Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Much like the original, “Top Gun: Maverick” is a big jingoistic cartoon. But it’s a fun jingoistic cartoon. I say that as someone that didn’t like the original “Top Gun” so suffice to say I was hesitant going right in to it. After so many years left in film limbo, I was stunned it was so well received, as legacy sequels most of the time fall flat. While “Top Gun: Maverick” isn’t exactly a masterpiece, I could think of worse times to spend with an action movie; it’s definitely one of the better legacy sequels I’ve seen.

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Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

After the startling success of “Avatar” James Cameron spent almost two decades crafting a sequel. It’s a sequel that is—well, it’s basically “Avatar” all over again with his blue Thundercats. Except it has water. That might seem like I’m undermining the movie but I’m really not. Everything is essentially the same, save for more characters. Cameron injects the same clumsy themes about war, capitalism, racism, the fragility of the environment, and the oh-so-noble savage; except now he’s able to introduce his love for the ocean too.

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Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020) [4K UHD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

It’s disappointing that this is where we’ve arrived with the DC Warner animated movies. We went from stellar to “Its fine, I guess.” That’s exactly what “Apokolips War,” the sequel (?) to “Justice League Dark” is. It’s fine. It’s okay. It has all the ingredients to be a damn good epic, but instead chooses gruesome pointless violence, over heart and substance. I’m not one to complain about violence in more mature aimed films, but “Apokolips War” often watches like it’s compensating for the lack of any real substance or entertainment value by splashing the screen with ridiculous violence and gore.

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The Wind Rises (2013) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

It’s apropos and yet somewhat inexplicable that Hayao Miyazaki would end his career on one what is easily his most divisive film. Miyazaki has spent so much of his career delivering masterpieces of animation that discuss the horrible fall out of war, destruction of the environment, and war machines. So it’s absolutely confounding that Miyazaki takes a more objective approach to Jirô Horikoshi and his creation of what would become certified weapons of war.

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