Joker

5 out of 5 stars

Feel-Good MOVIE OF THE YEAR!

  • Storytelling: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Characters: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Acting: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Drama, Baby: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Fun: 🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Humour: 🤡🤡
  • Visuals: 🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Music and Sound: 🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Originality: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Entertainment value: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Production value: 🤡🤡🤡🤡
  • Satisfaction: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡

Spider-Man: Far From Home

4 out of 5 stars

Who’d have thunk? There is a time after Avengers: Endgame! And it’s a jolly good time!

After all the dust has settled, I must say I’m surprised to see, that even after the ultimative comic-book experience that was Avengers: Endgame, there’s still room for movies of this sort.

Of course, «Spider-Man: Far From Home» plays in a whole different ball-park, even a different league than the superhero-movie that should have ended all superhero-movies (but of course hasn’t).

But that’s a good thing!

Thanos may not have undone 50% of all the life in the universe, but consequently, a reset button has been pushed: It’s as if all the pressure and excitement for «Endgame» has been built up and paid off so handsomely, there’s now room for «smaller» comic book films, not focusing on grandeur, but on storytelling, quality, and most important: fun – well aware that there’s no way to go against the humungous undertaking and experience «Endgame» was.

And I must say, they do an outstanding job at it: «Spider-Man: Far From Home» is one of the best written comic book movies in a while – the way they used a known villain (Jake Gyllenhaal at his best), marketed him as a hero and still got the curve to make the whole story work without seeming dishonest is unparalleled and probably the best thing in an overall very satisfying and entertaining movie that even would have worked without this gimmick.

Even for someone like me, who doesn’t really like the very specific sub-genre of Euro-Trip-Comedies,… it was a bliss to see Spidey, or better Peter Parker, reliving all the stale tropes of the genre put against the background of the aftermath of Tony Stark’s death and the legacy it put upon him, using it as a way to develop his character.

«Spider-Man: Far From Home» is the movie I wouldn’t have had the honesty to ask for after «Endgame».

It’s not the movie a now matured audience wished for, but it’s the movie we deserved after the scarring events in the last two Avengers movies.

Let’s enjoy this refreshing, light-hearted summer-breeze – it will get cold and serious again soon enough with «Joker»…

Well done! Go see it!

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

Avengers: Endgame

5 out of 5 stars

I’m happy now.

I won’t even try to understand how confused someone who’s been living under a rock for the past eleven years must feel like watching «Avengers: Endgame». But this movie is not for them. This movie was made for fans – it was made for rafemen. It was made for me.

I wasn’t afraid.

I wasn’t worried this time around that the Russo Brothers wouldn’t be able to pull it off. They went all-in with «Avengers: Infinity War» and succeeded spectacularly. With «Avengers: Endgame» they still had everything to loose, but the pressure was off, it seems, and they delivered.

I’m not even mad.

I don’t care that as a movie, «Endgame» isn’t the masterpiece «Infinity War» was. By itself, it’s probably not even that good a film. At times it lacks in elegance and pacing, even some of the green-screen work seems rushed and unfinished.
What this movie is is an all-star potpourri, the ultimate fan-service delivery-device. And probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on the big screen.
Where «Infinity War» was all about quality and build-up, «Endgame» is about quantity. A nostalgic, almost melancholic stroll down memory lane.
«Endgame» is nothing short of the ultimate payoff for fans like me, made possible only through the hard work, imagination and most important, the heart and soul of thousands of highly talented people, creating a phenomenon never seen before in the history of cinema: A dream come true lasting for more than a decade.

I cried.

For the last ten or so years I’ve been witnessing something that I’d never thought to be possible as young boy in the eighties, way beyond my bedtime, browsing all of six TV-Channels over and over again looking for something fantastic, something special,… something for me. Just to be let down time and again finding out that neither «The Electric Horseman» nor «The Kiss of the Spider-Woman» had anything to do with superheroes or comic books whatsoever…
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become everything that this now grown up boy could ever wish for, and more: It has shown me that it’s ok to be me: A nerd, a geek, a loner communicating first through drawings, then through websites, even a puny blog. In a cynical world I’ve learned to appreciate the ability to enjoy those ridiculous movies, unbelievable characters and fantastic adventures – the suspension of disbelieve truly has become my own personal superpower, giving me the opportunity to find excitement and happiness through escapism in times my depression wouldn’t allow it in any other way.

Without a doubt, there will be more comic book movies to come, even from Marvel Studios. But for me, with «Infinity War» and «Endgame» an era has ended. A most spectacular and emotional cinematic roller coaster ride has come to a stop, giving me closure. And what a truly amazing, satisfying ride it was.

I’m ready now….

It’s time to leave the dark movie theatre and go outside. To meet new friends, say thank you to my family and old pals and let go of even older ideas. To create new things and destroy bad habits. To make peace. To find purpose. To find love.

It’s time…

It’s time for me to take off those 3D glasses and open my eyes for the wonders this world has to offer, to experience whatever marvels this life presents for me to explore, embracing the good, overcoming the bad, growing into the person I am supposed to be.
Not to become a superhero, not even a hero – but a good man.

I am rafeman.

I am Raphael.

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

Captain Marvel

3.5 out of 5 stars

Though I had been reading comic books before, I’ll never forget my first encounter with «Captain Marvel»:

Well, Mar-Vell was a dude back then, and sadly about to die in the very same issue. No spoiler, there – it was right on the cover: «The Death of Captain Marvel» by Jim Starlin.

I couldn’t believe what treasure I was holding in my hands, witnessing origin, live and DEATH of a superhero! “This must be a mistake!”, I thought to my much younger self: Multiple grave errors must have been made to lead to this: A boy, not even seven years old probably shouldn’t read this: Cancer – killing – a superhero – in a comic book? And then, all those wonderful panels featuring a plethora of dozens, even hundreds of characters, most I’ve never even had seen before! My mind was blown🤯!…

Photo of my original issue of «Der Tod des Captain Marvel» (Jim Starlin, Condor Verlag, 1983)

…blown! With this latest «Captain Marvel» movie – not so much. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine. More than fine: Brie Larson is perfect in the title role, exploring a different, younger, more grounded aspect of the Super-Heroine I’ve learnt to respect and treasure with Gal Gadot’s «Wonder Woman»*.

Also Samuel L. Jackson seems to enjoy his much bigger part and, as a bonus, two intact eyes and it works like a charm. (Even Jude Law gives me hope in proving that not everything is lost with a receding hairline not unlike my own).

And yes, there’s a cat, and Ben Mendelsohn, and that’s ok, but I’ve honestly seen better work of both of them😺.

Almost everything else in this movie seems to be falling in place quite nicely: The VFX are bombast-top-notch, of course. And music, sound and story are as solid as we’ve come to expect from Kevin Feige and his team.

But nonetheless, the result seems somewhat unfocused in the beginning and then, once the story gains momentum, still remains oddly flat, without much sense of drama or impact – muted, almost compressed in scope – if you will – unsuiting for a movie about one of the most powerful characters in the MCU.

I didn’t want to go here in this text, but I must admit, while I don’t condone the badmouthing on social media and rotten tomatoes even before «Captain Marvel» was released, it’s hard to ignore that in some scenes the movie really seems to halt and announce: «See what we’ve done there? Yeah girl! You go girl, YOU’re our target audience! Women can be strong, too!»

That’s not too bad per se, Marvel and others have done a similar thing for years, calling it «fan service», but I can’t shake the impression that this time around a more focused, better movie might have gotten lost in the process. What makes this worse is the fact that it wouldn’t even have been necessary: With Brie Larson as the perfect strong, female lead, no additional distracting shenanigans would have been needed, no matter what song is playing in the background…

…you’ll know what I mean when you watch the movie, which you should, ’cause while «Captain Marvel» remains on the weaker side of MCU-Movies, it’s still very entertaining and Brie Larson, especially sporting the iconic suit, is worth the admission price alone.

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷

ASIDE: I can’t help to think of the hilariousity we all got robbed of when DC decided to release their movie as «Shazam!» and NOT «Captain Marvel» (not that this ever was a possibility, but still). I guess the outcome would have been even more disastrous and entertaining than «Batman v Superman»’s multiple million dollar CGI moustache removal they had to do on Henry Cavill who wasn’t allowed to shave for reshoots because he had to wrap «Mission: Impossible – Fallout»!


*) As much as I love Black Widow or Jessica Jones, they’re in a different, minor league, compared to «Captain Marvel» or «Wonder Woman».

Alita: Battle Angel

3.5 out of 5 stars

Now I’m angry.

I didn‘t plan on writing anything about «Alita: Battle Angel» and just make it a quicky this time around. Or should I say «Alita: Battle Angel – Part Fu**ing One»? But nooo, they had to do this their way, didn’t they!?

The unwillingness of telling a complete story in a single film really pisses me off! It’s one thing to make a bunch of sequels after having delivered a successful initial film, fair enough. But until then, I expect a first coherent, finished standalone movie before the right is earned to bull pullshit like this! Not an episode, a movie!

Imagine «From Dusk Till Dawn» ending when the Gecko brothers enter the «Titty Twister». It’s like having «Titanic» cut to credits after Leo’s «I’m the king of the world!» speech. That’s exactly what the ending of «Alita: Battle Angel» feels like. (And don’t give me some pittyful casting-twist-crap, it really doesn’t help your case).

It’s not like «Alita: The Setup» doesn’t overstay its welcome by at least 20 minutes as it is. And I understand that the complete story of the manga it’s based on would probably be too big to handle in a single movie.

But please! This is just annoying as fu*k, leaving me unsatisfied and with an empty feeling, no matter how shiny and spectacular the whole build-up process for a money-making franchise might be.

«Earn this!»

And would you pleeeease get rid of that godawful Real 3D-technology already or at least adjust the projector’s brightness properly so that the expensive CGI gets a chance to shine, for cryin’ out loud!?

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷

Birdman

4.5 out of 5 stars

Too lazy (and too drnk right now) to write a proper review (and don’t have the time to get into details, I have to get even more drnkn in a minute), but after my «Roma» “Review” I feel that I have to show that I still have some sense of proper movie-appreriationtiaion for some to like SOME artsy-fartsy movies!

I’m just rewatching «Birdman» and wanted to let you know, that it’s great and you absolutely have to watch it! Like now!!!

I problaly shouldnt wirt e this but it’s really graet, where are those really grat movies now? Frget «Rpoma», watch «Birdman»! BIIIIRDMAAAN!!!

Lets get some more Oscars over here, plse, bevore «Roma« gets, tehm!

Dad?! Dad!?

Glass

3.5 out of 5 stars

For a moment there I really thought M. Night Shyamalan was finally back for good in all his former glory. But then «Glass» got a little clumsy and lost me somewhere along the way – just to win me back in the end.

As enjoyable and original the movie might be in general, Shyamalan once again tries a little too hard for my taste, lacking the elegance of his earliest work and for that matter, the charm of «Split», the movie that got me back on board for this one in the first place.

(In case you didn’t know, «Split» and «Unbreakable» are absolutely mandatory to see before «Glass» – it’s a whole thing now).

And though I love me some James McAvoy (I got so lucky to experience his wonderful stage performance as «Macbeth»), I’m sad to say, less «Horde» would have been more this time around.

All in all, revisiting Mr. Glass’ Meta-Comic-Super-Hero-World (almost two decades after «Unbreakable») in the weakest but still solid part of the trilogy, is absolutely worth its admission price.

M. Night really seems to be redeeming himself lately. Let’s be nice and give him just a little bit more time, he’ll get there again…

James McAvoy in Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios London, 2013)

Aquaman

1 out of 5 stars

The only good thing I can write about «Aquaman» is that it ends. (Which is true in more than one way; the final 10 minutes of the movie where almost enjoyable).

But since this appalling piece of crab (yes, I just wrote that) presented itself as such an offending incoherent mess, I really don’t feel like making an effort here, either. So let’s just open the floodgates, shall we:

  • Can we let the DC Extended Universe die now, please? At this point it’s just intolerable cruelty.
  • This movie has the pacing and elegance of a very bad «Family Guy» episode.
  • «Uncanny Valley – The Movie»
  • You know you’re in trouble when Patrick Wilson steals the movie. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Patrick Wilson).
  • On the bright side, «The Shape of Water» is no longer my most hated water-related film of late.
  • Poor Jason Momoa wasn’t given anything to work with whatsoever.
  • You know you’re in trouble when I think Jason Momoa was underused. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Jason Momoa).
  • This movie feels longer than Willem Dafoe’s dong. And it’s almost as painful to watch as its scene in Lars von Trier’s «Antichrist».
  • Like watching eight awful movies in parallel – while sitting on a trident, and not the comfortable way.
  • You had to cram «Black Manta» into this, did you? BTW, have you even seen «Black Panther»?
  • You know you’re in trouble when Dolph Lundgren’s hair becomes the most fascinating thing in the scene.
  • Sicily, reaally? You don’t say?!
  • Harry Gregson-Williams has a brother?!
  • Directed by James Wan does this garbage end?
  • Amber please stop, it Heards!
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by children in the winter. It’s called «Snowman».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by dogs in the winter. It’s called «yellow snow».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by my anus in the winter. It’s called «shit».
  • Aw, just Faqu,man!

Marvel’s Daredevil Season 3

4 out of 5 stars

While «Iron Fist» and «Luke Cage» got cancelled some days ago I’d almost forgotten that there still was a very enjoyable Marvel show to premiere that very same week:

«Marvel’s Daredevil» might have been the first attempt of bringing one of the less spectacular superheroes in a smaller scale to Netflix, but with season three the man without fear still remains the best and most solid installation of all the Marvel superhero series on the streaming service by far thanks to struggling and evolving characters and some risk-takingly spectacular cinematic moments of storytelling and montage.

But characters is what «Marvel’s Daredevil» really is all about: The show proves that Superhero stories CAN work on a smaller scale, as an action-infused drama, when done correctly (I’m looking at you «Gotham»).

The core of season three is all about family, legacy and relationships – old and new characters all get their chance to explore different angles of this underlying theme. And it’s a bliss:

Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page gets her own superb isolated episode which sheds light on her past, Wilson Bethel as Benjamin Poindexter («Bullseye») reminded me that a great character doesn’t have to be likeable and Charlie Cox as «Daredevil» proofs once again how satisfying and cathartic a tragic (super-) hero can be. But the real show-stealer (even more so than Jon Bernthal as «The Punisher» in season two) is, of course, Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.

D’Onofrio’s wonderful, tragic, scary, phenomenal, uncanny performance as the «Kingpin« left me in awe. But even the secondary characters get a chance to shine: Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), Father Lanthom (Peter McRobbie), Joanne Whalley as Sister Maggie and Jay Ali in the Role of Special Agent Ray Nadeem all get their chance to shine or at least support the impact of the main characters’ arcs.

After having stated my doubts about the quality of Netflix’ latest series in general, the fact that I usually don’t take the time to list the whole cast of an ensemble by name might show that there’s still hope, considering how well this season of «Marvel’s Daredevil» was written, performed and crafted… chapeau! I’ll take some more of that, please.

 

Venom

2.5 out of 5 stars

«Venom» surely isn’t a good movie but I still kinda liked it. It’s not so bad that it’s good but it’s a clumsy, somewhat lovable construction of uninspired storytelling, average visual effects (but pretty production design) and questionable characters saved by only one thing: Tom Hardy in the title roles as Eddie Brock and his alter ego Venom, bromancing the hell out of almost every scene they’re in.

If the rumours are true, a rushed production schedule and a late decision to not make «Venom» rated R might explain this uneven mess of a movie. The end result makes it look as if the creatives decided that if they’re not allowed to do a proper bloody version, let’s make it silly,… like a Buddy Cop movie with a hint of Screwball-Rom-Com sprinkled on top and some superfluous CGI action added for the studio and the uninitiated crowd.

And somehow, that worked for me. Like the «Tom Hardy Show» that was «Bronson» sans a good movie which would only distract and might take the focus off his performance.

I doubt that Sony really knew where they were going with this. But good for them they didn’t try (and fail again) to copy Marvel Studios’ approach and took a different way* – a strange, meandering route without any direction, purpose or destination, but still…

This silly mixed bag helps Tom Hardy’s performance to stand out even more (and somehow makes it even more enjoyable) and presents «Venom» as a strange but funny, rather forgettable, but entertaining stumble of a movie.


*) «Venom’s» mildly amusing second after credit scene – some minutes taken directly from their upcoming animated feature «Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse» – seems to confirm how truly lost they are with their remaining rights to use «Spider-Man», not knowing what the hell to do with them**.

**) At this point,  I’ve given up trying to understand which studio has the right to which characters under which circumstances, but I doubt that cramming all the iterations of all the Spider-Men into one movie is the sensible way to go.