I’ve pretty much gotten over my immense hatred for the watered down reboot of the “Teen Titans” animated series. It’s here to stay, and I’m over it. So I approached the new big screen adventure with an open mind and rock bottom expectations. All things considered “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is a mixed bag. Sometimes it hits with some sharp, slick superhero movie and Hollywood satire and truly engaging protagonists. Other times it feels like the writers are running out the clock with goofy filler and distracting musical numbers.
I can safely say that among the long running action franchises out there, “Mission Impossible” might just be my favorite. Not only has the series managed to re-invent itself time and time again, but Tom Cruise continues to impress and compel as series hero Ethan Hunt. He is a classic hero, a man who is bound to his work, or else the world literally falls apart at the seams. He’s a daring, bold, and clever force of nature, but he’s also one chained forever to the IMF, forced to confront not only terrorist threats, but the fall out of his past enemies that have come back to finally haunt him.
The Wasp is one of the oldest, most important Marvel characters of all time (she was one of the original five Avengers), and she’s also someone who has been waiting in the wings for far too long. In “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” the heroine finally gets her due in a movie that’s about her legacy as much as it is about the Avengers, and Ant-Man, overall. After the two heavy meals that were “Black Panther” and “Infinity War,” Peyton Reed’s return to “Ant Man and the Wasp” is like a nice light after dinner sorbet. It’s a palate cleanser, it’s simple, and it’s quite good.
Albert Pyun’s “Cyborg” is a lot more famous for its back story and production woes than it is for the actual movie. There’s even the famous tale of how much of the sets and outfits for the characters were re-used from the cancelled “Spider-Man” movie, and sequel to “He-Man” that Golan Globus failed to finish. It’s a shame, because in the eighties when a whole sub-genre sprang from the success of “Mad Max,” we got a whole library of post apocalyptic action films with gritty warriors charged with saving mankind or something like a child or village. In a massive sub-genre of B grade copycats, “Cyborg” is one of the best.
Whether you know it as “Léon,” or “Lionheart,” or “Wrong Bet,” or “Full Contact,” or “AWOL,” or “Lion,” it’s tough to argue that this is one of Van Damme’s sillier roles. And this is a man who once played twins in an action movie vehicle (“Double Impact” is the best Van Damme movie ever made, I’ll argue that until I’m blue in the face). “Lionheart” is such an odd movie that I fondly remember loving back in 1990, but now in both versions, it’s kind of a weird movie that skips through various sub-genres of action cinema that feel awkward. At one point it even feels kind of like a “Rocky” wannabe.
I’m usually very rough on video game inspired movies because—well—pretty much all of them suck. Save for “Mortal Kombat,” which is kind of fun if you’re in the right mood. After two goofy attempts to adapt the iconic adventure video game series “Tomb Raider” to the big screen, Warner reboots the movie series by—adapting the reboot of the video game from 2013. While I’d be hard pressed to call Roar Uthaug’s cinematic take on Lara Croft a masterpiece, I had a really good time with “Tomb Raider,” and that’s all I wanted in the end.
It’s hard to believe but it’s been twenty five years since Brandon Lee was accidentally killed while filming “The Crow.” Lee was such a rising talent who wanted to prove himself as an actor more than become the next big action star, and he was well on his way. Lee, like his dad, had to earn a lot of his clout. First: by starring in films in Asia, and then coming to America to try his hand. But unlike his dad, Brandon had the humongous shadow of his father looming over him and he would have had to work extra hard to come out from under it and make Brandon Lee a very different name from Bruce Lee.
After the shocking success of “Deadpool,” it didn’t seem very likely that Ryan Reynolds and FOX would be able to follow up the first act in Wade Wilson’s arc. Lo and behold years later, “Deadpool 2” not only serves as a great second act of the Merc with a Mouth’s misadventures, but it’s just as good as the original. What I liked most about it though is that “Deadpool 2” further bridges the gap between Wade’s universe and his X-Men origins, proving that ironically these films understand the “X-Men” mythology so much more than any of the actual X-Men films combined.