Kind of too late for a spoiler-free review, but if you don’t want spoilers then you know what’s good for you.
It feels hard to enjoy a movie when you get there late with your friends and the only seats left are in the very front row—especially an action-fantasy blockbuster like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In retrospect, Fantastic Beasts was cool and I enjoyed it, but the first time watching it I kind of felt like the pacing was a little too fast. I didn’t hear the names of most of the creatures, and I couldn’t keep track of the characters, either. At least not as much as I would have liked to.
I wouldn’t really say there are spoilers in this review, but I do discuss some of the highlights of the film openly rather than the ending or what happens to people. So sit tight.
A Strange Place in the MCU
I went to the Salt Lake Comic Con screening of Doctor Strange last week. It was fun to watch a new MCU movie with a group of excited and eager fans—kind of a cross between a family reunion and a pep rally. When I got back to Provo, the first group of friends I ran into asked me how good Doctor Strange is and how much I liked it. You probably want to ask me the same thing, so I’ll tell you the same thing I told them. It’s not as good as Marvel’s best like Guardians of the Galaxy. I don’t think it’s as good of a film as Captain America: Civil War but then again there’s some bias to that. I don’t LOVE it like I love The Avengers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But it is better than Thor: The Dark World and Age of Ultron. I would put Doctor Strange in the same category as the first Thor film or the Iron Man films as far as both enjoyment and quality. As far as its place in the MCU, it doesn’t tie into the previous films hardly at all, which it didn’t need to, but I feel like it is going to be a set-up for a lot of things to come.
It’s a wonderful time to be a geek right now. Lots of wonderful movies are coming out. In the last few weeks we’ve gotten a handful of awesome trailers from Star Wars Celebration Europe and San Diego Comic Con International. These are the ones for the things I’m most excited for.
Finding Nemo has always been my favorite Pixar movie. It is one of THE defining movies of my generation. By all rights, I should be offended that they decided to make a sequel at all. And yet after seeing Finding Dory the other day, I’m actually glad that they made one. Finding Dory doesn’t really work as a stand-alone film: in fact, the exposition of Dory’s backstory ties in directly to where Dory met Marlin. I wish they hadn’t explained away so much of Dory’s spontaneity. Yet as annoying as it was for Pixar to retcon so much of Finding Nemo it segwayed nicely into Dory’s conflict as the central protagonist.
My capstone paper at BYU was on online fandom and I had to explain a lot of terms in detail to a professor who wasn’t very well-versed in modern trends. Since graduating, I’ve found out there is a lot more to fandom that I wasn’t even aware of, including terminology and slang. If you use Pinterest and Tumblr or you follow fandom sites on Facebook, the following may be some ideas to be aware of when looking at fan art and reading others’ posts, as well as commonly used slang. The slang terms you can look up in the Urban Dictionary (which is a site I DO NOT recommend for children).
Spoilers discussed but not really mentioned in detail.
The first time I saw Captain America: Civil War in theaters, I had my doubts about whether or not it actually was a Captain America movie. It doesn’t feel like Cap gets a lot of depth because there is so much else going on. The plot and exposition is really about the buildup to the two main battles at the end. However, it is still a Captain America movie because the events in this film shape the mantle of Captain America and how Steve Rogers carried it. While I and lots of other fans are disappointed because we wanted more resolution for Steve and Bucky’s stories, the ensemble of characters was still balanced, even with the show-stealing introductions of Spider-man and Black Panther.
Quick rant here: I really wish Disney’s live action team had some better ideas than to keep remaking classics as live-action films. They’re doing a good job with some of them—I loved Cinderella, remember?—but the previews for Pete’s Dragon and The Jungle Book actually turned me off. And the lineup for their future films isn’t very promising—with the notable exception, of course, of next year’s Beauty and the Beast directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson as Belle.
The world we live in isn’t perfect. There are two ways to deal with it. One, either you take what you want by force and be angry about everything that’s not going your way. Two, you can accept that you can’t change everything, and you can still treat others the way you want to be treated.
The two leading ladies of the recent Cinderella remake fell on different ends of the spectrum. I admit, because of the complete reversal of character roles in Maleficent I was curious what direction Disney would take with this new live-action fairy tale. I wondered about the evil stepmother especially. Would we see Lady Tremaine’s motivations for abusing her stepdaughter? Would she be given a sympathetic angle? As it turned out, my questions were answered, but only very subtly–blink and you’ll miss it. I have only figured out Lady Tremaine after almost a year of reflecting on the film and of course rewatching it multiple times. Cinderella and Lady Tremaine aren’t much different from their counterparts in the classic animated film on the surface, but on closer inspection they are very well-rounded characters.
There are lots of cool movies coming out this year, but between Captain America: Civil War and Rogue One it’s easy to overlook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a brand-new adventure set in the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter series. The release date announcements and the brief teaser trailer have created tremendous excitement in the Potter fandom, to the point that we’ve had a new awakening of our own. But if you’re not on board yet, here are some very good reasons you should remember that we have a new Wizarding adventure coming out: