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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WONDER WOMAN – REVIEW

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen
Director: Patty Jenkins
Running Time: 141mins
Rating: 12A

With the questionable failures of DC films recently and what I thought was a lack in general promotional material and marketing; Wonder Woman seemed to be set up to fail at the box office.
While writing this; official numbers haven’t of course come in yet, but whether or not it will make a significant impact isn’t necessarily a sure thing after watching it.

While Wonder Woman is by no means terrible, it isn’t great and leaves a lot to be desired in ways of script, pace and action. What action we do receive is few and far between and while Gal Gadot looks amazing in her fight sequences, I felt a lot more could have been done with them.

The film opens in Themyscira; Princess Diana’s home and we discover a paradise of beautiful and incredibly skilled Amazons led by Queen Hyppolita. It’s during these scenes that we get the most thrilling fight scene as we see what the Amazons are capable of both on and off horseback, one can do something amazing with a bow and arrow! However; once we leave Themyscria and head into the world of man; all the fun pretty much gets left behind.

The rest of the film moves slowly, too slowly and should never have been that long; especially when nothing is really going on. Despite having seen her outfit already; the uniform reveal was a bit weak and could have been a bit punchier – as it was in Batman v Superman – and provided more of an impact.

Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Diana Prince, while very honest and in some ways relatable, got a bit annoying at parts. Not her acting but the naivety and impulsiveness started to get on my nerves. I understood that she was a secluded princess and didn’t really understand the implications of real war; but when this was explained to her; she refused to listen and came away looking a bit stupid which fed into the helpless female stereotype which I didn’t really like.

The villain is another story altogether as it felt rather weak. The film took a kind of fantastical turn by the end that wasn’t particularly impressive or believable. In addition, the rest of the supporting cast were rather pointless and didn’t really add anything to the film.

While I enjoyed the Amazons and Themyscira and Diana fighting; sadly, this wasn’t enough to make the entire film a great piece of work. Where BvS overdid the action; with this there wasn’t enough. Wonder Woman is a fabulous character and through the years of comics and the television show; studios just need to know what to do with her.

FANTASTIC FOUR – REVIEW

Review

F42015Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Kate Mara, Toby Kebbell
Director: Josh Trank
Running Time: 100mins
Cert: 12A

Fantastic Four is by no means bad, but where it needed to be great, disappointingly, it fell really short. With so much criticism  coming from all angles about rebooting the franchise in the first place, this installment needed to blow some caps off which it failed to do.

The film is in no way terrible but as someone on Twitter perfectly described: “Its not bad. Its not good. Its hugely meh”

Disappointingly, Fantastic Four falls flat in a lot of areas that could have made it a contender in the battle for film creds. Here we are with fresh, young, talented faces who werent used to their full potential.

So, what doesnt work?
The story was lacking.
By the end of the film – that by the way, was way too long – we still hadnt achieved anything. While we were set up with the genius child and his rough and tumble play mate turned surly teenager back story, everything up to the point of the gang gaining their powers lost any sense of urgency or importance because of the irrelevance of what came after. Johnny and Sue’s relationship isnt entirely clear. Its obvious she is his adopted sister but whether or not they like each other was a bit confusing. Reed and Ben’s relationship works well but the set up of Victor as the villain was rather pointless with unnecessary shots of his intense eyes that seemingly show his anger and reason for wanting to take over the world Pinky and the Brain style.

There is an obvious lack of action.
There’s not enough fighting and shocking effects and the ones that are – when they get to some other dimension, look really cheap. While Johnny Storm (Jordan) provides the most cool effects, his flying doesn’t look as awesome as the original and i dont think he is really used to his full extent; in both acting and ability. The way he turns his flame on and off is awesome though! While Sue Storm (Mara) showcases the variety of her powers, loses any awe factor because she’s so boring. She never smiles, her wig constantly keeps changing and where Jessica Alba had sex appeal to have Victor and Reed going at it over her, in this instance, it really makes no sense. This may be a girly thing to comment on her looks but it really lets the side down. Although she had some Violet Parr telekenisis bubble going on, she could have done a lot more in the way of fighting.

Moving from the negative, where the film does work however, is Ben. The Thing looks so much grittier and realistic in this version and Jamie Bell’s emotional performance of having to deal with such a physical change is actually quite good. Their transitions were my favourite part of the movie as it highlighted how the physical change could and should be quite painful. It made it more believable to register their fear at the changes that were happening to them rather than the blind acceptance that was featured in the original.

To round up, Fantastic Four wont blow your socks of but its not an entirely tiresome watch. I had really high hopes for it that were let down but i hope they take note and apply more to the sequel in 2017. The cast were good but the film let them down. Fox should let go of the reigns on this one and give to more worthy films makers to bring it to the glory it could have.

Fant4stic is out Thursday 6th August across the UK

TOP TEN – Superhero Movies

TopTen

In light of all the Marvel hype recently, I started thinking about all the superhero films that I have enjoyed over the years. That resulted in a Top Ten of my favourite superhero films! Soooo, in no particular order we have……

1. Batman Forever

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Jim Carrey as The Riddler has me in absolute stitches every time I watch this film. It is by far nowhere near as serious as some other Batman films but it is funny and a guilty pleasure!

2. X Men Origins: Wolverine

x_men_origins_wolverine16

The first of many films that would feature our beloved Logan as the centre of attention, Origins was an awesome film that let us know about Wolverine’s beginnings and that he is in fact a nice guy. Victim of circumstances that one! Much better than the metal Samurai robot fiasco!

3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Once I saw Andrew Garfield take the helm as Spidey, I wondered who Tobey Maguire even was! He did such a great job in the first outing but is was this sequel with Jamie Foxx as the villain that solidified him in my book! Awesome awesome film!

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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We’ve discussed this before: the first film was kinda boring but the sequel more than made up for it. Steve Rogers got real bad ass in this film but still remained a sweetie. Awww!

5. Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer

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Other than the change of Jessica Alba’s wig, this second instalment for the Fantastic Four was pretty good. The graphics and danger of the Silver Surfer were awesome and had me glued to the screen.

6. The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises 13Bane. That’s it.

7. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

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I don’t care what you say, when they turned into the Ninjeti with those rainbow ninja kits on, I WAS  a Power Ranger and you couldn’t tell me any different!

8. X Men: The Last Stand

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Jean Grey was the star of this show. She was so bad she was good and I couldn’t get enough! The fact that Beast came into it was even better!

9.  Batman Returns

Batman_Returns_PosterWith the original Batman that is Michael Keaton, Batman Returns was absolutely amazing with Michell Pfeifer as Catwoman with that sexy voice and Danny De Vito as Penguin. It was dark, it was sexy, it was awesome!

10.  Judge Dredd

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You might not consider this a superhero film but I LOVE Judge Dredd! “I never broke the law, I AM THE LAW!” Mate! I was finished from then. Awesome stuff.

****

Now, there are of course many films that are not on this list including all the modern day Superman failures including Man of Steel and none of the Iron Man films. There’s a reason for this….they’re not good.