Category Archives: Movies

My Ranking of the Marvel Movies from Worst to Best

For the last nine years Marvel has been cranking out tons of wonderful movies. Fourteen to be exact. Of course some of the films are better than others. So on that note let me start the ranking.

14. Incredible Hulk (2008)

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I love the Hulk. He’s one of the strongest and most entertaining superheroes in Marvel. His movie however was not so great. There were a lot of corny moments and it wasn’t a well written movie. On top of that the man they chose to be Bruce Banner before Mark Ruffalo didn’t even look like he would turn into the Hulk. The villain was the best part of the movie because at least he was threatening. The fight between The Hulk and the villain at the end is, to a certain degree, entertaining but overall the movie is a C-.

13. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

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I have not actually watched the second Thor movie but I know for a fact it’s better than The Incredible Hulk. The reason why I place it at #13 is because I haven’t watched this movie because I have no desire to. Thor is not high on the list of awesome Marvel characters adding to the reason I gladly skipped this installment.

12. Thor (2011)

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The first part of this movie was very good. I loved seeing Thor’s homeland, Asgard, and the other cool worlds. The story was interesting and had me engaged. And then he fell down to Earth. After that the movie went on a downhill spiral. Natalie Portman’s character, Jane Foster, was annoying. The story was boring. When he eventually found his hammer and couldn’t pick it up I was so done. It was a decent part when that robot thing sent by Loki (who was the most interesting person in the movie) came to the town where Thor was until Thor “died”. Natalie Portman did the worst cry I have ever seen. It didn’t even seem like she was that sad. And then, to top off the corniness, when that hammer came rushing to Thor and he miraculously came back to life the movie dropped even further. Overall the only reason why this movie is #12 and not #13 is because I didn’t watch the sequel. I give it a C.

11. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

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I love Captain America. He’s easily in my top five of coolest Marvel superheroes. His first film however fell a little short. I just recently watched this movie and I was excited. I had seen The Winter Soldier and Civil War multiple times but I didn’t know his backstory except for fleeting glimpses in the other movies. The first half of the movie was good. I loved his transformation. I loved seeing how he became known as Captain America. Peggy was a great character in the movie. Unfortunately after he saved all those people the movie seemed to get real rushed. There was too much slow motion during the action scenes and the story was going at a hundred miles an hour. Within no time it was over. The best part of the film was when he ran out of that building at the end and was in the middle of Times Square. That was pretty awesome. I wished they had utilized Bucky a lot more because the brief look into their friendship was one of the highlights of the film to me. I give this movie a B-.

10. Iron Man (2008)

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This was another movie I’ve watched recently for the same reason I watched the first Captain America. I knew Iron Man but I didn’t know his backstory. The movie was fairly decent. I loved the very first Iron Man contraption he made. That was cool. The villain was great. He was actually kind of scary. I liked the part when he nearly caught Pepper. That was a nail biting moment. I liked seeing the beginning of Tony’s relationship with Pepper because now when I watch Civil War I truly understand why he’s sad that they broke up. And I’m so glad Don Cheadle is now Col. James Rhodes. He’s a much better War Machine. I give this film a B.

9. Iron Man 3 (2013)

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I liked Iron Man 3. It was pretty good. It was funny because Tony Stark is funny. I loved the surprise of finding out that The Mandarin was really the blond haired man. That was a good twist. Especially when he shot Tony’s old girlfriend. That was shocking as well as him turning Pepper into one of those fire people. The one major flaw the movie had was having the little boy in the movie. He was okay but it did downgrade the story a little bit. There’s nothing really bad to say about this movie however. It was enjoyable and I can watch it more than once. I’d say this movie just managed to just get out of B territory to reach a B+.

8. Iron Man 2 (2010)

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As you can see this is my favorite Iron Man film. I really liked this movie. The story was good, the villain was okay but not very memorable, but most importantly this was the movie that introduced Black Widow, one of my favorite superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I give it an A-.

7. Ant-Man (2015)

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This is where things start getting complicated because I really like these last seven movies. I put Ant-Man at #7 because the competition it’s going against is pretty stiff. I did really like Ant Man though. The story of how he becomes Ant-Man is decent. I mean it’s nothing new or original but it is well written. I love the part where he fights Falcon. That is definitely one of the highlights of the movie to me. And Scott Lang is hilarious! I love his take on being a superhero because he’s just a regular guy who just so happened to be chosen to be Ant-Man. He’s not very heroic like Captain America but he is in his own way. Evangeline Lily does a great job as Hope in the movie. I can’t wait to see her in action as The Wasp in the next Ant-Man film. The best part of this movie is the way they lead up to his involvement in Civil War. It’s perfectly done and had me so excited for Civil War. The credit scenes were definitely some of the best out of all the Marvel movies as well. This is however a very predictable origin story that doesn’t have any sort of plot twists so I give this movie an A-.

6. The Avengers (2012)

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The Avengers was a ground breaker in terms of superhero movies. It brought together six heroes to protect the world in an epic showdown against Loki and a seemingly unstoppable alien army. This was a great movie but the reason why I have it so low is because it took about an hour and a half for anything to really happen. The rest of the movie is filled with getting the team together and getting the heroes to respect each other (mainly Captain America and Iron Man) in between bouts of awesome action scenes. There’s not really a story, there aren’t any shocking moments (well except for when Agent Coulson died but he really didn’t die so whatever,) and Captain America was horrible. First of all the writers hadn’t figured out how to fit him in with the other Avengers just yet so he came off as too stern and kind of annoying. But worst of all is that super blue tight suit that they gave him. It is putrid. Thankfully they fixed that problem in the later films. Now I’m not saying this movie is bad, it’s very good, but there are a few problems with it. I give it an A- as well.

5. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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The first Avengers, story wise and villain wise, is better. The situation seemed to be more dire. Maybe that’s because, I don’t know, they were facing an alien army led by Loki instead of a talking robot Tony Stark accidentally created. There was also a lot of joking in the second Avengers. In fact I counted to see how many jokes were in Age of Ultron and there were 84. And I’m sure I missed some. That’s a lot of jokes in a movie that’s not supposed to be a comedy. Even after all that I happen to like this Avengers better than the first one for two reasons. They introduced The Vision and Scarlet Witch to the Marvel Cinematic Universe/MCU. I remember watching this movie for the first time and thinking who’s this red guy. Then when he picked up Thor’s hammer I was stunned. That was too awesome. And Scarlet Witch is simply cool. I can’t to wait to see her again in Avengers: Infinity War. So for that reason I put this movie at #5. I also give this movie an A-.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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This movie was a success. When I saw the first teaser I was already very intrigued. It looked like it was going to be a good movie but trailers can sometimes be misleading. After watching it I loved it. It was very funny and light compared to the other Marvel movies, I loved the new characters and everything was done perfectly. There is nothing I can say is wrong with this movie. The only reason why it’s #4 is because the story is very simple and there aren’t any huge surprises. I am very excited to see the next Guardians of the Galaxy this year to see what they’ll be up to next. I give this movie an A+.

3. Doctor Strange (2016)

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Oh my goodness I absolutely loved this latest addition to the MCU. From the beginning to the end I was riveted. I didn’t know how they could transform Benedict Cumberbatch, a Shakespearean actor, into a Marvel superhero but they did it and he did a marvelous job. His character, Doctor Strange, was surprisingly one of the funniest characters to me out of all the movies. His cape is such an awesome sidekick that I would have to place him in the legendary list alongside characters like Chewbacca. Why this movie was really special is because not only was he great but the characters around him were just as memorable. The Ancient One was perfect and possessed a kind, all-knowing personality that matched her name, Mordo was great and now that he’s kind of turned into a villain it makes his story that much more interesting, and Christine Palmer was a nice addition to the movie because she was the one person who was normal. I loved that they kept her role limited because it made sense. The villain, Kaecilius, was also fantastic. In a long list of forgettable villans he stood out. First of all he is only the second villain in the MCU to actually have a valid reason for what he was doing next to Zemo and secondly he managed to kill The Ancient One which was sad.

To top it all off instead of using brute force to win at the end like all of the other heroes Strange used his wit to save the day. It was a brilliant move that helped this movie stand out. The only reason why this isn’t my favorite Marvel movie so far is because it did have one flaw. When it came to the hospital scenes while he was dressed in the garb of the sorcerers why wasn’t there one person who looked at him with a cocked eyebrow? Everyone in the hospital was acting as if they always see people who look like him walking around. That minor but major flaw prevents me from putting it on top of the leaderboard. I’ll give this movie an A- because as great as it is it’s still an origin story that’s been done a thousand times. I still am very excited to own it on Blu-Ray and I can’t wait to see Doctor Strange in Thor: Ragnarok.

2. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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Yes this is the best movie in the MCU to date. This was The Avengers on steroids. I mean when do you get to see twelve superheroes fighting against each other? Um…never. And the Russo brothers did such a great job directing it that it never felt like there was too much stuff going on at once. The story was fantastic, the plot twists were exceptional, the new characters were amazing, and for the first time in a Marvel movie the villain, Zemo, won…to a certain degree. They didn’t kill each other like he wanted them to but he did manage to fracture the Avengers deeply. There are, unfortunately, two problems with this movie. First of all the music for this movie is horrible. Now I don’t say that in terms of it sounding bad. It’s just the fact that there really isn’t any. When there’s an action scene there’s classic action music. When there’s a sad scene there’s a piano. It’s just so boring and basic that I still can’t quite get over it. I love music in movies so to me that’s a big loss. And then secondly the relationship between Captain America and Agent 13. I get it, this is a romance that’s been slightly blooming since The Winter Soldier but it felt very rushed to me in Civil War. It’s like the writers wanted him to have a romance so badly they forced it into the movie without really thinking about it. Did Agent 13 have to be in the movie? No. Was the movie better with her in it? No. So yes, I love Civil War. It’s a fantastic blockbuster that had me surprised at every turn but it had a few flaws. I still give the movie an A though.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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This is my favorite Marvel movie because it’s basically perfect. I love the simplicity of this film. Captain America is strong but he doesn’t have any super awesome abilities like summoning lightning or being able to read someone’s mind. Black Widow is just an assassin. There’s nothing overly special about her. Falcon can fly but that’s with the use of his exoskeleton. And even then it’s not like he can shoot lasers or missiles like Iron Man. His abilities are very basic. The Winter Soldier’s abilities match Captain America’s which ends up in some pretty even matches between them. The main villain of the film, Secretary Pierce, is the best villain out of all the Marvel movies. I remember being so surprised when I found out he was the bad guy. They give this film a certain grit that I love compared to other movies. There is nothing flashy about either of them. There are a few shocking moments, the music is the best of any of the Marvel films, and I love this movie from the beginning to the end. I give it an A+.

So this is my ranking of the Marvel movies from worst to best. I can’t wait to see the next few Marvel films to see where they’ll end up on the list.

 

 

 

Rogue One vs. The Force Awakens: Which One Wins?

It’s been a month since Rogue One has graced the big screen and wowed audiences around the world. In that time I have watched this new Star Wars film three times. I believe because it has been out so long this is the perfect chance to really see how it stacks up against The Force Awakens. Of course there will be spoilers so if you’re someone who still hasn’t seen Rogue One yet please do not read any further.

The Main Characters:

Rey

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In the last two Star Wars movies there have been two female leads. In The Force Awakens there was Rey. In the movie we first find her as a scavenger living off of scraps. She’s been abandoned on Jakku but she never gives up hope that her family will come back for her. She quickly displays her toughness when she takes down Unkar Plott’s thugs within seconds. Then she grows in awesomeness when she flies the Millenium Falcon better than Han Solo himself which is saying something. She’s a mechanic. And most of important of all, she has the force! I remember watching The Force Awakens for the first time and being mind blown when I found out that she was basically the next Luke of the Star Wars franchise. I also love that she never depended on getting rescued but got herself out of sticky situations. And she’ll only become cooler considering that in the next movie we’ll finally find out who her parents are.

Jyn

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In Rogue One there was Jyn. From the commercials and trailers, I thought she was going to be another awesome heroine. And she had the potential to be just as cool as Rey. She came off as tough when she took out those rebels in the very beginning on Wobani. She could take care of herself very well during the dispute on Jedha. After that, however, she never got to really show off her skills again. Cassian was always saving her, her story arc wasn’t that special, and yes, she became the leader of the small rebel group to retrieve the Death Star plans but not really. Cassian was the brains behind the whole operation.

I mean why couldn’t she have helped fight those Death Troopers and Krennic when they were climbing the data tower? If she had Cassian probably wouldn’t have gotten shot. And why couldn’t she and Krennic have gone head to head at the end? I would’ve loved seeing her, after a fierce fight, push Krennic off of the top of the tower and watch him fall as if to say, “That’s for my parents.” That, of course, didn’t happen and she instead got saved by Cassian again! Yes, she transmitted the plans but besides that, the only reason why she was important is that she was Galen Erso’s daughter. Rey is clearly the better heroine of the two movies.

Finn

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Now alongside Rey is Finn. Finn is a great character. He is the first stormtrooper in a Star Wars film to have turned good. That makes him such a different character than anyone in the Star Wars movies. He’s immediately lovable and is hilarious. I loved his growth in the movie. He went from being a man fleeing from the terrible evil of the First Order to co-leading a mission alongside Poe to destroy Starkiller Base. And he fearlessly fought Kylo Ren at the end and did a pretty good job against him. I can’t wait to see what he’ll be up to in the next Star Wars.

Cassian

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Then in Rogue One, there was Cassian. He’s my favorite new addition to the Star Wars universe. To me, his story arc in this new Star Wars film was way more heroic than Jyn’s was supposed to be. I mean when you first meet him he was a cold blooded rebel intelligence officer who was willing to do anything without question for the rebellion. Halfway through the movie, he has the chance to kill Jyn’s father, Galen Erso, but his conscience finally prevails. It’s a crucial moment that eventually influences him to get that ragtag band of rebels together to aid Jyn on her mission to steal the Death Star plans.

Besides Chirrut his backstory is very interesting to me. I hope that sometime in the future he’ll appear in another movie so we’ll get to know a little more about the rebel captain. Yes I love Finn, he’s a great character, but Cassian is just better. He’s more interesting and I really, really wished he hadn’t died so we can see more movies with him.

This category has both movies tied when it comes to the main characters. Rogue One: 1 pt. The Force Awakens: 1 pt.

 The Co-Stars:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Donnie Yen (Chirrut Imwe) Behind the Scenes on set during production. Ph: Footage Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

This category is pretty straightforward. In The Force Awakens there was Han, Chewbacca, and Poe barely. Han and Chewie were already well known from the original trilogy so they weren’t anything new in Star Wars. Poe wasn’t supposed to live when they first started making the movie so of course his story wasn’t thoroughly developed. In Rogue One there was K-2SO, Chirrut, Bodhi, and Baze. The co-stars in Rogue One were so much more dynamic and thoughtfully written. None of their stories were rushed and they all brought a different skill to the team.

Rogue One clearly wins this category. Rogue One: 2 pts. The Force Awakens: 1 pt.

The Droids:

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Droids are a large part of Star Wars. Ever since The Phantom Menace which was the first Star Wars movie I saw I have loved C-3PO and R2-D2. Even though they’re robots they are just as important as Luke or Darth Vader. The last two Star Wars have introduced a couple of amazing new droids.

In The Force Awakens there was BB-8. I remember when I first saw BB-8 I was disappointed because I thought that he was just another R2 except he had a soccer ball body. BB-8 ended up being such a cute, wonderful droid that he is definitely one of the highlights of the film.

Now Rogue One had K-2SO. A droid like BB-8 or C-3PO would’ve been out of place. His cold personality and bluntness made him the perfect droid to be part of the group. He was also the only character in the movie that made me laugh which was needed to cut through the intense scenes.

For me BB-8 is a better droid because at the end of the day BB-8 is a tangible droid. K-2SO is not. The Force Awakens wins this category. Rogue One: 2 pts. The Force Awakens: 2 pts.

The Villains:

Star Wars is known for their iconic villians, presumably Darth Vader. The last two Star Wars films have presented a few new villains to the Star Wars Universe. This category has another clear winner.

Kylo Ren

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Kylo Ren, besides Darth Vader, is my favorite villain in Star Wars. First of all his outfit is so cool. I love his short ragged, one shoulder cape, his silver lined mask, and his very awesome lightsaber. He also had one of the most surprising moments of The Force Awakens when he took his helmet off and instead of looking like some sort of evil, twisted being like Palpatine he actually looked human. Secondly his story is so interesting because unlike other villains in Star Wars he’s still developing. He killed Han Solo (which is still heartbreaking to this day) and, according to Supreme Leader Snoke, in the next movie he will be completing his training. That means he’ll only get scarier and more evil. I am very excited for this next Star Wars film.

General Hux

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Hux is cool because even as powerful as Kylo Ren is he’s the general of the First Order. It’s terrible because he was the one to come up with the idea to destroy the New Republic. One of my favorite planets in Star Wars is Coruscant so the part where Starkiller Base blows it up is very sad. I’m afraid to see what terrible new ideas he’ll concoct in the next movie.

Captain Phasma

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Captain Phasma is so awesome! First of all she’s the first and only female villain to be in a Star Wars movie. And she is so cool. I love her cape that only goes over one shoulder and her chromium armor is just beautiful. Unfortunately she didn’t have much of a role in The Force Awakens but thankfully she did live so I can’t wait to see her again.

Director Orson Krennic

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Jonathan Olley �Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

In Rogue One there was Director Krennic. He was okay. He’s not very diabolical. He is ruthless but I wouldn’t call him truly evil. He’s just a tool of the Empire and Tarkin, who to me was the real villain of the movie, showed him that by taking command of the nearly completed Death Star. He’s not very memorable in the list of villains in Star Wars. The only thing that makes him cool is his squad of Death Troopers which were undoubtedly scarier than him and his beautiful white cape. If he didn’t have those two things he just might be the worst villain in Star Wars.

The Force Awakens definitely wins this category. Rogue One: 3 pts. The Force Awakens: 3 pts

The Story:

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This category has another clear winner. The Force Awakens has a good story. It introduced us to great new characters and situations but this movie was basically a prologue. On top of that it relied heavily on plot points of A New Hope. Rogue One was original, did a superb job of tying the movie to A New Hope, and it was a complete story.

Rogue One clearly gets the point. Rogue One: 4 pts. The Force Awakens: 3 pts.

The Music:

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Music is a central piece of Star Wars. Without that beautiful score John Williams created for A New Hope back in 1977 Star Wars might not have become as legendary as it is now. Michael Giacchino did a great job picking up the essence of John Williams’ score while giving Rogue One a different feeling than other Star Wars movies. I still love The Force Awaken’s music more because as good a job Giacchino did John Williams is still the master.

The Force Awakens ties again. Rogue One: 4 pts. The Force Awakens: 4 pts.

The Cinematography:

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This is the final category so after this there will be a winner. I loved The Force Awaken’s cinematography but it was rather basic and straightforward. The best shot in the entire movie to me was when Rey, Finn, and BB-8 are running across the sand on Jakku with those awesome explosions happening in the background and the tie fighter chasing after them. That was a special moment that stuck in my head since the first official trailer. Unfortunately, that was the only mind blowing shot in the whole movie. Rogue One had multiple mind blowing shots that wowed me. Here are just three amazing shots that had me stunned in the movies.

There was the Death Star eclipsing the sun while blowing the city on Jedha into oblivion. That was a terrifying moment. The giant AT-ACT appearing out of the smoke was amazing because it showed how terrifying the Empire is in the rebel’s eyes. And then finally, when the Death Star appears at the end of the movie like a horrible planet. That was another beautiful shot that stuck with me since the trailer.

Rogue One clearly wins this category. Gareth Edwards did such a great job directing Rogue One I really hope he makes another Star Wars movie. Rogue One: 5 pts. The Force Awakens: 4 pts.

So the winner is…Rogue One!

The Force Awakens put up a good fight but Rogue One just managed to edge it out. I hope the next Star Wars is better than both of these films combined.

The Eagle Huntress and Why You Should Watch It

Why I Loved this Beautiful Documentary

This documentary, narrated by Daisy Ridley, follows the wonderful story of a teenage girl named Ahshopan who becomes the first eagle huntress in Mongolia.

We are introduced to her at a boarding school located in a small town miles from her home. It’s the last day of school for that week and she is taken home by her father on their cute moped. Her family are nomads that live in a simple circular hut in the midst of a vast barren plain edged with beautiful rocky mountains. Her family consists of a younger sister, younger brother, her mother, and her father.

Her father is one of the few remaining eagle hunters in Mongolia. For centuries Mongolian men found eagles and used them to hunt for food to support their families. Since she was a little girl she loved watching her father put on the eagle hunters’ garb and go out hunting. As she grew older her father allowed her to play with his eagle as he saw her interest in being a hunter.

She eventually gets a baby eaglet of her own and then her journey as a eagle huntress begins. This is a beautiful story that shows both her and her eagle’s growth as a team. She faces a little bit of adversity from the male elders who believe that women shouldn’t be eagle hunters but through sheer love of the role she doesn’t let anything sway her from what she wants to do. It was nice to see her father teach her in the ways of an eagle hunter.

One of my favorite parts of the film is when her father teaches her how to let an eagle land on her arm. That scene was powerful because most people (including me) would be mortally afraid to have a large bird like that fly full speed onto your arm. This fearless girl, however, was smiling the entire time and perfectly caught the eagle on her arm as if she had been doing it all her life.

The cinematography was gorgeous. The people who made this documentary filmed it on a low budget but they did such a fantastic job with their drones and cameras you would never know. They perfectly illustrated how expansive and untouched the land was. There’s one part where they’re filming in an area where there is nothing but fields of pristine snow and ice as far as the eye can see. The quiet peacefulness of that area could be felt through the screen.

The videographers perfectly followed the eagles as they flew at all sorts of different speeds. I loved watching the eagles flying over the ground so you could really see how fast they are going. At times they also put cameras on the eagle so you can see the world from the bird’s eyes. It was a very beautiful movie to watch.

I loved this documentary because there are many cultures throughout the world where men are dominant and they don’t let women or girls achieve their dreams. Ahshopan however stepped outside of the box of what Mongolian women are expected to do and did something extraordinary. It’s also beautiful because her father encouraged her to pursue being an eagle huntress rather than stop her. This shows that the world is slowly becoming more inclusive for everyone. I definitely think this is the perfect film to show young girls because it’s empowering. A girl might watch this documentary and want to do something that she thought she could never do until she saw the fearlessness of Ahshopan.

I give it a 93 out of 100 because it does end abruptly. I came away from the movie wanting to know a little more about Ahshopan’s end story but the movie was perfect besides that. There wasn’t much music but they did integrate some here and there, the cinematography was beautiful, and I am so glad to have witnessed another piece of history being written.

If you can’t see this documentary at any nearby indie movie theaters then I urge you to watch it when it’s available on the internet. You will not be disappointed. At the end of the movie you will have laughed, cried, cheered, and enjoyed the simple beauty of Ahshopan’s wonderful journey that, thanks to cameras, has been told.

 

The Music, Miscues and Visuals of Rogue One

Spoiler Alert

I will talk about a few things in the movie so if you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t want to know any details do not continue to read this.

The Music of Rogue One

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One of the best components of any film is the score. If the score is horrible the movie is horrible. Music makes you feel a certain way about certain things in movies. When I found out John Williams wasn’t doing the score for this movie I was definitely worried. Would the movie sound like Star Wars? And if it did would it even sound good? I happened to be very impressed with the fantastic score Michael Giacchino created.

First of all having someone other than John Williams make the score allowed the movie to feel fresh and new. There were many times in the movie when I found myself saying, “This score is awesome.” Particularly my favorite part was the music for Jedha. I loved how he made the music seem warlike while resembling the sound of Saw Gerrera’s suit. The Imperial theme was fantastic too. It felt like something definitely out of Star Wars but nothing like John Williams would ever make. The theme for Chirrut had an ancient tone that perfectly matched him since he’s supposed to be one of the last Guardians of the Whills. The music for Jyn and Cassian was beautiful and perfectly escalated in a saddening way when their doom became eminent. When the light rushes towards them as they’re embracing on the beach the score gets louder and louder until it stops as the light engulfs them. That was a powerful moment that Michael Giacchino precisely composed.

There were many other smaller pieces of wonderful music placed here and there that enhanced parts of scenes. One of these scenes was when Jyn and Cassian were climbing the data tower to get the plans. The music at that part is so, so good. It has a threatening tone because Director Krennic is walking to the data tower at the same time. This is one of those examples where the music made the scene just that much better.

Overall the score for Rogue One is amazing and definitely worthy of humming.

The Miscues of Rogue One

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As perfect as this movie was there were a few mistakes. First of all if this film is supposed to literally be right before A New Hope then where did all of this new technology come from? Where did all of the Death Troopers and Tie Strikers go? What about the Imperial Tank Soldiers? Are we really supposed to be believe that they all just somehow vanished? And the Imperial droids just like K-2SO? What happened to them? The First Order, which was thirty or so years after Return of the Jedi, didn’t even have that much new technology. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the new stormtroopers and ships. They’re very cool. I just wish they hadn’t introduced so many different Imperial things that we’ll never see in the original trilogy.

The use of the force was a little overkill. A lot of normal people were saying things about the force in this movie. Now nearly everyone who said something about the force had a legitimate reason for saying it. However when the rebel alliance were getting ready to go to Scarif and a random man on the intercom said, “May the force be with you” I was a little annoyed. The force in Star Wars is a pretty big deal. If you start just having anyone say “May the force be with you” it’ll take away the magic from that line and turn it into a kind of joke. Having that man on the intercom say that famous line was just about as bad as if K-2SO said “May the force be with you.”

Another miscue is Bodhi’s death. The way they ended his life was a little lackluster compared to everyone else. Every other main character, including Galen Erso who’s in the movie for a max of maybe four minutes, had a death worth remembering. Bodhi however finishes sending a crucial message to the rebel alliance, a stormtrooper spots him in the ship, throws a grenade, he sees the bomb in front of him, and then boom! It’s a strong contrast compared to Chirrut’s memorable demise before him.

And last but not least we come to Jyn. We are introduced to her locked away in what seems like an Imperial establishment. We then see her a few scenes later being taken to an Imperial labor camp. My question is how did she get there? What was she doing in her life at that time to get captured by the Empire? I was left to use my imagination of why she might be there because the movie never gave me an answer. If Rogue One had been that fragmented it would’ve been an entirely different movie.

The Visuals of Rogue One

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Since the trailers I have known this was going to be a visually stunning movie. And after watching it I was happy to see that it was. The very first thing you see is a ship flying across a ring of a planet. This reminded me of something you would see out of Interstellar. The rest of this movie was full of beautiful cinematography and visually appealing shots. I loved Gareth Edward’s vast vision of this Star Wars film. From the beautiful shots of the vast red plains of Jedha littered with giant rocks and half buried Jedi statues to Jyn atop the tall tower on Scarif with X-Wings and Tie Strikers fighting around the building. Those shots were so cool it stuck in my head, among many other things

One of my favorite parts is when Cassian and Jyn are going through the city on Jedha and the camera sweeps upward to show the massive underbelly of the Star Destroyer parked above the city. That is an amazing shot that really displayed the menace of the Empire at that time in the galaxy.

This is also the first Star Wars movie that really made the Death Star scary. Gareth Edwards did an incredible job showing how terrifying it would be if you saw the planet destroying space station in the sky. One of the many shots that accentuated the menace from the iconic weapon is when the Death Star eclipses the sun and blasts the sacred city on Jedha to oblivion. That was a frighteningly beautiful shot that truly enhanced the movie.

Overall Gareth Edward’s vision was stupendous and I hope he gets to make another Star Wars film.

 

My Review of Rogue One

Spoiler Alert

This post will contain spoilers so if you don’t want to know any details please do not read any further. I hope you enjoy and happy new year!

The New Locations

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I love that this movie showed us six brand new worlds that we’ve never seen before in Star Wars. There was the planet where Galen and his family resided, the Rings of Kafrene, Wobani, an imperial labor camp, Jedha, home to the last Jedi temple, Eadu, and Scarif. Even though it was brief my favorite new location was the trading outpost at the Rings of Kafrene. The concept of a small city placed in between two asteroids is amazing. I hope the next Star Wars has cool, original locations like Rogue One did.

The Return of Grand Moff Tarkin

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Having Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One was brilliant! The CGI used for him wasn’t the best but putting him in the movie was a great move because it cemented this film in the timeline of Star Wars. He was the best surprise of the movie and to me, was the real villain. Krennic was just the angry puppet. This also shows that Disney can bring any character back to the big screen.

The Action in Rogue One

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Death Troopers Ph: Jonathan Olley �Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

This movie was full of intense action that was superb in IMAX. The part where the rebels start fighting the stormtroopers in the city on Jedha is one of the many great action sequences. There were so many fantastically loud explosions and so much commotion it’ll take me a while to see everything that happened at that part. One of my favorite pieces in that sequence is when the walker came through the streets firing at everything in sight. That was really cool! This long action scene also allowed Jyn to show off her very impressive skills. Having Chirrut and Baze finish off that part by having them take down about a dozen stormtroopers was perfect and one of the highlights of the film to me.

The part when the Death Star blows up Jedha is my favorite part of the movie. I’ve always wanted to know just exactly what’s it like for the people on the surface of the planets that get annihilated. The Force Awakens gave a slight hint of how horrifying it is but Rogue One really elaborated on that terrible experience. I love when Bodhi is looking and there’s that giant cloud of huge chunks of rock and dirt coming towards them. When they barely escape and they show the space shot where the fire and dirt is reaching up into space all I could say was “Wow.” That part was jaw dropping in IMAX.

The action on Eadu was okay. I loved when Chirrut turned his stick into a crossbow and shot down that tie fighter. That was awesome. Baze protecting Jyn and Cassian from the droves of stormtroopers emerging from the facility in his perch on the rocks was another amazing part. I think he has the coolest gun that I have ever seen in Star Wars.

The space battle was fantastic. I loved how several times throughout the battle the camera had you in a cockpit flying alongside the other X-Wings. At those moments in IMAX it kind of felt like Star Tours at Disney World except without the moving seats. This was, for me, the best space battle out of all the Star Wars films.

The greatest part of the action on the surface of Scarif was when Chirrut, Baze, and the rebels are busy fighting the stormtroopers and that giant AT-ACT appeared out of the smoke. That was another one of those beautiful shots that enhanced the film because it truly showed how difficult it is to fight against the Empire.

The Unfortunate (and not so unfortunate) Demise of Everyone in Rogue One

pao-main_1588acf7 It’s sad because everyone died in this Star Wars film. K-2SO’s death was one I was not expecting. Before I had watched the movie I had predicted that he would undoubtedly live. A main droid has never gotten killed in a Star Wars movie so why would he? As I watched him riddled with blast holes from the horde of approaching stormtroopers I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness. He’s going to die.” And he did which was horrible.

Chirrut’s death was just as saddening. I really hoped he wouldn’t die because he was so cool. At first when he miraculously reached that switch I was so happy because he made it without getting shot. Then when he got knocked forward by that explosion as he was walking back to the ship I was shocked. At least he got to say goodbye to his best friend Baze but it was still sad.

Bodhi’s death was sudden and not that depressing. I wished they could’ve made his death a little more memorable.

Baze’s death was at least better than Bodhi’s. He shot Death Trooper after Death Trooper while taking blasts of his own. Unfortunately the last trooper he took down still had a ticking grenade in his hand and he became the third person to fall to an explosion. Fourth if you count Galen Erso on Eadu. The writers definitely weren’t trying to get creative with their individual deaths. They just decided to have each of them get blown up.

Director Krennic’s demise was well deserved. I loved when he looked up after getting shot and saw the Death Star in the sky. The weapon’s destruction that he thought was so beautiful was going to be his doom. He got the ultimate karma.

Jyn and Cassian’s death of course is the grimmest. The prequel trilogy tried to tell the love story between Anakin and Padme but thanks to bad acting and a terrible script when everything crumbles for them it’s not even close to sad. The romantic arc between Jyn and Cassian is perfectly written because it never feels forced or unnecessary. When they’re taking that elevator ride down to the beach they both realize like each other a whole lot. Their fate is unfortunately sealed however when the Death Star fires on the base. When they’re hugging each other on the beach and the bright light washes over them it’s a very solemn moment. I really hope the next Star Wars doesn’t have as high a death count.

Darth Vader is Back!

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It’s been decades since the iconic villain has had any substance in the Star Wars saga. In Rogue One he appeared in only three scenes but his impact on the film lived up to his standards. His first appearance in the movie was fantastic. First of all, Darth Vader has a castle? What?! And it’s on Mustafar?! I loved how Rogue One not only tied itself to A New Hope but it also recognized the prequel trilogy by putting his castle on the planet where he met his gruesome fate. The next time I watch Revenge of the Sith the Mustafar scenes will have an entirely new meaning.

I loved when the door opened and you could see Darth Vader’s shadow on the wall behind Director Krennic. That was a beautiful shot because it showed how nervous Krennic was while also displaying the menacing, awesome presence of the Sith Lord. Their conversation was brief but wonderful. When Darth Vader choked Krennic and then said, “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations” I was so excite Darth Vader was back and just as great as he once was.

The last scene with him was incredible! I remember when I watched it the first time I was wondering why the rebels were so scared. Then when out of the darkness came his iconic breath and blood red lightsaber my eyes widened in gleeful horror. I feel so sorry for those rebels. Darth Vader sliced and force choked his way through them like as if they were nothing. At that moment you realize just how frightening it would be to see Darth Vader if you weren’t a Jedi. I remember when I first heard Darth Vader was going to be in this film I was hoping he would have at least one scene where he would terrorize the rebels. Before this scene came I thought that the movie would end without him doing anything truly substantial. I’m so happy I was wrong. This, for me, is the second best scene with Darth Vader of all the Star Wars films. If him telling Luke that he was his father wasn’t so crucial to the Star Wars saga this would hands down be my favorite scene with him. Let’s hope there will be more standalone films in the future with even more Darth Vader in it.

The Conclusion of Rogue One

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And then when you think the movie can’t possibly get any better they throw a Leia bombshell on everybody. Seeing her at the very end of the movie was so fantastic because not only did it connect Rogue One and A New Hope like a puzzle piece but it showed, once again, that they can do so much with CGI these days. This was the perfect way to end the movie.

I give Rogue One a 95 out of 1oo. There are a few flaws but the story and endearing characters were so flawlessly written into this film that it definitely deserves an A. It also, without a doubt, is the best prequel. The cameos and nods to A New Hope never felt forced or unnecessary and only enriched the story of the 1977 film.

For me this is definitely one of the best Star Wars movies ever made. I can’t say it is the best for the reason that the other Star Wars episodes are just that, episodes. Those movies can’t reveal everything in one film. If the original trilogy could somehow be jammed into one movie it would be a very, very good movie full of plot twists.

Rogue One was such a fantastic entry into the Star Wars universe that I’m now super excited to see the Han Solo movie in 2018. If it’s anything like this film it’s going to be very enjoyable.

The Characters of Rogue One

Spoiler Alert

This is my list of the main characters in the new Star Wars movie from my favorite to least favorite. Now, all of the new people are great but some outshine others for various reasons. I will be talking about the characters in the movie so if you don’t want any details please do not read any further. Otherwise I hope you enjoy.

Captain Cassian Andor

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Cassian is hands down my favorite character in Rogue One. The reason why is because he was the most surprising. From the trailers and commercials I thought he was just the regular rebellion officer who was helping Jyn. I had no idea that he was a cold-blooded assassin who did all of the dirty work for the Rebel Alliance. In fact, I didn’t even know the Rebel Alliance was so ruthless behind closed doors. And picking Diego Luna to play him was brilliant. His accent immediately differentiated him from anyone else we’ve seen in Star Wars and his grim, stern expression summed him up within a few seconds without you having to know him for long.

Watching his transition from being the semi-villain to becoming a man with a conscience was to me one of the highlights of the story. And if it weren’t for him Jyn might’ve died at the hands of Director Krennic instead of from the blast of the Death Star. I’ll get to that later. So yes, he is my favorite new addition to Star Wars. Unfortunately he’s in only one movie.

K-2SO

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If Cassian hadn’t been such a surprise K-2SO would’ve definitely been my favorite character. K-2SO is C-3PO if he were cold, very straightforward, and could fight. He has the same humorous personality and literally made me laugh out loud. I mean when he slaps Cassian for speaking when Jyn and Cassian are supposed to be his prisoners I couldn’t help but laugh at the hilariousness of the situation. Or when you first meet him and as Jyn is trying to escape he picks her up, slams her to the ground and says, “You are being rescued.” That is simply hilarious. I could just go on and on about all the funny things he did in the movie but that would take too long. Is he my favorite droid in Star Wars? BB-8 still reigns supreme in my opinion for his extreme cuteness. (Can you call a droid cute?) Yet he is definitely a brilliantly conceptualized droid and will be remembered as one of the best new Star Wars characters. Too bad he also is in only one movie….

Chirrut Imwe

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Donnie Yen (Chirrut Imwe) Behind the ScChirrut Imweenes on set during production. Ph: Footage Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

I remember when I first saw Chirrut in the early trailers. He looked so cool with his stark blue eyes. Then I found out he was blind and my liking for him grew even more. His ability to use the force in the movie is limited but brilliantly used as his source of sight. He can read people better than those who can actually see and his sweet personality makes him instantly lovable. And that fight scene with the stormtroopers on Jedha is epic. Once again he is another character that was so cool. I wish he wasn’t in just one movie. It really is a shame.

Director Orson Krennic

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Jonathan Olley �Lucasfilm LFL 2016

He is definitely a fantastic villain in Star Wars. From when I first saw him in the early trailers with that grand white cape I was super excited to see him in the movie. He was definitely a different villain than someone like Tarkin or General Hux. He emitted a sort of posh vibe that was accentuated by that beautiful white cape. And unlike Tarkin and Hux he had a blaster of his own which he used to nearly kill Cassian in the tower on Scarif. He was also very ruthless with his band of Death Troopers always by his side to kill at his command. When he ordered the troopers to kill the assistant scientists instead of Galen who admitted he betrayed him I was shocked. It was a ruthless lesson to teach Galen and one that truly cemented his villainous ways. And his shuttle is pretty awesome.

Jyn Erso

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Felicity Jones) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Felicity Jones) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

I thought Jyn was a great new heroine in the Star Wars galaxy. Felicity Jones did a fantastic job molding into that character and making us forget who she was. My favorite aspect of Jyn was her toughness. She didn’t need anyone’s help and could take care of herself. Rey is still my favorite female character because she not only was an independent cool character but she ended up becoming a Jedi. Wow! I’m still amazed about that. So yes Jyn is an awesome addition to Star Wars but she still had to get saved at the end instead of taking Director Krennic on by herself unlike Rey who single handedly took down Kylo Ren twice. I definitely give her a thumbs up for killing all those stormtroopers on Jedha like a pro, though. That was pretty cool.

Bodhi Rook

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) Ph: Jonathan Olley �Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

Bodhi was great. He showed up earlier in the movie than I expected. And I liked how he was quick to have an attitude. If played by the wrong actor Bodhi might’ve been slightly annoying but Riz Ahmed played him perfectly. His expression when he first saw Saw Gerrera was one of the highlights of the film to me. And poor, poor Bodhi. I feel sorry for him. That interrogation he endured was horrific. I’m not surprised he nearly lost his mind from that experience. And his signifigance to A New Hope even happening is great because right before he died he was the one who sent the message to the rebels to receive the plans for the Death Star. That makes Bodhi a hero in the movie that I didn’t expect.

Baze Malbus

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Jiang Wen) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Jiang Wen) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

Baze is yet another great character in Rogue One. His use of his very awesome, huge gun is incredible. One of my favorite parts in the Eadu sequence is when all of those stormtroopers come running out of the building and he just takes them down within seconds from his perch on the rocks. You can tell he is a hardened veteran who has been fighting the Empire for a long while.

Saw Gerrera

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) Ph: Giles Keyte ©Lucasfilm 2016 LTD.

 

Saw was another surprise in the movie. He emitted a slightly frightening presence with his hoarse voice, Darth Vaderish suit, and his brutal tactics. You can tell that the years and years of war had driven him slightly mad. The only time you can see who he used to be was when Jyn came to see him. He died much earlier in the movie than I thought but his significance to the movie with him relaying Galen Erso’s message to Jyn was crucial to the development of the story.

So this is my list. I really wish Cassian and Chirrut hadn’t died because they were so cool. I would love to see them in other movies. I am glad that these characters are now part of the Star Wars universe whether they are in one movie or not. And let’s hope in future Star Wars movies there will be even cooler characters that don’t last for only one movie.