Morbius (2022)

I don’t really know how this came about. I guess in some conversation somewhere the topic came up about the rather sub-par state of the comic book universe right now. We had so many highs in the Infinity Saga, and the Batman films are continuing strong…we have the Flash coming out later this year which will be absolutely average, and there are a couple of MCU’s that might prove cathartic. But really, theres been some controversially rubbish films of late. Quantumania was okay, marred by the truly awful Modok; Wakanda Forever was a wonderful tribute to the great Chadwick but other than Angela Barret’s tremendous performance was largely forgettable. The travesty of the DCU and poor Henry Cavill is still giving me sleepless nights.

Naturally, Morbius was cited; an absolute car crash of a movie, apparently. So rubbish it was nearly cancelled after it had already come out. Jared Leto’s worst hour and an abomination of cinema.

Surely not, I say. I mean, can it be THAT bad? The two Venom movies have hardly been classics, yet Tom Hardy is able to lift them from true mediocrity. Does Jared have the same clout?

Well. I’m known for my controversial film opinions. So I thought, I might give this a go. Whats the worst that could happen? Well, you could choke on the doctor pepper bottle and die a slow, agonising death. That’s what.

Doctor Michael Morbius has a blood condition that will eventually kill him and his best friend, played by Doctor Matt Smith. He discovers that vampire bats have potentially a dna-fragment that may fix the issues and save them from premature death. So what does he do? Of course, he injects himself with bat blood and turns into a vampire.

Sorry….what? Really? Its spider-man but with bats. And vampires…really? Is this not a little…cliche? I mean, yes, its based on a comic series from ages ago so we can’t really blame the film for this – but.. oh I don’t know. It just sounds a little unoriginal. We already have a Bat man… do we need a man-bat? (That said, if I found out Matt Reeves was going to bring Man-Bat into The Batman 3 then I’d be over the moon. Feck it, get Marc Singer to play him. There’s a ref few will get.)

Anyway. Obviously when Matt Smith finds out the serum works but turns you into Count Dracolytes he cares not, and takes it himself, thus becoming the films villain. The two clash, theres loads of silly fighting and shouting and too much talking, and then the film ends.

Now. I actually didn’t hate it. Its terrible, cliché, lacklustre and, as immortan joe might say, mediocre. But its better than Thor: Love and Thunder. Jared Leto is okay, I guess, but Matt Smith is an absolute legend. Okay so I’m biased; he was a tremendous Dr Who and equally tremendous Daemon Targaryen, and an equally tremendous Prince Phillip. In actual fact, I am happy to say he probably saved the movie from utter unwatchability.

The ending? I mean, yep, lets set things up for a potential sequel – all well and good – but Michael Keaton of all people? A team up against Spider-Man? Aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves? Don’t get me wrong, if Morbius was to turn up in a later movie alongside Vulture i’d be okay with that. But… is Morbius a villain? Surely the film we’ve just watched is trying to tell us otherwise. Why then, does he have beef with Peter Parker’s webslinging Avenger? Methinks this was not thought out: they just wanted to tag something on at the end to fit with the usual comic book film rules…

A funny story. The film tanked on release. Got that? So then following an internet sensation regarding the made-up phrase “It’s Morbing Time!” the film was released again, hoping to cash in on its new popularity. It didn’t work, and the film tanked again. Is this the first time a film has tanked twice on release? Interesting. Famous for its infamy.

Bottom line is, its not the worst use of two hours. Its just far from the best. I mean, the limescale in your shower is needing cleaned…?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

This was / is the only Marvel MCU film i didn’t see at the cinema. Work and anxiety issues prohibited me from it. So on its release on Disney +, it was a necessity to sit down and digest it over a seafood salad. Which was lovely, btw.

The tragic loss of our hero and friend Chadwick Boseman threw the fate of this sequel into indefinition but the writers have very fondly crafted his loss into the movie. The opening, silent Marvel Studios logo pays a wonderful homage to the fallen legend. Of course, the trailers have all spoiled the reveal of the new Panther, but if you ask me, the film would have stood happily by itself without the Panther character – its far more about Wakanda, and the greif of T’challa’s mother and sister.

Its first stumbling block is its choice of antagonists. Namora is a Hermes-style flying fish person. His people are BLUE. Live UNDER THE SEA. They may well have called the film “Aquaman: Avatar Forever”. They ride around on whales (like Aquaman), they live in an underwater city (like Aquaman), and Namora himself has the acting range of a coral reef (like Aquaman).

Basically a genius child prodigy (exactly like America in Dr Strange) has invented a Vibranium-detector and it turns out that Wakanda isn’t the only place on Earth you can find it. So us nasty humans try to steal it, get caught up in a huge revenge plot by the sea people and then Wakanda has to get stuck in the middle.

Plot is silly, check. Its MCU. But then the child builds a Mighty Morphin Power suit. “Ironheart.” Jeez. Talk about a drop in quality. In fact, the CGI throughout is awful. I mean, obviously, compared to films of ten years ago its good, but this is the MCU. This is post -Avatar: Way of Water – i really would have expected more from this cartoon of terrible.

Angela Basset and Letitia Wright absolutely steal the show – and make it worth the watch. My particular highlight (there weren’t many) was the banter between Shuri and her royal bodyguard Okoye (Danai Gurira); a classic double act.

The rest of the film is startlingly forgettable. The Queen gets some excellent scenes and theres a smattering of decent lines, but other than that is a bit average. Its nice exploring the world a bit more, but, ultimately, its a just another film in the franchise, and hardly stand out. Come on Marvel, you’re better than this.

That said, it truly is a love letter in memory of Chadwick, and for that it excels.

And…what the hell with Martin Freeman?

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

The first Avatar came out in 2009 and made box office history with a global taking of $2.9 BILLION DOLLARS. Utterly insane. With that, obviously we’d get a sequel. But, contrary to Hollywood’s usual trope of shoving out a follow up with nary a care for quality, James Cameron’s highly anticipated sequel has been 13 years in the making. Not doing things by halves, though, Cameron is releasing another (rumoured) THREE of these CGI extravanganzas, bringing the total to five. Its hardly a rival to the likes of The Fast and Furious franchise or James Bond, but its certainly more than we expected.

Avatar (2009) is a hippie high budget metaphor for the value of nature and Humanity’s mindless aim to eradicate our world’s rainforests in the search for rare wealth. It could have been dismissed as a load of nonsence with an awful script and in-your-face environmentalism – but somehow the world was captivated. Perhaps it was the spectacle; the ground breaking realism of the computer generated moon of Pandora was mindblowing. Enough to dwarf the wooden performance from its lead, Sam Worthington.

Avatar 2 exceeds my expectations. Read on.

We are treated to a wonderful introductory sequence that covers what has happened since the events of the first movie. This feels right, seeing as we have waited 13 years for the film, it fits that the events are set a similar number of years later. In the intervening years Sully (sam) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) have given birth to three kids (two boys and a wee girl) and have adopted a female girl who is the child of Sigourney Weaver from the first film. Interestingly, Sigourney also voices the teenage child. And her parentage is…well, i’ll leave that to your theories. Oh, and theres a young boy on the base “Spider” whose father is stupidly obvious but who is brought up Na’vi-friendly.

The film then delivers a nasty gut-punch. The humans return to Pandora and on landing, devastate the World Tree and half the rainforest. fast forward a year…

the Na’vi are raiders, let militaristically by Sully to upset the human supply lines.

The villain of the piece is Quaritch (Stephen Lang) – but he was killed in the first film!! Yes – this time we have a Na’vi “recombinant”, a clone bred from Quaritch’s DNA and embedded with the memories before he died. A terrific sci-fi idea and one that is not wasted.

Quaritch retains his death-grudge with Sully, and vows to kill him. So Sully and his cliched family up sticks and head to the oceans of Pandora, seeking asylum with the turquoise water Na’vi.

And there we have. The next two hours are a mix of family drama, children fighting and bullying, outcast cliches and beautiful underwater imagery. Oh. And did i mention a massively upsetting moment when a f*cking hovercraft butchers a huge Pandoran whale in order to drain its brain fluid. I was close to tears. Its a powerful message about the evil of the whaling industry.

Its by no means perfect. The script is dire; cliched, textbook dialogue. The plot is cookie-cutter and almost identical to the first film: characters arrive in new place, become friendly with the intitially unhappy locals, then get attacked by a battalion of humans searching for some rare material (this time age-stopping whale brains).


Its shockingly beautiful. The underwater scenes, the pandoran creatures, the rousing music, the explosions…amazing. Cameron knows he has a very very high standard of special effect on show here – so he sets whole action scenes in rain, underwater and gleaming with lightshows from sunrise to sunset, and even through the night.

And the best thing… i forgot the Na’vi were fake. They are astoundingly realistic. From the minutest of facial ticks, ear twitches and nose-scrunching to their ridiculous height and alien movement. Its only when you see them next to humans you go, “oh shit they’re not real!”

The occasional moment of humour shines too. Sam Worthington proves that despite a face as beige as a vauxhall corsa, his alterego Na’vi is oscar worthy.

A tremendous achievement in cinema. Don’t wait till DVD or stream. See it now on the big screen. The biggest you can find.

Pinocchio (2022)

Disney’s original Pinnochio (from 1940, would you believe it) was one of the strange Disney classics from my childhood, along with Oliver and Co, Fox and Hound, The Rescuers, The Aristocats – Obviously I’d seen them… I think. Musical numbers – of course i’d heard and seen all of them, but had i actually seen the films in question? From Pinnochio i remember the Whale scene and the Donkey scene. But beyond that? Had i actually seen the whole film start to finish? I question it.

Anyway, i came to watch this live-action remake with some trepidation. Let me explain why: 1) its going straight to Disney +. Now why would this be? 2) I’d heard so little about it until about a month before its release and then BAM theres a teaser trailer and a release date. Alarm bells.

However, its got Tom Hanks as Gepetto (excellent casting) and it “looks” gorgeous (as in the pinnochio CGI looks fine). So i’m probably just being pessimistic.

Well. I was right to be.

Unfortunately this tale of father-son love and the adventures of a little wooden boy amounts to not much more than a soulless, heartless, narrative-less and ultimately pointless story. I hate saying it because there are moments of sheer Disney gold – Honest John, for example – but otherwise its flat as a pancake. Which is a shame. Robert Zemeckis gave us such classics as Back to the Future, Contact and Cast Away, and arguably his live-but-CGI cartoon movies like The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol have been visually stunning. But this? Figaro the Cat looks like he was drawn on with a crayon and even Tom Hanks’ eyeline doesn’t match his ersatz puppet son’s. It looks rushed together – which…is strange, given that its a streaming release and not a cinema release, with a more concrete deadline.

It feels that with a bit more money and… well, i hate to say it, but… with a bit more attention, this could have been brilliant. Its certainly not the worst of the Disney live-actions – that particular accolade lies with the truly hideous Lion King, which still has me wishing my ears had been torn off and my eyes clawed out by the dead-eyed CGI aberrations and insults to nature that we were expected to love. Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast may be shot by shot remakes but theres still a bit of Disneyesque love about them; the cast look enthused and excited. Luke Evans takes his screen-stealing Gaston and even tries to make an impact in Pinocchio but his performance is lost in that murk.

Its scary; Pinocchio’s obvious discomfort through the whole Pleasure Island sequence is genuinely disturbing, saying a lot about the quality of acting if the little fake puppet outshoots everyone else. The black clouds of infinite darkness with streetlamp eyes are frightening and the whole ‘turning into Donkeys’ is the stuff of nightmares.

I really want to like it, but the failings vast outweigh the positives. And when i start to question why i dislike it, i remember. To have a more enjoyable time, have a look through an album of telesnaps from the film, because it is really a beautiful looking film…sometimes.

Oh…and just finally – why didn’t they make it a whale? Why did it have to be some hideous space monster that looked more like Clash of the Titans’ remake Kraken, or even the Kraken from Disney’s own Pirates of the Caribbean? OR is that it? Its set in the Pirates universe?

There is one moment i can share that i did enjoy: spotting the various Disney films represented by clocks. And a random joke about Chris Pine (personally i would have extended this to also include Edward Woodward, Sycamory Weaver and Holly Valance, to name a few).

But in conclusion; this is a film that is let down by the simple fact that the least wooden of all the performances is the fake wooden puppet child. A disappointing shame.

Prey (2022)

I literally only heard about this about two / three weeks ago; i had no idea it was in production. A sad time when how much out of contact i am with the film world, when a bleeding Predator film can creep on me. Next you’ll be telling me a National Treasure TV show is in development and will literally be out soon. That would knock me for six. I used to be so in tune with the heartbeat of entertainment, knowing years in advance when films were coming and allowing the formation of pre-opinions. (ie that Dungeons and Dragons film is going to be great. Even if its rubbish. I have decided.)

Anyway, i digest.

Hearing about a new Predator movie is like…i don’t know. Hearing someone is making you dinner, tonight, and ‘its your favourite’. Because it means you’ll either go home to a pile of absolute nonsence that someone completely misinterpreted about what you liked and didn’t like (Tuna Salad, AvP: Requiem), or you’ll get something flatline generic (spag bol, The Predator), or you’ll get something fetchingly close to what you want but not good enough (cod fishcakes with dauphinose potatoes and greens, Predators / AvP). What you won’t get is Mackerel goujons, hand cut southern fried wedges and tossed vinegarette salad.

The problem is of course, if i wanted that i’d watch the original Predator. Or at a push Predator 2. What i don’t want is a rehash of the original, nor do i want something trying something new with the franchise that will ultimately lead to failure.

Prey could easily have fallen into a pit trap of terrible. It could have been stupid, cheesy, silly, a barrel of nonsence filled with too many nods to the original that would make you turn it off and watch the original.

But no. Theres something oddly attractive about watching a native american fight against a more primal version of the scary multiple-mandibled monster. All the lead actors are of native american ancestry so theres a fair level of authenticity; there’re subtle hints to the bigger picture unfolding in the wider world (the mass slaying of buffalo on the Great Plains by fools from Britain and Europe), and history happening nearby, but none of that’s relevant. This is a claustrophobic action piece about survival.

…yet also a hard hitting story about coming-of-age, spiritually and socially, in a culture quite unique to the Native Americans.

I am worryingly close to saying this film is a pitch perfect 10/10. What i can tell you without a shadow of a doubt: its the best Predator film since Predator. And Predator IS flawless.

But the franchise couldn’t produce another strike of lightening. So lets hope they won’t try.

The Gray Man (2022)

Ryan Gosling is one of those actors. Most people love him, a small portion think of him as stony faced and boring. I’m in the former category. Chris Evans. Most people love him. I don’t think there is a second group. The Russo directors are given a f**king massive budget (for a Netflix film) and so they get both the above superstars plus a couple hundred thousand to spend on immense explosions and car chases. The dialogue is punchy and often funny. But the plot was lost somewhere in the CIA archives, probably nestled next to the Ark, or the Book of Secrets, or something. So instead we get the generic macguffin plot of every spy / government conspiracy time since time immemorial.

But I cared not.

If I was looking for the most stonking original plot of all time I’d maybe begrudge it a complaint; but in this instance I am not. It’s a hugely enjoyable blockbuster with leads positively glowing with charisma and chemistry, and the fight scenes are simply sublime john wicky-wicky-wa-wa.

Every bad guy fires with the aiming skill of a blind stormtrooper and the main villain isn’t even the primary villain – no, that honour falls to ‘the old man’, who never makes an appearance. Sorry, cliché meter just went off the scale.

What annoys me about these kind of films is that someone was actually hired and paid good money to write the plot. And yet its so full of cliches. Now, I refuse to believe the writer was genuinely unaware of just about every other film in the genre so why did he/she write, knowingly, such a generic slice of cinematic nonsense. I struggle to write short stories daily simply because I suddenly hit a moment when I’ve repeated a plot twist from another movie, and can’t keep going.

However, theres a bottom line here, and that’s this film is highly enjoyable. Don’t go in expecting it to make Oscar history. Expect an annoying amount of CGI-enhanced stuntwork (this is no James Bond film, so this is going to be Fast and Furious nonsence).

But again, cut away all the silliness and allow your brain to enjoy Hollywood’s trope – meaningless escapist action. From the thunderous opening music cue to the rapturous kick-ass finale, its mindless awesomeness.

Give the sequel a plot and you’ll blow the roof off.

Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

The ‘final’ instalment of the sequel trilogy hits cinemas and… well, i read a review entitled ‘why the new Jurassic World is a dumpster fire”. Wow.

I wouldn’t class it as a dumpster fire. It has pyrotechnic elements, certainly – but its better than its predecessor by a long shot.

So the plot follows on from that dumpster fire that went before; little clone girl releases dinosaurs into the world and now the giant reptiles that used to inhabit the Earth pre-massive-planet-killing-meteor and most child’s imagination are melding with our own lives. Huge prehistoric whales are devouring sharks, Velociraptors are running untempered through what looks like Canada… its a nightmare.

Except its not, apparently. Its all being normalised, really. Which is, lets be honest, what would probably happen.

But this isn’t the plot of a film, its the backdrop. We need a decent, boiling plot to hook our interests and keep us awake and invested. And that, boys and girls, is not what we get.

The last remaining character from the franchise whom we haven’t seen – Dodson ; yup the five minute appearance from the beginning of JP who is working for Ingen and wants Nedry to steal dino-DNA, is back, and is a seemingly outright psychopath who cares for no one except himself. 2-dimensional villain of a comic book.

JW: Dominatryx’s problem is that it presents too massive a scope and then retreats into clasutrophobic environments with characters we care little about. I still don’t know what Chris Pratt’s character name is, nor do i care. Owen…Teale? Owen…king? Larry Owen? The original JP was a bright, scary action film whose scenes leapt from MASSIVE to small scale kitchen claustrophobia because there were a limited number of dinosaurs about, and it felt connected. Intense. Edge of your seat.

Its a film of three halves. Unfortunately the first half is a boring slump through world-building and then some annoying setup regarding Dr BD Wong and his grasshoppers and some stupid financial / legal / TV movie idea about selling products to fix a problem the corporation set up. Ummm… aren’t there meant to be…ah, dinosaurs…in this dinosaur movie?

The second and third halves are unfotunately mashed together, and without further editing cannot be watched seperately in the cinema. So we have to sit through every dull and contrived scene with Captain Clean and the Little Clone Girl before we get the genuinely film stealing awesomeness of Sam Neil, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, back being the characters they were AND being developments there of. Trust seasoned character actors to return, and immediately become the best things in the movie.

The VERY cleverly judged moment with Ian Malcolm and that fire torch – oh my heart was thumping louder than T-Rex footsteps.

Its not rubbish and it needs to be seen, even if only for the aforementioned trio and the various awesome looking dinosaurs.

Line; “No, the phones aren’t working because everything is on fire.” CLASSIC.

As Ian Malcolm himself might put it, here is an explanation of the JP franchise in a way a mathematician might see it.

Jurassic Park – one T-Rex = film is brilliant.

Lost World – 2x T-Rex = film is brilliant.

Jurassic Park III – Spinosaurus is bigger than T-Rex, film is bad.

Jurassic World – Abdominous Rex is bigger than T-Rex – film is bad.

Fallen Kingdom – Indoraptor is bigger than T-Rex – film is bad.

Dominion – Giganoughtasaurus is bigger than T-Rex – film is bad.

The moral of the story is simple. Steven Spielberg should ALWAYS direct jurassic park movies.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

The Danger Zone – sequels to established classics, many years later. Indy 4 tried it and failed, and no doubt as will Indy 5. The ‘sequel trilogy’ of travesties have devastated the Star Wars franchise. Even the Fantastic Beasts series is struggling to recreate the magic of the original Harry Potters. Its a difficult line to tread.

Of course, you could remake. But thats a whole other minefield, and is only likely to succeed if a) the original wasn’t actually that good (like Oceans Eleven), or b) not well-recieved (like Dune) – but trying to remake classics is simply a no no. Total Recall, Conan the Barbarian, Ben Hur, Robocop…no. Simply, if you don’t mind me saying so, f*ck off.

However. Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its two sequels proved something. You could make follow ups to old classics and have them still be good. And more recently than that, Ghostbusters: Afterlife showed us that it can be done well if you’re clever – enough nods to the past but some of its own energy, and you might be on to something. Jurassic World’s trilogy is currently hovering between awful and great but thats another story.

Its been a hell of time since Tom Cruise first donned the aviators of Pete Maverick Mitchell: 36 years, in fact. Top Gun is a classic movie; love it or not, its a milestone of moviemaking. Fast paced dogfights, classic quotes and unforgettable music, not to mention the birth of Tom Cruise as an outright movie star, the film has a legacy. (its just not as good as Hot Shots).

Can a sequel NOW, so much later, come remotely close to its predecessor? Or more to the point, can it be any good?

The answer is simple. Yes, it f*cking can.

Top Gun: Maverick is a stunning achievement. It recreates all the magic of cinema; a bombastic score that you will literally use to narrate your life for about six hours after the cinema trip, a desire for all men to don aviators and act like American Assholes in uniforms and get away with it. Its a throwback to the 80’s much in the same way as Rambo (2008) – lets not mock the way 80’s movies were dunked in synth and had enough cheese to feed a churchful of mice. Even the ham is fully roasted, and thats an acting joke, not a reference to Jon Hamm. Although he does get roasted by Maverick’s afterburners in the punch the air start to Act III.

However look beyond the initial mumbo-jumbo (jet) and there is something far better at its core. The opening moments show us a wonderful “touching the void” scene where Maverick becomes the fastest man alive. Eye wateringly beautiful cinematography takes the film to a new level. And, excuse my french, fuck me when the Top Gun anthem kicks in. I could’ve cried. I did, in fact.

Then the second kicker – the heart. You think you’re being bowled over with the visuals, and then we have the (admittedly cliche) plot just tug at your heartstrings. Maverick is an asshole, but he’s no bastard. The loss of Goose in the original film has left him a broken man. A man who is happy to play his superstar card but hides his guilt behind Tom Cruise’s boyish veneer. This man is in search for something beyond glory, beyond speed. He needs forgiveness.

Val Kilmer’s cameo is tastefully cautious; showcasing the legend but not shy of portaying the ravages of life as an inescapable enemy. Val – heres to you. The hero i didn’t know i had.

Its a hell of a film. I don’t see it being topped for film of 2022.

I’m going to put on my aviators and dance about my life playing an invisible guitar. This is the film i need in my life right now.

“The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind are heading for extinction.”

“Maybe so, sir. But not today.”

Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

AKA Doctor Strange and the Madness of the Multiverse (2022)

AKA Dr Madness and the Strange Multiverse (2022)

AKA Dr Multiverse 2022 is Strange and Mad (ness)

Without a doubt, this film is batshit crazy. Bonkers. Mind-blowingly silly, beyond a shadow of hesitation an absolute brainfuck of spinning lights, ridiculous creations and cinematography that would make an LSD trip feel like a drive in the Cotswolds.

But its also pretty good.

Oh I’m aware i just pissed off the cynics who probably complained its all flash and no heart, but i disagree. At the very centre of this there lies a strong message about happiness, and this is reflected both in the character of Strange himself, but too the arguably central x-tagonist (is she good or bad, that is the million dollar franchise question?) and yes, don’t you worry fans and geeks i did use that x in there not just as the mathematical symbol of the unknown integer but for THAT other reason too. Sort of. Its tenuous.

Much like the films plot, yes, i agree. But who gives two hoots when its this much fun! These Marvel films know exactly what they’re delivering: reasons to go the cinema and see these things in Kong-sized screens and with speakers that would blow the hind legs off a brontosaurus. Actors you know and love not only because they’re handsome (Cumberbatch) or beautiful (errr…Cumberbatch again but also Rachel McAdams and Elizabeth Olsen), but because they’re talented. Despite talking a load of nonsence they are all believable in the silly characters they inhabit. Making spinning revolving portals using fingers or staring into a vast sky of greenscreen and apparently seeing the whole city collide into itself Inception style…kudos, boys and girls.

Basically, Wanda has not forgiven herself for the events of her TV show and has sought the Book of the Dead – it may as well be, damn it – to give her power over reality, so she can concoct her own family. A kid called America can manipulate the multiverse (coz, reasons) but only when shes scared. Wanda wants kid, Wanda shouldn’t have that level of control, Strange needs to stop her. And…away we go.

Sam Raimi has been given free reign to cram in as many of his own little idiosyncracies as he can – including Bruce Campbell slapping himself in the face with his own hand – and it shows. I mentioned lunatic cinematography – try acrobatic monkeys with go-pros filming the action scenes. Its frenetic, its frantic, and its imminently wild.

Of course, this is Marvel, so we get to see some very surprising cameos – maybe not quite as jaw dropping as in Spiderman: No Way Home, but even so… that guy i was not expecting!

Bombastic and daft, and so worth a watch. Yep – i made my conclusion cleverly relevant.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)

Sonic’s long awaited appearance in the movies was at first struck by that now infamously hideous trailer, that led to a COMPLETE REVISION OF THE MOVIE (FX wise, anyway). Then, with newly animated and fan-endorsed Sonic CG-puppet taking the lead, the film came out. And surprised everyone. Most people. By not being rubbish.

You may or not know that (nearly) all films based on video games are awful, or adored by minority cults. Some, i guess, are acceptable blockbuster nonsenses. Please see Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Bros (!) or even the Resident Evil franchises.

Anyway, despite the fans it narked off by creating new lore – how dare it – in the form of some Owl clan and mother figure Longclaw – Sonic 1 made off with some hefty accolades, such as “Much better than Expected” (culturemap) and “hilarious” (seventh art studio). My own review in my diary of 2020 says, and i quote: “its this years Detective Pikachu” (which was BRILLIANT).

Anyway, its sequel time.

Sonic is batmanning it through life now as The Blue Justice, but he’s not very good at it, cue a James Marsden speech about responsibility to others, and to family. (yawn). However, Dr Robotnik has returned from the Mushroom Planet (not kingdom) to exact revenge, and he’s brought his vengeful big red echidna of rage Knuckles with him. Thankfully Sonic has a new friend – who was teased at the end of movie numero uno – Tails, the two-tailed Fox.

So what follows is a ridiculous tale of excellent (CG) pacy action, comedy wise cracks, UTTERLY OVER THE TOP PERFORMANCES and MASSIVELY OVERBLOWN THEMES OF FAMILY AND FRIENDSHIP. However, its a kids film, dammit. Who needs subtlety when you can have uproarious guffaws at the word “buttcopter”.

Ben Schwarz is once again pitch perfect as the fast-talking sonic speed hedgehog, delivering one of my favourite lines of 2022 so far;

“so whats with Clifford the Big Red Rage Dog??”

Tales is a nice wee way of bringing the stereotypical nerdy childhood trope into the movie, neatly matching the general theme of being weird is good, plus he was my favourite character from the videogames (he’s a cute little fox! with two tails! with TWO TAILS!! he can fly like a helicopter! He’s freaking awesome!)

Knuckles is a fuck-off cool Echidna played by Idris Elba, although doesn’t resemble an echidna AT ALL. But i’ll downplay my zoological inaccuracy card in favour of allowing a fox to have two tails. Knuckles does indeed, btw, have massive powerful Knuckles. He is the films secondary antagonist. Sort of.

Jim Carrey returns with as much scene chewing gusto as Ace Ventura overdosing on caffeine combined with fletcher reed overdosing on world domination and with an injection of pure, unadulterated Jim Carrey silliness. This is no Oscars performance. This is cartoon hilarity; child-pleasing daftness splayed to 1000%. The kids will love him.

BUT it can’t all be roses, unfortunately, and here are my woes. Chiefly, the humans. Yeah, the ones that aren’t Jim and his barista sidekick. I even like James Marsden. I do not, however, want to spend ten minutes of the film without Sonic (or Tails, or Knuckles), following the scorned bride of the guy from one of the CSIs or something, who is the sister of James Marsden’s wife. We follow her screaming rage monster as she beats up and then falls immediately back in love with (Sorry, spoiler) her undercover husband in poorly titled Operation Catfish, which the FBI was using to get close to Sonic. I think. Anyway, fuck off humans. Wheres my supersonic hedgehog?

OH speaking of supersonic…well, go see the film.

Oh, and scriptwriters? Appealing to adults doesn’t mean giving Sonic and his pals lines like “Holy sshhhhhh…” and then replacing the ….iitt!! with another word beginning with s. Same goes for the F word. Or the C word. There are funnier ways to making us older people laugh. Like…(par example)… giving the 900 foot robotnik monster a marilyn manson victory dance. Spot on.

And yes, theres a post credits. I had it written down it would be Metal Sonic. I was…soooooo close. Roll on Sonic 3.