BARE BONES: TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022)

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TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022)

Legacy sequel finds Pete “Maverick” Mitchell a test pilot with the navy and still a captain after all these years. Another act of insubordination gets him in trouble again, but old friend Iceman (Val Kilmer), now an admiral, gets him transferred back to Top Gun instead of being court-martialed. What awaits him there is teaching a new batch of ace pilots, including the grown son (Miles Teller) of his friend Goose, how to accomplish a dangerous mission and an old flame (Jennifer Connelly) whose heart he once broke.

Flick, originally slated to be released in 2019, but postponed due to COVID19, is well-directed by Joseph Kosinski from a script by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie based on a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks. As such, it is literally a perfect way to do one of these legacy sequels, as it pays homage to and continues the story of the original classic yet is also a solidly good movie in its own right. In some ways it is a better flick than the 1986 original with some nice dramatic weight and some killer action scenes in the last act. Sure, it has the cheesy melodrama we expect and is predictable in its soap opera level sub-plots, but it is still a lot of fun and Kosinski knows how to deliver some dynamic action scenes in the climactic third. The aerial dogfights are energetic and exciting and the cast all work well together. Cruise brings a nice maturity to Maverick, Connelley is a spunky love interest as Peggy, Teller is a welcome addition to the mythos as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, and it was nice to see them include Val Kilmer, whose recent health issues have taken priority over his career. In conclusion, everything you would want in a Top Gun movie! Also stars Ed Harris and Jon Hamm.

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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RANDOM NONSENSE: X AND THE BATMAN ARRIVE ON BLU-RAY!

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X AND THE BATMAN ARRIVE ON BLU-RAY!

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Photo on 5-24-22 at 7.42 PM

Good things came from Amazon yesterday! Two of my favorite movies arrived on Blu-ray. X is simply my favorite horror so far this year and a film I find gets better with repeat viewings. The Batman which has many horror film elements and even starts out on Halloween night!

 

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REVIEW: THE BATMAN (2022)

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THE BATMAN (2022)

The Batman finds a Gotham City overflowing with trash, crime and corruption. Mob bosses and corrupt city officials rule the city, and a lone vigilante dressed like a bat (Robert Pattinson) tries almost in vain to fight the tide of lawlessness. Enter into the scenario a deranged serial killer called The Riddler (Paul Dano) who is exposing and sadistically killing these corrupt officials and a beautiful cat burglar (Zoe Kravitz) with a vendetta of her own, and The Batman/Bruce Wayne finds himself in a maelstrom of conspiracy, murder and sins of the past!

Newest incarnation of the classic character is well directed by Matt Reeves from a script by he and Peter Craig. It is the darkest and most brooding version yet, with scenes bordering on a horror movie, even opening on Halloween night, as the Jigsaw-esque Riddler claims his first victim and we are introduced to Pattinson’s Dark Knight battling a face-painted street gang. The film has plenty of spectacular action, including a thrilling car chase with Batman pursuing Colin Farrell’s Penguin on a busy highway, and some brutal fight scenes. The film also delves heavily into Batman’s detective work, as Riddler leaves clues for him to solve, and Batman/Bruce Wayne finds he himself is involved in conspiracies from the past. There is a touch of romance with Zoe Kravitz’s beautiful and mysterious Selina Kyle, but otherwise this is three hours of violent action and moody intrigue. That is also the drawback in this otherwise delightfully dark tale. At a 2:56 runtime, the film is overlong, and some parts do drag. It is also a humorless and sullen film which doesn’t help one endure the extensive runtime. Some might find it’s predominately bleak tone exhausting. As for those planning to take the kids, it may be too dark and violent, pushing the limits of its PG-13 rating. Kids will definitely be restless at three hours in length. Overall, it is an intense and bleak film, though the end does manage a glimmer of hope for embattled Gotham and its bat-winged guardian. On a production level it is an epic film with its own look, feel and atmosphere with great production design by James Chinlund. There is also a perfectly moody score by Michael Giacchino and sumptuous dark, gritty and shadow-filled cinematography by Greig Fraser.

There is a wonderful and eclectic cast. Pattinson is the darkest Dark Knight yet, with a young, brooding emo Bruce Wayne and an even darker and violent hero than we’ve seen on screen. He is very good as both, though the film does focus more on Batman than the reclusive Master Wayne. This Batman has some anger issues and the Riddler is pushing him to his limits. Zoe Kravitz is purr-fectly cast as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. She has her own reasons to brood, and she is sexy and mysterious, and she and Pattinson make a good team in both gothic romance and action sequences. Paul Dano is very creepy as The Riddler. He is quite different than any version, being more Saw inspired than Frank Gorshin. A couple of times he goes a bit too over the top but is mostly low-key spooky and has a chilling sadistic streak. In support we have Jeffrey Wright making a great James Gordon, Colin Farrell as a sleazy and effective Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot, John Turturro as gangster Carmine Falcone and Andy Serkis is endearing as a feisty Alfred. A great cast in a very dark and intense spin on a classic character.

In conclusion, this was a delightfully adult version of Bob Kane’s classic character making him more dark, brooding and violent than we have seen him before. The portrayal of Gotham is bleak with even Batman bordering on hopelessness at cleaning it up. It skates close to horror with its serial killer-like villain and has only the briefest moments of romance to break up all the darkness. Only thing that holds it back is a mammoth three-hour runtime that drags in a few spots, and as it is humorless and bleak most of the time, it can be a very gloomy sit for some. Once again DC Films is refreshingly pushing the boundaries of its characters.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) bat signals!

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