April movie reviews: A wrap-up of some of April’s biggest hits
April 29, 2019
Jordan Peele’s US movie review
Writer-director Jordan Peele’s new movie US came out in March and was instantly a hit. The movie focuses on the main character, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), who as a child experienced traumatic events and now has a family of her own, the Wilsons, husband Gabe, daughter Zora and son Jason.
The movie starts off slow, introducing the backstory of Adelaide, her family, and there is clear signs that Peele wants you to know the Wilson family is upper middle class.
Soon the movie’s plot begins and Peele introduces the “tethered” people, forced to live underground, unknown, and bound to their counterpart on the surface. Red, Adelaide’s counterpart, explains that the tethered were an experiment by some group that ended up failing and being abandoned in underground areas.
They emerge violently from the ground to claim what is theirs and the “horror” part of the film begins. It is impossible to judge the movie US without revealing key plot points, so some spoilers are ahead.
Adelaide’s tethered family infiltrates their house, they are wearing red jumpsuits and are each a creepier version of their counterpart, wielding a scary looking pair of shears. The “ real”
Adelaide asks her counterpart, terrified, “Who are you people?” and in response, her twin says, “We are Americans.”
That line right there gives away the real angle Peele is getting at, the deeper meaning, it’s about the monster in you, that people can be both evil and good, depending on the paths their lives led them through. The movie also has a more subtle note of addressing privilege in America, the tethered as the “underclass” and the above-ground people as the “upper-class”. Whether it’s a racial privilege or class privilege is undetermined.
Overall, the movie was murky, it got caught up in all it’s double meanings and hidden clues. It seems that Peele got so caught up trying to make the movie have a deeper meaning, he forgot the surface level meaning. It wasn’t as much scary as it was confusing, and there were so many hidden meanings that the viewer is left trying to figure them out, rather than watch the movie.
On that note, the visual aspects of the movie were nice and the acting was great, plus there are some humorous moments, but there was just too much double meanings, it lost focus.
DC says the magic word
If Deadpool is the superhero made for adults then Shazam is definitely the superhero made for kids. This fun Superhero movie gives hope to thousands of DC fans as it shows that maybe the DC Extended Universe (or DCEU) still has a shot.
The Movie follows 14-year-old Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, who is an orphan who is chosen by a wizard to become the champion of earth. Billy then gains the power to become his superhero grownup self, played by Zachary Levi, by simple saying the magic word ‘Shazam’. He then has to stop Dr. Silvana, played by Mark Strong, who possess powers given to him by the Seven Deadly Sins.
While that brief story synopsis may seem all over the place, the movie is in fact quite ingenious in its story telling, something that DC has struggled with doing in the past. For a good example of this look no farther than 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” a movie so confusing that were still not fully sure what happened even after three years.
The movie is also much softer then any of the other DC movies from the last ten years. While some moments are serious others are laid back and just fun to watch. These changes to the movie formula show positively as the movie got itself a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while 2017’s “Justice League” only got 40 Percent.
The movie was also a huge hit at the box office, nothing to the levels of Infinity War but still impressive none the less. With a budget of only $100 million it managed to rake in a net sum of $321.9 million.
Another thing about the movie that most viewers want to know is how Shazam fits into the DCEU. There had been rumors that it would take place in a separate universe, that it would be a world much like our own where Batman is nothing more than a character in a comic book. That Billy Batson would be the first real life Superhero in that world.
Well it can be quite confusing if you don’t pay attention because the movie is filled with DC superhero merchandise. Action figures, T-shirts, posters, and even movie replicas. So it would make sense that there would be no real Batman in this world, because who wants an action figure of a real man who brands criminals in prison and is seen by the news as a rouge vigilante.
But regardless of that the movie drives home the point that it does take place in the DCEU during the ending of the movie, by featuring one well known superhero. It does seem however, that this was done last minute as a way of allowing Shazam the chance to appear in more films other than his own. Which can be understood as DC has lost several actors who are known to play important characters, such as Superman and Batman.
Regardless Shazam is quality superhero movie and while it is far from perfect, it is a step in the right direction for DC.
Part of the journey is the end: A spoiler-free Avengers: Endgame review
Part of the journey is the end: A spoiler-free Avengers: Endgame review
On April 26th with the release of “Avengers: Endgame,” 11-plus years of storytelling from the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally reached their shocking conclusion, exceeding both box office records and many fans’ expectations.
Under the direction of Anthony and Joe Russo, Endgame provides a conclusion to the cliffhanger fans experienced in the wildly successful “Avengers: Infinity War” last year following the remaining avengers as they try to cope with the horrific events of Thanos’ snap and stop the villain once and for all. In only its opening weekend, Endgame has smashed multiple box office records and currently holds the spot for the fastest film to ever gross $1B. Endgame also currently holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and the reception towards the film by audiences has also been extremely positive.
“I loved it. The humor was perfect and done at well chosen points and it all rose up to a massive conclusion,” sophomore and marvel enthusiast Rivers West said.” So many twists and turns occurred throughout this movie in such a well done way. They chose each line and scene with care. It was perfect… Except for the small Fortnite reference (9.9/10).”
One concern many fans had going into this film regarded its three hour and two minute run-time. But even that seemed to be relatively well received by many viewers.
“I personally didn’t notice the three hour window until I walked out of the theatre at midnight,” sophomore and unironic fan of the Avengers: Fortnite game-mode Clayton Cole said. “But if you need to use the restroom in the middle of the movie it could be potentially be bad.”
Like Cole, West personally enjoyed the three hour screen-time and thinks it was beneficial for a movie such as Endgame.
“If they had shortened it we wouldn’t have gotten the full experience of this film,” West said.” Even with a three hour runtime, some scenes felt rushed but it all worked together perfectly. These characters have been part of my life since forever and I first saw them on screen when I was eight. A movie that’s a conclusion tof 21 other movies wouldn’t have worked with a shorter run-time.”
“Avengers: Endgame” was the result of 11-plus years of storytelling and 21 other films in the MCU all leading up to this. Thus, Endgame has been a film on many fans’ watchlists for a long time and the hype around the initial release of the film was huge.
“It had some pretty epic moments that got the audience really hyped up in the theatre,” Cole said. “Honestly, after this it would be interesting to see other companies try to compete with the MCU.”
However, given a movie with the level of hype associated with it that Endgame received, Marvel has gained a lot of new fans over the last couple of months. But also considering that Endgame is the end of an era for many marvel fans, it might not be the best place to start for new ones.
It’s more than just a stereotypical superhero movie,” West said. “It’s the end to what a lot of people had growing up. Although, please don’t see it if you haven’t seen any other Marvel movie, especially if you haven’t seen Infinity War. Go back to the beginning and experience the whole story. Even though there’s no way you could ever recreate the suspense, laughs, and satisfaction of the last 11 years like that. But this movie is one of the best I’ve seen, with constant surprises and amazing actors.”