God’s Not Dead 2: The Tragic Irony of Christian Filmmaking

2 Out Of 5 Reels

Hey Everyone! Welcome to another review at Flickmuncher.com where we entertain food for thought.

I’ll be honest guys, this was a tricky film to review, for me personally because it strikes so many things that mean a great deal to me as a person and as someone who loves and reviews films. For that reason, let’s get right into the review.

Directed by Harold Cronk, the story of God’s Not Dead 2 revolves around a high-school history teacher named Grace Wesley (played by Melissa Joan Hart) who finds herself embroiled in a court case when her superiors find that she answered a student’s question by citing Jesus. With the eye of a major litigator (Ray Wise) intent on making an example of her case and her defender (Jesse Metcalf) uncertain of her innocence, Grace is faced with deciding between her future and her dedication to her faith.

I’m not really sure where to start with this movie. As someone who is a Christian and who does support the beliefs that are presented in this film, I probably favor it more than some and I applaud Pure Flix Entertainment and all the people who worked so hard to produce this film for standing by their beliefs and putting forth their right to express those beliefs, especially in a time when those freedoms seem to be more and more uncertain.

However, I’m not one to make political statements, nor is this the place to make one. This is a film review. The point of a film review is not to assess the validity of the film’s content but to comment on how such content is presented.

So, what are the good things about this movie? Well, it definitely has acting talent necessary to properly present it’s story. The cast is certainly small but not unqualified. Ray Wise is something of standout in that it’s easy to hate his character, as much because he is the epitome of a slimy opportunistic lawyer as he is the antagonist of the film. His performance is complemented by Jesse Metcalf who tries his hardest as the young-buck lawyer who finds himself severely out of his depth. The weak link in the main cast ironically is Grace herself. Melissa Joan Hart is the most experienced actor in this cast next to Wise with performances in the tv show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But her performance in God’s Not Dead 2 she just doesn’t land the way she should. We’ve all felt persecuted at some point, like nothing is going our way. This should make Grace a character who should by all rights be easy to relate to. Except, she isn’t. In spite of being faced with losing everything she has, Hart never gives the audience a good idea of the sheer strain that this situation has to be having on her character. She bears the entire thing with the fortitude of a Saint. While that’s all well and good as far as the movie’s message is concerned, it’s not a great way to build drama. Some of this must be attributed to director Harold Cronk’s direction and the writing staff. However, it’s still a disappointing performance given Hart’s known ability as an actress.

The story is also sadly lacking. The premise is good and courtroom dramas have proven to produce great stories, such as A Few Good Men (1992), in the past. The problem is that this movie’s story lacks the thing that all three-act narratives need: tension. Because of how Grace’s problem is presented in the first place, there is never any doubt in the audience’s mind, what the outcome will be. In some stories, knowing the outcome is allowable because we find the characters engaging and just want to see more of them doing whatever it is they do. This film doesn’t have that luxury because the characters in it are so straight-forward, on both sides. Ultimately it makes for a wooden and uninteresting narrative that feels tied down by the themes that the writers wanted to wrap their story around.

Speaking of themes, one of the most frustrating is tied directly to the movie’s title. I’m going come right out and say that I don’t think God’s Not Dead 2 was the title this movie should have had. The film goes to unusual lengths to justify it’s existence but just ends up making us wonder about it more. The previous movie had the title God’s Not Dead because that was the central question of the movie, so it made sense. Here, that question has no bearing on the plot or the characters. In fact, the only connection this movie has to the first is a few characters that are carried over and play only a minor role in the plot. So, why was this movie titled God’s Not Dead 2 again?

Anyway, those characters from the first movie are another thing that this movie didn’t need. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong having them in there. After all, if you want to have connective tissue between movies, continuing characters is one of the best ways of doing so. But if they get in the way of the main narrative that is being told, then they are not acting as connective tissue anymore. In this film, those recurring characters all have their own subplots, each of which takes our focus away from Grace’s story. That’s the last thing I want as an audience member. It would be a little more tolerable if these characters did anything but none of their subplots go anywhere and thus their inclusion feels completely unneeded.

Finally, and this is a minor pet peeve of mine, there’s the Newsboys and the Duck Dynasty plug-ins. I really don’t like it when a movie puts product placement in with its narrative, even when they are with products that I support (I’m not especially a fan of either Newsboys or Duck Dynasty but that’s beside the point). What’s especially irritating for me is the fact that this is the same stuff they did in the first movie. Sure there’s something to be said for thematic continuity, each film ending with a Newsboys concert for instance, but it feels so blatant that I felt pulled out of the movie when that happened.


This film is frustrating for me in sooo many ways that it’s difficult for me to put it clearly. On the one hand, as a christian film, it’s certainly better than others I’ve seen. The scenes are put together nicely and the cinematography is well done for what it’s intended to be and the performances of the cast help to make the underwhelming and unfocused narrative a little easier to deal with.

On the other hand, as a person who tends to put story and character first in a movie, this is just a tough movie to sit through, even with the uplifting message and good performances. The primary reason I gave it a higher score than Batman v Superman from last week was because of the overall feeling I had coming out of the theater which can be summarized as thoughtful indifference as opposed to the categorical dislike I had for the former movie.

However, I think this movie’s quality is indicative of a trend in Christian movies over the last few years that has become equally frustrating, where the movie’s are so preoccupied with offering the message of Christ and showing their faith on screen that they sabotage themselves by not taking advantage of a movie’s most powerful tool. Jesus told messages, yes. But he also told parables. People who aren’t Christians still know the stories of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan because they are stories that struck an emotional chord with them. There are plenty of great stories that can be told about Christians. If you don’t believe me, look up The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, with Ingrid Bergman. That’s a fantastic story with memorable characters that shows the struggles of a missionary to China just before World War II. Chariots of Fire is another excellent example.

Story and character are the backbone of any good movie. I think if christian filmmakers remember that, then they can make films of equal, maybe even superior, quality to those of their more mainstream peers. If they remember that.

As it stands with this movie however, I can only say that, in my eyes at least, God’s Not Dead 2 is a hopeful but disappointing follow-up in a franchise that is itself an unfortunate disappointment.

BvS: Dawn of Justice Review: How to ruin Superheroes without really trying

1 Out Of 5 Reels

Hey, Everybody! Welcome to another movie review from Flickmuncher.com. I had planned to do a review on The Divergent Series: Allegiant but unfortunately I was out of town last weekend and I wasn’t able to go see it to give it a review. I might review it at a later date but for right now there will not be an Allegiant review on Flickmuncher.com

With that out of the way, some of you might have heard about a little comic book movie that happened to be coming out this weekend called Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The hype behind this movie was staggering; easily outstripping any movie that didn’t have the words Star Wars in its title. Movie pundits and comic book geeks(with whom I proudly identify myself) were practically climbing the walls with excitement. Even people with zero interest in comic book movies found themselves curious to see these two icons sharing the silver screen for the first time; to see the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight together in a medium where twenty years ago such a thing would have been considered, not impossible but highly unlikely. So now that it’s been released, does it live up to the incredible hype that it generated?

Warning – For those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, so if you care about such things and want to see the movie first then stop reading here.

For those of you who are still reading, I will assume that either you’ve already seen the movie or that spoilers don’t matter.

So let’s look at the premise. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is directed by Zach Snyder (300 and Watchmen) and picks up immediately after the events detailed in the 2013 film Man of Steel (also directed by Snyder) where a Kryptonian invasion and Superman’s (Henry Cavill) efforts to stop it leaves much of the city of Metropolis in ruins and hundreds dead. Among those to witness the destruction is billionaire businessman Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) who watches as a battle between Superman and the evil General Zod obliterates one of his office buildings and many of the people inside it. In the aftermath of the Battle of Metropolis, Superman has become a figure of much controversy and distrust, especially that of the government and Wayne’s alter-ego Batman who is coming up with a solution to the Superman problem using weaponized Kryptonite. Meanwhile, shady businessman Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is at work on his own plan to remove Superman from the picture using technology from a downed Kryptonian ship while also attempting to secretly turn public opinion against the man of steel. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is constantly dogged in his efforts to procure Kryptonite by a mysterious woman who has her own agenda.

Are you still with me? Good. So, yeah, this movie has a plot with more holes in it than a block of swiss cheese after a shotgun blast. It is pretty paper-thin and what’s worse is that it wastes the premise that it starts out with, namely Superman facing consequences of his actions when they cause damage, injury, and even death to people that he is supposed to be protecting, even if he had the best intentions in mind. Continued recklessness on Superman’s part would give Batman a solid reason for developing a way to deal with him and it would solidify Bruce’s motivation.

But, in a weird twist of irony, Superman isn’t shown as destructively reckless in this movie. Really, for the better part of the first half, this movie shows Superman doing what Superman does, which is saving people, albeit a bit over-dramatically at times. Admittedly, he doesn’t do much at all beyond that in this movie except play punching bag for Batman but that’s a whole other story. The one point of violence he does enact directly on a human being is against a terrorist who is holding Lois Lane at gunpoint. A terrorist whose purpose I am honestly still confused by.

In point of fact, it seemed to me like Batman showed a more cavalier disregard for human life in this film. One sequence has him blowing up several SUV’s (that still have people in them) by opening up with the .50 caliber machine guns fixed to the hood of the Batmobile and then crashing through a boatyard with a devil-may-care attitude that would shock a Monster Truck driver. In another scene, he takes the Batwing on a strafing run of some more SUV’s (also with people still in them) in an effort to rescue Superman’s mother. Then, during that same rescue, he ends up in a stand-off with a man holding a flamethrower at Ma Kent. How does he handle the situation? He shoots the guy’s gas pack turning him into a living bomb, almost killing Ma Kent in the process.

Why do I bring all this up? Because Batman is the person that the movie expects us to root for and relate to. He is the main character, despite being only one half of the title. He doesn’t trust Superman and the power that Superman wields, which is understandable. After all “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. But given his actions in the film next to Superman’s, Batman has absolutely no moral grounds for fighting Superman beyond his own guilt and paranoia. And I’m sorry, that’s a huge problem in a film where both heroes need to be likeable and understandable. I didn’t feel I got to know the characters enough to understand them, and neither of them felt likeable. And that’s not against the performers. Henry Cavill is perfectly fine as Superman and Ben Affleck is a wonder to behold as Batman, giving both him and Bruce Wayne an edge that we’ve not seen since Michael Keaton played the role. It’s just the way the characters are written makes it difficult to connect with them in any way. For this I lay the blame at the feet of screenwriter David Goyer, a man who once asked if people who liked Martian Manhunter (a lesser-known DC hero) “have ever been laid?”.And DC chose this man to write their flagship characters. Classy.

So, now that I’ve talked at length about the main characters and the story, what about the rest of the movie? Well, there are some real bright spots in this movie. I’ve already mentioned Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill but Jeremy Irons as Alfred and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman also are deserving of a mention. Irons provides most of the lighter moments in the film with his dry wit while also providing a voice of reason and support to Affleck’s Batman. Gadot likewise is fun as Wonder Woman. She isn’t given much to do but the moments she is in, especially the small ones with Bruce Wayne, are a lot of fun to watch.

The action beats are also a lot of fun to watch at least, if not for their narrative significance. Watching the special effects was like watching moving art. It’s just gorgeous to look at and whatever I might or might not have against Zach Snyder, his movies always look good. The visuals are almost impossible to describe while doing justice to the scene. This is why it’s so frustrating for me that these visuals are not paired with a narrative and characters of equal quality. Zach Snyder, as a director, has always had this problem and it keeps this from being a movie that could have been truly great.

This brings me to the last and most irritating part of this movie: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I’ll sum up Lex Luthor in one sentence: imagine the Dark Knight’s Joker, mixed with a drunk Captain Jack Sparrow. Imagine that and you will have this Lex Luthor. This is a character that exists entirely to be the villain, to the point of being cartoonish. He has no solid motivation for hating Superman other than he’s Lex Luthor; he has to hate Superman. The entire movie is dependent on his motivation and by the end when he’s put away you’re still not sure why he does everything he does. Beyond that, the movie simply dispenses with him having any fallibility whatsoever. He knows everything about Batman and Superman. Their secret identities, their loved ones, their weaknesses; all with no explanation for how he knows that. Although I suppose it makes sense for this Superman given how little interest he seems to have in protecting his identity or his loved ones, but Batman? Batman is all about protecting his secret identity. How in the world could Lex have figured this out? And wouldn’t it do more damage given all the criminals Batman has put away to simply put a bounty out on his head in Gotham? You might say, “it’s because Lex wanted Batman and Superman to take each other out by having them fight.” If so, why would he kidnap Lois and Ma Kent to get Superman to fight? Why wouldn’t he try to make Superman believe that Batman was the real evil that needed to be dealt with? Because, whether they succeeded or not in taking each other out, one of them was likely to survive and the one that survived was going to probably come for him. What did he plan on doing then? To quote Val Kilmer, “It just raises too many questions.” Ugghhh.

And finally there’s Lex’s constant and self-important pontificating about the roles of god and man. Which could have been interesting if the story had made more effort to support it, but it doesn’t seek to answer any of the philosophical questions that it raises and thus his speeches amount to nothing more than verbal diarrhea that’s just set-up for the future Justice League movie.

Speaking of which, the tie-ins for the future justice league are so mistimed that it actually took me out of the movie for a second, and I knew what was going on because I’m familiar with the comics. I can’t imagine how it must be for someone who doesn’t know who all these characters are and what their roles are in the comics. The set-ups themselves are not bad but they come right before the climax. This disrupts any tension that the movie had been building as it moved up to Doomsday in the Kryptonian ship.

This leads me to the biggest spoiler of the movie, the “death” of Superman at Doomsday’s hand. How well this works for you is dependent on what you think of Superman as a character and where you think he’s at in his development in this movie. For me, I was genuinely shocked when Superman was killed and I applaud Zach Snyder for what he was trying to do—emphasis on ‘trying’–when he made that decision. The problem I have with it is that there’s no suspense. Death in movies works best when it actually sticks. I personally knew when they killed him that he’d be back(after all you can’t have a Justice League movie without Superman) but I was shocked when the grains of dirt began rising off the coffin in the last shot of the movie. I didn’t think they’d do it so soon and it made me as an audience member question the point of killing him in the first place.


I think I need to wrap this up before I pop a blood vessel or something equally unhealthy.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a dark film. A very dark film. I think part of this is that they are still trying to do with superheroes what Christopher Nolan did with Batman in the Dark Knight Trilogy where he applied superheroes to a real world scenario. The other part is I think a reaction to their primary competition at Marvel which are known for giving their heroes a light and playful tone more often than not. Neither of these are wrong in and of themselves. It’s good that DC wants to do something different with its movies and the The Dark Knight Trilogy, while still having problems, are a terrific set of movies to emulate. I don’t even mind these movies having a darker tone if it suits them. But there needs to be a point to the darkness. You can’t just have a movie, especially a superhero movie, be dark without giving the audience a reason for that tone beyond being dark and gritty for its own sake. This movie doesn’t have that reason and so it lacks a sense of purpose, almost having a nihilism to it that it doesn’t need to accomplish its goals. Worse, the filmmakers disrespect their audience by assuming they know what the audience wants better than they do. They think they want Batman and Superman, the two of the most iconic characters in history. It doesn’t matter how they’re shown, just put the names “Batman” and “Superman” into the title and people will pile into the seats to see it no matter what. And the sad thing is that they’re not wrong. This movie will make lots of money. Heck, it already has. But I’ve heard several movie pundits say about this movie that its not for kids. And that makes me sad. Because a movie about two icons like Batman and Superman should be for kids.

Remember my mention of David Goyer and him mocking fans of Martian Manhunter? You might be wondering what that had to do with Batman and Superman. Well, here’s the thing about this movie: This is not solely a movie for comic book geeks, but I think it underestimates how much people know about these characters, beyond their origin stories. We all know Batman and Superman because they have such an established presence in our lives. We learned about them when we were kids because we wanted to be like them. By talking down to the audience, the film alienates us from the experience, treating us like four-year-olds to wave candy in front of. Worse, it makes us wonder why these guys were so meaningful to us in the first place. For me, as a filmgoer, that makes me question why I’m sitting in the theater at all. That’s the last thing I want to think while watching a film called Batman v Superman. In fact, before the movie, there was a trailer for Lego Batman and I looking back that I found that two minute long trailer far more enjoyable than the two-and-a-half hour long movie I watched. And I don’t think I was alone in that feeling.

This is the movie we got, and the fact it was made at all is a remarkable feat. A lot of people worked very hard to bring it to us. But for a film with two figures like these, shouldn’t we expect more? For that reason I can only recommend watching it if you are insatiably curious. Or perhaps you just want to watch a mindless action flick with superheroes in it. If so, more power to you. Enjoy yourself. But for me, this was a movie that definitely flew too near the sun.

What did you guys think of the movie? Do you agree with my thoughts? Where do you disagree? What did you like so much about it? Is there something that you’d like me to review? Let me know in the comments below or share this review with your friends and talk to them about it.

You can find me on twitter @Lightwielder524. Until next time, have a great week and May the Flick be with You!


(2014, May 21). Retrieved March 28, 2016, from http://www.themarysue.com/david-goyer-calls-she-hulk-sex-fantasy/


4 1/2 Reels out of 5

Flickmuncher Zootopia poster 2

Hey, Everybody and welcome to Flickmuncher.com! Those of you who read my Gods of Egypt review know that I was in a particularly foul mood that day. Well, I’m pleased to report that my spirits have brightened considerably since then. Much of that has to do with the film that I will be telling you about shortly. With that in mind…

WARNING – BEWARE OF WILD SPOILERS! (Seriously, beware. Spoilers can be dangerous.)

During winter months things can seem like such a drag sometimes. Going from day to day, waiting for the cold weather to end and you can do something that doesn’t involve skiing or sitting inside all day (especially here in the midwest), it seems so dreary at times and without anything remotely interesting. But then you get that rare day where the sun shines out and even though it’s still cold outside, you can’t help but go outside and think to yourself, “this isn’t so bad”.

Well, that particular day of sunshine just came for me in the form of Disney’s Zootopia. Admittedly, I’m a bit biased since I’ve been raised on Disney films—though to be fair, so has 95 percent of America—but that still doesn’t take away from what is a really enjoyable film. I don’t know what it is but Disney Animation has been on a creative roll lately and I think this is one of their most entertaining offerings thus far.

So what is Zootopia, you might ask? Well, lets find out.

Zootopia is the story of a young bunny named Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) who grows up in a world of anthropomorphic animals who wear clothes, walk on two legs, and talk like people. Judy’s lifelong dream is to leave her family’s carrot farm and go to the city of Zootopia to become the first ever bunny police officer. Determined to prove herself, Judy enlists the help of a street-wise con-artist fox named Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman) and the two find themselves in the middle of a case that could threaten everyone in Zootopia.

Flickmuncher Zootopia image 7

The story of this movie is hardly original. Buddy-cop/odd couple movies are almost as old as movies themselves. But what Zootopia lacks in originality it makes up for in creativity and execution. The two main characters are both likeable in unique ways, with Judy’s natural energy and idealistic tendencies and Nick’s smooth-talking and clever cynicism, that allows for some really clever and funny comedy between them. At the same time, their natural positions as “sly fox” and “dumb bunny” make for some very interesting and heartfelt moments that may fly over kids heads but will strike adults straight in the face about what someone can and can’t be. Much of this is delivered through the spot-on voice acting of Ginnifer Goodwin (who I always seem to pronounce with a heavy G instead of the J sound despite others pronouncing it as J) and Jason Bateman, who both knock their performances out of the park.

In regards to the plot itself, as a cop movie its actually very well set up and the payoff towards the end over who is responsible and why is handled brilliantly. I won’t dare spoil that plot-point but I will say that towards the end of the second act I was not entirely sure what was going to happen and that is the mark of a good plot. If there is a problem with the story, it is that there’s a bit of a drag at the end of the second act, and its a problem I feel many movies have(especially romantic comedies and dramas). Stop me if you’ve heard this before:

Judy hurts Nick. He leaves.

She feels bad about it and quits the force.

She goes home and mopes for a few minutes before having a revelation.

She goes back to Nick and says she’s sorry.

He forgives her and they get back on the case.

Begin climax.

Flickmuncher Zootopia image 1

If this sounds familiar that’s because it is. Many movies have done this and continue to do this and while this by no means ruins the film, I do wish that they hadn’t used this particular trope because it feels like a waste of time that could have been spent in better ways. That slip-up aside, the plot is still enjoyable even though, like I said earlier, it’s hardly original. But moving on.

Let me make this perfectly clear. I MUST GO TO ZOOTOPIA! There is just so much to love about this place and the level of detail that the creators put into it is astounding. The design is very reminiscent of San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6 but it has its own character, taking advantage of naturally bright color as opposed to the neon palette Big Hero 6 used. From how different sections of the city are set up with separate climates, I especially got a kick from Tundratown and Little Rodentia, to how shops provide their wares to tiny voles and tall giraffes, it shows how much care was put into making the place a living breathing city. It’s so alive as a character in its own right that I just want to see more of it. In fact, I want Disney to make this into a theme park right now just so I can see this whole world that these filmmakers created. Yes, I know that Disney World has the Animal Kingdom but if Star Wars, a world that has much less official flesh on its bones, can get a theme park then why can’t this? Yes, I just compared Zootopia to Star Wars.

Flickmuncher Zootopia image 5

Finally, there’s the humor. A few weeks ago I put up a review on Deadpool, a movie that many found hilariously entertaining. I noted the fact that though there were a few moments that I found genuinely hilarious, not a lot of the jokes hit for me. Zootopia was for me, the exact opposite of that on the humor scale. I was laughing constantly throughout this film and so was my sister who joined me. Some bits had us laughing so hard, I thought we might be bothering the kids who were watching the movie in the rows just behind us.

Zootopia is one of those films that’s probably funnier for adults than it is for kids, though there are plenty of jokes for them too. But the thing that I think sets this and other animated movie offerings apart is how clever that humor is. The filmmakers know that they have to make it kid-friendly and yet they want a movie that they would want to watch as well. So, they have to be more creative in how they set up and present their jokes. So they throw in sly nods and references that mean nothing to a child but is extra entertaining to an adult. Plus, they allow the jokes time to develop, something that rarely happens in this era of movie making. Usually jokes come a mile-a-second. This also adds watchability in the long-term because kids and even us adults will come back years from now and see things that they had missed the first time.

Flickmuncher Zootopia image 3

Is this Disney Animation’s best film ever? No, not really. Will it be the greatest box office hit of it’s era? Probably, not. But I can say with absolute certainty that this is the most fun and entertaining time I’ve had in a theater since I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I cannot recommend it enough. It has something for everyone. The kids’ll enjoy the animals, the environment, and the colors. The teens and adults’ll have a blast with the jokes and get a heartfelt and unusual story out of it at the end. Even if you don’t have any kids, get some friends and go see it anyway because it’s not something to miss out on.

I do have one question for the filmmakers though. What was with that Shakira animal Gazelle? Is she seriously Zootopia’s only celebrity?


Next week: We travel to California to ponder justice, revenge, and what on earth charm has to do with a spoon in 1993’s The Mask of Zorro.

flickmuncher image MoZ poster

What did you guys think of Zootopia? Was it what you expected? Better? Worse? Let me know in the comments section below, or contact me on Twitter @LightWielder524. I look forward to hearing all your thoughts.

Have a great week and as always, May the Flick be with You!

Gods of Egypt

Flickmuncher GoE poster 2


So, to give everyone a heads up, this is going to be a shorter review than usual for a couple of reasons. One is that I’ve been very pressed for time this week and am scrambling to get things done. The second is that there isn’t a lot to talk about where this movie is concerned.

With that out of the way, this is my review for Gods of Egypt, and wowwww was it bad.

I want to say good things about the movies I review, I really do. No movie is perfect and no movie is completely devoid of anything of value but here we are here in the doldrums of winter and even the humorous Deadpool isn’t giving me much to work with. So am I overreacting a little bit? Maybe, its not as bad as it seems?

Well, lets take a look at the plot.

In ancient Egypt, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the so-called Lord of the Air, is about to be crowned King of Egypt by his father Osiris. However, his uncle Set (Gerard Butler), God of the Desert, thinks that Horus isn’t deserving of the throne and kills Osiris before taking Horus’ eyes and stripping him of his power. Aided by a lowly thief named Bek(Brenton Thwaites), Horus must reclaim his eyes and stop Set from destroying the world.

Flickmuncher GoE image 4


If it sounds like a pretty standard plot that’s probably because it is. Right from the get-go, if you’re looking for something new in a movie that you’ve never seen before, this likely isn’t it.

I will give this movie one thing, it certainly looks pretty. With lots of shiny armor and doodads (the titular Gods literally bleed gold), and decidedly egyptian looking designs and architecture, it’s a lot of fun to look at. Admittedly, much of it is CGI but that doesn’t necessarily detract from the picture if you allow for it not looking over-realistic.

Flickmuncher GoE image 5

Beyond that though, it is just no fun to watch. The fight scenes are cool at first but the constant and needless slllloooo-mmmmoooo ultimately makes the action a chore to sit through. The dialogue isn’t much better. The whole cast, with the possible exception of Gerard Butler who gives some really hammy moments as Set, is doing their best with what they’re given but the script for this movie is absolutely atrocious. While watching in the theater I kept noticing the timing of the lines in each individual scene. Each line never seemed to be given proper time to settle before the next comes along. I don’t know if this was due to the acting or the direction but in either case the result is the same, we end up being distracted because the interactions of the characters don’t feel believable.


Furthermore, the plot is full of padding that makes for a movie that feels slow in spite of the amount of stuff that is going on in it, and the resolutions for all the characters problems are weak and too unearned. There’s a subplot with Bek and his girlfriend not making it to the afterlife because she is too poor to make it through the final gate. This is cool. It shows us the mythology of this world and how things work in a way that is truly intriguing. But it is too easily dismissed by the end of the film and feels false, doing a disservice to the movie as a whole and on top of that there is a “Sequel-beg” moment at the end that didn’t interest me at all, not because I necessarily think setting up future movies is wrong (though that’s a discussion worth having), but because I. Didn’t. Care.



Whenever I go with friends to see a movie, regardless of whether there’s a scene at the end, I make it a personal policy not to leave until the last of the credits have rolled. The reason I choose to do this is because a lot of people worked to bring me this entertainment and the least I can do for them is respect their efforts by waiting for the curtain call to end. I applaud every single person who works on a movie, from the acting and directing to the people who do the catering for the crews. They do things that I couldn’t imagine doing and they deserve recognition for what they do.

That being said, if I think a movie is bad, that isn’t a knock against the people who created it, its a knock against the creation itself. I believe a movie’s primary purpose for existing is to entertain the audience and this, in my humble opinion, is a film that is not entertaining. It is not worth the time or money you would spend to see it and in that light, I cannot recommend this movie. If you’ve seen the trailers and absolutely must see it to sate your curiosity, put a post-it note on your fridge and rent it when it arrives on Blu-Ray.

Next Week: We travel to a land where Rabbits, Foxes, and Bears live in anthropomorphic harmony together and, hopefully, I’ll be much happier in Disney’s Zootopia.

Flickmuncher Zootopia poster


What do you guys think of the reviews so far? If you have suggestions or movie topics that you’d like to see talked about it I’m all ears. Put a note down in the comment section or find me on twitter @LightWielder524.

Have a great week and as always May the Flick be with You!



Warning–this article will contain SPOILERS!

So this was an interesting film to review for me. When it was first announced last year, I honestly had very little interest in going to see Deadpool. However, one of my friends was really looking forward to it, whether out of curiosity or genuine interest I’m not sure, but the trailers did seem pretty funny so I decided it might be worth a look, if only to find out what all the fuss was about.

As the release date closed in however, the marketing for this film became virtually inescapable. Back in October I went to see the James Bond movie Specter with my mom and Granddad and there was a trailer for Deadpool in front of it. Now, neither of them watch R-rated movies on a regular basis and my Granddad has absolutely no interest in superhero films at all, yet they both wanted to go and see it. That’s how entertaining the trailers were!

So the release date arrived, and people were raving about this film even the week before, declaring it to be a whole new kind of hilarious super-hero film that would revitalize the genre. I bought a ticket and went to see it with my brother-in-law. The theater we went to see it in was packed, with a line that literally went out the door. We sat down to watch and when I came out…I was disappointed. Why?

Well, first lets discuss who and what Deadpool is.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a foul-mouthed low-level gun-for-hire who falls in love with a prostitute/stripper named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). They’re starting to build a life together when Wade finds out that he has stage 4 Cancer pretty much everywhere. Having no other options he accepts a deal for a cure from a shady guy in a lab coat calling himself Ajax (Ed Skrein). Ajax cures him and makes him effectively immortal but the transformation leaves him disfigured. He destroys Ajax’s lab but the villain escapes in the process. Wade then goes on a quest of revenge against Ajax and his group, becoming the costumed anti-hero Deadpool.

“Is that a bear or a shark?”

Let’s start with the good things.

I know very little about Deadpool beyond his extremely overzealous fanbase and basic characteristics: the red hood, his ability to regenerate any lost limb or injury, his sarcasm and sense of humor toward heroes in general, and that his name is Wade Wilson. From what I saw in this movie however, Ryan Reynolds is Wade Wilson. He seems to be perfectly at ease with the role of the fast-talking low-life mercenary that Deadpool is. His performance in the softer-moments of the film (what few there are) feels genuine and his higher-pitched voice is so cartoony that it makes his many quips that much easier to laugh at.

Speaking of laughs, much of my audience was guffawing throughout a large portion of this film. I’ll admit there were a lot of moments that I personally didn’t find funny but plenty of people in my audience did. That doesn’t mean I didn’t laugh at all in this movie, just that I laughed a lot less. But when this movie did get me, it hit me really good. There were a couple moments when I was literally in tears, I was laughing so hard. I’ll sum my favorite moments up real quick: Colossus vs. Deadpool and the Zamboni incident.

The plot of the movie—while pretty basic and rote—is nice and easy to follow, in spite of flashbacks, which means more time for jokes. When a lot of movies today have complex plots about all the things our main character has to do to get what he wants or needs, it’s nice to have a film that is less about the end goal and is more about how much fun can be had getting there.

That philosophy is embodied in the opening credits and the first ten to fifteen minutes which are, in my opinion, the best part of the film. It’s pretty much all hilarious action with Ryan Reynolds going all out as Deadpool against a caravan of goons. The action is gorgeously shot and there isn’t a bit of “shaky cam” to be found as he deals with the goons one-by-one, quipping all the way. It’s a super-fun sequence to watch even if it is a bit gruesome at times.

Our insurance agent's gonna flip!
Our insurance agent’s gonna flip!

Sadly, that brings me to the things the movie doesn’t do so well.

I just mentioned how the action in the first sequence of the movie is so well done, which is why it’s so frustrating that most of the action in the rest of the film is pretty lackluster, especially in the finale. The funny thing is that the sequences are not bad, per se, so much as they are boring after the amazing opening sequence. I think if the movie had ended with the opening sequence then I might feel a lot better about this than I do. But this is how they made it.

In many ways that’s kind of a microcosm of the film itself. Moments of brilliance mixed with stuff that just feels average at best, especially when compared to those moments of brilliance.

"We're NOT playing the Whack-a-mole!"
“We’re NOT playing the Whack-a-mole!”

I also didn’t feel like the romance with Wade and Vanessa worked. There’s a scene towards the beginning where they’re playing in an arcade and talking about how messed up their respective lives are. You see them bonding over the irony of how terrible their lives seem to be. It’s a great scene and one I wish we could have seen more of. Unfortunately, that’s all we get and it’s not enough to make their tragic romance work in the context of the story. We have Wade telling us about how much he loves Vanessa, especially after he learns he has cancer, but that doesn’t make us feel like he loves her. It’s a case of telling instead of showing, and no, love scenes don’t count. Those are just there for padding and don’t add anything to the movie whatsoever.

Speaking of adding nothing to the movie, lets talk about our villain, Ajax. Ajax is a complete waste in this movie and in all honesty, there isn’t a lot to him. He’s sadistic and he has no sense of humor, and…that’s about it. He can’t feel pain so I guess that’s something but what fun is a villain who can’t feel anything? There’s even a line in the movie where he says, “Now I feel nothing”. There’s nothing to make us care why he is Wade Wilson’s arch-enemy other than he tortured him in the lab. You could put anyone in that position and the audience, excepting the hard-core comics fans, would never know the difference.


Furthermore, he’s not even clever in how he deals with Deadpool. At one point in the film he kidnaps Vanessa to use against Deadpool. How does he botch it? Instead of using her as leverage to make Deadpool, I don’t know, maybe swallow a grenade or something equally intelligent, Ajax tries to kill her right there on the spot. Deadpool stops him after about fifteen seconds. His plan B? Axes. Sure, against a guy who we see regrow entire limbs. Marvel movies in general have had a rough time coming up with good villains—which is why the X-Men are still fighting Magneto to this day—but Ajax is I think one of the worst villains I’ve ever seen. And here’s the worst part. He drags Deadpool down with him. Yes, Deadpool is supposed to be mostly for laughs but he’s still a character on a mission, and he’s immortal. If he’s not challenged it ultimately makes him a less memorable character.

So, are these negatives why I was ultimately disappointed in the film? Actually, no.

The negatives certainly contributed to my disappointment but they don’t make the film unwatchable, far from it. The real reason for my disappointment comes from the expectations that I had going into this film. When I went to go see it, there was a lot of hesitation in my mind. Before it came out this film was being touted as being a super-hard R-rated smorgasbord of foul-mouthed crude humor and action-violence. Even when a petition went out to make it PG-13 so kids could see it, the filmmakers declared that it had to be rated R, as though they were proud of that rating for a Deadpool movie. “That’s who Deadpool is”, ran across the internet “He should be rated the hardest R possible”.

51703734 Actor Ryan Reynolds suits up to film and action scene on a viaduct for "Deadpool" on April 7, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. The new Marvel movie tells the story of a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary who is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers. FameFlynet, Inc - Beverly Hills, CA, USA - +1 (818) 307-4813
“So…which gun did I actually load?”

But when I came out of the theater, I strangely didn’t feel like I had seen the worst that an R-rating could provide. Make no mistake, there was definitely some stuff in it that should never reach the eyes or ears of children, or some adults for that matter. But it wasn’t as graphic or as horrible as I had feared. Now, I’m not a guy who goes to R movies on a regular basis but I have seen some pretty rough films in my time and this wasn’t one of the worst at all.

Remember how I talked about the love scenes feeling like padding? Well to be honest, a lot of this movie is padding. It’s like getting a huge box from your aunt for your birthday and you open it to find a new phone surrounded by those little Styrofoam peanuts that get all over the carpet. You love the phone but you were expecting something more impressive. Moments of brilliance wrapped in average or downright mediocre packaging. That padding makes the film feel unfocused and so takes away from the overall viewing experience. However, overall if you don’t mind sifting through all the peanuts, and some rough language, sexual content and violence, there is definitely some enjoyment to be found.

Next week:

Flickmuncher DaF poster

We’re going back to the 1960s; to the days of the Cold War, espionage, laser guns, pretty women, and martinis that are shaken not stirred with Sean Connery in the film Diamonds Are Forever.

Let me know what you think of these movies in the comments and as always, may the Flick be with you!

Kung Fu Panda 3 Review

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the first official review of FlickMuncher.com. Before I begin the review itself, here’s a quick rundown on what the planned schedule will be for this site. Reviews will be coming out every Tuesday evening and will alternate between Popular and Classic reviews. On the Cutting Room Floor there are Editorials of my own thoughts on well-known and current films. These will be published every other Thursday. Thank you for reading and now, on to the review!
Flickmuncher image kung fu panda 3 logo
Warning—This review will contain spoilers!
I think whenever someone reviews a sequel, some context is necessary to clarify their opinions on that film next to the ones that came before it in the franchise. So here are my thoughts on the first two Kung Fu Panda movies.
I hated (as in, with extreme prejudice) the first one and loved (as in, up there among my favorite films of all time) the second. A bit oversimplified maybe, but that pretty much sums up how I felt about those two movies when I first watched them. Since then I’ve somewhat modified my stance on both. While I don’t necessarily enjoy all of Kung Fu Panda, there are elements and scenes that I’ve appreciate more now several years later. Kung Fu Panda 2 is also not a perfect movie and there are parts of it that do bug me.
So here’s what happened. I was planning to do this review on Saturday. Because my parents were out of town I was charged with taking care of my sister, who is 12 years old, and my three little brothers who are nine, six, and three. Since all of them were and are of the firm opinion that anything that isn’t animated is a “grown-ups movie”, this seemed to be something worth taking them along on.
By some miracle, we actually made it to the theater on time and managed to find some seats for all of us as the previews began to roll. I will admit, I had to keep my attention half on the screen and half on where the boys were and that turned out to be a good thing. They had plenty of laughs, and Timmy—the youngest—had his eyes go wide a couple of times; scared and excited. All of them seemed to have a lot of fun throughout.
Then we left the theater after the credits rolled. We got into the car and I heard nothing. I asked how they liked it and the general consensus seemed to be that they thought it was fun, but nothing they would gush about after they left the theater.
In many ways that’s the biggest problem with this movie. It’s good…but not special.
What do I mean by this?
Well, here’s the story. Po (Jack Black) is a confident kung fu warrior who is living it high as the Dragon Warrior and everyone in the valley where he lives—including his heroes, The Furious Five, and his teacher, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman)—love him. But then he learns from Shifu that he has to become the new Kung Fu teacher. Po is unsure about this, and rightfully so. He’s terrible at teaching, and everyone—including Po—knows it.
Matters are further complicated when his long-lost panda father (Bryan Cranston) shows up looking for him to come back home with him. This leads to some tension between Po and Ping, the goose who raised him.
On top of all this, an ancient evil “Spirit Warrior”(J. K. Simmons) has returned from the Netherworld with a vow to claim the Chi—i.e. spiritual energy; think of the Force in Star Wars—of all the greatest Kung Fu masters and only the pandas can defeat him. Po agrees to return to the panda village in hopes of saving the valley and his friends from this evil menace.
As you can tell there’s a lot going on in this movie. And while it manages to juggle all these balls pretty well, some elements come across better than others. The humor is classic Dreamworks: mostly targeted at adults but with plenty of jokes that kids will laugh at as well.
The best parts about this movie though, revolve around Po and his two fathers. He cares about his dad, the goose, and doesn’t want to hurt him, but at the same time he understandably wants to know more about the father and people he lost so many years ago. There’s a wonderful scene where his father shows Po a picture of him and his mother and tells him about who she was and who Po was before he was lost. The emotion of the scene is carried over beautifully in the animation and the voice acting by Jack Black and Bryan Cranston is pitch perfect.

Flickmuncher image kfp family

I also want to give a special nod to James Hong who voices Ping the goose and has been in such films as Disney’s Mulan and Big Trouble in Little China. In the Kung Fu Panda franchise he has been by far my favorite, most consistent part of all of it and he doesn’t disappoint here. You wouldn’t expect much from a character like Ping and yet his constant fatherly devotion to Po even in the face of competition from Po’s actual father makes him one of the most admirable characters I’ve ever seen on screen.
This film also gets to show how much Po has grown as a character since we met him back in the first movie, progressing from a clumsy, inept student, to a confident warrior, to finally a teacher of the art he’s loved all his life. It’s a suitable progression that feels right when you look at the film series as a whole. A great moment that shows this growth is when Po lets a little panda keep one of his prized Furious Five dolls—excuse me, action figures. He no longer needs it.
These moments are wonderful to see and think about, which makes the stuff that doesn’t work so much more frustrating. Much of it revolves around the villain. Po is a great character that is well realized and well written but a great hero is defined by the villains he faces. In the second movie, he had a wonderfully wounded villain to go up against, who challenged him on a very personal level and had understandable motivations and feelings.
This movie’s villain, Kai (J.K. Simmons) unfortunately feels really undercooked. I’ll give him this, he certainly has a cool design—as a Chinese bull with spiky horns who fights with two green jade swords on chains—and the animation done on him is very impressive; even allowing him to feel genuinely menacing and threatening at times. But aside from that, he’s incredibly boring and weak. As I mentioned above, his entire desire is to become all-powerful by collecting the Chi of other Kung Fu Masters because…he loves power? Not a great motivation and one we’ve seen done countless times before.

Flickmuncher image kfp3 kai

He has a backstory, of course, that he was betrayed and banished by Oogway many years ago and this is part of what’s driving him. Who’s Oogway? Oh yeah, he’s that turtle from the first movie that spouted lots of spiritual wisdom about the universe and the past, present, and future and then disappeared. But that’s one of the main problems with Kai. He isn’t connected with any of our main characters and so his conflict with our heroes feels less personal and less engaging as a result.
Things aren’t helped by the fact that his voice actor, J. K. Simmons, just feels miscast in the role. I love Simmons work. To me he’ll always be J. Jonah Jameson in the Spiderman movies and he is fantastic in the TV series Legend of Korra, which I highly recommend, but here he just feels out of place and it’s rather distracting. Even in the funnier moments where he’s interacting with our heroes and he’s forced to play the straight-man to their antics, I just did not find him that funny.
Beyond the villain, there is a point in the story where it’s revealed to Po that his father can’t teach him about Chi because the pandas don’t know anything about it. Po gets mad at him and it’s pretty predictable from there. You know they’re going to mope about for a few minutes and then make up before the big finale. This makes the entire lie and getting upset over said lie a complete waste of screen time the filmmakers could have used to do other things, like answer why the pandas don’t know how to use this power anymore.
But no, they just whip out the answer at the end with—no explanation whatsoever as to how they all figured it out at the same time—to give Po a power up to defeat Kai.
Then the finale started out amazing, taking place in the “Spirit Realm” in a sequence which was so well played I had a chill running up my spine the entire time. I dare not spoil it for you here but the visuals alone are surreal and stunning.
Then it just kind of wraps up, with some more spiritual mumbo jumbo to try and explain what just happened. It speaks to how out of place this stuff was when my brother, A.J., who was sitting right next to me, had an expression of awe a minute ago changed to a look of complete boredom.
So, these points are all definitely negative, but do they ruin the film?
Mmmmm, Not really.
I still think it’s a very well made movie. The style of animation, which has obvious influences from old Bruce Lee martial arts movies, and the music—another wonderful score by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe—get extra credit from me as I think they make this film and its predecessors rather unique, even among other animated films today.
It’s biggest problem is that it’s nothing to write home about. It’s just…okay. Unless you’re a huge fan of animation or film, you’ll probably be talking more about the preview for the Trolls movie (yes, that does in fact exist) than about the actual film itself.
That being said, I still think it’s a great movie for folks of all ages to enjoy during the doldrums of January. If you like animation or are fond of martial arts movies or are just looking for something to occupy two hours of your time, I’d definitely try it out.
Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments section. I’d love to hear what you all think. What stood out to you about this movie? What movies would you like to see reviews of?
Next week: We’re going back in time to the ridiculousness of the eighties to see how they treated the 1800s with The Pirates of Penzance.

Flickmuncher image PoP poster

Have a great week and may the flick be with you!
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