Yearly Review: 2016

So it is basically the end of 2016 and it has been a year that has been shouted at to the point I’m starting to wonder if people actually believe that a duration has a personality and that that personality is draconian-evil with paranoid tendencies. With this year like with all concurrent years, of ago and ahead, is the tradition of an array of superhero films based off the characters of Marvel and DC. After watching all seven cinematic-based films I have thought that it would be nice to just summarise the year of super-films in a judgemental yet highly subjective ordering involving what was my least favourite to the ones I found most enjoyable. So lets go for a bit of a build-up by starting on Number 7… i.e. my least favourite:

#7. X-Men: Apocalypse.

It has come to my attention that in my circles of friends I am the only one who found this the most disappointing film this year in regards to superheroes. Now with all this I will say that this year hasn’t been too bad give as though this is what I felt was the lowest film. It’s not like it was Batman and Robin vs. Fantastic 4 featuring Catwoman and Howard the Duck. Yet a lot of the good features in Apocalypse were reflections on past films, like the Quicksilver scene and the bad qualities came with a plot more unhinged than even your usual superfilm. Having Apocalypse rush into a plan of world domination has him set up as poorly developed and non-threatening. Adding to that a good amount of the film shoehorning a new Wolverine origin story for the new timeline bluh-bluh-comics-bluh-bluh … never mind. So yes, the film wasn’t terrible or even unwatchable but it was in a word “off-putting”  and I leave less sure of what I watched and just as less sure of what its point was.

#6. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Sooooo, what was the point of BvS:DoJ? Was it to introduce Batman? Well then have a Batman film. So maybe it was to develop Superman as a better hero and character. Nooo because Superman does nout all in the film, give or take, and still is something of an uninspiring, dull symbol. As well as all this, Jesse Eisenberg’s miscasting of Lex Luthor as an unstable and cracked-minded megalomaniac is perplexing and the overall plot including the DCEUs origin of Doomsday, introduction of other people (somewhat) and the titular event and its dismay of an anti-climatic and unfocused conclusion is something of concern.Even though the film does all this it is only fair to notion that a number of scenes with Batman were really enjoyable and that the easter eggs were something to enjoy in this film. Nevertheless, these are small fix-ups compared to the whole patched up work of Batman vs. Superman. Here’s to hoping that the ‘dawn of justice’ is the only part of the day that is a bit ‘meh!’ We shall see.

#5. Suicide Squad.

Honestly, comprehensively I shall admit that I had so much difficulty in deciding which was better of this year’s two DC live action and I will regret saying that Suicide Squad was the better of the two films. Its villains are lousy and poorly expressed, it lacks the psychedelic-coloured and pseudo-nostalgic elements that were reflected in its trailer and the method of introducing the ‘heroes’ in this film loses its attachment to the enjoyment that the audience needs to make the movie be judged in a positive manner that it does not hold. What Suicide Squad does do is make some fun of the superhero film trope and attempt to turn it upside down and it does well on this to an extent that it almost by showing the means of been a supervillian who is coping in the new world that exists. Still what makes Suicide Squad a bit bleak and disappointing is that there is so much that could be done to improve it and make it interesting, even small details like making it brighter or removing magic, which I hated from the start because you need to show magic in a creative, powerful and fun manner which you can’t do if you’re negating it to equal its level against a crazy woman with a baseball bat. Never mind, Suicide Squad was watchable but as dumb as anything out here. I walked out satisfied mind you which helped with notching it up.

#4. Batman: The Killing Joke.

Now we get to more mediocre in the list and in way Batman: The Killing Joke was this year’s most evenly mediocre film in that the first half was unwanted ‘cringe’ and the other half was wanted justification to Alan Moore’s renowned Batman one-shot. I watched The Killing Joke in the cinema (which is why I’m counting it on this list compared to most other straight to DVD animated movies like Teen Titans vs. Justice League) and felt it a great visual display to watch. Yet its cinematic time did caution the tedious patience needed to real get to the wanted visual of this movie. To make all the ends meet in length and in making the movie appropriate to viewership, before we have the titular story at hand, we have a 40 minutes prequel that seems to show us that the movie crew wanted to get it over and done with just as much as we did in viewing it. The remaining part (the part we wanted as I keep on) was a rather surreal yet enjoyable watch, a treat to those with a feeling of understanding in the liking of The Killing Joke graphic novel and its impact on the Batman stories in the ‘80s and the understandings of the Joker as a person and as a villain. Mark Hamill’s return as the Clown Prince of Crime is also as enjoyable even if it is not is best performance, I’m sorry but that is my honest opinion; I’ve heard him do better.

#3. Captain America: Civil War.

In terms of a Marvel film, Civil War was a fun and easy-to-watch movie which displayed good action, new characters, and the reminder that Marvel’s villain list is so poor and expendable that the best fights are when the heroes are against each other. Civil War encompasses these things in a good amount of detail and lets the knowledge that we have a healthy amount of understanding on each of the characters allow for developing the superhero grouping more holistically. It’s downsides more or less come from the major villain/planner of plot, Zemo. His plan to do some stuff that was improbable to ever happen and then it did happen, like, I dunno, it was scripted to in some predetermined form… yeah, my suspension of disbelief wasn’t really feeling this plan was a goodie. Plus, there’s a villain in it called Zemo and I say this also a poorly sarcastic way to hint that I found the villain a bit forgetful, not like Christopher Malekith forgetful, like barely passable ‘he’s in the shadows forgetful’. At least they did a damn good Spider-Man, Ant Man was a joy to watch and Black Panther was pretty cool. Add some funny moments, mostly with Vision, and some political interests and you end up have a successful Marvel movie. I will say a lot of people said that this was the best superhero film of the year but I feel like it could open up more to standing out and be lighter on the already seen characters, which might be where the final two movies make sense to my likability.

#2. Doctor Strange.

Oh, how I loved Doctor Strange. It’s been a needed staple in comic-based films that we get something of magic. Like real, fun proper .. you know MAGIC! Apart from that Constantine –lite Constantine movie, the Enchantress in Suicide Squad which is a disappointment to count and the fact that the Thor films felt the need to sloppily make out that magic was cold super-science … bluh bluh COMICS bluh bluh. Doctor Strange felt different to these in that it was enjoyable and fantastic in its playfulness, emotion, and it the general wit and charm that seemed to be felt in number of parts to the story. Although Doctor Strange did fall into the trap of sorts that is the generic Marvel movie formula of “this guy or does this thing and meets this evil guy or does this opposite but similar thing and then is expended and the end” it does mess around with a ‘number’ here and there and can be excused for it’s beautiful and try unique visual effects. The so esoteric that you might be playing on both meaning of that word Easter eggs are also a joy to look out for and the way it anchors itself to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whilst also adding to its needed uniqueness is nicely balanced. “Would watch again. 8 out of 10”.

#1. Deadpool.

Deadpool was a film I can watch so much, it was the only film this year I watched more than once in the cinema, if that helps. What Deadpool meant for me was to try something that fans wanted and it feels like a lot of superhero movies shunt in the ability to do this, hey it isn’t perfect in doing this, there are a number of imbalances due to budget and trying to understand that even though Deadpool has cycled into popular culture not everyone can really understand the point of the comedy and meta-based productivity that comes from Deadpool in a number of this mediums. If I am to explain why Deadpool was my number one movie it is more of a personal liking to it more so than to the concept that Deadpool was a great film, based on reviews and grossing success, yes this is true but I like a number of factor in the way that Deadpool is executed. I love meta; a huge fan for ages, this is enough to lead me to love all formats of Deadpool. The humour really got to me and the unusual post-modern method of reflecting the honesty of the superhero is something that really builds into been … well yes, lazy… but if shown off right, fun to observe. Deadpool does well with these, I found, and I hope Deadpool II takes to find a harmony between this film and something different. That is gonna be a difficult task so we will have to await and a-see.


Review: Doctor Strange.

Before I get into reviewing the Doctor Strange film that came out, I feel I need to ‘footer’ the absence of the  Suicide Squad film by saying the Suicide Squad film was a bit of a critic’s fatigue and decided on omitting it through and through. The film was judged in a very face-first perspective, people reviewed, sorry I mean “reviewed”, the film with 5-star ratings before the film was out to make it shine good on metacritical websites. Simply put Suicide Squad was a mediocre film that I wanted more from. Simply that to be fair to it.

Review time.

Right, spoilers… of some degree.

If I am to be honest, Doctor Strange is one of the few Marvel characters on the top of my list of characters I want to see in a film. With the fact that more ‘magical’ superheroes and bizarre and inventive imagery is something to look forward to in these notions, it has become a real enjoyment that Scott Derrickson (director of Sinister, which I haven’t watched) has decided that Doctor Strange shouldn’t be an bland story of a doctor who gets magic but a beautiful colour-rich and especially special effects-blended story. Yet even if this makes the film visually outstanding, the film makes a somewhat strong attempt to place itself not only as a unique contemporary fantasy but also as the new instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a renowned medic and neurosurgeon, whose talents of knowledge and skill are par with his arrogance and displays of self-importance. When a car accident causes severe nerve damage to his hands make him lose his amazing dexterity in the surgical department, Strange’s depression in losing his life’s work sends him on a path to find a mystic known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who shows Strange the truths of magic, humility and the ultimate reality, in a metaphysical take on the showing of the multiverse and the other mystical dimensions that co-exist.

As it is, the film is supported by the Marvel formula, a formula that has been respected for its seemingly unbreakable construction. Needless to say that the Marvel formula has been criticised for have a few ‘decimals’ and ‘symbols’ been out of synch to truly good cinematic viewing but all-in-all Doctor Strange confidently places its unique elements in the right places, and is one of my favourite Marvel films to be released. So before I do into it I will just say that Doctor Strange is, to summarise, a delightful, fun and beautiful… and I mean really beautiful on the eyes film to watch and I have felt that it encourages a desire to see it. Yet, and this is important, a number of parts to the film, be them related to the film itself or as a comic adaptation have something of flaws that I feel can be improved but don’t ruin the film in its overall just in my general expectations.

To start with Doctor Strange’s greatest strength, in my opinion, is the scenery and CGI which mainly responds in the form of psychedelic multiversal layouts. It is some of the most beautiful blends of vision and transition.

Not just is the scenery truly wondrous but also the plot is done well for a character that is not that truly renowned but also a concept that is quite unique and starting to be revealed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; sorcery.

The characters are also all enjoyable, even Kaecillius who is not a fantastic villain, not by the least bit (he slots nicely in the Marvel cinematic formula of have a villain that is easy to remove and forget) does have a few sparks of dialogue with Strange. The promise in the ‘problem of villain’ is the development of Karl Mardo.

I have really struggled with reviewing Doctor Strange because I love talking about it. The problem with reviewing Doctor Strange is that it is so unique and positively fascinating that I don’t wanna monologue about it so much as converse with others. So with all that I will stop on this hurdle calling this a new learning curve for me and start on something with less passion to discuss with the wondering of listening to others and find something that is in the mind for realising. I will probably move to listing how I found the superhero films of this year from worst to best (opinion-wise).

Well, to publishing this since I am like two months late… ONWARD!

Review: Batman: The Killing Joke

Sometimes in life, there are stories which we read and feel a sense of desire in their animation. Stories which in the end, we seem considerable about the art in front of us be it verbal, graphical or auditory to be made truly visual. Well the DC have been picking up on this a bit more than Marvel with a small number of their animated movies which have become remodelled showings that have transcended more positively than the live action extended universe which has recently manifested in the cinemas. Over a year ago, however, DC decided to be less contemporary in the stories they were animating (mainly New 52 stuff) and decided on something more classical. This was announced as Alan Moore’s ‘The Killing Joke’; a 1988 Batman one-shot whose positive reviewing was reflected by the controversy of a powerfully gritty Joker-orientated story. Nevertheless if has been considered as one of the greatest Batman stories ever written, so much so in fact that it was meant to be a non-canonical story that was liked so much it was made canon to DC’s colourful universe. About a year ago it was also announced that Mark Hamill, who role of voicing the Joker is as renowned as his role as Luke Skywalker came out of his retirement from the Joker calling the Arkham City video game the peak of his voicing work as the Clown Prince of Crime. Yet this was the call he had been waiting for. Fans were excited, Kevin Conroy came back as Batman and now it was official, one of the greatest Batman stories in the DC Universe was been animated and it was also going to get Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy to play their part since what seemed like forever. What made the whole thing even better for me was a one day only screening was in one of the local cinemas and so I went straight in to get my ticket and after waiting a month I was finally able to watch the film. That was a week ago and I feel like I have a few thoughts on The Killing Joke movie on what I liked and how it wasn’t how I was expecting it.

I’m not gonna go into the plot of The Killing Joke like I do with most of my reviews. The story has been out for some 27 years now. I’m just going to say that there are some differences in story in terms of the film and the graphic novel and that a few spoilers even to someone who has read the book would be fair to be stated. So right now I’m going to just do the criticising, the good points, the bad points and the overall feel I felt about ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’. Okay? Okay.


So, in the end of it all ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ wasn’t truly great, is was quite that bit more underwhelming than I was expecting. There, I said it! I’m surprised to say the least. I was expecting this to surpass or at least par the other DC animated films, like ‘Under the Red Hood’, ‘Superman/Batman: Apocalypse’ or ‘Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox’. To start I thought I just wasn’t feeling it, like it hadn’t sunk in or I was a bit depersonalised from the experience and I needed to see it again. I mean it had Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, even Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon which fitted quite well. The dialogue was good and I don’t blame it on that. I think in the end it was the level of adaptation. When it comes to the classic stories and making them into film, be that live action or animated, in this case, it has to be delicate to make it alike  what it is based on but also to a grander point make it run in a comfortable manner even if that makes it rough on its connection to originality. ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ seems to be so accurate, in the second part of the film, to the book that my reading and how I remembered it seemed quite out of synch with the watching of it even if it was the same dialogue and context. I number of the Joker’s preaccident scenes felt rushed and it feel like Hamill was not added the element of drama to them. The Joker is more of a dramatic and larger character as a super villain than as a down-on-his-luck husband that you can hear it but it makes the bond with him as a person seem less necessary. Whereas with the book where I could pick on every detail and feel the environment put in front of me, the movie had more of a scene after scene dot-to-dot feel to it.

As for the first half with Barbara as Batgirl, I understand what Bruce Timm is saying based on liking the character and putting more of her presence in this film. Yet to have her just complain that her biggest problem is that she isn’t equal to Batman is something that seemed boring and not needed. The way that she is not respected by the criminals she defeats because she is a woman is one-dimensional and dull. Maybe it is a way to make me feel annoyed by the criminals that I want justice but it feels slabbed onto their personalities and makes the fights feel uncomfortable to watch. Then the overall conclusion to it all as Batman teaches Batgirl a lesson on her been well… bossy for no reason. Then they have not-on-screen sex and Batman just acts all quiet and regretful over his partnership with her which again is something I don’t find enjoyable to watch. The fact that this is how this film start and this is not part of the adaptation part; not at all part of The Killing Joke story makes watching the part I went to the cinema to watch exhausting and heightens the impatience of watching it.

In the end, Batman: The Killing Joke is a worthwhile watch but if you can read the book that is definitively better. It is a short read and the art is a great part of the experience of reading The Killing Joke. All I can say is have an open mind watching it and also don’t take any of the film before Batman goes to Arkham and has his talk to the Joker as true material to the story but as ‘filler’ to make it something of a cinematic duration.

Right that’s all I’m gonna say. A bit short, I know but I’ve made the points that I wanted to make.

News: Can I just talk a bit about the Justice League Dark film?

So about a month ago I was to discover some good news, that the next animated movie that DC was creating, after A Killing Joke, was Justice League Dark and that a sneak peak or trailer was a bonus feature on the Killing Joke DVD and BluRay discs. Hoping that this was a true piece of information, I noticed over an hour from seeing the news for the first time myself that other websites were spreading the news that yes, the Justice League Dark were to have an animated film and it is a thumbs up in development. Now I was doing to write an article about this delightful news, however as I have already stated this news is five days old and has cycled around the internet. So I’m going to write about what this all means to me and also explain the positives of this project.

So who are the Justice League Dark?

First let me just summarise a bit about the JLD since they are a new team up in DC’s timeline. Before DC’s New-52, magic-based character were a mix when it came to team rosters, some were in the Justice Society of America (Doctor Fate, the Spectre), some in the Justice League (Zatanna), even the Teen Titans has Raven. Nevertheless, there was an association in the DCU for the supernatural and bizarre called The Shadowpact. The Justice League Dark was made in 2011 during the New-52; differing from The Shadowpact due to the fact that the New-52 caused DC Comics to merge their comic publishing imprints Vertigo Comics and Wildstorm Comics. This let a number of characters who were seldom DC Universe members to be more canonical. The Justice League Dark has had, over the years that the series has been published, over fifteen members including John Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Shade the Changing Man, Black Orchid and Timothy Hunter. A number of these names are from Vertigo titles like Hellblazer and The Books of Magic. The idea of the team was as a way to deal with supernatural threats and as it is revealed to deal which the team members themselves in the risk they might also be threats to the world if not checked.

What this project has to offer.

To be fair, I know I’m not the only person to find the animated shows and movies DC has made a wonderful watching experience with shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, and Young Justice, as well as films like Justice League: Doom, All-Star Superman, The Flashpoint Paradox, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse as a small number of examples. When the New-52 came out, DC reflected on the Justice League side with they own personal takes of the New-52 Justice League. Although the Justice League is different from before, we are talking about characters who are iconic characters of popular culture. The fact that the New-52 has brought a new team and also that the members are interesting is something that can help with DC’s development. I think that it is a good time to announce the news that a Justice League Dark film is in development.

So why do I think this?

I actually think that the Justice League Dark is one of the most enjoyable title to have come out of the New-52 and given that DC Rebirth has been added as the new series that DC is trying out with great success, it seems that to have on of the most successful series during one of DC’s more unstable times it would seem like a lovely boon to just have an animated movie of that series to show what it was all about and how it was better than other, either as a reminder or as an introduction to the JLD dynamic that fans enjoyed. One of the things I feel is of interest is that an introduction to magical fantasy that is more magic than super is a very helpful idea to help with DC and I feel that some people who are enjoying of the fantasy more than the superhero genre.

Justice League Dark seems to be released next year. The preview is on the Batman: The Killing Joke extras, released next week.

Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

Spoilers… and chill.

Right, I finally watched this film. Let’s speed in and talk about what X-Men’s new film is all about.

Throughout it’s history, the X-Men cinematic universe has been going strong. Been the longest comic book-based movie series at a duration of 16 years hasn’t shown on X-Men since its project to rejuvenate itself with the unusual but brilliant use of a reboot that discovers itself as canonical instead of a tabula rasa reapplication. Now it is on its 9th film with ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and seems promising to keep on trying long and hard to becoming a still successful comic-book universe. However with this introductory praise given to it, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ isn’t great but still is a strong contender for a good X-Men film as well as a fun and, in a way, level example of a summer action film.

The film tries to revolve around the conclusions met at the end of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’. It has been 10 years since DoFP (well 10 years for the retro 70s stuff, 33 years in the original timeline) and things are different indeed. Mutants are known as been a real thing since Mystique saved Nixon. Xavier is a Professor for ‘gifted youngsters’ whilst Eric (Magneto) is in Poland with a wife and daughter working under a new identity as a metallurgist (seems convenient). Meanwhile we are shown that Mystique is helping mistreated mutants which involves the rescuing of Nightcrawler. As well as all of this, we are shown the awakening of original mutant, main antagonist and guy or donated his name to the title: Apocalypse.

Apocalypse is an odd bend of comic-book villainy and sinister god complex elitism. Although the character does have his strong and powerful moments I did find the character fundamentally boring, simple and in a odd sort of way, out of place. His plans are repetitive and over-arrogant. Plus the amount of betrayal that his followers have on him makes me wonder if maybe he should have tried harder to be more charismatic. Another thing about Apocalypse which is more of a double-edged sword comment than a criticism is his origins and his powers. Apocalypse’s origin does have to change, I understand that; the use of the Celestials (the alien gods that made the mutants and Eternals in Marvel comics lore as well as what Marvel uses in films in the form of the big powerful aliens in that one small scene, in the Collector’s screen in Guardians of the Galaxy). The notion of Apocalypse’s possession to other mutants, slowly grafting his powers and mind into newer, better bodies was a chilling and dark way of showing of Apocalypse as well as adding to his unshaken beliefs and his relentless desire for power. Although used in comics, I feel like it was very simplified in the film. His powers themselves were a blend of fascinating evolution and at the same time a powers for plot cliché ( which I felt mainly arises when Apocalypse revivals he has a ‘stop Xavier using his telepathic array on his horseman’ power). His powers however are quite strong, nevertheless. Molecular manipulation, telekinesis, teleportation, technopathy with a bit of information comprehension and power-bestow are all here as well as an unofficial cameo of Apocalypse’s more well-known size shifting abilities due to a fight in the astral plane against Xavier.

As for the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, I was unsure in what they brought to the movie. Although I was unsure as to why they were the choices, well except Magneto (that seems like a good way to have in the film without putting too much pressure on adding the character), I did enjoy the adding of a new Angel (well technically Archangel) and Storm, as well as a proper Psylocke instead of what we had in ‘Last Stand’. Although Apocalypse increases the powers in all of his horsemen this is not shown to scale and so I don’t have that much acknowledgement to Apocalypse’s donation except for the fact he transmuted Angel’s wings into metal, made Storm’s hair white, allowed Magneto to affect the metals in the Earth’s ores and give Psylocke… the power to be in that skin-tight costume. Like seriously, Psylocke seemed exactly the same to me unless she got a more purple psi-katana, I don’t know really know. Angel’s portrayal in the film seemed to be purely fundamental and a reflection of the comics where he represents the horseman of death. In the film, he is in a German mutant fight club, which is where we also find Nightcrawler. Although it is suggested that even though he is good at it he still fights to live as not fighting leads to been shot. Just a quite side note, their is a cameo ‘easter egg’ of the Blob as one of Angel’s competitors. Storm is just a bit more developed as a character. A pickpocket from Egypt who uses her powers to steal and cope with a large family to take care of, she is also hugely inspired by Mystique for her heroism. The character doesn’t really show off her powers but I liked the way they added Storm into this film and seems like once again this is based on the difficulty on adding Storm’s origins and even her link with Black Panther even if this a developmental story in Storm’s Marvel history it can be a tilt on the character in the movies.

So that is the villains written about but what about the heroes. ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ has a nice roster of heroic mutants and shows the origins of classics Cyclops and Jean Grey. The arrival of Scott Summers is brought in by his brother Alex a.k.a Havoc, originating from ‘X-Men: First Class’ who discovers his brother has gained his mutant ability to emit optic blasts from his eyes. Havoc is an enjoyable character in this film showing his confidence in comparison to ‘First Class’ where he is afraid of his powers and what they are capable of. It is a nice comparison to what Scott is feeling in this film and is a reminder of the fact that not only has he been in the same situation as Scott he was also helped by Professor X and that this is Havoc first move in helping his brother. Jean Grey is already a new member of the school when we first see her. There seems to be more of a balance in her telepathy and telekinesis in this film than previous which although highlighting her telepathic abilities didn’t seem to bring emphasis to them in comparison to the stronger telekinesis. The ‘phoenix’ power is also in this film which if I was honest, I was quite surprised about as it seemed quite early to bring up a more complex, though quite connected part of Grey’s character. The problem that I have with the phoenix concept in the cinematic Jean Grey is that it is very different compared to the comics (and also 90s TV show). Whereas in this it is a latent power boost that manifests in Jean Grey’s mind in the comics is the Phoenix is it’s own entity. An omni-sentient, cosmic being that embodies life and has a special connection to powerful psychics, the Phoenix Force is a big part in Marvel Comics and in the Dark Phoenix saga a main antagonist. Whereas I can see that making the… well… the ‘phoenix force’ a part of Jean Grey’s power is easy and that I can forgive that with the movie been comfortable to watch and understand for even the non-comic book readers, I do hope that a Dark Phoenix story can be brought up with the need for it been a cosmic entity and also that it does try to based itself in the same way that ‘Last Stand’ did. All in all, Jean Grey was nicely played and seemed to be the balance of fearful teen and inspiring superhero whose telepathic prowess makes her a person who connects to others whilst having a notion of fear sent in her direction. Jean Grey is really shown in this film as an Omega level mutant waiting to happen and I hope that future film show what kind of character see can become. Nightcrawler is an overdone comic relief who starts as an a tormented and captured mutant but has time where he seems to be forced to be a bit goofy. At times, Nightcrawler seems underdone in the story but is still shown as an important character who is helpful even when the plot in relation to him isn’t.

Quicksilver is back! I, like everyone, I’m sure, who saw ‘Days of Future Past’ felt like the Quicksilver scene was the best scene we had and ‘Apocalypse’ offers this too. Quicksilver is a more pivotal character in this. Deciding to connect with Magneto with the conclusion that Magneto is his father, Quicksilver choices to visit Xavier’s school. Perfect timing (as always) as the school is about to explode via an accident by Havoc and before we know it the world is becoming more still, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, which is still in my head, is been played and Quicksilver takes everyone out of the school and saves everyone in a cool scene. Quicksilver also has a better character development and has a small bit of fun getting tired of Apocalypse’s loud, annoying attitude and grants him a few speed punches. It’s quick but delightful to watch. Mystique herself is shown as more Jennifer Lawrence than blue, apparently due to her identity as a blue person has been shown to the whole world. Mystique is a strong character in this film but here shape shifting powers are extremely underused. I think see morphs into one person in the whole film and the job she seems to be given is as an extremely moody mutant who wishes to shout that the big picture is mutants are still feared but in a more subtle sided agenda. Her travels to find underground anti-mutant projects, although, presented as been accurate to her beliefs are seldom looked into lead her to have meaning words on the treatment of mutants but not to give it any structure.

In terms of Marvel’s greatest foemance, Xavier and Eric are played well by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender respectfully, as was the case with ‘X-Men: First Class’ and X-Men: Days of Future Past’. One of the main things about Xavier in this first was the fact that he becomes bald like he is in every representation of him in all media. Explained by Apocalypse’s attempts to transfer into Charles, it seems like a fair method of explaining the condition yet I did wonder if this was indeed necessary. I think it was a good idea and I wasn’t expected it; I was expecting something more on the line of general male baldness but seeing how young Xavier still is in this film, a plot convenience is a respectful decision. Eric’s life of happiness with his wife and daughter, in Poland, turned tragedy is heartbreaking and the push that the character seems to need to end up as a horseman. The story itself is a little sketchy and is pushed a little to much yet it is a like of sub-plot that motivates the story’s fundamental and I do think that although it can be improved, is very satisfying to the story.

There are a fun number of Easter eggs, comic references and movie references to the film which is always especial to superhero movie. The first thing to discuss is Weapon X. I will be honest there was absolutely no reason for the Weapon X sub-plot in the positioning of this film, it is only there for ‘fandom’ and for the basis that the Weapon X project is something that is speculated to have happened in the 80s and so has to be slotted into this film to be in a film as a fun cameo. The escaping of Wolverine, still played by Hugh Jackman obviously, is used to deal with the capturing of Mystique, Hank McCoy, Quicksilver and Moira MacTaggert by returning anti-mutant villain William Striker. The portrayal of Weapon X/Wolverine with the headpiece similar to the one in the comics was a fun little reference to his origins and I felt that even though the scene is pointless in a story it was enjoyable to say the least. The post-credits scene with the Weapon X clean-up lead to a reference to Nathaniel Essex a.k.a Mister Sinister, is an supreme teaser to any future X-Men films. Also it might be that this is a scheme to manifest Cable since in the comics, Cable is a genetic engineering project that Sinister comes up with with the aid of the DNA of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Since Cable is in Deadpool II (or X-Force) it might be that this is a project to merge the two different stories together in an appropriate crossover event.

An interesting reference comes in the form of some of the students going to watch ‘Return of the Jedi’ and leaving it with the discussion of how it was compared to the other Star Wars films with them agreeing mainly that the second film in a trilogy is the best and the third film is usually quite bad. This seems to be a meta-based reference that in the original X-Men trilogy great reviews were made of X2 whereas the third film, ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ was seem in a very negative perception.The fact that Bryan Singer gave up doing the third X-Men film, instead doing ‘Superman Returns’ is seen here as something of a humorous comment.

Anyway with a lot of stuff discussed, in the end, I did enjoy watching of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ even if it was problematic and overload of different stories that were connected but not the element of the plot. The villain, Apocalypse, could have been better built and his horsemen could have been a bit more characterised as interested individuals. Its good points focus on the fact it doesn’t truly break at the seams as I was to imagine it might have given its complexity. Some scenes were great and worth the watch in the cinema like the Quicksilver scene which is making me wonder if what will happen is that Fox will understand the fan’s love of this cool scene might mean we can see more of it. It really wouldn’t even surprise me if a Quicksilver movie was made with him running in a slow motion perspective for two hours; yet I would still watch that because that sounds more fun than the previous Fantastic Four film. Still I’m looking forward to the other X-Men film which I’m sure they will attempt soon enough and I think that people with leave this film not feeling at all disappointed at what they came to see.

Review: Captain America: Civil War

SPOILERS… and all that jazz.

Based on a number of posts that I have seen, it does seem like we are in an age where the superhero genre of cinematics is seemingly cliché; with people saying that perhaps superhero movies are repetitive and superfluous with their recurring development been on the annual movie lists. With this we seem to have Marvel Studios’ first film of 2016 been not only a live-action take on an infamous comic storyline but also themed like an unintentional simulation to DC Comics first 2016 film. So what of Captain America: Civil War?

First off, yes, it is simple to compare ‘Captain America: Civil War’ to ‘Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ but as I finally watched the film, the differences were more forward than I had intended. Based on what I can only hypothesise, if this was Avengers III: Civil War I would imagine something bigger and louder to be the case like it was in Dawn of Justice. However this is a Captain America film and though the titular character is quite bold in appearance, Civil War seems to emphasise that this is a Captain America film by blending espionage tropes like cloak and dagger combat, terrorism and political ideology (though these manifest a lot in superhero films, I felt that they are to a greater peak due to the nature of this been a Captain America film) with the general superhero tropes of action, adventure and amazing powers and abilities.

‘Captain America: Civil War’ is based on Marvel Comics’ ‘Civil War’ storyline but mostly in its foundation. The main focus of the film is the relationship of the characters that are Avengers (instead of including x-men, Fantastic Four et al due to licensing reasons), and the act of reflecting the Civil War story into something that relates to the Cinematic Universe’s history. This is explained by ‘Civil War’ been a year since the events of ‘Age of Ultron’ where the city of Sokovia’s destruction occurred. With an Avenger’s-based intervention, occurring at the start of the film in Lagos, having innocents’ lives become lost, it becomes a question of if the Avengers’ members need control. This concept fuels a feud for Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). Rogers’ choosing of the Avengers’ freewill to sort any situation they come across on their own terms is opposed by Stark’s support of the government making the decisions for the actions of superhumans and users of advanced gadgetry.

The fuel for the feud is mainly in the way of a B-story that focuses on the arrival of Rogers’ old ally and friend-turned brainwashed assassin Bucky a.k.a The Winter Solider (Sebastian Shaw), as well as the occasional appearance of ‘actual villain’ Helmet Zemo (Daniel Brühl).

A lot of people have said that this film is the greatest Marvel film to date. If by greatest they mean the most characters then fair enough; it does seem to have that. As far as the most amazing film Marvel film to be made so far, I’m not sure. I didn’t get the level of enjoyment other movie have delivered before ‘Civil War’. This is by no means me saying that ‘Civil War’ is a bad film, it was better than Dawn of Justice whilst been alike, in terms of superhero vs. superhero action, and it has been one of the most enjoyable films in quite sometime in the MCU (maybe this is what other critics are trying to say when they say best Marvel film, I don’t know). All I can say is this is the most enjoyable film I’ve seen from Marvel Studios since ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’; though this could just mean that 2015 was all in all just not a good year for the MCU for whatever reason.

What was enjoyable about the film was the method of showing why each character was on the side that they were. I was worried this was to be a rushed attempt that would be hazed by the combat of the film but as the events of the film play out each side has its questions as to if it is the more righteous/helpful side whilst facing the responsibilities of the decisions made. As for the combat itself, Civil War has some of the most creative and unique fight scenes I have seen in a superhero film for some time. Instead of dull punches or plot-associated shooting scenes, Civil War is creative in making sure that the viewers know that each character has their own special array of powers and abilities and gets effort for trying to show potential in each character, though at times this was not truly achieved to peak potential since so much was happening to make it matter. Ant Man (Paul Rudd) trying out his Giant Man abilities is fun but seems to be somewhat distracting and ‘slow’.

In terms of recently brought up characters from last year’s two films, with Ant Man I felt like even though there was an forced attempt to make the character worthy of been in this film, the usually comedy-based superheroics of Scott Lang were a good way of making the film that bit more light-hearted. As for characters returning from Age of Ultron, the Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) use of power was very interesting and creative and one of my hopes for this film was that she would get more flexibility with her powers. Not only does the film show this more but adds more depth to the powers themselves in relation to the bestowing of them to her from the Mind Stone, which I thought was a strong decision to include to this film. Speaking of the Mind Stone, the Vision (Paul Bettany), who has said powerful gem as a part of his physiology, was a favourite to watch develop. From the nature of his powers to his attempted understanding of human nature, Vision was a fascinating character to take enjoyment in viewing in this film. The relationship he tries to build with Scarlet Witch and her power’s relationship to the Mind Stone that powers him is a wonderful reflection to themselves and also an association to their relationship in the comic books.

As for new superheroes, the two that we have are big players which most would argue, I’d think, are worthy of MCU appearances. First is T’Challa a.k.a Black Panther (Chadwich Boseman), whose appearances in Panther costume and out of Panther costume were great to watch. The way that T’Challa is shown as an intelligent, strong-willed character, full of physical and mental prowess, makes him a watchable superhero. The character has been an enjoyable character in comics and animation and now thanks to this film, live-action too. Boseman makes himself an actor that I can trust as been good as a protagonist in their own film. As for the first Marvel Cinematic Universe’s appearance of Peter Parker, the Spider-Man (Tom Holland), there are a lot of positive things to be said. Holland plays the character in the more agreeable way that I like to see Spider-Man, as well as Parker himself. Although a little younger than I would have liked, this feels forgiven when Holland makes the character very grown up for his age whilst allowing the character to develop a rather delightful and fluid curiosity that Parker commits to even in combat. I can imagine it been hard to play Spider-Man because of how well-known the character’s history and personality is in popular culture but Holland does a damn-good attempt.

As for the more political and well, Captain America-orientated parts, these sometimes felt slow and only necessary for the fact that Captain America is in the title. To be fair I did enjoy the first two Captain America movies but it hasn’t been my favourite title in Marvel Studio film sets. Although Daniel Brühl’s Helmet Zemo was a well-designed villain to sharpen the flow of the movie and to give it an antagonist to complete the superhero movie formula, the character is easy to not care about and I felt was easy to forget too. This is somewhat paradoxical in the villain that’s so insidious in the film that it makes them ironically brilliant at their scheme whilst also making the ability to see them as watchable apathetic compared to the rest of the characters.

This film nevertheless was a fun film whilst been very grown up for a Marvel film; allowing the characters to sit down and talk in order to show them been able to development and grow whilst been more enjoyable without asking them to give up the use of action. The film has its flaws mind you, some of the scenes dragged yet I can sympathise that the more boring scenes were helpful in the film; I just felt that they could be more summarized perhaps. Also the amount of characters is crossed with a lot of jumping around. Sometimes this was needed but in the end it made Civil War jagged in storytelling. I do recommend watching it but I do feel like I need to miss some important stuff out like Agent 13, Martin Freeman in the MCU and War Machine just to wrap this review up but the film can explain all that to you.

Just one more thing, I was on Team Rogers. Just in case you were wondering.

Trailer Review: Doctor Strange


So I thought I’d spend some time just writing about the Doctor Strange trailer because it has been the Marvel film I have been anticipating the most this year. Well, I say that; though it was made by Fox Studios, I’ve watched Deadpool, so this film is now the Marvel film I’m truly anticipating.

Needless to say that what will make Doctor Strange interesting is its magic-fantasy elements which are different to other Marvel Cinematic films. I mean we had the ‘Thor’ series and that had a magic-like property. It’s just that it seemed more like Clarkeian magic which is different to true fantasy magic. I guess how the magic in Thor was can be seen as a blurry argument but and this is important, I digress.

Back to Doctor Strange now and not the mad Doctor Strange from Arkham-based DC stories. Doctor Steven Strange is a professional, top-class neurosurgeon and with his success, has been the excused development of an arrogant and proud personality. One nasty car accident later and Strange wakes to discover that his hands have severe nerve damage. This devastates him as he has been stripped of his gifted dexterity which he feels has defined who he is. Desperation triggers a global journey and as medicine seems to hold no method to repair his hands to their previous brilliance he ends up heightening his curiosity to arcane practices. This ultimately, and to Strange unexpectedly, seems to show him to greater truth, that magic is real and that reality isn’t as simple as Strange had made it out to be. This enlightenment is bestowed to Strange due to a powerful sorcerer called the Ancient One (who is to be played by Tilda Swinton).

This is what I want from a teaser. There is a lot of fun mystery in there and the special effects that make the magic real are visual beauty. I’m a big fan of the metaphysical slogan, its simple but brings so much from so little.

Not sure of Doctor Strange portrayer, Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent since it just sounds like Doctor House but maybe that is what happens when British people try American accents. I would like to think that that means I can do the same if I tried an American accent. Probably not.

Well to paraphrase the Ancient One, “Do you wonder what I see in watching this film in the future? Possibility”.

Doctor Strange will be in cinemas in November.