Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) Review

RATING: 2.5/5

A hidden warrior has to return to his homeland to confront his past and stop it from destroying the world.

A middling flick with cool things intermixed.

Performances throughout were fine. A vast of majority of the characters weren’t written well to leave a lasting impact afterwards. I would say the best character moments had to have been the relationship scenes between Shang and his father, Wenwu. The growth of their entire family was shown nicely from start to finish. One could get a clear grasp as to why the father was doing what he was doing.

When it came to the worst character moments, they mainly came from the two leading ladies. Awkwafina was kind of annoying in her role, even though she did get a few chuckles. The other was Shang-Chi’s sister, Xialing. She started off interesting, but as the film progressed, her character seemed to take a step backward. As most of her scenes in the second half, it looked as if she would be a character that reacted to things without saying anything. In addition, her development felt lacking while Shang was showcased in the forefront.

The best thing that the film had to offer were the fight scenes. The scenes on the bus and in the building in Macau were the most entertaining. With its swift, fast-paced, and fluid choreographed martial arts, these were a highlight. Dare I say, one of the best fight scenes out of the entire MCU. The music during the bus scene really pumped me.

While the fights early on were really fun, the climax was a drag. The fight between Shang and Wenwu was uninspired especially with the dull background they were fighting in. There was no martial arts used, instead it was more or less energy attacks. I also should be excited for that this movie introduced giant monsters, but the fights between them weren’t that cool. What killed it were the cinematography being way too close to the action and the editing at times being frantic. These scenes were way too busy and one couldn’t make a lick of sense of what was happening.

Outside of the climax fights, the rest of the visuals in the movie were beautiful and serene. Colors definitely popped when the main characters traveled to the mystical land of Ta Lo. I wish the movie could have explored more of the land as it focused on a single portion of the world.

The humor was mixed as there were points where it worked and other times where it felt needless.

While definitely not on par with the worst MCU movies, it’s still not a significant upgrade. A movie that could have been solid if the fun momentum was pushed more into the second half, to which I feel was the part where I was the least invested. It didn’t grab me as the first with its cool fights, pretty visuals, and some nice character moments. Though the movie didn’t impress me greatly, it was still a project that deserves a watch.

YouTube: LoneCentric Pictures/Tk Theater Productions

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Shazam (2019) Review

RATING: 2.5/5

A foster teen is given powers by a wizard to stop the seven deadly sins from taking over the world.

I like the light-hearted dceu more than the dark, but this, maybe it was a bit much.

Performances throughout were fine. There wasn’t a character in this that I loved or hated, most of them were fine. I’ll say the best character was the handicapped child, Freddy. Even though I found him a tad annoying at certain moments, the scenes with him and Shazam were fun to watch.

The action scenes were alright. I will say the best fights took place during the climax. There wasn’t anything that blew me away.

As far as the comedy, sometimes it’ll work and sometimes it’ll fall flat. Like there would be scenes where jokes might be too cheesy or too childish.

The effects, oh boy, they were particularly bad for the most part. Especially when the seven deadly sins first came into the picture. But other times, there were nice to see like when Shazam would shoot out lightning.

I think my biggest problem with the movie was the plot. It was by the numbers and one can easily predict what would happen next. More times than not I predicted what would happen in the next scene and sure enough, it happened. Like the direction was very easy to follow and very easy to see forward. There weren’t any good twists or surprises. Like the truth bomb with Shazam’s mom wasn’t that surprising.

Another big problem was the tone. Now again, I’m more interested in the light-hearted tone with some of the dceu movies have. But how it was presented here, if some of the violence and adult stuff were toned down, I could definitely see this being a kids movie. The whole general vibe, as I was watching, it seemed like something that would be played on tv or a made-to-DVD movie for children. I don’t know, the direction and type of humor made me asked that question.

“Shazam,” is a pretty average comic book movie. I maybe in the minority for saying that, but it wasn’t fully for me. There is enjoyment in this for sure, but I wasn’t onboard with the tone and direction that the movie showcased.

YouTube: LoneCentric Pictures/Tk Theater Productions

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The Suicide Squad (2021) Review

RATING: 3.5/5

A supervillain team go on a suicide mission to save the world from a giant starfish.

A big improvement over the predecessor.

One big praise I’m giving the movie was that it made one care for the team. One got introduced to the squad from the beginning and one followed them to the end. Similar to the first one, but the key difference here was that there were more scenes of the members interacting with each other. Thus allowing more character development to come into fruition and make one feel the weight that was placed on their shoulders.

While there might have been a few characters that didn’t receive a lot of depth or didn’t get to shine comedically, I will say I prefer the characters presented here than in the first.

The best new characters were Bloodsport and Ratcatcher 2, the latter being my favorite. I liked the father/daughter dynamic they had that was built in the bus scene and in the climax. It was kind of touching and again, it added nice weight for drama.

The other new characters, Peacemaker, Polka-Dot Man, and King Shark, were fine to decent. They definitely had their moments in terms of either action or humor. I’m surprised the movie made me kind of liked Polka-Dot Man. The scenes where he visualized his mother were nice, especially in the climax.

As far as recurring characters from the previous movie, Harley Quinn was still fun to see and her little mayhem in the building was probably the best action scene. In terms of the cinematography and the 2D visuals. Amanda Waller was still a force not to be messed with or crossed. It was a bit of a shame to see Rick Flag and Captain Boomerang go.

For the most part, the comedy hit pretty well. The Milton bit was the absolute best, still smiling just thinking about. Though there were moments where the comedy didn’t land. Which led to jokes being too cheesy or jokes being stretched out for an awkward or unnecessary amount of time. The best example of this was King Shark prancing around with the sea creatures nearing the end.

The style/direction I liked. James Gunn certainly elevated the comic-book feel for this move unlike the prior. The colors popped from the nice comic-accurate costumes or the blood splatter. The tone was more appropriate with its light-hearted and fun approach. To which it kept liked that throughout. It wasn’t like in the last one where it was tonally off with being light-hearted, dark, and moody. The transitions were a neat thing to watch as the words blended in with the environment.

While the new movie brought elements from the film prior that it improved on, it brought elements back that weren’t certainly needed or should have been executed better. Bloodsport’s character was almost a carbon-copy of Deadshot. Both were black marksman trying to make amends with their daughter. Much like with Killer Croc being the weakest character, King Shark was the weakest here. Again, I would take the latter, but to me a lot of what he performed was childish. No offense to Stallone.

The villains, much like the last, were not that great. Granted, Starro was cool to see destroying buildings and commanding an army. But he, along with the other baddies, were not written that well. Or in Starro’s case, not given enough lines.

Some of the action can be a little frantic with the quick-cut editing.

“The Suicide Squad” is a big improvement over “Suicide Squad.” It has its issues sure, but all in all the characters, direction, tone, and humor were all better displayed. I would much rather follow the team portrayed here than the ones in the last. Director James Gunn proves he can deliver the goods for both Marvel and DC.

YouTube: Tk Theater Productions/LoneCentric Pictures

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The Green Knight (2021) Review

RATING: 2.5/5

A rising knight heads on a lone quest to find the courage within as he finds the Green Knight.

A review coming from a non-fantasy guy. So, watch out.

Performances all around were really good. Even if there were times where the English accent was hard to comprehend clearly, every actor/actress did a solid job.

From a production standpoint, it was so well done. I really love the effects of the Green Knight himself. The practical make-up on him was superb. The CGI that was utilized was cheep-looking, like I didn’t buy for a second the fox was there.

Continuing on with practical, the sets and production design looked cool. I believe one of the reasons for that was the film’s nice cinematography. I loved the scenes that featured fog. It added a mystical and eerie feel, which for this fantasy film, worked. There was gorgeous scenery to look at whenever the camera would nicely pan or track either the environment or a character within a scene.

As far as the characters go, I could honestly say I didn’t really care too much for them. There was intrigue for Sir Gawain toward the end when he saw the visions in his head toward the end. The Green Knight had a great introduction and the lore surrounding him was interesting. But for the rest of the cast, they weren’t given enough development for me to latch on or remember their names.

It especially didn’t help with the beginning. The editing and pacing felt very off to me in the first act. There would be quick cuts resulting in the pace going rather quickly. The editing showcased seemed more appropriate when making a trailer.

How the movie was presented was interesting. There would be times where text would pop-up foreshadowing of what was to come in a scene. I kind of liked it as it was almost like one was watching the book the film was based on.

Now I think the biggest problem for me was how the story was paced. I got to say I was a little bored. Not completely, my attention was there. But because of how the first act started, it made things difficult for me to latch onto Gawain and his journey. Like I didn’t care too much when he was looted, I didn’t feel for him when he was surviving on scraps in the wilderness, and I wasn’t cheering him on throughout. Again, the pacing affected this dearly. It was pretty slow and dragging. I don’t feel like the movie needed to be over two hours as the main character was not too interesting.

Going back to the looting portion, exactly what happened to the looters? I would assume they died, since Gawain would magically get his items back. But the movie didn’t establish that notion. It was more of a mystery.

So, yeah, this acclaimed movie didn’t do it for me. I like some fantasy, but it’s not my number one. Even with solid performances, well done cinematography, and nicely-crafted effects/designs, pacing and character were the main faults. If one doesn’t root for the main character, why must the journey feel long?

Instagram: tk_theater/lone_centric

YouTube: LoneCentric Pictures/Tk Theater Productions