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Alita: Battle Angel

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Poster for the movie "Alita: Battle Angel"

Alita: Battle Angel

An angel falls. A warrior rises.

20192 h 02 min

Alita: Battle Angel is based on a Japanese comic book (manga) series called Gunnm from the early 90s. There was also a 1-hour cartoon (anime) adaption around the same time. Now we get a live action adaptation by master of cinema James Cameron. With Cameron at the wheel, you know a movie is going to be good. Mostly (but in fairness, everyone has to start somewhere).

The key takeaway from Alita is that it is just a good movie. Nothing in the film feels objectively bad. Alita herself is a balanced character with a real personality. She is a young girl learning new things in a world that is alien to her. At the same time, she is a total badass who can put everyone else in the room on the floor. Throughout the story, there is pain as well as joy. She makes friends and finds love but also finds enemies who want to destroy her for what she is, regardless of who she is. By the end of the film, she is far from the person she was at the beginning.

This being a James Cameron film, it probably goes without saying the special effects are amazing. Cameron proved that CGI is one of his main things back with Avatar, and that has not changed. The fight sequences are incredible and none of them are shoehorned in. Even the city just as the background is an amazing visual setting, giving audiences the sense of a real living, breathing city.

The plot in the movie is nothing too crazy. There are no major twists or shocks as the story develops. But there does not really need to be. In the end, this is not some kind of high stakes save-the-world scenario. The story is ultimately about Alita; about her finding who she was before and who she is now. This is an origin story.

The movie itself follows one of the big rules for a potentially great movie: leave the audience wanting more. This is clearly part of a much, much bigger story. We have only seen a small piece of a big universe with this film. Having not read the original manga, I cannot say off-hand how much of the original story is covered in the film adaption. However, the original story from the 90s was followed up by two sequel series. The latter of which is still ongoing. If Alita: Battle Angel gets a sequel, which seems plausible with the box office results, there is a lot more source material to pull from.

March 3, 2019

Deadpool

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Poster for the movie "Deadpool"

Deadpool

Witness the beginning of a happy ending

20161 h 48 min
Overview

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Metadata
Director Tim Miller
Runtime 1 h 48 min
Release Date 9 February 2016
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

If you have ever been a fan of comic books in the slightest and/or are at least slightly familiar with the character Deadpool, then the Deadpool movie is going to tickle your funny bone with its strange mix of dark humor and snarky yet childlike playfulness. Wade Wilson, also known as our title character Deadpool, is the merc with the mouth. In Marvel’s comics, he is known for being as borderline insane as deadly, with many other characters noting his habit of thinking he is in a comic book (i.e. breaking the fourth wall). Previously Ryan Reynolds portrayed a character who was supposed to be Deadpool in the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine; this “Deadpool” shared almost nothing in common with his comic book incarnation other than the name. Thankfully, this rendition of the character adheres to the Deadpool fans already know and love with his snarky attitude, foul mouth, and general love of mayhem coupled with a disregard for life and property damage.

Deadpool’s comics are known for a few different things. Most notably readers go in expecting action, blood, and an endless line of jokes padded with references. This film delivers all of those things and more. Particularly sex, a generous amount of sex. If most other comedies had the constant barrage of jokes that is in Deadpool it would not really work, with the exception of films specifically designed to be nothing but jokes on top of jokes like Airplane and Hot Shots. Like the characters in those films, Deadpool is not at all supposed to be a normal person. Yes, there is the whole superpower side of, “Well, of course, this is not supposed to be a realistic movie,” but the logic of that extends to Deadpool’s character as well. He has been and always will be a wisecracker first and foremost.

This film does not have the maximum amount of action or the maximum amount of comedy; there are films that are wittier and there are also films that are bloodier. However, Deadpool does an excellent job of meeting the two in the middle ground. There are a few sequences in the film that are more humor than anything else, but the comedy continues to roll over into the action sequences with Deadpool’s ongoing commentary. The way he fights also manages to be comedic as well as brutal, partly for the aforementioned comments and partly for some of his uniquely ridiculous combat tactics. This film also by far has one of the best and most hilarious Stan Lee cameos so far.

As the film follows Deadpool, the other characters do not get too much screen time in comparison. There are parts of the film where another character reappears and you find yourself thinking, “Oh yeah, they exist,” because it has been so long since they were last onscreen. The members of the X-men who appear in the film seem to impede Deadpool and create more problems just as much as they help him, if not more so. The villains of the film are also pretty generic and have a very loosely thrown together backstory. While Deadpool is not a “save the world” type of character, it felt like the studio could not decide if they wanted this villain to be a big threat for Deadpool to stop or just some jerk that Deadpool had a vendetta against. This was not necessarily in any way the actors fault; many of them did well with the roles they were given. The issue lies with the rest of the characters not being written as well as Deadpool. Yes he is the star of the film, but a good supporting cast could have made the film more than it was; great for a laugh but with limited re-watching value after you know all the jokes. Still, the movie is worth watching at least once to see something different in the superhero genre.

March 13, 2016