JUSTICE LEAGUE – REVIEW

Review

Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons
Director: Zack Snyder
Running Time: 120mins
Cert: 12A
Rating: 6/10

It’s finally here! The Justice League is upon us and before we get into this, straight off the bat…its good. It’s not Winter Soldier (is anything?) good and nowhere near Dark Knight good but its good!
Its better than Man of Steel and most definitely better than Batman vs Superman (although that isn’t hard to do) and establishes itself as the new-ish direction of the DCEU.

While the dialogue is lacking, the story a little weak and the SFX still on the questionable side; JL makes up for in cool fight scenes, much needed humour and a pace that is much more desirable than its predecessors.

Justice League picks up where Batman vs Superman left off, with Bruce Wayne intent on putting together a team of gifted individuals to face an imminent threat; triggered by the death of Superman. Fueled by his renewed faith in humanity, Bruce sets out into various styles of recruitment to get a team together.

First up is Arthur Curry aka Aquaman – they like to put ‘The’ in front of Batman and Aquaman but I’m completely against this – the reluctant and isolated lone wolf living in the farthest reaches of Iceland. Here, he helps locals with their fish intake since fishing boats haven’t been able to get through in some time. After some light banter and mockery, Arthur establishes that he has no connection to this or any other problem and won’t be taking part in the festivities. When the threat is inevitably brought to his immediate attention – get ready ladies, this underwater scene with wife-to-be Mera is all kinds of PHWOAR – he decides to join the team.
In my heavily biased Jason Momoa loving opinion, there are not nearly enough Aquaman scenes. Considering his strength and speed and impressive skills with a quindent, you’d think he’d be used a bit more. Saying that, i appreciated the fact that there wasn’t an abundance of unnecessary water just so it would give him something to do. If they were suddenly fighting out at sea, id be looking for the bullshit.

Next up is Flash aka Barry Allen. Now, for the comic book aficionados no origin story is needed but in my case, I was a bit confused about Flash, where he came from and what he’s about. While I enjoyed his character immensely and he provided a sense of humour and humanity where the other heroes are somewhat lacking; I personally would’ve like to know the backstory with the father. Feel free to let me know whats up with that in the comments!
Flash is by no means the breakout star of the show but he definitely provides the Marvel-esque frivolity and lightheartedness that is seemingly making the MCU a success.

Now, Cyborg aka Victor Stone is a leaguer I know virtually nothing about outside of Teen Titans! Same issue with the origin story above would’ve liked more understanding but generally, he’s a viable member of the team. His intelligence and tech-savvy are all pivotal to the success of the mission and his broodiness is up there with Batman levels in his hay day.

Wonder Woman is doing it for the girls once again! Diana Prince is truly a force to be reckoned with both physically and mentally. She provides the heart of the team for sure but her growth from a naive, trigger-happy apprentice to a seasoned warrior and leader was great to see. I thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of the Amazons again but would’ve liked them to be as badass as they were in Wonder Woman.

The newly beefed-up Ben Affleck makes his third outing as Batman/Bruce Wayne and I for one am loving it. While I am not a huge Affleck fan, I can appreciate the maturity that he has brought to the role. His mortality is made apparent throughout as well as his change in ideals, fuelled by the selfless act of Superman. Why he believes that he isn’t any better than Superman just because Superman made himself a celebrity/God while saving people is beyond me. Where his beef with Superman in BvS was completely unjustified; so it seems is his adulation of him now. The constant reiteration that they need Superman in order to win is ridiculous. Yes, I know he’s the strongest and the fastest etc etc but in this film arc, he’s also a bit of a dickhead. His self-righteousness really rubs me up the wrong way and relying on him to save the day, undermines the efforts of everyone involved who in my opinion did a whole lot more.

Outside of the characters, as mentioned above the pace of the film is much appreciated as I didn’t find myself thinking why I had been watching this for so long. On the flipside of that, however, is that it’s not very coherent; what with the constant jumps from the team to random meant-to-be-emotional-but-i-don’t-actually-care-about-her shots of Lois Lane.
Additionally, what the hell was going on with Superman’s face? Why so heavy on the CGI as though Mr Cavill’s jaw isn’t chiselled enough as it is! The dialogue was very basic with all the really entertaining lines reserved for Flash. The villain and by extension the story wasn’t very strong and I didn’t find him imposing enough. Considering how long they harped on about how dangerous he was; he was defeated fairly easily and admittedly I don’t think the JL did enough to keep the Mother Boxes away from him. And that’s another thing: wtf is a Mother Box?! It’s just not as catchy as Infinity Stone is it?

Despite the above though, I did not hate it.
I loved the costumes, I loved the fight scenes; I loved Bruce Wayne in all his Silver Fox splendour as well as the building relationships between the heroes (the first end credits scene being a testament to this).

Make sure to stay behind for the last end credit scene.

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ALIEN: COVENANT – REVIEW

Starring: Michael Fassbender
Director: Ridley Scott
Running Time: 122mins
Cert: 15

Some of you may remember my review of Prometheus; the much anticipated prequel to the Alien franchise and the disaster i thought that was.

Alien: Covenant is no exception.

While this film actually wraps up any loose ends as to how the Xenomorphs were created and why; it was still let down by the acting and the lack of real action. The ultimate revelation at the end of the film is definitely insightful and a little shocking; but this was let down by everything else that went on before.

In short, Ridley Scott basically re made Alien with more unknown characters and a monster that because this being prequel of course; a monster we had already seen. The shock factor of the Xenomorph was lost in many ways because we’re not particularly scared of it anymore. Sure, its still shocking and gory but the ‘fear of the unknown’ of the original films is lost because now you’re just anticipating when the facehugger is going to come out of the egg or when the extra mouth is going to pop out of the black adult alien.

Sadly, it was all very cliche and it didnt even have characters that you could sympathise with or relate to in this outing. For people who are meant to be scientists and prepared for medical emergencies or ship malfunctions etc. once something bad happened; they all seemed to fall apart very quickly. Within an hour; half the crew were dead and you either didnt really care or thought it was their own fault.

The one saving grace of the film is of course, Michael Fassbender. The one star in the film; of course not counting Guy Pierce in the opening credits and James Franco in a throwback of a home movie. His portrayal of the androids David and Walter are amazing. His movements, his speech; his lust for art and culture while in David form is fantastic and more so very believable.

I anticipated his scenes as they created a sense of foreboding that had you on the edge of your seat. Not physically of course but more so in anticipating what he was going to and when; where everyone else was pretty predictable.

The film gets points for nostalgia purposes but generally, its really…plain. Theres nothing to gloriously praise or even criticise. Its just kind of…there.

Alien: Covenant is out May 12th.

 

THE EXPENDABLES 3 – REVIEW

Review

 

 

 

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Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Mel Gibson
Director: Patrick Hughes
Running Time: 127mins
Cert: 12A

Sorry beautiful people that a review has been a long time coming, but I am back with a vengeance to rip a new a-hole into the third instalment of Sylvester Stallone’s geriatric action flick that is The Expendables 3.

Before I get into this, I need to point out that this series of films are not meant to be taken particularly seriously and i understand this but there are some things that are just plain stupid! Why I felt that their budget has gone down this year was no surprise because there were some stunts and back drops that were just plain cheap and boring! It seems that Stallone and his fellow film makers took delight in the fact that we wanted some mindless blow ’em up action and gave it to us but at a minimum!

Without giving too much away the exclusion of some characters in favour of others is just plain silly considering that there was no reason in the world or the film reality that this needed to happen. It serves as a pretty pathetic catalyst to the impending drama when someone who was less expandable would have promoted a bigger reaction, someone like Christmas (Jason Statham) for example.

There are scenes that are way to lengthy, cheesy dialogue that isn’t acceptable even for this level of action film and a flimsy plot held together only by what I thought was the magnetism of the villain.

Saying that, the saving grace of this film in my opinion is Mel Gibson as the bad guy. Maybe it’s his not so glamorous depiction in the press or just the fact that we never see him as a villain, that made him the guy you love to hate. He does bad, so good! Those piercing blue eyes and sharp deadly one lines actually made him come across more imposing than Stallone and some of the other physically bigger guys.

In addition to Mel, new recruits to the Expendables team are of course Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas. Teaming up with Stallone from their epic outings in Demolition Man (1993) and Assassins (1995) respectively, only Banderas brings any real flavour to the mix. Snipes spends the entire time trying to outdo Christmas and come between the bromance that he and Barney got going on, all while putting on a ridiculous accent that made me think 12 Years A… never mind.

Lastly, the addition of the newbies was basically pointless. They didn’t add any dynamic to the film or any other bad-assery (its a word), that we didnt already get from the original Expendables team. Sure Kellan Lutz provided some serious eye candy but when does he ever do anything else but look good in the background? Then we have the newest girl on the block Ronda Rousey who aside from being in the upcoming Fast 7 which makes me want to break her face…(breathe Charli…breathe) is completely irrelevant as well. Even more so than the broad in Expendables 2!

Sorry to say but other than Mel Gibson and Antonio Banderas, Expendables 3 leaves a lot to be desired in the way of action and fun and considering its a film that doesn’t warrant much high expectations anyway, is a very bad thing.

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE – REVIEW

Review

 

 

Last night was fight night as I finally got around to seeing the 300 “sequel” Rise of an Empire starring Sullivan Stapleton of HBO tv fame Strike Back.

Stapleton stars as Themistocles, an Athenian politician and general who rises up against the invading Persians, much like in the first film but this time on water. To be honest, that is the only difference…and that the Athenians have fancy blue capes rather than the striking red of Sparta.

What first stands out is that this film isn’t a sequel or a prequel as such but rather runs alongside the events of the previous film, demonstrating what was going on while Leonidas and his brave 300 were off fighting in the shade and making walls out of human flesh. Because of this, we get some lovely shots of our fallen hero king that for me was a bit nostalgic lol.

Now, the film itself, though quite long for its genre, is without a doubt action packed from the word go! Themistocles doesn’t hold back on moves and skill and although there is a lot of blood, it isnt exactly gory but artistic and of course looks like the graphic novel it is taken from. There are many a Spartan kick to behold although executed by Athenians lol but admittedly not as much eye candy in this one as its predecessor. Our home grown Jack O’ Connell (who is set to light up the big screen in the coming Starred Up) makes a surprise appearance as young Athenian Calisto, hungry for war and glory.

In addition to the bulging biceps and pulsating pectorals, we have a new addition to the gladiatorial family in the shape of Eva Green as the corrupt and evil though brilliant warrior, Artemisia; the puppeteer of Xerxes. Hers is a welcome addition to the naval battle and Themistocles’ pursuit of her on horseback across a fleet of colliding ships is truly something great to watch, unbelievable but great! The fact that everyone’s favourite Queen aka Lena Headey aka Queen Gorgo aka Queen Cersei Lannister finally joins the fighting as the amazing Spartan woman we all knew she was, is awesome!

The end battle sequence is awesome not only for the level of skill and prowess that is demonstrated but also the CGI technique that is used that makes the whole thing look like a video game!

To wrap up, 300: Rise of an Empire is wickedly entertaining although unnecessary in the sense that it doesnt really explain anything more than what we already know about the 300/Greece and their seemingly never ending battle against the Persians. The new cast do well together although the same level of comradery isnt as evident and the soldiers not as memorable in the previous film but it stills manages to work.

All in a all, a good night out for the inner warrior in all of us! AAOOH!!