More 2013 movie reviews! Fair warning, minor spoilers ahead.
Wolverine – Fantastic. I’m actually looking forward to seeing it a second time to pick up all the details I missed the first time around. Great direction, great cast, great villains (except for one of the female villains who was pretty boring), great classic comic book story adapted from comics from the early 1980s when I was a kid. The backdrop is Japan which is also awesome. It didn’t have as much action as I expected it to have, but this is one of the few times I didn’t mind. Jackman’s Wolverine is one of the few truly masculine, badass Alpha heroes Hollywood has right now, and we need to see more of him. He’s more tortured and conflicted than ever in this film, which is great. He also really gets his ass kicked at the end of the film, which is nice, because I hate invincible heroes. Can’t recommend this movie enough. Probably my second favorite this summer behind Star Trek Into Darkness.
Red 2 – I expected this to be just another dumb filler movie that serves as just another paycheck for Bruce Willis. I was very surprised to find this was a very good, very entertaining action film. I saw the first Red movie but barely remember any of it. This movie, however, kept me interested and entertained the entire time. It’s also a funny movie that, again surprisingly, made me laugh. The casting is perfect and all the characters, good and bad, are great. Moreover, the female characters actually didn’t annoy me, which is a huge feat for an action film. Helen Mirren and Catherine Zeta-Jones are both great, and Mary-Louise Parker is one of the most compelling actresses I’ve seen in years. She really is cute, and I don’t mean physically, I mean her personality.
There were all kinds of plot twists in this film, some I saw coming and some I did not. Bruce Willis is awesome and he actually seems to be enjoying himself in this movie (unlike in G.I. Joe and the last Die Hard film, where he’s just phoning it in). Byung-hun Lee is a complete badass in this movie, and between this film and G.I. Joe, I’m officially a fan. The ending of the film was a little dumb, but the rest of the movie was great. Red 2 was an expectantly pleasant surprise.
Elysium – Oh Jesus. Yet another Rich People Are Bad™ story that we’ve seen a thousand times. Good special effects and stuff, but the setting didn’t make any sense. The Rich People live on a space station and every household has a machine that cures every medical problem known to man, including cancer. It can also fix any damage to the body, including reconstructing your entire face if it gets blown off (which happens in the film). The Rich People keep this technology away from the Poor People on Earth because….because no reason. One of these machines can cure thousands of people so it’s not an issue of scarcity. It’s just because Rich People Are Bad™. If technology like this was that common and inexpensive, this scenario would never happen. The free market, or even the black market, would eventually ensure everyone would have it. It’s just an excuse for yet another class warfare story Hollywood liberals are so fond of.
Add to that a bunch of overly shakey-camed action scenes, a very poorly written villain (played by Jodie Foster, who looks very hot for 50), a shitload of stock Hollywood characters (the Shoehorned Female Lead Who Is Never Really In Danger™, the Evil Businessman™, the Asshole Boss™, the Reformed Criminal Good Guy™), the movie just sucks. Skip it and watch District 9, a much better film made by the same guy.