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A straightforward plot, laugh-out-load humour and great performances make Ant-Man and the Wasp a superior sequel. Director Peyton Reed ditches the more conventional superhero antics of the mediocre first film, and replaces it with unique action sequences and far more laughs. While not reaching the level of GOTG or Ragnarok, Ant Man is easily one of the funniest MCU films and provides a much-needed contrast to May's Avengers: Infinity War. Its cast, as always, is stellar with Michael Pena and Evangeline Lily, who is given much more to do with her character this time, as standouts. As mentioned, the action sequence, particularly a climactic car-chase, are some of the best, and most unique, in the MCU. All of this adds some freshness to the overly familiar superhero formula, something which the first Ant Man failed to do. Ant-Man and the Wasp finds its own style in the MCU, with quirky action, excellent humour and a likeable cast, delivering a unique and enjoyable Marvel movie.
Mission Impossible - Fallout's incredible cinematography, edge-of-seat action scenes and plot twists and turns make it a truly perfect action-film that, albeit, still remains glued to a familiar, yet enjoyable formula. While its characters are not as interesting as James Bond or Jason Bourne, MI's slightly more campy tone makes for some genuinely shocking plot twists. It is these moments of sudden shock and realisation, combined with stellar action and cinematography that propel the film forward. The cast, while not the life and soul of the franchise, are likeable, with Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson being the standouts. As usual, Tom Cruise pulls-off another stunning real-life stunt. Also to its benefit, Fallout, unlike the other MI instalments, is more connected to the rest of the franchise, bringing back old characters and sharing plot lines with Rogue Nation. If continued, we can further invest in these characters. While Fallout doesn't bring much new to the table, it successfully delivers a gritty, fast-paced sequel with some genuinely surprising moments and an increasingly likeable cast, overcoming its now familiar formula.
Under the steady direction of Brad Bird, the Incredibles II lives to the hype producing another fresh, action-packed and emotional superhero follow-up. The returning cast, Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson are all great. Hunter and Nelson, particularly, pull off the more serious conversations they have regarding the future of their family. Newcomers Bob Odenkirk and Sophia Bush also do a good job, although aren't given that much time to shine. Having come out 14 years later, the film is also visually impressive, even when compared to its accomplished original. The action scenes are fast, zippy and the family dynamic really adds something that is not seen in either the MCU or DCEU. As expected, the film is also hilarious (arguably more so than the original), mostly due to the Baby Jack-Jack. The excellent cast, action and laughs make-up for a slightly familiar plot line, that often relies on nostalgia to clean up its flaws. However, the Incredibles II comes closer than anyone could have expected to meeting expectations and living up to its now classic original.
The Post utilises its all-star cast and tight direction, to deliver a though-provoking political drama. Steven Spielberg did not hold back with his casting. The two leads, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks have great chemistry and carry most of the film. In addition, Spielberg's awareness of political issues at the time is what truly gives the film its brilliance. Particularly relevant today, the film explores the obligations of the press and its duty to the people, as detailed in the US Constitution. This issue is perfectly discussed thanks to Streep's and Hanks' performances and Spielberg's writing. This issue is the best part of the film. Thanks to the (positive) abundance of female-lead films recently, Streep's struggles as the first female editor of the Washington Post, while adding a nice touch, are often repetitive and familiar and to cause the film to lose some momentum in comparison to its main plot. That said, The Post is a thought-provoking political drama with excellent performances and writing that drive its discussion forward, although its subplots can drag it down slightly, its high-points more than compensate.
Ready Player One succeeds on its overload of pop-culture references and stunning visuals. A tribute to '80s film, Spielberg's latest flick is a technical accomplishment as well. The CGI rendering of the virtual reality world, the Nexus, is stunning and makes for excellent action sequences. As mentioned, its also full of '80s references that will hugely satisfy adult viewers, although may leave some younger viewers confused. That said, its visuals more than compensate for this. While nothing groundbreaking, Ready Player One's cast is also likeable and succeed in providing the film's signature-Spielberg humour. Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and, specifically, TJ Miller are all great in the film. That said, the film's sheer energy can't hide some of its issues. Despite, great performances its main cast remains fairly thin and (occasionally) dull. In addition, its plot line proves to be nothing great without the '80s references. It may not be Spielberg's best (or most memorable), although Ready Player One delivers in the fun and action in its own right, making for a visually-immersive and action-packed blockbuster.