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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End of Year Review: 2018

2018 is coming to an end and I have to say its been a bit of an odd one. It’s been far, far better than 2017 for me personally but the wider world seems to have become weirder and stranger than ever before.

So, in January of 2018 I started a new job and I’ve loved every minute of it! I am a content manager at a cyber security company and have been able to produce a lot of fun content ranging from infographics, articles and videos. Even better is that the company won two big awards over the course of the year, something incredible for a business that only took their product to market in February of this year!

Me and the wife also moved away from Bristol to the city of Worcester in order for me to be closer to work and I have to say it’s a big improvement on where we used to live. The city itself is beautiful and full of history (You can read more here) and our new home is a lot more spacious and generally nice to live in than our old one which was essentially a one bedroom shed.

Book wise I hit my target of releasing one book a year. In June I published The First Fear via Amazon KDP and whilst sales have not been that great the book itself has been getting some excellent feedback and reviews. I also entered it into this years SPFBO competition and it achieved my goal of it achieving at least a 3-star review from the judge. (Skip to the 14 minute mark for my review). I’ll be doing a blog on my thoughts of the SPFBO soon.

Aside from publishing The First Fear I also revealed the new cover art for Book 4 in the Sundered Crown Saga. Titled: Voyage for the Sundered Crown the book will see Luxon following in the footsteps of the legendary hero Zahnia the Great and his attempts to unite the peoples of Esperia and free Delfinnia from the forces of Danon. The book is probably the most ambitious one I’ve ever attempted so please bear with me as it will take time. I’ve penned it in for a late 2019 release but don’t be too surprised if it gets pushed back to 2020.

As well as Voyage I announced the sequel to The First Fear. Titled: The Temple of Arrival the book picks up where The First Fear ended and delves more into the world of the Supreme Imperium and the Empowered Ones. Once again, the fantastic Rezar has done the cover work and the book is around 50% complete. I’m aiming for a summer 2019 release for it.

For all of you audiobook fans out there, the audiobook version of The First Fear is nearing completion and will be released late January 2019. More news as I get it!

2018 has been a busy, hectic year for me but now that I’m settled in my new job and home, I hope 2019 will be a stable one and one where I get to do a lot more writing and be more creative. Of course, with the wider world becoming increasingly mental in terms of politics and culture this might be easier said than done.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and keep on reading!

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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

Blade Runner 2049 Review

Blade Runner 2049 is the long-awaited sequel to the 1982 sci-fi noir Blade Runner a film that was based on Philip K. Dicks short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is the film a masterpiece as many critics are claiming?

The quick answer to that question is no. However, please don’t think that the movie is a bad one, far from it. It, like its predecessor, is a deeply thought-provoking movie and asks many questions of what it means to be human. And like its predecessor, it’s also a noir, beautiful to look at but at times some scenes can drag.

We are first introduced to K, a Blade Runner played by Ryan Gosling who plays the part well. If you don’t know what a Blade Runner is this trailer to the first film explains all –

Now back to 2049. 30 years have passed since the events of the first movie and a lot has changed in the world. New types of obedient Replicants have been manufactured by the creepy Wallace (Jared Leto),  the environment has collapsed, a cataclysmic event known as the BlackOut occurred at some point as well as some sort of nuclear attack that has resulted in ash falls over LA and a seemingly radioactive Las Vegas. In other words, the planet is pretty messed up, which has caused humanity to colonise other planets. It’s these colonies where the Replicants are used as slave labour a fact that Jared Leto’s character has no problem with.  In fact he wants to be able to create millions more replicants so that we can colonise the whole galaxy.

The technology on display is fantastic and believable too. From self-flying cars to holographic companions this is a world that you can imagine being a reality. The film is absolutely beautiful to look at with a surprising amount of bright colours, from the neon holographic adverts to the vast LA cityscapes the movie is a visual treat.

K (Gosling) is also a Blade Runner who whilst hunting a Replicant stumbled upon something that could change the balance of power between humanity and Replicant. I won’t give away the plot as its definitely a movie to go into with open eyes and little knowledge. The trailers did a great job of keeping most of the major plot points a secret.

If you go into this movie expecting a fast-paced action sci-fi you will most likely be disappointed. There are action scenes in it that are really well done when they do occur but the time you have to wait in between can be very long. Some scenes are long and drawn out, but all serve a purpose to advancing the plot and with this film being close to 3 hours in length many are sure to get a numb bum or need a toilet break before the credits roll. (Why don’t cinemas do intermissions anymore?)

Harrison Ford returns as Deckard, the Blade Runner from the first movie. (And no, we don’t get a definitive answer to that question). He appears around the 2-hour mark and Fords performance is pretty solid. I just wish he could have been in it a tad more.

Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is well worth a watch if you want a movie that will make you think. It’s got plenty of twists, head scratchers and is a treat for your eyes and ears (the soundtrack is a true tribute to the originals). Be prepared for a long movie, but its one that kept my attention all the way through.

Score: 8/10

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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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.

The epic Sundered Crown Saga is available on kindle and paperback now!
Heir to the Sundered Crown (Book 1) – http://a.co/cRiRqBL
War for the Sundered Crown (Book 2) – http://a.co/39JC6qc
Paperback editions –
Heir to the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1XDSxlg
War for the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1RiVFDs

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