It's suppose to be the outing that sees Indy call it a day, but will he go out with a bang or a whimper?
It's not easy to make a sequel to a motion picture that helps define or advance cinema, and so when you are coming out for your 5th innings in a series, all of your previous successes actually stand as a reminder of how good you need to be. No one wants to say anything negative about Indiana Jones because we all love the character, the films, the action, and well - the everything. But I am sorry to be the bearer of not so positive news, if you have watched the first 3 films multiple times, then I fail to understand how this particular opus is going to give you that; oh so nice familiar feeling, of Indiana Jones kickin' ass and taking names, whilst The Raiders March plays on.
Turning up is not enough. Nostalgic memories are not enough to carry a new entry. A film within a series has to be able to stand on its own merits. Here, in IJATDOD, the action sequences are not inventive, the story is simple, which by itself is not a problem, but without the garnishings and source on top, the absence of any flair leaves the film to be vanilla as hell. Some of the references to older movies are a nice touch and not overdone, but ultimately there is this mix of characters, locations and plot that doesn't altogether gel so well.
Dial's saving graces lie within the strength of Harrison Ford's performance and to a certain extent Mads Mikkleson's too, but in the modern world of action cinema and with the likes of Extraction, John Wick and Nobody out there, the expected high-concept fantasy stories we love from Indiana Jones, now need to upgrade to the upper leagues when it comes to action choreography. Indiana films in no way need to be as hectic as the franchises mentioned, but for all we have seen this character do, there isn't a particular stand out scene in IJATDOD that will be cited by cinephiles and Indy fans by the the water cooler at work. As time travel films go, this entry has sent us back in terms of action delivery...and story, and nothing can be done to hide the unimaginative cracks that have appeared as the franchise lay dormant.
Lightning struck once with the sleeper hit that was Shazam! But will the sequel be able to capture the same lightning in a different bottle?
With the DC universe being so fragmented (even when individual franchises are supposed to jigsaw together) you really don't know what type of cinematic experience you're going to get - per picture. I'm glad to report that here, that Shazam! Fury Of The Gods stays on track with its predecessor and doesn't pull a Wonder Woman...you know, where the first outing is great, only to be followed by a sequel that made you question if the studio were deliberately trying to sabotage themselves.
When viewing SFOTG you can definitely see that a lot of effort went into the production, every SFX shot has comprehensive detail and all the actors hit their emotional marks to convince us of their motives. However, where SFOTG falls a little flat, is in its wholehearted satisfaction to do nothing original or adventurous with the formula. You'll be watching the movie, making predictions and assumptions as to what is going to happen next or way down the line, then you'll downplay your celluloid premonitions because they are way too obvious...only to be bang on target. And of course, the target is 15 year-old boys and that's why like me you'll probably feel underwhelmed at the attempts at emotional outpourings even though there are epic shenanigans happening all around.
What is also noticeable, is that the original sidekick to Billy Batson (in child form) Freddy Freeman, continues to be way more charismatic than the supposed lead and he also has way more screen time too. In fact, actor Asher Angel who plays Billy Batson can't have anymore time than a collated 12 minutes - I'm sure of it!. Anyway, if you liked the first film, you'll be totally fine with this one, it has it's moments, it ticks all the boxes, but it just won't have you feeling thunderstruck.
Ding Ding! Round 3! Will Michael B. Jordan be able to maintain and carry the franchise in his role as both director and star in the latest instalment of the biggest boxing franchise in the world? Or will it be a case of lights out before the battle has begun?
With 6 Rocky films and 2 Creed outings, there should be an expectation that we're just going to be seeing the exact 'same' movie in a slightly rejigged order. Well, I'm here to tell you that though there are no major surprises, the combination of a well written script and Michael B. Jordan's directing chops serves to make this film feel fresh - annnnd I will go out on a limb and say that it is the most perfectly balanced Rocky/Creed film in the series. Yes I said it. In fact, if MBJ continues to direct like this, he could become the Clint Eastwood of our time - where he is in good, standout genre films, but has a much better penchant for directing - but hey - it's early days yet.
As with the other Creed films there are no real villains, there are just the rigours of life that lead characters to make certain choices with pugilistic repercussions. Here, the collision course for our two main characters was set from childhood once again making 'the enemy' an altogether different type of foe.
The execution of the entangled relationships is done exceptionally well because it's not only our leads that are in the mix. Yes, Jonathan Majors is 100% committed as Damian Anderson, there is not a flinch or physical gesture that lands by accident in his performance, his character portrayal has been calculated to the dot and in the future he will win an OSCAR. But, the support from Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and Wood Harris is also essential, they are not just present for casting decoration, they are here to give direction and illuminate the doorways and paths for Adonis to choose or avoid and when he chooses wrong, that's where the cinema lies.
The boxing choreography is the best I've seen in the entire franchise, yep another bold claim and the anime influence and use of narrative concepts never before seen in any Rocky/Creed movie really highlights the emotion of the final fight bringing the past and the present crashing together. At the same time, it is just plain satisfying to see a director pushing the artistry of filming a finale that we have technically seen a million times before and the sharpness but semi-grittiness of the bouts could easily rival that of a good martial arts film.
Don't worry, Creed III doesn't get too avant-garde or stray away from what we want from these movies, but the fact remains - that I haven't got a single complaint it.
Black Panther's second entry marks the end of phase 4 in the MCU, but with so many real life changes happening along the way and a stable of progressive films in the stables, will Wakanda without its hero really be forever, or be relegated to a forgotten status.
Where To Start?
OK, first off - this is not just a remix of the first outing, if you are just expecting more of the same - throw that idea in the bin. This entry is quite a sedate film in comparison and bares very little resemblance to the bravado and optimism of the original. It is also quite a sombre film (for obvious reasons) and though there is some humour, I would go as far as saying that it feels like a project willing to be its own complete entity. The film is not straight from the Disney conveyor belt, there is no ticking of an approved PG-13 checklist and even though the film is a 12A - you will feel the sorrow. I say this; because Doctor Strange's Multiverse Of Madness should have been a much more dread-soaked affair, but I guess the studio put the want of seats being filled before the art of the project. Here I don't think anyone would dare to interfere.
In regards to the action - there is plenty of it, however there is nothing in BP:WF that is pushing the boundaries of fight choreography or action conception, however the reasons for the fight do make the drama impactful. I commend the script and direction for being brave enough to not just regurgitate the tried and tested format, but at the same time, I feel a few peeps may feel they are missing out.
Personally, I liked the film and FYI there is only one post-scene credit which occurs fairly quickly.
On Angela Bassett, just give the woman an OSCAR already - yes for a MARVEL film.
TDD, RC & IK talk: