or even The Wachowskis. Could present a great story and visual masterpiece that would be remembered for a lifetime.
3. Saga – Trilogy
The epic Fantasy Space Opera by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples has garnered praise and build a massive fan base since its debut. Telling the love story of Marko and Alana. Two different warring races long at love with each other. Story opening to the birth of their Child Hazel, and the run for their safety. Trying to escape capture from both sides of their lineage. Story and characters out of an adult only Star Wars universe. with multiple planets and vast Alien Races. Only reason it ranks where it does is due to Brian a movie is not a very high priority, but until it does. Saga fans will long to see it happen.
2. Batwoman – Arrowverse
Batman may be getting a little stale to see. Seeing a different actor stepping in and seeing almost the same story told. Katherine ‘Kate’ Kane though has been building herself as a pretty popular member of the fanbase. Forgetting about the controversial handling and dismal ending of the New 52 run. Hydrology series was a fantastic tale and her dealing with the supernatural makes her a perfect fit within Arrowverse on The CW. With all the subtle hints at Wayne within Arrow. It would be a fantastic shock to reveal Katherine Kane’s Batwoman instead, and spin her off from there.
1. The Darness – Theatrical
Garth Enis’s creation has the making of a great film. Jackie Estacado being a tortured, ruthless sole, possesing an all-powerful being, The Darkness. That awakens in the Mafia Hitman on his 21st Birthday. The world is dark and dreary. Death and demises, with a softer side with the relationship he has with his lifelong friend Jenny. Watching him struggle to succumb to the Darknesses wimb or using his powers to try and do some good. Can either be one movie and done, or draw it out. Either way The Darkness’s long wait to the big screen deserves to be pushed forward and the sooner the better.
As always, this list is my personal choices. Sure there are plenty of others who will disagree with the order or have one that should have made it. By all means, comment yours down below. That is one of the joys of dealing with Comics and top five lists. Thanks for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Star Wars The Last Jedi came out with not only more hype, but more fan theories then I have ever seen surrounding one movie before. Everyone sharing their ideas as to who Snoke was, who was Rey’s Parents, and was there going to be a turning from good to bad or bad to good. Not beeing a Stars Wars fans myself seemed to work out for me, cause I had no expectations going in. Leaving the theater, believing that the Last Jedi is the best so far.
It starts with the trailer. Expertly weaving a misdirecting tale. Making us believe that we may be seein Rey take a turn toward the Dark Side of the Force. Showing just enough to pique our curiosities, without showing their hand. Exactly what a trailer needs to be more of.
The main story with Rey was tremendous. Her determination and drive being the focal point. Wanting to learn the force from Luke, and not accepting no for an answer. Then believing in the good still being alive in Kylo to the point she went to find him. Daisy Ridley deserves the glory for this movie being as good as it was. Has chenistry with everyone she performs with, and has showing real character growth as Rey. Being a breath of fresh air that they would be dead without.
As good as the A story was, the B side had some major issue. Showing the rebels trying to flee from the First Order, but running out of fuel and just staying clear of decimation. Finn and newcommer Rose making a desperate race against time to collect a Code Breaker to come back to the chase and sneak into the enemy’s ship and disable their tracking devise. It started out as a pretty decent side story to Rey and Luke’s, but all came undone, by one one minue scene. The Code Breaker turned out to be a member of the first order, but that mattered little because the Commander in charge for an injured Liela plan, was a far surperior one then their’s. Turned them into brave, play by their own rules rebels, into foolish, immature degenerates. That may have wasted Captain Plasma all together. One redeeming scene was when they set it up to look like Finn was going to sacrafice himself, only for Rose to knock him out of the way. A scene that was interresting, but could have done without to do away with the B-Story all together.
Mark Hamill’s Return to the character he is most known for was brilliant. Showing a Jedi who was beyond defeated. Believing his greatest failure, was the reason Kylo Ren was born. Hiding out on the Island to simply fade away. He got to show his comedic side, and at the end, show off how powerful of a Jedi Luke Skywalker is. May not have been the big lightsaber battle people were expecting, but at his age, may have looked bad. Instead his acting ability led the way here. Like Obi-Wan, this would be his demise, but not at the hands of his pupil. In fact he showed up his student. That he was still nothing but a Pupil and great reveal, after everything Kylo thrown at him, to be nothing more then a Force Driven Vision. If this was Mark’s final go as Luke, great way to go and pass off the torch to Rey in the process.
This movie left a ton of questions for Episode 9. Snoke, is dead. The First Order and Rebellion are both in shambles, and is the perfect way to go. Leave everyone shell shocked and wandering what does the future hold in store for everyone, and just because they said her parents were nobodies, do I believe it won’t be exposed as a lie.
By: Justin Hopkins
For all the troubles the DCEU have had. The Arrowverse has been red hot. They took there time to build and let the audience love and enjoy their build. The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and of course, Arrow. They hit on all spectrums; dark and gritty, to light hearted and comedic, but always have powerful and moments of awe, leading up to the epic, 2 day Crisis of Earth-X, and it truly was that. An epic crossover event.
The writing staff deserves a big congratulations for this. For how many different storylines they had running. Everyone coming together for the wedding between Barry Allen and Iris West. Alex and Supergirl trying to get back on track after losing their loves. More focus on Alex, who feels tremendous guilt over her one night stand with Sara Lance. Stein and Jefferson getting the cure for Firestorm and Jefferson needing to come to terms that the man he looks to as a Father, will be leaving the Waverider. Felicity telling Oliver that she may love him, but rejected his proposal. All before the major villains arrived from Earth-X. Earth 53, a world were the Nazis won the War, and the new Fueher was Oliver Queen, wife Kara Zor-El, working with Tommy Merlin, and Earth 1, Reverse Flash. Invade not just to take over, but to kidnap Supergirl and put her heart into a dying evil Supergirl.
Never once did any of it seem overbloated or to much. Over 21 heroes, from each of the shows, plus returning characters that were Earth-X versions. Such as Winn as the Rebel General. Weaponized Red Tornado, Citizen Cold and Paul Blackthorne’s Quentin Lance being a diabolical Nazi General. Loved Diggle’s contribution, and a shocking death of a “Legend” and the funneral that was even more emotional. Almost impossible to highlight just one particular performance, because they were all stellar. Each character had time to showcase their abilities and what brings them to the table, and ran with all they got. Leaving each show with running starts to grow from.
This is how to do a crossover. Everyone from actors, directors, and writers who care and wanting the absolute best for everyone. The DCEU and even Marvel to a point can look to this and learn, as Crisis on Earth-X set the bar for what could be years to come.
By: Justin Hopkins
When The Punisher was first announced for his own solo show. Had little hope of it being any good. Sure Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job as Frank Castle in Daredevil, but was support to Matt Murdoch. With how he is, didn’t think The Punisher could be a main character, and be done with justice. Should really not doubt the Marvel machine right, as once again delivered. Going right into the dark, grungy world that is Frank Castle and stayed true to character. Displaying his ultra violent, tougher then nails, unlikable side, and his broken guilt ridden, anti hero form. While the support went through the emotional rides.
The story was raw and unforgiving. Not pulling any punches from start to finish. From Frank trying to move on after he thought he was successful and getting pulled back in when it turns out the death of his family was a far bigger conspiracy then he could ever imagine. Detective Madani desperate investigation into finding her answers. Heartbreaking journey Micro goes through to reunite with his family and them trying to adjust to his fake death and the solders in group and the painful reality of PTSD. They never pull back on the emotions no matter how bad the situation had gotten for the character in question, and always solicited a strong emotional response in watching it happen. Slowly building to an explosive conclusion.
Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job with an extremely tough character to bring to life. Had to show so much pain and guilt. Was a good man still who was still there to do right by those who needed help and never hurt an innocent person, but also closed off and cold. Would stop at nothing to exact kill those who took his family’s lives, no matter what happens to himself in the process, or at what cost. Walking the precarious line between likeable Anti-Hero and full blown villain.
Bringing Karen, played by the excellent Deborah Ann Woll, was a great way to keep him connected to the rest of the shows, but give him an emotional tie. Someone who torn up by grief over what may happen and wanting to see better for him, while he won’t show it. She represents someone he cares for in return. Which may become relevant in his return to Daredevil if Bullseye is set to premier.
The emotional turmoil showed by Micro and his family was spectacular by everyone involved. Ripley Sobo, Kobi Frumer, and Jamie Ray Newman felt like a really family breaking apart from the loss of their Father and Husband, while his sorrow leapt off the screen. Keeping you in suspense and hoping for the happy reunion this poor family deserved. Hats off to all four of them for their performance.
Lastly, have to give a round of applause to the stunt and fight choreographers. The Punisher is brutal and smash mouth, and they lived up to snuff. Especially, the fight in the first episode where he fight off the three would be murderers with the sledgehammer. Memorable fight that set the tone for things to come.
The Punisher is right up there with Jessica Jones and Daredevil in quality and execution. Staying true to his nature and great addition to the Netflix library. Hoping to see Jon Bernthal return to the character sooner rather then later and fingers crossed to see Ben Barnes rise to Jigsaw in what I’m sure will be an even more action packed Season 2.
By: Justin Hopkins
Justice League rolled into theaters with a slew of bad press behind it. From questions over the re-shoots and what was cut. The jokes about them having to CGI out Henry Cavill’s mustache. The never-ending drama over whether Ben Affleck was going to continue playing Batman or not. So much so that they might have hurt themselves a bit, which was a shame because Justice League turned out to be an entertaining movie and huge step forward.
The team forming by Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman recruiting them to defend the Earth from Steppenwolf and the Parademons as they searched for the Mother boxes that would be used to conquer the world. Pretty standard movie that worked nicely for them. They had to introduce three of the members and resurrect Superman on top of it. Any more and the story becomes to convoluted. A simple story was needed to give them momentum and this worked perfectly.
Ben Affleck and Galbot did a terrific job once again with Bruce and Diana. Especially when it came to building chemistry between them and learning from each other. Henry Cavill may not have had much screen time but from what I took away was that they are finally getting the Man of Steel right and Ray Fischer knocked it out of the park as Cyborg.
The one I was looking forward to seeing, and believed he had the toughest role was Ezra Miller. Grant Gustin has been nothing short of phenomenal as Barry Allen in the Arrowverse. Ezra came out running on all cylinders though. Playing him as a rookie superhero with a heart of gold. Came across as whiney at times, but am looking forward to see him continue with the role for years to come.
The CGI was a bit lackluster at times, but the fight sequences were well choreographed. Allowing everyone to show off what they can do. Loved the scenes with The Flash running and the fight scene he had with Superman. One camera shot in particular was tremendous and that was at the start where Batman had trapped the parademon, and camera went crooked. Capturing the two in dark, gritty fashion that screamed comic book. Big shout out to everyone working behind the camera.
There are plenty of things that could have been better. Aquaman could have had more, but with his movie coming up next year. Less we know the more we have to look forward to. Justice League was a good, enjoyable movie all around that the DCEU needed. Better then both Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad, and for once. Showed hope for the future.
By: Justin Hopkins
Thor has always been the sore thumb of the MCU. The actors and actresses have always turned out good performances, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleson leading the pact. Story wise though, have always come up short. Ragnarok turned that all around. Giving us a fun, suspenseful, action filled movie, with a surprise ending.
When utilized correctly, foreshadowing is a wonderful writing tool. Done so subtle that you hardly notice that Surtur and Odin have given hints on the ending till its over and those scenes are that much powerful for it. Big thumbs up for it.
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor comes full circle in this film. Better then anyone in the Marvel cinematic universe at this point. Introduced in the first film as a bratty, arrogant child and we’ve watched him continuously grow from there into the character we see here. One who enjoys life, humble and still maintains the heart of a warrior. If this is his final solo Thor movie. Glad it ended with him earning the title King of Asgard.
Cate Blanchett gave us a villain like we haven’t seen much of at this point. Diabolical, heinous, powerhouse Hela. Thor’s sister and Goddess of death. She held herself throughout as a woman with no fear and took down anything that got in her way. Had you hanging on to every word she said and anticipating her next move. The speech between her and Thor in the Throne room was adrenaline pounding and chilling at the same moment.
Newcomers and support cast all brought in new elements that made this movie what it was. Tessa Roberts Valkyrie was tremendous as the fallen solider working up the courage to face the cause of her downward spiral. Finally got to see Idris Elba’s show Heimdall as the tougher then nails warrior protecting the innocents. Can’t say enough about how good Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth working together. The short Hulk arc was just enough to answer some questions and leave us wanting more. Throw in the fun and charismatic Jeff Goldblum and Taika Waititiall. Making this top of the MCU Library.
The last thing I need to bring up was how well the Doctor Strange cameo was. Alot of cameos can come across as forced, but his was seemless. Showing that in the time since he took the mantle, he had become a guardian of the Earth and more powerful sorcerer.
Thor Ragnarok is an MCU must see in theaters. Great performances and story. CGI was top notch. Fun and witty. Fight scenes were exciting and heart to spare.
By: Justin Hopkins
Jeepers Creepers was terrifying when I was a kid. Presenting us with a new monster that was bone chilling and mysterious. Fed off people’s fear and ate what he liked off the ones he chose. Completely relentless, taking everything they could throw and it was the first time I watched a monster movie where the monster won, and in not some last second resurrection for the jump scare, but got exactly what he wanted. Then the second one came out giving us an even more exciting chapter, and have been patiently waiting on pins and needles ever since. The monster had so much more story to tell, and couldn’t just end there. Took 14 years but we finally got the part 3, and the wait was well worth it. Bringing the Creeper back in hellacious fashion and gave a great story to run forward as well as end the period of time that eclipsed between the three movies.
The story was pretty solid at times. Showing us a farming community who’d heard stories of The Creeper, but chalked it up to folklore and legends. Shifting between the talented Gabrielle Haugh’s character Addison Brandon who was living with her tormented Grandmother who was being haunted by the ghost and victim of the Creeper. Warning her to run. That he was coming to retrieve the hand he lost and the son had buried. Meanwhile you have Sheriff Dan Tashtego (Stan Shaw) and returning Sgt. Davis Tubbs (Brandon Smith) leading a group of men to finally put an end to the Creepers rampage before the 23 days run up.
These movie seemlessly bucked a massive horror tend, by filming primarily in the day light, in wide open areas at times. Allowing us to see the creature throughout the movie. Those on make up and prosthetics deserve all the credit in the world because it was their hard work that made that happen. Sculpting a chilling mask and got every little detail but was thin enough to allow Jonathon Breck to create facial movements at the same time.
Jonathon Breck has really etched himself in horror movie elite with his performance as the Creeper. Taking him to a whole other level in the film since he was on display so much. Carrying himself like the dominate force of nature he is suppose to be. While showing a surprising ammount of charisma that complement the Creeper. Breck enjoyment of playing this character again was apparent and the Creeper was that much better for it.
Minus a few poor CGI shots and a needles slow motion sequence. Thought very highly of this long awaited sequel. The twist at the end putting the events of this movie between part 1 and 2 may be a little off putting to some but I liked it. Knowledge of knowing what was going to happen next. Tying up these three and with Gina Philips cameo and closing monologue. Am ecstatic over the prospects of a part 4. Giving this movie a 3.75 out of 5.