Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum make a fun pair in this romantic action-adventure comedy that had me laughing out loud. The leads have great chemistry and they both get to exercise their comedic skills to this wide-appealing genre film. Da’Vine Joy Randolph also steals the show as Bullock’s best friend and Brad Pitt makes an outstandingly thrilling appearance. Though the story is very similar to other recent films like Jungle Cruise and Uncharted, the silly, almost self-aware touch is what makes it a delightful, harmless time. It’s easy to tell where the ride is going, but it’s also very tempting to go along with the ride due to Bullock and Tatum’s chemistry, enough to go to the theater and enjoy with others.
Mei Lee is a 13-year-old girl who is torn between being her mother’s obedient daughter and the chaos of her youth. As if that were not enough, when she gets too excited, she turns into a big red panda.
Turning Red has some surprisingly mature undertones but manages to be witty and charming in its execution just enough to please youngsters, as all Pixar’s films find the balance to do. Director Domee Shi gives the film imaginative visuals and unique use of culture for an animated film. Rosalie Chiang shies in her first ever voice performance as Mei, and Sandra Oh proves herself a fantastic voice actress as her mother Ming, who embodies the mother who expects big things of her daughter but forgets to let her live a life of her own, which may be exactly what her character did in another Disney movie, Raya and the Last Dragon. The movie portrays youth in a lively way that involves the frights of adolescence, and the journeys of growing up with your friends and being obsessed with boy bands with them, for some. This leads to a lot of charm from the youthful side of the film, as well some some wit in the execution and the way the music ties into the film’s mood. Ludwig Goransson of Black Panther, Creed and Tenet fame again proves himself one of the most exciting film composers, and Billie Eilish and Finneas contribute to the lyrics of the fictional boy band 4*Town’s songs. This coming-of-age fantasy comedy doesn’t rank among Pixar’s stronger works but it proves that they’re still at the top of their game with new ways to bring sweet, relatable themes to the screen, in this case about loving your family while staying true to yourself, and embracing your flaws whether that be anxiety or rebelliousness.
Despite already having a magnificent trilogy for the character in the Nolan Dark Knight films, Matt Reeves’ reboot is unpredictable, fascinating, and masterful — even reaching the heights of Nolan’s films. Robert Pattinson delivers an incredible performance as a man who fights crime but also finds himself as Batman due to his own misery and demons, and the film explores Batman as a sign of fear towards criminals, as well as a detective and antihero. But gone is the glamor of Bruce Wayne’s rich life — Pattinson portrays a lonely, depressed man who can only find meaning for himself by going out and finding a fight. He gives off the vibe of Ryan Gosling’s reserved, morally ambiguous performance in Drive, and I’d also compare this most to Pattinson’s role in The Lighthouse. Zoe Kravitz surpasses past portrayals of Catwoman from actresses like Anne Hathaway and Michelle Pfeiffer by making Selina Kyle feel incredibly human and as interesting of a character as Batman, instead of being part of the story just for him. Paul Dano is menacing and terrifying as the Riddler, but Colin Farrell is unrecognizable as the Penguin, under so much convincing makeup but still delivering a scene-stealing performance. Andy Serkis is also great as Alfred and Jeffrey Wright is another standout, wonderfully cast as Gordon and his relationship with Batman is very interesting to watch grow.
But this movie isn’t only packed with great stars. Reeves’ direction, as well as award-worthy cinematography and score (Michael Giacchino — known for The Incredibles, Inside Out, Up, Spider-Man, and more — delivering his best live-action score yet), brings to life a riveting, nail-biting crime mystery noir atmosphere reminiscent of cynical murder mystery thrillers like Se7en and Zodiac — even more grounded than The Dark Knight, which feels like a crime epic but still had a larger scale than this. This dark, mysterious atmosphere makes the film nail-biting and never slow, even at 3 hours. The conspiracies and mysteries that unravel are intriguing and the fights are gritty for a PG-13 superhero movie. By the last hour, it genuinely becomes difficult to tell what is going to happen next, which feels rare for blockbusters of this size today, due to the darkness that envelops the characters and their world.
The Batman is more than up to the task of delivering a mind-blowing reboot that surpasses expectations and earns every minute of its runtime. It’s packed with memorable performances, a meticulous atmosphere, and edge-of-your-seat tension, ultimately making one of the best superhero films of recent years that has to be seen on the big screen.