There have been many features to define the animation genre, but few have the prestige as the Toy Story series. The film that kicked off Pixar’s cinematic career has become one of the most successful franchises in movie history. Yet all good things must come to an end and that was the case with the […]
When thinking of Marvel Comics on the silver screen many look towards The Avengers. However before Earth Mightiest Heroes assembled another Marvel team was making a name for themselves. Since 2001 the X-Men have played a role in movies and though the franchise has had its share of highs and lows Marvel’s team of mutants continue to be a prominent player for the superhero movie genres. However, with 20th Century Fox merging with Disney, it seems that change is upon the series and this was evident in the latest film in the X-Men franchise: Dark Phoenix. Directed by Simon Kinberg Dark Phoenix is a finale of sorts for the story that began in 2011’s X-Men: First Class as well as another attempt to adapt one of the X-Men’s most iconic stories to the big screen. Despite the delays Dark Phoenix has finally made its way to theaters and while it may not be the most stand out entry in the X-Men franchise there is something special about this superhero film.
A few years ago a little action film by the name of John Wick hit the scene. I thought little of it as the movie looked to be just another action movie, and ever since I have been kicking myself for not getting on this thrilling ride. John Wick was more than just another action film as its compelling world and endearing lead character made the movie an exciting experience; and its sequel, John Wick Chapter 2, only enhanced on the first film’s strength. Now the story of famed hitman continues in John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum. Parabellum ups the stakes for the action hero as John (Keanu Reeves) finds himself on the run from an array of assassins, and the sequel sees Chad Stahelski return to the director’s chair. The latest instalment had much to live up to thanks to its predecessors making such bold statements. How this film ranks in the series I cannot say, but I can say that John Wick Chapter 3 is an action blockbuster worthy of the summer season.
Disney’s live action adaptations are in full motion. The concept of bringing Walt Disney’s classics into the second dimension has been going on for a few years now with the studio already adapting some of their most cherished movies. With this year featuring five of these adaptations, with the first being Dumbo, the latest remake takes moviegoers to a whole new world with none other than Aladdin. Aladdin is one of the most notable films to come from the Disney Renaissance and now this eastern tale turned animated classic seeks to be told in a new new format with director Guy Ritchie bringing the story to life. Aladdin has always been a significant film to me and while I was not anticipating this new interpretation I must admit the film still peaked my interest. Venturing to see this Arabian Night for myself I discovered that while it may not have been filled with wonder there was still a little magic to Aladdin.
When it comes to the world of video games perhaps no series has broken more ground than that of Pokemon. What started off as games for the gameboy became a worldwide phenomenon as Pokemon has played in a pivotal role in pop culture such as trading cards games and television. Pokemon is no stranger to the silver screen as the series has had a several movies to its name. Now the franchise seeks to break new ground yet again with its first live action film Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. Directed by Rob Letterman Detective Pikachu is based off the 2016 adventure game where players solved mysteries with a sleuth Pikachu. With its intriguing concept, as well as its energetic title character, Detective Pikachu looked to be a delight for the summer season. The film has now made its way theaters and while it may not be the most flashy of blockbusters, Detective Pikachu was still an entertaining adaptation.
When Disney is not releasing a new animated feature or the next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the studio is recreating classic their films. For sometime now Disney has taken some of their most cherished animated films and brought into the realm of live action with films such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast becoming anticipated blockbusters yet again. 2019 sees the biggest haul of live action adaptations as five films are set to be released this year, and it all begins with none other than Dumbo. One of Disney’s first animated feature gets a new spin to it with Tim Burton, who also directed Alice in Wonderland, takes the helm on this adaptation. Judging from the trailer it look as though this new film would go into a different direction from its 1941 counterpart but that hardly swayed me from not giving this film a chance. After seeing this movie for myself I can say this new take is not the most magical from either Disney or Tim Burton, but that was not to say that Dumbo was not a joyous flight.
When it comes to superhero movies, origin stories are the bread and butter for the genre. While the concept of seeing heroes get their start has been done excessively it has proven to be effective as the likes of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Iron Man have paved the way for many movies to follow this trope. Regardless, the origin concept remains alive and well as evident in the new superhero blockbuster: Shazam. Directed by David F.Sandberg Shazam is the next movie in the DC Films lineup and brings the iconic Captain Marvel (well DC’s Captain Marvel) to the silver screen. Despite the character’s longevity bringing this DC hero to the big screen would be no easy feat as the character is rather unbeknownst to most general audiences. In any case the movie has made its way to theaters and despite the array of superhero origin movies out there, Shazam proves that the concept has not lost its muster.
If there is one anime/manga that has transcended into pop culture it is none other than Dragon Ball. The work of Akira Toriyama has enthralled fans for years and its popularity continues to escalate even to this day. The series has seen a resurgence of sorts with Dragon Ball Super, but this renaissance may not have been possible if not for the series’ success on the big screen. In 2013 the franchise made a return with the film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, which was followed up by the 2015 sequel Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F and both were successful in their own right. Now with its momentum in full force the series comes back to the silver screen with perhaps its biggest movie to date-Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Directed by Tatsuya Nagamine the new movie not only continues the story of Goku and company, but it also brings back the fan favorite Broly to series now reimagined by Toriyama himself. Despite its limited release Dragon Ball Super: Broly was an anticipated film to see this year for the likes of Dragon Ball fans, myself included, but could the new film power up to expectations? While the movie did not go as I anticipated this anime film managed live up to the exciting nature of Dragon Ball.
Since 2013 Warner Bros has taken DC Comics in a new direction with their movies as they seek create a cinematic universe of their very own. So far the DC Films (or the DC Extended Universe) has had five films to its name but the new franchise has been, more or less, met with criticism-both sensical and a bit ridiculous. Personally I have enjoyed the DC Films as, despite some issues, the films have ranged from enjoyable, different, solid and down right underrated. I realize this not a popular statement to make but that is the curse of having my own opinion. Be that as it may, despite the setbacks this cinematic universe presses on with its next film in the series: Aquaman. Directed by James Wan Aquaman centers on the iconic hero known for talking to fish. The character made his official debut in last year’s Justice League but now the hero sets out on his own; but the question is does Aquaman sink or swim? Seeing the film for myself I can safely say that Aquaman does not just swim but rides the cinematic ocean with the greatest of ease.
When it comes to superhero movies the likes of Spider-Man remains a prevalent name in the genre. Whether he is swinging in solo adventures or teaming up Earth Mightiest Heroes, the Wall Crawler continues to grace the silver screen and play an important role in both and pop culture. This year has been a unique one for Spider-Man as the series saw its first spin-off with Venom; which managed to find success in the fall season. Now the franchise swings into new territory with the animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Directed by the team of Bob Perisichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman Into the Spider-Verse was developed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who are known for their work in films such as The Lego Movie. Since the first trailer I have been enthralled by this movie as the animation alone was enough for me to check this movie out; plus I am a Spider-Man fan. After seeing the movie for myself all my senses tingled as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not just a great animated film but perhaps the most dynamic superhero film to swing into theaters this year.