Avengers: Endgame (2019)

So, that’s it, as close to a season finale the MCU has had yet, this film genuinely feels like closure for a lot of the characters. A fitting closure too, it completes a lot of story arcs which have been running since 2008. Whilst there’s been a few missteps along the way it’s generally accepted that the films have been of high quality and with interacting storylines to keep you invested (even if they weren’t as carefully crafted as they needed to be at times, with major plot holes and continuity errors between separate films). I did love this film, I really enjoyed it, and didn’t feel it outstayed its welcome (which considering it is 3 hours long, really says something). It deserves the praise it’s getting, but I still can’t help but feel slightly disappointed, not with what happened, but with now can’t happen. Like I wish they pushed the Civil War storyline further, as it is it never really felt like a proper division between two sets, it always felt temporary and outside of Civil War itself, kind of small. It never had that urge of paranoia, you never felt like the heroes against registration were under any threat (with the possible exception of Ant-Man in Ant-Man And The Wasp). If you look at the movies after Civil War:

  1. Doctor Strange (completely unaffected by Civil War as not recognised by the government)
  2. Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (In space so unaffected)
  3. Spider-Man (pro-registration but didn’t affect the movie much. This is annoying as a big part of the Civil War comics was Spider-Man unmasking and revealing his identity, nothing similar to that has happened in this universe since the first Iron Man movie, and that was clearly Tony Starks decision, there’s no “forced to reveal identity” moments yet.)
  4. Thor: Ragnarok. (Again, in space)
  5. Black Panther (not as affected by the Registration Act as it could have been)
  6. Ant-Man And The Wasp (The most affected, but not essential)
  7. Infinity War (just causes a slight “we need to find this person” moment)
  8. Captain Marvel (Set in the past)

To be honest, I can’t even remember if the Act passed at the end of Civil War. That’s how little it’s affected the movies, and that can not be fixed now, it’s too late for it to start coming into effect now, and that’s disappointing. The other thing I’m disappointed in is that there were no post-snap movies. Ok, yeah, technically all movies now are post-snap, but they’re also going to be set after the resolution. There should have been a film between them, so many villain origin stories start with them losing their families, and yet the perfect opportunity for one now won’t happen (oh, spoilers, the people killed by the snap come back, but 5 years have passed in this world so they will be 5 years younger than they should be when they come back, I REALLY hope they make a big point of this in future films). We mostly saw how the snap affected heroes, we didn’t get much of it affecting the world, the opening scenes were done to show that, but the audience isn’t as invested in that as they should be as they’re sitting there waiting for everyone to get revenge on Thanos. Can you imagine how much more effective it would have been if there was an entire movie set in that world? The chaos, the frustration, the paranoia, the fear, the bastards using it to make money, the conspiracy theories! Do ordinary people know it was Thanos? As far as most of them saw, half the world just disappeared with no explanation. The only way they’d know it was Thanos is if someone put out a press release, which I can’t really see happening somehow. So can you imagine the conspiracy theories that would arise from that? It would be INSANE, and yet we will never find out (although I am thinking of writing a short Marvel story set in that universe, just to express that idea).

I know I haven’t spoken much about this film, but I feel if you wanted to see it, you would have seen it already, there’s nothing I can say in this review that will change that. Also, the entire internet has opinions on it and has expressed them better than I could. They’ve been right; it’s emotional as hell, full to the brim with references and fan-service, things are paid off which you didn’t even realise they were setting up, and most characters get their time to shine. It’s not perfect though; Captain Marvel seems misused, only seeming to exist as a Deus Ex Machina, and she’s involved in one of the most cringy moments of the franchise so far which is clearly designed to get a reaction in the cinema but is so false it seems like pandering. Despite how many characters are included, some rather important ones are missing with not even a mention. Also if you think about some aspects of the plot for too long it does seem to fall apart slightly.

But despite that, I highly recommend it, so far it’s been the best example of spectacle so far this year, and I doubt even the Godzilla movie could top it

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Wild Rose (2019)

I was slightly apprehensive about this film. I worried it would try too hard to be emotional and would just fall flat. I don’t really connect with a lot of country music on an emotional level, so if that’s the lynchpin of the film then I just won’t get it. Also, it’s a British movie about a working-class person wanting to live their dreams; films like that tend to not do well in the “great plot” stakes, usually incredibly predictable and obvious. There was a small glimmer of hope however that it would work. As this film went on that hope became larger, I became emotionally invested in this film and it just really works, a lot. Most of that is due to the performance of Jessie Buckley, who I’ll admit I’m not too familiar with but I feel I should be, her performance in this is breath-taking, turning what could be an unlikeable character into one you really root for and that you can’t help but love.

Make no mistake, this is a SCOTTISH country film, the fact it’s set in Scotland adds a lot to the story and the character and makes it unique. I mean, it’s also a Scottish COUNTRY film, wouldn’t really work with most other music genres, there’s something about the soul of country music which lends itself to this film. I mean, I suppose it’s also a Scottish country FILM as it wouldn’t work if it was a fruit basket, but that would just be silly, albeit delicious.

It’s not perfect, there are a few moments which only exist to service the plot, in fact, there’s one character who almost seems to exist only to further the plot with her actions. Don’t get me wrong, the interactions between them and the main character are incredibly heart-warming and lovely, it does seem a little hollow at times. The way the main character reacts to her seems incredibly out of character and only seems to happen to cause a plot-problem later down the line.

I mentioned the performances earlier, and whilst they are good, they’re not the best part of the film. The best part is something you can’t really identify but is there; the heart. Everything in this film seems like it’s done with great love and emotion, and it’s that which carries this film through the weaker moments. The heart Jessie Buckley puts into the songs she performs brings tears to your eyes. Even the ending is full of heart, ending with something that’s not the happy ending the film is expected to have, but the one that the film deserves, and it’s beautiful.

Hellboy (2019)

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. That’s all I have to say about this really. I remember being kind of hyped up for this. It looked like it was going to be a mature bloody kind of film, but one that’s a lot of fun. It essentially looked like a mix of Logan and Thor: Ragnarok. Instead, it’s like a mix of Thor: Dark World, and a 15-year-old on Twitter. The Thor comparison is simple; I heavily disliked both and found them incredibly bland looking. The 15-year-old; that’s more complicated. You know when kids reach adolescence and they consider themselves adults? So they decide to act more “adult”, but all this means is they actually become pricks? Yeah, it’s that. This film is the cinematic equivalent of someone typing “I’ve got a big cock, you fag! Watch this video of people being executed. Hitler was my hero, megalols”. It has no nuance, subtlety, or actual maturity to it, in fact, it’s trying so damn hard to appear mature that it comes off as juvenile.

I did have kind of high hopes for this, hopes that faded when the early reviews came in. I understand this kind of film isn’t for everyone, so an average score in the ’60s would be acceptable. But at the time of writing the average score is 14%. That suggests a complete trainwreck, a film that fails on a very basic level. And it does. The pacing is just weird, it takes forever to say things that it could say in a minute, then glosses over things that they should focus on. We spend a lot of time introduced to characters who essentially don’t even matter. I’d estimate at least 30% of this film could be cut out and you wouldn’t lose anything. It doesn’t even have the decency to look good. I mean, it does in some parts, but in others, the CGI looks woeful, there’s one moment near the end in particular which is almost laughable. What’s not as laughable are the jokes, I think they’re supposed to be jokes, they have the cadence of jokes, but not the humour. It’s hard to tell because tonally this film is all over the place, and it’s not really helped by the performance. There’s a certain performer in this film who I have not seen in anything else, so I feel bad slating their performance because everyone can have an off day, so I won’t name them (if it was a very well known one, trust me I’d go all guns blazing, but with this it would just seem rude), but trust me, it’s one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a long time, probably not helped by the fact they’re playing a nationality that definitely isn’t their native one, and as such the accent wavers all over the place.

I mean, on the plus side the gore is a welcome change, they just couldn’t match the gore with grown-up sensibilities and tone (unlike Logan, which matched both PERFECTLY). And David Harbour is almost good enough to forget that he’s not Ron Perlman, almost. But it’s not good enough to pass over the multiple flaws this movie has. If I was thirteen years old, this would be my favourite movie,  although I’d also be too young to see at the cinema. In a world where Marvel movies are making billions, films which seem this lazy are not acceptable.