The Verdict On “Shazam! Fury of the Gods:” Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is a 2023 DC film directed by David F. Sandberg and a sequel to the 2019 film “Shazam!”. The film follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his comical superhero alter ego, Shazam (Zachary Levi), as they face off against a new villain, Hespera (Helen Mirren), and her brother Kalypso (Lucy Liu), who seek to take over the world using their godly powers.

The movie begins with an action-packed sequence that introduces Hespera and Kalypso, who are shown to be immensely powerful beings with control over various elements of nature. The opening sets the tone for the rest of the movie, as it promises a high-stakes battle between Shazam and these formidable foes.

As the story unfolds, we see that Billy struggles with his dual identity and superhero responsibilities. He is still figuring out how to control his powers and feels the world’s weight on his shoulders. However, he is not alone, as his foster siblings and his best friend Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) are there to support him.

The movie strikes a perfect balance between action and comedy, with several laugh-out-loud moments that are sure to delight audiences of all ages. The chemistry between the cast members is excellent, and the witty banter between Billy and Freddy is particularly enjoyable. The film also has several heartfelt moments as it explores the theme of family and the importance of standing by the people you love.

One of the movie’s strengths is its stunning visual effects, which truly bring the world of Shazam to life. The fight scenes are expertly orchestrated, and slow-motion and other special effects add to the spectacle.

Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu deliver standout performances as Hespera and Kalypso, respectively. They are menacing and captivating, and their characters’ motivations are well-developed. The movie also features several surprise appearances from other DC Comics characters, which are sure to excite fans of the franchise.

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is definitely a fantastic sequel that lives up to the high bar set by its predecessor. It is a fun, action-packed, and heartwarming movie that will appeal to both casual moviegoers and die-hard comic book fans. David F. Sandberg has done an excellent job of balancing the story’s various elements, and the result is a film that is sure to be a hit. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys superhero movies and is looking for a good time at the cinema.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Editorial credit: Hamara /

The Verdict On Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania: Is It Worth Your Time & Money?

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania happens to be the latest installment in the Ant-Man franchise, and it certainly did not disappoint. Directed by Peyton Reed, the film brings back the beloved characters of Ant-Man and The Wasp while also introducing new characters and storylines.

The film starts with Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, trying to balance his life as a superhero with his responsibilities as a father. However, things quickly take a turn when he gets sucked into the quantum realm and encounters new threats and challenges.

One of the film’s highlights is the introduction of Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors. Kang is a complex and intriguing villain who adds a new layer of depth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Majors delivers a standout performance, capturing the nuances of the character’s motivations and personality.

Another standout performance comes from Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp. Her character is given more screen time and development in this film, and Lilly rises to the occasion with a powerful and emotional performance. The chemistry between her and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is also a highlight, as their banter and teamwork are a pleasure to watch onscreen.

The film also explores the concept of the multiverse, which is sure to be a significant plot point in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Using the quantum realm to access the multiverse is an interesting and clever plot device, and it opens up endless possibilities for future stories and crossovers.

The action sequences in the film are top-notch, with creative use of the characters’ powers and abilities. The shrinking and growing abilities of Ant-Man and The Wasp are used in new and exciting ways, and the visual effects are stunning. The film also has a great sense of humour, with many laugh-out-loud moments that balance out the more serious aspects of the story.

Overall, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is a highly entertaining and satisfying addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The characters are well-developed, the performances are strong, and the action is exciting. The film also sets up exciting possibilities for the future of the franchise. Whether you’re a die-hard Marvel fan or a casual moviegoer, this film is sure to leave you satisfied and eager for more.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

“Top Gun: Maverick” Review: An Impressive Feat For A 30-Year-Old Sequel

Not sure if this disqualifies me from reviewing this film, but I gotta be honest, I never saw the original “Top Gun.” I know it was a big deal for a lot of people. It was probably a lot of people’s favorite movie, and it’s immortalized in nostalgia and yadda, yadda. Either way, I never saw it, and I didn’t know how important or necessary it was for this film since not everyone sequel relies on previous installments for their story material. I know that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer were both in the original; they are in this new one, and it is apparently being toted as an even BIGGER, more successful deal than the first film was. “Top Gun: Maverick” is a big deal, and I don’t think anyone expected that even the fans of the original film, so let’s find out why.

Taking place 30 years after the first film, Maverick (Tom Cruise) returns to the US Navy air-born weapons school to serve as an instructor to a new team of recruits who are entering the same program, he and fellow wingman Iceman (Val Kilmer) were apart of years ago. Among the many challenging oppositions from his superiors questioning his teaching methods, Maverick also faces the grim position of instructing Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw (Mile Teller); the son of his deceased best friend ‘Goose.’ Now Maverick has to overcome these barriers and bring these new cadets up to speed for a new generation to take over the legacy of the TOPGUN program.

Without seeing the original film, one thing I definitely surmise as a highlight is Tom Cruise. Even when he’s playing a character from 30 years ago that I never grew up with or got attached to, I can tell he is bringing his A-game and making the most of this role and this film, and that is an infectious form of charm and energy. Cruise walks, talks and lives this role as if he’s always been playing this character during the entire 30-year gap between the two films. He comes back with natural excellence that inspires a fascination with every line, every snap back at a superior officer, or interaction with a trainee. Whether you have seen the first one or not, the level of dedication that was put into this film can be felt. There is effort, style, and hard work diligently being worked into its development, and even I have to applaud that.

Cruise is famous for doing his own stunts and making them as realistic (and often dangerous) as possible, and “Maverick” is no exception. The film puts you right into the cockpits and makes you feel every turn, spin, and launch off with the camera views and intense visual captures of the fighter jet sequences. It reminded me of a more realistic, better-portrayed version of the fighter plane sequence in “Independence Day,” minus the aliens. Behind-the-scenes reports indicate that all the flight training was real and showed on everyone’s facial expressions. You truly feel the need for speed, and it’s a well-executed experience that makes you feel like you are a part of it.

Unfortunately, all the finesse and style don’t help if you don’t give a damn about your cast, and sadly…I REALLY didn’t give a damn about this cast. Maverick’s trainees feel like a smushed-together group of rando’s meant to fill quotas and demographic carts than actual character arcs. They don’t feel like the next generation of anything; hell, I even forgot their supposed cool trademark codenames the minute I left the theater. The most problematic aspect easily galls to Goose’s sun, Rooster/Miles Teller. The character is irritatingly obnoxious to the point I wanted to slap that laughably fake-looking mustache off his ugly tanned face. If that stache is real, then it just proves that Teller can’t grow a mustache anymore than he can act. I didn’t care for his deal with Maverick, his past, or him or anyone else involved in the team, period.

Overall, “Top Gun: Maverick” will no doubt supremely please fans of the original with flying colors. The attention to detail, incredible flight scenes, and heart-filled effort from Cruise will satisfy any moviegoer looking for something fun to experience, and that’s an impressive feat for a 30-year-old sequel. The rest of the cast is as forgettable as they are pointless, they feel like stock photo inclusions rather than fleshed-out characters, and Miles Teller’s performance and subplot as Goose’s son go absolutely nowhere except in the back of my mind where it will be immediately forgotten. If you’re a “Top Gun” fan, this will be a must-see for you, but if you’re not, then I don’t think you’ll miss out on much if you let this one fly past you.

We give “Top Gun: Maverick” 2 stars out of 4 stars.

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson Movie Review: A Reimagining Of An Australian Classic

Rob Collins, Bain Stewart, Leah Purcell, Greer Simpkin, and David Jowsey at THE DROVERS WIFE Red Carpet Gala Screening

For every Australian, the name Henry Lawson is a familiar fella. He was a renowned bush poet who penned the Drover’s wife- a nine paged short story of a fierce and protective mother defending her homestead in the bush from an intruder. The short story was published in 1892 Australia, and it needs an overdue makeover and reimagining for mo `dern audiences. 

In comes Leah Purcell, who to Herny Lawson’s Drover wife and reimagined in a post-colonial, indigenous feminist tale of Molly Johnson. Lawson’s original short story stayed with Leah since she was a little girl. 

“When I was five years old, my mother read the original 9-page Drover’s wife story by Henry Lawson; I could imagine myself in the story as the little boy as the protector of the story,” Purcell recalled when asked where she sourced her inspiration. 

The 9-page classic resonated with her as she was from a droving family, and they lived on the outskirts of a small country town. 

“My mother taught me how to split a log and stack a wood heat so the snakes wouldn’t get under, and it was all stuff that reverberated to the original story of the Drover’s wife. As a five-year-old, my imagination went wild, and I saw myself in the story.” 

 The short story was so profound that she adapted her reimagined tale for the third time, from a book to play and now to a cinematic masterpiece that premiered at the Randwick Ritz last month.

The film centres around Molly Johson (Leah Purcell), the eponymous Drover’s wife who is heavily pregnant, encounters an indigenous man, Yadaka (Rob Collins), who is on the run from police as he was a suspected murderer. At first, Molly Johnson was startled by the stranger. Then, however, she slowly unlocks her heritage’s secrets through spending time with Yadaka.

The central relationship between Yadaka and Molly was captivating. Originally, it refers to the “Stray black fellow” in the original and is described to be a “liar” and “cheat.” Purcell restores humanity in her reiteration of the classic. 

Initially, Molly was skeptical upon the arrival of Yadaka, warning the fugitive – “Cross me, and I’ll kill you.” However, she airs on the side of caution before helping him with his shackles once she witnesses that Yadaka teaches her eldest son, Danny (Malachi Dower-Roberts), how to use a spear properly. 

Yadaka also was the person who opened Molly’s eyes to her indigenous heritage and illuminated a part of her that was left dormant for years.

Yadaka later confides to Molly that the only crime he ever committed was “existing while Black.” when questioned why he was on the run from the law – circling back to the ugly racial politics that colonial Australia built on still subtly exists in modern Australia. 

The film continues to build on the legacy of unjust violence – not just against indigenous Australians but domestic violence. Later in the film, it implies that Molly was the prime suspect in her husband’s disappearance. However, the film also implies that the Drover was violent and a cheater and inflicted alot of danger on her and her children. Yet, due to their fierce devotion to her children and her motivation to protect herself, she did the unthinkable. 

Again, this resonates back to the MeToo movement where victims of sexual abuse and assault, who happen to be the majority of women, were never heard and how society sides with the perpetrators who happens to the majority of men.

The film is a cinematic tale of unrelenting feminist strength and highlights the legacy of violence that built colonial Australia. Interweaving elements of her indigenous roots and putting herself in a well-known Australian classic, Purcell has successfully “flipped the scripted” and turned it on its head. 

The Teaser Trailer For 20th Century Studios’ “Avatar: The Way Of Water” Has Just Dropped

The teaser trailer for 20th Century Studios’ “Avatar: The Way of Water, which first debuted in cinemas on May 5, is available now. James Camerons first follow-up to his Avatar, the highest-grossing film of all time, will open in Australian cinemas on December 15.

Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive,  and the tragedies they endure. Directed by James Cameron and produced by Cameron and Jon Landau, the film stars Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement and Kate Winslet. 

To whet audiences appetites, the studio will re-release Avatar in cinemas on September 22.

“The Batman” Movie Review: Tried to bring something different to the table but brought too much

When I was younger, I always loved it when someone would ask me what my favorite superhero; (actually, I kind of wish people still asked me that today as an adult) and my answer would always be the same: Batman. Ever since I first saw Tim Burton’s original “Batman” film and then subsequently “Batman: the animated series,” he had easily become my most idolized superhero for many, many years. Flash forward to the future after the birth of the MCU and the release of one too many different Batman incarnations and now Ion Man fills my number one hero slot and Batman has become a literal revolving wall of jokes, memes, and random actors with no signs of consistency showing up anytime soon. This latest incarnation from “Apes” director Matt Reeves is known as “The Batman;” hoping that 6th time is the Batman charm.

Taking us back to early in Batman’s crime-fighting career, Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) is devoting every waking hour and minute of his dual life to striking down the forces of evil corrupting Gotham inside and out. Things become messy and mysterious when the serial killer, the Riddler (Paul Dano) starts murdering high political figures; leaving cryptic riddles connecting to the inner workings of the Mafia as well as Wayne’s own deceased parents. Investigating the likes of Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), Penguin (Colin Farrell), and Carmine Falcone (John Tuturro), Batman must uncover the truth connecting all these faces and events together and save the city before the Riddler brings it to its knees.

Despite this being the 6th cinematic crack at the caped crusader, one thing I cannot deny is that it’s clear that Reeves and Pattison were really trying to deliver something truly different compared to previous Batman films. “The Batman” removes much of the fantastical and science fiction-related elements of the past in place for a darker, far grizzlier, and grittier take that pushes the boundaries of how edgy and violent the Dark Knight can become. Gone are the bat sonic emitters and colorful costumes; grinding this character into an even more reality-based environment than even Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. This is a Batman who is still struggling to make a name for himself and is so busy burying himself deep into the shadows, he doesn’t even care about existing as Bruce Wayne or holding back when putting criminals in their place.

Any reservations I had about “Twilight” star Pattinson donning the cape and cowl went out the window the first moment I saw him step out of the shadow to take down a gang of painted face thugs. He brings a cold, broken sense of detached intensity that truly separates him from his cinematic predecessors; hardly ever relying on a lame joke or a witty smirk to tarnish his frightful façade. Reeves’ take on Gotham makes the city ugly and grimier in ways we’ve never seen before and it creates an atmosphere that feels like it’s a character in and of itself. Jeffery Wright and Andy Serkis serve their roles as James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth respectively. Nothing to surpass previous incarnations but hardly a blemish on their marks either.

Sadly, while the film boasts an impressive assortment of quality actors playing their villains, all 3 of them suffer from one flaw or another that prevents them from stealing the show as most past villains have. Our signature villain Riddler is unfortunately by far the worst offender. His iconic costume and intellectual presence are heavily marred by his laughably bad “garbage man” costume and Dano’s odd decision to deliver every line with heavy breathing and ear-piercing whimpering. Reeves said his look was inspired by the Zodiac Killer (why that excuses such piss poor costume making is beyond me), at least his riddles and motivation are interesting. Catwoman and Penguin are played well but both are executed too poorly to even be recognized as supporting villains. Kravitz is top-notch as Selena Kyle but her Catwoman mask looks like something a drunk coed would wear to a Halloween party. And for all the numerous hours of high-end makeup transforming Colin Farrell into the Penguin, it feels almost insulting that he is barely around for more than 10 minutes…in a 3 HOUR film that is already TOO LONG.

Overall, “The Batman” tried, it really, really did try very hard to bring something different to the table. The problem is they brought too much. There are multiple conflicting storylines that never succeed in feeling cohesive no matter how hard the characters try to make sense of it. Its two movies crammed into one, overstuffed 3-hour movie which utilizes its hero and thematic vision beautifully, but then bungles its villains so completely it almost feels like Batman would have been better off just fighting the mob instead of such disappointing representations of villains (all handled better in previous films I might add).

We give “The Batman” 2 ½ stars out of 4 stars.

The Trailer For The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Is Here

Nicolas Cage stars as NICOLAS CAGE in the action-comedy THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalised version of Cage must accept a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a super fan (Pascal). When things take a wildly dangerous turn, Cage is forced to live up to his own legend, channeling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the Academy Award® winning iconic actor must take on the role of a lifetime: himself.

Release Date:   April 21
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Alessandra Mastronardi, Lily Sheen, Tiffany Haddish and Neil Patrick Harris
Directed By: Tom Gormican
Written By: Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten
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Hashtag: #nickcagemovie #MassiveTalent
STUDIOCANAL Handle: @studiocanalaus

Spider-Man: No Way Home Movie Review: A Dream-Come-True-Film

With the Avengers disassembled after the events of “Endgame” and a crop of new stars on the rise still too early to take center stage, few crossover events have matched the grandiosity and attention beyond “Infinity War” and “Endgame.” After successfully rebooting Spider-man with Tom Holland into the MCU, we finally complete his “home trilogy” with a third installment to ambitious enough to prove not all trilogies collapse once we reach Roman numeral number 3. “Spider-man: No Way home” is in many ways a culmination of all Spider-man films that came before it, while also providing a cinematic cap off to all 3 Spider-man franchises simultaneously in one wondrous, crossover package. Let’s dive into the Multiverse and see if it all pays off.

Picking up directly after the events of “Spider-man: Far from home,” the world now knows that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is the man behind the Spider-man mask. His life, his friends, his aunt (Marisa Tomei), and even his girlfriend (Zendaya) have their worlds turned upside down as the world refuses to give Parker one moment of peace. Desperate to undo this damage, Peter contacts Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell to make everyone forget Spider-man is Peter Parker. Unfortunately, Peter disrupts the spell and causes pleather of villains from other Spider-man universes to invade; including Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), and more. Now Spider-man must send the villains back before his life and his reality are torn apart in the wake of his greatest mistake.

Many franchises juggle their characters defining actors around with a roll of the dice. With Batman having 6 different actors to portray him on film, 3 for Hulk and now 3 for Spider-man, it can be hard to keep track of which version of a character people are most familiar with. “No way home” solves this problem by combining them into one, cross-dimensional collision that brings heroes and villains from 3 separate franchises and not only finds a logical way for them to fit together but also to improve and expand upon their own mythologies and stories left unexplained from previous installments. Spider-man learns his hardest lessons thanks to the stars of the past films and figures that came before him and does so in an exceptionally beautiful way.

No words can properly describe the chills that went down my spine when I saw Holland duking it out with Doc Ock from “Spider-man 2” and Electro from “Amazing Spider-man 2,” it was a fan spasm moment I never thought I would be able to witness. The story perfectly brings the iconic suffering in Parker’s life to the forefront; having his consequences affect his friends, his family, and even his school life is a painfully realistic and natural causality due to his actions. It’s a darker side we never got to see this Spider-man go through and Holland’s incredible performance captured the emotional impact and significance of this dramatic turn perfectly. By far though, the most incredible aspect of this film to behold is the use and interaction of the villains.

We see the likes of Sandman, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, and Lizard interacting with each other, learning of their individual fates and how their lives have been changed by Spider-man. It collects so many talented names and faces under one roof and develops them beyond being big bads; learning what makes them tick and how they feel learning about their lives and possible future when dealing with Spider-man. This is far more than a fan service film or even a flashy comic book action movie, this is the ultimate form of appreciation and collaboration of everything Spider-man is and ever was throughout all previous 7 films; even more so than “Into the Spider-verse.” This is a jam-packed, stellar sendoff that wows your eyes, attacks your heart, and mixes all those feelings together in one unforgettable trilogy topper that does everyone justice.

Overall, “Spider-man: No way home” is a dream-come-true-film that felt far more impossible and unlikely to happen than even the first “Avengers” film. Every hero, villain, minor, major and side character delivers their best work throughout all 3 co-existing franchises. This is not only the ultimate Spider-man movie of all time but also the film of the year and one of Marvel’s best of the best. If things ended here for Holland’s Spider-man then he’d be going out on the highest of high notes, but even though I doubt this entry can be topped, I cannot wait to see what the future holds in store for Spider-man. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, buy/watch this movie ASAP and be amazed.

I give “Spider-man: No way home” 4 stars out of 4 stars.


Editorial credit: Sarunyu L /

Marvel Studios Debuts “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness” Trailer During Superbowl

During The Super Bowl, Marvel Studios debuted a brand-new trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness that took viewers on a mind-blowing whirlwind through the Multiverse. In addition, Marvel Studios also released a new poster for the supernatural adventureavailable now.

In Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stühlbarg, and Rachel McAdams.

The film is directed by Sam Raimi, and Kevin Feige is the producer. Louis DEsposito, Victoria Alonso, Eric Hauserman Carroll and Jamie Christopher serve as executive producers. The screenplay was written by Michael Waldron.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases in Australian cinemas on May 5, 2022.

“Encanto” Movie Review: Plenty Of Flash & Staying Power But No Staying Power

With the success of “Moana” and growing need/interest in diversity in their princess line/history, Disney has been trying to pass the cultural test with all possible flying colors by adapting every kind of hero and heroine for their animated feature films. With “Moana,” and “Raya and the last dragon,” it’s clear Disney is trying to put their own iconic magical spin on every possible fairy tale they can weave with new rising stars and storytellers to pave the way for future profits and programming. “Encanto” is a Columbian fantasy tale, scored through the genius musical mind of Lynn-Manual Miranda, who had already delivered substantial musical success for Disney with his work in “Moana” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” One always hopes lightning strikes more than once so let’s see if Disney has conjured up the right kind of magic once again.

In a humble village in Columbia, the centerpiece of the town (and the story) is the Madrigals family: a family blessed with a magical house that is not only alive and vibrantly energetic but also grants each new family member as they come of age with their own, unique mystical power. From super strength, weather manipulation, and shape-shifting, there’s something extra special about every member of the Madrigals family…except for Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). She’s the only one who never received a mystical gift and it has left her feeling disconnected and ignored by her magical-powered relatives. However, when a mysterious danger threatens to eliminate the magic from the Madrigals forever, Mirabel must find out what is causing the magic to disappear and save her family’s gifts before they are lost for all eternity.

The subject of family is no stranger to Disney’s usual go-to story focuses. Certain cultures and families have a greater emphasis on the importance of family and that is no different here. However, the strange thing about “Encanto” is that for as fantastical and family-focused as it is, the film seems to mix its signals on presenting family; often coming off sadder and head scratching than anything whimsical. Almost every plot twist, line of dialog, and the musical number has to revolve around why family is so important and how dedicated this particular family is to one another. And yet, Mirabel not only receives no magical gift she gets shunned and ignored by her family members simply because she is different from them; even from the figurehead of the family.

The prejudice towards Mirabel not only feels hurtful but also unnecessarily aggressive, even if that is the point/source of conflict for the character. The whole plot circles the looming threat of everyone losing their powers and that level of jeopardy feels a bit lacking when everyone is being an obnoxious pill towards Mirabel just because she’s different; even to the point you WANT them to end up powerless so they can see what Mirabel has been going through. The movie kinda spins its wheels around this central plot and doesn’t really leave room for much else outside of enjoying Miradna’s signature soundtrack works of art. The songs range from catchy to forgettable. They are well presented and beautifully packaged, but again, they all dance around the same issue with little variation, and even the tune pitches don’t change enough for me to say I can remember more than one song off top of my head after seeing it.

The catchiest song actually deals with the character of Bruno (voiced by John Leguizamo) who is treated even worse than Mirabel, and the more you find out the worse you feel for this character. I felt bad for him more so than anyone else in the rest of the family. Among all the beautiful colors, stunning visuals, and bouncing tunes; the film seems to mishandle its own message and sends conflicting morals about family connections that were handled far more elegantly and meaningfully in Pixar’s “Coco” then they were here. Even with a Disney film having an expected happily ever after, the cast never becomes likable or memorable enough to feel like the lessons have been learned or expressed in the right way; to us or the cast.

Overall, “Encanto” has a lot to like but not as much to love if you ask me. There’s plenty of flash and colorful music but no staying power, not during the film and certainly not after it. The message about the power of families feels disjointed and poorly arranged in a way that it contradicts itself and ends up painting the Madrigals as glorified jerks rather than a whimsical family to emulate and idolize. Once you get behind it all, there’s not much going on and at the end, the answers all seem so obvious you’re wondering why it took so long to learn the clear-cut message. But hey, at least it’s got great music.

I give “Encanto” 2 stars out of 4 stars.