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In Theaters

“The Bad Guys” Plot Ironically Transitions From Bad To Good Just Like Its Characters



the bad guys review

A few days before Dreamworks new animation movie “The Bad Guys” released, my daughter and I were invited to attend an advanced screening to review this bad boy.

And by the time we had gotten our invite, we had already seen the trailer at least a few times. So we were excited to watch “The Bad Guys” in theaters! After the let down that Fantastic Beasts 3 was, we were both eager to watch an entertaining, joyous, family film, and “The Bad Guys” looked promising.

So what did we think of this new animation film? Well … I’ll tell you what she thought in our family review over on our family site Popcorn and Tater Tots, but for now here’s my adult review of “The Bad Guys”.

“The Bad Guys” Review

Don’t worry, this is a spoiler free review, so if you haven’t seen “The Bad Guys” yet, keep readingI won’t spoil the fun.

the bad guys review

Listen … “The Bad Guys” starts off ‘bad’, but it ends up being really ‘good’ (literally).

The new family film is about a group of animal “criminals”, who are hated because of who they naturally are — what we humans call “scary” animals. And because they’ve already been deemed as “the bad guys”, they don’t see a life where it’s possible to live any other way.

So Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, Mr. Piranha, and Ms. Tarantula, succeed in doing the one thing everyone expects them to do — be bad!


The characters are played by Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, and Awkwafina, (ugh, yes, I know, Awkwafina, again) and are introduced in the first few minutes of the film, so we get to know them and how their “criminal minds” work.

Now, the first few minutes of any movie is crucial for me!

I can almost always tell if I’m going to love something (or completely hate it), within the first 10 to 30 mins.

I’m the exact same way with music, only it usually takes about 10 to 30 seconds.

Books too! (But pages, not chapters y’all. I won’t read more than one chapter if that first chapter doesn’t hook me.)

You see, it’s either I LOVE it, or I’m over it, and I’m ready to move on to something else.


Which is probably why watching “Little Women” in theaters made me wanna slink into my seat and die. It was painfully boring, and it felt like I was sitting there for hours and hours … and hours! Ugh! God I hope Greta does better with the new “Barbie” movie.

I don’t have time to sit here for hours just to get to the end and be disappointed!

(Been there, done that, a few times actually, *cough* “The Little Things“, starring Denzel Washington, also quickly comes to mind here.)

And I know that, this “need” for instant gratification and enjoyment is almost a disservice when you’re a “critic” (which is partially why I don’t claim to be one), but I just can’t y’all! I can’t sit still for two hours and pretend to like something, and suffer through it, just to say I made it to the finish line.

I can’t! And I won’t. I’d much rather walk away, and find something I do like.

So those first few minutes of “The Bad Guys” were incredibly disheartening for me.

Had I not been sitting in a theater, I probably would have turned it off and started something else!


So let us thank the gods and the heavens that I was NOT at home, because after that “first act” was over, this thing took off!

This plot literally went from bad to good, just like its characters.

And boy am I thankful that we watched the entire movie.

Normally movies don’t get THIS good at the end. I’m actually kind of shocked the rest of the movie turned out SO good.

That almost never happens when I decide to “see something through” for the sake of writing about it.

To be honest, I think it’s really just the beginning of “The Bad Guys” I have issues with.

(clockwise, from left) Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Snake (Marc Maron), Piranha (Anthony Ramos), Shark (Craig Robinson) and Tarantula (Awkwafina) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

With a few other (minor) things throughout the film that I noticed, because I was so bored at the beginning.

The beginning of the story is a little one dimensional, only focusing on introducing us to the characters, and its insanely cheesy.

It felt like they were force feeding the intro, trying to make sure each character got just enough spotlight, when all we really needed, was to see who they were.


I didn’t need the lame names intro.

Plus, the characters talking into the camera, narrating their story, while doing the “impossible”, didn’t work for me.

And yes I know it’s foolish to think a movie with talking animals, walking around like humans, could ever feel “believable”.

But in a movie like this, I need to believe SOMETHING.

And it’s bad enough that I don’t believe animals can walk around with humans, without someone trying to kill them or calling someone in to help. So to pile onto that, with “stunts” where a huge shark dresses up as a Mona Lisa, and people believe it … is too much.


The entire first act feels like a short film, that I needed to end early.

You know one of those 7 min short films, that you find out is really just 4 mins long because there’s 3 mins of end credits? Yeah … that’s what I was kinda hoping for.

But of course that’s not what happened.

It dragged on for quite some time, before things began to take off. (Just like this review is starting to drag on now … so let me hurry up and move this along.)

Once “The Bad Guys” stopped trying to give us cute and funny, and focused on giving us an actual story, it got good!

the bad guys review
(from left) Mr. Snake (Marc Maron) and Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

For a moment it felt like one of our main characters, could potentially fall for “The Mayor”, and I loved it.

But what I loved even more, was the fact that they didn’t give us the “traditional” bad guy falls for good girl story, at all!

They teased it, and then walked away, and …


I’d love for more family films to focus less on romance like this.

Hell, even my daughter is sick of it.

When we watched the new live-action Mulan movie awhile back, she pointed out that there wasn’t a romantic scene, and she loved that.

Instead of romance, we got … dare I say … a bromance?

But we did get a story on friendship instead, and it was great!

There’s a story here about what it’s like trying to find your way, without losing your friends, when you both want two different things, and it’s a wonderful sentiment to slither into a family film.

I mean most of the time when we grow and change the people around us don’t do so at the same rate.


So they tend to get “left behind”, and it’s a little comforting that even though they could have parted ways, they found their way back to each other. Romantic relationships aren’t the only relationships where we struggle.

So there’s something about seeing best friends struggle and grow together that feels “right”.

“The Bad Guys” was basically a reminder that you don’t have to cast people aside just to do better, or be a better person.

Which ironically, I was just telling myself this days ago, as I slowly lose someone who thinks they don’t have time “for fun” because they’re not where they need to be in life yet.

But it’s not that we can’t hang out more often that bothers me.

It’s more about how they approach each situation with annoyance and outrage, as if it’s stupid for me to want to actually see them in person, or do anything “fun” with them, while they build a life and a home.


And “The Bad Guys” proves that we don’t have to part ways, if we can stop and communicate our feelings.

If only we could keep an open mind to understand that everyones needs aren’t always necessarily going to be what we need, and that’s okay.

But at least hear someone out, before responding like an asshole, because I don’t know … you might actually find out that it’s not as bad as you think it is?

The story also reminds us that sometimes people become who they are, because that’s all they think they can be.

Like I mentioned above, this group of friends are all of the animals humans are afraid of.

This fear, is what makes the group feel like they’ll never be loved for who they really are! If humans are automatically afraid of them, before getting a chance to “meet them”, and say they’re bad, why should they keep trying to do good things?

And sadly, a lot of our kids start off this way!


I’ve worked with kids for the last 10 years of my life, and every kid that I’ve been “warned about”, every kid that was labeled as a “bad kid” was always more than what everyone said they were.

I’ve even had a kid once tell me that he no longer wanted to be a bad kid, he just didn’t know how to stop doing things that made others upset, and it broke my heart to hear him identify himself as a “bad kid”.

Too often adults mislabel kids as “bad”, and they carry this label around with them forever. The weight this puts on our kids shoulders is tremendous, and most kids never recover.

Because of this label, they only see themselves as bad, with no way out to “be good”, so they continue down this path, and set out to be the best “bad kid” they can be. Since that’s all anyone ever sees!

Much like our beloved characters in this story.


So yeah, the underlining story is great. The movie itself just starts off a little rocky.

So aside from the beginning, I really do like “The Bad Guys”, and there are a few things I love in particular.

the bad guys review
(from left) Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) and Wolf (Sam Rockwell) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Like the shot of our main guy in an all white suit, while almost every other character is in a black suit.

It really pulled focus in a cool way, and made him stand out just a little more.

But instead of his bad behavior getting all the attention, he gets some clout for being “cool enough to wear white” at what could very well be a “black tie” function.

And I loved that!

Plus there’s something that could be said here about how they purposely made the bad guy stand out, in all white, because what “bad guy” ever follows the rules? So not only did they invite themselves to the party, they also didn’t bother to follow the dress code.

Or maybe that’s just me digging too deep here. Either way, I loved this shot!


There’s even a villain twist, that I enjoyed towards the end.

There are actually a few twists! Which really keeps you on your toes, and keeps the ending from being completely predictable.

And there’s a jail fight scene that I loved.

I think because of the way it was choreographed? I wish I had wrote down all the details! But you’ll see it!

And I love that “The Mayor” gets a back story.

She’s actually kind of cooler than the main characters! I’m not gonna lie.

I wanna tell you so much about her, but unfortunately anything else I say could spoil some major plot points. So you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.


Oh, but the “bad guy” gadgets are sick!

The lipstick blow torch! The briefcase that turns into a motorcycle.

They’re all truly wonderful ideas.

I’d love a lipstick blow torch, if I could actually remember which one it is. I carry lipsticks all the time. Imagine me just up and forgetting!

Never mind.

Don’t need that kind of drama in my life.


But the scene where the Sinatra song plays, is my absolute fave.

Yup, there’s a Sinatra song. No I’m not telling you which one! You’ll have to watch “The Bad Guys” to see for yourself.

I am proud that my 10 yr old knew the song though. She started singing while it played, and I’m so glad I don’t have to disown her.

For all of those reasons, (in this extremely long review) “The Bad Guys” makes a great in theater watch for families, and there’s a lot adults can enjoy as well.

(from left) Tiffany Fluffit (Lilly Singh) and Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Somehow, not only did the the plot get better, as time went by, which may have led to a few “intense” scenes towards the end.

But even the film’s scoring got better as the movie progressed.

So even though the beginning felt like a short story that would never end.

The second and third act really made “The Bad Guys” feel like a lovable movie, worth paying to watch on the big screen.


So if you’re like me, and you loathe the first few minutes, don’t give into the urge to quit. Keep watching! Let the movie surprise you.

And if not for anything else, watch “The Bad Guys” to see the guinea pig’s two front teeth mysteriously keep changing its length as he talks. It’s insane and drove me crazy!

(But like I said, the beginning was boring, so of course I noticed this little detail.)

Shaye is an Entertainment Writer from Brooklyn, NY and a big fan of anything and everything superpowers related (especially if kids/teens are involved), cooking + baking shows (like MasterChef Junior and Cupcake Wars), teen dramas, sitcoms, comedies, and legal dramas. When she's not binging the latest series on Netflix or writing, you can find her spilling her thoughts on the Brown Side of Disney Chat or creating YouTube videos with her daughter for their new family site, Popcorn and Tater Tots.

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In Theaters

Issa Hard Knock Life: “Creed 3” Hits Us With Major Lessons About Survival, Overcoming The Past, And Forgiving Ourselves 



Let’s just kick it straight to the point here — I haven’t seen “Creed 1” or 2, but when they announced Jonathan Majors would be getting into the ring with Michael B. Handsome, I mean Jordan, I knew I needed to see “Creed 3”! So when I got the invite to screen the latest film in the “Creed” franchise, I immediately said yes. I mean, Jonathan has been on a roll lately, and was great in “Ant-Man 3“. And Michael has always been doing the damn thing! So there was no way I was passing up watching both men on screen in IMAX. Let’s be real now.

And now that I’ve literally seen the sweat drippin’ all over their bodies … I don’t think I need to see anything else this year. Kidding, there’s a lot of other movies I’m excited for this year. Like Magazine Dreams … which of course stars our fave Jonathan again.

But if the half naked dancers in “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” excited you … brace yourselves.

“Creed 3” Full Review

creed 3 review

While Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut may not possess the sexiest storyline of the year …

Considering it features two friends who grew up together in a foster home under terrible conditions who both make a bad decision of their own one night that leaves one of them running for their very life and the other flying pass GO and going straight to jail. (Do not collect $200.) It does feature two of the sexiest Black actors in the game right now.

And I mean … what more can you ask for?! That’s about as good as it gets! Right? Wrong.

Creed 3 is the story of most men from the hood forced to learn how to survive on their own …

With little to no guidance in the hard knock streets of a big city that doesn’t seem to care about its own. It’s the story of men who make one bad decision after another as a kid with no one else to depend on that ends up costing them their life in some way or the other. The story of men who grow up together but grow distant as one moves out, grows up, and becomes better … while the other remains stagnant and stuck in the past.


And honestly, it’s the story of men who could have resolved all their god damn childhood trauma with therapy and time, or at least by talking to their wives, but chose to ignore communicating with one another and literally threw hands instead. Men! Am I right?

(l-r.) Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis Creed, Mila Kent as Amara and Tessa Thompson as Bianca in CREED III | Photo credit: Eli Ade © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

But despite it all … “Creed 3” was a pleasure to watch!

Because while it is a story of men who clearly grew up in survival mode, had to overcome their past, and learn how to forgive themselves (not just others) … it’s highly entertaining and ends not just with a physical win in the ring, but also with a win deep within.

Even though one of our favorites had to walk away from the battle field without the championship belt … emotionally and mentally, there were no losers here and I love how positively “Creed 3” ended.

And even while screaming positive mental health messages to our Black men (like the simple “walk away, even if they hit you first, because sometimes it’s just not worth it” — lesson that I’ve tried so hard to teach many of my own students) Michael B. Jordan’s first film as a director somehow manages to still be an invigorating and powerfully entertaining film.

I mean … I walked into the boxing ring angry and pissed off myself (due to something that happened right before the movie, that I’ll refrain from rehashing at the momento), and for the first 5 to 10 minutes I was convinced that I would be too angry to enjoy the movie, or my popcorn. But “Creed 3” was so dang good it changed my whole mood! Jonathan and Michael’s cute banter and brother like friendship, which was clear from the moment they were on screen together, forced me to be happy! I actually left the movie smiling and in a great mood.

And if we’re being honest … the production of this film was seriously top notch!

I don’t think I remember anything from the story other than being happy every time Michael and Jonathan were on screen! But those fighting scenes? I remember those!


They were insane!

And those sound effects? Incredible! Watching this film in IMAX is definitely the right move, if you can cough up the extra cash to do so!

Plus the cinematography is phenomenal and I’m still tryna figure out how they recorded someone literally knocking the sweat off of homeboy … so you could see all the water droplets go flying! Not to mention the creativity of those side by side shots?!

I mean give them folks 5 stars and a raise because they did that! I loved it!

(l-r.) Mila Kent stars as Amara, Tessa Thompson as Bianca and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed in CREED III | Photo credit: Eli Ade © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some happy go lucky film.

Sure it’s entertaining, and exciting to watch, but it’s definitely violent! Brooklyn me had my hands balled in a fist the entire film because every time someone got hit hard I took it personally and wanted to hit back. But the film was still amazing, and even catered to us “just here for Jonathan Majors, don’t mind me” folks.

So yes — if you’re not familiar with “Creed 1” or 2 , it’s okay to watch “Creed 3” first.

They definitely walked us newbies all the way to the back of the bus and held our hands through it because I didn’t feel lost at all while watching 3.


I’m sure I’ll have more of a personal and emotional connection to the characters outside of “I wanna see Jonathan and Michael on screen” once I do watch 1 & 2 (because I do plan on watching the full trilogy, especially now that they’re streaming on HBO Max). But even without knowing who these characters really are, I had a really great time watching this. So you can totally watch it without seeing the first two.

Watching “Creed 3” first definitely made me wanna watch the first two even more though. So I’ll go back and watch them before I see this again.

Jonathan Majors stars as Damian Anderson in director Michael B. Jordan’s CREED III | Photo credit: Eli Ade © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Because I am definitely watching “Creed 3” again!

Although the music was used sparingly … or should I say sparringlyget it? Which felt a tad different than what I’m usually used to in films that I love. (Music tends to always drive my emotions, and usually is one of the biggest factors on whether I become emotionally connected to a story.) They did use the music in this very intentionally. Like for intro music when the boxers came out which felt, right. So I can’t really complain about it.

And you know I don’t have to talk about their acting because the boys have both proven time and time again (*cough* “Black Panther”, “Lovecraft Country” … just to name a few) that they’re both superb regardless of who you put them next to. I’d love to see them team up or even battle it out again in a Marvel film. However, I just really love them on screen together — whether they’re just being playful, or screaming at each other with full force. Doesn’t matter. Just put them together in another film, and I’m sold!

However, the women in the film — specifically, Mila Davis-Kent and Tessa Thompson really held their own, and kept those boys inline. And I really hope they do a Creed 4 so little Mila, who played Amara Creed, can keep the family boxing tradition of winning championships alive. With Disney Plus releasing their new “Echo” Marvel series soon, and Netflix casting a deaf female player in their social media competition reality series “The Circle“, ASL baddies are finally getting their shine and I want more films with badass women who sign!

So yeah … I look forward to what hopefully lies ahead.

And until then, I’m just gonna keep rewatching “Creed 3” because the front row of my IMAX theater did not do this film justice and I totally need a redo! Plus, who doesn’t like seeing foine men sweat? It’s too cold for the men to be running around on the basketball court right about now, so I might as well get my fix right here in theaters.



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In Theaters

There’s More To Love About “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” Than Just Jonathan Majors



ant-man and the wasp quantumania review

If you’re a “casual” Marvel fan, like moi, who doesn’t take the Marvel films too seriously, then chances are you probably weren’t even excited to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” for its plot in the first place! While the “Ant-Man” films are some of my faves, because ants doing things I never thought they could do, thoroughly entertains me, I wasn’t DYING to see the latest “Ant-Man” film because Paul Rudd is now an “Avenger”. (Can we really even call him that? Ugh. He feels more like one of the Avenger’s silly little sidekicks, who hangs around for the snacks and accidentally gets caught up in all the drama.)

Honestly, I was just down for the ride because we stan a Black king … I mean Kang … I’m here to see Kang, aka Jonathan Majors!

After watching him in the final episodes of the Loki series, I knew I wanted more Kang in my life! The villain portrayed by Mr. Majors, is just too intriguing for me to ignore. And even though I entered the IMAX theater, for Jonathan Majors … I left pleasantly surprised at how much more there was to love about the “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” movie!

That doesn’t mean the movie is perfect.

With a runtime of 2 hours and 3 minutes, that feels quite short compared to a few recent releases, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has its pros and its cons. Like most Marvel films, if not all. But I definitely enjoyed watching it. Which I can’t say the same for the last few films I’ve seen *cough* Spider-Man *cough*.


Anywho, here’s everything this casual Marvel fan loved (and hated) about the latest installment of the “Ant-Man” franchise.

An “Ant-Man And The Wasp Quantumania” Review For Casual Marvel Fans

Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen “Ant-Man And The Wasp Quantumania”, this review will spoil a few things, so I can explain what was loved and hated. But it won’t spoil or include major plot lines! So you can totally read this. Unless you loathe all kinds of spoilers. In that case, bookmark this joint and wait until you’ve seen the movie.

ant-man and the wasp quantumania review
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. © 2022 MARVEL.

There’s a lot to love about “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”.

Like it’s humor, and the silly moments (and characters), that we’ll find throughout the Quantum realm.

Fom the moment “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” begins, it’s apparent that this one isn’t for the “Marvel bros” who like their films to start off kicking ass. No this one’s for us little guys, the ones who recently enjoyed “Thor: Love and Thunder”, and thought “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was a snooze fest. Sorry, not sorry.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is for those of us who like it when cute characters talk. Seriously! And if the name William Jackson Harper means anything to you … yes you my fellow “The Good Place” fans … then having him in this film immediately alerts you to what’s to come. (Now I don’t always think his humor is great, but it works in this.)

William Jackson Harper as Quaz in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Plus Scott’s arc as a character is kind of amusing.

On one end we have this guy who’s finally learning to get his shit together so he can be there for his daughter. But then on the other end — everyone just sees him as a thief still. Like no matter how much he tries to “get out” he’s somehow always sucked back in. And that’s sort of the reality of ex-cons right? Redemption is hard AF when you’re in and out of prison.

I also really loved the world building and the visual effects.

Although, some of it isn’t that great, and you can pretty much tell it’s fake. But it’s still a pretty freaking cool world to be in — the Quantum Realm, that is.

And the costumes are everything!

But I guess, that’s just the standard we’ve come to expect in a Marvel film, right?

ant-man and the wasp quantumania review
MIchelle Pfieffer as Janet van Dyne in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Hell, even M.O.D.O.K was cute to me.

Although I’ve seen folks say they hated it. I didn’t. And that really just boils down to the fact that, this film is supposed to be wacky, its what we’ve come to expect from Ant-Man and Thor. It’s what us “casual fans” have grown to love.

Yet, there’s one thing in particular about the “Ant-Man” franchise that continues to amaze me.

And that’s the way they continuously weave the ants in. It’s impressive to me. And if that just makes me easy to please, then so be it. However, by movie 2 I figured they’d drop the whole ant “act” and move on to something a little less ridiculous, but they didn’t.

Throughout every movie, they stick to their core message — that these ants can do just about anything — and I really love that.

I mean have y’all seen the “Fantastic Beasts” movies? Must I remind you that the magical creatures are literally in every title, yet are practically non existent in the films themselves? It’s insane. So I love that Marvel doesn’t lose sight of what makes Ant-Man … ant man.

Of course “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” isn’t perfect.

(L-R): Michael Douglas/Hank Pym, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

It’s giving … “where have I seen this before” …

Because the film does unfortunately feel like it borrows it’s greatness from a few other films that I love — including “Dune”, “Star Wars”, “Alice Through The Looking Glass”, “The Mitchells Vs The Machines”, and even Disney’s latest film “Strange World”. Which dulls its creativity a notch, since it feels like we’re just mushing multiple movies together at this point.

But that doesn’t mean it’s still not entertaining, because it is.

Also, what’s up with this villain? And the freaking ending!?

Am I supposed to hate him? Root for him? Because even after watching two hours of The Conquerer … I’m still not convinced I should hate Kang. Part of me is still like “ehhhh there’s gotta be something they’re not telling us about this guy, yes we know he destroyed worlds, but why did he do that? Can someone tell me WHY I’m supposed to hate him?”

ant-man and the wasp quantumania review
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Then the Black nerd in me kicks in and I just refuse to keep overlooking how Marvel movies continue to portray Black super-humans as less than. Like great … yes Kang’s played by Jonathan Majors, but now we get to see the big Black guy destroy things. Perfect. (They don’t already have us in enough of those roles huh mate.)

And then the ending which I won’t even mention because it’s so trash … is another blatant slap in the face for a Black character of this multitude. I know it’s supposed to be goofy and what not, but I’m a tad disappointed in that outcome.

I also really hate how Marvel portrays mothers.

Why do we keep creating this narrative that mothers are bad for wanting to be with their kids? Yet when men do whatever they want … it’s because he’s doing it for his kids!? WTF! Did we not already go through this in “WandaVision” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness“? Can we please stop. It’s so harmful! But ya know … when men write stories, I guess they write what they know or whatever.

(L-R): Kathryn Newton as Cassandra “Cassie” Lang and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Also, ya think we could have gotten a little bit more action, and a little less close up shots of Jonathan?

I’m not saying having sir in the movie is a bad thing, but I mean, come on, it’s an Ant-Man film! Focus here! They could have definitely given us a few more action scenes with my good friend Paul. I did not need to be distracted by Jonathan Majors full lips on the big screen! It’s almost as if they wanted us to be fully invested in this Kang character so we can forget all about the little guy. Even though they literally said to “look out for the little guy”!

Either way Peyton Reed did a great job directing this and I’d definitely be down to see Ant-Man 4.

But maybe they’ll just dive into Kang instead?

That’s where we’re headed so it’ll be nice if he gets his own film. Especially since, like others are saying, that this definitely feels like a Kang story more than an Ant-Man story. Similar to how the “Doctor Strange” sequel was all about the Scarlet Witch. So maybe since they can’t seem to write films for the actual main characters and let the supporting actors … support, maybe Doctor Strange 3 can be all about Kang again.

Who knows. Either way, I’m down! Where Jonathan goes, we follow.


I mean … Ant-Man, follow the ants!


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In Theaters

“Avatar: The Way Of Water” Left Me Angry, For A Multitude Of Reasons



As a Black woman. As a Black mother! As someone who loves both kids and movies. James Cameron’s new “Avatar: The Way of Water” film left me … for a lack of a better word in this review, distressed.

After putting it off for days, I finally convinced myself to attend an advanced screening of “Avatar: The Way of Water” last night.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see it. I was convinced I needed to see it, after watching the trailer in theaters. It looked beautiful. (And we all know I absolutely loved the Top Gun sequel, so I was all the more hopeful that this one would be just as great, if not better.)

But as my screening date approached, and my ‘end of year’ energy and patience for anything outside of laying in bed dwindled — I hesitated. Something inside told me it wasn’t worth the extra hassle.

Yet my “dreams” of becoming a “better film critic” wouldn’t allow me to pass up on another opportunity to see a film my peers seemed to rave about. Welp, that’s the last time I let y’all bully me into watching a movie.


“Avatar: The Way of Water” Review

About the sequel …

If you’re unfamiliar with the world of Pandora, or just Avatar’s sequel itself … the film is meant to be about the famous ‘Jake Sully’ (Sam Worthington) — who was once a paralyzed former marine who visited the ‘alien world’ and fell in love with a Na’vi woman (Zoe Saldaña).

Now a married Avatar, a human/Na’vi hybrid, and the leader of “his people”, Jake is also a father of four who must do whatever it takes to save his family. Even if that means leaving those that he loves behind.

But what we actually get, is a story of mixed messages, unnecessary violence, a touch of white colonialism, and a whole lot of nothing.

If this movie was written to purposely anger me and remind me why (most) white people disgust me … it succeeded.

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(L-R): Jack Champion as Spider and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

While it may be beautiful to watch on screen, the story of “Avatar: The Way of Water” is basically a mashup of Disney’s “Pocahontas” and “Tarzan” on steroids. Especially since they insist on calling one of the kids ‘monkey boy’ and the people ‘indigenous’.

Outside of its impeccable world creation, a few heartfelt moments and it’s “Free Willy” similarities, the story doesn’t do much for me. And instead of ending on a positive note, it ends with a wonderful display of frail male ego, completely throwing aside its core theme. 

avatar free willy scene
A Tulkun in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

It’s triggers …

The film starts out, and continues throughout, with a shocking amount of violence towards kids, that is extremely triggering for anyone that identifies as a Black mother. And this is one of the many tells that this movie wasn’t made for “us”. But it’s this continuous display of white supremacy in a “cultural” village, that forces me to wonder why white men are so insistent on being seen as the almighty, and all powerful.

Who hurt you?! It surely wasn’t the Native Americans or Africans you enslaved, and now use in every story you tell to remind those of how “powerful” you are. It surely wasn’t the immigrants and children you left for dead at the border, because “they don’t belong here”. As if you yourself came to this land here by invitation.

avatar the way of water review
Quaritch (Stephen Lang) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

So excuse me if my trauma as a Black person, as a Black woman, and as a Black mother who was born right here in the good ol’ USA … is triggered when your story has purposely woven in the worst parts of my history, of our history, so nonchalantly.

Excuse me, if I can only see the Na’vi people as Native Americans in blue paint, who were forced out of their homes so you could take over, and disrespect their land, animals, and culture.

Excuse me, if I can only see the Na’vi children being pushed to the ground, as little Black girls and boys, who have guns pushed in their faces, to remind them that you think Black children are worthless and beneath you. Maybe police brutality wasn’t a thing when you sat down to write this script, forgive me … the pandemic wiped out two years, and now all time is frazzled.

avatar the way of water review
Tuk (Trinity Bliss) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Finally when the blatant triggers stop angering you for a moment, and we’re given a lovable heartwarming scene of child innocence, as they learn a new culture, make new friends and love interests, in a land that feels unlike their own, we’re slapped on the other cheek with cowardly displays of the frail male ego.

Not only is Jake Sully portrayed as a father who is unable to protect his family, or community. They add insult to injury by making him a coward as well. And considering he’s now the leader of the Na’vi Forest villagers, people who share one too many similarities with Native Americans for us to see them as ‘white’, this storytelling leaves me completely disgusted.

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(L-R): Tsireya (Bailey Bass), Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Of course you would create a story about a fake culture, fake community, and then make them the less-thans in their own world! Why would you create a story about a culture of your own that shows others how truly wonderful being different can be?

Time after time again, we get stories about women who are stronger than their male counterparts, braver, and wiser — disguised as stories that are meant to uplift women, and show them that they too can be strong. But as a Black woman, I’m all too familiar with the fact that I can be strong. Where are the stories of men who protect us, and listen to us?

Why does it take death, for men to be capable of hearing anything other than their own voices? Why do men still write narratives, where they put women through the worst, and then ask her to be his all, while she’s in pain and mourning, because he “needs” her? Why can’t you envision a world where you’re not monsters?! Is that too much to ask for?

na'vi people in avatar
(L-R): Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

And when that’s all said and done, after the violence towards children, the cowardly non-courageous father, and shell of a man who “leaves to protect”, instead of staying to fight for what’s rightfully theirs. Immediately throwing me back to the helpless father in “Till” who stood by and watched Emmett get taken, to “protect his family”. As if this isn’t emotionally exhausting enough, here comes the poachers and the disrespect for animals. And while I was excited to see them use sign language underwater, it’s all a bit too much.

How many times do white people need to “borrow” from other cultures to “create their own”, instead of just learning and respecting others? How many times will they retell the stories of our past that haunt so many of us still to this very day, for “entertainment”?

The stories described above are woven into “Avatar: The Way of Water” and are everything I hate about this movie.

What I wanted instead …

Had they given us just a story about the Metkayina village, its people, and how hard it was for the Na’vi to adapt, due to nature taking its course and removing them from their home, with the complexities of parenthood, I would have given this 5 stars easily.

There’s a lot to love about Pandora! Its world creation is seriously one of the best, and easily one of the most believable sci fi flicks of our time. Plus, its sea creators are absolutely adorable. It’s only a shame that its story doesn’t match up. I really and truly had hoped that this movie would make me feel the way the Avatar Flight of Passage ride at Walt Disney World did.

Had it not been for its stunning cinematography, “Avatar: The Way of Water” would be an easy cast away, just like this year’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore“. Which I almost forgot about.

avatar the way of water review
(L-R): Ronal (Kate Winslet), Tonowari (Cliff Curtis), and the Metkayina clan in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Should you still watch “Avatar: The Way of Water” in theaters?

So if you’re wondering if you should bother seeing the newest Avatar film in theaters, I’d wait and watch it on your big screen at home … for free, when it’s finally streaming. That way if you’re as angered as I was, you can pause and grab popcorn, or discard it altogether, and watch something else — like “The Woman King“, “Everything Everywhere All At Once, RRR” or even “Turning Red” for what may be your millionth watch by now. Hell even “The Bad Guys” was a shocker this year.

If you’re wondering if you should let your kids watch this, please be alarmed that its PG-13 rating, is definitely for older kids. Normally my 10 year old can get away with watching PG 13 films, since most are on the milder side, but this one does have a ton of potty mouth kids who cuss too damn much, and as I said before, there’s definitely a lot of violence. Similar to the amount of violence in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” I suppose?

If you already bought your tickets to see it in theaters — may the force be with you. I hope you enjoy it despite me announcing, what I feel like, are its flaws, because it is a good movie outside my rage. It’s just not a GREAT movie, like I was led to believe, and for the reasons above.

And if you’re planning to see this in 3D, and you wear thick, big glasses like moi — good luck, because I struggled. And a film should not be so damn difficult to watch, when you have four eyes to begin with. Whew lawd. Glasses folks — just watch it in IMAX, if available, or standard instead. I spent half the movie pushing the 3D glasses upward, up off the bridge of my nose so I could breathe properly. It was a big distraction.

avatar the way of water review
(L-R): Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and a Tulkun in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

One last thing …

That end credits song wasn’t it. The Weekend wasn’t needed there, just like Jake’s whitewashed dreads needed a re-twist, bad. But alas, when one has to choose between family, their pride, and common sense, one doesn’t have much room left to think about their hairstyles on camera. Either way, they both could have easily been removed from this film, and no one would bat an ungrateful eye.


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