Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Every generation has a legend

20192 h 22 min

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once again as the journey of Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle begins.

Director J.J. Abrams
Runtime 2 h 22 min
Release Date 18 December 2019
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Bad
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Greg Grunberg, Shirley Henderson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Hassan Taj, Lee Towersey, Brian Herring, Dave Chapman, Richard Guiver, Lynn Robertson Bruce, J.J. Abrams, Claire Roi Harvey, Richard Coombs, Matt Denton, Nick Kellington, Mandeep Dhillon, Alison Rose, Amanda Lawrence, Tanya Moodie, Simon Paisley Day, Geff Francis, Amanda Hale, Amir El-Masry, Aidan Cook, Patrick Williams, Martin Wilde, Anton Simpson-Tidy, Lukaz Leong, Tom Rodgers, Joe Kennard, Ashley Beck, Bryony Miller, Cyril Nri, Angela Christian, Indra Ové, Richard Bremmer, Mark Richard Durden Smith, Andrew Havill, Nasser Memarzia, Patrick Kennedy, Aaron Neil, Joe Hewetson, Raghad Chaar, Mimi Ndiweni, Tom Wilton, Chris Terrio, Kiran Shah, Debra Wilson, Josef Altin, Vinette Robinson, Mike Quinn, Bill Kipsang Rotich, Ann Firbank, Diana Kent, Warwick Davis, Harrison Davis, Elliot Hawkes, Philicia Saunders, John Williams, Nigel Godrich, Dhani Harrison, J.D. Dillard, Dave Hearn, Rochenda Sandall, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Andreea Diac, Liam Cook, Denis Lawson, Carolyn Hennesy, Paul Kasey, Matthew Wood, James Earl Jones, Andy Serkis, Josefine Irrera Jackson, Cailey Fleming, Jodie Comer, Billy Howle, Hayden Christensen, Olivia d'Abo, Ashley Eckstein, Jennifer Hale, Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Alec Guinness, Frank Oz, Angelique Perrin, Freddie Prinze Jr., Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Acord, Dan Adler, Dee Bradley Baker, Verona Blue, Steve Blum, David Boat, David W. Collins, Jonathan Dixon, Terri Douglas, Robin Atkin Downes, Amanda Foreman, Janina Gavankar, Grey DeLisle, Stefan Grube, Mike Holland, Karen Huie, Tom Kane, Lex Lang, Vanessa Lengies, Logic, Yuri Lowenthal, Vanessa Marshall, Donald Mustard, Nicole Nasca Supercinski, Michelle Rejwan, Julian Stone, Tara Strong, Fred Tatasciore, James Arnold Taylor, Jessica Tuck, Karl Urban, Reggie Watts, Samuel Witwer

Ok, so there is a lot to unpack with this movie. I set a pretty low bar going into The Rise of Skywalker and it still managed to walk clear under it unimpeded. There is much, much more going wrong with this movie than can be covered in this little review here. And some things that cannot be mentioned directly due to spoilers. But it would not be too far off to compare Episode IX to Game of Thrones Season 8.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of the word continuity: the maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a movie or broadcast. This needs to be defined here because J.J. Abrams did not do it. Episode VIII saw Rian Johnson ignoring a lot of Abrams work from Episode VII and it seems like Abrams decided to return the favor here. A lot of pre-established information including plot development, character arcs, and world-building is just ignored or outright broken. And not just concerning Episode VII; this also includes continuity going as far back as the Original Trilogy. It is bad enough to make audiences wonder if Abrams ever watched or even read a summary of the source material.

The next most glaring issue was the dialogue. This stems in from another issue, doing too much in too little time. It felt like Abrams was attempting to squeeze and entire trilogy worth of plot into this one film. So, despite the 142-minute run time, the movie feels incredibly rushed. Almost every line of dialogue comes across as need-to-know information. The delivery makes it all so in-your-face that it almost never feels like the characters are having a regular conversation. More like they are just running down a bulleted list.

The last issue was the same problem the previous two films had: a lack of world-building. The previous two films were admittingly guilty of this too. But The Rise of Skywalker was a lot more upfront about it. Instead of a half-hearted explanation or leaving this kind of open ended so the audience could fill in the blanks, Episode IX just said, “This is the way things are. Deal with it.” The film really leaves audiences with more questions than answers given all the plot-holes.

This was the first time in my life where I honestly, truly felt bored by something Star Wars. There were plenty of bad moments in the old EU, but you still had great moments to make up for it. The new Disney trilogy has progressively gotten worse. We have gone from an Episode IV remake to a mixed bag of a film to this dumpster fire of a cash grab. It is not too much of a surprise that the franchise was run into the ground after being bought out, but what is amazing is just how quickly Disney managed to do it.

December 29, 2019

Batman: The Killing Joke

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Poster for the movie "Batman: The Killing Joke"

Batman: The Killing Joke

The madness begins.

20161 h 12 min

As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness. Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland.

Director Sam Liu
Runtime 1 h 12 min
Release Date 24 July 2016
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good


Warning: This review WILL contain spoilers about The Killing Joke. Yes, the movie is new but if you have not picked the book up in the last 28 years that is kind of on you.

The Killing Joke graphic novel was one of the most influential works in comic book history. Author Alan Moore created his own version of the Joker’s origin and the psychology behind The Clown Prince of Crime’s madness. Largely considered to be one of the most definitive stories in DC Comics, what was original supposed to be a one-shot non-canon story laid the groundwork for what became widely accepted as the Joker’s origin story. Furthermore, it provided a set-up for the future of the character Barbara Gordon and provided readers with a concrete in-universe analysis of the Joker and Batman’s relationship.

Skip forward almost three decades after the graphic novel was originally produced and now we have a film to go with it. Nothing from the book was left out; in fact, quite a bit was added into the film version. Normally adding a bunch of stuff in when taking a book to the big screen is a bad idea. But for this story, it was necessary for two reasons. First of all, The Killing Joke is a short book. Just taking it panel and panel and turning that into film form would probably have not been enough to give audiences a full-length film. Secondly, audiences who are unfamiliar with this story needed what was added into the story as a prologue.

Before The Killing Joke truly starts, the film version opens up with a story about Barbara’s last adventure as Batgirl before hanging up her cape and mantle for a civilian life. Making this movie, the creators needed to do something like this. In the Killing Joke itself, the only time Barbara appears is when she is shot. If audiences do not know anything about her and do not have a reason to care, her paralysis will not have the emotional affect it is meant to convey. The issue was how they choose to handle it. This segment shows Barbara displaying feelings for Batman and she kind of has sex with him under some gargoyle statues on a rooftop (lucky gargoyles…). People who are familiar with the comics know that this is pretty out of character. She dated Dick Grayson, the first Robin, and the other members of Batman’s team are generally portrayed as looking up to him as a father figure. Having her suddenly lusting after him was just not the way to go. While they did need something at the beginning of the movie, it was not this.

Ok, into The Killing Joke itself. Everything from the graphic novel is in here and then some. A few scenes were expanded in order to lengthen the film, such as Batman searching for the Joker after discovering his latest escape from Arkham Asylum. The film is just as dark and gritty as the comic; the Joker torments Commissioner Gordon by injuring, paralyzing, and sexually abusing his daughter. He does this all to prove a point: that anyone can be driven as mad as him under the right circumstances. But at the same time, seeing the Joker’s origin story and how he became insane makes him kind of a sympathetic character in this story. At both the beginning and the end, Batman attempts to convince the Joker to let him help. To get rehabilitated. And both of these scenes, particularly the final scene of the film, is made all the more powerful by having Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their iconic voice acting roles as Batman and the Joker. While this film adaptation is not everything it could have been, it is still an excellent watch for any comic book fan.

August 28, 2016