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Summer Movies

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Summer Movies

Aidan Long, Reporter

         With Summer getting closer and closer every day, Hollywood now begins to release its most anticipated films. From the long awaited Avengers: Infinity War to the much more out of nowhere success that was A Quiet Place, this vacation season is starting off strong. The abundance of action and comedy summer blockbusters is always something to look forward to, and this year is no different with movies like Ready Player One and Rampage. What better way to spend the sweltering summer than with popcorn, snacks, and in a cold theater?

 

Avengers Infinity War A-

         Avengers Infinity War is the penultimate entry in current arc of the Marvel cinematic universe, and what every prior film has been leading up to. As this is the beginning of the end for a story spanning a little more than a decade, expectations were high at the films release this May. The movie is the culmination of every Marvel film, featuring the vast majority of its characters. Infact the crew bragged that the movie would have 62 characters. The story picks up three years after Avengers: Civil War, and follows the various characters from all previous movies as they come together for to defeat the villain Thanos, whose fullscale introduction into the MCU has been hinted at since the first Avengers. From the very first scene, the film diverges into multiply side stories each focusing on different characters as they attempt to handle the impending threat of Thanos.

         The first moments of Avengers: Infinity War makes two things very clear. First, you will need to have seen bare minimum the most recent Avengers and Thor film to even begin to comprehend the plot.  Even if you have seen those movies, then a good portion of major plot points would go completely unnoticed. This fact could be either a negative or a positive, depending purely on your own prior experiences with Marvel films. For the eager fan who has seen all previous movies in the MCU, this movie will be a truly epic culmination of every plot point and famous after-credit scenes that they have been engrossed in for the past decade. But for the more uninitiated, even the most pivotal of elements will be difficult to understand. Marvel made very little effort to explain the origins of devices that the whole movie may revolve around. This may be appreciated by the hard-core fans or act as an annoyance for even the average viewer.

         Throughout the entire experience, it was made clear that Marvel learned from its previous movies, and made an effort to improve on past mistakes. Various flaws that are frequently found in most other films in the MCU, such as destroying the tension in any serious scenes by forcing humor into it or overall taking itself to seriously, where finally patched over here. But perhaps most impressive was the villain of the film, Thanos. Marvel as a long history of unmotivated, under developed, and somewhat ineffective villains throughout their films. But in Thanos, none of those things where present. Thanos felt as though he was an element within the plot moving it forward rather than just being the end goal of it. He was well characterized and given clear motivations. He felt just as important to the plot as Captain America or Iron Man, a fact that I’m sure most Marvel fans will ecstatic to see.

         The movie of course was not perfect. The performance of actors such as Don Cheadle and even Peter Dinklage was poor enough to be of note, and at times the CGI backgrounds where noticeable. Still, these flaws are overshadowed by sheer amount of good to great performances, and the CG that was at times completely amazingly.

         Overall, Avengers: Infinity War was stands as a testament to love and care that goes into Marvel films, both from the fans and its creators. It showed that these movies are more than a simple superhero team up cash grab by some major studio, but an engaging, fun, and truly fantastic tribute to all those who genuinely care about the MCU.

 

Ready Player One C+

         Ready Player One is the self described“Pop Culture Odyssey” directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted from the 2011 book by Ernest Cline. The movie tells the story of Wade Watts and his life spent in the Oasis, a virtual reality world in which players can be anything that they want. The game was as popular as it was because it took people out of the real world, which is immensely boring and hard. By the year 2040, the real world is borderline dystopian and major corporations dominate the world. But within the Oasis there is hope. After the death of the creator of the Oasis, Jim Halliday, died it was revealed that a major easter egg was hidden somewhere in the Oasis which if found would grant the player unimaginable wealth and ownership of the Oasis. But that was five years ago, no one has found any clues and, aside from the evil megacorporation IOI whose goal is to find the egg and acquire the Oasis for themselves, only a small group of people still hunt from the elusive egg.

         Ready Player One is easily one of the most visually impressive movies of the last year, in fact at times the movie feels like it is showing off. The movie almost becomes more of an experience than a film with truly spectacular CG consistently present throughout the whole movie. Unfortunately it feels as though the visuals, 80’s nostalgia, and abundance of pop culture references are all Ready Player One has to offer. Watching the villains being hadoukened and seeing the Iron Giant and Mechagodzilla fight was of course fun but, it was only those scenes that where truly enjoyable. The plot itself was full of holes and conveyances to large to be able to ignore, clearly struggling to keep itself together from the first scene. Ironically, the constant references to movies like The Iron Giant and The Shining only made me wish I was watching one of those (much better) movies instead. Though the movie was poor in overall quality it did make decent points about problems very prevalent in the gaming world such as corporate greed in video games and the positives and negatives of using gaming as an escapist hobby.

         One of the strangest things about the movie was its seemingly obliviousness to what it was. For a movie whose greatest and perhaps only real strength was its CG, a great deal of the actual movie was set in the real world. One of the biggest points of the movie is that “the real world sucks”, and yet they force you to sit through forty-five minutes of it.

         While Ready Player One offers much in the way of nostalgia(mostly for your parents) and visual affects, it sadly offers little else. Has much as I wish to say that the pop culture references would have been enough to make the movie great, its not. But despite this, Ready Player One is a truly fun movie, which shows the importance of video games as a medium of entertainment in today’s culture.

A Quiet Place B

          A Quiet Place tells a story that feels quite simple, but proves itself to be a much more entertaining experience than trailers would suggest. It is about a simple family(who is given a name once the credits roll) who is trying to survive in a unique post-apocalypse, brought about by the arrival of some unknown creature. They do there best to remain quite, as while the monsters can’t see you, they can hear you, and if they do they’ll find you.

         A Quiet Place is a movie which truly feels alive, some ways. The tone and atmosphere is perfectly set within the first scene, and it remains consistent throughout the entirety of the movie. The established tone is one that makes even the slightest noise in theater scary, an impressive feat considering just how much many other big budget horror movies struggle with this. In terms of plot, I don’t know how to feel. A Quiet Place is strange in that its almost a fifty-fifty split in terms of  things it did well and things it did just mediocre. For instance, the plot itself is engaging and interesting, but the characters often do things that don’t make sense, unless their motivations are simply to force the plot.

         In a scary movie, things like this can be forgiven, as a completely realistic horror movie doesn’t exist. But the thing that this movie does that is truly unforgivable is break its own rules. Without giving anything away, there are more and more scenes as the movie goes on which completely ignore or break previously established facts or rules in this movies world.

         Another thing that I personally did not mind, but I know other people will is the amount of times the movie scares you with little more than cheap tricks. It’s a very low amount of times. While jumpscares are fine and fun, they are definitely cheap. While the tone of the movie was great and eerie, it failed to compliment the plot when something scary was happening. Instead of using the eerie silence that is in most of the scenes, it just throws a big monster and loud music que at you. It’s fun, yes, but I can see how annoying it would be to most people. Rather ironically, all the scary moments where actually really loud, despite the name of the movie. In Fact there is one scene, where you can vaguely here music in the background, but the sound of the dad just running is so loud that you can’t hear it at all.

         A Quiet Place is a fun movie. There is no other way to say it, and I think that was the intention. It did enough new things to stand out from the over saturated crowd of horror movies, but kept with the general format just enough to feel to alien. It was a quality movie, and shows that Jim from The Office has come along way.

 

Rampage C-

         In 1986, Midway Games released Rampage to arcades everywhere. The premise was simple. You could choose to play as a giant gorilla, wolf, or lizard and then destroy Chicago. In 2018, Rampage was released to theaters everywhere, a movie in which Dwayne Johnson tried to stop a giant gorilla, wolf, and crocodile from destroying Chicago.

         Every scene in Rampage where there is not a giant fight between a giant gorilla, wolf, or crocodile is only an attempt to put a giant gorilla, wolf, and crocodile in the same room so they can fight. Every scene expect for the fight scenes are just filled with dialogue that might as well be addressed directly to the audience. If I came to this movie, I came to see wolf fighting crocodile fighting gorilla action, not to hear Jeffrey Dean-Morgan give expository dialogue where he explains his motivations by just saying them. Another thing for anyone who watches the Walking Dead. Jeffrey Dean-Morgan plays Negan in that show, and he plays a secret agent character in Rampage. But for some reason, he plays them the exact same, even down to classic hip swing and vulgare swearing. Maybe it’s not that big of a problem, but it is distracting when I half expect Morgan’s character to start cracking heads with his bat.

         Personally, when I saw Rampage I did not expect that much. I just wanted to see a gorilla fight a wolf in Chicago, that’s it. But when the wolf and gorilla only fight one time, I have a problem. The strange thing is, I have no idea what this movie is trying to be. I’m used to seeing corporate ineptitude and formulaic plots in summer movies like this, but at least movies like Transformers know what they are when they release a movie. There was a complete and utter lack of direction in movies that is painfully interesting to watch play out in front of you.

         But still, Rampage did some things right. The action that was present was fun, and overall the entire movie was still an enjoyable experience. On top of that, at the time of writing this, Rampage has the high honor of being the highest rated movie based on a video game of all time.

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