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Movie Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’ Runs Low on Originality

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The Fate of the Furious Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The Fate of the Furious has more cars and stunts than ever! Read our movie review here:

Before the screening for The Fate of the Furious film began, an advertisement was played for a Fast and Furious live event to be held at arenas. The footage featured all the familiar stunts of the previous movies, promoted as a thrilling show where cars would perform all sorts of ludicrous stunts as some strange cross between a circus and a demolition derby.

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Bring on the intensity.

The stunts seem to have overtaken the humans for these movies and it’s understandable given how intense and creative all these sequences are. They carry this film and will likely be carrying future installments for the long haul. Long after Vin Diesel and Jason Statham have passed on this series, the big draw will continue to be the sight of cars pulling more wicked maneuvers than Speed Racer with nitro in his coffee. And while these scenes still have a bit of fun to them, the gray hairs are starting to form on this series that struggles to make cars do more ridiculous things.

The action set pieces have to pull a bit of overtime with this installment, however, around to keep this average action plot a little more engaging. The whole gang returns to face a new enemy known as Cipher (Charlize Theron). She’s probably one of the blandest villains of the franchise considering her plans and her personality. Her ultimate goal: To acquire nukes and hold the world hostage. Not exactly an original idea or even a cunning one based on how the stages of her plans involve causing mass destruction.

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Michelle Rodriguez is just as feisty as ever.

But I guess her scheme would have to be simple to utilize Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) as her muscle for her operations. Cipher pulled a few strings and played on Toretto’s love of family to make him do her bidding, so her odds are at least better than the average Bond villain. I only wish she were more of a Bond villain so that she’d have a little more personality beyond her bland threats, passionless sexuality and infrequent tone. The most memorable thing about her is her hair that resembles spaghetti.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team is assembled to find Toretto and Cipher with the help of special agent Frank Petty (Kurt Russell) and his agency’s unlimited supply of cool looking cars. Requiring extra help, the bitter enemies of agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and rogue assassin Shaw (Jason Statham) are forced to work together. Both actors are lovable in their genuine charisma, what with Johnson’s smugly cuddly nature and Statham’s hard-nosed sneering, but it felt as though there should be more to them than just trading insults. Most of their banter involves discussing foreign objects they loved to smash into each other’s orifices. Such talk is fine for throwaway dialogue in the heat of combat, but not exactly the best for making character connections.

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Duking it out in ‘The Fate of the Furious.’

There’s more for the rest of the characters to say than do. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) struggles with the frustration of only being number eleven on Interpol’s most wanted list, but this leads to little more than lots of screaming and one-liners from the reliably funny character. A romance could have formed between hackers Tej (Chris Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), but there’s no electricity between their clicks and clacks of keyboards. Even Kurt Russell feels almost criminally unused as an agent that can do little more than comment from the corner with his greenhorn apprentice played by Scott Eastwood. So many wonderful opportunities for chemistry and wit are mostly kicked aside in favor of the most stock of action movie plots.

Related: Movie Review: ‘Going in Style’ Steals More Laughs than Substance

The stunts are far more engaging, creative and fun than anything human in this picture. Heck, some of the cars show more personality, even in a scene where a handful of them are unoccupied. Dom’s crew latch onto Toretto’s car with grappling hooks on their own vehicles, trying to both hold him in place and tear his car apart. Later on these cars will band together to form a shield against an explosion, protecting one of their own from the blast. Even the opening scene where Toretto drives a car backwards and on fire in a drag race is more admirable for the construction of the stunt itself as opposed to Dom’s desire to win.

Read more to get the rest of The Fate of the Furious movie review:

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.

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