Spider-Man: Homecoming Review (Audio Edition)

Usually, I write my reviews. Though, This time I wanted to share an audio review. This is my first audio review. Hope you enjoy.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7OG8t7uwzyteHliQkVhR1IyMGc/view?usp=sharing

 

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“Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” Review

“Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” started with Dick Grayson doing ballet as Bruce Wayne watches a TV variety show. The fearsome four, Joker, Catwoman, Riddler and Penguin, attack the show and leave a clue for Batman. They meet Commissioner Gordon and discuss the clue. After deducting the next attack, they go off to fight the villainous Squad. The bad guys get away but leave another clue. Catwoman devises a plan to turn Batman bad at the frozen food factory. Batman and Robin show up and fight the boys. Catwoman flirts with Batman so she could spray him and Robin with knock out gas. The serum didn’t work on Batman so they load him and Robin on an oversized pan on a conveyor belt. Batman uses the lemon pudding to burn through the ropes and he swings them away. Aunt Harriet almost uncovered their secret, so Bruce let’s Alfred go. Bruce slowly starts being a dick… to Dick. After a citywide manhunt, they figure out that their dastardly foes went out into space in a Belgravia space mission. The dynamic duo race off in the bat rocket to the top-secret space station where the boys try to attack Catwoman for her softness for Batman and throw her out an airlock. Batman saves her and the trio go after the Villains. They tell Batman they decide to create two more Earths so they each have a Gotham City to rule. Batman says he wants to throw them out of the airlock. They have an antigravity fight before Batman can turn it off. Batman brutalizes the evil three before Catwoman escapes. Batman disappears from the police station, leaving Robin to bicycle home. Bruce shouts at Aunt Harriet and kicks out Dick.

A crime wave occurs as Bruce seemingly gives up his heroic antics. Batman goes to the police station and relieves the Commissioner, Chief of Police, Mayor, Judge and more and then duplicates himself with the duplication ray. Robin looks for Catwoman to cure Batman from his dictatorial ways. They get into the cat mobile and head to the bat cave. Batman finds them there and Catwoman gives him the antidote, but Batman took a bat-anti-antidote. After a duel of the utility belts, Batman lowers Robin and Catwoman into a nuclear silo. Fortunately, Robin sprayed them with Bat Isotope Spray. They release all of Batman’s villains from prison, except Joker, Riddler and Penguin. They turned to dust.  Batman straps explosives to every home’s antenna as Robin, Catwoman and the Villains stop Batman and his duplicates. After Alfred saved him with a stronger antidote, Batman realizes that Joker, Riddler and Penguin set him up to rob a museum. Batman, Robin and Catwoman go after the trio. They escape in a blimp. There’s a fight on top of the blimp and the bad guys fall to the ground. Catwoman tries to get away with all the museum pieces. Instead of going back to jail. She falls into a smoke stack. Presumed dead, Batman grieves. Afterwards, they throw aunt Harriet a birthday party to get her off their scent.

I enjoyed all the inside jokes, like Batman and Catwoman going off to France to drink coffee or Batman gradually turning into a darker character. If you are a fan of Batman, you’ll love this film. It has so many references to not only the Batman series, like seeing three different catwomen, but also to the Burton films, “You wanna get nuts. Come on, let’s get nuts.” I loved the Batman/Catwoman relationship. I can’t remember how much of it was explored in the series, so that might be a more modern twist. Also, the bend to Batman becoming an authoritarian like figure is sort of a progression of how dark the character can go. I think having Robin and Catwoman try to bring him back to the lighter side seems like a call of arms, so to speak, against the dark and Broody Batman we’ve gotten in the comics and films. This very much felt like a parody and celebration of the character and the show. They played on the ridiculousness of some of the gadgets and how the characters behaved, like Aunt Harriet and Commissioner Gordon.

Overall, this was a well written film and expertly directed. Most people would put up their nose at an animated film, but I strongly urge you to reconsider that position. This not only encapsulates the feel and fun of the 1966 Batman TV series, but it also parodies the evolution of Batman since and what could, unfortunately, become the future for the former caped crusader turned Dark Knight. That’s why I believe the title “Return of the Caped Crusader” is so fantastic. The filmmakers want to make a point that Batman, along with Bruce Wayne, doesn’t have to be this dark and brooding character he’s become in the comics and, more to the point, in live action films. I would not only say that this is the best theatrically released (It was limitedly released) Batman film to come out this year, but also in the last 23 years when “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” was released in theaters. I try not to speak or write with hyperbole. I was just so happy to see a Batman film that not only took itself seriously, but also could make fun of what has become of the character. I would score this at a 95%.

“X-Men Apocalypse” Review

“X-men Apocalypse” is a film in 20th Century Fox’s Marvel Universe. The last film was “X-Men Days of Future Past”, which I liked overall. I did have problems with the end because of the way time travel works in this universe. Fox has never seemed to care about continuity or timelines, so I’m pretty much ignoring them for a future X-Men related films, including this one. That is a main problem for a lot of people and fed into the disagreement with this film. I would say the overall feelings of this film were negative. Honestly, I didn’t think it was bad… I loved it and below is a commentary like what I did for “Captain America: Civil War”.

This opening scene is brutal as the Four Horsemen attack revolting Egyptian Soldiers. The fact that these people would sacrifice their lives for Apocalypse shows the power he holds over his followers. The credits are fantastic as always with these X-Men films. We see the emergence of Scott Summers’s powers and Mystique, or rather Raven, scoping out a fight between Angel and Nightcrawler. One of my biggest issues with the film is the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is barely Mystique in the film. She was supposed to be Mutant and Proud after the last film. Why the change? Was it the publicity after The White House attack? It’s never explained. Even as Raven, Nightcrawler recognized her.

Now, we get to the Erik sequence in Poland. Michael Fassbender was fantastic as a Magneto on the lam. I love the dynamic of being a father. It shows that Mutants are human too. Havok brings Scott to the mansion. The new cast is fantastic. I hate Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, but Sophie Turner is great as Jean Grey. McAvoy does his best impression of the Stewart Xavier by teaching the class and then helping Scott with his powers.

Moira McTaggart is back and does her own impression of Indiana Jones by stumbling upon Apocalypse’s Tomb. Some hate this scene, but she isn’t the one responsible for Apocalypse waking up. It’s the guys praying. It’s nitpicking really and unwarranted. The tremor Apocalypse sets off triggers Jean to have visions of the end of the world and for Charles to seek out Moira.

Erik, earlier, had used his powers to save a co-worker. Now the police have come to take him in. His daughter starts to use her powers, which causes an officer to shoot her, and subsequently his wife, with an arrow. In rage, Erik uses a pendant to kill all the officers. This is the best scene of the film and shows the struggle within himself that feeds his struggle with the cause for mutant kind. Our first glimpse at Storm comes with another brutal murder by Apocalypse.

Charles and Havok visits Moira, where they learn about Apocalypse. There are some scenes with Apocalypse and storm as well as Mystique meeting Psylock and Hank outfitting Scott with his signature glasses. Mystique is back at the mansion after hearing about Erik. While Apocalypse recruits Psylock and Angel, the younger X-Men go to the Mall. The infamous mall scene that was cut and shortened to a third film in the series joke.

Apocalypse comes to see Erik as he attempts to kill his co-workers. Apocalypse brings Erik to Auschwitz and helps him harness his powers, where Magneto destroys the buildings and fences. Quicksilver sees that his father shows up on the news and decides to pay Charles a visit. Meanwhile, Charles finds Raven in his office. She gives him some ridiculous answer for why she doesn’t walk around blue.

This all leads to Charles contacting Erik through Cerebro. This allows Apocalypse to use Charles as a conduit to launch every Nuclear missile into the air making all of the Superpower nations powerless. The tension of this scene and the abduction of Charles is greatly broken up with another fun Quicksilver scene, like in X-Men Days of Future Past. And… finally we get Mystique a little over an hour in for a minute or so. In comes Stryker and takes Hank, Moira, Quicksilver and Raven as Scott, Jean and Kurt mourned for Havok, who died in the mansion explosion. Jubilee was wasted in this film. Without the mall scene, she’s basically cut out of the film. She easily could’ve joined Scott, Jean and Kurt on their mission to save the others.

Stryker keeps his prisoners in a room while the young mutants try to find a way in. After Apocalypse uses Charles to deliver a message to the world, the young mutants let loose Logan, who slices and dices everyone in the Weapon X facility. Some people hate this scene and call it a throwaway scene. I like it. It’s a nice way to create a distraction while forming new canon for this timeline. I know Singer doesn’t care for continuity, but it’s a nice scene. Plus, it gets you ready for the brutality of “Logan” coming out in 2017.

The X-Men head to Egypt to save Charles and stop Apocalypse. Magneto begins to destroy the world as Charles is strapped to the table that we allow Apocalypse to transfer his consciousness into Charles. And now another hour into the film, Mystique is back as Raven tells the kids to embrace their powers. Hank leads the kids to save Charles as Mystique and Quicksilver go for Erik. We get to see some awesome fight scenes like Nightcrawler and Angel and Hank and Psylock. It’s a little disappointing that Quicksilver doesn’t tell Erik that he’s his son. As Apocalypse begins the transfer, we get bald Charles. The kids save Charles and head back to the plane. As Psylock and Angel break into the plane, Nightcrawler teleports everyone out of the plane.

Quicksilver starts the fight against Apocalypse, but Apocalypse stops him. Mystique tries to sneak attack but it also fails. This leads to an awesome psychic battle between Charles and Apocalypse. Erik comes and saves his old friend. He leads the physical battle and Jean joins the psychic one, unleashing the Phoenix. This allows the youngsters to beat him physically. I will say the ending was great in this film, besides of course the exclusion of the Mall Scene. The final shot got me very giddy as the X-Men are in their comic book outfits, instead of the black leather from the first X-Men film.

After watching the deleted and extended scenes on the bluray, I wish a lot of them were in the film. Mist involve the Summers brothers or the young cast. They easily could’ve put these into the film without disrupting the tone, especially the ones that give a little more emotional punch to the Alex death. Honestly, the extra ten-ish minutes wouldn’t have hurt. I still love the film, but I think with those scenes added there would be more that do. It’s also amazing to see how much of this film used practical effects. The blend between that and digital is seamless.

Overall, I’d score this at 93%. Even with its faults, it’s a great story that digs into what makes us strong as opposed to weak and what we do when faced with adversity. We can buckle and follow people like Apocalypse or we can stand tall and fight like hell to do what we feel is right. As a comics fan and an X-Men fan, I see the negatives others give like Apocalypse and Mystique and offer up the themes and new cast. I’ve seen it three times and still feel the same way about the film. It reminds me of the Claremont run of “Uncanny X-Men” in the 80s and the Animated Series in the 90s. Is it as well written as those? Maybe not, but it takes the feeling you have watching it and adds it to this half end of trilogy and half origin film.

The Nice Guys Review

There has been an argument over the last few years about original films. The Nice Guys is considered one of those films. While I don’t subscribe to the argument, I will also not delve too much into it right now. I will say that The Nice Guys is as unique as most people say it is. It borrows from other films and Shane Black puts his unique spin on it. Ryan Gosling is a private detective that is looking for a dead model that her grandmother swears she saw days after the funeral. Russell Crowe is a guy who protects young girls from men preying on them. At the center of the story is Amelia, a girl who is in trouble with some thugs and her mother.

The plot is a good one. All of these people are looking for Amelia because she can name names regarding an auto industry scandal. Ryan and Russell become reluctant partners, after they find out dangerous people are after Amelia. The ensuing adventure is fun and hilarious, especially as Gosling’s daughter goes along for the ride. Speaking as no little girl should, she ends up being the most adult character in the movie. The film plays out like a normal bumbling idiot story, except both of them are bumbling idiots. That’s a drawback, as well as the story ending on a sour note. The film feels like it ends two or three times before it should, which also bothered me.

The final moments gave me a feeling that this was more like an origin story than a completed one. At the end, they make their own advertisement for their detective agency, opening up to the possibility for a sequel. That is sort of ironic for a film touted as one of the only original films coming out of Hollywood. Russell Crowe didn’t seem to be at the top of his game. Gosling was okay. Overall, I liked it. There are definitely flaws in the script that stop it from being a good flowing story. I won’t blame the editor because it seems to be a stylistic choice by Black. The film was shot and put together wonderfully. Sometimes, Shane Black takes big chances. On a scale of 0-100, I’d give it an 86%.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Review

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” is the sequel to the 2014 film, directed by David Green and Produced by Michael Bay. That second name gives most people pause because the Transformer films, but the first TMNT film of this series was okay. Overall, I landed at around 50%. I had high expectations for this film because the cast and crew talked about including the older fans in their plans for the film. Old favorites that are carryovers from the 80s animated series are Rocksteady, Bebop and Krang, as well as Casey Jones and Dr. Stockwell who were introduced in the comics.

Getting into this film, right away I noticed that there was more of a focus on the turtles. I really liked that because I felt too much time was spent on April and Vern in the last one. Stephen Amell, known for playing Oliver Queen on “Arrow”, was pretty good as Casey Jones. We’re introduced to him when, as a corrections officer, he is on the detail for Shredder’s transfer. The foot clan breaks him out and Casey is suspended.  They’ve taken some liberties with his back story, but nothing egregious. The way they used Krang kind of bummed me out and the way Krang just knows about Shredder is a little too convenient. Speaking about the plot, It’s pretty simplistic. Shredder gets sprung from jail, Krang sends him to find the rest of the trans dimensional device and the turtles try to stop him and Krang from destroying the world.

The other human characters were probably the worst part of the movie. Megan Fox and Will Arnett were just as annoying as in the last one. Tyler Perry was a bit zany for Dr. Stockman and the Police Chief was like a cartoon character. The positive characters were Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady and the Turtles. I loved the Brazil plane action sequence. The action scenes, in general, were great. The dialogue was horrible. Everyone had to explain what they were thinking or doing. It got annoying really fast. The motion capture in this film was also an improvement over the last one. I do feel like the technodrome sequence could’ve been better and I wish Krang was more involved in the plot. It was mostly set up for a third film.

Was the movie good? Not particularly. Did I enjoy it? Sure. It was fun and reminded me of the Animated Series. I know some people enjoy the comics more. If those are your Ninja Turtles, then this isn’t the movie for you. It’s obviously geared towards kids, so I’d suggest this for kids up to maybe fourteen. There’s violence, but no more than anything else on Nickelodeon. There is some foul language, though. If you are a fan of the cartoon and need a nostalgia trip, this will fill a quick need. On the scale of 0-100, I’d give this a 57%.

Civil War Spoiler Review: Story Commentary

Today, I’ll be writing a spoiler review for “Captain America: Civil War”. Do not continue reading, if you haven’t seen the film. If you’re still with me, fantastic. I critique films a little differently than other reviewers. As a writer, the story is the most important part of the film. The acting and visuals could be out of this world, but the story is where it’s at for me.

I wrote these thoughts as I watched the film for the third time on DVD. I loved “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and what the Russo Brothers did in that film, along with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely on the script. That, coupled with this film being based on one of my favorite storylines, made me excited for this film. My only real concern was the balancing act with all of the characters involved. This will be a little long, but bear with me. I will say that Anthony Mackie as Falcon is my favorite MCU character, but I believe Sebastian Shaw had the best acting performance, switching between Bucky and Winter Soldier. Let’s get started.

I loved the opening fight scene until Crossbones killed himself. Such a waste of a character. It would’ve made more sense for him to be in the Zemo role in the story. There is an established connection to Cap, since this was indeed Captain America 3. Like “Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice”, it doesn’t know what it wants to be… a solo or team film. The idea of Tony having these internal demons at the beginning at MIT is great, but the random mother’s story pushing him to go for registration is a little out there and looked to be too much of a nod to an even better scene in the comics. The Zemo scenes take me out of the film. He’s a bad villain and when we are introduced to him, he reminds me of a Soviet Inigo Montoya. I loved the scene where they debate the merits of the Accords. Captain America fighting for the right to choose is a great allegory for freedom in our great country and how sometimes we aren’t allowed to choose. The surprise of Natasha backing Tony took me back at first, but then I realized she becomes the turncoat.

Unfortunately, they killed off Peggy Carter. Fortunately, Sharon Carter recites my favorite line by Cap in the Civil War comic. That is the backbone of our society, compromise where you can but never lose your values and beliefs. Natasha and Steve discussing the Accords at the church shows how you can disagree on points without it becoming personal. This is something that changes in the next sequence. The introduction of T’Challa is fantastic and I loved that scene. However, It does feel a bit forced rather than fluid with the story. Suddenly, you have a King with diplomatic immunity going against an agreement he was just promoting before his father, and now former King, died. It was a very quick turn for me and could have been handled better.

Not only is there a struggle between the two super factions, but also with the script. There is a war between the Captain America sequel and an Avenger sequel. Once again, we have a thrown-in Helmut Zemo scene. You still don’t really get what he’s doing even though he’s reading from the Winter Soldier book. The Bucharest scene is cool with the Cap and Bucky escape sequence and Black Panther joining the fight. With Rhodes arresting the four combatants, the reveal of T’Challa is not as ceremonious as you would expect. By now, It’s a hour into the film and you are still not sure what the end game is of the film. Is it Cap trying to save Bucky and continue his adventures from “Captain America: Winter Soldier” by uncovering another corrupted group in the government, or adjacent to the government, or is it a film about the breakdown of the Avengers because of philosophical differences? The answer seems to be both, which is a problem storytelling wise. For all the great action and important subject matter, the story is muddled.

The Vision and Scarlet Witch scene is just a tossed in scene that doesn’t need to be in there. It’s more universe building like Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is disappointing. Elizabeth Olson’s Russian accent comes in and out too much and it becomes very noticeable. The whole scene inside the government facility after the arrest is interesting as they set up the government property point for a later confrontation. Unfortunately, I’m in the small camp of people who never really saw Steve and Tony as friends. I think that whole conversation between the two heroes shows who the other person is and exploits their personalities. The fact that Zemo could get into the facility to talk to Bucky is a little ridiculous. They don’t have facial recognition or something. The more I watch this film, the more I believe he was just put in there at the last second as a “We need a puppet master” character. Although, that scene does illustrate why the Accords are dumb. Tony didn’t bring a suit because he can’t fight unless ordered to by Congress or whomever. To prove Bucky is really Bucky, he brings up Steve’s mom. What is it about superheroes and their mothers? We get some Winter Soldier facility flashbacks, which are nice but maybe unnecessary. They cut from the warehouse to the government facility where Tony is stuck between saving face and dealing with his parental issues. Even as he talks to Natasha, you get a sense that he’s losing control of the situation.

Cut to QUEENS… Enter the Spider-Man! Of course, we get hot Aunt May. We also get the reveal that Tony somehow knows Pete is Spidey, which is never really explained. I like what we saw of Spider-Man and am looking forward to Homecoming, but this is a scene that didn’t need to be there. I’m also disappointed they didn’t use “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility” and that they neutered the character’s significance to the Civil War story. The Spider-Man spin-off comic for Civil War is fantastic. Of course, that deals more with secret identities and these films lack those for the most part. The next scene with Hawkeye, Vision and Scarlet Witch is also not really needed. I’m not sure what purpose the Widow/Panther scenes serve. Then there’s the Steve and Shannon kiss scene. The bros were proud of their boy getting kissed for the first time in 75 years.

The airport scene is fantastic and expertly crafted. It is probably the best scene in the film and one of the best fight scenes in cinematic history. I loved the pairings and fight choreography. It was simply amazing and blew me away. With that said, It didn’t need to be in there. It felt more like an intermission. This belonged in an Avengers film, which goes back to the struggle of the script. The Spider-Man and Captain America fight scene is my favorite. The back and forth, both verbally and physically, is top notch. It was also funny having Lang in the Iron Man suit. Once again, Sam becomes Steve’s voice of reason, acknowledging that there is a bigger story at play than this petty squabbling. When Black Widow makes her turn on Panther, you could see it coming from the very beginning. The “Empire Strikes Back” line is hilarious and probably is true for a lot of young people nowadays, unless they are Star Wars fans. Vision is the true uncontrollable one which shows when he inadvertently shoots Rhodes out of the sky. Tony blames Falcon out of frustration, which is unwarranted. At this point, you can’t really tell what Tony’s feelings about the situation are and frankly, he comes off as a tool for the government. That was probably the worse damage done to his character in this film.

As they now settle into “Zemo’s plan” and refocus on that, it proves that the story goes all over the place. They were literally just fighting each other over the Accords and Bucky and now they get back to the actual story. With everyone on Team Cap locked up in the Raft prison, Tony tries to turn face when he’s been the heel all along. Sam realizes that Steve needs help and he still doesn’t completely trust Bucky, so he figures Tony is his best shot at giving Cap some backup. I also thought it was strange that only T’Challa followed Tony and not Ross. I think that is a bit of a plot hole. It could’ve exposed Tony disobeying the Accords, but then he would be locked up in the raft too. So I guess that defeats the point of the unhappy end we get, more on that later. The whole third act goes downhill with the mustache twirling of Zemo behind the bulletproof glass. That whole flashback scene earlier was for naught since Zemo killed the other Winter Soldiers. He could’ve at least defrosted one of the Winter Soldiers to face them. Now that flashback scene is useless. I wish if they were going to use Zemo, that we could have gotten a little more character development. No emotional attachment at the end when he talks to T’Challa about his family. Sympathy, but no attachment.

And then, there’s Civil War’s “Martha” moment… I wish this film was more about this fight. The struggle between Tony and Steve over Bucky. This is what they were building on in “Captain America: the Winter Soldier”. This fight sequence is also very powerful in its significance. Steve Rogers is not only fighting Tony but what Tony represents, the government and the people who took away his only friend in the first place. Peggy is gone, which makes Bucky the only person left from his old life. Cutting to T’Challa and Zemo is very misplaced. This scene should have came after Captain drops his shield. That is the moment where you realize Steve Rogers truly is a man lost in time. The America that shield once stood for, in his eyes, is gone and replaced with people like Tony Stark and Secretary Ross. The “I can do this all day” line shows Captain America’s resilience and is a nice throwback to a great scene from “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Tony is right when he says that shield doesn’t belong to him anymore, just like America doesn’t. Very powerful themes and symbolisms that get lost in the shuffle.

The whole epilogue feels very Empire Strikes Back, hence the reference by Spider-Man earlier in the film. Stan Lee with his cameo was hilarious. In the last shot, we see Steve at the raft getting Sam. Is it assumed that he rescues the whole team? When would we see this? Infinity War is the only real possibility. The two post credit scenes are also set up for the future Black Panther and Spider-Man films.

I really struggled with this film. I wanted to love it like everyone else, but I feel the people saying it’s the greatest Comic Book movie of all time are being hyperbolic. The politics and symbolism behind this film are powerful, but get lost in a struggle between two different “A” stories. The slow scenes were very much the Russo Brothers handiwork, but you can tell the action scenes were done with the help of the director of “The Raid”. The Black Panther, Spider-Man and airport scenes are fantastic and out of this world, but feel misplaced in this film. Overall, I’ve seen this film three times and I think I’ve landed on a score. With all of it’s weaknesses, the strengths severely outweigh them. I think on a scale of 0-100, I’d give “Captain America: Civil War” an 83%. Another solid outing by Marvel Studios.

The Jungle Book Review

The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, is a fantastic step forward in the use of Motion Capture and great adaptation of the Kipling tale. The young actor who played Mowgli, Neel Sethi, was standout. In a 99% digital environment, He was able to interact with his surroundings as if it were real. There was never a point where I thought this film was shot in a warehouse in Hollywood. Visuals alone can’t make a movie great, which is one of my issues with Avatar. The visuals are an enhancement rather than the main attraction in this fun ride.

The voice acting and motion capture performance were top notch. I’m a huge fan of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The motion capture in this film is there with the quality of the Andy Serkis starred film. Serkis is also producing his own version of Kipling’s story for Warner Brothers.

The advantage of this film is that it is a Disney production, meaning the iconic songs from the beloved animated film make cameo appearances in the film. Bill Murray’s Baloo and Christopher Walken’s King Louis perform the two biggest songs of the film, “Bare Necessities” and “I Want to Be Like You”, and do them justice. I also realized I want Bill Murray doing more voice over roles.

This film definitely carves its own path from the source material and the animated adaptation. Mowgli uniting the jungle against Shere Khan is a unique spin on a divisive novel about imperialism and an animated film with strains of racial intolerance. The film also uses inclusiveness and family as themes. I do wish we had more time to explore the relationship between Mowgli and the Wolves. Some of the time devoted to fan service of the animated film eats into what could’ve been done with that relationship. There is also a point where it’s reminiscent of The Lion King in the stampede scene after the tiger chases Mowgli across the field. The overall story was great and tightly written. Favreau, like with “Iron Man” before this, is able to adapt an intellectual property expertly. He takes the essence of the story and updates it for modern audiences. Especially nowadays, when one mistake means the mob mentality disowns you. This film shows how even though you can make a mistake, you can be remorseful and forgiven.

Overall, the film is great and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. The few negatives I have of the film, stalls a bit in the middle and a quick resolution, pale in comparison to the upsides. The story, visuals and direction are all excellent. The animated film is held in high regard to me, but this version is right there with it and improves upon it in some ways. On a scale of 0-100, I’d give it an 89.