Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker *Spoiler Review*

Never has a movie split the Star Wars fandom more than episode 9. After the train wreck and utter disrespect for the franchise seen in The Last Jedi, I went into this one expecting the absolute worst.

Blame Disney

Now, before I tell you my view on the movie, I just want to point out that the blame for how this entire trilogy turned out, falls squarely on the shoulders of Disney, Kathleen Kennedy, and that little twerp Rian Johnson.

It is clear from episode 9 that JJ Abrams did have a story planned for these characters, but thanks to the quite frankly bizarre decision to give full creative freedom to three different directors, each with their own unique visions of what the movies should be, it was always going to end up a disjointed mess.

Abrams did well in setting up some tantalising mysteries in Force Awakens, but then along came Johnson and The Last Jedi, and those threads were disrespected and tossed aside leaving nothing for episode 9. I said in my review of that movie that the ending felt more like a conclusion to the series rather than a second part.

Salvaging the trilogy?

I went alone to the cinema to see this movie (after the last one my wife refused to go) and went in with very very low expectations. As soon as the opening crawl began to go up the screen I initially thought WTF but then I remembered that this had to be its own thing, a sort of stand-alone as it was the only direction it could have gone. All those thinking Palpatine returning is stupid should know that this very thing happened in the old expanded universe. Instantly I thought to myself ‘Why did Disney ditch the old Expanded Universe if they were going to steal and copy parts of it?’

Anyway, we jump straight into an action scene which only further highlights that the folks in charge of these movies A- did not really know what they were doing and B- know nothing of the established Star Wars lore. Po and Finn are on the run after picking up a message from a First Order spy and rather than just outrunning or blasting their pursuers embark on Hyperspace skipping which just like the Holdo manoeuvre in the previous film ditches established lore on how FTL works in the Star Wars Universe. He ‘skips’ the Falcon without any planning or navigation several times, including into the atmosphere of planets, the middle of an asteroid field and some alien city, all without causing horrific damage or crashing into anything. (sigh)

Guess who’s Back…

Anyhow, the plot progresses by showing Kylo meeting with Palpatine. Now, it’s not explained at all but I’m guessing from his appearance this is a clone of the Emperor as it looks nothing like the one we saw in Return of the Jedi and more like a weird cross between the Palpatine of the original trilogy and some messed up zombie dude. This is where we encounter one of the many plot problems, in that NOTHING is explained. Did Palpatine always have a clone waiting in reserve in case he died? We do get a resolution to just who and what Snoke was. A clone created by Palpatine. It does not explain why there is more than one Snoke clone, which we clearly see in various forms floating about in vats.

I do not want to go through every scene as this will take forever, but the plot involves our heroes chasing down some do-hickey that points the way to where Palpatine is hiding. Kylo Ren is sent by Palpatine to kill Rey to put an end to the Jedi (why just Rey and not Leia too?). The plot then devolves into a hectic run through several locations, a few scrapes with the First Order and possibly one of the worst scenes in the entire franchise.

They Fly Now?

Why, why, why do our heroes shout this in surprise? During a pursuit, some stormtroopers launched themselves into the air using jetpacks and our heroes act as though they have never seen this before. To me, this scene just proves this movie was written by people who do not know anything about Star Wars. Jet troopers have always been in Star Wars. In the books, games, and animated shows there are loads of them. Hell, even in Return of the Jedi we see Boba Fett using one. As I sat there watching this scene, I rolled my eyes and gritted my teeth. What the f**k have you done Kathleen Kennedy!

Don’t think too hard

It seems to be a thing in Hollywood these days that writers are well, a bit shit. One scene makes absolutely no sense. They retrieve an ancient Sith dagger that then leads them to Endor and the wreckage of the Death Star. Question: How did the ancient Sith know the Death Star would be built? How did the person who made the dagger know exactly how the wreckage would land so that someone could use it to find a room that somehow miraculously survived a cataclysmic explosion and over 30 years in a violent sea? Ugh.

Rey gets inside the wreckage and finds said room where for some reason she is accosted by a vision of her as a Sith. She defeats that and then finds the device needed to find Palpatine.

Then comes a lightsaber duel between Kylo and Rey which is very well shot and dramatic thanks to the waves crashing over them. It is in this scene that for some reason Leia uses the force to I guess distract Kylo and then she promptly dies. (What is it with these movies? You get a bit tired and then just suddenly die). Rey stabs Kylo but then realises that it was wrong to try and kill him. She heals him with the Force (Yes this is a power that has been seen many times in the lore) and flees after learning that she is the granddaughter of Palpatine.

Kylo is redeemed following a chat with his dead dad and he sets off to help Rey kill the Emperor. Meanwhile, Rey for some reason goes back to the planet we last saw in the Last Jedi and we meet the ghost of Luke Skywalker. Now, I liked this scene as JJ went some way to try and redeem the character following his absolute butchering at the hands of Johnson. We learn that Leia was a full Jedi, and that she had even made her own Lightsaber.

I want to see this movie! Not this garbage

We are then treated to a flashback scene (my favourite in the whole movie) that uses CGI to show us a young Luke and Leia sparring together. As I watched it, I could not help but feel that this was the movie I wanted to see. With the technology now available I just wish that they could have adapted Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy using the original characters.

Anyway, back to this movie and well, things happen. Now that I have had time to digest it there is just so many plot holes and stupid choices that I can’t bring myself to go through them all. The space battle is bland, with it’s only saving grace being the brief cameo made by Wedge Antilles and Lando being back in the Millennium Falcon. There is a ridiculously stupid charge on a Star Destroyer by space horse things that makes no sense, and oh yeah, about 60,000 ships arrive to take on the Emperor’s fleet of death star laser wielding destroyers despite in the last movie no one came to help.

And Yet…

Despite all of these very valid criticisms of this movie, I didn’t leave the cinema furious like I did after Last Jedi. I did enjoy it despite the plot holes, the bizarre creative choices and I think I did because this movie ‘felt’ like a Star Wars movie.

If anything after watching this film my hatred for episode 8 has intensified. That movie left JJ with little to work with. I feel as though what we see in Rise of Skywalker is the best and only way to bring this wasted opportunity of a trilogy to a close. It tries to fix the problems created by the second movie and delivers plenty of fan service.

Now that these movies are over, I just hope Disney has learnt its lesson. Give us a Knights of the Old Republic Trilogy and plan it properly. Use the writers who worked on the games if you must. It could be epic.

My overall rating – 5/10

Avengers Endgame Review

So here we are, ten years and over 20 movies later the story began in Iron Man comes to a close in Avengers Endgame. Was it an ending worthy of the build-up? Were character arcs satisfactorily closed? Read on to find out.

Did it live up to expectations?

The amount of hype surrounding this movie was off the chart thanks to 2018s fantastic Infinity War and I’m please to say that the Russo brothers pulled off what could have been an absolute disaster.

The action scenes, the sfx and most importantly the writing was superb. It was laugh out loud funny, it was a tear jerker and some scenes were incredibly tense and uplifting. Some scenes made me want to cheer at how fantastic they were.

This is a spoiler free review so I won’t cover much of the plot itself but what I can say is that the story took me in a direction that I didn’t fully predict. Within the first 20 minutes the plot took a turn that was completely out of left field but it was an excellent twist.

The character development for each of the survivors from the previous movie is excellent and the movie takes its time to ensure that everyone gets a fair shake.

Of course, the two front runners of the film are Tony Stark’s Iron Man and Steve Roger’s Captain America.

We’ve followed these two characters through multiple movies, an epic falling out and now we see just how desperate they’ve become following their failures in Infinity War.

Thor too is treated amazingly well and the way he’s portrayed in this movie will surprise some fans. It makes him and all the characters in fact more human than they’ve ever been before. The God of Thunder is living with loss and what he sees as his personal failure for not preventing Thanos from carrying out his plan.

The movie also raises some profound questions too, such as how would the world respond to 50% of the population suddenly being eradicated from existence. In this film, the answer is really not that well.

The Avengers of course live up to their name and seek to avenge their loss by coming up with an ingenious plan that I won’t ruin here.

The final act is simply incredible and is everything a long time Marvel fan has been waiting years for. It doesn’t disappoint and is simply epic in both scale and action. It puts the audience through the ringer with some excellent fights and some genuinely edge of your seat moments. Characters die, they struggle but most importantly they are done justice.

Overall Score 9/10

Pros-

The action is superb

All the characters stories are handled well

Special effects are excellent and surpass those in infinity war

Cons-

There are some slow moments

The way Hulk is handled, I personally wasn’t a fan

If you’ve not watched all of the previous movies then you’ll probably not understand everything that is going on or get the in jokes.

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Captain Marvel Movie Review

First off, don’t listen to all the ridiculous chatter surrounding this movie. Both extreme sides of the political spectrum have tried to hijack this movie to spout their own ridiculous messages.

Let’s get the political BS out of the way

Instead go into it like you would any other movie. I went into the cinema expecting some feminist ranting nonsense, instead I got a worthwhile addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And to those moaning about the feminist messages that do make an appearance, what the hell are you so insecure about?

The messages in this movie are no different to those found in similar ones and if I had a daughter, I’d be more than happy for her to get the message this movie puts across.

What I took away from it, was that Captain Marvel was no Mary Sue type character (unlike Rey in Star Wars, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish), she suffers and only through sheer will and persistence does she attain the powers she ends the movie with.

Persistence, getting back up when other people put you down or after a failure, standing up to bullies, all are worthwhile messages that both girls and boys should heed.

Is it any good?

So now that stuff is out of the way let’s get into whether it’s a good movie. In the most part I’d say yeah it is. The story is nothing too original and if you’ve seen the Green Lantern you may think that Captain Marvel’s story is strikingly similar. Both fighter pilots that come into contact with an alien and get incredible powers etc, etc… but unlike Green Lantern this movie has Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury coming along for the ride.

The CGI work done on Samuel L Jackson and Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson to make them look like they did back in the 90s is incredible. A part of me wishes they used such technology on the original Star Wars cast to truly carry on Luke’s story but alas it wasn’t to be.

The relationship between Samuel L Jackson and Brie Larrson is probably the highlight of the film and you can tell that the two actors had fun making it. A lot’s been said about Larrson being a stiff dour figure in this movie but what did they expect? Captain Marvel is a military figure, trained by an alien race of super stoic warriors, it’s understandable that she wouldn’t be cracking wise constantly (although she gets plenty of sarcastic lines through and you can tell she’s doing her hardest not to be mischievous). It’ll be interesting to see how her character will change when she makes her appearance in Avengers: End Game.

The action scenes were pretty good and a lot more exciting and better handled than those in Black Panther. The cat that many other reviewers are raving about was ok, it wasn’t all that original but it added some comedic value.  It was an odd decision by Marvel to introduce another new character to the superhero pantheon and to some it may be a bit jarring to go back to an origin type movie after ten years of the MCU.

Overall, Captain Marvel was a good movie. It wasn’t amazing and it wasn’t rubbish. It was good and I feel it was a worthwhile watch and a nice bit of filler for Avengers: End Game.

Score: 7/10

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Review: Outlaw King

So, Netflix’s attempt at an historical epic is now available to watch and on a rainy grim night me and the wife settled in to watch The Outlaw King, the untold story of Robert the Bruce.

First off let’s get the good news out of the way. It’s no Braveheart, a movie that plays fast and loose with real history to the point that it’s insulting. There’s no tartan in sight either which is a surprise but a pleasant welcome as it shows the film makers were more interested in historical accuracy than Mel Gibson ever was.

Chris Pine does a ok job as Robert Bruce but I felt as though a man who did so much against such odds would have had far more of a personality. He does a passable job and even his faux Scots accent is passable. The acting throughout is adequate but there’s the problem. Aside from Robert’s wife, every character is instantly forgettable.

The English as to be expected are portrayed as villains as per usual but again at least there not done in such a pantomime way that Braveheart handled it. Prince Edward’s character however annoyed me a lot. In real life, yes, the guy was a bad king who was eventually murdered by his nobles but in this movie, he comes across as a lunatic who kills for no reason other than ‘I’m the baddy so I kill people’. One scene where he literally disembowels a man was way over the top and I seriously doubt a prince would have got his hands dirty like that.

The trailer for this movie suggested that we’d be getting plenty of Medieval battles and we certainly do. The violence is high to the point where I was expecting to see a chap with a super soaker spraying blood everywhere and boy does the blood spray (to the point where it gets a bit daft).

The final battle is done well save for the movie makers playing fast and lose with history in a big way. Damnit Hollywood why change things when the real-life events where far more fascinating and exciting than any script could hope to be!

The costumes were excellent however and for the most part historically accurate. The combat too was done well save for the usual Hollywood nonsense of fire arrows and chucking swords at people.

Overall the movie was distinctly average, and the pacing was all over the shop in places. It also ended on weird spot that surprised me. If you’re expecting a recreation of the Battle of Bannockburn your going to be hugely let-down.

Outlaw King is a bit of a meh movie. There are some good scenes in it and the cinematography is excellent throughout it’s just that the script is a tad dull and poorly paced.

I give it a 6/10.

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Review: The Haunting of Hill House

Hi everyone, it’s been a while since my last blog post. A combination of being busy at work (always a good thing!), getting man flu (boo) and facing down the dreaded writer’s block being the main reasons.

In this post, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the Netflix series: The Haunting of House Hill. Now my wife is a massive horror fan, me not so much. It’s not that I don’t like them because they’re scary but often because the writing of horror movies is often terrible and very predictable. Often Hollywood takes one of two routes, either they go all out gore or just plain dumb. So many movies begin well and suitably creepy but then decide to reveal the ‘ghost, monster or whatever else it is and the horror just falls away to be replaced by hilarious situations (looking at you Conjuring).

When we decided to give The Haunting of Hill House a watch I wasn’t expecting much at all but I am pleased to report that this series is excellent. The writing is filled with twists and turns, the acting is done brilliantly by the entire cast (both the children and adults alike) and for once in a horror, I didn’t see the ending coming.

Is it scary?

From the very first episode, the series is genuinely creepy and at times really scary. It has plenty of jump scares but it is also very subtle with the horror too. Sometimes you see figures in the background of a scene, faces in a mirror, shadows moving along walls. In some scenes that on the surface seemed entirely normal my wife actually cried out at spotting something lurking in the distance and when you do spot it you will feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

At the heart of the plot is a family drama and an excellent one at that. I won’t spoil anything but be prepared to be at first confused due to all the time jumps but by the end, it all pays off in an excellent way.

The first few episodes follow the experiences of each of the children and the parents of both their time growing up in the haunted house as well as the impacts it has had on them into adulthood. Even the most seemingly stable of the children grow up to have demons of their own and the show portrays this brilliantly.

The story doesn’t descend into gory or supernatural stupidity like most movies or shows but instead, every single one of the ghostly experiences happens for a real reason and reasons that you can relate too and understand.

Perhaps one of the creepiest examples of this is when the eldest son is talking to his dad about the experiences he had in the house. For most of his adult life, he was adamant he hadn’t experienced anything supernatural until his father calls him out on something seemingly minor. The son tells a story of walking through the house that at the time was full of workmen and says he had avoided a man working on the old grandfather clock. Except, there was never anyone hired to work on the clock, his father says. It was a ghost! This scene is done in such a way that I could believe it 100%.

Overall, The Haunting of Hill House is an excellent horror series and one that is genuinely creepy. However, once you get to the final episode and begin to understand what is occurring the sense of fear disappears. As with anything the fear of the unknown is the biggest fear we all have. Once we see the face of that fear it loses its power over us and in the case of this show the same occurs. Despite the final episode, those that come before are full of genuine scares and I’m not ashamed to admit that I too was hiding behind a cushion a few times!

Overall score – 8/10

An excellent series with great acting and is actually scary…well until the final episode.


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Movie Review: Avengers Infinity War

Well, here we are. Ten years after the first Iron Man film teased an expanded universe and 19 movies later we have Infinity War and wow. Marvel knocked it out of the park.

This is a spoiler-free review, so I won’t cover the many, many surprises and at times shocking moments but let me say, be prepared for the unexpected.

Thanos, the mad Titan, is the tits

A lot has been said about Thanos and how he’s been teased as the big bad ever since the first Avengers movie. He does not disappoint and is a prime example of well-written and massively threatening villain. The Marvel movies weakest parts have often been the bad guys, Thanos addresses this and then some.

He is a villain that has a motivation that I think many can relate to and he sincerely believes that what he’s doing is the right thing. He is a masterclass in excellent writing (unlike that garbage in The Last Jedi, yes, I’m still bitter.) Marvel luckily didn’t ruin my love for these movies as Lucasfilm did.

The huge cast of characters are handled excellently, and every single one gets a chance to shine, and no one gets left out except for a valid reason. The action is an incredible spectacle, but my favourite would have to be the second fight. When the heroes arrive, and the music played I had goosebumps and wanted to fist punch the air.

I can’t really get into the individual character story arcs without giving anything away, but I’ll say of the overall plot is that it took me by surprise. There are some seriously harrowing moments, plenty of laughs and some complete shocks. That ending! I can’t believe Disney allowed Marvel to go down that path but massive kudos to them for doing so. It was a brave decision, and it pays off both satisfyingly and leaves you wanting more!

Now, this is not a perfect movie. I had some issues with some of the CGI. In some places, it looked a tad ropey and was used a bit too often in certain scenes. Another gripe I had was the huge battle in Wakanda. It was a great spectacle don’t get me wrong, but it just felt a little bit of a sideshow to other events. A minor gripe on my part and one I doubt many will share.

There are also one or two points that may annoy a few people. To avoid spoilers, I can’t say what they are, but one of them involves Star-Lord and a certain actor from Game of Thrones, who whilst being amusing didn’t quite fit in.

Overall, Infinity War was well worth the wait and the build-up. It also further shows DC how to build a shared universe properly and makes Justice League look amateur hour in comparison.

 

Score: 9/10

Pros:

Fantastic story that will shock and surprise you

Amazing action scenes

That ending!

Thanos

Cons:

Some ropey CGI in places

A few niggles with one or two scenes

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Movie Review: Ready Player One

So just a bit of background. This was the first movie I’ve been to see on my own for a good few years as the wife didn’t fancy it (a bit too geeky for her), but I have to say she missed a treat.

Ok, so this is a movie that relies heavily on your knowledge of popular culture from the past 50 years. There are so many references to so many things it’ll take several viewings to spot them all, but oh boy the ones I spotted were fantastic and amazingly uplifting.

The Plot

In the future, the real world pretty much sucks. Overcrowding and out of control corporations have resulted in vast slum cities. To escape this dreary life most people now choose to spend most of their time within a vast virtual world called The Oasis. It’s a place where people can do pretty much anything they want as their avatars interact with and compete with people from all over the planet. However, The Oasis is under threat as when its creator, a reclusive super geek dies he sparks a race to recover an Easter Egg that will bestow whoever finds it full ownership of The Oasis. To find the egg, dedicated gamers embark on a series of challenges to recover three keys to unlock its location. At the same time, a villainous corporation also seeks the keys and soon it becomes a race against time to be the first to retrieve the egg.

As a lifelong gamer, this movie really resonated with me. From references to games from decades past to the latest releases it just gets gamer culture. Now to some, this is likely to be very confusing as I know for a fact some people would not ‘get’ it at all. Which is why the movie also packs in tonnes of classic movie nods. If you’re a fan of the Shining, for example, be prepared to never watch it in the same way again!

The action scenes are incredibly well done, and the race at the start reminded me of the most chaotic races I’ve had playing GTA5 or Mario Kart online. Also, the big battle near the end had me laughing out loud at some of the whacky avatars chosen by some of the characters. You just know that in real life people would do the same thing, I mean have you played VR Chat? Bonkers. Watching Spartans from the Halo series do battle alongside superheroes, and the Iron Giant was a fantastic experience that left me grinning from one geeky ear to another.

The acting is great, and I didn’t feel like I was removed from the scenes when they were entirely virtual. The avatar of the main character was a bit cheesy but then again how many of us have ever made one in a game that we’re truly happy with? The scene where he customises it to impress a girl is heart-warming and amusing.

Summary

If you want a popcorn flick and are a massive geek, you cannot go wrong with Ready Player One. I left the movie feeling uplifted and wanting to go back for more. It doesn’t stick that closely to the amazing novel its based on but forget that just enjoy it for the spectacle it is. I’d recommend viewing it on the big screen as I’m a bit concerned TVs won’t do those set pieces justice.

There are one or two scenes that are a bit cheesy, but that’s to be expected from a Spielberg movie, and they certainly didn’t ruin it for me. Overall, I give Ready Player One an 8 out of 10. (For non-gamers and non-movie nerds I’d have to give it a 6 as I reckon a lot of the references and spectacle will be lost on them.)

8/10

 

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The Force is not with The Last Jedi *Spoiler Review*

I’m sat here torn. I’ve just watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi and my heart feels heavy. I am a huge fan of these movies. They’ve been an important part of my life for so many years, but now, here I sit, and I’m thinking; ‘The Star Wars I love is dead’.

I also know I’m not the only one feeling this way. Other Star Wars fans have begun to express their displeasure with the Last Jedi and once again it feels like those critics that have raved about it A) went and saw a completely different movie or B) were not Star Wars fans to begin with.

Look at the current Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics are on 93% in favour whereas fans are at just 57%. Were the critics all high or were they all receiving a payment from Disney or something? This disparity between critics and the general public seems to be a growing issue lately.

So, let’s get into it. Why was The Last Jedi such a massive disappointment?

This is not the story we’re looking for

The movie starts off promising enough with a pretty spectacular space battle that sees the Resistance fleeing a vengeful First Order. As usual, the dogfighting scenes are great, but my first niggle with the movie appears at this point.

Po Dameron’s X-Wing single handily destroys a First Order Dreadnought’s guns enabling some slow bombers to attack it. A) why hasn’t the First Order developed effective anti-fighter weapons yet?? Did they learn nothing from losing two Death Stars and Starkiller base? B) why are the bombers designed to manually drop bombs like a WW2 bomber?

We’re then taken back to Ach-to the planet at the end of the Force Awakens (read my review of that movie here), where Rey meets Luke Skywalker. If you’re hoping for a meaningful scene where he takes his father’s lightsabre (btw there is still no explanation as to how the lightsabre was found after Luke’s and Darth Vader’s duel on Bespin), you’re gonna be disappointed. He takes it and then promptly chucks it over his shoulder and walks off. This is one of the most obvious points in the movie where it plays for a cheap laugh that just doesn’t work. Throughout the film, there are cheap and unfunny gags throughout. Whereas The Force Awakens had some heart, the Last Jedi just doesn’t, and the attempts at humour feel forced.

Slow motion chase

So, let’s get back to Po, Leia and the others. Their story arc is quite simply terrible. Leia’s ship gets hit by a missile promptly killing everyone on the bridge (including Admiral Ackbar who deserved a far better ending than this) and sending Leia out into deep space. Now, due to real life circumstances (RIP Carrie), this would have been the perfect time to say goodbye to Leia as a character and would add something to Kylo Ren’s story arc. We even see him hesitate to fire on his mother’s ship, so when it gets hit anyway that could have added some real pain to his character. Instead, Leia uses the Force (did she receive training? Why is this never mentioned?) and somehow manages to fly through space like Mary Poppins (no, really, she actually looks like Mary Poppins) and saves herself.

Following this, Leia and Po’s storyline literally turns into a slow-motion space chase for the entire movie while doing absolutely NOTHING to advance the story overall. Finn meets some random chick called Rose and randomly hatches a plan to save the fleet by boarding a First Order destroyer and disabling its tracking abilities. They take a shuttle and jump away. (If it was that easy for them to get away then why didn’t the rest of the Resistance personnel just jump into transports and all jump away to different locations? The First Order wouldn’t have been able to catch them all!)

As for Rose and Finn’s storyline, it is a complete waste of time. Their little side mission is dull, and as I was watching it, all I wanted was to get back to Luke and Rey. Finn and Rose literally serve no purpose in this film. Their plot was all over the place, and their trip to the dull casino planet was a complete waste of time. I don’t think what they did there had any impact on the plot at all save for them doing more harm than good.

So, let’s get back to Rey and Luke. Well, Mr Skywalker has turned into a whiny moody recluse who has turned his back on the galaxy and the Force. His reasons for doing so are quite frankly lame and belittle the character. Eventually, Rey wears him down, and he basically tells her she’s wasting her time and is afraid of how powerful she is. The backstory that was teased in The Force Awakens about the destruction of Luke’s Jedi temple is completely ignored. We learn nothing more about the Knights of Ren; we don’t why Ben was such an angry douche or how Snoke had influenced him.

Who the hell is Snoke? No answers here

As for Snoke, well, to me this is by far one of the worst parts of the movie. Rey goes to confront Kylo and is then promptly captured by Snoke. Plot twist! Kylo kills Snoke. Right, but who the hell was Snoke? We learn nothing about his character at all, and then he’s killed off way too easily. Now, at this point the movie’s plot could have been saved if Rey took Kylo’s offer and joined him (or the other way around), instead the sagas main villain is now whiny Ben Solo who isn’t really all that evil, he’s just a bit of a dick. We also learn at this point that Rey’s parents were nobody special at all. I mean I’m ok with this except for the way this plot point was hyped up so much in episode 7. It’s like the director decided to remove all the mystery that movie had established.

I could go on and on with the number of bad story choices in this movie, but this review would end up being an epic essay. I’ll just bullet point the other issues:

  • There is no real lightsabre duel.
  • It takes a dump on much of the lore established over the past 30 years or so.
  • Yoda appears and looks terrible.
  • Luke Skywalker dies for no reason save that he overexerted himself (I’m guessing)
  • They kill Luke Skywalker FFS!
  • The new AT-ATs, the cool looking things in the trailer literally do sod all.
  • The overall plot just feels like they were making it up as they went along
  • It doesn’t feel like the second movie in a trilogy more like the conclusion
  • No one suspecting Kylo of Snoke’s murder. What the hell?
  • The first order destroying the republic so easily.
  • The slowest chase movie ever. Why couldn’t the First Order send another ship far ahead of them to cut them off?
  • Why can Rey do things with the force even Master Yoda struggled with, with zero real training and no effort?
  • Why are those giant horse cats important? Why should we care about them?
  • Benicio getting 3 mins screen time, so his betrayal means nothing.
  • Phasma dying with zero development either. Her escape from Starkiller base in episode 7 is not explained at all!
  • Roses ‘we fight for what we love’ bullshit.
  • How did Rey get onto the Millenium Falcon in the final act?
  • By the film’s end, the First Order Fleet is destroyed, and there is only a handful of ‘Rebels’ left alive. Episode 9 is going to have the smallest battles in cinema history!
  • The last act is a betrayal of the entire saga.

A Betrayal of the Saga?

For all the hate JJ Abrams got from some fans, he managed to brilliantly create an endless amount of questions and theories about the characters he introduced. You could have literally gone 1000 different directions, and somehow Rian Johnson picked some of the most uninteresting and outright stupid resolutions and revelations. Rey is nobody. Snoke was cool and super powerful, but he died just like that so who cares about his backstory? Knights of Ren? Nope, doesn’t matter. Really no payoff for any character. The only backstory we got was how Ren turned against Luke. That’s all Johnson cared to think about. Luke dies for nothing. Suddenly Jedi can project their image thousands of light years away, and even have lightsaber fights with their projection. Why didn’t Yoda do that every time he wanted to help his men escape? You create these new OP force powers, and naturally, you’ll have people wondering hey, why didn’t they do this then, it would have solved everything.

Like why not drive a ship at lightspeed through the Death Star if you can just destroy Snoke’s Supremacy like that? The movie did have some good moments (space battles, some moments with Rey and Kylo, good acting by Mark Hamill), but overall a big waste.

I would have honestly been happier with JJ Abrams directing all 3, at least we’d get one clear direction. It’s like Johnson wanted to tell a full story in this one movie because you could easily leave it here and pick it up 10 years from now with a new trilogy. There certainly isn’t much left to explore; everyone’s dead, there is no big bad guy, just a Rey vs Kylo deal to look forward to. Frustrating and disappointing.

Apparently, Rian Johnson the director of The Last Jedi has been given the green light to do a whole new standalone Star Wars Trilogy. If this is the best, he can do then god help the franchise. It has well and truly fallen to the Dark Side. I think I’ll stick to the old Expanded Universe and regard these movies as non-canon from now on.

The Last Jedi is a well-shot movie with some good action scenes, but it shits all over the franchise that does no service to any of the characters. It had so much potential but threw it all away. A massive disappointment and what’s the point of episode 9 now?

Overall score: 5/10

Book Review: The Black Prism

After attempting numerous times to get through book 3 in the Mistborn series and failing miserably in the process I was on the lookout for another fantasy series to read, one that would get me hooked just like Mistborn book 1 did.

I opted for Brent Weeks’ Black Prism book 1 in the Light Bringer series and I am pleased to say that I absolutely loved it.

This is how you do magic

The magic system that Weeks has created is incredibly detailed and in my opinion, made a lot more sense than the one found in the Mistborn series (loved that one too by the way). In this series, magic is called Drafting and its powers come from the colour of light. Red drafters, for example, can use fire magic, whilst green is for wild magic. The abilities that the drafters have are fantastic fun. At one point one of the main characters crafts an entire structure out of light. A drafter when they use their power creates a residue known as Luxin which depending on the colour can be used to create all sorts of things including weapons and armour. Drafters are often limited to only being able to draft a few colours, however, one drafter is able to draft them all and that person is the Prism.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but it follows the misadventures of a young boy called Kip, the illegitimate son of the worlds most powerful magic user and emperor the Prism Gavin Guile.

Weeks builds his world masterfully and introduces the lore and past events in a very organic manner. There are no info dumps here, instead, the reader learns about the world through the eyes of Kip and Gavin. One is a complete novice whilst the other is the master of the world. The contrast gives us a complete and detailed overview of the world and the history of it.

Kip is a really likeable character. A fat kid who’s been bullied a fair bit and had to put up with an abusive mother but despite that his spirit hasn’t been broken. He knows whats right and wrong and is willing to fight. In short, he’s no pushover and the banter he has with some of the other characters had me laughing out loud.  Gavin too is a great character and Week’s backstory of him (with a surprising twist) is a lovable rogue albeit one with incredible powers.

Overall I loved this book and didn’t want it to end. However, I’m a bit cautious. I loved Branden Sanderson’s Mistborn book 1 but then I got onto book 2 and it became a serious grind for me. (I’ve still not managed to finish book 3 in that trilogy) I’m hoping that the second in the Light Bringer series won’t do something similar. I’ve heard good things about the whole series so book 2 will be winging its way to me soon.

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Review: The Defenders

The Marvel Tv event that we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived but is it any good?

Superhero Team-up Woo!

Following on from the rather disappointing Iron Fist show this series finally brings together Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and of course The Immortal IronFIst. The show gets off to a solid start by reintroducing our heroes and letting us know what they’ve been up to since their last respective series ended. Luke Cage is just getting out of prison, Jessica Jones is still on a break following the events with KillGrave, Matt Murdock has packed in being Daredevil and Iron Fist is still on his mission to hunt down the mysterious Hand.

Luke Cage is just getting out of prison, Jessica Jones is still on a break following the events with KillGrave, Matt Murdock has packed in being Daredevil and Iron Fist is still on his mission to hunt down the mysterious Hand. This reintroduction makes the Defenders easy enough for newcomers to pick up the basics of what has taken place and the events leading up to the show.

Disappointingly the series is only 8 episodes long (which is how I’m already able to write this review) but thankfully what is in those episodes is worth it… for the most part. As with all of the Marvel Netflix shows there are some scenes that do drag on a bit and don’t appear that relevant to the plot and it’s not until episode 3 that all of our heroes meet up for the first time.

That Fight Scene

The best episode for me was by far episode 3. The fight scene with all the heroes working together against the Hand is excellent and reminiscent of the incredible corridor fight from Daredevil season 1. The interactions between the 4 heroes are excellent with great banter between them all (although I was a little bit confused as to how Luke Cage and Jessica Jones were so dismissive of Iron Fists story about the Hand. Afterall this takes place in the MCU where aliens have invaded and killer robots have imperilled the world.)

It’s Good, Not Great

There are a few negatives to the show. In some episodes, the fight scenes take place in very dark locations so it can be difficult to make out what’s going on and I felt that the Hand were pretty lacklustre villains after all the buildup in Daredevil and Iron Fist. Sigourney Weaver, however, is excellent as the head of the Hand and is intimidating and vulnerable at the same time.

The plot did drag in some places and I won’t spoil it for you but I felt like the show would have ended on a stronger note if it wasn’t for that very last scene. Overall, I did enjoy the Defenders and am excited to see where the Netflix Marvel shows go next. The Punisher is coming in November and season 2 of a few of the other characters are in the pipeline and I wonder whether the Defenders will make some sort of cameo in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie out next year.

I give the Defenders an 7/10

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