Welcome back! Hollywood is still churning out a bunch of movies this year and I’ll gladly tell you about them. Programs like AMC Stubs A-List, Regal Unlimited, and Cinemark Movie Club are making the theater experience more affordable, but it’s still quite pricy to take family members or friends out to the movies. Concessions and tickets really add up. So, it’s important to figure out what movies are worth seeing in theaters. I can always help you with that part. Keep reading to see what I thought about Angel Has Fallen, Don’t Let Go, and It Chapter Two.
Let’s begin with the third installment of Fallen series, starring Gerard Butler as Mike Banning. Overall, it’s an action film that focuses on a member of the United States Secret Service. Mike Banning saves the President from an assassination attempt, but he is ultimately framed for the crime. Our protagonist escapes, fends off government soldiers, tries to clear his name, and searches for the real culprits. It’s a very challenging task for one man, but he might have enough wits and skills to succeed.
Truthfully, I didn’t like this movie at all. It has a lot of action and that’s the best part. This film is similar to popular action flicks from the 1990s. It has car chases, espionage, political intrigue, explosions, helicopters, and every gun imaginable. Therefore, action fans might be entertained. Just don’t expect a lot of substance or variety.
The rest of my review is pretty negative. Granted, this film probably won’t land on the bottom of my 2019 list because it’s less offensive than a few other releases. Angel Has Fallen is predictable in every way shape and form. The story tries to hide the main villain’s identity through most of the movie, but I could figure it out right away. In fact, this film has two major villains and they’re super obvious. I could even predict most of the action scenes and major plot points. This film is just a string of action clichés and scenes from other movies. Even though this film has tons of action, I became bored very quickly because the story is so predictable. One character’s death surprised me and that’s it.
The characters are lame too. I’m sorry, but Gerard Butler is aging out of this genre. Granted, age is an important theme in this film, but it’s just not very effective. He’s still a hotshot military sniper and combat expert. Banning kills dozens of men who are half his age with minimal effort. At this point, it just looks silly. I wasn’t a fan of Logan either, but it worked because the movie borrowed material from the Old Man Logan comics. This is a different situation because the character is clearly an older guy who’s trying to make the audience believe he’s much younger. None of the other characters are memorable either. They’re just basic stock characters from the action genre.
For the record, I really enjoyed Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen. They were really fun popcorn movies. However, I don’t think audiences were begging for a third installment. I’m not sure why this film was created. It doesn’t seem to have much depth, heart, or creativity. If a studio is going to continue a franchise, they should try to make the fans happier. This one just seemed like a cheap cash grab.
Obviously, I’m not recommending Angel Has Fallen for a viewing in theaters. You can check it out on Netflix or Amazon Prime one of these days if you enjoy the series. On a more positive note, I’m not giving up on the franchise entirely. Maybe they’ll make a fourth movie with some new characters and a better story. It could happen.
Now I’m moving on to a sci-fi crime thriller called Don’t Let Go. The film opens with Jack Radcliff, a homicide detective who has a good relationship with his niece named Ashley. Jack’s world turns upside down when his brother, sister-in-law, and niece are brutally murdered. Some time later, Jack receives a phone call from Ashley several days in the past. Jack might have a chance to prevent his family’s murder, but the situation is very dangerous, confusing, and there’s no guarantee his plan will work.
I actually believe this film is okay. It’s not amazing, but certainly not awful either. The lead performances are great and that’s the main reason why this movie works. David Oyelowo is a strong leading man as Jack Radcliff and he brings a believable dramatic flare to the film. It’s really easy to identify with him and the audience will probably feel quite sympathetic. The story also puts his sanity to the test, which is pretty interesting. He has a really good rapport with Storm Reid as Ashley. They have nice family chemistry and it’s traumatic when her character dies early in the film. Ashley seems like the girl next door and she’s highly likeable. She plays her part in the detective work and it’s pretty cool.
In general, Don’t Let Go is an interesting movie. The mystery elements works very well and it kept my attention. Unlike Angel Has Fallen, I couldn’t predict everything in the plot. It kept me guessing without being confusing. There’s also a lot of tension in this film. Multiple scenes are suspenseful and intense. I wouldn’t call it a horror film, but the story has legitimate peril. The time travel element is interesting as well. I find it considerably less confusing than the time travel elements in Avengers: Endgame. This movie doesn’t have a logical explanation for the riff in time, but that’s not the point. In the end, the important thing is changing the future, if it’s possible at all.
This film definitely has some flaws, most notably, huge pacing issues. Don’t Let Go is very slow at times. The entire movie is a slow burn. It works overall, but the slow pace could easily lose audiences. This film doesn’t have a lot of action and Jack spends considerable time talking to his niece on the phone. The sci-fi and mystery elements take center stage and it doesn’t push things along very well. I find this movie quite interesting, but some people will just feel bored.
It’s not a particularly memorable film either. 2019 is packed with entertaining and unique movies, so this one simply can’t compete with more exciting releases. Don’t Let Go is a tiny little thriller with familiar ideas. Frequency already introduced communication across time and death. So, the general concept isn’t new anyway.
This would be a good movie to watch on streaming services. In fact, I’m surprised it got a theatrical release. It seems more like a streaming film. Unless you have AMC Stubs A-List or something similar, don’t waste your money on a ticket. The big screen doesn’t enhance the experience anyway. It’s just not that type of movie.
The grand finale is It Chapter Two. I know it was a highly anticipated film for many people. The kids from the first It movie are now adults and most of them have moved away from Derry. They’ve forgotten about Pennywise and everything that happened, but their memories come back when Mike, Derry’s local librarian, calls them to return. The creature has returned and the Losers Club must defeat him once again. Hopefully, they’ll make it out alive and destroy It forever.
Overall, It Chapter Two is an entertaining viewing with many original ideas. The pacing is quite brisk, even though the runtime is two hours and forty-five minutes. It has a series of weird creatures, scares, and action sequences. This movie uses a blend of horror and fantasy elements that defy logic. It’s actually a fun experience, albeit strange. I don’t agree with some of the directing and screenwriting choices, but the film is still enjoyable.
This movie has terrific actors. Critics are giving huge praise to Bill Hader as Richie, but I thought everyone was great. Keep an eye on the main cast, played by Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, and James Ransone. The adult members of the Losers Club have a lot of similarities to their younger counterparts, both physically and in terms of personality. I can tell the adult actors studied the first movie a lot. They brought humor, drama, and horror to this film. Believe me, the actors brought the best elements to this movie. The script certainly didn’t bring out the best material.
Surprisingly, It Chapter Two can be quite funny at times. I thought the humor worked very well. Richie and Eddie bring some comedic relief to an otherwise dark and gloomy film. The humor has good timing and I found it rather charming. I have to admit, this movie is incredibly long, so a little humor can help the pacing. Humor is a staple in the horror genre anyway.
Even though I have some positive feedback, this wasn’t one of my favorite movies this year. The visual effects are horrendous, especially regarding a couple of important things. First, the film has a bunch of flashbacks with the kids. Those actors are somewhat older now, so the studio used de-aging effects with CGI. It looks absolutely terrible and distracting. Ben looks like a cartoon character. Richie resembles something from Picasso’s abstract period. Beverly was probably the best presentation of the de-aging effect, but the boys were super noticeable. Also, the CGI monsters aren’t scary at all. They were poorly made and a huge step down from the previous It film. I find it difficult to feel scared of goofy and cartoonish monsters.
Unfortunately, the plot and characters have something to be desired. Yes, I gave praise to the actors, but that doesn’t mean the characters were crafted well. They did great with middle of the road material. Basically, the story is loose, confusing, and disorganized. It’s also very inconsistent. The film can’t decide what it wants. For example, the plot gives the audience conflicting details about Pennywise. One scene says he’s an alien from another planet or dimension. Yet another scene implies that Pennywise has a human backstory. Well, you can’t be human and an alien invader at the same time! The characters are less charming and likeable in this chapter. They also have some inconsistencies that don’t match with the first movie. The script tries to build a mythology, but it doesn’t make any sense. This film really lacks direction. It also has tons of filler content. The movie is stuffed with flashbacks and I don’t even know why they’re part of the story. That’s actually why the runtime is nearly three hours long.
Is this film scary? Only a little bit. I’m sorry. Occasionally, It has some frightening moments, but they’re few and far between. The film largely relies on jump scares and bad VFX. In fact, Pennywise isn’t in the movie very often. Most of the time, he takes the form of other monsters. Overall, It Chapter Two isn’t very scary and that’s a real shame.
Let me address one more thing. I have a big problem with the ending because it’s sending questionable messages to the audience. In a way, this film is sending pro bullying and suicide messages. Resort to bullying to get things done and committing suicide could make the world a better place. Seriously? I’m not sure if these messages are intentional, but the filmmakers should have made better decisions. Again, it comes down to poor writing. Maybe you won’t see these hidden messages in the film, but it seemed quite obvious in my opinion.
I’m not sure if you should watch this film in theaters or not. It’s a tough call because the movie has a ton of problems. But it’s also quite entertaining. If you really enjoyed the first It film, give it a shot. By the way, you definitely have to see the first movie. Otherwise, you’ll be completely lost.
Well, this wasn’t the most impressive list of films, but it happens sometimes. Have you seen any of these movies yet? Did you enjoy them or feel disappointed? Tell me about it in the comment section. Thanks a lot for visiting. I’m still posting more content throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled and I’ll see you next week. Bye!
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