Wonder Woman 1984 is a bad movie

My son and I stayed up to watch this movie on release day… that involved downloading a torrent and watching at home, and since we were both hyped to see it, we watched it after midnight, ending around 2:30AM. So I can’t emphasize enough… we both loved the first movie and were excited to watch it. I don’t normally watch movies until 2:30AM. We expected a good movie. We were wrong. I’m writing this because I see that despite being bad, the movie is doing well. Maybe someone can read this and know what they’re in for.

The very first action scene, in a shopping mall, is pure cheese. The dialog is shit, and that continues right through the movie, the action looks fake, and the movie is just… well.. bad. It’s like they recaptured the tone of the first movie, but without substance. And a terribly weak plot, in many ways. Spoilers ahead, so don’t read on if you don’t want to read spoilers.

They make several references to The Monkey’s Paw, which is the classic story about being granted wishes and the consequences of those wishes. So, since they fuck it up so badly, here is the basic Monkey’s Paw plot, the way it is meant to work: (paraphrased and based on a version I knew from when I was around ten years old, but this will do)

A couple comes into possession of the mystical Money’s Paw, which grants 3 wishes.

They use the first wish to wish for wealth. And they get it, but lose their son, who is a soldier recently gone to war. He dies, and they get the money from the insurance policy.

They use their second wish to wish for their son to come back. Again, they get their wish. But he doesn’t come back alive or human, or OK. In the story I know, this is left to the imagination. Think Pet Cemetery…

Thus they use the last wish to wish for his/their suffering to end. They undo the second wish, but their son is still dead.

The lesson, of course, is that wishes or shortcuts don’t get what you expect. There is a price, and that price cannot be undone. The Monkey’s paw story always ends in tragedy. But in Wonder Woman 1984, there is only one wish, except in one strange case where the second antagonist gets two, for no good reason. Max Lord becomes the dream stone, and finds a way to grant everybody’s wishes at once (where the dream stone is just the magical monkey’s paw as an artefact imbued by some kind of god in the Wonder Woman mythology).

But Wonder Woman saves the day by getting everybody to recant their wishes. Despite a set piece at the start of the movie with her as a child, presumably to teach that shortcuts are bad, the movie ends with everybody recanting their wishes and undoing the harm done. They botched the Monkey’s Paw story completely.

There are other problems with the movie. Kristen Wiig’s antagonist as Cheetah is poor. She starts out as a sympathetic character, and wishes to be like Diana, unknowingly wishing for super powers. The catch to her wish is that she loses her humanity – so she is no longer a character that cares for anyone else. And thus, she is no longer a villain we can sympathize with. They take away what we like about her, making her a caricature, a cardboard cut-out villain.

The battle at the end of the movie between Wonder Woman and Cheetah looks fake as fuck. Diana wears armour that looks like plastic, and the fight is reminiscent of the end of Black Panther, pure CGI cringe.

There are other issues with the movie (the pace, the motivations of Max Lord, Diana using her powers to make a jet invisible despite the wish apparently having removed her powers, Max being reunited with his son at the end, presumably indicating the son must have teleported or something), but that’s enough for me. It was still entertaining and a little enjoyable for me, although my 12 year old son hated it – he’s a harsher critic than I am. To reiterate, my main complaint is the movie is style over substance. It could have been so much better. Strong acting from Gal Gadot and Pedro Pascal, but nothing could fix the weak plot.

This movie was a major disappointment for us, and I think it will be for many. The gimmicky release both to movie theatres and streaming service worked, and the movie is a box office success… that concerns me too. They’re making another one, seemingly without having learned that they made some serious mistakes with this one.

DC > Marvel

Time to take a break from the serious posts and focus on entertainment, albeit with an opinion guaranteed to piss most readers off.

It’s been over a year, but every time I swipe left on my phone, I’m still presented with a never-ending pile of badly written clickbait that promises to reveal stupendous truths about the Marvel movies, only to deliver the same garbage repurposed for every article. Every time it’s about six paragraphs of the same rehashed rot followed by one brief paragraph they could just as well have put in the title and saved me the trouble. Reminds me of those bad 1980s American television specials that promised you “coming up next” every 5 minutes for an hour, only to deliver 2 seconds of disappointment at the end, like taking two hours to cum but using up all your spunk in pre-cum and having nothing for the finish. I find myself reading those articles in fascination, wondering how it is that the well of possible articles can possibly run so deep given the superficiality of the subject matter. Also I’m amazed at the fragile masculinity of men online, who apparently hate Captain Marvel and Brie Larson, though it was my favourite movie last year. Strong women rock! What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Anyway, it’s been over a year so I am finally gonna say it. Avengers Endgame sucked ass. Left with an impossible cliffhanger, they opted to solve it by combining two half-hearted renditions of the worst plot devices ever conceived: a deus ex machina and time travel. (Let’s be honest – time travel introduces more problems that it solves and in any case, if you can travel back in time, there are easier ways to fix the cliffhanger than the one they chose. And if you’re gonna do a god from the machine you might as well go all the way and not have her powerful enough to wipe out entre space forces but not strong enough to take a few stones across a field.) Throw in a couple of heroic sacrifices for good measure and make it two hours longer than necessary. I sat through the whole movie with my son, and for both of us it was only because we had to see it to the end. Consider this: Two factors that make a bad movie are, 1: waiting for it to end; 2: waiting waiting waiting for something to happen. For a movie that managed both of those dubious honours, it’s surprising how well it did.

Also iron Man is one of the most silly superheroes ever. Don’t get me wrong, Robert Downer Jr is awesome, and his charm and charisma was a major contribution to the tone of the movies, but his standalone movies were pathetic in summation. The first was good, I admit, and I did enjoy it; the second was stupid. And the third… Let’s forget it entirely. Or had you already done so?

For all its bad rep, Justice League got their deus ex machina right. Superman without kryptonite is invincible, which just so happens to be the real problem with Superman – in a universe without anything as powerful as he is, he is too overpowered, hence kryptonite is a contrived weakness tacked on afterwards. But what made it right was with the motherbox, he is literally god from the machine, so the movie mocks the plot device as much as using it. Of course Justice League almost featured time travel too, and it would have been interesting to see how they used it, not as a half-arsed undo button but instead as a narrative device to connect Batman vs Superman and Justice League. (I’m glad they left it out though. In my opinion time travel should never be used. Let’s not mention time travel plus “quantum” magic.) And while most people seemed to dislike Ezra Miller’s Flash, I thought he was perfect. So much better than that fan favourite crybaby whining man-child who acts in the TV series. (Urgh. That guy. His face or voice alone is cringey AF, but both? Fucking hell.)

Most amusing for me is that the MCU used an inappropriate light-hearted tone, which felt completely wrong, and yet the dark tone taken by DC, which felt right, is overwhelmingly perceived as a mistake.

So I know… my opinion is in the minority. But that’s OK. DC is still better than Marvel.

Home movie reviews–Depraved; Sweetheart; Bliss

On Saturday I lost track of time – found myself watching random YouTube videos and ended up on a list of horror movies from 2019. I can’t remember the channel; might’ve been WhatCulture… Anyway, I settled on three movies and watched them; thought I’d share my experience and recommendation for whether or not they’re worth your time.

I don’t want to spoil too much and I’m not going to give a rating of a number of stars or any usual kind of review. So in each case below, I’ll give a brief summary and rate it according to two points… thumbs up/down and watch/don’t. The titles link to each movie’s page on Rotten Tomatoes.


It’s a modern take on Frankenstein without the depth, some unnecessary plot details tacked on that add zero value, and nothing redeeming about any of the characters the monster kills.

  • Thumbs down.
  • Give this one a miss.

Ignore the Rotten Tomatoes critics rating for this one.


A girl washes up on a small island and struggles to survive. It’s a monster movie – there’s some kind of monster that comes out of the water at night, a monster that drags its victims, sometimes dismembered and sometimes alive, into a hole in the ocean floor.

The movie gets a little predictable with the plot after some other survivors show up, and makes one major mistake near the end in that it sets up its own rules regarding the behaviour of the monster, and then breaks them for a cheap scare. But overall a good watch.

  • Thumbs up
  • Yeah… watch it.


A struggling artist is about to be kicked out of her apartment and gets dropped by her agent as she hasn’t finished a painting in three months. So she goes off on a bender, ingesting some weird drug called Bliss, a mix of cocaine and DMT.

Starts out poorly – some sex scenes where we are led to believe we can fuck with pants and panties on, and I thought that was just silly. And we’re treated to several minutes of nothing happening but our protagonist getting progressively wasted. (I spent several years in a drug-fuelled delirium in real life. This does a good job portraying and glamorizing that, but I have better things to do than watch people being wasted.) But around 17 to 20 minutes in, things change, and if you saw the trailer it would have been given away… it changes to a vampire movie. Lots of gore, great music and atmosphere with disturbing visuals, and you’ll forgive the poor start as well as the silly explosive ending.

  • Thumbs up.
  • Watch this shit.

The funny thing for me is that I nearly stopped watching this movie in those first fifteen minutes, but it turned out to improve enough to be my favourite of the three. I’d elected to watch Depraved first, expecting it to be good, and Sweetheart was my second choice. Turned out my preconceptions were wrong, and this was the best of them, with Sweetheart being good too. Depraved was a disappointment.

Eli – An unfortunate twist that leaves the movie making no sense

This past weekend, I watched two movies. One of them, Coherence, is a few years old now, so I guess most people have seen it. (It was excellent and worth watching if, like me, you missed it. Heck, it’s worth watching even if you’ve seen it before.) The other was Netflix’s Eli, which I thought looked worthwhile from the trailer.

It wasn’t. Spoilers follow. You have been warned.

The premise seemed interesting. A boy has to live in a plastic bubble, or makeshift spacesuit when going out, because he’s so ill, exposure to the world will kill him. He gets taken to a spooky old house and has a friend outside, in Sadie Sink, made famous in Stranger Things as the newest cast member and red haired girl who joined the cast in Season 2… seen in the trailer getting his attention by throwing stones on the windows from outside.

Except right off the bat, the movie doesn’t make much sense. Knowing that this was made by the producers of the Haunting of Hill House, I knew there’d be clues throughout. And sure enough, there were…

Some of the clues:

  • Some hillbilly types at the gas station mock him in his spacesuit at the start, and he “makes a wish” for his mother (something she does to calm him down kind of like Martha Kent calms little Clark in Man of Steel), and he wishes he could mess them up (I forget the exact words because I only watched it once), hinting at a hidden darker nature.
  • They rock up at the secluded spooky house, and the Sadie Sink character, who obviously doesn’t live there, is just hanging out in the yard, even though it’s in the middle of fucking nowhere. Not out of place at all.
  • They walk in the house, greeted by Lili Taylor as Dr Horn, and two seriously creepy nurses who stare suspiciously at the boy, making it quite clear that they are obviously not nurses.
  • In a conversation between Eli’s parents, she mentions needing to have faith, and he replies sarcastically, “I’ve always been faithful”. Too much emphasis on the word and obvious double-meaning.
  • Then the ghosts start to show up, in a trope that I am too lazy to look up but that one where the spooks are there to help kiddo realize the true nature of the house and that they are former “patients” who died at the hands or doctor Horn.
  • Another scene features his parents sitting at the base of a staircase, with her praying and he comments, “Do you think praying will help us?”

After that, the movie tries really hard to convince you that there isn’t a plot twist coming. Dr Horn and her two minions carry out bizarre medical procedures on the kid, and the movie limps along with him getting clues from the ghosts and the girl outside who mostly just hangs around, but also warns him that the last patient disappeared after medical procedure number 3. Convenient as he’s just had procedure 2.

Eventually it turns out –  surprize surprize – that Dr Horn is really some kind on super nun. He’s not really sick. His mother, having given up on god after praying to him for a child with no success, eventually prayed to the devil. So Eli is literally the Son of Satan. Da da daaaah! I kid you not!

The problem with this twist, though it seems to make sense at the time, is that since the “doctor” was not really a doctor, the medical procedures she did make no sense at all. The twist renders the whole movie plot pointless. It wasn’t an exorcism because they couldn’t remove who he is… so what the fuck were they doing? Nobody knows, and this is one case where the plot twist is so “clever”, it’s stupid, and makes the movie a joke.

On the whole, the movie wasn’t a bad watch. It was entertaining, but for something with such a twist, terribly predictable. And the twist kind of messed up everything that happened before it.

A surprisingly good horror movie – It follows

Forenote: The introduction is longer than intended. Excuse me. Maybe I’m getting verbose as I get older, but I like it as written so I won’t redact any of it… I hope you enjoy this review as well as my introduction that explains why I love horror movies.

I’m always on the lookout for good horror movies. My fascination with them began many years ago… I had nightmares as a child and believed that I lived in a haunted house, so I was interested in all things supernatural as well as fantasy and magic. I started with horror comics, and read hundreds of them. I used to look at the pictures before I was old enough to read the words. I started reading books early too, as soon as I was able to do so, and children’s books soon gave way to horror as part of my staple reading diet. When I was eight years old, my school teacher read Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories to the class, so I naturally started with Enid Blyton. (Fantasy and magic was what I wanted, but I was disappointed by her other books.) At nine years old I’d read all Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five books, and moved onto Franklin W. Dixon’s The Hardy Boys. But those books soon bored me and I never finished them. After reading a few classics (which was difficult for a child), I discovered Roald Dahl. By age eleven I’d found his darker stories and loved them. At age twelve I moved onto Stephen King, starting with Carrie and never really stopping. He’s still my favourite writer.

Good horror movies remind me of my childhood fears. Both good quality horror and fantasy movies bring back the magic, the sense of wonder I felt as an eight-year old child when the teacher read The Faraway Tree. They allow me to escape and take me to a faraway place of enchantment and sometimes horror. I think that’s where my love for the horror (and fantasy) genres is rooted, although it’s not something I think about so much as I simply love good horror. My introduction to horror movies came early as well. An older cousin had hundreds of them, so I got into horror movies before my teen years thanks to parents who allowed me to watch such movies in spite of the age restriction, and did a great job of explaining that it’s not real to both my brother and myself – I think many parents don’t do this adequately. By the age of sixteen I was well past any kind of fear while watching those movies. I’d invite friends over to watch them and laugh at their reactions.

This means that the bar needs to be set a little higher for me to enjoy a horror movie, because I don’t feel any fear, but do still love the atmosphere in well-crafted horror. This past weekend I found one that was far better than I expected it to be: It Follows. Here’s the trailer:


I found a torrent and downloaded it from here. (I use uTorrent for all my movie and music downloads.) It’s great quality, only 1.44GB at a resolution of 1920×800.

It’s a slow moving movie, but a good kind of slow, in that it builds up suspense and a sense of dread and despair way better than many higher-budget over-hyped movies. It plays on some of our primal fears, such that the protagonist is not safe anywhere because it follows. She has sex with a new boyfriend, then finds out that he chose her merely to pass it along. Call it an STD – sexually transmitted demon. It can look like anyone, and it walks towards you with single-minded determination… When it gets you, you die. Then it will return to everyone else up the chain, starting with the one who passed it to you.

What makes the movie great is the acting, and the overall atmosphere and tone achieved by the music, the lighting of the ordinary suburban town that somehow becomes a gloomy place of foreboding, the isolation of the characters and a sense of hopelessness and helplessness that comes across throughout the movie, as the monster slowly, steadily and relentlessly approaches its victim.

The movie has some problems, which I’ll mention briefly without saying enough for a spoiler, because I fucking hate spoilers and wouldn’t want to do that to anyone:

  1. Redundant scenes. There are two scenes that totally don’t belong in the movie. In the first few minutes, the protagonist is walking with her sister, who lights a cigarette. The conversation commences with “Mom knows you smoke”. She doesn’t smoke again for the rest of the movie, and it’s plain to see that the dialogue and cigarette were simply a narrative device used to state that this is her sister. What they should have done is either be consistent, and show her smoking again at other points where it would have made sense (like when the friends are lounging together at the beach), or remove the scene entirely. It really didn’t belong there because there’s some dialogue a few minutes later which reiterates that they are sisters. (Teen smoking is politically incorrect now anyway. Movie portrayal of smoking has become a movie trope that’s generally used to reinforce stereotypes, whether it be a badass good guy, a villain, or a promiscuous “bad” girl. Showing an innocent, good girl smoking, can confuse a viewer who subconsciously associates smoking in movies with the usual stereotypes. It’s like somebody didn’t get the memo.)
  2. The second redundant scene was most of the way through the movie. The protagonist has driven away from the monster, parked her car in front of the beach, and falls into an exhausted sleep on the bonnet. Then she wakes up in the morning, and as we see a boat with two strangers in it, she strips and goes for a swim. The scene sets up an expectation that goes nowhere. Why is she doing this? Does she want to commit suicide? What has the boat to do with anything? But then it cuts to something else. Sure, we know now she is a swimmer, but that scene was a waste of time. And it could have gone somewhere. The monster could have walked out from under the trees as she approached the water, or while she was in the water, or something along those lines to build suspense and further the sense of hopelessness in her plight.
  3. Here I will not go into any details… The movie narrative sets up some rules about the monster. It follows. It only follows; it’s not smart or fast but it is persistent and stares directly at you while walking towards you, always knowing where you are and never stopping but doggedly following you no matter where you go or what you do. It doesn’t do anything magical like disappear and then reappear somewhere else, and we wouldn’t expect it to get anywhere that isn’t in a direct line towards the victim. Then it breaks those rules a few times, in terms of the behaviour of the monster. Not too big a deal and those moments do improve the creepiness factor, but they really should have stuck to their own rules.
  4. Again, details would spoil too much so I will spare you… Even after you’ve passed it on, you can still see the monster. Towards the end of the movie when they try to deal with the monster in a group, where only she can see the monster, it would have made sense to ensure that she was not the only one to see it. Maybe… considering that this is not something you’d want to wish on your worst enemy, let alone someone you love. But maybe anyway. (I watched the movie with my mother, and she thought it was funny when I suggested to her that they have an orgy. One guy and three girls… If I were that guy, I would’ve at least tried my luck.)
  5. The plan they come up with to try dealing with the monster makes no sense. I won’t tell you what it is or how it turns out because I’m not including spoilers, but I know what I would’ve done: The monster is some sort of supernatural curse, sure, but it is also physical, though invisible to everyone besides the victims. So the monster can’t be stopped or killed, but surely it could be trapped? For example, a cemetery scene where the monster is trapped in a tomb or buried in a coffin? But that’s just my idea – it didn’t happen.

I found a review that quotes Quentin Tarantino, who watched the film, enjoyed it, and pointed out what he would’ve done differently. (He seems to agree with me, although he didn’t mention the unnecessary scenes.) Spoiler alert; don’t read that unless you have already watched the movie.

So it wasn’t exactly an instant classic, but it was more than just a good movie; unlike Tarantino I’d say that it is a great movie, and certainly the best horror movie I’ve seen in several years. In fact it’s hard to believe this is an indie movie. Director/writer David Robert Mitchell is someone we should watch closely for future projects. This was only his second movie and I predict great things to come.