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CAPTAIN MARVEL | Film Review

Well, here we are. Marvel Cinematic Universe movie number 21. The last film before Endgame and the penultimate film of Phase Three, and the first MCU film to follow a solo female superhero. But how does it do?

RELEASED: March 8th 2019
DIRECTED BY: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
WRITTEN BY: Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Geneva Robertson-Dworeet, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Pinar Toprak
STARRING:
Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg & Annette Benning

Up top, I just want to say that this film starts with a great little tribute to Stan Lee. Fun and very touching.

Set in the 1990s,Captain Marvel follows Vers, a soldier and member of the Kree – a race of noble warrior heroes. As part of ‘Starforce’, Vers is tasked with combating the shape-shifting Skrull terrorists to keep their homeworld of Hala safe. However, after a mission to stop the Skrulls goes awry, Vers finds herself stranded on the planet Earth, where along with S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury, she must save the planet from an alien incursion.

For the first act of the movie, Captain Marvel boasts your standard mid-level science-fiction fare. Notorious Star Trek-looking baddies and slick, capable heroes bark words that will sound like nonsense to non-comic book fans, amidst gleaming metal cities and bleak ruins on deserted planets alike. While the cast is strong, it plays out like something you’ve seen a million times before. Furthermore, that’s blended with your classic Marvel humour that can be quite hit and miss and makes you wonder if this movie is going to lean more The Dark World than it is Infinity War.

Fortunately, the action then transitions to Earth, and ‘Captain Marvel’ (although I’m not sure she’s ever actually called that in the movie) gets to really prove herself. In Brie Larson, the hero finds a capable actress to fill out the role of our feisty new heroine. She revels in her immense power*, making a change from a lot of the male heroes who are weighed down by their past failures and responsibilities.

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Posted by on March 6, 2019 in Marvel Studios

 

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER | DVD Review

Avengers Assemble may have been the movie that changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but now we’re moving on to the film that really shook things up; Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

RELEASED: April 4th 2014
DIRECTED BY: The Russo Brothers
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
STARRING: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell & Robert Redford

As I said up top, Avengers Assemble changed the Marvel Universe and the landscape of cinema forever. However, it was Captain America: The Winter Soldier that really shook things up. First up, it took one of what was considered to be the less interesting Avengers, Captain America, and made him awesome. Second, it changed the dynamics of the way the fictional world saw and interacted with their heroes. Third, and most importantly, it really dove into its own unique genre, laying the groundwork for later films to go off and explore different branches of superhero storytelling. Sure, Iron Man was a techno-thriller, The Incredible Hulk a monster movie and Thor a cosmic fantasy, but at the end of the day, they were all still superhero films to some extent. Conversely, The Winter Soldier is a full-on action thriller that just so happens to feature a costumed hero as one of the central players.

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Posted by on February 26, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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AVENGERS ASSEMBLE | DVD Review

We’ve reached the end of ‘Phase One’ in our Marvel Movie marathon, with the film that changed the game forever in terms of superhero movies, and finally saw, as the title will tell you, the Avengers Assemble.

RELEASED: 4th May 2012
DIRECTED BY: Joss Whedon
WRITTEN BY: Zak Penn & Joss Whedon
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Alan Silvestri
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg & Samuel L. Jackson

While we all look back on Avengers Assemble (or just The Avengers if you’re outside of Britain) fondly, the truth is, the film does have some flaws. It’s got a bit of awkward pacing at times, especially during the central act, and sometimes certain characters, dialogue or props seem to be there just to force the plot along, rather than naturally fitting in to the story.

However, much of that can be forgiven due to the extraordinary feat the film pulled off in, well, assembling the Avengers.

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Posted by on February 5, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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IRON MAN 2 | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 7th 2010
DIRECTED BY: Jon Favreau
WRITTEN BY: Justin Theroux
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: John Debney
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke & Samuel L. Jackson

In the same way that Captain America: The First Avenger is somewhat similar to Wonder WomanIron Man 2 also shares similarities to a DC film. Unfortunately, this time it’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

After Tony Stark reveals his costumed identity to the world at the end of Iron Man, his fame and popularity has increased exponentially, as he effectively ends war in the middle east and continues to prove he’s a different type of superhero than anything you’ve ever seen by taking his showboating to new extremes. However, his very presence invites challenge, as rival engineer Ivan Vanko sets out to destroy the Stark legacy for a long-forgotten family feud, and fellow weapons designer Justin Hammer vies for Stark’s weapons contracts and fame. Meanwhile, Rhodey and the government make a move on Stark’s cache of ‘weapons’, while Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. try to mould Stark into something that more resembles Avengers material, as Stark comes to terms with the fact that his arc reactor is killing him.

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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STAR WARS: EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 19th 2005
DIRECTED BY: George Lucas
WRITTEN BY: George Lucas
PRODUCED BY: Rick McCallum
MUSIC BY: John Williams
STARRING: Ewan McGreggor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Peter Mayhew, Temeura Morrison, Matthew Wood & Jimmy Smits

The final entry in the Star Wars saga under the purview of George Lucas, Revenge of the Sith was presented with the unenviable task of rounding out and redeeming a less than stellar trilogy.

The film follows Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the waning days of the Clone Wars, as they are called back to Coruscant after the kidnapping of Chancellor Palpetine by the new droid commander General Greivous. Reunited with their allies and loved ones, Skywalker and Kenobi must make efforts to end the war as decisively as they can, as the dark side of the force grows increasingly stronger.

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Revenge of the Sith is definitely better than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, but it’s not without it’s problems. For one, it’s an incredibly bloated film, as it feels as if on top of rounding everything out from the previous two films, it also is once again setting the majority of it up, as the last two films did such a poor job and this film is trying to make amends in every way it can.

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Star Wars

 

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STAR WARS: EPISODE II – ATTACK OF THE CLONES | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 16th 2002
DIRECTED BY: George Lucas
WRITTEN BY: George Lucas & Jonathan Hales
PRODUCED BY: Rick McCallum
MUSIC BY: John Williams
STARRING: Ewan McGreggor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Temuera Morrison & Christopher Lee

After The Phantom Menace reignited the Star Wars franchise in 1999, Attack of the Clones continued the story of young Anakin Skywalker three years later, with Star Wars mastermind George Lucas still taking writing and directing duties, this time accompanied by Jonathan Hales, who co-wrote the screenplay.

The second chapter in the prequel trilogy sees Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, now a Jedi Padawan, reunite with Padme, who has finished her time as Queen of Naboo, and become a senator in the Galactic Republic. When her life is once more put in danger, the Jedi duo split up; with Anakin acting as Padme’s bodyguard and Obi-Wan tracking nefarious bounty hunter Jango Fett, which leads him to a discovery that could bring the entire Republic into a devastating war.

Clones.jpg

With The Phantom Menace being as mediocre as it was, you would think the prequel trilogy could only get better, but in terms of writing, you’d have thought wrong. Somehow, the scripting in this film is even worse than that of the previous entry, with shockingly awful dialogue, and characterisation that paints Obi-Wan as condescending, Padmé as someone with hybristophilia and Anakin as a total psychopath.

I killed them. I killed them all. They’re dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children, too. They’re like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals. I HATE THEM.
– Anakin Skywalker, hero and Jedi Knight

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Posted by on November 20, 2017 in Star Wars

 

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STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 19th 1999
DIRECTED BY: George Lucas
WRITTEN BY: George Lucas
PRODUCED BY: Rick McCallum
MUSIC BY: John Williams
STARRING: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGreggor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ahmed Best, Ian McDiarmid, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Pernilla August, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Oliver Ford Davies, Hugh Quarshie, Terrence Stamp, Silas Carson, Keira Knightley, Ray Park & Peter Serafinowicz

After a sixteen year absence, Star Wars finally returned to the cinemas with The Phantom Menace, the first film directed by George Lucas in 22 years. And unfortunately, that shows. However, before we discuss the problems with this film (and there are several), we should first look at some of the great aspects that Lucas did bring back with him from his hiatus.

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The film follows Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, as they are assigned by the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic to resolve a trade dispute between the Trade Federation and Queen Amidala of the Naboo. In this adventure, they meet the clumsy Gungan Jar Jar Binks, the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO and Anakin Skywalker, a boy whom Qui-Gon believes to be ‘the chosen one’.

Just looking at that synopsis, you can see that one thing The Phantom Menace does right is build up Star Wars lore exponentially. Whereas in Episodes IV-VI, we got a vague idea of how the Galaxy worked, for the most part, the focus was just on Luke, Han and Leia’s adventures. Here, we get to see everything: the Galactic Senate, the Jedi Council, the Outer Rim areas where Republic influence doesn’t reach. We get to see leisure activities like pod-racing, and inter-species relationships between the people of the Naboo and the Gungans. Flora and fauna is also shown in abundance. And (for a nineties film, anyway) it’s all pretty beautiful.

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Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Star Wars

 

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