Most people considered Split to be Shyamalan’s big comeback. Yeah, The Visit was fun, but Split was a Shyamalan movie that really wowed viewers for the first time in years. It’s no surprise that this big comeback resulted in a sequel that brought together characters from Split and Unbreakable, two of Shyamalan’s best movies. The horror was turned down in favor of a more traditional superhero story with psychological elements.
There’s a difference between Glass and other movies about people with superpowers. Most superhero movies feature thrilling action scenes and expensive set pieces. Glass is more interested in dialogue, and that would’ve been perfectly fine if that dialogue was any interesting.
Unfortunately, we get very little insight into these characters that we didn’t already know, which is ironic when you consider the fact that they’re being psychoanalyzed. Sure, some loose ends are tied up here and there, but none of this feels necessary. Shyamalan focuses on all the wrong things which makes for a dull viewing experience.
To make matters worse, theaters are oversaturated with superhero movies and Glass doesn’t offer anything particularly groundbreaking. It’s definitely darker, but that PG-13 rating ensures that it’s still relatively safe. Once again, there’s definitely more dialogue, but at the end of the day this is still a movie with a generic message. You could argue that it doesn’t need a message if it’s entertaining, but it’s not exactly entertaining either.
On the bright side, it’s far from the worst movie on this list. McAvoy gives an incredible performance, some of the individual scenes are thrilling, and a couple twists and turns prove to be unpredictable. Glass just falls apart when viewed as a whole movie. Certain parts definitely work, but it can’t help but feel like a misfire.
J. R. R. Tolkien may have been an interesting person, but it’s hard to tell after watching this recent biopic. Nicholas Hoult may be a skilled actor, but it’s hard to tell after watching this recent biopic. Let’s put it this way: there’s a lot about Tolkien that looks great on paper, but Dome Karukoski and company miss the mark big time.
It’s really easy to get excited about biopics because they have a sort of pedigree. Statistically speaking, they’re more often good than bad. Capote, Love & Mercy, Raging Bull, Gandhi, Catch Me If You Can and countless other masterpieces have made it so that it’s easy to just assume most movies in this genre will impress.
Tolkien is, unfortunately, an example of a bad biopic. It’s not bad in a unique way though. Honestly, Tolkien commits a lot of the same “crimes” as other bad movies in the genre. Mainly, it’s uninteresting and it lacks valuable information.
There’s nothing in this movie that can’t be found online. It’s as though the writers found one article about the titular author and made a movie about it. Actually, it’s surprising how much is left out about the author that could’ve been included. This is a bare-bones look into a person who actually has some really interesting characteristics. It seems as though everyone involved was scared to include anything remotely complex.
Because of this, the movie is painfully uninteresting. It checks off a series of boxes and then rolls the credits. There’s no passion here, and there really should be considering the fact that so many people adore the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Maybe the crew involved with this movie don’t feel the same way.
3. Men in Black: International
The nicest thing that can be said about MIB: International is that it’s not as bad as critics claim. It tells a perfectly coherent story led by two stars who have a reasonable amount of chemistry. It is a functional movie, and that can’t be said about everything that has come out this year. Too bad it’s such a slog.
Again, Men in Black: International isn’t a narrative mess by any means. It’s all just rather meaningless due to the fact that it recycles so many elements from the other films in the franchise. That may be giving it too much credit. Frankly, it recycles elements from countless films in general. There isn’t an original bone in this movie’s body. It’s a boring sci-fi experience that offers about as much substance as a sunflower seed.
To add to that, the jokes are inconsistent at best. Chris Hemsworth plays the same overly confident dumb guy he’s played time and time again. It was funny the first few times, but it’s beginning to get stale. Tessa Thompson, on the other hand, is made to play a straight-laced character so she doesn’t get much of a chance to show off her comedic chops. The characters are all archetypes, and unfortunately the jokes all come as a direct result of that.
Men in Black: International is the reason people are claiming Hollywood is out of ideas. There are movies that prove otherwise, but when the heavily-marketed movies turn out to be like this, it’s easy to understand why people have become frustrated. It’s unfair to bash the state of movies as a whole, but this particular movie doesn’t paint a great picture.
2. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
People will defend Godzilla movies until their last breath by saying that it’s all about the monsters, so the human characters don’t matter. Here’s the thing though: if you’re going to include a massive ensemble cast, you better make sure the characters are interesting. Cool kaiju battles don’t make up for weak characters that make the movie a slog, and that’s why Godzilla: King of the Monsters is such a disappointment.
The action scenes are thrilling, but you have to wade through so much uninteresting dialogue to get there. It’s not like the acting is bad. Godzilla: King of the Monsters has a terrific cast, but the cast members are given nothing interesting to do. In terms of popularity, Millie Bobby Brown is at the top of her game, but she can’t save a movie with such drab writing.
Visual effects and grandiose action can only get a movie so far; just ask Roland Emmerich. The main point of the movie may be big bad monsters, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that there are so many human characters doing so many boring things.
If kaiju movies are really about the monsters, the human characters should take a backseat. In this movie, they don’t. They’re constantly taking the spotlight away from the big baddies. Yes, the fact that they can speak helps them help establish the story, but they desperately need to do a better job.
The MonsterVerse was 2 for 2 this year, so it was easy to get excited for this one. Sadly, this is a massive step down from both of the previous monster movies. 2014’s Godzilla had similar issues with uninteresting characters, but at least it wasn’t jam-packed with dull exposition. Let’s all pray that everybody learned their lesson this time around.
1. Dark Phoenix
Okay, sure, Dark Phoenix had its fair share of warning signs. Delays and alleged behind-the-scenes squabbles didn’t paint a pretty picture prior to this movie’s release, but Jean Grey’s downward spiral is iconic, so it was best to stay cautiously optimistic. X-Men fans may be happy about the Disney takeover, but it still seemed silly to root against the “final” movie in a really solid series.
When the movie came out, it was ripped apart by critics and fans alike. The opening half-hour is promising, but as time progresses, the film gets sillier and sillier until a finale that falls flat on its face. Put simply, this is not how fans wanted this series to end.
Sophie Turner does a fine job, but the writing does her no favors. A majority of the movie is devoted to watching her cause as much chaos as possible, but unlike Brightburn, the scenes aren’t particularly well-choreographed. Instead, they’re just typical X-Men hooplah with a significantly whinier character.
There are also several subplots that detract from the central story, but with a story this thin, it almost seems like some kind of padding needed to be included. This is just the wrong kind of padding. We’re given unnecessary scene after unnecessary scene in-between shots of Jean Grey trying to murder her friends and family. It makes the overall movie feel like a jumbled mess.
Of course, that’s because the movie is a jumbled mess. Dark Phoenix isn’t X-Men Origins bad, but it’s a far cry from Days of Future Past. We’ve been spoiled with great superhero movies lately, so this feels like a slap in the face. This series should have ended better, but this is what we got.