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.

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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.

doctor-strange-multiverse-2
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!

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.