Multiverse of Madness is a visual fiesta that doesn't pull any punches in the visual effects department and is surely on par with the biggest Marvel titles in that regard. However the human elements are more than often contrived and the personal stories all feel forced. Yet the driving conflict in the plot is through the questionable motives of a young mother.
So I'm sitting here wondering how the maternal drama of a grieving Wanda could work so well in a TV series but come off so incredibly benign and unconvincing in this film, every scene with her kids had my eyes rolling at the inauthenticity. Why Stephen's unrequited love subplot was so incredibly boring and void of chemistry (or why it sidelined the much more interesting character story of a powerful pragmatic man who struggles with choices of morality on an occasional grand scale) Many moments in the film just felt oddly… unrefined.
Then the credits rolled and it clicked with me, it was directed by Sam Raimi.
Raimi's directorial sensibilities are dated, juvenile and frankly the man has no place directing a modern Marvel film. Occasionally scenes cause raised eyebrows and unintended laughs, half the time I was wondering if I was watching an 80's horror (Evil Dead) while others harkened to some really tacky looking visuals (Spider-man 1-3) or just straight up amateurish scenes where expository devices are cheaply thrown in to give characters prescribed depth (What were those invasive memory machines on the street, hahaha)
I think the lack of finesse really squandered a lot of pivotal moments in Multiverse of Madness, it's not supposed to feel gaudy and dumb… that's not the strengths of what Doctor Strange established. There was a sophistication to "magic" from the first film that Raimi's style inadvertently undoes, the clever charm and reverence for the superhero genre created by previous Marvel titles is under attack here and that more than anything is the key issue for me.
MoM sure plays the part of a giant action adventure blockbuster, but with so many ups and downs interweaving in what I feel is a directorial mess it's hard for me to straight up recommend to anyone.
This is the type of filmmaking that truly hits all the right notes for me. At its core is a heartfelt dramedy set on the premise of a high concept modern sci fi full of quirky visual style and well choreographed martial arts. While simultaneously blasting the audience with powerful themes of self-discovery and familial relationships.
I also want to talk about the hints of HK cinema in it, where a lot of scenes feel inspired by Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow sensibilities but feel driven so much further with complex character stories that not only make you weep but laugh with joy.
"Everything, Everywhere, All at once" is so fresh, zany and bizarre yet holds an audience's heart so closely with its themes that its authenticity is unquestionable. It makes you want to love yourself and those around you just a little more, if not at least giving them a chance.
If you're going to see one movie this year please make it this one and then tell your friends to see it too. We don't need more giant franchise movies seeing success, we need more of whatever the hell this is.
It's great! The film critic in me always appreciates an animated coming-of-age modern fantasy even if they are formulaic to death and uninspired in story structure. The Asian-Canadian in me on the other hand is truly charmed and grateful of the representation!
It really is the extreme attention to detail that makes this film stand out and own it's narrative. Scenes are so carefully constructed with cultural references not only with Chinese and Canadian identifiers but of the early 2000's. The main character knows who she is, is an over-achiever and a young woman who isn't conventionally attractive; all arguably refreshing for the genre.
Pixar's masterful animation with spot on keyframes and character expressions isn't anything to shrug off either (but who expects anything less in that regard)
Turning Red really is a testament that there's still interesting ways to tell tired stories even if it is just changing details.
It's a good Batman movie, I don't think it's as bold or original as Nolan's films but it definitely accentuates crucial themes of the character.
If I were to be critical I'd say the first couple of acts are a bit of a slog and a wasted opportunity to not establish more of this new Batman's definable traits and origins of his methodology. Also some of the closing scenes feel forced to service the narrative or for a real "cool shot".
Overall the third and final acts are great though, once the story gets rolling and personal stakes come into light it's easy to feel invested. Also of course, the noir atmosphere and cinematography is all very in line with what I imagine Batman films should look like.
Pattinson does a serviceable job, I think looking solemn and grunting lines in a stone cold manner isn't very demanding. Zoe Kravitz steals the show, she does a spot on Selina Kyle that's full of range.
Finally it sets up future films naturally that gives me vibes of "Batman: No Mans Land", one of my favorite events from the comics!
A beautiful looking film that shows off 3D-to-2D animation, great soundtrack and also boasts sincere moving themes. Yet all these things can't really hold together this disjointed story chalk full of uninspired Anime High School tropes and other nonsensical elements.
It's hard to feel immersed in a narrative when so many things don't make any sense. From straying romantic subplots, giant digital "hidden" castles with AI helpers exclusive to a simple teenage boy, a lawless metaverse where people can go anywhere and "hurt" anyone, being able to call people from a live stream without them needing to accept, letting a teenage girl/your friend travel across the country alone to confront an angry full grown man about his suspected child abuse… I can go on.
Belle feels like it needed another month to cook in the writer's room if not at least a simple logic check.