Disney & Film Criticism

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This is what we’ve come to?

It’s acceptable to just claim that a movie is just “fine”?

There’s a reason why Captain Marvel can’t be critiqued as “fine” and the reason is because it’s the TWENTY FIRST superhero film in a franchise.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it’s a female led cbm or that it’s written by a female or that it’s CO-DIRECTED by a woman. The film as a whole was not up to par with other films in the MCU and they are in Phase 04.

So because it’s under Disney we’re supposed to give a mediocre Marvel film a free pass? No.

Captain Marvel should not have been as mediocre as it was at this stage in the MCU, especially ahead of Endgame. 

Please tell me why there was more pressure on Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman? The answer is blatantly obvious and it’s because it’s a DC film.

Captain Marvel did not reinvent the genre, it did not change the formulaic structure and it was extremely underwhelming. As a woman, there were moments where I understood Carol Danvers but I did not feel a connection to her. Also, how doesn’t it upset anyone that Captain Marvel was literally used as a stepping stone to Endgame? She’s being used as a device to further a narrative that is already in place because of the shared universe. The placement of Captain Marvel is odd and the only link to Endgame is the post credit scene which also makes this film disjointed among the MCU. I’m sure if you watch Captain Marvel before The Avengers it’ll fit better.

In the article from Variety, this is what Alicia Lutes says, “You’re still enabling the narrative that women have to be twice as good, all the time, to maybe get 1% of the pie. Whether you thought “Captain Marvel” or any of these movies was good, or even an affront, is entirely beside the point.”

I’m sorry but I don’t understand how any viewer has put women on a pedestal in regards to filmmaking? Women need more opportunities in the industry but when it comes to their work, they need to be critiqued like every other filmmaker. When you make claims that “it’s okay for this film, that is directed by a woman to fail because we need more of that”… no one wants their film to be mediocre or a failure, so why are we giving this film a pass?

You’ve already categorized Captain Marvel as a female led film and completely pushed aside the fact that it’s a DISNEY MARVEL MOVIE. It doesn’t matter who is behind the lens and that’s what people have to start realizing when critiquing films in the future. You have to be able to watch it for what it is and not put the film on a pedestal because it’s a female led film or directed by a woman. It’s damaging to female filmmakers, yes they struggle more than the average males in the industry but their content needs to be critiqued the same as everyone else.

How do we, as critics, say it’s acceptable that a movie is just “fine”? There have been thousands of films that have been mediocre and forgotten, where people have critisized every single aspect of the film, but this one, gets a free pass because female directors need to make some bad movies? Do people know what they’re saying?

This is proof that Disney owns the critics. Forget about Captain Marvel for a second and think about the critical acclaim Mary Poppins Returns received…. it didn’t deserve any of that hype and it was a disappointment in my eyes but it got plenty of nominations. Disney has known how to market their films since day one and now they’ve become greedy and power hungry. They own the box office year round and the critics are biased and fall to their knees as if they’ve made another masterpiece.

The new age of film criticism is not objective anymore, there is no singular voice that breaks down the film for what it is, there’s no balance. Ratings have become more important than reviews and critiques because a percentage from a consensus is more powerful than a credible writer expressing their opinion.

There should be no mediocrity when it comes to a Disney Marvel movie at this stage in the game because of it’s longevity. They have a “perfected” formula, so why not use it properly? That’s the issue with this kind of criticism for the film. At the end of the day, it’s not about female filmmakers at the box office but it’s about a standalone film apart of a larger universe.

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Marvel (SPOILER FREE) Review

The most powerful Avenger has arrived.

Thanos watch your back.

Captain Marvel finally has her moment in the spotlight and it was a good start to her story. Brie Larson perfectly embodied Carol Danvers and kicked ass as Captain Marvel. She really studied the character and she made it effortless, this was definitely the role for her.

Brie Larson’s chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson was so natural and lovely that their bond carried the movie. This was also Sam Jackson’s best performance out of all the movies in the MCU and I’m happy we got to see this side of him.

Captain Marvel played off of the Marvel nostalgia and found humour in the 90s. It was a lot of fun and the character dynamics were the glue that held everything together.

However, the first half was very messy and confusing. I had trouble getting into her story at the beginning because they dragged out the story on Kree, when the real focus should have been on Earth and her memories. The screenplay needed work but the humour was spot on and to be honest, it was kind of refreshing. The editing was very choppy and the flashbacks did not add much to her story because it was all over the place. Once Carol Danvers met up with her best friend Maria Rambeau played but the wonderful Lashana Lynch, the film began to feel natural.

The second act really picked up and I just wanted more of everything! Once she got control of her powers it was very exciting and Carol Danvers was having fun playing with what her energy can do. The origin story was solid but I just wanted more of her backstory, I just don’t think they did a good job in covering every aspect of her life.

It was a great film to go into Endgame with and that’s all I can say about Captain Marvel, it was just a stepping stone… it’s kind of like the character film was a plot device in order to push the greater picture.

The Stan Lee tribute at the beginning made me cry and his cameo was classic!

Stay for that post credit scene because it got my blood pumping more than the entirety of the film itself.

2018 Year in Review

As the year comes to an end, it is tradition that I assess the films that have come out this past year.

So I have made my very own TOP 10 list of films that stood out to me this year. There are some honourable mentions AND some that stood out in their genre.

Here are my TOP 10 Films of 2018:

A Quiet Place
dir. John Krasinski
screenplay. John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck
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08QUIET-PLACE1-articleLargeThe reason why this film is so unique is the fact that there was pure silence on screen. I’ve never experienced something like that. Normally, people think that having silence on screen is bad because it’s dead air but Krasinski utilized that and played off the tension and anticipation of sound. I also appreciated the fact that the score did not overpower those moments of silence and that it was used subtly throughout.

Annihilation
dir. Alex Garland
screenplay. Alex Garland

Annihilation
Natalie-Portman-in-Annihilation-Movie-Stills-natalie-portman-41052828-1200-518Annihilation is one of the best science fiction films to be released in the past 10 years. It’s an original piece from the mind of Alex Garland and he truly blew me away with this film. It had such a strong cast of actors and the story kept getting better, it had so many twists that I did not see coming and it really does make you reach maximum anxiety levels. The film is beautifully shot and has a powerful story. This made it into my top 3 sci-fi films of all time and I am definitely looking forward to his next film.

Aquaman  
dir. James Wan
story by. James Wan, Geoff Johns, Will Beall

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James Wan has been in the spotlight for his horror universe of The Conjuring and those films are all so incredibly unique to the horror genre. Wan has his own style and he definitely brought it in Aquaman. This film was simple and the visuals enhanced the story, making it one of the best DC films to be released. DC has such strong characters and they’ve been successful with their standalone films. The future is bright for DC because they are trusting their directors and they will be able to create unique worlds.

Ben is Back
dir. Peter Hedges
screenplay. Peter Hedges

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Ben is Back is such a heart-wrenching film and it depicts the harrowing truth of addiction. Lucas Hedges gives the performance of his career thus far and Julia Roberts is a knockout. Peter Hedges penned a brutally honest screenplay and made very powerful choices, especially the ending. This is an underrated film and it needs to be seen!

Blackkklansman
dir. Spike Lee
screenplay. Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

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maxresdefaultA Spike Lee Joint has never been so exhilarating and relevant, I have never felt so many emotions at once during a film AND I left this film absolutely enraged. This film is one of the best movies of the year and it deserves more recognition. Everything about this film was perfect and the way Spike Lee integrated every single piece of media that has been consumed by mainstream audiences was genius. This was a masterwork and it’s incredible that he was able to use this medium to speak about the corruption in the United States right now.

Black Panther
dir. Ryan Coogler
screenplay. Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole

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Black-Panther-PhotosMarvel’s 18th film in it’s universe had the first black superhero in the spotlight. Black Panther had such a massive cultural significance earlier this year and it became an instant phenomenon. This film, directed by Ryan Coogler meant so much more to the black community than any other Marvel movie and the reception proved that. Every single actor in this film did a a great job in telling T’Challa’s story and I know that Stan Lee was proud of this major accomplishment.

Roma
dir. Alfonso Cuarón
screenplay. Alfonso Cuarón

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44320-Roma_-_Alfonso_Cuaron__Film_Still_Alfonso Cuarón really delivered on all front with Roma. It’s a beautiful film because of how effortless he made everything seem. The story is simple and tragic but the love that is shown on screen mends those heartbreaking feelings at the same time. It’s beautifully shot and the visuals were so incredibly powerful that I didn’t need subtitles to understand what was happening. Yalitza Aparicio gave a beautiful performance and I felt everything with her.

Ocean’s Eight
dir. Gary Ross
screenplay. Gary Ross, Olivia Milch

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This cast of women truly saved 2018 and it was the best version of any Ocean’s movie. This film was so much fun and Sandra Bullock was excellent in this alongside Cate Blanchett. It was interesting from beginning to end and it was filled with many nods to the first Ocean’s film. I would like a trilogy with these lovely ladies! Also, Anne Hathaway stole show and I’m happy she’s back! The heist was extravagant and fun because it was taking place at the MET Gala and many audiences don’t know what goes on inside the Gala, so it was very refreshing!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
screenplay. Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman

spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-movie-slice-600x200
spider-man-spider-verse-animated-film-1Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the BEST Spider-Man movie that has ever been released. Not only was the animation superb but to have every single version of Spider-Man on screen showing the multiverse made it so unique! The best part about this film is that kids are introduced to the youngest Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Miles is half black and half Latino and it was lovely to see that representation on screen! Sony definitely has a universe of their own to expand on, especially with this character and this animation!

 
 Widows
dir. Steve McQueen
screenplay. Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen

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WIDOWSSteve McQueen and Gillian Flynn working together was truly a dream team and I loved every single second of this thriller. It was such an intense film and it kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time. This cast was phenomenal and I was amazed that everyone got enough screen time and each of their backstories flowed effortless through each scene. The standouts were Daniel Kaluuya and Elizabeth Debicki, pay very close attention to their performances!!

The two films that I have yet to see but I know would have been in my TOP 10 for 2018 are…

The Favourite
dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
screenplay. Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Hop in for a free ride with

If Beale Street Could Talk
dir. Barry Jenkins
screenplay. Barry Jenkins 
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Both Yorgos Lanthimos and Barry Jenkins have created such beautiful films in the past and I’m always excited for their new projects!

 

The Honourable Mentions:

Best Action Movie: 
Mission Impossible – Fallout
dir. Christopher McQuarrie
screenplay. Christopher McQuarrie

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Best Comedy: 
The Spy Who Dumped Me 
dir. Susanna Fogel
screenplay. Susanna Fogel, David Iserson

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Best Kids Movie: 
The Incredibles 2 
dir. Brad Bird
screenplay. Brad Bird

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Best Coming of Age Film:
Eighth Grade 
dir. Bo Burnham
screenplay. Bo Burnham

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The Legendary Stan Lee

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Stan Lee 1922-2018

Stan Lee, was born as Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28th, 1922 was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.

Stanley Lieber started off as an assistant in 1939 at the new Timely Comics division of Pulp Magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman. Timely Comics, byt the 1960s, evolved into Marvel Comics.

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Captain America Comics #3

Stanley Lieber made his comic book debut in 1941 with filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge”  in Captain America Comics #3, using the pseudonym Stan Lee. This initial story also introduced Captain America’s trademark ricocheting shield-toss.

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(left) Jack Kirby and Joe Simon

When Joe Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby left in 1941, Martin Goodman appointed Stan Lee, just under 19 years old, as interim editor. Stan Lee remained as the division’s editor-in-chief, as well as art director until 1972, when he would succeed Goodman as publisher.

In the late 1950s, DC Comics revived the superhero archetype and became successful with the updated versions. Publisher, Martin Goodman assigned Stan Lee to come up with a new superhero team.

The first superhero group Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created together was the Fantastic Four.
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The Fantastic Four skyrocketed and team grew in popularity! Stan Lee collaborated with Jack Kirby many times on the following titles and created heroes such as, The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and the X-Men.
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Stan Lee also collaborated with Bill Everett to create Daredevil and with Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange.

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Stan Lee also created Marvel’s most beloved character Spider-Man, all of whom lived in a shared universe.
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As these characters took off and these comics flew off the shelves, Stan Lee made sure to engage the reader and create a community between fans and creators. He built a credit panel on one of the pages of the comic and would incorporate upcoming news and stories from Marvel and its staff members.

Throughout the 1960s, Lee scripted, art-directed and edited most of Marvel’s series, moderated the letters pages and wrote a monthly column called “Stan’s Soapbox”, often signing off with his trademark motto, “Excelsior”

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Later on in his career, Stan Lee became the figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. He had created an empire and continued to create more stories.

The Marvel characters that Stan created had naturalistic, human qualities, while having superhuman powers. He created a domesticated hero who could possibly have trouble getting through school, bad tempers, worried about paying their bills, suffer from a mental illness or ptsd or even falling pysically ill. All of this was realistic and audiences could identify with any one of these characters.

There are children that look up to Hawkeye because he’s a deaf supehero, Daredevil because he’s a blind superhero and Wade Wilson who battled with cancer. It’s so incredibly important to have this representation and Stan wanted these stories to be told.

In August 1996, Marvel created Marvel Studios. They had arranged a seven year deal with 20th Century Fox to cover markets in the United States and internationally. The first film to be released worldwide was Blade, based on the vampire hunter. The film made $70 million in North America.

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Following the success of Blade, Bryan Singer tackled the X-Men in the early 2000s and the first Marvel franchise was born at 20th Century Fox.

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The X-Men resonated deep with audiences because of how different each of them are. Each character have such beautiful human qualities and their mutations make them different, but some of them learn to embrace their differences and that’s what makes the X-Men so important!

Stan Lee began his famous cameos in the first X-Men as a hotdog stand vendor on the beach.

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In 2002, Columbia Pictures along with Marvel Studios adapted Spider-Man, thus creating one of the best superhero triologies of all time. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man captured the original comic hero in such a natural way and made his spidey powers something all children would hope for. Since Spidey is Stan Lee’s most cherished character, so it makes sense as to why there have been three different versions of Peter Parker.

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In 2008, Kevin Feige was named President of Productions at Marvel Studios as Iron Man began filming. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was born and Stan Lee got to see his characters come to life. Stan Lee has always credited his wonderful staff of artists and writers who plan to continue his legacy by creating more characters that fit in with the universe.

Stan Lee has impacted so many lives with his characters and he loved what he did. Stan Lee was a trailblazer and opened so many doors for many comic book artists today. Without Stan Lee we wouldn’t have had the incredible universe we have today.

Most of us grew up on Marvel films and branched out into the comics because we loved the universe so much. Every single Marvel film has had a Stan Lee cameo and every audience that I’ve been apart of would always start cheering when he appeared on screen. Stan Lee was just a special human being and he brought so much joy and laughter to so many people.

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Iron Man (2008)

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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

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Thor (2011)

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The Avengers (2012)

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Deadpool (2016)

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Venom (2018) 

He created a universe that has so many characters people can identify with and just appreciate their stories. We have actors who are so incredibly dedicated to these characters and the stories because they want to honour what Stan created.

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It’s a very sad day today because a legend has left us. Stan Lee will live on forever in the comic pages and the on screen cameos. He has made a huge impact on pop culture and he will be dearly missed.

Excelsior Stan Lee

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