Category Archives: Disaster

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) Review

With Independence Day: Resurgence, Roland Emmerich is giving Michael Bay a run for his money and solidifying his status as the Director you call if you are looking for global catastrophe.

I try to watch a movie for what it is. This is not an artful indie flick with snappy dialogue. This 20 year old cluttered sequel to the 1996 smash Independence Day is a summer popcorn movie. That usually means destruction in between bursts of vapid or humorous dialogue, Resurgence delivers according to those expectations. But for some reason, Emmerich feels the need to continually remind us that this is an Independence Day sequel instead of just making an Independence Day sequel. It seems like we can’t go more than 5 minutes without some visual or auditory clue that we are watching the child of his most accomplished work.

Continue reading Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) Review

If You Liked… Independence Day

As we prepare for the sequel that has been 20 years in the making, lets take a look back at this alien invasion film. Independence Day is a 1996 American epic science-fiction disaster film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, Vivica A. Fox, and Harry Connick, Jr. The film focuses on a diverse and interesting group of people who converge in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a destructive alien attack and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4th.

independenceday5

Has anyone not seen Independence Day? Seriously? I want to meet you if you’ve never seen it. I would be highly surprised if you could find anyone between the ages of 30 and 50 in the United States who hasn’t seen Independence Day.

That doesn’t mean everyone loves it. In fact, according to icheckmovies.com, only 2.6% of those that have seen the the movie listed it as one of their favorites, and 1.1% disliked it. This is one of those guilty pleasure movies for me. I saw this film in the theater on opening weekend during the summer between 7th and 8th grade. If you can find a more formative time in a kid’s life I don’t know what it is. It was then that I decided I really liked Jeff Goldblum’s stilted speech and acting style and found out that the Fresh Prince could do more than dance.

independenceday1

If you are like me and like Independence Day you might be looking for some other movies to watch while you wait for Independence Day: Resurgence to be released next weekend. I told my oldest son (12) that he could only see the sequel if he watched the original with me, so he obliged his old man and we sat down and watched this movie a few nights ago. Time has not been great to the effects on this film. Director Roland Emmerich loves to destroy New York City and threaten the annihilation of all mankind (Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, 2012), it will be nice to see what he can do with the technology that 20 years has given him. In keeping with the guilty pleasure nature of Independence Day, all of my selections will also be selections that I might not often openly admit to loving.

Continue reading If You Liked… Independence Day

Not New Review – Jurassic Park (1993)

Back in 1993, this little movie called Jurassic Park roared into theaters. What Steven Spielberg did with a shark 20 years earlier, he did again here with dinosaurs. I can’t recall whether I saw this film in theaters or not. I was only 10, so I doubt it, but I definitely remember watching it at home on VHS. This movie was right up my alley, I’m not only a geek over movies. I also really love science and although the science here is a bit of a stretch, I was only 10 and didn’t know better yet, so I ate it up. I could just imagine this actually happening in a few years time like the filmmakers were revealing this new scientific technique to the world and the archaeologists and biologists were watching saying, “why didn’t we think of that?”

jurassicpark6

Adapted from a Michael Crichton novel of the same name, Jurassic Park was a great success both critically and commercially. It was the highest grossing film of 1993 bringing in nearly $1 billion dollars worldwide. That number was unheard of in 1993. Not until Titanic floated along in 1997 did anyone even come close to that number. It won 3 Oscars for its visual and sound effects and is currently sitting at an 8.1 of 10 on IMDb which places it as the 203rd best film of all time according to their top 250. Continue reading Not New Review – Jurassic Park (1993)

If You Liked… Cast Away (2000)

I know a good number of people that could count the number of films they have seen in the last 5 years on their hands. I don’t think it is because they have an aversion to film, rather they have their favorites that they saw a long while ago and now they just don’t know what to watch. With this series, I want to highlight a classic film and then make suggestions of other films that you might like.

Cast Away is one of those films that it seems like everyone seen, but just in case you have been under a rock, Chuck (Tom Hanks), a top international manager for FedEx, and Kelly (Helen Hunt), a Ph.D. student, are in love and heading towards marriage. Then Chuck’s plane to Malaysia ditches at sea during a terrible storm. He’s the only survivor, and he washes up on a tiny island with nothing but some flotsam and jetsam from the aircraft’s cargo. Can he survive in this tropical wasteland? Will he ever return to woman he loves?

Suggestions based upon Cast Away:

Flight (2012)

If you liked the composition and direction of the movie then you might like another Robert Zemeckis movie, Flight (2012) staring Denzel Washington. This one involves a plane crash too.
If you liked the composition and direction of the movie then you might like another Robert Zemeckis movie, Flight (2012) staring Denzel Washington. This one involves a plane crash too.

Jarhead (2008)

If you liked the writing (though really there isn't much writing in Cast Away), you might like another film written by William Broyles Jr. Jarhead (2005) is a psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war told through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper (Jake Gyllenhaal)
If you liked the writing (though really there isn’t much writing in Cast Away), you might like another film written by William Broyles Jr. Jarhead (2005) is a psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war told through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Maybe you just like seeing Tom Hanks on the open seas in distressing situations. Well, I'm the captain now and the in flight movie is Captain Phillips (2013) the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.
Maybe you just like seeing Tom Hanks on the open seas in distressing situations. Well, I’m the captain now and the in flight movie is Captain Phillips (2013) the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

127 Hours (2010)

Maybe you just like Harrowing stories of survival and personal triumph. Then you have to check out the true story of adventurous mountain climber Aron Ralston who becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive in 127 Hours (2010).
Maybe you just like Harrowing stories of survival and personal triumph. Then you have to check out the true story of adventurous mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) who becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive in 127 Hours (2010).

So what do you think? Will you check out any of these movies? What classic should I feature next time? Leave your comments below.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Two months ago, no one knew that 10 Cloverfield Lane existed, let alone was about to be wide released in theaters. One month ago, no one had any idea how, if at all, this film was related to the 2008 film Cloverfield except for the obvious title and the fact that J.J. Abrams’ name was tied to the project. Not sure how Abrams had time with Star Wars: The Force Awakens to hide this project from the world, but I’m glad he did.

One of the greatest things 10 Cloverfield Lane has to offer is that the audience really has no idea what to expect going into the film. Very much in the J.J Abrams way, the production for this film has been left completely under-wraps and the trailers have revealed next to nothing. That’s one of the best parts of the movie, so I’m not going to spoil or give anything away in my synopsis or the review. I won’t even tell you if this movie is indeed a Cloverfield sequel or if it’s something different altogether. You’ll have to find out for yourself. But I will say that it is worth checking out whether or not you have any knowledge of Cloverfield. It only cost a measly 15 million to make this film and it nearly doubled that on its opening night. It’s a good film all by itself. It won’t win any Oscars, but it was compelling and fun.

10cloverfieldlane2

A woman we know very little about named Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is involved in a car crash in a breath taking opening credit sequence. She wakes up a few days later to find herself in an underground bunker with Howard (John Goodman), a large and crazy-eyed farmer standing above her. He tells her that she can’t leave, because some sort of disaster has happened and it’s not safe to go outside. Finding herself alone with Howard and another man named Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), and I’m stealing their tag line here because it’s a dang good tag line, they find out that monsters come in many forms.

10cloverfiledlane4

Obviously, I had no idea to expect when I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane. No one did. But within the first five minutes they set the tone so you know what kind of movie they are going for, and I found myself instantly engaged. For the rest of the film, I was floored with what was going on. In his directorial debut, Dan Trachtenberg takes the reigns on creating a film that will hit you with the unexpected, and leave you shocked.

10cloverfieldlane5

The best word I could think of to describe this film while I was watching it was claustrophobic. Trapped with Michelle inside the bunker, they create such an intense and nervous atmosphere that you feel yourself getting antsy along with the characters. Because for almost the whole film, we don’t really know what’s going on. We know what Howard is telling us and leading us to believe, but we have no idea if that’s reliable or not. We discover things along with the characters, which is why this film is such a good build up. When the conclusion to the film finally comes, you will leave more than satisfied. But don’t ruin it for yourself by looking up online spoilers to see if it is a Cloverfield sequel. See the movie. Find out for yourself. It’s worth it.

10cloverfieldlane1

The stand-out performance of the film is John Goodman. He is in so many films every year that we sometimes take him for granted and forget how good of an actor he can be when he’s not mailing it in, but rather commits whole heartedly to a role. That’s what happens here. He could have easily over-cooked his performance where it came of as cartoony or unrealistic, but he hit just the right level of disturbing and off-putting where you are crept out by the guy but you can’t be sure if he’s in the right or wrong. It’s a performance similar to Joel Edgerton’s in The Gift.

10cloverfieldlane3

At no point of 10 Cloverfield Lane does the film slow down or lose interest. It uses it’s hour and forty five minute runtime (a surprisingly long one for this type of film) to achieve the best possible effects. The film flies by and I found myself never wanting it to be over.

10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie you should see without being tainted by spoilers. Accept that you know nothing about it going in, and enjoy that experience. Because it’s something that doesn’t happen often and it’s a rare gift when it does. 10 Cloverfield Lane has a lot to offer despite the fact that it’s a very small film. So if it is still playing near you, go see it this weekend. Don’t look for other trailers or read other reviews. Just go, then come back here and tell me what you thought.

X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

The X-Men are back on the big screen for a sequel (or is it a prequel?) featuring a whole slew of characters with dual identities, giving these actors resume credits such as “Scott Summers/Cyclops,” “Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver” and of course “En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse.” I tried to avoid any real spoilers, but as always, reviews are always best when you’ve already seen the movie and can add your commentary.

still-xmenapocalypse-0004

X-Men: Apocalypse is set in 1983, some 10 years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (the fantastic Michael Fassbender), is living in Poland under an assumed name, laboring as an iron-worker (can you imagine a better blue collar job for Magneto?) and coming home each night to his loving wife and adoring daughter. For this tortured soul, it’s as close to paradise as he’ll ever come — as long as nobody finds out who he really is and what he did in Washington 10 years ago. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I tell you that Erik does not spend the entire movie reading bedtime stories to his little girl. I was impressed with the powerful and even realistic tone of this story line. It could have made for a fine film all its own.

still-xmenapocalypse-0006

I was surprised to find out that Oscar Isaac played Apocalypse, a man whom some believe to be the first mutant, he was so covered in makeup, prosthesis, and tubing that he was completely unrecognizable. Apocalypse awakens from the slumber of many thousand years and is shocked to find that weak, normal people have managed to assume control of the world through government, technology, and weapons. This is appalling to him and he vows to destroy the world and rule over the survivors as he rebuilds it in his twisted image.

still-xmenapocalypse-0008

Meanwhile, back at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Professor Charles Xavier (The talented James McAvoy) mentors two familiar young mutants. Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), has yet to learn how to control the deadly beams that shoot from his eyes, and the telepathic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner from “Game of Thrones”) draws whispered stares from other students because they are frightened of her unbridaled abilities. Sparks are definitely flying between these two.

still-xmenapocalypse-0005

There are so many more characters that received excellent treatment. The introduction of Psylocke (played by every fanboy’s dream, Olivia Munn), and the return of the Blue X-Man Group featuring young KurtWagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Raven/Mystique (played by every other fanboy’s dream, Jennifer Lawrence), and Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Alexandra Shipp’s first turn in the iconic role of Ororo Munroe/Storm was solid, although in my opinion you average weather reporter could do better than Halle Berry.

still-xmenapocalypse-0001

This isn’t the best X-Men film of the franchise, but it’s a visual spectacle, brimming with great performances. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, with characters making self-referential jokes about the third movie in a series always being the worst as they walk out of a theater having just seen Return of the Jedi. And they fully embrace the 80’s setting with TAB soda, Rubik’s Cubes, Ms. Pac-Man Arcade games, and a great in school cameo by my favorite Breakfast Clubber Ally Sheedy. Plus, it can’t hurt that it contains perhaps my favorite scene of any movie this year. As an explosion rocks Xavier’s school, Quicksilver (My new favorite young actor, Evan Peters) uses his mind bending speed to save dozens of students, all to the tune of and unforgettable Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurythmics. That one scene is worth the ticket price and is as entertaining as anything I’ve seen at the movies in a long time.

still-xmenapocalypse-0002

The timing isn’t the best for X-Men: Apocalypse, coming so closely after the recent releases of Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Even the hardcore geeks who like to get their Comic-Con on might be feeling a little superhero fatigue right about now. However, with an estimated haul of $8.2 million from Thursday night previews alone, perhaps the hunger has not completely been quenched. That’s a solid start and compares nicely to the $8.1 million X-Men: Days of Future Past launched with in 2014 before opening with $90.8 million over the three-day and $110.5 million for the 2014. (BoxOfficeMojo.com). Whether or not you consider yourself a comic book adaptation fan, you owe it to yourself to see Quicksilver do his thing. How long until Fox coughs up his rights and we get to see him cross over to become an Avenger? Sweet Dreams indeed.

The Big Short (2015)

When I think of the collapse of the housing market and the beginning of the Great Recession, I don’t immediately think of a comedy. Millions of hard working Americans losing their homes and pensions and having to bear the burden of a government sponsored bailout makes me think of a hard-hitting and moving drama. Well, The Big Short is both of those. It is more than a comedy, but it is also tremendously entertaining even while it made me really mad and sad.

Adam McKay took the directorial chair in this adaptation of Michael Lewis’ book. McKay has previously been known for a number of Will Ferrell comedies like Anchorman, The Other Guys and Step Brothers which kind of explains the tone of the film. Lewis has been responsible for writing a number of books that have made it to the big screen despite their traditionally dry subject matter, think Moneyball (another Brad Pitt Project) and to a lesser extent The Blind Side.  
The Big Short 2The Big Short
 is set in the years leading up to the financial meltdown of 2008 and tells the story of a handful of investors who saw it coming. Bitter humor (primarily delivered by an excellent narrator in Ryan Gosling) guides us through an educational journey that ultimately ends in tragedy (for everyone but our protagonists). The housing market is usually a rock-solid investment. But these guys read the signs and started suspecting that it was a skyscraper built on sand and it was getting ready to collapse. The “experts” of the day told them that it was impossible, That it couldn’t happen.

What was their argument? Because it never has. But they had no clue how blinded they had become by their own greed and self-interest. They continued giving loans to people, no matter if they’re qualified. And not just any loans but sub-prime adjustable rate mortgage loans. In some ways, it’s a horror story: We were all affected by the illegal and fraudulent activity that led to this downfall, and most of the culprits received no punishment (in fact many used the bailout money to give themselves substantial bonuses).

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him. – Leo Tolstoy, 1897

Despite its ominous and (let’s be honest) boring subject matter. The film is so entertaining, I had to go back and see it a second time. It sports a star-studded cast (Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Christian Bale) effortlessly operating at the top of their game. McKay uses a multitude of techniques to tell the story. There are plenty of fourth-wall breaking moments and monologues, my favorite being Anthony Bourdain using a cooking metaphor to explain the disgusting product that is a Collateralized Debt Obligation. The Big Short 1There are jump cuts, slow motion, foreshadowing and flash backs. The filmmakers use any and all tricks to explain a complicated mess of financial underhandedness in order to help the audience understand, because as our narrator tells us, “Mortgage backed securities, subprime loans, tranches… Pretty confusing right? Does it make you feel bored? Or stupid? Well, it’s supposed to. Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to make you think only they can do what they do. Or even better, for you to leave them the f*** alone.” The banks, mortgage brokers, the credit ratings agencies and the government manipulated people in the nation and world into investing in worthless packages of bonds, and it behooves the director and writer, Adam McKay, to use all cinematic tricks to explain and untangle the financial corruption. The miracle is that the film deciphers the economic melt-down well while entertaining its audience.

The Big Short 3It would probably be a good time to compare this film to two other recent films which addressed similar issues but in very different ways. First you have the over the top Martin Scorsese film, Wolf of Wall Street. That film became known for the number of F-bombs it dropped while attempting to make the world of investing look cool. Then there was the Oscar winning documentary by Charles Ferguson, Inside Job. It had a cool narrator in Matt Damon, but you almost needed a degree in Finance to follow along as they explained the crisis and spoke to experts. I feel like Adam McKay sought to walk a like between these too films, it is not over the top in an attempt to be cool, nor is it preachy and heavy handed. It reminds me of a heist movie in the vein of Ocean’s Eleven, the casino gets taken for all it’s worth, but in the end the house still wins.

The Big Short 4I’ll let you watch the movie for yourself to get to know the awesome characters that McKay develops for us. As a middle-class worker, I could not have less in common with these guys, but dang it if I didn’t feel myself rooting for and empathizing with them. We’ve got a socially backward fund manager who blasts death metal in his office. The two young guys who started on their own fund while they were still in college. Knowing that they are out of their league, they call in the investing giant turned reclusive doomsday-prepper. Then there’s the hedge-fund manager (and his team) with a bad attitude toward banks.

I already mentioned that our tour guide is played by Ryan Gosling, he is a subprime specialist at Deutsche Bank who is certain things will crash. He’s slicker than a used car salesman, but convincing and hilarious. It’s difficult to root for them when that means rooting against the economy and your own wallet. But McKay uses their formidable talents and personalities in such a way that makes it nearly impossible not to.

 

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic-Park_Logo-2-Back in 1993 (That’s 20 years ago!), this little movie called Jurassic Park came out in theaters. What Steven Spielberg did with a shark 20 years earlier, he did again here with dinosaurs. I can’t recall whether I saw this film in theaters or not. I would have been 10 and this movie was right up my alley, but we didn’t see a lot of movies in the theater. Regardless of where I saw it, I do remember watching the movie and loving the science and the visuals. It is probably one of the movies that I watched most frequently. I loved the movie and it has become a classic. Following the success of the the first movie, they decided to make 2 more and they even have a 4th planned for 2014. This summer, either to promote the new movie or just to make some more money, they released the original in 3D. I was very tempted to take my son who is now 9 to see this action-adventure popcorn flick on the big screen. Alas, that opportunity came and went. So, I settled for a Sunday afternoon viewing in house. So, I can;t speak to the quality of the post-processing 3D, but this movie was filmed before HD was even an acronym. I’m afraid if I did see it on the big screen I would have spent the entire time critiquing the technical side of the movie instead of just enjoying it with my boys, which is what I did.

Jurassic Park 2So just in case you been hiding under a rock for the past 20 years and haven’t seen or heard about Jurassic Park, here is a brief synopsis. On Isla Nublar, a small island 120 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) a billionaire decides to  create a new type of theme park; there are no giant mice or cartoon characters here (except for a very informative Mr. DNA). Instead of illusion, the attractions at this theme park are all too real. If you’re thinking about a zoo, it’s like that but much more flashy and the featured attractions of this zoo aren’t your run-of-the-mill animals; this park is full of real dinosaurs. The park has had some issues, so John invites a group of people to come and experience the park and hopefully give their endorsement. They include, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), a paleontologist and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), a paleobotonist. They make their living digging up dinosaur bones and studying them, they don’t know that they are about to witness a scientific discovery that will put them out of a job. I mean, who wants to look at the bones of a creature that you can see alive? They are joined by an irritating lawyer of little consequence and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), a chaos theory mathematician, and the final two members of the group are John’s grand kids Lex and Tim.

2013-Jurassic-Park_612x380One of my favorite scenes is in the opening 40 minutes which runs dramatically slower in pace than the rest of the film. I was a bit afraid my boys would begin to nod off as some of the less entertaining plot points were lined up. The group of eager explorers arrive on the island, ushered in by John Williams amazing score. They take jeeps from the helipad to the welcome center and along the way they run into a group of dinosaurs, they are completely taken by surprised and in awe.  Once they arrive at the visitor center, they take a tour explaining how all of this had been made possible. During which they get to observe a baby raptor being born. This series features some really great dialogue about the ethical underpinnings of cloning and the pride of man.

t rex jurassic parkAs the group takes their safari type tour to see the live dinosaurs, the excitement ramps up. Due to a combination of an impending tropical storm and sabotage by Newman (I mean the greedy computer programmer), the power to all of the electrical fences goes offline. The T-Rex breaks through the fence and attempts to eat the kids in the car. To summarize the movie, there’s a chase scene with a jeep and the T-Rex,  the raptors escape from their enclosure, and finally they are able to get the power back on and meet up at the visitor center. However, before they can escape the island, there’s a scene involving two raptors and the two grand kids. This is probably the scariest scene in the movie, it certainly caused some gasps and eye-hiding from the boys. However, spoiler alert, they escape the raptors and everyone (well almost…) makes it to the helicopter and lives until the sequel.

picture-of-jeff-goldblum-and-laura-dern-in-jurassic-park-large-pictureMy favorite character, even as a kid, was Dr. Ian Malcolm. Besides the humor he adds to the movie, he also brings up some great moral points. During a discussion about the park, Dr. Malcolm states, “Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun.” After some more discussion he concludes by saying, “Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

This brings to mind the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. The people wanted to build a tower to the heavens and they thought they could do it. But God didn’t approve of their purpose/intent in building the tower, so he confused their language. We have made an incredible amount of discoveries and technological advances in the last century.  As our civilization continues to advance, we need to make sure we don’t let it get to our heads or abuse the power we have been granted.

jurassic-park-image-4

In the words of Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Just because we have the power to do something doesn’t mean that we should. Another main point that he brings up is the chaos theory. While very interesting to nerds like me, I’m not going to go into detail about it. But the gist of it is that even if we think we are in control, we really aren’t. John Hammond believed that the park was perfectly safe and under his control, but in the end Malcolm was right. Often times we want to be in control of what happens in our lives, but all to often we find out that we have no control. God is the only one who is truly in control and we must trust in Him.

So in conclusion, I think this is a great action movie. It has a little bit of everything in it: humor, suspense  a chase scene, and best of all giant dinosaurs! The music, which was written by John Williams,  is great throughout the movie. And despite being an action movie, Jurassic Park brings up some thought provoking ideas. Just because you have the power to do something doesn’t mean you should and who is really in control? Now go out and watch this movie!!!

Day 26 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

A Movie You Love But Everyone Else Seems To Hate – 30 Day Movie Challenge

I’m not sure why most critics didn’t enjoy this film. I wonder if it had anything to do with the dark tone or the fact that there is a giant blue penis on display for half the film. But I love the alternate reality and the bleak landscape. Imagine an America where ordinary people have donned masks and alter-egos to take the law into their own hands. That sounds like the opening exposition of every superhero story. Now imagine that in this world, because of the threat of Communism, Richard Nixon has not been impeached. Rather, he is serving his fifth consecutive term in the White House. That could be the most implausible thing about the whole film. Caped superheroes, sure. A flame throwing owl aircraft, no problem. A glowing blue demi-god, why not. But the idea that Nixon won that many elections, that takes a suspension of reality. But in a world where America won the Vietnam war (albeit with the help of a superhuman) a lot of things could be different.

Nixon has outlawed vigilante justice telling the heroes to put away their masks and rejoin society. What use is a caped crusader when you wield the power of a god. At one point, a newscaster says, “the superman does exist, and he is American.” So all the watchmen are either in hiding, trying to live a normal life, or have resorted to criminal actions to continue their masked marauding. Dr. Manhattan is the only one with superpowers in the literal sense, and he lives outside ordinary time and space and has control over the forces of the universe. It is dark and philosophical and I just really enjoyed it.

In most superhero movies, you’d just be waiting for everyone to snap out of it, climb into the spandex, and save the day almost guaranteeing a sequel. But there’s so much dread and baggage surrounding this group of justice seekers that it isn’t clear who the hero is, if there even is one. So what do you think? Did you like Watchmen? Am I way off? Please leave me a comment in the section below or on Twitter or Facebook.