X-Men: Apocalypse

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In the conclusion to the X-Men trilogy that begun with 2011’s First Class, an ancient threat resurfaces and the X-Men must reteam to prevent him from causing global extinction.

X-Men: Apocalypse tries its best to be the epic third installment we’ve been waiting for, but instead its story is in all the wrong places. There are times when the wrong characters get more screen time than the others, and storylines should be focused on more than others were. The first half of the film was unimpressive and all over the place. The events of the previous film feel treated too much like the way Man of Steel was treated in Batman v Superman and Age of Ultron in Captain America: Civil War. Almost every scene within the first hour feels very bland, and nothing flows well or feels in place. Apocalypse, in my opinion, was a terrible villain. His voice is weirdly edited, his motive is weak (not that he even has one), and his background is not written well, with everything about his origin feeling ridiculous and too forced. Oscar Isaac’s performance of the character was very disappointing, and this villain did not appeal on screen at all. Some characters aren’t treated as well as they should have been. Some characters I wanted more from, like Storm and Angel, only have a few lines and don’t do very much. James McAvoy is still a great Professor X but his character does not get the time that he needs. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a good performance as Mystique, but sometimes her character’s writing falls flat.

I was surprised by how pleasantly the movie warmed up towards the second half. The buildup of the plot is ultimately interesting, with some of the character development later on in the movie actually working. Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner were my favorites of the newcomers to the saga. Sheridan delivers with his heart, and Cyclops ends up working as a teenage mutant character. Turner also gives it her all, bringing lots of depth and spirit to her character. This version of Jean Grey works very well because within her character’s soul, she, too, is just a lost teen who is learning to embrace her true self. Michael Fassbender is once again a fantastic Magneto, and even though his character lacks the focused development he needed in this movie, there is a scene in this movie where the character’s rage works perfectly, even though everything else about that scene does not. We all know who steals the show here once again. Yes, Evan Peters is back as Quicksilver, and he simply rocks! If you loved his memorable scene from Days of Future Past, get ready for another show-stopping sequence from him that nearly tops his previous one. He has lots of hilarious moments and is even given some relevance. A special someone also has a short appearance in the movie, and not just Stan Lee. The final battle is insanely huge and sometimes awesome, as there are some things that work and others that don’t. However, a lot of the action is quite entertaining, so you will most likely enjoy this movie if you are a fan of action movies. The ending is able to conclude the trilogy well, but does not make up for the movie’s many flaws.

X-Men: Apocalypse may not let down all action and superhero fans, but i was left quite disappointed. Although the second half of the movie is a lot better than the first, the movie still feels very unfocused and often unimpressive, but still delivers with some of its characters and its few action sequences.

Official poster shows The X-Men Team with Professor X sitting on his famous wheelchair, together with the Horsemen and the film's titular enemy Apocalypse behind them with a big close-up over his head and face, with nuclear missiles flying into the air, and the film's title, credits, billing and release date below them and the film's slogan "Only The Strong Will Survive" above.

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The Nice Guys

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A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the deaths of fading stars in 1970s Los Angeles, which leads them to uncover what could be a shocking criminal conspiracy.

Man, does Shane Black know how to make a movie of his own. Both The Nice Guys and Black’s 2006 movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer) are so brilliantly written and directed and work as both action movies and comedies. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are both able to carry the movie so well with their wit, humor, and lines. The way their characters are written and developed is great and their personalities are hilarious and entertaining. The chemistry between the two is not something I’ve seen in one of these movies before, because it is nailed so well here. That’s only one part of what makes the movie outstandingly done. The ’70s vibe of the film adds a lively setting and soundtrack to the movie, as well as some mature humor rather than what you’d see in a goofy Seth Rogen comedy. Black does a wonderful job choreographing the movie’s action sequences, and includes not only entertainment but also lots of humor within these scenes.

In a time where we get more superhero movies, remakes and adaptations than original films, The Nice Guys feels so fresh because of its originality. Although it has many similarities to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, like its humor, excellent chemistry between two protagonists, and a mystery behind a missing woman, there are some new things Shane Black decides to try, and completely nails, like empowering a child character and making her a main character (something that didn’t work well for him in Iron Man 3). Things like this feel so daring but Black makes sure this movie turns out to be everything it wants to be, and he succeeds. The movie doesn’t turn out to be anything inspiring, but it’s not supposed to be. Instead it’s an excellent action comedy with great wit and originality, that’s meant for gags and pure fun.

The Nice Guys is the most original non-indie we’ve received in a while, with more than solid directing from Shane Black, and excellent performances. Every plot point here is nailed, even though not everything was clearly tied up at the end. It’s awesome, hilarious, and smart, more than anything else. Please help this movie do well at the box office (its struggling at the box office because it was released on the same day as a kids movie and a comedy sequel) by buying a ticket and watching this excellent movie. It’s not recommended for younger teens and kids, but adults and older teens will definitely appreciate and love this movie.

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Captain America: Civil War

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Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly-formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity, but after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team.

Never have I seen such a complex, thoughtful, jaw-dropping, and personal superhero movie like this one since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which was released eight years ago. Captain America: Civil War is why the Russo brothers are so good at what they do. If you enjoyed all the great non-cartoonish violence in Captain America: The Winter Solider, then get ready for a movie with just the same tone, but even darker and more breathtaking action sequences than before. The stunts and fight sequences in this movie are some of the best ever put to film, especially for such an expensive blockbuster. The 17-minute airport battle is not the only one to be impressed by, as there are some other incredible fights and chases between heroes that also blew my mind. The Russos are able to keep this film a Captain America movie rather than an Avengers one, so don’t expect as much of every Avenger, but each hero gets at least a few moments to show off their powers. The performances here do not disappoint. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have great chemistry and tension between their characters. You are always conflicted with who you should be siding with, and constantly switch sides between the two. You really get to see Iron Man’s dark side in this film, as well as the border of Cap’s resilience.

While many of the returning Marvel cast members (Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, and many more) still give it their best and their characters do not lose their interest and taste, the real scene stealers within the massive ensemble cast are Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland. Boseman portrays Prince T’Challa of Wakanda, who is delivered with such interest, complexity, and heart within his human character. But whenever he puts on his bulletproof vibranium suit and calls himself Black Panther, he becomes one of Marvel’s most badass superheroes yet. Black Panther felt so motivated, unstoppable, and driven to join Stark’s team and go to great measures to do his nation and the world justice. Holland brings a fresh new take on your friendly neighborhood web-slinger. This time around, Spider-Man is in his teen years but actually looks like it as well, and whenever he is in battle, he becomes the most awesome, wise-cracking, and well-written Spidey yet. His dialogue fit excellently for his role, and for his amount of screen-time, he entertained me like no other character in the film. And just so you know, there is a lot more Spidey in this movie than it seems. Both of these characters were introduced so well into the Marvel universe that they just be the finest and freshest superhero additions to this vast cinematic universe by far.

The terrific action, directing, and performances aren’t all that make up this excellent comic book flick. If you are tired of these films thanks to Batman v Superman and don’t want to see another movie about superheroes clashing against each other, then let me tell you that this film is much different and miles better than DC’s recent attempt to set up their formerly existent future universe. The conflict here is set up so much better, and the fighting between superheroes is never forced, as the Civil War is set up so gradually that you never know exactly how the fighting should start and who you should root for. You are always so pulled into the movie, and will appreciate it as a Cap movie, an Avengers movie, and the introduction to a new wave of Marvel movies. Although I won’t spoil the ending or anything about this film at all, the movie’s setup at the end is a lot more ambiguous and not as forced as how Age of Ultron last year was trying to set this movie up. The ending does nothing more but get you excited for all of MCU’s Phase Three and no specific film. You usually can predict what will happen in the next movie, but not here. The gags that stick with you that are always featured in Marvel’s movies really hit well, and this movie made me laugh a great amount of times. The amount of screen time for each hero may not always be balanced for some, but remember that this is a Captain America movie within its core. Also, if you think the trailers give you all the movie’s action and surprises away, then you are completely wrong. Unlike Batman v Superman (which gave away 95% of the movie with just its trailers), the trailers and clips really only give you about 1% of this film. And even so, you always think the movie will play out one way, but it ultimately turns out to be something completely different than its marketing. This movie also surprisingly nailed its villain, Helmut Zemo (played by Daniel Bruhl), who is very secondary but still has a good motive and is not too over-the-top like you think he would be. I like how we will not be getting any more great big Marvel movies to look forward to, but instead are excited the most for stand-alone films like Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Captain America: Civil War is the Empire Strikes Back of Marvel movies. It will not only appeal to die-hard Marvel fans, but to all filmgoers who see this film. The action is terrific, the directing is phenomenal, the performances are outstanding (especially the sensational additions of Black Panther and Spider-Man), and a remarkable story and screenplay. Civil War is the reason the Russo brothers should forever be working in the A-list level of Hollywood, and why we should look forward to the rest of the Marvel universe.

Official poster shows the Avengers team factions which led by Iron Man and Captain America, confronting each other by looking each other, with the film's slogan above them, and the film's title, credits, and release date below them.

Sing Street

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In Sing Street, a boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes. Sing Street is by far the most excellent film I’ve seen this year. Director John Carney loves using music to carry a film, and doing that with a movie is often a challenge, because as a result, your film can become a complete bore or the opposite, a fun movie with a great feel. His 2014 film Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, wasn’t a miss but not quite a hit either, with some good original songs but not a great plot. However, he hits all the right notes with Sing Street, which feels like his ode to teenage love. Set in the director’s hometown (and school), a boy’s strive towards a beautiful girl leads him to discover a passion for music within him. Every musical moment in this movie leaves you with a huge smile on your face that you do not want to get rid of. The songs in the movie are all meaningful and connect well to the current tone within that certain point in the movie. The movie is so well represented and carried on by its songs that you simply don’t want the film to end. The actors also carry the film wonderfully. The film’s young lead Ferdia Walsh-Peelo is both an excellent singer and actor who is successfully able to bring his character’s multiple conflicts as well as his talents to the screen, especially for a Hollywood newcomer. His character feels very relate-able for teenage audiences, and can inspire you to seek a talent within you. Another magnificent breakthrough performance comes from Lucy Boynton, who plays the protagonist’s love interest. She brings lots of charm and positivity to her character that you immediately want to see more from this actress. Transformers actor Jack Reynor redeems himself in his role here as the protagonist’s older brother, who guides him through his life of love, music, and other challenges that we all face. Reynor’s character also feels like a great inspiration, as he is what keeps our main character confident about himself, and the brotherly bond between the two is a big part of what can inspire audiences.

It’s nearly impossible not to sit through Sing Street without a huge smile on your face. It’s a celebration of the universal 80’s age of music, and it’s the director’s ode to teenage love, talent, and passion. The pacing is always on the right key, so I guarantee it will keep you entertained. The music is sure to keep you upbeat and excited, and I haven’t seen a movie that’s been driven so well by its music for so long. This movie feels delightful, personal, heartfelt, and anything else you feel it to be. The message of this film is to pursue anything you truly desire, so this can appeal to adults of all ages, as well as teens starting from age 13. This film feels so delightful, entertaining, touching, and youthful that its definitely not one to miss, and I could even call this one my favorite film of the year so far.

Sing Street Poster