Spiderman: Far From Home ★★★★☆

Following the dramatic conclusion of the Infinity Saga, Spidey swings back in to close Phase 3 with another MCU gem filled with laughter and drama. It probably could have waited a few more months before hitting the screens, but it wraps things up well! Onward to Phase 4…………

Directed by: Jon Watts

Starring Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson


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Avengers Endgame ★★★★★

 

The 22nd chapter of the epic Infinity saga comes to an outstanding conclusion! Here’s our spoiler free look at Avengers Endgame.

Directed by : Anthony & Joe Russo

Starring : Too many to type!


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Review / Venom ★★☆☆☆

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The central theme in Venom surrounds the split personality of our protagonist Eddie Brock, this also reflects the movie in general, as it just can’t decide what kind of film it wants to be. Venom goes back and forth between a dark thriller to comedy to buddy cop, delivering a conflicted final cut, leaving everyone confused.

Making his return following the disastrous Spiderman 3, Venom is back after 11 long years. After getting in contact with an alien symbiotic organism, whilst investigating a shady organisation, down on his luck Eddie Brock (Hardy) suddenly discovers that he isn’t the only person inside his mind! With his new-found powers, can he tame the malicious Venom, as he aims to take back control of his life?

Without a doubt, Hardy and his scenes with Venom are by far the strongest parts of the film. The film takes a while to ramp up the action, but once the symbiote starts to take over, the intensity takes off! The constant conflict between the two sets up some great scenes, as he struggles to remain in charge. The action set pieces with Venom are a blast, showing the true threat of the symbiotic terror. The powers that Venom possesses are awesome, and it’s great fun to see him go all out, wiping the floor with countless goons.

Though that’s where the film really has to offer is regards to promise. Venom for some reason decides to go full out comedy, ala Nutty Professor. Some scenes where he is struggling to restrain the beast are comically bad, and Brock’s breakdown in a restaurant is incredibly awkward, almost Nicolas Cage levels of insane! Venom constantly demeans Brock for no real reason, yes, it may deliver some cheap laughs, but it goes totally against Venom’s actions when he reveals his true intentions. There is a strange buddy cop vibe, which seems so out of place in a film such as this.

Generic Evil Corporation #2158, The Life Foundation, led by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), is the big bad here. Ahmed does an OK job as the villain, but he really has nothing much to work with, apart from being a young prodigy who is a CEO in his 30s. We don’t really go into what his motivations are, why did he become so crazed? His behavior is pretty much psychotic, but we see nothing to show why he has become this unhinged person, which greatly hurts the character.  Brock’s love interest here, Anne (Michelle Williams) is devoid of anything interesting, and is for some reason, forced into the final scenes of the movie far too much.

The film is also oddly mild, considering the vicious monster Venom is. Whereas Deadpool & Logan have shown that if it’s done well, an R rating is not a bad thing, if anything, it can enhance a movie. The lack of any blood at all is confusing. There are scenes where people’s heads are bitten off, or get impaled, but the clean nature of the scenes makes Venom look sterile. Venom never really feels as dangerous as he should be.

Venom should do well enough at the Box Office to earn itself a sequel, hopefully the studio will take the feedback from this, and produce a far more polished final product. Though it may seem a far reach, the presence of Spiderman, regardless of how small it is, would be great for Venom to play off against down the road.

 

Infinity War:Destiny Arrives

After 10 years of anticipation and endless movies, the big one is finally here,  with so much to talk about, we’ve broken down our *(Spoiler -Free!) review into the key points, enjoy 🙂


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The Villain

The MCU has had a horrid track record for villains, barring Loki, the string of antagonists in several movies such as GotG, all 3 Ironman movies, Thor: The Dark World, all suffered from being a lousy foil. Though as of late, things have started to look far better. The Vulture (Spiderman Homecoming) and especially Killmonger (Black Panther) were great bad guys. Thanos has had very little screen time, apart from a few minutes now and again, or an end credit scene. But here, Thanos not only possesses the power to destroy pretty much any one of our heroes at will, he also has a clear plan in his head. As crazy as he may be, he believes what he is doing is for the greater good, and not just doing it for the cliche world combination etc. This is very much a Thanos movie, and Josh Brolin does an immense job bring such gravitas to a CGI villain! He also throws a moon as a weapon……..


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The Chemistry

It’s what fans have been waiting for, how awesome it would be to finally see all their favourite heroes from across all the movies finally getting together. The results, are as hilarious as you would expect, from a franchise that delivers fantastic humour. Ironman & Doctor Strange, both sarcastic, and confident of themselves, deliver excellent wit, as they constantly exchange one liners.  Thor meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy, comedy gold! Rocket & Thor have a surprisingly endearing relationship, which you would not have guessed at the start. All out heroes get their moment to shine, but Drax, Mantis & Banner offer the best when it comes to the comic relief.  There are so many memorable lines from various characters, that they will be quoted for a long time!


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The Action

Without spoiling too much, the action delivers. Considering the sheer number of participants, it could have got very shambolic. The stand out scenes include the showdown on Titan, the surprise late night train station entrance to make the save, and the obvious Wakada battle Basically, anytime the now legendary Avengers music kicks in!  As immense as the Wakada war is, it does get a bit too much at times, with the sheer number of disposable alien fodder being used to overwhelm the heroes.


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The Black Order

Or the ‘Children of Thanos’, as they are also called, are the henchmen that support the Mad Titan on his quest. They are supposed to act as some sort of viable opponents to the Avengers, as they work in the shadows to help Thanos gather all the stones.  But unfortunately, we don’t really know much of them, and barely even bother to remember all their names (Proxima Midnight sounds cool, but like, that’s about it).  Ebony Maw, out evil sorcerer is actually one of the more interesting of the clan, as worthy rival to Doctor Strange, but the rest? Thoroughly underused, and utterly forgettable.


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The Plot

Essentially we have 4 story arcs that are woven together overly this huge run time. Credit has to go to the Russo Brothers for together such an epic tale. You have the ‘Space’ team out on the home planet of Thanos, Titan.  The ‘Wakanda’ team, who hold the battle lines down on Earth. Thanos himself has an intriguing storyline as we follow his journey, and finally Thor head out into the depths of Space, for his own agenda.  It is a lot, but that’s to be expected, it’s also a great way to isolate the gigantic cast into smaller teams, rather than throwing all 40+ cast members onto the screen.  Though this also means some characters don’t have as much screen time as you would think, Captain America is no way near as prominent as you would think here. But the story does deliver, and sure packs a lot of emotional hits. As the plots slowly start to merge towards the end, it all pays off, speaking of…..

The Ending

Well……..didn’t see that coming. And I’ll leave it at just that!


Overall, Infinity War is a tribute to the legacy of the MCU, after 10 years and 18 movies. This is a film that fans will adore, the plus 2hr runtime will breeze by, as you are caught up in all the drama. But the film isn’t for everyone, casual fans may still be able to enjoy it, but it will for sure drag on.

 

 

 

 

Thor Ragna-rocks!

The Thor franchise has been a mixed bag, the original movie, back in 2011 wasn’t the most entralling film, rather just a set up to bring Loki into the fold for The Avengers. While The Dark World a few years later was an improvement,  it never really felt like a vital part of the MCU , with an utterly forgettable villain.  Ragnarok, the final part of the trilogy has been by far the most captivating Thor adventure yet, with the trailers building up to a far more essential chapter of the story, with an ever so vibrant cast and aesthetic.

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Ragnarok picks up a few years after Age of Ultron. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is on the search for the infinity stones, to prevent the apocalyptic visions in his dreams, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), after leaving the scene following AoU, has ended up on an alien planet, and Loki (Tom Hiddlestone) now resides as King of Asgard (be it under disguise!). Things are cranked up several notches with the appearance of the omnipotent Hela (Cate Blanchett) , who’s return signifies the arrival of Ragnarok,  the  prophecy that states the destruction of Asgard.

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Thor Ragnarok has received massive critical acclaim, currently standing at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s well deserved.  Taika Waititi has woven a wonderful tale filled with humour, colour, action & drama.  Ragnarok, of all things, is one of the funniest movies of the year so far. Up there with Guardians of the Galaxy in terms of laughs per minute ! Be it Thor’s bickering with Loki or Hulk, Loki’s nervous behavior around Hulk or Hela’s disdain to pretty much everything, the film knocks out jokes throughout it’s entire run time. The supporting cast all have their moments too, but the star of the under-card has to be Korg (played by Waititi himself!), the alien guardian of Thor’s gladiatorial prison, whose non-nonchalant one liners will have the audience in stitches. Jeff Golblum is also absurdly entertaining as the peculiar Grandmaster.

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The humour aside, Ragnarok still possesses a story line that has vast consequences on the rest of the MCU. The threat is very much real, a threat which is perfectly captured by the introduction of Hela.  One of the biggest criticisms of the Marvel movies are it’s lack of villains,  but here, Hela is one of the most foreboding villains introduced so far. Being able to easily handle both Thor & Loki, and making small work of the Asgardian army.  With the gradual turn of Loki towards the side of good, it was vital to replace him with a suitable antagonist. The removal of Jane Foster, who fans never really cared for, being replaced by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson),  was a good move. Matching Thor up with someone who feels more suitable to his personality.

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Visually, Ragnarok is gorgeous to look at.  It’s simply vivid. The promotional artwork has displayed this change of direction, but the film looks so energetic. Saarkar, the planet is which our hero is stranded on, makes up a fair portion of the movie. A planet with is full of buzz and activity.  It’s colour palette is one similar to the zesty displays of Guardians franchise. Compare is to the previous 2 films, and it feels like a totally different franchise!

Though Ragnarok can be criticized for leaning on the side of comedy a bit too much, at times, all the jokes do feel overwhelming. It’s fair to say the character of Thor is seen  pretty much as a skull headed joke to everyone.  Thor seems to be the butt of most of everyone jokes, even random strangers on the street has a dig at him! Thor has always been one of the more light hearted characters, but it does go a bit too far from time to time.

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Ragnarok is certainly one of the most fun films of the year so far,  with the addition of new characters like the impressive Valkyrie & Korg, combined with the stellar cast, constant gags (”What are you, the God of Hammers?”), entertaining cameos, and a mighty villain. This may be one of the best Marvel movies yet.

 

Spidey Spins A Web of Laughs

One of the surprises in Captain America: Civil War last year was the addition of Spiderman in the superhero melee, following the character being lost in the corporate purgatory between Sony and Marvel. Fans were finally treated to seeing the webslinger make his long awaited debut in the MCU, and now, we have his first solo MCU outing, Spiderman: Homecoming.

Spiderman has seen several reincarnations within the last decade or so! So comparisons will be made, will it live up to the charming Sam Raimi trilogy (well first two anyway, the less said about 3!) or will Homecoming be more like the divisive Amazing reboots of the early 2010’s?

As the title suggests, Homecoming is set during high school, and the run up to homecoming dance (spoiler alert!). There is no origin story in this film, which is great, every Spidey fan knows about that, and it would be wasted time. We really don’t need to see Uncle Ben die for a third time! The film picks up pretty much right after his antics in Civil War (with his own personal videos from his travels to Germany!), we follow Peter Parker, as he gets to grasp with his entire new found suit and his social struggles at home & school.

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Homecoming thankfully is another fine notch in the ever-growing MCU repertoire. Homecoming gives the audience a plucky young Peter to root for, supported by a mentoring Tony Stark (and Happy Hogan!), and for the first time in a long while, a villain which feels fleshed out and threatening. This makes a nice change from the villains who are bad because……….they are bad.

Tom Holland is excellent as Peter, as well as Tobey Maguire & Andrew Garfield were, they were both well into their 20s when playing the role. So it always felt a bit awkward seeing them play high schoolers. Holland is 21, so looks far more convincing as a young teen, and has the acting chops to pull it off too. The appearance of Ironman has been well publicized in this film, and Robert Downey Jr. is as always awesome in the scenes that he has. I was a bit worried beforehand that the film may have too much Ironman in it, taking away Spidey’s time to shine, but luckily it’s not overdone. The moments that he does appear, are pretty much already revealed in the trailers, which is a shame.

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The real stars of the supporting cast are Ned (Jacob Batalon), Parker’s best friend, the enthusiastic best man, who is more than happy to just be involved with Spiderman and be ‘the guy in the chair’, and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), the long standing right hand man of Tony Stark (his been there since the very start!) who has to reluctantly be the chaperone of the eager Parker. Both are always a welcoming presence to any scene they are in.

Michael Keaton as The Vulture is superb as a character, you understand his motivations for his actions, and he isn’t simply a maniacal villain. He is conflicted by his actions, but well aware he has to do it for personal reasons. He also has wonderfully intense scene with Peter in the final act, which was great to watch! It also has a nice tie in to the events following Avengers Assemble.

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The film is downright hilarious. Peter’s interactions with Ned & Happy always bring a few laughs. The fact the new Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is attractive is mentioned on numerous occasions throughout the film.  Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), Peter’s rival at school, who was the type cast cocky jock, is now more of a smug rich kid. His smugness while annoying, works well at gaining sympathy for Parker, while also having a chuckle on both their behalves!  Michelle (Zandaya), one of Peter’s reclusive and enigmatic classmates randomly pops up every now and again, to drop a sarcastic one liner, which could have been cheesy, but actually fits in rather well. There’s also an appearance from actor/rapper/funny guy Donald Glover, fans of his work will revel in his cameo! Peter also has some witty exchanges with his suits AI, who he names Karen. One of the jokes the film makes at itself is regarding what happens when there aren’t any high rises for Spidey to swing between? Well, he just has to run on foot!

The movie has it’s fair share of action set pieces. with the highlight being the ferry scene. This does though feel like a very poor imitation of the train scene in Spiderman 2, and just doesn’t feel as momentous. The scenes in the Washington Monument may be a little less chaotic, but feels far more fresh and original.

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What did let the film down for me was the frankly generic final showdown. It becomes somewhat of a CGI mess, involving a chaotic battle outside a plane, then a flaming beach. It feels somewhat numbing and just too much is happening to really take it in properly. It doesn’t help the scenes take place at night! The main love interest Liz (Laura Harrier), is also particularly bland, her only characteristic is being one of the popular girls at school and a plot device. Another bugbear in the run up to this movie was the sheer amount of material released in the trailers and other clips in the run up. I was already aware of several key scenes. A franchise like Spiderman doesn’t need to release so much material to get the anticipation up, just a personal annoyance, but that’s more to do with the marketing and studios, and not the movie itself!

Homecoming spins a web of fun, and if you’re a fan of the hero, or just enjoy an enjoyable superhero film, will love the characters, cast and humour.  Personally, I still believe Spiderman 2 is still the most best movie out of the collection, but Homecoming does a stellar job is reintroducing the character and getting him entwined in the Avengers saga! Though I still can’t forgive Marvel for that horrendous Homecoming poster with near every character thrown onto it! :/

 

 

Guardians Vol. 2, Good, Not Great

Back in 2014, when Guardians of the Galaxy dropped into cinemas, there was little expectation and much skepticism. Compared to established heroes like Ironman, Thor and Captain America,  GOTG was a very niche franchise. With a small fan base, and Chris Pratt, who up until then, was mostly known for his comedic shenanigans in the sit-com Parks & Recs, taking the lead role in a Hollywood blockbuster. The film was a huge risk, were Marvel getting too arrogant? Well they proved the doubters wrong, GOTG proved to be a resounding success, the film brought a new level of humour and fun not seen in previous MCU entries, and it stands 5th in the list of box office takings for all Marvel releases. Can the sequel, titled GOTG :Volume 2 match the magic and charm that the original encapsulated so well?

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Avengers……Assemble!

Volume 2, takes place soon after our heroes first adventure, as we re-join the antics of Peter Quill AKA Starlord (Chris Pratt), the feisty Gamara (Zoe Saldana), the wise cracking Rocket (Bradley Cooper), deadpan Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and the adorable Baby Groot (Vin Diesel)! With their new found fame, the team are offered more high profile missions & with increasing rewards, but after being caught attempting to hustle one of their clients, the team end up on the run, only to be saved by a mysterious man, named Ego (Kurt Russell) who claims to be the long lost father of Quill, and help him fulfill his true potential.

Where the first movie excelled in was the chemistry between the members of our ragtag team, and it’s great to say that the same level of cohesion remains with our squad. If anything, the jokes and quips are even better than the first, and the film definitely has more laughs (Trash Panda!) than the first movie! The bickering between Quill & Rocket is constantly dropping zingers, and the writers have used the traits of Drax in order to write in several well placed jokes!

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I…AM….GROOT!!

The introduction of Baby Groot was a wonderful addiction,  not only is he an adorable member of the group, Baby Groot also has several moments where he is involved in key parts of the story, he’s not only there for selling merchandise!

In my opinion, the most enjoyable aspect of Volume 2 is the development of the bonds between certain characters; there are several relationships that are strengthened over the course of their adventure. You have the central arc of Peter reacquainting himself with his father, Ego. But there are several characters who get a lot more depth to their persona. The aggressive vendetta that Nebula (Karen Gilan)  has with her sister, Gamora is given some more time, and Nebula comes across somewhat sympathetic, with the audience having a reason to see why she is so spiteful.

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Yondu shines bright in Volume 2

Yondu (Micheal Rooker), also returns, but now is a disgraced member of the Ravagers, after he is exiled. He and Rocket share plenty of screen time together,  and create a great camaraderie with each other, in turn, they learn that they may not be so different after all. Yondu has the most development here, and his progression as a character is really padded out,  he is probably the stand out character in the flick!

Unfortunately, the movie, when compared to Volume 1, is not anywhere near as great. The story-line regarding Peter & Ego does seem to go on for a bit too long. It is pretty predictable where it will all end up, as the signs are seen pretty early on. Although the story line does wrap up Peter’s origin. It still feels pretty underwhelming to say the least. The majority of the movie takes place on Ego’s planet, where a bit of space travel would have been more interesting to see.

The secondary villain, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) the snobby leader of the people of Sovereign, a race of beings with a huge superiority complex. First appears to be a real threat. But she disappears for most of the movie, only to show up again near the finale. It’s a shame we didn’t see more of her and her people, as their disdainful nature was good fun to watch!

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2..Drax (Dave Bautista)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

Drax is also left on the sidelines , his sheer strength is never fully utilised. He is probably the best when it comes to the one liners, but regarding the action, he rarely has any scenes, apart from the opening credits. Drax is a mountain of muscle, but he spends most of the movie in conversation with Ego’s assistant, Mantis.

Volume 2 may not be as strong as Volume 1, and it does have a few flaws to contend with. But it’s another solid entry into the ever-expanding MCU. The film does go a lot more into our characters and their pasts, which give the movie an emotional attachment. It’s also just as hilarious as the original, which fans will savior! Oh, and make sure to hang back for FOUR post credit scenes! Their spoiling us now…..

 

Logan Reigns Supreme

 

There are some roles which are so perfect for an actor; they become synonymous with that persona. Think Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, or Christopher Reeve as Superman. But there is no role as closely associated with actor & role than Hugh Jackman and Wolverine. Downey Jr. has been playing Stark for 9 years; Jackman has been reprising his role for 17 years! Reeve appeared as the Man of Steel on 4 occasions, for Jackman, he has 9 appearances under his belt. In what will most likely be his last act as Weapon X, he has saved the best, for last, as Logan hits the screens this month.

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The Wolverine trilogy hasn’t exactly been anything special. Origins was panned by critics and fans alike. The second movie The Wolverine was a far better movie, but the final act pretty much ruined what was a decent film. Logan though, finally gives our hero the movie he deserves, a dark, gritty and violent interpretation. Following on from the success of the Rated R mercenary, Deadpool. Logan also embraces the classification, and it works like a charm! This movie works more in the same vibe as Jessica Jones & Daredevil, than it does with the mainstream MCU movies.

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 Hugh Jackman stars as Logan/Wolverine in LOGAN. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

The X-Men franchise is mighty complicated; the consequence of Days of Future Past resulted in the possibility of split timelines, so it can be hard to keep up with what’s occurring.  In this timeline, Logan (Jackman) has retreated over the Mexican border, caring for an elderly and senile Charles Xavier (Stewert), with the help of one of the last remaining mutants, Caliban (Merchant).  It’s the year 2029, and the numbers of mutants are down to near extinction, and the X-Men are all dead, barring our rugged anti-hero. A deteriorating Xavier now suffers seizures which cause mass chaos; Logan now runs errands to save up enough money to live out their lives in peace, on a luxury yacht, out in the isolation of the ocean. These plans are thrown out the window after the sudden appearance of Laura (Keen), a young mutant possessing a familiar set of abilities.

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The X-Men franchise has always been a bit timid when it comes to the violence on display, especially with a character like Logan. This film pretty much off the bat sets the tone for the movie, it’s violent, it’s bloody, and this is most certainly not a movie for the kids, maybe even some teens! Limbs go flying off; even the odd head gets decapitated. Though the violence isn’t done for the sake of the R rating, this is how Wolverine should be, considering his main weapons are a set of razor sharp claws! The fighting here is brutal, Logan isn’t in his peak, this isn’t the cocky, young Wolverine from X-2, and this is a beaten down, battle weary, alcoholic Logan. His healing factor isn’t working as efficiently as it used to, and his adamantium skeleton in having an adverse effect on his body. This gives Logan a far more vulnerable character, being invincible in his previous movies took away that drama, as you knew he would pretty much survive anything thrown at him. His mental and physical vulnerabilities gives us a far for interesting character to follow.

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The film’s 3 acts are pretty distinctive. The opening and closing act is all out action, swearing and gore. It’s the middle act where the film really develops its own personality. The focus of this film is on family. Logan is down to his last connection, Xavier. Everyone else is dead. Xavier isn’t the polished, well-spoken mastermind of previous films, he is sick and delirious. The father-son interactions between the two are insightful and beautiful. Both actors really impressing with their outstanding acting abilities. Logan also gets to develop a father-daughter bond that he never got to experience, with the introduction of Laura/X-23 into the fold. As the film progresses, their relationship blossoms, and finally gives Logan a true reason to live. That aside, they both make a kickass combination when they team up to attack!

Director James Mangold takes his inspiration from the Old Man Logan comic books, and manages to interpret it well onto the big screen, Mangold was in charge of The Wolverine too, whereas The Wolverine was a warm up, he most certainly goes the whole distance in Logan. Violence is a key element of the Wolverine character, and it’s implemented well here. The final scenes involving a pumped up Wolverine serves as a nice finale to his rage fueled chronicles, and one last time to see Jackson go all out attack!

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Where the film does drop a bit is in the predictability, all the major plot lines are pretty straight forward, and when they do happen, it’s as expected. It also leaves a few things open. Such as where is Magneto is all of this? Surely his too powerful to simply die of like the other X-Men, and with his great friend in such dire straits, it wouldn’t be a surprise to have him involved somehow. But I suppose they wanted to keep the movie all about the central 3, and it doesn’t really hurt the movie much, but it does make you wonder! Also, the main villains (Dr Zander Rice & Pierce), never provide much of a threat; essentially they are just there to give the plot some direction. The middle act can feel a bit dialogue intense, the action slows down to a walking pace, and it does add on a bit of filler on the already extended 2hr 20 running time.

Is it the best superhero movie ever? As some are claiming it to be? Well personally the film is abit to miserable for a superhero movie, personally I would put The Winter Soldier above it, but that’s just my opinion. It’s still a majestic piece of art, and you’ll for sure feel emotional at times, and valiant send off for this literation of Wolverine.

 

 

2016: what we enjoyed!

2016 has been another busy year for movies, in no particular order, here are some of the films that stood out for me this last calendar year! Just a note, these are films that I managed to watch myself, so some films may have been left out! If there is something you think deserves a shout out, do leave a comment 🙂


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10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane was a film that could have worked without the Cloverfield name, as it’s a vastly different film from the 2008 monster movie. What we got a spectacularly intense thriller. The film is essentially set entirely in one location, as we follow Michelle, who happens to be held captive in an underground bunker by stranger. He says that he saved her, and the world outside has been attacked. Is he telling the truth? Or is he just a madman with issues? John Goodman steals the show with his intimidating performance as the captor. It’s a game of cat and mouse, can she trust him, and should she make a run for it? Is it really dangerous outside? A fantastic movie!


 

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Zootropolis / Zootopia

This was released here in the UK, around the same time as the nostalgic The Jungle Book, but the sheer originality of this movie just edges it in front! Following the adventure of a buddy cop duo, Disney once again delivers gold. Zootropolis is a film that both kids and adults can enjoy. Yes, it has all the usual Disney charm, bright colours, fun characters and vivid locations. The film also discusses deeper issues, such as racism & prejudice, something that really did surprise me when I watched it. The lead duo share great chemistry, and the film is filled with jokes (for both children and grownups!). A must watch!


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Moana

Moana is a film that most certainly deserved a lot more attention and marketing that it got. Seemingly forgotten in the late November/early December box office, and eclipsed by Rogue One, it was a curious decision to release it at that time. Personally, Moana is one of Disney’s finest animated films. It breaks away from the traditional princess storyline, instead focussing on saving the world. The ocean theme worked beautifully, the animation for the water is simply magnificent.  The characters are very charismatic, Moana is a determined, driven protagonist, and Dwayne Johnson does a stellar job as the wise cracking demi-god Maui. They play well off one another, and their interactions are great to see. Finally, the music is of course on point, especially the recurring main theme.


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Kubo and the Two Strings

It was a strong year for animated movies, as this list shows! What made Kubo stand out was the animation. The stop motion animation gave it a unique charm that combined well with its story. As one review online mentioned, it is pretty much The Legend of Zelda, if it was made into a film! Following the adventure of a young hero, to obtain the legendary items,  and save the world from evil! The casting was excellent for this, featuring the likes of Ralph Feinnes, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey & George Takei. It should be a strong contender for the Oscar for Best Animated Film; though it would do well to fight off the challenges from the Disney juggernauts.


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Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) race into battle against Iron Man’s group in “Captain America: Civil War.”

Captain America: Civil War

Well this was bound to be on here!! The biggest blockbuster of the year delivered after all the hype. Where Dawn of Justice failed, Civil War succeeded. The MCU has been building up over several years, and it all culminated here. It could have been easy to turn this movie into a complicated mess, considering the number of heroes involved, but they managed to blend them all in with the right quantity. The action scenes were amazing, the humour was typical Marvel, and the storyline was just as intriguing. The marketing for the film was based of choosing a side, but the film actually does very well to display both sides of the fight.  Also, the introduction of Black Panther and Spiderman was a win!


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Lights Out

It’s been a sensational year for horror fans, 2016 has seen several outstanding scares arrive at the big screen. Conjuring 2, Origins of Evil & Don’t Breathe were all great, but if I could only choose one, it would have to be Lights Out. Not only did it have a unique concept (spoilers alert, keep the lights on!) but it was one of the few films that didn’t fall into the trap of the usual horror film cliches! Shall I run back inside alone? Or get some help? We know how it works with most horror films, but they change it up here! Yes the backstory behind the ‘ghost’ was abit of a mess, but that shouldn’t take away from a well-made scare. Whereas Don’t Breathe & Conjuring 2 got slightly ridiculous near its finale, this film manages to stay on course.


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Rogue One

What’s left to be said about Rogue One? It’s our latest review, so feel free to check out our in-depth analysis elsewhere on our site! To keep it straight-forward for this, all I can say is that Rogue One has a high bar to clear after The Force Awakens, and it cleared it with ease! Yes it has its flaws, as does every film, it’s not perfect. It is however, a story that is essential to the Star Wars universe, with a fine ensemble cast, and a movie that is dramatically different to the other films in the franchise. The more mature and dark tone to the film really makes it stand out from the rest, and a cameo from a certain Star Wars legend is a treat for every fan!


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The Shallows

 A film that snuck under the radar during the Summer box office rush, but The Shallows was a highly enjoyable shark film! Films such as the Sharknado series have really taken the shine of Shark films, becoming more of a joke, than a serious threat. The Shallows takes the genre back to its roots, such as Jaws. The film follows a surfer stranded off the coast of a beach, being stalked by a vengeful shark! It’s a battle of wits, yes, the shark is a tad over the top, but it’s not Sharknado levels of ridicule. It’s also a beautiful film to look at; the location is stunning and the surfing shots are majestically executed. It may not have been the biggest movie this year, but one I most certainly enjoyed.


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Arrival

This was an Alien invasion movie like no other. What we got with Arrival was a smart, cerebral drama, as opposed to the typical alien attack films that we get. Director Denis Villeneuve captures the movie is such a way, the invasion almost feels like a mystical experience, rather than an apocalyptic event. The key here is Language, and how powerful it is. It’s about the science, and not the shooting!  It makes a nice change, and an interesting twist on the Alien genre. Amy Adams delivers a powerful performance here, which should see her rewarded with at least an Oscar nomination come the New Year! It’s that good!

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