“Dora the Explorer Movie” in Works. Michael Bay Set to Produce

Get your maps and backpacks ready because Dora the Explorer is heading to the big screen. Michael Bay is set as producer of the film with his Platinum Dune partners, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. Nick Stoller, director of The Muppets and Neighbors, is working on the script.

Most of the production details are secretive as of now, but it will be a live action feature and feature Dora as a teenager moving into a new city to live with her cousin, Diego.

The popular children’s show has been in many different forms of media such as video games, book, and toys. This will be the first time Dora will be on the big screen.

There is no specific release date yet, but Paramount is eyeing for a 2019 release date. Platinum Dune is has also made Paramount’s Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The Michael Bay and Stoller names might give a feeling that the film will be more oriented for teenagers and older audiences, but Stoller has worked many age appropriate films like The Muppets, Storks, and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.

Who knows how this will turn out, but College Humor did make a trailer parody in 2012 of what a more adult themed Dora movie would look like. Let’s just hope Megan Fox and Mark Wahlberg don’t get casted in this movie.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming – Spidey is Back

We have now seen three reiterations of the famous comic book super hero, Spider-Man. It’s a little insane to think that. It’s only been fifteen years since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man came out, and it’s arguable that it helped changed the comic book movie genre. Yet, like I said, we’ve already had three.

After The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out people, including myself, gave it mixed feelings along with not getting the money Sony was hoping it would receive. This outcome led to the decision of Sony and Marvel studios putting Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, except we would get see a brand new actor portray Peter Parker.

This time we get to see Tom Holland play Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming. After Peter helped out Iron Man in Civil War, he thinks he’s up there with the Avengers, but unfortunately he isn’t. Peter is constantly trying to get in contact with Happy (Jon Favreau) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), questioning what his next mission will be. While Peter is being ignored, he discovers a gang that works for Adrian Toomes aka Vulture (Michael Keaton) is using weapons with mass destruction. Peter must stop him from destroying the city and prove to Tony that he has what it takes to be a full time member of the Avengers.

What’s new about this Spider-Man film is that it’s an all new fresh take. Though both Raimi’s and Webb’s Spider-Man films do have parts featuring Peter in high school, but a huge focus of Homecoming is Peter being a student in high school. The movie really emphasizes that Peter is a kid, who hasn’t reached his full potential on many things and still has a lot to learn.

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We see takes on situations that we haven’t seen Spider-Man deal with in the past movies. They’re entertaining and creative situations as well, like Spider-Man figuring out how to travel with his web powers, yet there are no towers for him to swing on. That’s only a small glimpse of situations and action sequences that we see Spider-Man in. These scenes show that Peter is still learning with his powers, and each action sequence feels refreshing and new.

The movie might not have bigger stakes than maybe a Captain America or Doctor Strange movie, but it’s more of a character piece which is something the last three films lacked. We got to see a great amount of personality from Tom Holland, who is now my favorite Spider-Man. Holland was able to give a great amount of humor and heart. His character felt pure and showed he really cares about helping the city be safe from danger.

Tony Stark surprisingly isn’t in the movie as much as expected. It’s in no way a negative that we couldn’t see Stark in the film that much. It’s pretty great because this shows Holland is able to carry a film by himself without much support.

Keaton also helps elevate scenes in the movie. In a long time, we got to see a great Marvel villain. Not joking. Vulture is so far one of the better villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We get to see his reasoning for why Toomes does this. His character isn’t about ‘taking over the world’ but doing this in order to support his family and that makes him feel more compelling. You’re able to understand why he has to do this. Toomes is also menacing to the point where it’s uncomfortable to be around him at times. Keaton’s performance makes Vulture a fantastic character.

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There are some characters and jokes that feel pointless at times though. Peter’s friend, Ted (Jacob Batalon), has some funny lines, but there are some jokes from him that are predictable and don’t feel clever. Michelle (Zendaya) is entertaining sometimes but some jokes feel off. Donald Glover is in the movie for a little bit, and it feels like a waste to use little of a guy with much talent, but big fans of the Spider-Man series know how his character fits in with Spider-Man.

It’s great to see a new take on our beloved Spider-Man by showing imaginative situations and settings that we’ve never thought of and by blending it in with the MCU seamlessly. Holland’s personality fits Peter perfectly by showing humor and heart. Keaton’s performance is menacing and intimidating, yet there are compelling elements about Toomes that makes him a well developed villain. Though some jokes and characters feel odd at times, the tone and colors help make everyone feel unique. I’m glad to say, Spider-Man has finally found his home and that’s in the MCU.

B+

‘Baby Driver’: Wright’s Film Zooms in Expectations

The last Edgar Wright film we saw was The World’s End, which was in 2013. Wright was originally going to direct Marvel’s Ant-Man but left after both him and the studio were having trouble agreeing on how that film would turn out. So it’s been four years since we’ve seen a Wright film. Fortunately, Baby Driver shows Wright is still on point when it comes to filmmaking.

Similar to Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver also focuses on music except whereas the characters would burst into a musical and use that music to fight, Baby Driver uses the music as an essential element to help move the motivation and action seamlessly.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a talented driver who helps Doc (Kevin Spacey) rob banks by being the escapist and getting away from police chases. Baby is constantly listening to music to drain out the tinnitus in his ears from when he got into a car accident as a child and lost both parents. Baby falls in love with a waitress named Debora (Lily James) and when he thinks he’s done for good working for Doc, he gets pulled back in to do another job involving Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eliza Gonzalez), and Bats (Jamie Foxx).

The biggest thing that could have been a hit or miss is the music itself. What seems like a gimmick could get old quickly. Some directors could figure out a way to use the music creatively, James Gunn blends the music pretty well in both Guardians of the Galaxy films, but not many people (or nobody until Wright) choreographs the action with the music beats.

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It’s a huge strength and challenge for Wright to do this. All of his films have those quick cuts that flow well together, but doing that along with any song is impressive. It’s not even just action, the dialogue and character movements also flow with the music. It’s Wright’s most articulate yet also arguably his best edited film.

The soundtrack isn’t what to expect. Weeks before the film was released, a single titled Chase Me by Dangermouse (featuring Run the Jewels and Big Boi) came out leading me to expect the soundtrack to be full of hip hop bangers. Though there is a Run the Jewels song played in the movie, it’s not used during a chase scene. Still, the soundtrack is full of songs that some people might not know or not expect to be in any movie. Yet the soundtrack is still full of songs that are fun to listen to. It’s most likely you’ll end up buying the soundtrack right after you see it.

Unfortunately, Baby Driver lacks the emotional impact that can be expected from any other Wright film. Films such as Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End both factor in on heavy decisions and consequences while showing what to value in your own life. In this film, it seems like Baby sees Debora as goal, even though he is clearly in love with her. If there was more screen time between both characters then maybe this could have been resolved a little bit better.

I’ve never seen a movie featuring Elgort, who hasn’t done a whole lot. His most memorable role for some is Gus from The Fault In Our Stars, which seemed more like the perfect dream boy than a real person. In Baby Driver, Elgort plays a character who has a great amount of confidence and desperation. Elgort works well with the talented cast, who give off a great presence of terror. Foxx is a standout in this because he’s unpredictable throughout the movie.

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Without a doubt, Baby Driver is one of the year’s and Wright’s most extraordinary film. It’s a great introduction for those who are wanting to see a Wright film, but it’s also pleasing for those who are already big fans and can see his influences from his previous works, even though the film doesn’t get as emotional as it could have. Yet it’s still so fun to root for Baby and scream “Hell yeah!” through the entire movie. It’s easily a safe bet to say this might be the only movie this year that will give you an adrenaline rush from start to finish.

A-

Short and Simple News: Adam West’s Death, Black Panther Teaser, and More

 

Adam West Dies at 88

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The first caped crusader, Adam West, died earlier this week. He was 88. West was known for playing many people’s favorite superhero, Batman. After the show was cancelled, West got many voice roles in various television series for children and for the more mature audiences. West was also well known for voicing himself in the animated series, Family Guy. West even reprised his role as Batman in “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader.” Our thoughts and prayers from Roam Life Free go out to the West family.

 

 

Goosebumps 2 Titled Goosebumps: Horrorland

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Rob Letterman is returning to direct the sequel along with Jack Black returning as R.L. Stine. The movie will be based off of the “Horrorland” series, which is known as the scariest place on Earth according to the author, Stine. The sequel is set to arrive Sept. 21, 2018.

 

Black Panther Teaser Trailer Released

Marvel Studios released it’s first trailer of the upcoming Black Panther. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who previously directed Creed and Fruitvale Station. The film will feature a predominately black cast that includes Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman, and Andy Serkis. The film hits theaters Feb. 18.

 

Venom Will Not Be a Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Kevin Feige has confirmed that Venom, staring Tom Hardy as the titular character, won’t be a part of the MCU. Sony plans on being in complete control of this R-rating comic book film. Spider-Man: Homecoming director, Jon Watts, has also confirmed Venom will not be connected. Though it isn’t surprising to some, it’s now confusing to many. The origin of Venom is heavily tied around Spider-Man, meaning many things are going to change. The film is still set to open Oct. 8, 2018.

 

Simon Kinberg to Direct X-Men: Dark Phoenix

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Deadline reported this week Simon Kinberg will be directing the next X-Men film. This will be Kinberg’s first film as a director, but has written and produced the last two X-Men films. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Jennifer Lawrence are set to return. Jessica Chastain is in talks to play the villain, Shi’ar Empress Lilandra. The film is set to come out Nov. 2, 2018.

2017 Summer Films to See

Now that you’re done stressing over finals and getting ready to have a relaxing summer, you’ll probably be going to the movies more than once during the break with the amount of blockbusters coming our way. With the success of Deadpool and Logan both being two rated R films that earned huge success and large amounts of money, you can definitely expect not just family friendly movies on this list.

These are movies that you might want to check out during your summer. This doesn’t mean the movie will be good or bad. This is based off of franchises, past success of similar movies, and word of mouth. There are also many other movies that are coming out this summer that might not be on the list. That doesn’t mean I think people shouldn’t see it, I just think these are the movies people will be most fascinated with. Let’s get started.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5th)

The first film in the Marvel universe that started different genres was a huge success and to some it’s their favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. James Gunn is returning to direct the sequel and has told us little about the story in order for us to not try to figure out the entire plot. Marvel also recently announced that Gunn will return to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, meaning they are that confident with this film. Plus, it’s Baby Groot. How can you say no to that?

 

Alien: Covenant (May 19th)

This is for those who may be a little confused about the Alien franchise, this is not an Alien 5, this is a sequel to Prometheus, hence why Michael Fassbender is in the trailer. Even though some people weren’t pleased with Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s most recent film, The Martian, got him and the film some Oscar nominations, plus he’s returning to do science fiction and it has the Xenomorph alien. This will please fans and those who want a good horror / sci fi / action film.

 

Baywatch (May 25th)

As far as this summer is looking, it seems like we may not have many great comedies. Baywatch has potential of being the comedy of the summer. Director, Seth Gordon, has made this adaptation a rated R flick, so definitely expect so vulgar coming from the entire cast. Gordon directed Horrible Bosses as well and it seems like this movie is going more towards the direction that 21 Jump Street is taking, so this might be the comedy film that people will check out this summer.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26th)

Who knows how this film will turn out. Some people are big fans of the franchise, the last two films made over a billion dollars, while some think the franchise went downhill after the first film. People will see this just going based off how much money these movies make. There has been a good word of mouth from CinemaCon this year, but we’ll have to wait and find out if it’s one of the best in the series.

 

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (June 2nd)

Our first kid friendly film on the list. Captain Underpants is able to appeal to both kids today, and those who read them when the books were published in 1997. The animation feels lively while still giving a two-dimensional feeling, similar to the 2015 The Peanuts Movie. The movie will also feature bigger comedy stars as the voice actors like people such as Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Jordan Peele, Nick Kroll, and Kristen Schaal. Based off of the trailer, it seems like it will focus on the first three books, so those who have read them can get a good kick out of this.

 

Wonder Woman (June 2nd)

Say what you want about the DC Extended Universe, but it’s obvious that this film will get tons of money. It will be the first comic book film to have a female as the lead and title. Yet, this film needs to succeed critically and financially. If this happens, then we’ll be able to get more female-led superhero films instead of supporting characters. Even though Marvel has announced Captain Marvel with Brie Larson as the lead, this film is what can change Hollywood.

 

It Comes at Night (June 9th)

A24 usually never disappoints. It Comes at Night is one of their upcoming horror films that has the perfect blend of terror, tense, and good filmmaking, which is why A24 is a production company to be on the lookout for. Though their last horror flick, The Witch, was critically well received, regular movie goers who were expecting jump scares and demons were disappointed. It seems like A24 will be able to interest those who are fans of filmmaking and those who want to see a good horror movie. Watch the trailer if you’re interested.

 

The Mummy (June 9th)

No this isn’t a new sequel to the Brendon Fraser series, this is an all franchise that will start Universal’s Monster Universe. That’s right a monster universe. This film will open with Tom Cruise going up against the Mummy, played by Sofia Boutella, along with Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll. We don’t know if this is going to have Easter eggs everywhere about all of the other monsters or if this is going to be a smooth and not rushed slate to the universe. We’ll have to wait and find out.

 

The Big Sick (June 23rd)

If you’re looking for a heartwarming story then this movie might please you. This is the first movie with Kumail Nanjiani, Silicon Valley, as the lead and it’s based off of his real life involving him and his wife. The film involves romance but also delves into the conflict of not wanting to be involved with arranged marriage. It might be this summer’s hidden gem, so check it out when it comes out to theaters.

 

Baby Driver (June 28th)

 Edgar Wright is back after his Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End) and almost making Ant-Man and this time he’s got driving and music. Baby Driver features Ansel Elgort as Baby who has a hearing problem and listens to music when he’s driving robbers / helping them do heists. The film will be heavy with sleek and clean cut action scenes with one great soundtrack. It’s already gotten great reviews after it premiered at SXSW.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7th)

If you liked Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, then you will most likely have a good time watching this new rendition of Spider-Man. Marvel and Sony have made it clear that this will the most unique Spider-Man film out of all of them, since Kevin Feige has said that it will feel like a John Hughes movie. Also if this is a success, maybe we’ll see other studio working together to make more stuff like this happen (please put Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in an Avengers movie).

 

A Ghost Story (July 7th)

Here’s another A24 film. This film might be the most unique on the entire list. It isn’t a horror film, but instead a drama. I would recommend you watch the trailer to get the perfect amount of info about it, but if you really want to try and see something different this summer, then this is the movie you should watch.

 

War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14th)

Apes. On. Horses. That should be enough to sell you right there. If you haven’t seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, then you are missing out. This series fooled everyone, thinking it wouldn’t work at all, yet here we are waiting for what could set one of the best trilogies. We’ll get to see Andy Serkis as Caesar again and fight the last of the humans including Woody Harrelson.

 

Dunkirk (July 21st)

Just saying the name, Christopher Nolan, will get people running to the theaters to see what Nolan has to offer. His work has now varied and this time we’re seeing him do a WWII film. Nolan has explained that Dunkirk is more of a “survival” drama rather than a war film. It’ll be interesting to see how he will be able to expand his work and tackle this story. It will also feature Harry Styles in his first scripted film; so many of us are curious how he will turn out as an actor.

 

 Atomic Blonde (July 28th)

If you liked the film, John Wick, then you’re in for a thrill on this since the same director, David Leitch, makes it. Instead of Keanu Reeves, it features Charlize Theron and is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde. It’s set in 1989 Berlin MI6’s most lethal assassin (Theron) is sent to deliver a priceless dossier in Berlin with the help of local station chief David Percival (James McAvoy).

 

The Dark Tower (August 4th)

We won’t know how this anticipated film will turn out. The film was originally going to be directed by Ron Howard, and this has been talked about since 2013 so fans of the books (written by Stephen King), novellas, and graphic novels have patiently been waiting. There have been many push backs of the release and rumors of problems on set, but it has Idris Elba as The Gunslinger who must stop The Man in Black. The film is to set up a multi-platform shared universe on the big screen and on the screens in your home.

 

Detroit (August 4th)

Director Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, are both Academy Award caliber films so this might be an early start of what to look forward to this upcoming Oscar season. This film is about the Detroit Riots in 1967. The film might possibly get some success financially due to the relevance the film will be talking about. It features John Boyega and John Krasinski, but we don’t know the roles they will be playing.

 

Death Note (August 25th)

This is the only Netflix special I put on this list because of the huge amount of fans from the manga / anime. Adam Wingard is directing this American adaptation that seems like the right fit going based off of The Guest and You’re Next, two fun horror films worth checking out. Since it’s Netflix, this film might go in the direction of Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why with a mix of Death Note, but this film might be Wingard’s biggest audience.

 

 

 

“Power Rangers” – Not So Mighty

When I grew up, I never got into “Power Rangers”. I never even saw a full episode of the show. Martial arts was never an interest of mine and the older I got, the cheesiness appealed to me less and less to where the gimmick wouldn’t mean anything to me. When the news came out that Lionsgate was going to make a movie based off of the popular show, I rolled my eyes thinking “Is this really what Hollywood wants?”

This adaptation tells the origin story of the Power Rangers where five teenagers find crystals hidden by Zordon (Bryan Cranston) from 65 million years ago. These teenagers must learn how to work together in order to be the new protectors of the world and stop Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks).

The first trailer gave an atmosphere of a super hero story meets “The Breakfast Club” and it does feel like that at times. Three of the characters meet in detention. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) decides to do a sudden makeover by cutting her hair. Jason (Dacre Montgomery) resembles John Bender from “The Breakfast Club” where he has father – son issues and acts tough. Billy (RJ Cyler) is a kid with autism who gets bullied a lot and is looking for friends.

The beginning is set up like this to give these characters a reason for why the viewer should like them, and the film doesn’t do a bad job on this. Throughout, the movie shows how these teenagers feel and what they’re struggling through. It helps makes people connect to these characters, and since one of them autistic and one is bisexual it broadens to help let kids think that they can be like a Power Ranger.

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For the most part, the development isn’t badly written for these characters. Eventually, it tells us each struggle the character has. That still means it’s missing some points. For both Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.), they’re just put into the film all of the sudden because the writers couldn’t think of a creative way to tie them in with the other three teenagers.

Yet these five together have good chemistry with each other. The scenes where they’re trying to relate with each other are compelling and help make the characters more understandable.

There are times where too much is added, making some of the scenes not fleshed out. That’s one of the biggest flaws in it’s writing.

There’s a scene where Zack and Jason are fighting, but it felt immediate and only crucial for a plot point. If the film had more of Zack getting in Jason’s way or Zack being too much to handle because of his idiotic decisions, then there would be a stronger bond between them and not just a plot point. This scene where these two fight are redundant.

This scene was to only show that there are Zords, I had to google what those were because I had no idea.

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The Zords could have worked more for an Easter egg to use for the plot in a sequel. There was barely any explanation on them and no scenes that involve training with the Zords, except for when Zack attempts to use it. It’s fan service

The action scenes are also fan service because this is when it gets cheesy. Other than the training montage, the only action in the movie is in the last twenty minutes. It’s not filmed badly, but it sticks out because it doesn’t fit with what the movie was setting up from the previous 90 minutes. They even play the television theme song; it’s stands out because the movie never feels like it’s being cheesy up until this point.

Rita Repulsa also sticks out for the same reason. Elizabeth Banks did an exceptional job on the role, but she is definitely going for more of the cheesiness of the original character and it doesn’t fit the movie. When the movie is trying to be dark, gritty, and inspiring, Rita Repulsa being over the top doesn’t match the tone.

Surprisingly “Power Rangers” is a decent movie. The telling of an origin story involving more personal themes help give a unique sense of characterization. The first ninety minutes are decent enough on setting up the world around it. Yet, the entire set up to the big action scene is tonally different and doesn’t mix well. If the film had more of its campy style spread out through the film, then this wouldn’t be a huge problem, but because the first third is gritty and more inspirational, the cheesy dialogue, over acting, and action is distracting. The writing has flaws with it’s absence of explaining some character motivation and how the Rangers were able to use the Zords. It’s times like this where it feels more like fan service. Fans of all ages will truly enjoy the film because and can even be a great introduction for new fans, but for those who really dissect it and look at it as movie, then the writing flaws and lazy camera work can be very distracting.

C

“Kong: Skull Island” – Another Monster Flick Effort

With the success of “Godzilla” and “Pacific Rim”, it was bound to happen that Hollywood would bring back the notorious ape, King Kong. Universal was friendly enough to hand the right of King Kong to Warner Bros. and this studio used this character quicker than ever by announcing a King Kong vs Godzilla film after making a new King Kong movie.

The film is set in 1977. Bill Randa (Goodman) discovers an island and hires a team of soldiers and scientist to investigate. What they come to find is that they’re not alone and must survive with their new discoveries in order to get off the island.

The problems that came up in “Godzilla” was that there were few scenes that involved the reptilian monster and that there wasn’t any character development with anybody in that movie. “Kong: Skull Island” improves on these two things, but not by much.

Almost every character has little to no development and is meant to be killed by Kong. The biggest attempts into telling the audience about these characters past lives is with Hank Marlow (Reilly) and Preston Packard (Jackson). Marlow landed on the island during WWII and has lived on the island for over 20 years. His desire of knowing what he’s missed out on and telling the team about his wife helps make Marlow more likable. The first scene with Packard shows he’s a soldier who misses the war. This scene helps explain why he wants to kill Kong.

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Kong. Image via Warner Bros.

Yet these two also give the best performances in the cast, notably with the comedy. Every joke falls flat unless it came from Reilly or Jackson because their charisma helped with their timing.

These two are the only characters the movie lets us care for. There is a scene where Jack Chapman (Kebbell) is writing a letter to his son, but it isn’t delved into enough to leave an impact. If the ensemble was cut in half and focused on those characters, then there would be a huge improvement on letting the audience have a feeling for the characters.

When Kong is in the movie, it makes everything more appealing. He puts the audience in awe, making them wonder what will he do. Him fighting other monsters are the best moments in the scene because it’s what people want and it’s entertaining. Yet the editing is too stylistic with the repetitive slow motion shots to a point where it gets distracting.

For Vogt-Roberts first non-indie film, it was a decent attempt. The monster brawls are amusing with some decent composition shots. It’s just the editing is too stylistic and over the top, with characters that have little development and deliver flat jokes. It’ll be interesting to see how the future ‘Monsterverse’ will turn out, but going based off of this and “Godzilla”, we’ll at least have some fun.

C+