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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Dunkirk: Movie Review

Movie Review: Dunkirk

In these times of post-Brexit Britain, it feels like we as a people have lost our way a little bit. People who are flag waving patriots are often mocked in both the media and even by politicians, and the word nationalist has been hijacked by people who make out that to be one is a terrible thing.

As the UK looks to the wider world outside of the EU bubble and finds a new place in that world, it needs to rediscover what it means to be British, and this movie could not have come at a better time.

The movie is a masterpiece just let me get that out there right away. I have never seen a film that can make you care so much for the characters onscreen with such little back story. We don’t even the know the names of most of the characters on screen, but even that does not detract from the connection you quickly form with them. Even the amount of speech in the film is limited, but what there is it is hard hitting and impactful.

As a viewer, you are thrown straight into the action and thrown into the heart of the battle of Dunkirk itself. 400,000 men stranded on the beaches and the clock is constantly ticking towards either their capture or destruction. In a lot of ways, this movie is more of a thriller than a war film ala Saving Private Ryan. It’s all about the tension and the feeling of dread and hopelessness of being trapped in a place where the enemy is rapidly approaching. There are no bloody battle scenes. Instead, the fear is there that you know that at any moment the Nazis could appear on the horizon.

Hans Zimmers soundtrack is a masterpiece, raising the tension to nail chewingly high levels at times. It runs throughout the entire movie and sets the pace for the scenes on screen perfectly. The sound overall is incredible. The sound of German dive-bombers is truly terrifying, and the sounds of gunfire and explosions put you in the thick of this hellish scenario. It truly makes you feel as though you are one of those men trapped on that beach. Come Oscar season Hans had better get one!

The cinematography too is amazing especially the dog fighting scenes featuring Tom Hardy as a Spitfire ace. Stunning sky shots mix with long shots and first person viewpoints to make you feel as though you’re sat in the fighter cockpit with him. The tension of these scenes literally put me on the edge of my seat, and my wife held my hand in iron like grip throughout.

The acting in the movie is top-notch too with the likes of Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and the excellent Mark Rylance doing amazing jobs in their respective roles. There’s been much talk about Harry Styles, and I have to say the part he played was done really well, he definitely wasn’t out of place.

Emotional

When the small civilian ships arrive, I have to admit I had a tear in my eye and felt an immense pride in those brave people who risked so much to save their soldiers from annihilation. This film will give people a new appreciation of what occurred on what could have been Britain’s darkest day. The fact that those brave people turned a disaster into what would become a victory is simply incredible and makes you proud to be British. For such a masterpiece it’s surely time for Christopher Nolan to be recognised as one of the worlds greatest directors.

Final score – 10/10

A masterpiece of cinema as simple as that and the timing of its release should make British people confident in themselves and the future of their nation. When we work together, we can achieve the impossible.

 

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Alien Covenant Review

Alien Covenant Review

In Space, Everyone can hear you groan

Alien Covenant is a movie filled with moments that left me shaking my head, wondering at the sheer stupidity of the characters. Just like Prometheus in fact. As a cliched horror movie it works fine, but as part of a sci-fi saga, it left me feeling cold and if truth be told a little bit annoyed.

The movie gets off to a good start as we get to see the first moments of David (The android played by the excellent Michael Fassbender). From the get-go, we can tell that something isn’t quite right about the Android when he questions Weyland, his creator. The scene is really well done and thought-provoking. Would an A.I be disappointed at meeting its mortal maker?

The next scene takes us to the colony ship Covenant where we are introduced to another android called Walter (also played by Fassbender). The 15-man crew is in stasis until a solar flare strikes the ship and causes all sorts of problems.  The Covenant you see is carrying over 2000 colonists (all in stasis) as well as several embryos which will be used to create the next generation of people once they reach their destination.

The solar flare kills several colonists as well as the Covenant’s captain putting Christopher (Billy Crudup) in command. We immediately can tell that he’s not up to the job as he mentions that he is deeply religious and for some reason that was the reason why he was only made the second in command. Anyway, while repairing the damage to the ship they pick up a message from a planet (that they somehow missed while searching for a world to colonise. Seriously this film has quite a few instances where you have to question the tech being used….).

So after a scene that further highlights that Christopher is a bit of a tool he decides that they should abandon their original target world (which they’ve spent years training for) and instead head to the new world where the scary message comes from and colonise that instead. Bear in mind that they know nothing about this mysterious new world.

They arrive at said planet and almost immediately the Prometheus problem arises where all the characters who are supposed to be highly trained individuals begin to do the dumbest shit imaginable. It’s also at this point that Covenant becomes a typical horror movie complete with people wandering off alone.

My main issue with the arrival on the planet is the fact that they happily wander about an alien world without wearing any form of protective gear. An unknown alien world could be full of alien viruses and diseases, and I reckon in reality if/when we do venture to other worlds explorers would wear full protective gear.  Predictably two crew members quickly fall sick from breathing in some black spore-like stuff (we later learn is the same black goo from Prometheus).

From this moment on we enter typical Alien territory complete with disgusting Alien birth scenes (the back bursting scene is gross) and are introduced to the new Neomorphs. These albino monsters are similar to the more famous xenomorphs and equally as deadly.

After being attacked by said Neomorphs, the survivors are rescued by David (who arrived on the planet after the events in Prometheus.) I won’t give away any spoilers, but this part of the movie is probably the most interesting part. We learn what happened to the Engineers (the race first introduced in Prometheus) and learn that David has seriously lost the plot. After a few more stupid deaths as a result of really dumb actions by the crew we are finally introduced to the xenomorph, and it’s a big disappointment. Something about it just looks off, and the aura of fear and mystique is ruined by the relative ease in which the characters dispatch it. The survivors escape back into space and the Covenant. Next, the film follows the typical Alien formula by having the survivors thinking that they’re safe only to have yet another Xenomorph appears onboard resulting in the heroine Daniels (Katherine Waterston) and Tennessee (Danny McBride) hunting it down.

Overall I enjoyed aspects of this movie. The David storyline, in particular, is good and very disturbing as is the ending but I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that the plot kind of ruins the Alien mythos. The stupidity of the crew also ruined the movie for me (a common flaw with many horror movies) and the plot devolves into a bit of a mess later on.

My final score for this movie is 6/10.

*

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Star Wars: Rogue One Review (Spoiler Free)

Like many diehard Star Wars fans I was a bit nervous when Disney announced that they would be making stand alone movies that were separate from the main saga, but after seeing Rogue One all of those concerns were blown away. It…was…awesome!

Featuring the best battles of the entire saga and a plot that answers a few of the biggest questions raised in the original trilogy, Rogue One is what every fan wanted. Sure there are no lightsaber duels (except for an amazing scene with a certain dark lord of the Sith at the end of the movie) and the music isn’t Williams iconic score, but it still manages to feel like Star Wars.

With some fantastic cameos from characters that appeared in the original trilogy and a really good cgi version of Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin (and a not so great version of another iconic character) the movie is both an homage to a New Hope and a worthy setup to it.

The cast of new characters was done well and whilst none of them were as memorable as say Han, Chewie or Luke they were likeable enough. Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso could have done with a bit more development I thought and I’d like have to seen or learnt a bit more about the back-story of the other Rogue One members. Donnie Yen did a fantastic job playing the (not jedi) warrior monk and Diego Luna was pretty good as the Rebel intelligence officer who’s had to perform some dark deeds in the name of the Rebellion.

It was those scenes that depicted the Rebellion as an organisation that had committed morally questionable acts that gave the film some grounding and removed the issue that the rebels are purely good, Empire purely evil that Star Wars has always suffered from a bit. A Rebellion in real life is often a shady thing, a thing that often requires dirty work to be carried out in order to succeed. The saying that one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist is addressed surprisingly well.

The battle scenes were some of the best in the whole saga and we get to see plenty of ground battles and space battles involving dozens of capital ships and fighters. Episode 8 now has a lot to live up to in that area as Force Awakens lacked in this area. Also, look out for some familiar faces in the X-Wing and Y-Wing cockpits, and we finally see how Luke just jumped into the Red 5 seat in a New Hope.

My main niggle with the movie was the pretty weak musical score. You don’t realise just how much you miss the iconic music of Williams until it’s not there! A movie about the Empire at the height of its power should have had iconic music to go with it. Also, there is a scene near the end between Jyn and Luna’s characters that felt out of place and appears out of nowhere. Forrest Whitaker’s character and scenes were also probably the weakest parts of the movie for me.

All-in-all  Rogue One was a really good movie and if you’re a Star Wars fan definitely go out and see it. Now the long wait begins for Episode 8!

Overall score – 8/10

 

Book Review: Mistborn 1: The Final Empire

I’m a bit late to the party with this but after finishing book one in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Series I felt like I had to write a review.

A Must Read For Fantasy Fans

The Final Empire is the first book in the Mistborn trilogy and introduces us to a world that has been long conquered by a seemingly invincible god-like being called the Lord Ruler. This premise is instantly fascinating as it answers the age old fantasy question of what a world would like if the heroes failed to succeed at beating the big bad. The people in this world are oppressed and live in fear of the Lord Ruler. The most oppressed being a race of people called Skaa, a people that have been persecuted for so long that all the fight’s been knocked out of them.

The opening of the book introduces Kelsier a man determined to put an end to the Lord Ruler and free the Skaa from their servitude. As well as being a highly likeable and charismatic character, Kelsier is also a Mistborn, a person with the ability to burn metals within their bodies and gain supernatural abilities as a result. From the get go I was hooked by Sanderson’s writing which is a bit odd as I really struggled to get into the first part of his Stormlight Archives series. The writing in Mistborn flows a lot better and the premise is absolutely gripping.

The characterisation of Kelsier and Vin (our heroine) is great and does a good job of showing how Kelsier develops his master plan and becomes something of a legend to the Skaa people. When we are first introduced to Vin, she is a street urchin abandoned by her brother and struggling to survive.  As the plot develops Vin turns from a meek frightened girl into a confident woman and it is through her eyes that we learn more about Mistborn and the incredibly in-depth magic system called Alomancy created by Sanderson.

Without giving too much away the plot rockets along at a quick pace and the intricate way in which the plot to overthrow the Lord Ruler is written is remarkable. The amount of planning and world building Sanderson must have done to develop this series must have numbered in the hundreds of hours.

Basically, Allomancy is the ability to burn metal through liquid ingestion and create certain responses such as added strength or enhanced senses.

The Lord Ruler

When the Lord Ruler is finally introduced he certainly lives up to the hype. All through the novel, there are hints as to his identity and his abilities but when he does appear, let’s just this is how villains should be done. He is terrifyingly powerful and the way Sanderson writes it is obvious how this being has managed to enslave an entire world.

Overall, as you can probably tell I highly recommend you give this series a try! I’ve ordered the rest of the series, cannot wait.

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Suicide Squad Movie Review

Hi everyone, here’s my review of the latest DC movie – Suicide Squad.

Now before me and the wife went to see this at the cinema I had read a lot of reviews in the media about this movie and just like they did with Batman vs Superman many of those reviews made out that Suicide Squad is a total mess of a movie blah, blah, blah.

Well, I’m glad to say that we ignored those reviews and took a chance on the movie regardless. (My wife is a big fan of Jared Leto and of the character of Harley Quin) so we thought sod it lets go see it anyway.

Really quite good

Before I get into the movie proper I’d just like to ask, ‘what were these critics watching?’ From their descriptions, Suicide Squad was a bit of a turd of a movie but in reality, it was actually pretty good. For a comic book movie, the action is good, the main characters are well developed and praise the lord! DC has actually put humour into one of their comic book movies!

  Batman and the Joker

revealed-ben-affleck-s-batman-is-the-biggest-plot-twist-since-darth-vader-as-anakin-skywa-657615

There’s been a lot of talk about the appearance of the Joker and Batman in this movie. Batman is only in it for a few minutes but when he is he serves his purpose and cleverly to me anyway showed that he isn’t necessarily a good guy. Sure he fights bad guys, but does he take responsibility for what happens to these villains afterwards? The answer to that is not really. Those he takes down end up in the clutches of Amanda Waller a woman so ruthless that you will quickly take the side of the captured bad guys. I loved how the famous villains were in fact not the real bad in this movie, the government is. Willing to use any means necessary to protect their status quo, even if that means killing innocent people or letting an entire city be trashed to keep a secret etc…

The Joker was done well and Jared Leto played the part convincingly, he nailed the laugh and was genuinely a strong presence onscreen. Again his screen time is a bit limited, but he was in it more than the critics made out.

jared-leto-joker-suicide-squad-trailer-2015-billboard-650

Harley Quinn

Margot Robbie nails Harley’s character. She’s genuinely funny and downright loony. The character itself is well developed and the backstory of her twisted relationship with Joker is compelling. (Wish it was a bit longer, to be honest!)

Deadshot

After Harley, is Will Smith’s Deadshot. I think Smith did a great job of portraying the assassin who never misses and his comedy timing is spot on. His backstory too is deeper than I had expected it would be as it shows the hypocrisy of those who take orders from a government. The government stooge as it were, Rick Flag constantly berates Deadshot for being a gun to hire but as the movie progresses you quickly realise that Flag is in denial as the country he serves is willing to do some pretty awful things to cover its ass.

Overall I really enjoyed Suicide Squad. The way the team of misfits comes together is good and I have to give a mention to Captain Boomerang who somehow always manages to find a can of lager from somewhere.

The main criticism I will give it is in regards to the villain. I won’t spoil anything but I found it to be a bit weak and the old blow up the portal in the sky story thread has been done to death now surely!

Suicide Squad is a big improvement for DC and bodes well for the next phase of its cinematic universe. Please keep the humour! Suicide Squad is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously at all and it benefits from that. It’s refreshing following the sombre and too dark tones of the last Superman movie.

Rating – A solid 7/10.

 

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Captain America: Civil War Review

Something a bit different this bank holiday weekend. Yesterday me and the fiancé went to see Captain America: Civil War and wow all I can say is; DC this is how you make a superhero movie. 

Ok that might be a bit harsh, Marvel have had a lot more time to build up their cinematic universe, but it also should be a sign to DC that instead of making a movie like Batman vs Superman they should have taken their time to establish their own.

Captain America: Civil War picks up after the events of Age of Ultron and Winter Soldier and ties the two story arcs together. It kicks off with the Avengers on the trail of the remnants of Hydra, after a opening fight scene that makes Falcon look cool as hell and shows off the new Avengers team work. The mission results in civilian casualties, causing the United Nations to announce the introduction of the Sokovia accords, a  piece legislation that would effectively put the worlds governments in charge of the Avengers. The team would only be deployed if agreed upon by politicians (and we all know how trustworthy they can be). The accords are the basis for the conflict to come as Tony Stark, guilt-ridden after Age of Ultron sides with the government. Steve Rogers on the other hand, opposes the idea as he says that politicians have ulterior motives and could use the power of the Avengers to further their own agendas or make them do things that they do not agree with. The team is split and the battle lines are drawn.

I won’t spoil it for anyone but there is another plot thread running through the movie that adds to the reasons for the conflict and adds an emotional conflict that makes the story make sense.

Winter Soldier and the Black Panther

The Winter Soldier returns. At the end of the last Captain America movie Bucky regains his memories and saves Rogers before going on the run. A terrorist incident at the signing of the accords sees Bucky framed for the attack and we are introduced to the kick-ass Black Panther. His scenes are incredible and I cannot wait to watch his own standalone movie. The action scenes in this movie are some of the best ever seen in Marvel movies as each of the superheroes displays their abilities in imaginative ways. Naturally, Rogers tries to help his old friend Bucky putting him outside of the law. Stark is tasked to bring him in. With the Avengers split both Cap and Iron Man recruit new super heroes to their causes. Cap brings in Paul Rudds Ant-Man (who has a big role later on) whilst Stark brings in the brand new Spiderman played by Tom Holland.

Spiderman is great

I have to talk a bit about Spiderman here. This new version is already my favourite to ever be seen on film. He’s just like in the comics, a nerdy dirt poor kid who has these amazing abilities and smart mouth. As the two sides clash in a battle scene that makes anything in Batman vs Superman look amateurish, Spidey displays his abilities. The fight that is in all the trailers is in short as awesome as you can imagine.

Despite the large rostor of characters every single one has the chance to shine and each of their motivations for their actions is done so well that you fully understand why they have chosen the side they have.

The movie has a long running time, but I didn’t notice. Every minute was paced perfectly to add to the plot and characters. In short, this is now my favourite of all the Marvel movies (sorry Guardians of the Galaxy).

Overall Score: 9/10

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Batman vs Superman Review

I don’t tend to do reviews unless it’s for a movie that I’ve been really looking forward to. In the case of Batman vs Superman, however, this wasn’t the case. I was no fan of Man of Steel, but after seeing all of the hate being thrown at this new movie I had to see if it really was as bad as the critics were saying.

All I can say is that this movie is by no means great, but it’s also nowhere near as terrible as it’s being made out to be. In fact, I have to say that I actually enjoyed the movie. Critics have been slamming the storyline, (it doesn’t  deserve any awards that’s for sure), but it was pretty easy to follow. One of the main complaints was that this movie doesn’t make sense, I have to disagree (except for one scene that I won’t spoil) the plot was pretty easy to follow. My main complaint of the story is that some aspects weren’t very well explained in the rush to set up the next action scenes and the Lois Lane character was definitely underused (needing to be rescued 3 times…really?)  Not quite sure why the critics have been so negative about it, I thought it was a pretty solid movie that did well to set up things to come. I think now that this movie is out of the way and the foundation is set the DC universe could do well.

The action scenes and special effects were pretty great albeit a bit short and rushed. The titular smackdown between Batman and Superman lasts about ten minutes if that! Naturally our heroes set aside their differences to take on Lex Luthor.  The critics have crucified Jesse Eisenberg for his take on the character, but again I have to disagree with that. I thought that Lex was a pretty solid villain, a rich kid with severe parenting issues and a strange obsession with man killing god. The way he sets the two heroes against each other worked well and despite looking a bit too young he managed to get across a sense of maniacal menace.

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Ben Afflecks Batman was a brutal take on the character, a man who has been fighting crime for 20 years and who has suffered a lot. I liked this take on the Bat and the movie hinted at some pretty interesting plotlines for possible future movies. Wonder Woman, however, in my opinion, steals the show near the end. She’s a mysterious character who it is revealed has lived for a really really long time.

Overall I’m not quite sure why the critics have been so negative about it, I thought it was a pretty solid movie that did well to set up things to come. I think if they use a bit more humour and maybe a brighter colour palette in the next movies (missed opportunities such as taking the mick out of Batman in the end fight,or Lois being a bit worried about Wonder Women) they can pull this off and make them just as enjoyable as the Marvel ones.

My score – 7/10