Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) Review

Rating 12
Length 2h28
Release 15.12.2021
Director Jon Watts
About With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, our friendly neighborhood web-slinger is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life as Peter Parker from the high stakes of being a superhero. When Peter asks for help from Doctor Strange, the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Moon: Full moon during the climatic final fight
Where to Watch: Cinemas
Trailer:

First Thoughts

I don’t think I’ve felt the buzz and hype of a film so tangibly in a cinema for a long time. Nope, upon feeling it walking towards my screen, not even when Force Awakens came out. Not even a Midnight screening has given me that excitement that I felt with those early Potter films.
I watched people literally racing from a screen to the toilet, not wanting to miss a single second. As the usher scanned my ticket, he even reassured me that it was good and to enjoy it. It’s safe to say, I did.

The Good

  • The story is really good, very well structured and manages to balance the heavy castings impeccably. If you think of Maguire’s third outing and the ambitious plot weaving that attempted?! This film shows that it can be done.
  • The casting! Unless you’ve been sans internet for the last however many months, you’d know that Jamie Foxx, William Dafoe and Alfred Molina have returned to play off against an unfamiliar Peter Parker. All three bring what I loved from their previous performances and then some. Foxx, for me at least, gives a slightly different performance, but I have absolutely no problem with that.
    As for Dafoe and Molina. Both of them make it so hard to identify a favourite. Both of them bring their all, they bring the ham, but also manage to match the tone that Holland’s Spider-Man has established.
  • The humour is spot on, as always. It isn’t for everyone, but fuck them! I love it. I love every scene in which Ned does his thing, MJ does her thing and the humour that happens when they’re all together.
  • Tom Holland. What a beautiful, amazing and wonderful Peter Parker he is. Damn it, he’s *my* Spider-Man. It’s not that the other two were ever ‘wrong’ for the role. It’s just that the character works like Dr Who. You have *the* Spider-Man and that’s cool.

The Bad

  • I’m still not sold on the use of Dr Strange. I love every bit he’s in and I totally understand why we need him out the picture. However, it lacks the finesse that Stark’s ‘hands off’ approach had and because of that, Strange feels a little bit like a plot device that gets fucked off stage until he’s of use again. Or, you know, like how Captain Marvel was used at the beginning of Endgame.
  • I get the feeling these events are happening alongside the events of Hawkeye, the tv series, but as I think there’s still an episode to go I can’t quite get them married up in my mind.

The Ugly

  • This film does rely on the audience being well versed in the Spidy-Verse. This is not the film that should ever introduce you to the character and, even from the trailers, people should know at least a casual knowledge of the Maguire and Garfield eras is necessary.
    For me, this isn’t a bad thing. However, I do need to acknowledge that some other films have been able to achieve what this film has, while providing a film that works without seeing the previous.
  • There’s a cameo that I’m still not certain about. The geek in me loves it, however there’s just something about it that reminds me of Clint Barton’s introduction into the universe in Thor; underwhelming.

Final Thoughts

Such a powerful, clever, outing that has gone straight to the top of my favourite MCU list. I want to go watch it again. I already know this is a film in which I will discover more on repeated viewings.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 2h13
Release 5.7.2017
Director Jon Watts
About Peter Parker tries to stop the Vulture from selling weapons made with advanced Chitauri technology while trying to balance his life as an ordinary high school student.
Moon: None sighted
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • I love that this film didn’t go all the way back to the beginning and give us an origin story for Holland’s Parker. It allows this film to give us something different from previous incarnations.
    It also allows this Parker to not be entrenched in the grief of Uncle Ben’s death or set on a path of revenge. We get to have a much younger Parker, who is able to truly have fun.
  • Michael Keaton is such a genius bit of casting, characterisation and plotting. Choosing a past Batman has very little impact on the plot, but there’s all the meta goodness that adds to the cinematic experience.
    It’s not lost on me that Vulture is the anti-batman. Where Bruce was a millionaire, Toomes is a working-class everyman embittered by the Marvel’s equivalent of Bruce Wayne.
    I also love the I’d that the name, Vulture, is not only a bird of prey, but is also a scavenger. It describes the aesthetic of Toomes technology, but it is very descriptive of the character too.
  • Ned is a spectacular friend and I’m so happy that he’s not Harry. I adore every scene in which Ned is just himself.
  • Tom Holland really is ideal for the role of Peter Parker. He’s first of all young looking enough to know that he’d at least be carded, but the choice to have Stark as a mentor allows the story freedom for Parker to fail. He’s not the first and final line of defence and it changes the tone of the film and the character expectation of Peter Parker.

The Bad

  • It is a tad too long for it to be a regular rewatch movie for me. By no means a unique issue for MCU movies, but I find myself restless just at the moment when I need to be paying attention.
    The only problem with this, however, is that I have no idea what I *would* remove to trim the fat.

The Ugly

  • I’m so mad that this film did the dirty on Donald Glover! That man was born for a live action Miles Morales so while having him in this was amazing, I’m devastated that it perhaps rules him out from the upcoming multiverse film ‘No Way Home’.

Final Thoughts

Truly my favourite of the the Spider-Man films and I’m so happy that, as of a few hours ago, Tom Holland has been announced for three more films.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 2h16
Release 3.7.2012
Director Mark Webb
About Peter Parker, an outcast high school student, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and attains superpowers. Soon, he is forced to use his abilities to fight a monstrous foe.
Moon: Full moon during the final scene
Where to Watch: netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • Yes, it is another origin story but I do like how different it is to the 2002 version. This is no Batman, we’re not seeing the same scenes with different actors.
    I also love that with this origin story, we get a glimpse of Peter’s childhood and the fate of his parent’s. The way it ties into his journey of becoming Spider-Man is also really clever.
  • Martin Sheen and Sally Field as the Aunt and Uncle was just perfect. Sheen has this was of having a firm and fiery nature without it being too harsh. There’s always that understanding that it’s coming from a place of love. As for Field, gah! She doesn’t quite beat the previous Aunt May, but she is a joy to watch and is able to give us wisdom and love in bucket loads.
  • I love that Garfield’s Peter doesn’t give a shit about keeping his identity too secret. It makes for a much different, better, type of hero. Telling Gwen, showing his face to the kid in the car it all allows him to be a little more grounded and have a little more support.
    It also gives us the added conflict with Captain Stacy and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

The Bad

  • I don’t like how both Peters have this stalker vibe when it comes to their crushes. While I loved that it set up Sheen for the whole “He has you on his computer”, I really do hate that he has her as the desktop wallpaper. Creepy!

The Ugly

  • Yet another villain with a disability. Yes, this one has a little bit of a connection in terms of it being the driving force for the character’s research. There’s also the logical leap of using genetics from animals that are able to regrow body parts.
    However clever and ‘rational’ the plotting might be, it still remains a problematic trope and one that has a massive impact upon how disabilities are seen in society. It really is a shame because Rhys Ifans does a brilliant job.

Final Thoughts

In the run of all Spider-Man movies up to 2012, this is the strongest by far. We have a decent Peter Parker who fairs well as Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Rating 12a
Length 2h19
Release 4.5.2021
Director Sam Raimi
About Peter Parker becomes one with a symbiotic alien that bolsters his Spider-Man avatar and affects his psyche. He also has to deal with Sandman and maintain a fragmented relationship with Mary Jane.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • The one thing every one of Raimi’s films have gotten right is the feature’s main villain. Thomas Hayden Church! God, I love Thomas Hayden Church! I could listen to him all day, I’ve yet to see him give a bad performance (Although it is fair to say that I might never give Crash Pad another watch, but that has less to do with anyone’s performance and more to do with the mortifying predicament of watching Domhnall Gleeson explain he’d had his tongue up another character’s cootch… while watching it with my Dad!)
    I would say that Church’s Sandman is the most serious of Spidey’s enemies and I’m glad there was no hamming. While I’m sure THC is capable, it would have clashed with the overall darkness this instalment seemed to be going for.
  • Yay for attempting to bring in another bad. Yes, I do mean attempt. However, I’m glad of them increasing the number because it was getting a little too predictable.
  • Peter and Harry’s eventual team-up. Brilliant, loved it. Came too late for me, but I personally think the whole Harry story arc was a load of bollocks.

The Bad

  • Harry, Harry, Harry. What the fuck did they do to this storyline?! Like, why have the memory loss for Peter not to learn from his mistake and tell the poor bloke the truth? Well, I know why… the film cannot handle three villains. To be fair, it can barely handle two, so I think that’s why Harry is side-lined, then Sandman. It’s just a fucking mess.
  • In order to bring in Gwen Stacy, did the film really have to shit all over MJ the way it did?! What’s worse is that Gwen gets booted out of the film after the emo-Jazz scene. There needed to at least be a resolution there because the character, and Bryce Dallas Howard who did a brilliant job, deserved better.

The Ugly

  • The retcon of Uncle Ben’s killer. In fact, the continuation of bringing Uncle Ben’s death to the forefront of the plot really doesn’t do this trilogy justice. This retcon removes all of the importance of Peter’s reveal to Aunt May in the previous film, it cheapens the death of the assumed killer in the first film and, worst of all, it bloats this stinking floater way more than necessary.
  • The infamous ‘Emo Peter’. While I’ve discovered during this rewatch Maguire’s Peter is a total douche all the way through, it is this Venom inspired interlude that is hardest to digest.
    Yes, we have found meme enjoyment over the years but I think watching it, is very different that utilising the stills. Fuck me, I want to die a little inside because of how bad it all unfolds and just how shit Maguire is with it; it’s too big for him.

Final Thoughts

I’d only seen this once before, in the cinema. I’d remembered this feeling of hating it, but I always put that down to the fact that I went on to have one of the biggest fights with a dear friend hours after I’d seen this. I never really spoke to him again after that and I do really miss him.

However, it wasn’t that. This film is an underdeveloped, post morning-coffee turd. It’s so bad that even when I missed the crucial part of the final showdown, I could not bring myself to rewind.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Rating PG
Length 2h07
Release 16.7.2004
Director Sam Raimi
About Peter Parker is dissatisfied with life when he loses his job, the love of his life, Mary Jane, and his powers. Amid all the chaos, he must fight Doctor Octavius who threatens to destroy New York City.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Now TV
Trailer:

The Good

  • The visual style is much improved and it’s a lot less ‘primary colours in your face) and is much closer in tone to the X-Men films of the same era.
  • I love Doc Ock and his origin story. What does suck is the fact that in all of Maguire’s outings, the villain dies often after becoming aware of what they’ve done and the monster they’ve become.
    I mention this because Alfred Molina is so good, I’m sorry to see him go. Molina, much like Dafoe before him, is able to take on the duality of the role and provide depth as well as a little ham.
  • I really love the arms of Doc Ock. They have that personality quality to a Disney familiar. Each one seems to take on its own characteristics and its quite awesome to watch.
  • Aunt May! Oh, I do love this Aunt May. Yes, it is a likeable character (there isn’t an Aunt May I don’t like), but Rosemary Harris is just … She’s adorable.

The Bad

  • Tobey Maguire cannot cry. Oh god, it just makes me cringe so much.
  • I mentioned this for the first film, but for fuck’s sake does Kirsten have to scream so god damn much?!
  • I hate the plot point of Peter wanting to stay away from MJ to ‘keep her safe’ when both MJ and his Aunt May are both in danger in both films without anyone knowing Spider-Man and Peter Parker are one in the same. It’s shit, and boring, and either Maguire cannot act, or he’s playing Parker like *he* cannot act. Either way, no one, literally NO ONE, is buying it.

The Ugly

  • I don’t like how the character of Peter Parker has been reset in this film. He’s back to being pre-bite doofus and it really doesn’t help strengthen the character or the story arc at all.
  • Spider-Man having performance issues?! I get that this seems to be a common fear of men, but do we really need it constantly projected onto our superheroes to massage the ego of the toxic masses?! (Not aimed at all men dearies)

Final Thoughts

In some ways, a much better film. However, its still not brilliant. I hate saying this because I love Raimi. I love that he’s someone who grew up making movies on a Super8 and fell in love with telling stories. I also know that he loves superheroes and comics, but this just isn’t an enjoyable watch.

Black Widow (2021) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 2h13
Release 27.8.2021
Director Cate Shortland
About Natasha Romanoff, a former KGB spy, is shocked to find out that her ex handler, General Dreykov, is still alive. While evading capture by Taskmaster, she is forced to confront her dark past.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:

First Thoughts

I’ve now watched this film three times and I really have struggled to put down my thoughts. I’m glad I didn’t do it after my first, or second, watch. There are things I’m still very unhappy about, but …. well you’ll see from my review.

The Good

  • Florence Pugh as Yelena is what saves this film. She is a breath of fresh air as this young woman using humour as her guard. Her interaction with both Nat and her ‘father’ are pitched perfectly.
    Most importantly, her persona leaves me begging for Yelena to have interactions with Ant Man, Peter Parker and Nebula. It is going to be so much fun see her have verbal duels with some of these heroes.
  • David Harbour was always going to be a plus for me. I was a little worried; I’ve heard some of his attempts at accents, and they’re not always pretty. However, his Russian isn’t too bad.
    You can tell that Harbour is enjoying every minute of playing this Red State answer to Captain America. It’s brilliant to see a hero that has already had his time and is perhaps someone who should be sitting out of the fights. Then, you see him fight and realise; he’s still got it.
  • The relationship/ family dynamic of the OG Black Widow family is something I took for granted the first time I watched, but I really enjoyed this different type of dysfunction.
    The “time of the month” scene, for example was a stroke of genius. In that short interaction, you got to see Guardian’s ignorance, Yalana’s dark humour and Nat’s leadership skills.
  • The action, as always is spot on and well placed within the story structure. This film almost mimics a Bond movie with its exotic locations (the safe house in Budapest looks so similar to the last act of Craig’s Casino Royale), motor vehicle chases and a lair final showdown.

The Bad

  • The story is underwhelming. Being placed where it was in the timeline and release schedule means the story had to be somewhat self contained. Not only that, but there was a sense of retcon in order to make this work.
    The biggest thing of that I felt was ‘Budapest’. I’ll be honest, the Mouse House had a hard job on their hands with that. When you mention something so vague; you set of about a million plot bunnies. Nothing will live up to what’s been imagined in the heads of many geek’s in the years since it was first mentioned.
  • My issue with Taskmaster is the way the gender of them was hidden. It was deliberate and I’m pretty certain the person inside the Taskmaster suit prior to the reveal was male. It’s not clever, it doesn’t make the reveal more shocking. It just really makes them just another really weak antagonist.
  • Dreykov was badly cast. You do not cast Ray Winstone as a Russian. That man cannot do an accent to save his life and it ruins the character. Instead of him being this formidable leader, he comes across as a cheap panto villain.
  • O-T Fagbenle is wasted as Rick Mason. How are we only just being introduced to him now? This is such a shame as not only did I love the character, I loved his interaction with both Nat and Yalana.
  • Not the fault of the film itself, but the way in which trailers are made needs to change. It was heavily implied that Rachel Weisz’ character, Melina, had died. It is certainly a shock to both Yelena and Nat that she’s not and I think it’s meant to be a shock for us too. That’s hard for the audience to do though, seeing as she appears heavily in the trailer.

The Ugly

  • Black Widow deserved better. There, I said it.
  • This is a film that has almost zero impact upon the universe, mainly because it was tagged on to Phase 3 and added out of sequence.
    Had the film been released prior to Infinity War and Endgame, there would have at least been a slight element of jeopardy. As it stands, we know Nat can’t be killed and it narrative loses any tension.
    Not only that, but placing this film before Nat’s sacrifice? Jesus, that adds so much weight. Don’t have the same punch after the fact, but in the right order Nat is sacrificing herself for two families.
  • Not a single Avenger comes to help. Yes, I know that this is happening mid Civil War, but Disney, Buba, she’s been the wing woman to all these boy’s ‘adventures’ and you can’t even get one scene? Hell, you couldn’t even get Jeremy Renner in for the flashbacks? Do you not realise quite how shitty that is?!
  • It’s not Nat’s film. Not really. The only way this works, in terms of impact, is that it is a film that introduces Yelena Belova to the Avengers Universe. Yet, even this feels like an afterthought based upon fan reaction to the amazing Florence Pugh.

Final Thoughts

An underwhelming addition to the Marvel Universe that does not do Nat, or Scarlett Johannsen, justice.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Rating 12
Length 2h16
Release 26.3.2014
Director Anthony and Joe Russo
About As Steve Rogers adapts to the complexities of a contemporary world, he joins Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson in his mission to uncover the secret behind a deadly, mysterious assassin.
Moon: Full Moon at the start of the mission on the ship.
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:


The Good

  • This is one of the films that feels a lot different to everything that’s gone before. This is a Marvel Movie with a genre aesthetic. There’s more espionage in this film than 2021’s Black Widow: a film about Nat’s espionage background. Go figure.
  • The action in this instalment is incredible. Case in point, is the elevator scene. Such an iconic sequence now, but even at the time it was a highlight of the film.
  • All the costumes have had a upgrade, even if it was only temporary. Not only are our hero’s suits fitting for the film’s tone, the civilian clothing choices are spot on for the time and some items are still desirable. I personally still want Black Widow’s trainers.
  • The introduction of Sam is joyous. I love how Cap and Sam interact and how much chemistry they have. It’s only through that chemistry that anything that follows is believable.
  • Talking about relationships, at the heart of this instalment is Steve’s long standing relationship with Bucky Barnes. You can feel the heartbreak of Steve when he has to go toe to toe with the revealed Winter Soldier.

The Bad

  • Hill is wasted in this film. She so could , and should, have been used more. It felt too much like lip service, when really she deserves to be much more involved.
  • Some of the action is hard to watch. The camera pans in the opposite direction of the action. While this, as memory serves, works well on a cinematic screen, it here it gives me motion sickness.
  • In 2021, I really did find the attack on Fury by the police very hard to watch. Not the fault of the film, but in the context of the current climate; it will have an impact on viewers.

The Ugly

  • Black Widow’s hair. I know this is probably a stupid gripe, but if you intend to have your main gal have poker straight hair throughout the film, don’t have her wash her hair. I am so irrationally angry that she is seen drying her wavy soggy locks with a towel, only to be seen in the next scene with a salon-worthy blowout.
    This lives rent-free in my head. I think it always will.
  • The ongoing “casual conversation” with Nat trying to set up Cap. Nope, just nope. Don’t need it. Don’t need the set up of Cap and Sharon (which, btw, is ten times worse now the audience have the knowledge of Endgame). In a film that is probably my favourite of the franchise; this one thing sticks out as forced.
  • To quote Fury himself; “this shit is why I have trust issues.” Yet another fake death. Yes, I am impressed that it was revealed to be a fake in this film. However, it’s just once too often and it means that as a viewer I start to lose that feeling of jeopardy. I certainly don’t feel anyone’s loss.

Final Thoughts

Of the nine films of the MCU, this is my favourite. It is a good choice for a one off viewing from the phases and it’s not too long.

Thor: The Dark World (2013) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 1h52
Release 30.10.2013
Director Alan Taylor
About Thor sets out on a journey to defeat Malekith, the leader of the Dark Elves when he returns to Asgard to retrieve a dangerous weapon and fulfill his desire of destroying the Nine Realms.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney+
Trailer:

First Thoughts

I wish I’d been reviewing films around this time because of late, I was of the opinion that I absolutely hated this instalment, even when watching it that first time. However, upon watching it this time, I’m not so sure it was the case.

The Good

  • It is still a clunky start, however you don’t feel it so much because you know the characters.
  • This film keeps London looking grim. I love that. It would have been too easy to give the rest of the world this sunshine and glamour tint to the UK’s capital, however the clouds, the rain… that’s much more real and strangely makes me happy.
  • Darcy and Selvig are back and give the audience the biggest laughs. You know who needs to meet in this universe? Darcy and Luis! Seriously, their banter would be the best.
    Anyway, Darcy brings the one liners and kills it with the commentary. Stellan Skarsgard is a joy to watch playing Selvig as a man who has truly lost him mind because of Loki.
  • Loki, Loki, Loki. What a performance. We get everything in this film. We get playful Loki, charming Loki, angry Lo… you get the picture. Loki is such a complicated, layered, character. One which is perhaps going through an identity crisis. I’m not sure I could imagine anyone other than Tom Hiddleston playing him better.

The Bad

  • Watching the films so close together does point out some recycled plotlines. The method of destruction used by the dark elves is way too similar to the bad guys in Iron Man 3. It’s a shame, because it might not have seemed so obvious had they not followed each other directly.
  • Christopher Eccleston. Now, Christopher Eccleston is MY Doctor. I will watch anything and everything he is in (I’m talking Gone in 60 Seconds, G I Joe and even The Others, despite not liking other people in the cast.). However, he should never have taken this part. You can tell he’s phoning it in. With a role like this, if anyone it not committed the audience can tell, never mind when its Christopher Eccleston uncommitted. It’s truly heart breaking, because when he’s on form, he kills it.
  • Still not a fan of Natalie Portman as Jane. Cannot put my finger on it, because I do quite like Portman. I guess it’s that I don’t see someone who is so invested in her work would become so loopy over a guy she’s known for 72 hours, 2 years previous?! Feels very Disney fairy-tale to me and Jane Foster deserves better.

The Ugly

  • Gratuitous topless shot of Thor. Hey, I love it and I appreciate it as much as the next person who finds Hemsworth attractive. However, in the philosophy of equality, I have to call out all gratuity when I see it. There’s literally is no point to it other than showing the audience those beautiful rock hard abs.
  • Shipping Lady Sif and Thor. Why though? Lady Sif is this badass that the film decides to soften with the longing looks and unrequited pining.

Final Thoughts

Much better than I remembered it. Loved how the film gave the audience a non-shiny London and brought back all our favourites.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Rating 15
Length 2h12
Release 30.7.2021
Director James Gunn
About The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world — Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.
Moon: We get a waxing crescent moon right at the beginning.
Where to Watch: Most cinemas
Trailer:


The Good

  • How does James Gunn curate the perfect soundtrack?! The Suicide Squad is no exception. From the legendary Johnny Cash to the earworm indie rock band The Fratellis; on paper they stand at odds with each other. However, on the screen, they enhance the story and become the album I must have on my phone.
  • The dialogue is to die for. The quick witted humour is perfect for those who love the work of Kevin Smith and Dan Harmon. It’s still on brand for James Gunn, but the Disney reigns have been removed. There will be times when you’d laugh in that ‘I cannot believe they got away with this’ way. It is joyous.
  • Idris Elba and Viola Davis being in the movie astounds me from the get go. Seeing them in a scene together and going toe to toe made me so very fucking happy. These are two actors that I will forever make time for. They’re powerhouses and our generation of Actors. Yet, here they are, having the time of their lives and playing cops and robbers. It takes a certain calibre of talent that can do that.
  • There’s some stunning cinematography in this outing. It’s not something that Franqois Truffant is going to cream himself over because it’s not ‘high brow’ enough, but it certainly got my attention. There’s a scene in which we watch a bulk of it via a reflection and it is made this film geek happy. Now, it might not age well and in 20 years it might look cheap as fuck, however right now it is just beautiful.
  • My two MVPs are King Shark and Sebastian. Both have this conceit of being absolutely adorable and murderous bastards. King Shark provides this childlike joy and humour and I love that he’s voiced by Stallone.
    Sebastian, on the other hand, gave me so much cute. Yup, I ‘awwww’d’ about 4 or 5 times at that god-damn rat. That rat, that mute, expressive and charming rat stole my heart and might have even had me choke up. Fucking James Gunn man. First a tree and a trash panda, now a anthropomophic shark and a rat. Genius! Mad, evil, genius.

The Bad

  • It’s a little on the long side. About 30 minutes too long for me. It does try to keep the pace, but there’s a clunky, choppy flow to the narrative that I don’t think will allow this film to hold up to repeated viewings.

The Ugly

  • The violence is hardcore. It’s a blend of surreal and real which I personally love, however it may be too much for some viewers and I would certainly argue that this film’s violence warrants and 18 rating.

Final Thoughts

A DC film using the Marvel playbook. Its a good watch for someone uninvested, so I’d imagine someone who is loving the DCMU (I’m a DC TVU girl) will be very happy with the outcome.

Iron Man 3 (2013) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 2h10
Release 18.4.2013
Director Shane Black
About Tony Stark encounters a formidable foe called the Mandarin. After failing to defeat his enemy, Tony embarks on a journey of self-discovery as he fights against the powerful Mandarin.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney+
Trailer:


First Thoughts

I’ve actually only seen this instalment once. I went with one of my best friends at the time, we went to the new cinema in Leeds and I remember getting told that I couldn’t have a packet of sweets in the screen. I could have them, but they had to be in their special boxes. Something that caused more noise than had I just been able to eat them out of the packet. Sigh.
I remember more about going with the friend than I did about the film itself. I remember really liking it and I remember we talked for ages after about what it meant for the franchise. Man, I miss him and our mate dates.


The Good

  • I love the framing of the film. Tony Stark’s voiceover is awesome. It pulls you in and makes you feel like he is addressing you. Which is made all the better if you hang out to the end of the credits. It’s not the audience he’s addressing, but one of his new Super friends.
  • The script is on point. From the subtly of “I had created demons and I didn’t even know it.” to the snigger inducing “I’m not trying to be a dick-” pause to allow the camera to pan to children within ear shot “-tator”.
  • The story, at first, seems to be struggling with a balancing act of bad guys. Almost in the same way as Spiderman 3. However, as it unravels its much more nuanced than that. How they all connect is a stroke of genius.
  • As for the Mandarin. I had major issues with both the fact that the Mandarin was a fake and that he was played by Brit Ben Kingsley. However, on this repeat I truly do like how it plays out and how Kingsley performs. While not being able to express my dislike at the time, it boiled down to appropriation and negative implications of this representation of terrorism. Now, appropriation is something that has come up before with Kingsley. He actually is of English and Indian decent and it does appear that his ethnicity does give him a chameleon quality that when you stop to think about, makes the casting choice so much deeper.
  • I love Harley and the relationship between him and Tony. Perhaps the films first foray at establishing the New Avengers. I guess that remains to be seen, but even from an isolated film point of view its a beautiful touch. Harley is able to ask questions and offer insights that no one else could. It also showed us that Stark really is a good mentor.
  • The best part of this film? How it addresses PTSD. Here we have a rich man who has escaped death many times. He’s Iron Man. Yet his own body is reacting to the trauma of New York. Okay, he’s not a God but he’s certainly privileged. Yet this is something he can’t throw money at, he can’t engineer a fix. He has to experience it, just like everyone else. I can only imagine how much this will have meant to fans. To boys, to men, who struggle to talk about these sort of experiences?! I absolutely love this exploration of mental health.

The Bad

  • I’m not sure how much I buy the history between Pepper and Aldrich. Not enough to believe that Aldrich has resentment towards Tony over her. The bit that perhaps is missing, is her involvement in the 1999 flashback.
  • Pepper screaming “Tonaaay!” got very old, very quickly.

The Ugly

  • The glossing over Pepper’s powers really saddens me. I think it was owing to the fact that there was not going to be another Iron Man movie in which to explore that story. However, it was too neat, to easy a fix and it was done off screen.
    She deserved much more. Both Pepper and Paltrow.
  • In fact, the end for me was a little too rushed and we didn’t get enough of a polished ending that did justice to many of the secondary characters; Happy and Rhodey included.

Final Thoughts

Quite possibly my new favourite of my rewatch. Watching it today has actually made sad that there isn’t another solo outing for us. I will also be adding this film to my Christmas watch list.

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Rating 12
Length 2h23
Release 26.4.2012
Director Joss Whedon
About Nick Fury is compelled to launch the Avengers Initiative when Loki poses a threat to planet Earth. His squad of superheroes
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:


First Thoughts

This was the film in the franchise that truly got me into Marvel. The second Joss Whedon was signed on, my fan-girl self was propped up like a meerkat waiting for any and all scraps made available in the run up to the release. Back then his shitty side was still a cloaked rumour and this outing was a hit.
Then Ultron wasn’t so good and as Whedon left, he made sure he wouldn’t be asked back. Now we know he’s truly a douchebag and slime ball. I think I’ve been stalling my rewatch of this, thinking the film would be tainted.

The Good

  • This has one of the smoothest opening to a Marvel movie to date. Which is even more impressive when you consider the sheer character count involved. It helps that the dialogue helps with those transitions. It’s all rather clever as it also drip feeds the information regarding the Tesseract to the audience too.
  • Agent Coulson is the MVP for me in this film. He’s the heart, the comedy and the geek in all of us. Clark Gregg plays it perfectly and you really feel the weight of his loss after his intermittent appearances so far.
  • The film has the DNA of Whedon; his pop culture references, smart and quick dialogue and wicked action sequences. This film works so well because it gives the audience what it wants: the answer to the ultimate question “who would win in a fight between x & y?”
    The best signature scene would have to be right after Nat has worked out Banner is Loki’s play. The group’s in-fighting had been perfected by Whedon on Buffy and this scene works like a charm.
  • I love that we finally have a Bruce Banner that works. Mark Ruffalo gives us the ideal Banner that blends the intellect, temperament and regret into a believable character.
    We also have to give credit to Ruffalo for The Hulk too. Through motion capture, we’re able to get the balance, or rather imbalance, between the two egos. If we are ever going to see Avengers fight with each other, you need to have The Hulk in the mix.
  • I absolutely love the film score and the introduction of the Avengers theme music. Alan Silvestri has composed many iconic themes, but this has to be my favourite. Not only is it well used here, it is something that has appeared in many other MCU films.

The Bad

  • I do not like the scene in which Rogers hands Fury money. Mainly because it’s clear Rogers has been debriefed by Fury, so knows who he is. So other than it being a racist stab at the ‘man out of time’ aspect of Cap, I can’t see it’s purpose.

The Ugly

  • Coulson is the reason I have trust issues. Obviously this is not so much about this film, but things that came out after the fact. I cried when Coulson died. I saw Assemble in the cinema at least 6 times over the summer of 2012, and I cried every time.
    Then Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D came along and resurrected my favourite MCU character. Yes, on one hand, I was happy. However, it has implications. It makes any death in the MCU reversible. It takes away the importance of his death in this film upon a rewatch. It’s actually so problematic that there are debates about whether Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D is cannon.
    It also means I always second guess any other death that occurs in the universe. Loki’s timeline (even pre-tv show) further cements this emotional detachment. There’s a character much further down the line that I know I would have sobbed at their demise. However, I don’t trust that they’re really gone.

Final Thoughts

Still as enjoyable as the first day I watched it. There’s enough other people involved to be able to see it as a brilliant film without the skank of Whedon.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 2h04
Release 29.7.2011
Director Joe Johnson
About During World War II, Steve Rogers decides to volunteer in an experiment that transforms his weak body. He must now battle a secret Nazi organisation headed by Johann Schmidt to defend his nation.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix (until 14th August)
Trailer:


The Good

  • This film has a dream cast; Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell and Stanley Tucci to name but a few of the heavy hitters in this origin story.
  • At the heart of this film is the relationships. From the mentor, mentee to the best friends and the romantic. This is a film that strikes just the right balance.
  • The wonderful Neal McDonough always makes a film that little bit better. Add with him a team of soldiers that include Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes and you have an incredible middle act.

The Bad

  • I’m not a fan of Red Skull and the face. I think I perhaps would have preferred a later reveal. I often think this way when films have prominent actors hidden behind masks like this.

The Ugly

  • It’s has a very clunky first half as we’re introduced to all of the characters. Part of the issue is the back and forth between characters until the audience know who is involved.

Final Thoughts

One of the best origin stories out there on film and part of that is due to Chris Evans’ performance.