Quick Hit: A decent idea turns sour in this sequel to the popular Acapella movie.
Honestly, at first blush, I couldn’t tell you exactly why this movie made me so angry. But the further and longer I thought about it, the reason was pretty clear. They took the simplicity of the first movie and made it all the more complicated, while trying to ape not only what they did before, but with explicit copying of storylines from Glee.
Ya, it was that kind of movie.
The plot here is just as simple, and yet infinitely more complicated due to the extraoridinary amount of subplots that spring off like growths and tumors in every direction. We’ve got the fact that the Bellas are banned from competition, we’ve got Beca’s internship/new job, her relationship with her boyfriend and her fellow Beca’s, Fat Amy/Patricia’s relationship with Bumper, and Hailee Steinfeld as the new Legacy Bella, which is one of the most convenient of all the terrible plot points. Couple that with some random German? Singers and some really odd interactions with them, and you have one of the worst sequels I’ve seen.
There are some very brief moments of light that may keep you from completely going ape on your television. Some brief humor featuring Stacie running a camp is worthwhile. And occasionally you get someone who shows up and steals a scene or two, like Snoop Dogg or Keegan-Micahel Key. There’s also some actual Green Bay Packers that make an appearance, and it’s not that bad (it’s also no SuperBowl Shuffle).
But unfortunately, the shifting plot points consistently overrun anything that could give a semblance of momentum. The movie is constantly downshifting, and there is no real sense of stakes at all. At no time are you actually worried that the Bellas are going to fail. At no time do you think that Beca won’t succeed in her new job. There’s nothing here that is exciting. Even the Riff Off is a blatant copy of a good scene from the first movie. I understand wanting to play to your audience, but refusing to come up with any new ideas is lazy and inexcusable.
This movie actively made me upset, especially since the whole “win with an original song” BS was directly out of a finale from Glee. So guess what Pitch Perfect 2, you get an ACA-“F”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
Quick Hit: Glee the movie turns out to not be as bad as I expected.
I’m a singing geek – there, I said it. I ashamedly counted myself amongst the Gleeks (I shudder at the word) back in the beginning seasons of the Ryan Murphy helmed Glee – you know, when it was actually worth watching. Now I watch some of those stars on different shows, like Supergirl and The Flash. So when I saw that a movie was coming out called Pitch Perfect, I was interested, but not nearly enough to pay to go see it. That’s because I didn’t need to see Glee: The Movie with characters I didn’t know and already enjoy their vocal stylings.
However, when planning trilogy week, I was kind of curious what all the fuss is about, and so I was fine with watching the film.
And honestly, it’s a decent movie. It’s standard fare in the sense that the character’s arcs aren’t complicated, and the beginning and end paints it as a pure losers to winners fin, but it’s still ok. Simple plots don’t kill movies.
What I enjoyed the most was the character’s interactions with each other. Anna Kendrick is very good at her role, and I enjoyed the subtle romance that occurred with Sklar Astin. It wasn’t overdone, but it was always there. I also enjoyed the different friendships that formed between Beca, Fat Amy, and the exploration of the friendship between Stacie and Chloe. I also enjoyed Elizabeth Bank’s and John Michael Higgin’s over the top commentary during the events.
That is one of the strongest points of the movie – the inability to take itself too seriously. From the opening salvo with Stacie absolutely losing her chunks, and the decision to bring that back later as well, to the different character’s like Bumper and Lilly, who are only there as comic fodder, you can’t help but appreciate that the movie decided it didn’t need to be super serious to be a success. I also like the idea of throwing “Aca” into words it really doesn’t belong in.
But let’s be real, the biggest reason that you watched this was for the performances. It really did play like an extended version of Glee. Anna Kendrick consistently stars throughout, and her rendition of “Cups” during the audition will probably be one of my favorite covers of a song. And of course the Finals is a highlight, with the final Mash-up being something that is both pleasing to the ear and the eye.
The biggest criticism I have is just the overall lack of depth to this film. There’s not much to it, but sometimes, it’s ok to just turn off your brain. I’m going to give this one a “B”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
Quick Hit: Indescribably disappointing.
If you would have told me that the director and writer of First Class, the stars of the previous films, as well as the addition of other stars like Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In), and it would have come off as much worse than the other films in this trilogy, I would have told you that you were a liar. However, it’s unfortunately true – Apocalypse suffers from the same joke that is said about The Last Stand within this very movie – the third one is always the worst.
From the end of the last film, we’ve forwarded ten years in the first class universe to be in the mid-eighties. But first, let’s wake up this ancient mutant, supposedly the first mutant. Ok, anyways. Charles is living a happy life in his mansion teaching students. Eric is living in Poland, married with a daughter. Mystique is traveling the world, rescuing mutants. Want to take three guesses what happens here? Essentially, every single superhero cliché happens, and all those happy little worlds get destroyed.
Very little of this movie really seems to make sense. That in itself is amazing, because the last movie was so much more complicated, but somehow managed to be more fluid and intelligible. The character’s plot motivations and reactions are all over the place, and newcomers McPhee, Turner, and Tye Sheridan are partially to blame. But there’s also the inclusion of other characters who are pretty much just another piece of the set – Storm, Psylocke, Jubilee, etc. Their inclusion is pointless – and unfortunately, they are all women.
One of the things the X-universe, and Marvel as a whole has struggled with is making their women decent, contributing characters. I’d argue that Scar Jo’s Black Widow is one of the weaker points of the Avengers because she has so little background outside of her one scene with Loki in The Avengers. I felt like the last few movies of the First Class series did better, because Mystique was presented as a main character, albeit a character used as motivation for other male characters. But here even Jean, arguably the second most interesting X-men is shafted to the side and used consistently as a plot device to just end everything.
However that makes me even more excited for The Dark Phoenix. Just saying.
I can’t deride this movie entirely, because occasionally it forays into the territory that made the other movies so good. There’s the terrific Wolverine cameo, coupled with a scene that is extremely touching (if a bit creepy if you think about the implications of Wolverine’s later love for Jean and how young she is here). There is a satisfying scene that is a direct play on Quicksilver’s scene from the last movie, but this one is a bit extended, with poorer effects. And Sophie Turner’s final turn as a yelling, screaming Phoenix is also good for nerds everywhere.
But the few bright points are overshadowed by a slow, boring, easily predictable plot. And only having McAvoy and Fassbender on screen together for a few seconds in total is an extreme waste of two talented actors, and that’s unforgivable. There’s also the complete waste of a decent actor hidden under makeup and prosthetics, and a terrible script that does no service to really anyone. I’m giving the movie a “D”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"