Sunday, January 7, 2018

Who will compete in WWE's 30 woman Royal Rumble

There are always some surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble, but there are sure to be surprise entrants in the first ever women's Royal Rumble.

If you look at the rosters, you've got 21 women on the roster.


Raw: Alexa Bliss (champion), Alicia Fox, Asuka, Bayley, Dana Brooke, Mandy, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Paige, Sasha Banks, and Sonya DeVille

Smackdown: Charlotte Flair (champion), Becky Lynch, Carmella, Lana, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Natalya, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, and Tamina
Inactive (pregnant): Maria, Maryse


Take away 2 of those women (the champions) and you've got 19 women on the active roster. That leaves 11 open spots to fill in the first ever 30 woman Royal Rumble.


So who does WWE use? Outside names not signed to the company? Former wrestlers? NXT standouts? Yes, yes and yes.

Here are some of the women I'd like to see show up, some of the women who are likely to be in the match and some of the women who WWE should not utilize in this match.



Likely to participate: Michelle McCool
Mrs. Undertaker retired to have kids after she ran through most of the competition at the time. However, she has recently mentioned the desire to work with Charlotte.

McCool was always a competitor and probably feels a little bit like she missed out on some good competition now that the WWE roster is filled with actual workers.

She recently mentioned on Lilian Garcia's podcast that her daughters are fans of 'boom boom' (as they call pro wrestling).  I'm sure she'd probably like to compete in front now that they're at an age that they can remember.

Michelle was definitely favored back in her last few years in the WWE.  They pushed her to the moon, making her the first Diva's Champion and then later winning the Women's Title -- making her the first woman in history to ever hold both titles at separate times.

If she wants a spot, it's probably hers.  WWE would probably want to build her legacy a bit too since they'll probably want to induct her into the Hall of Fame down the road.



Unlikely to participate: Kelly Kelly
One night only?  No road schedule for the entire year?  Yeah, I think Kelly Kelly would accept that invitation if offered.

Kelly was at the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony to see Beth Phoenix inducted, but she's kind of the poster child for everything the women's division and women's evolution is not.

Whether that's her fault or just WWE booking, Kelly Kelly is the stereotypical Diva.

In a time where we've moved beyond that, it would seem like an odd choice to bring her back.

Though she'd probably get a decent pop?  According to some of the wrestling news websites, Kelly was in talks to possibly return when Total Divas first came out and then again a few years ago.



Likely to participate: Eve Torres
WWE loves Eve. She was quite a boring character until she turned heel and was over pushed for most of her career.

 Then, when she finally got to a respectable level in the ring, she retired. 

Still, WWE loves her. 

She's taught several self-defense classes at WWE's Performance Center over the past few years and WWE hasn't been hesitant to feature her in video segments. And why wouldn't they? 

She's the embodiment of female empowerment in real life. It'll just be unfortunate if they end up giving a spot to her when they could find some better former women wrestlers to participate.



Likely to participate: Nikki and Brie Bella
I don't want to see the Bella Twins. I'll be honest.

I was thrilled when Brie went off to make babies and Nikki left to go plan her wedding.

All the best to them in terms of life's happinesses but I have zero interest in seeing them return. 

Nikki Bella already needlessly broke A.J. Lee's record as longest reigning Diva's Champion.

Sure, both women improved over time (I was a defender of theirs in their first WWE run), but they were over pushed and since they're still on television in the form of Total Divas, it's hard to miss them in any way.

Realistically, I'm sure they will, so fine. Take up the spots of two more deserving women.



Should participate: Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Speaking of more deserving women, these two have been rocking NXT ever since the likes of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte left.

If WWE's first ever women's Rumble follows the pattern of some of WWE's recent male Rumbles, then they're sure to debut at least on NXT superstar.

Why not the Iconic Duo? They're like a better version of LayCool.

They've pretty much done all they can do in NXT.  They haven't won the NXT Women's Title, but they feuded with Liv Morgan, Aliyah, Ember Moon, Nikki Cross and Asuka.

They may as well debut on the main roster (Smackdown hopefully) and entertain on a bigger level.



Should participate: Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler certainly shouldn't debut on the main roster yet, but she'd be a good addition to the match.

With her MMA background and success in the Mae Young Classic, she could add some legitimacy to this first-of-it's-kind event.

She could have an interesting showdown against Sonya DeVille and another MMA fighter further down on this list.

Shayna facing off against Asuka, Natalya, Charlotte and Becky Lynch would be pretty cool to see as well.

Like I said, hopefully this wouldn't be a permanent roster debut, but maybe a one-time kind of thing.



Should participate: Kharma
Given how short Kharma's WWE career was (and how impactful she was to women's wrestling as a whole due to her work in TNA), it'd be nice to give her another distinction: the first and only woman to participate in both a male Royal Rumble and a female Royal Rumble.

She was in attendance for the finals of the Mae Young Classic in Las Vegas last Fall, so hopefully that's an indication this could happen.

If WWE ever does purchase TNA, then Kharma is probably a Hall of Fame candidate at some point in the next 20 years.

Plus, how cool would it be to see Kharma stare down Nia Jax?  Nia can eliminate Kharma, getting a little bit of a rub from her.  I'm sure Kharma would be fine with that.



Should participate: Victoria
Victoria is another woman who isn't as respected as she should be. She played such a great character during her feud with Trish.

 That feud took women's wrestling to a new level. Most fans remember Lita vs. Trish, but their ongoing rivalry wasn't that amazing until they were the main event of Raw.

Victoria's feud with Trish is what really took the women's division to a new level. The physicality of their matches -- particularly their hardcore matches -- was something very new at the time.

She was in the awfully booked Wrestlemania 25 battle royal. It'd be really nice to see her compete in the Royal Rumble and add to her already Hall of Fame-worthy career.

People I'd like to see her interact with: Bayley, Mickie James and Charlotte Flair.



Likely to participate: Bianca Belair
WWE likes this girl. She hasn't been used on NXT television often, but she gets a lot of love on WWE.com's video features and she was impressive in the Mae Young Classic.

 She was booked as an up-and-comer and she sure seems like she is. She's athletic, she's got charisma and she's got a unique look and gimmick with the long, braided hair.

Since she hasn't really been used much on television, she seems like a likely choice to debut on the main roster at the Rumble.

WWE is going to skip the NXT storylines and development with her and shoot her straight onto the main roster --- starting at the Royal Rumble. That's my prediction anyway.

She'll lay low a bit through Wrestlemania season but they'll push her pretty hard after that and into Summerslam. A little New Year's prediction for you.



Unlikely to participate: Melina
I posted a blog some time ago about how Melina should be on WWE's radar --- around the time they signed Mickie James.

Melina got injured in 2017 and spent most of the year rehabbing that injury, however.

I think she's all healed up, so it's possible she'd show up again.

I can just imagine the pop she'd get if her entrance music hit and she entered the ring with her split entrance.

However, I'm not sure WWE will give that to her fans. Melina is one of the women who is often forgotten when it comes to WWE's version of history.

They don't feature her much on any videos or photo galleries on WWE.com.

I'd mark out if she returned, though.


Unlikely to participate: Gail Kim
A big part of me is hoping WWE and Gail Kim pull one over on us and she makes a one-night return to WWE for this historic match. But it's unlikely. I'm realistic about that. Mostly, I just wish Gail Kim would've been in WWE at the right times. She's a perfect candidate for some of WWE's matches these days. Given that she retired because she felt she couldn't compete at 110%, it's highly unlikely she'd ever return the way Mickie James did. Given that she left WWE by going under the ropes in a women's battle royal on Raw, she's probably not too high up on WWE's list of favorite people.

However, they like to surprise fans and we know that there will be a lot of smart fans in Philly. They aren't WWE's casual fans. Since nobody expects her to be involved I almost wouldn't be surprised if she was.



Likely to participate: Lita
I'm torn on this one. On one hand, Lita seems very content with retirement and participating in WWE through Tough Enough and on WWE Network specials.

However, she'd said previously that she'd have liked to have a Team Bestie vs. Bella Twin match.

She'd probably like to have some interaction with some of the 4 Horsewomen. There's also Mickie James, who was Lita's last legitimate match in WWE.

With so many possibilities for some special moments in this first-ever event, I think Lita will put the boots on, maybe for the last time.



Likely to participate: Trish Stratus
Trish is likely to and should participate. She's WWE's golden child. She's the most pushed woman wrestler in the history of WWE's women's division. She was one of the most versatile performers in WWE history.

She certainly was one of the most inspiring female wrestlers of all time as well. There's hardly a female on the current roster who doesn't credit her for inspiring them to wrestle.

I wasn't a fan of Trish returning so often and I wasn't a fan of her taking a spot on the Wrestlemania card when she teamed with John Morrison and Snookie to take on LayCool and Dolph Ziggler (she just wasn't needed in that thrown-together and random match).

But it's been almost 7 years since her last match. It'd be a nice bit of nostalgia to see her compete again and to have various interactions with the likes of Bayley, Mickie James (again), Natalya, and Carmella.



Should participate: Ronda Rousey
WWE and Ronda Rousey have been flirting with the idea of working together for years now. Given that Ronda lost her UFC Title and her rematch, she may as well use her name value and take it to WWE.

It's an athletic endeavor, but scripted, so safer than UFC in a sense.

Ronda would, no doubt, bring a huge sense of legitimacy to this event and WWE's entire women's division.

Given how much WWE has built up Asuka, she'd be an eventual dream match for Ronda.  Actually, I could see WWE giving Asuka the Raw Women's Title before the Rumble and then giving Ronda the Rumble victory -- setting up either Ronda vs. Asuka or Ronda vs. Charlotte at Wrestlemania.

Meanwhile there's Charlotte and the potential for a 4 Horsewoman vs. 4 Horsewoman feud as well.



Likely to participate: Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
If WWE wants the 4 Horsewomen vs. the 4 Horsewomen to happen, then Wrestlemania would be a good place for it to happen.

The road to Wrestlemania would be a good spot for it to start, too.

I don't like the idea of them taking up two spots in the Rumble, but if Ronda is showing up and the 4 Horsewomen feud is happening, then these two women will probably be at the Rumble in Philly, too.

At least they should be able to take some shots.  They'll probably be eliminated pretty quickly, but not without some interaction with WWE's 4 Horsewomen.



Shouldn't participate: Ember Moon
I love Ember Moon. I'm a huge fan, but I want a slow build with her, especially after seeing the 15 minute documentary currently on WWE.com. She's got some big money matches against Asuka in her future on the main roster. This rivalry could be better than Trish / Lita if they build it properly. They competed in Shimmer. They were signed the same day. They battled twice for the NXT Women's Title.

WWE should take that history to the main roster, but not until Ember has a good year in NXT as the Women's Champion.

Heck, they could even somehow allow Ember to go the main roster undefeated as NXT Women's Champion. If this is a one-off appearance, with a little showdown with Asuka, then fine.

I don't want her to have a permanent main roster spot yet though.

Honestly, with the nostalgia and the all the other women involved, I'd prefer Ember have a stellar Takeover match, sit the Rumble out and debut later on, when she'll have more of the spotlight focused on her.



Unlikely to participate: Beth Phoenix
I'd be fine with Beth Phoenix returning and until this past week I thought she would.

However, given that she's now announced as a commentator for the Mixed Match Challenge thing WWE has going on Facebook, I don't think she'll be competing.

She seems happy being a mother and a Hall of Fame superstar. I think she'll be on commentary during the match instead.

However, the idea of Beth Phoenix squaring off against Nia Jax or Charlotte Flair or Natalya or Trish Stratus or Ronda Rousey does intrigue me, so part of me hopes she'll step between the ropes one last time.



Unlikely to participate: Madusa / Alundra Blayze
Madusa may have been a good bet. I could see WWE giving this Hall of Fame wrestler one last match as more of a proper sendoff than she had before.

She's always wanted to compete against Nattie, Beth Phoenix and Charlotte.

However, given that she just had knee surgery, it's doubtful she'll be able to participate. 

Maybe it's for the best.

She could always show up next year if it's more than just a one-year event.



Unlikely to participate: Emma
How much of a pop would Emma get if she made a WWE return at this match?  Hopefully WWE realized how many fans were upset with their decision to release the immensely talented and absolutely gorgeous Emma last Fall.

Given how they are pushing women's wrestling, I was shocked to see that they released Emma.

Unless she really pissed someone off, there's a chance that she could come back.

WWE needs some numbers to make this Rumble legitimate and they need more than a bunch of retired Divas, a bunch of NXT call-ups (especially since Ruby Riot, Mandy Rose, Sonya DeVille, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan are all new to the roster) or a few Mae Young Classic competitors.

Emma is a known name.  She's talented.  The WWE Universe knows it.

It'd be a great time to debut a new version of the Emma character if WWE has any interest in bringing her back at all.

I know it's unlikely, but that doesn't stop me from hoping for it.



Shouldn't participate: Nikki Cross
Just like Ember, I want Nikki to debut at another time. She needs to debut with the rest of her SAnitY cohorts.

They'd be a great addition to the Smackdown roster at some point this year. She's not as interesting on her own.  She'd be just another crazy chick without Eric Young, etc.

It'd work, but she's much more interesting because she mixes it up with the guys.

Part of her appeal is her character and a big part of her character is her association with Eric Young and company.



Unlikely to participate: A.J. Lee
The odds of A.J. Lee appearing are pretty much nonexistent.  But how cool would it be?!

In a lot of ways A.J. Lee jumpstarted the women's evolution or Diva's revolution or whatever you choose to call it.

Without A.J. Lee's success in the WWE, there would absolutely be no Paige or Charlotte or Sasha Banks or Bayley. From the moment A.J. (and Naomi and Maxine and Kaitlyn) set foot in a WWE ring in the original version of NXT, they defied the Diva prototype.

A.J. was quirky, Naomi was highly athletic, Maxine was ambitious and Kaitlyn was a comedic, muscular hottie. There weren't any other women like them at the time. A.J., of course, was the most successful of the bunch, becoming the first woman in ages to have her own merchandise. She was a big factor in Daniel Bryan getting so over in such a huge way.

A.J. (and Kaitlyn) had the first ever female contract signing. She was the GM of Raw for a time being. It'd be nice to see her get a little reward for her hard work by giving her a spot in this match. Of course, it'd shock the Hell out of everyone, so I have some hope that WWE would allow it to happen. However, I don't think A.J. has any interest in it.

I'd be very intrigued to see her interact with Sasha, Charlotte, Mickie and others, seeing as how most of the women on the current roster were in NXT or not signed at the time A.J. Lee was around.



Should participate: Kaitlyn
Speaking of previous women under contract, Kaitlyn would be another great choice to make a come back.

Triple H apparently liked Kaitlyn's look, which isn't surprising since he's a fan of bodybuilding. 

Kaitlyn, of course, quit and started a business with her husband.

She's since split from her husband and has trained at least a couple of times in the past year. She has also stayed in touch with Big E and her other pals still in WWE, so she's seemingly on good terms with the company.

Apparently she's come out and spoken about a substance abuse problem, though. Unless that is absolutely under control, I don't see WWE being anxious to bring her back to the hectic life of a WWE superstar.



Unlikely to participate: Eva Marie
Just like Kelly Kelly, Eva Marie is seen as everything that is wrong with the women's division.

If WWE wanted some cheap heat, they could bring her back for a night.  The crowd in Philadelphia would absolutely murder her with their jeers.

WWE could book her for a quick elimination at the hands of Asuka (for a bit of comedy), possibly after eliminating a fan favorite (filling the arena with boo's).

I am thinking it won't happen since she had the wellness violation, but she is still affiliated with The Rock's wife while trying her hand in Hollywood.

I wouldn't be entirely shocked to see WWE bring her back, but it's probably still unlikely.



Shouldn't participate: Ivory
A read a report that there are rumors that Ivory will go into the Hall of Fame this year.  If that's the case, WWE may very well have her enter into the Rumble.

WWE did that with DDP before they inducted him and The Godfather before they inducted him, as well.

While I was a big fan of Ivory back in the day, I don't see a reason for her to take up a spot that could be given to some other ladies.

I'm more than thrilled that she may be inducted into the Hall of Fame (her work with RTC was phenomenal!) but I don't want to see Ivory randomly run out (likely to very little crowd reaction) and be eliminated.

For what purpose?  There are lots of other ladies on this list that should be brought back and given one of those spots first.



Should participate: Jazz
I think it's probably not likely to happen, but if there's ever time and place it could, then the 2018 Royal Rumble in Philadelphia is it.  Philly fans (especially an arena full of smart fans) should give Jazz a decent reaction.

She's an ECW original.  She is a former two-time Women's Champion.  She deserves a closing chapter on her career after WWE foolishly released her (along with Gail Kim and Nidia) in 2004.

Entering the Rumble and competing with some of the new generation of lady wrestlers would be a nice closing chapter for her.



Should participate: Tessa Blanchard
The daughter of Tully Blanchard and step-daughter of Magnum TA seems like an obvious choice for WWE to sign.  I'm  surprised they haven't already.

After an awesome showing in the Mae Young Classic, WWE would be foolish not to sign her.

I imagine this debut as kind of a female version of A.J. Styles' debut in 2016.  Obviously she's nowhere near as well known, but the comparison is there --- being a free agent who debuts at the Royal Rumble.

Fans probably won't expect it since she's not under contract (that we know of), but they'll show her respect due to her work and her lineage.

It'd be a good time to debut Tessa on the main roster if WWE wants her in their division.



Shouldn't participate: Piper Niven
I wouldn't be surprised if Piper Niven was brought in (and signed after) for this event.  If nothing else, they may want to have a showdown with Nia Jax.

That being said, I don't want to see it.  I'd like to see it next year perhaps, but not this year.  Piper shouldn't debut at the Rumble.

She should have a different debut (if she's signed) later on in the year.  Build her up and make her showdown with Nia (next year) mean something.

She's one of the few Mae Young Classic competitors I could see WWE using though.



Shouldn't participate: Rosa Mendes
Should participate: Jillian Hall or Blue Pants
WWE likes to add comedy into their male Royal Rumbles, so hopefully they don't get the bright idea of bringing Rosa Mendes back for a quick elimination.

I hope Rosa stays happily retired and being a mother in California.

If WWE wants to go the comedy route, then maybe bring in Blue Pants or Jillian Hall instead.  Blue Pants would probably still get a decent pop, right?

Meanwhile Jillian Hall would definitely get a reaction.  She was such a memorable character that I think fans in Philadelphia would give her a very good reaction --- probably by booing and covering their ears, but she'd get a good reaction nonetheless.



Saturday, January 6, 2018

My most anticipated movies of 2018


Most of these movies, of course, are super hero movies.

But as each year passes and more and more super hero movies are released, the genre keeps re-inventing itself.

They have to in order to stay relevant and successful.

I don't know if all of these innovations will work, but we'll find out.



The New Mutants

Kicking off this list is March's latest X-Men movie: The New Mutants. Unlike other X-Men movies, this one is basically a horror movie.

The initial preview I saw didn't impress me too much. It seemed a little bit normal in terms of horror movies.

But it's the first horror movie of the super hero genre.

We'll see how it goes, but I'm thinking it won't be the biggest box office hit, straying too far from the formula that makes super hero movies work.

Will I still go see it? Yeah, probably.



Tomb Raider

I was surprised that they were remaking Tomb Raider, but I guess it has been 14 years since the last Tomb Raider, featuring Angelina Jolie.

I liked that set of movies, so I was kind of irritated that they were remaking the movie, but when I found out that Alicia Vikander had the starring role, the irritation went away.

I'm a fan of Alicia from her work in Man from U.N.C.L.E. She's gorgeous and talented, so she seems like a good choice to bring Lara Croft back to life.

The trailer that I saw didn't seem like this movie would break any box office records (or even be as good as Angelina Jolie's versions), but I'm interested to see what they do -- mostly because of Vikander.



Ocean's 8

I wasn't the biggest fan of the George Clooney, Brad Pitt (etc., etc.) Ocean's movies. The first one was OK, but it seemed like the movies quickly went downhill after that. Then again, it's been several years since I saw the movies so maybe my memory isn't being fair to them.

I'm interested to see how this movie does. I suppose it could end up like the female Ghostbusters (which is available for $5 at most Big Lots or grocery stores I've been to). I never saw that movie, but it didn't seem like that movie landed the way they hoped it would, for whatever reason.

It'd be a shame if this movie wasn't very good, considering they have a great cast in Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy kaling, Katie Holmes and Rihanna, among others.

Hopefully the material can live up to the talents of the cast.



Deadpool 2

Deadpool was so unique in it's very adult-oriented presentation. The sarcasm that Ryan Reynolds brought to the table as the Deadpool character made it very successful.

I wasn't a huge fan of it upon first viewing. I was mostly shocked at how adult it was when I was expecting the typical super hero movie.

However, it was very entertaining and, I thought, written well. The material was there. Reynolds delivered. Makes sense that they'd give us a sequel.

Sequels don't always live up to the original movies when it comes to movie trilogies or franchises, but I think this one will.



Ant-Man and The Wasp

I was very opposed to the first Ant-Man movie. I thought it was going to be stupid and pretty much like a big-screen version of The Tick. I thought it'd be presented as dorky and laughable, but they really made it work.

 Maybe it was the comedic timing of Paul Rudd or the always captivating Evangeline Lilly or the veteran skills of Michael Douglas. Or maybe it was the awesome villain they found in the actor from House of Cards (I forget his name, but you know him if you see him).

Falcon's cameo made it that much better. I love the little cameos throughout the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You're created all of these awesome characters, so you might as well use them when needed and when appropriate.

The combination of it all was really good. Now, with The Wasp coming into her own, this movie should be double the excitement and double the fun. I think this will be like the first movie -- an unexpected success. Ant-Man is kind of unassuming. You don't exactly picture him in the line-up of the all-time great super hero characters, but Paul Rudd as Ant-Man in the MCU is awesome and I don't think that'll change in the sequel.



Black Panther

This movie should be pretty big. It's the first full-blown movie for an African-American super hero. Sure, we've seen Heimdall and War Machine and Falcon play fairly large roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but, when it comes down to it: these guys are supporting characters.

Luke Cage was given a show on Netflix, but Netflix is very different than the big screen.

Just as being the first solo female super hero film benefited Wonder Woman, the fact that this is a landmark movie should be a big benefit to Black Panther. It was strategically placed for a February release -- right in the middle of Black History Month.

Besides that, there are some very talented actors lined up here. Chadwick Boseman is Black Panther. Joining him is Michael B. Jordan (after his role as the Human Torch in the awful Fantastic Four remake), Lupita Nyong'o, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman.

Quite the cast!

It should be a great mix of special effects and exciting action scenes.



Venom

I don't know that this movie will actually be any good, but I'm intrigued by it. A stand-alone movie for a character from Spider-Man that won't be connected to Marvel's version of Spider-Man?

Alright. I guess we'll see how it goes.

Tom Hardy as Venom is a great choice. He was awesome as Bane. I'm excited to see what he can bring to the table as a man possessed by a Sybmiote.

Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed (Rogue One) and Jenny Slate (The Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia) round up a talented cast.

I have no idea what to expect from the story, but I hope it's good!



X-Men: Dark Phoenix

James McAvoy told Entertainment Weekly that this movie was "the most emotional X-Men we've done." Meanwhile, Sophie turner (Jean Grey) apparently told Empire that, "We wanted to create a whole new genre of superhero movie," describing the project as a "dark, gritty drama."

X-Men: Days of Future Past was on point, while X-Men: Apocalypse left a lot to be desired. Psylocke didn't do much in terms of physicality and Apocalypse was absolutely awful. There were no redeeming aspects of that version of Apocalypse. Zero. And I'm usually pretty open-minded, trying to find at least some kind of positive in the movies I watch.

After a miss, I hope this movie picks up with some of the previous X-Men momentum.

Dark Phoenix is a story we have not seen translated on the big screen -- at least not fully. X3 certainly touched on Dark Phoenix, but it wasn't a full-blown movie about it and it was never actually mentioned.

I do hope that they present this Dark Phoenix as an alien / guardian of some sort. I took issue with the fact that they portrayed Jean Grey as simply having the Phoenix inside of her all this time.

Regardless of the portrayal and how closely it follows any comic book or animated depictions, I want to see this movie. Hopefully I won't walk away disappointed.



Aquaman

Justice League did the impossible. Thanks to some good writing and Jason Momoa's unique look, Aquaman is now bad-ass. He's DC's Thor of the underwater. The look isn't the conventional Aquaman, but that's OK. It's updated and better in a lot of ways.

I liked the mix of seriousness and comedy that Momoa presented in Justice League. If it's a full movie of that, I'll be happy. They've already got me going to the theater next December.



Avengers: Infinity War

What other movie is more anticipated in 2018 than Avengers: Infinity War? It's such a massive project. I can't think of any other time in history where there has been such a large gathering of characters (who were stars of their own individual movies) to make a mega-movie.

I like to go into movies these days basically unknowing, but I did watch the trailer (I couldn't resist). It looks like an epic adventure, despite Thanos looking far less intimidating and less impressive without his armor and helmet. And despite Black Widow's blonde look being very distracting.

The best part? It's not even the culmination. It's the set up to a second part, so it'll only get better!



Related Content:
My most anticipated movies of 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - reviewed.
Justice League - reviewed.
Transformers: The Last Knight - reviewed.
Wonder Woman - reviewed.
Logan - reviewed.
Movies to watch in 2014



Monday, January 1, 2018

Some of the best and worst movies of 2017

With 2017 all wrapped up, let's take a look back at the best movies of the year.




14. The Mummy

The worst new movie I saw in 2017 was Tom Cruise's unneeded remake of The Mummy.

Sure, The Mummy franchise had probably run it's course, but nobody asked for a remake -- especially one that wasn't as good as the first set of films.

The movie was predictable in a lot of spots and sloppy in other spots. Russell Crowe played his part well. Tom Cruise's bank-ability as an actor just isn't there in 2017. He's not a leading man, so quit trying to cast him as one.

This version of The Mummy wasn't worth the watch and certainly can't begin to compare to Brendan Fraser's The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.



13. Power Rangers

What hurt this movie was the fact that the writers seemed to actively avoid doing a remake of the 1990's storyline. They had a backstory with Zordon and Rita Repulsa formerly being Rangers themselves.

The whole under water cave set up was kind of silly. The additional superhuman powers that the teens had after just touching their coins was also a bit goofy.

Here's an instance where they should've followed the original canon more closely.

Rita's costuming should've been more in line with the Rita from the TV show.

Overall it was a big budget attempt at re-starting a well-liked franchise that fell flat on it's face. The teens trying to morph as they were acclimating to their new powers wasn't the strongest story line.

It wasn't as bad as The Mummy, but you're not missing anything if you skip this movie.



12. Snatched

This movie should've been good. It should've been better than it was, but I blame it on the writers. It was an OK movie, but I expected much more from an Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn team-up.

There were a few moments where I chuckled, but the movie reeked of desperation in certain spots, going so far as to pop out Amy Schumer's boob as an attempt to get a laugh.

Wanda Sykes delivered her part well, but her material wasn't that great either. My favorite part of the movie was Christopher Meloni's tour guide role.

He was a tour guide -- or they thought. Turns out, he quit his job as a Trader Joe's store manager when he found he had a month to live.

When he died a short time later, my interest in the movie did as well.



11. The Dark Tower

I kind of think they tried to fit too much into this movie. There was a lot going on, but it wasn't all completely clear.

The movie makers should've used better techniques to explain certain parts of the movie and highlight some of the important aspects.

I think they could've done a lot more with the backstory for Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba's roles in the movie.

I know they adapted it from a novel, so they had to make some cuts, but the history of the two prominent parts of the movie are not the places to cut script.

The action scenes with Elba (The Gunslinger) firing off his twin revolvers were pretty impressive.

McConaughey was very frightening in his Devil-like persona.

But the overall story was too complicated and prevented the movie from being anything more than a future placeholder in the Walmart $5 bin.



10. Baby Driver

Kevin Spacey made headlines this year after allegations of sexual misconduct. Before that happened, Baby Driver was released and it turned out to be a pretty good movie. It was definitely a little avant-garde, but it worked. It took a unique approach with it's unusual story, gritty topic and interesting presentation.

The way the music was infused into the story's core plot point was interesting.

The way they showed Baby as a hero who was struggling to get out of his association with criminals kept me watching.

The car chases were either impressive or chaotic.

It's not the type of movie I'd necessarily watch, but I was really surprised by how much I liked it.



9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

This franchise jumped the shark a long time ago. I think it was probably when they started focusing so much on the skeleton / ghost pirates and spent such an extended amount of time on the battle with the Kraken.

Despite that, I was hoping for a good final movie in this franchise.

While it was OK and did kind of tie everything together, the movie didn't have enough of the quirky Jack Sparrow antics that made the movie such a hit when it first came out close to a decade ago.

This is one of those movies where there was some bad, some good and a lot of in between.

There just wasn't any great in it.



8. Star Wars, Episode 8: The Last Jedi

I'm a big fan of Star Wars, but I won't pretend that the first 6 movies didn't have continuity problems or acting problems or computer graphics problems.

Most of that can be overlooked due to some of the epic moments these movies have provided over the years.

As I said in my blog that was published just yesterday, Star Wars left a lot of unanswered questions. If they plan to answer all of those questions in the next movie, then I'll look back on this movie fondly. If not, then this movie missed the mark.

They did such a good job with The Force Awakens -- creating new characters that I cared about, putting forth a story that made sense, and setting up the plot nicely for further development in the next movie.

The problem is that the next movie (The Last Jedi) didn't live up to the first one. It introduced muddled concepts regarding the Jedi, a ridiculous island with the light and the dark (seriously, did they steal this from Lost??), and some parts of the movie that seemed to be filling up screen time instead of actually furthering any characters.

All of that being said, several of the characters were developed through several different story arcs. Kudos has to go to them for attempting that and being successful in many ways.

The biggest complaint I have is leaving so much unanswered and left unfinished. If they round it up nicely in the next installment, they'll get a pass from me on this one.

If not, then this movie goes down as disappointing.



7. Guardians of the Galaxy 2

This Guardians of the Galaxy sequel didn't recapture the magic that the first movie had. It wasn't a bad effort. It furthered a few of the characters' individual stories, it progressed nicely in the set up to the Infinity War, and there were some cool action scenes.

Instead of feeling natural, though, the one-liners felt forced and the rest of the movie felt like it tried too hard.

I can't complain too much because there were some good elements in this movie.  Kurt Russell wasn't a bad choice for the movie's villain, but the ending seemed a little too predictable.  It wasn't something we hadn't seen, in some version, before.  Instead of being a phoenix or a witch or an alien (well --- Russell was an alien, actually), this movie presented an all-powerful, giant source of energy that had to be defeated.

I did enjoy baby Groot's parts and the fact that they showed how much of a danger Rocket could be.  But there was maybe a little too much of the movie's time that was spent on that planet.

It just wasn't as good as the first.



6. Transformers: The Last Knight

The fifth movie in a franchise that has probably lasted two movies too long was alright.

Mark Wahlberg was the only returning actor (outside of the voices of the Transformers themselves) from the last Transformers movie.

He was joined, however, by a returning Josh Duhamel, who was in the first three Transformers movies.

Anthony Hopkins and Laura Haddock did well in their Transformer debuts.

This was what you'd expect: a bunch of explosions, some new forms of Transformers (this time we got a Transformers dragon and a submarine), and some OK acting.

Based on how some of the story was portrayed, with little Dino bots, this venture seemed like a little more of a child's movie rather than a story aimed at adults, but maybe that's their new goal in trying to keep this movie franchise alive.



5. Wonder Woman

I was really hoping (and anticipating) that this would be a big hit for DC. DC's one area that they are swooping in on and beating Marvel at is the female superhero genre.

You go to Wal-Mart or Target and you see Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman dolls, similar to Barbie.

Despite the fact that Black Widow was a character who was one of Marvel's big early successes and that they have two strong characters in Melinda May and Daisy Johnson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel has not reached out to that female demographic the way DC has.

Granted, none of Marvel's female characters, outside of possibly Storm, are anywhere near as legendary as Wonder Woman is.

This character is so beloved and this is her first time being portrayed on the big screen. Unless DC messed up in a major way, this movie was bound to be a success.

And it was. It was very good. There were only a couple of minor complaints that I had about the movie, but nothing that makes it anything less than a very good, entertaining one.



4. Spider-Man: Homecoming

I was really surprised at how well Marvel did with this Spider-Man movie. I liked Andrew Garfield's version and was disappointed when it was determined that he wouldn't be crossing over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That being said, Marvel made the right decision because this Spider-Man is very entertaining to watch. While Marvel changed certain characters in some other recent movies, the changes they made in this one (adding a best friend, adding a new MJ into Peter's life, tweaking Flash Thompson's character) are welcome ones.

Spider-Man has had 6 different big budget, big screen movies since 2000. 6 in 17 years. That's almost as many as Batman (8 standalone movies since 1990). 8 in 27 years.

Spidey's story has been well-documented and presented several times. We've seen Mary Jane. We've seen Gwen Stacy.

I'm ok with Marvel taking a bit of a different approach. Plus, they can introduce those characters (or Felicia Hardy so we can finally get Black Cat on the big screen) in future films.

This Spider-Man movie was great because it really was Peter's own world. We didn't have to sit through the whole situation with Peter's uncle again or the story about how he became Spider-Man.

I'm liking the timeline that they entered into, with Peter still in high school, already bitten and just starting to explore his powers.

There was a load of comedy in this movie. From the little nod to Ferris Bueller's Day Off with the pool scene to the great moment when Ned discovered the Peter was Spidey. There was a lot of great comedy here.

Meanwhile, the drama was there too. Peter was struggling to find his relevance in the world that is filled with the Avengers, who are much more established and respected superheroes at this point in this Spider-Man timeline.

Great outing for Marvel with this movie!



3. Justice League

Justice League was one of those DC movies that got mixed reviews, yet again. I've gotten to the point that I don't care what is said. I like it. I like the DC Cinematic Universe and I like how they are presenting themselves as a little darker and different than the Marvel movies. Justice League was a great movie that shows DC is hitting it's stride.

Considering they got such a late start on the superhero game (because they were focused on the Dark Knight trilogy -- and rightly so), they've been playing catch-up to Marvel and Disney's superbly planned string of movies.

Man of Steel was good, but not universally enjoyed. Batman v. Superman was great in the extended format, but the movie theater version had some things to be desired. Suicide Squad was a fun effort, despite being somewhat predictable and cookie cutter. Wonder Woman, as you already read, was a movie I really enjoyed.

But Justice League was even better. It kept Wonder Woman's story going forward and continued the stories of Batman and Superman. Meanwhile, they did a tremendous job in introducing The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. Granted, there are a lot of unanswered questions about all of their stories, but, unlike the Star Wars movies, we know what's to come with DC. They are planning to do more with Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg in individual films (along with the second Justice League movie).

There was a great mix of comedy, excitement and a little bit of serious acting (Gal Gadot seems 100% committed to her Wonder Woman character).

If this is a taste of what's to come with DC, I want more!



2. Thor 3: Ragnarok

I haven't done a full review of this movie just yet. I've been too busy eating Thanksgiving leftovers and then Christmas cookies and going to see it in the movie theater twice.

It was an incredible movie!! I wasn't the biggest fan of them rearranging some of Thor's family tree in regards to Hela, but besides that and Thor's eye injury, it was amazing!

I should said that despite those two issues, the movie was amazing because I wasn't a fan of those two things, but I still absolutely loved the movie.

Thor was witty. Thor had great action scenes with his hammer. Loki was amazing in every scene he was in. Heimdall upped his bad-ass level several degrees.

The addition of Hulk to this movie made it that much better. Dr. Strange's cameo was a welcome addition as well.

If you haven't seen it yet, try to find a theater with a showing. And, of course, get it on DVD. You won't regret it if you're even the slightest fan of Marvel's Cinematic Universe.

I was really happy with DC's efforts this year, but what made Thor 3 so enjoyable was that it's a dozen or so movies into Marvel's different phases of movies. There are so many little inside jokes and details that can be utilized successfully because of the fact that the characters have been so well developed. That's when the fun can really occur -- when the characters have their stories set, the actors have their personalities figured out and different interactions can lead to fun and conflict.

Thor 3 was as complete a package as Marvel has ever produced.



1. Logan

This was the first superhero movie of the year that I saw and it turned out to be the best.

I wasn't sure what to think about it when I originally saw it. I liked it. It was different, though.

It reminded me of an old western movie (ironically set in the future), where the main hero has one last hurrah before eventually bowing out.

The movie's pace wasn't that of the usual superhero movies. It took it's time in telling this story and did a really good job doing so. This movie brought in some realism with blood and language, benefiting from not being under a PG rating.

This movie was a well-deserved send-off for Hugh Jackman, who has played Wolverine for 17 years now in 9 different movies.

I will be highly disappointed if Fox (or Disney ... did that sale go through? Do they own Fox now?) doesn't utilize the great acting ability of the young actress who played X-23 (Dafne Keen) in the form of some future movies.

The movie set up the success of X-23 so well. They need to capitalize on that and put forth some new X-Men movies. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any news on an X-23 solo film.



That's it. Those are the movies of 2017 (at least those that I saw) from worst to best.

Here's to a new year of new (and hopefully entertaining) movies!




Related Content:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - reviewed.
Justice League - reviewed.
Transformers: The Last Knight - reviewed.
Wonder Woman - reviewed.
Logan - reviewed.