2010’s In Film Day 4 (2014)

January – Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

This is probably the biggest horror franchise which I’ve completely ignored. No idea why as I’ve heard the first one is quite good, I’ve just had no interest in them. I was going to do them for Halloween blog last year but I accidentally purchased the mockbuster version instead. Maybe it would have been funnier to do those films instead, but I had so little free time in October that I didn’t want to waste it watching bad films.

February – Robocop

How is this not bigger? Maybe it was a timing thing. The general feeling of Obama’s America was more hopeful than it is now. Now everything seems bleak and horrible. We’re a few days into the year and the political climate is heating up (as is the actual climate, as the devastation to Australia has proven), there’s cynicism and hatred everywhere. Nobody has any hope that the future will get better. Even people who support the parties in charge think the future will suck for a lot of people “but it will be worth it to get blue passports”. So maybe now is the time we need a Robocop film.

March – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I feel this is the most important movie in the MCU. Not so much because of the story, but because of the quality of the film. This was when Marvel movies went from dumb fun to capable of brilliance. This is where comic book movies stopped being a genre and started being a subdivision of other genres as diverse as spy thrillers, space comedies, and family dramas. All that’s left now is a comic book horror movie. For more of my thoughts, read here.

April – The Amazing Spiderman 2

A month after The Winter Soldier wowed audiences, this came out. I feel those two things are linked. Since the MCU started, a lot of other franchises have been attempted. Not many have worked, probably due to the fact that it took the MCU a while to get going, and people forget this. People think all the Marvel movies started being connected, yet The Incredible Hulk was a standalone movie, the only reference to Iron Man being a short post-credits scene (well the only obvious reference anyway). It was possible to enjoy those films on their own, yet a lot you can’t, they spend far too much time setting up future franchises that they don’t really spend enough time on it’s own story (biggest offender is The Mummy reboot a few years ago).

May – Godzilla

Now, this is a potentially better franchise. Kong and Godzilla work as standalone films and are great spectacle films. I feel age has been kind to this film, there was a lot of disappointment when the film came out. That was mainly because it had Bryan Cranston in it and people expected him to be the main character, so when he died and was replaced with Aaron Taylor-Johnson it was bound to rub fans up the wrong way. Yet if you know about it and watch it again then it’s actually quite an impressive piece of film-making. It’s not a film that you’ll love, but if you have an impressive enough television and sound set-up then it’s a great way to spend an evening with people. A few years ago I watched the Planet Of The Apes trilogy over New Years eve, I feel the two Godzilla movies and Kong would also make a great thing to watch like that. Have a few people round and have the film in the background as you chat shit and eat cheese. This film also has a REALLY creepy piece of music.

June – Oculus

This was the first film I watched with my Cineworld card, and it remains the worst cinema experience I have ever had, to the point where it soured me on the movie. The lights came on about 10 minutes before the film ended, completely ruined the experience. You don’t realise how lights affect the cinema experience but it does. As soon as those lights came on it deflated the room, it took everyone out of the movie. I do need to watch this film again to give it a fair go, I feel the constant “it’s real! no it’s not! yes it is! no it’s not!” fake outs would still annoy me, but maybe not as much.

July – Guardians Of The Galaxy

I feel people have forgotten what happened before this film came out. It seemed destined for failure. A lot of people were saying it’s going to be the first bomb of the MCU. That a film featuring characters most people don’t know, featuring actors a lot of people don’t know, set in space, wouldn’t work. That it would fail, and fail HARD. Just goes to show, nobody has any idea what will work. People expected The Lone Ranger to be huge, and I bet you completely forgot that film existed until now. Again, my thoughts here.

August – Sin City 2

The time between this and the first film: 9 years. That film was a success, this was bombed. Just goes to show the importance of timing when it comes to sequels. If you do them too soon then the audience will get burned out (think of the game series with yearly release cycles), yet if you space them too far apart then the audience either won’t care, or society would have moved on beyond what you’re making (best example of this is the Duke Nukem game). I don’t know why this is so much worse than the first one, it just feels less than. It feels like the first one was a labour of love, and this one was in pursuit of fans of the first one. I could be wrong, and usually am.

September – Life After Beth

I love this film. I know it’s not the greatest film of all time, but it’s unique and very funny. The closest film is Shaun Of The Dead, but that’s only in terms of genre as they’re both zombie rom-coms. When it comes to style and tone, this is a completely different bushel of bananas. Something about this film feels very 90’s or late 80’s. It would be easy to imagine this as a brat pack John Hughes movie. I haven’t said it yet in this blog, but I highly recommend this film. Even if you don’t like it, I very much doubt you’ll be bored.

October – Gone Girl

So damn creepy and dark. I saw What We Did On Our Holidays about 2 weeks before, a very different performance from Rosamund Pike. It also has the best Tyler Perry performance ever. To the point where you almost forgive him for the Madea movies (I feel I’m being mean to those movies considering I’ve never seen them, they could be comedic classics that I love, but after watch the trailers, I sincerely doubt it). Again, I highly recommend you watch this film, but you will need to prepare something nice for after. This film will drain you, but not in a way that makes you feel empty (if that makes sense). It will emotionally kill you, but when some films do that they leave you unable to speak for a while. This is the opposite, you’ll come out talking a lot. It also has the best blu-ray presentation ever. It comes with a childs book that is kind of nice, but when you read it in the context of the film, it’s horrifying. This, and Life After Beth, heavily inspired us to make this.

November – The Drop

Wait, I saw this just after Gone Girl? Damn 2014 was great. I thought this film would be kind of standard “Boston gangster” film. It’s GREAT though. A huge part of that is Tom Hardy, this is the film where I fell in love with him as an actor. It made me realise he gives great performances. I truly believe he’s probably the greatest actor around at the moment, every role he has he throws himself completely into it. He doesn’t really have a performance “type”. He’s helped in this film by the script though It’s so fucking good. It takes you by surprise every step of the way and will hook you in for the duration. Not just a great film, a very very smart one too.

December – St. Vincent

An annoying film. Because it’s really good. It’s smart, funny, and touching. But the worst thing about it is Melissa McCarthy is REALLY good in it. As such it’s disappointing when you see so many films where she returns to type. It also shows another side to Bill Murray, a slightly sadder and softer side. Bill Murray is lucky he’s Bill Murray. Seriously, watch films he’s in and imagine his character is played by another actor, you would HATE that character. Most of his characters are arseholes, complete dicks. Yet somehow he makes them work. Lucky bastard.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (Spoiler-Free Version)

A few years ago I saw a film called Men, Women & Children. A film that had moments of okayness but failed to maintain even that. The main reason for this was it had too many characters and it couldn’t focus on all of them, as such some felt underdeveloped and the time spent with them felt utterly pointless. There was concern that the same would happen with this. This had a lot of characters, and all of them were somebody’s favourite (yes, even Thor), so if you didn’t do them properly then you’re going to annoy a lot of people, and in the age of social media, especially with such a highly anticipated film, the slightest inkling of dissatisfaction and they’d be nerd-rage akin to if you said “maybe not everybody has to be white”. As it is, this balances the characters pretty well. Whilst the characters are split into separate groups, there’s no real “core” group. None of them seem more plot-focused than the others. That being said it’s not entirely equal. It seems like the Guardians characters have a lot more to do within their groups than the others. Surprised there’s not really any new characters in it, I mean, there’s an allusion to one at the end but the only new people are the villains. This is slightly odd as it means that these are the only ones in the entire universe. Where was Stallone etc from Guardians Of The Galaxy 2? You’d think they’d have heard of Thanos’s plan and tried to stop it. Or anybody from Agents Of Shield (is that still going? I got incredibly bored by it quite quickly so stopped watching). It’s going to be incredibly difficult to introduce new characters after this, as the first question anybody will ask is “where the fuck were you when this happened?” Before it’s been mostly localised destruction, but maybe with the potential of worse things happening later. This was half of existence being threatened with extinction. There should have been a lot more people.

I mean, yeah that would have meant the film would be like seventy hundred hours long. But even if you just mentioned “earth has been closed off to visitors” to explain others not being there it would be better. Don’t get me wrong, I did love this film. The character interactions were fantastic (although still disappointed nobody said “no shit, Sherlock” when Doctor Strange and Iron Man shared a scene). It was great that the established groups got split up and we got characters sharing scenes who had never interacted before. On the downside, this causes a problem for any future films. The same problem that hit the MCU post-Avengers. From now on whenever a character has a solo film you’ll be wondering why nobody else is helping. If any other Iron Man films happen in the future then he has space-travelling assistance to come help him.

Has to be said that the fact that this film works, and works brilliantly is a true testament to the skill involved. The script is incredibly tight and focused, barely any fluff at all, which considering how long it is is quite impressive. It looks great, the scenes on Titan, in particular, look stunning, The setpiece in Wakanda, whilst not exactly disappointing, isn’t as stunning to look at as you feel it could be. And the music is still a bit of a letdown. Marvel doesn’t really have a great track record when it comes to original music (Black Panther being the obvious exception), they have that one piece of Avengers music they use, but every time I try to think of that I get the Harry Potter music in my head. Even the Saw franchise had a recognisable theme they used as shorthand for “shit’s about to go down”.The power of good music (and not just in a “using established songs) way) is underappreciated in modern cinema but could work wonders. If MCU had character themes then the introductions would be a lot better, imagine if you see a character in the darkness, you have no idea who they are but then a familiar theme plays, exciting you before you even see them.

So yeah, if you’ve liked these films, you really need to see this, but I can’t imagine you enjoying this if you haven’t seen the others. This is not the film you watch to introduce you to the MCU, you’ll be completely lost. So, see this, but see the others first. Will be posting a second review of this later on in the week, specifically focusing on the ending. So look out for that over the weekend.

5 Amazing Comic Book Movies Still To Come In 2017

5. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Okay, not technically based on a comic book, but is the sequel to a film that is. The trailer for this will be released later today, two teasers already been made (one of which is the entire trailer sped up to fit into 10 second, very cool and innovative way of doing it, already led to people slowing it down and discussing it). No idea how they’re going to bring back Colin Firth’s character, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure they wouldn’t bring him back for no reason, not as though they’re short of credible actors in this film; they’ve got Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore etc. Not released until September but already really looking forward to it.

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4. Wonder Woman

Saw the trailer, loved it. Gal Gadot was one of the best things about Batman Vs. Superman, so the fact her character has FINALLY got a full length feature is very exciting. Basically seems like an origin story, which I’m okay with as her origin hasn’t permeated popular culture that much so for new people they would need to know that. Of course, it would have been a better idea if they did this film BEFORE Batman Vs. Superman as at the moment I can’t see their being any tension in it all. Not for her character anyway, you know she’s going to survive so you won’t worry if she’s safe, which means that unless the film kills somebody she’s close to it won’t be able to land emotionally enough to be effective. Really hope this does well, mainly because if it doesn’t, internet assholes (and studio executives) will blame the fact it’s a female character for the failure, and be more reluctant to do female-led movies in the future.

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3. Justice League

Mainly curious about this one. Personally (and I’m happy to be proven wrong), I think the DC Extended Universe scheduling has been a complete mess so far. BvS should not have been the second film in the series, you need to build up tension between the characters first in other films so that it feels like it means something, as it was it just felt like “hey, this is happening” “and? Who cares?”. They’ve done that fight so early on in the series that there’s not that much left for them to do, there’s not many “big events” they have to call back on (especially since they’ve also already done The Death Of Superman). Related to this, Justice League should not be released this year. It’s too big a film to come out so soon after Wonder Woman, they’ve already released the trailers for this before Wonder Woman is out. They’re really rushing this through and it could end up harming the product in the long run. Although I am still kind of excited about it, so what do I know?

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2. Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2

Released very soon, really looking forward to it. Had a kind of average marketing campaign, I’d hoped the marketing campaign of Deadpool would lead to more innovative and unique marketing for “quirky” comic book films, but seems like it’s just standard “trailer tease, trailer, second trailer, release” kind of thing. Trailer looks good though, slight risk that they’re intentionally trying to create memes with it, which hasn’t been too annoying in the trailers but if the rest of the film is like that it could be off-putting. Guardians is in a weird place this time, the first one was so good that expectations are high, which is almost the complete opposite of what the situation was last time, where everybody expected this to be the iceberg that sinks the MCU Titanic. Have to wonder whether this will be the film where they explicitly acknowledge the link between it and the rest of the MCU. Also, I really hope it’s not just going to be a rehash of the first one. I want to be amazed during this, but I trust Marvel, so I think I will be.

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1. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was one of the (many many) highlights of Captain America: Civil War, so much so that it almost made audiences completely forget that this is the third reboot of the franchise in a short period of time. Confession time: He’s one of the characters I’ve never really liked in films, he’s always supposed to be a teenager but is never played as one. At least, not an actual teenager, he’s played like the leading man in a teen drama where “anxiety” and “shy geek” just means “is friends with the most popular girl in school but hasn’t dated her yet” and the only sign of their geekdom is that people with letters on their jacket (I now know it’s their school letters, but I will never stop having a small part of me think it’s their initials so they don’t forget their names) shove them into lockers. This Spider-Man however is a teenager, he geeks out over superheroes, he messes up, he gets overexcited (which then leads to more mistakes). More importantly: he’s fun. He’s a funny, engaging character whom is inherently likeable, and should do well in his full length debut, which is thankfully, not an origin story.

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Note to directors: EVERYBODY knows this scene, it’s NEVER been needed in a film

 

5 Things Suicide Squad Did Right (And One Thing It Did Wrong)

1. The Look

In a world where the colour palette of superhero films can mostly be described as Fifty Shades Of Grey (only much more painful) it’s refreshing to see such bright colours in a film such as this. Pinks and Greens are all over the place, it’s like a film taking place in a neon nightmare, and it’s brilliant. It gives the film a unique look, you can take a lot of still photos from this and know that it’s this film.

2. The Performances.

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Shockingly, and I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, I’m going to have to praise Cara Delevingne, which is something I didn’t think I’d ever do for two reasons:

  1. Her performance in Paper Towns severely weakened the film.
  2. I can’t spell her name.

But her performance in the first half of this is superb. She plays the part of a woman who’s scared of her internal demons spectacularly. You really see her inner torment, and it’s just subtle enough to not be overbearing and too on the nose. She’s also involved in one of the visual highlights of the film when the thing inside her body starts to come out, and the hands wrap around each other, it’s simple but beautiful.It’s not just her though, Will Smith’s performance almost makes you forget about After Earth.

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Almost

3. The Characters

This is not an easy sell to casual theatre goers. The most well known characters in this film are Batman and The Joker, and they’re in it for a combined total of about 15 minutes. As such the film has to make sure the audience knows who the main characters are, which for an ensemble piece is not easy. Yet by the time the film ends you feel like you know the characters well enough that most of them have enough background that a solo film wouldn’t be out of the question. Special mention must go to El Diablo, as played by Jay Hernandez. He’s the only character I didn’t really know anything about, I knew about Harley Quinn from various Batman comics, Deadshot from video games etc. Yet his character is really smartly set up, his reluctance to fight makes complete sense  considering his back story. His character is one with real emotion and heart.

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4. Music

Iron Man changed the game when it came to music in superhero movies, when they used AC/DC it set a new standard for the genre; no longer could they slack off in the music department, they needed popular rock songs by established bands, and a few classic rock songs in their too. This was perfected in Guardians Of The Galaxy, which had one of the best soundtracks of 2014. This film continues in that tradition, with songs from Black Sabbath, AC/DC, The Animals, CCR littered throughout the film.

5. The Joker

Leto is completely terrifying in it. Just like the joker should be. He owns every scene he’s in and carries a genuine sense of danger and does it in a way that’s completely different to the way that Heath Ledger did it. Heath Ledger’s Joker always seemed uncertain in his own skin, like he was made by his vulnerabilities. Leto’s one is completely different, he’s confident, he’s calm, he’s in control of every situation.

The Bad

1. Yeah But….

Everything I mentioned on the plus side? They all come with caveats. The still shots look fantastic, but the way it’s edited? Holy hell do they make some of the most basic editing mistakes ever. The shots are not given enough time to leave an impact, there’s quick cuts between different things in scenes which should be slow paced. Whilst Cara Delevingne performance in the first half is awesome, the second half is awful. She seemingly forgets the meaning of “subtlety”, and she does a weird thing with her body that makes her seem like a wooden marionette. The characters bond and start talking about being like “a family” without any reason or bonding moment. Whilst El Diablo’s sacrifice (oh, spoilers), was noble, it made no sense, it would be like you sacrificing your life for your classmates on the first day. Yes there is a lot of good music, but there’s also A LOT of music. There’s so many moments where you sit there thinking “jesus, another f*cking song? We get it, you’ve got an impressive record collection. How about actually working out how to match the music to the scenes?” The Joker is good? Shame he’s only in it for about 10 minutes. Now I’ve seen people complain about people complaining about this. Saying things like “you could tell he was only going to be in it for an extended cameo”. Really? Tell the advertising campaign which was HEAVILY focused around him, or even the posters which had Jared Leto as the second billed actor. He was billed higher than almost all of the main characters. Now, if you were following press releases etc then yes, you knew he wasn’t going to be in it for long. But the majority of cinema goers aren’t people who spend all the time online looking for details about this film, they’re people who see the trailer, see the poster, and decide to see it.

And that, ultimately is the biggest problem, it’s hard to say something nice about this film without having to quantify it. And as with most modern films, the plotting is all over the place. The opening half hour is nothing but blatant character building, with someone sitting there literally telling you about the characters. There are way too many shots of Harley Quinn that are blatant fan-service (and a scene where an entire group of people manages to climb stairs quicker than a lift travels up 5 flights). That, added to the length equals a film which, despite being almost sold out when I went to see it, had nobody stay through the credits. The second the closing credits started,everyone left, and with a film like this that shouldn’t be the case, and it’s disappointing that it is

In Summary

If you go cinema a lot, go see it. If you only go to the cinema a few times a year, and going is a true event, then don’t make this one of your visits.

Musings On Marvel: Day 10 (Guardians Of The Galaxy)

Director: James Gunn (Slither, Super)

Budget: $232million

Box Office: $773million

  • Did kids listen to this music back then? I mean, I did, but I was weird.
  • Hah, “was”
  • Plus, is a song which includes the repeated refrain “big boys don’t cry” a good song to listen to in the circumstances?
  • Can’t anyone become a superhero without their parents dying nowdays? That’s the rouble with the world today, kids lack motivation.
  • I’m curious as to what happened in those 26 years. Ok, it’s not as big an issue as it was in Fantastic 4 (or to give it it’s proper, stupid title: Fant4stic)
  • How have the batteries lasted that long?
  • Or the walkman?
  • Or the tape itself?
  • I mean, I went through about 5 cd players in my youth, and I very rarely went to space.
  • The main hero kicks a tiny animal in the face. But it’s okay because they’re not earth-based. Which is a bit weird as when he was a kid he started fights with people purely because they hurt frogs. And now here’s him, as an adult, gleefully punting animals like rugby balls.
  • “bereet”, is that because she looks like a beet?
  • “your culture is a disease” that’s racist.
  • Groot lost his arms. That’s an arm chopped off in every one of the stage 2 films. Seriously, why do Marvel hate limbs?
  • “I live for the simple things, like how much this is going to hurt” That’s exactly what I was told last time I had sex.
  • “I’m going to slather you in jelly” that sounds sexual.
  • “this one here is our booty” still sounds sexual.
  • So he wants to protect her despite her causing massive physical harm to him and being responsible for him getting arrested. Why? I theorise it’s entirely because he wants the booty.
  • “Your words mean nothing to me” oooooooo, vienna. 
  • “I could care less whether you live or die”. Ok, let’s get one thing straight America, that phrase makes zero sense. “I could care less” literally means “there is a situation in which I could care less, therefore I do care a little bit”. The phrase should be (and is, in every other country in the world) “couldn’t care less”. Because it implies you don’t care at all so there is no way you could care even less. The way you say it implies that despite the fact you don’t care much, you still care a little bit. “I could care less” basically says “I care a little bit”, which defeats your purpose.
  • I bet he never uses that “snap a neck from a distance” on any of the heroes.
  • “your demeanour is that of a child” yeah, and you’re wearing make-up like a teenage emo kid. You shouldn’t be killing people, you should be writing poetry on your blog about how girls ignore you.
  • “all fire on my command” why not start with that?
  • Those headphones blocked out a prison riot? My headphones get drowned out by cars driving past me.
  • Not even that, but surely he should have seen something on the video screens?
  • Okay his face is covered, but his hands aren’t, flying through space with uncovered hands would surely cause problems.
  • He got abducted as a kid, how many kids know of Jackson Pollock?
  • Surely he’s been threatened before? He collects artefacts so must have people attempt to rob him all the time, you’d think he’d have a defence set up.
  • Bowie song! And now I’m sad. Seriously, what is going on this year? I found a facebook status a few years old about how bad it was that three celebrities had died that year already. That seems like a blessing compared to this year. Prince, Lemmy, Bowie, Rickman, Wood, the PG tips monkey.
  • “I will not succumb to your pelvic sorcery” That’s pretty much exactly what my girlfriend said to me the first time we met.
  • Holy shit Bradley Cooper gives a REALLY good vocal performance here.
  • And with that he tells an entire bar full of outlaws how much money you’re about to come into.
  • Hey it’s a tesseract.
  • “it’s not a purse, it’s a knapsack” no, it’s a satchel. Indiana Jones has one.
  • I haven’t seen Star Wars but I imagine it’s basically this.
  • “normal people don’t even think about eating people” Oh, I guess I’m not normal then.
  • Where did they get those matching red suits from? Did they stop at Matalan before continuing with their quest?
  • “I think of them as paper people” Now, he doesn’t understand metaphors, so does that mean he literally thinks they’re people made of paper?
  • “I don’t think anyone is 100 percent a dick” you’ve never met Katie Hopkins then.
  • “We’re just like Kevin Bacon” doing awful adverts for EE?
  • Wait, wasn’t the city evacuated? Where are all these people coming from?
  • The two sisters are attacking each other with swords. I HATE these kind of fights. The ones where it cuts away before each impact. One on one fight scenes should cut as little as possible so the fight flows in one continuous motion. That way it looks like an actual fight, instead of a movie scene.
  • She chops off her own hand. Seriously, marvel hates limbs.
  • So he’s still using that stone just to throw people backwards instead of killing them?
  • “your guardians of the galaxy” Hey, that’s the title of the movie!
  • “what are you doing?” does it matter? Just kill him. Are people really distracted by singing and dancing? They’re not, trust me I tried.
  • “it’s probably good we didn’t deliver him to his dad like we were hired to do” The worst dialogue in this entire movie. It’s like the script writer didn’t know how to deliver that information so just turned one of the final scenes into an exposition heavy nothing piece.
  • “Ronan was only a puppet” No! That’s a metaphor! And that’s not what he’s meta-for. By which I mean, that line doesn’t make sense in the universe that they’ve created.
  • Howard the f*cking duck.

Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films (so far)

So yeah, Captain America: Civil War is out in 14 days. There’s 12 films, you know what that means? Yup, it’s time for the as-yet-untitled Marvel Version of my hugely unsuccessful Nightmare A Day series. What, you don’t remember that? Don’t worry, shall all be explained tomorrow. But until then, I still have to blog today, so what will today’s be? Simple, this will be my last normal blog until Civil War is released, so is really my last chance to do this and make it relevant. So here goes, all opinions are my own, but if you disagree you are wrong.

12. Thor: The Dark World

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I saw this film at the cinema and yet can barely remember anything about it. The trouble was that it’s kinda dull and doesn’t fit in with the rest. Plus by this point it was obvious that the character of Thor isn’t as interesting as his own villain. Loki dominates this film, just as he did the previous film, only this time it’s a lot more clunky in terms of why he’s there. It also completely wastes Christopher Ecclestone. The first film to really be skippable.

11. The Incredible Hulk

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A film that only ranks so low because it doesn’t really mesh with the others. The only thing tying this into to the rest is the cameo of Tony Stark. If it wasn’t for that, (and if it was released first instead of second) then they could just ignore it and pretend it never happened, like the world does with Godfather III.

10. Thor

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Yeah, maybe my personal bias is showing, I don’t like Thor. Mainly because the rest of the MCU tries really hard to be realistic and scientific, and then suddenly this guy shows up and smashes that to pieces. Also I feel his character just displays wasted opportunities. They have a character who is a God, they could do films based on how the world reacts to this, how does religion react to the existence of A God, but not Their God? None of this is shown, at all. Oh, and Natalie Portman’s character has all the background and charisma of a see through piece of tissue paper. Oh, and they wasted Idris Elba. Plus, Thor basically tried to kill Captain America in Avengers movie. Yes, the shield stopped him from being smashed with a hammer, but Thor didn’t know that would happen! From his perspective he just jumped at someone and tried to smash their face in with an unbeatable weapon. That would be like me launching nuclear weapons at a school but it turns out it’s okay as Fuzzy Felt stops explosions (it doesn’t by the way, I can 100% confirm this, sorry Nagasaki).

9. Avengers: Age Of Ultron. 

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This film highlighted a problem with a lot of modern super hero movies: pointless fight scenes and action sequences. Not just that, but poorly made action sequences too. There’s so many moments in this where action sequences just happen for no reason other than the studio thought “Action sequence goes here!”. Which is a shame as other than those it’s actually an okay story. I mean, the trailer did that annoying thing where it showed an awful thing that turned out to be a dream sequence. If it wasn’t for those two things it would be rated much higher (probably top five).

8. Iron Man 2

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Mickey Rourke is good in this, as is Downey Jr. But that’s kind of the biggest problem too. It’s so heavily dependent on performance, that it forgets to carve a good enough story. The villain is too similar to the first one (although don’t get me wrong he is better). The scene where Tony Stark is called into congress to explain himself is fantastic and says a lot about the nature of heroes, but then it just dissolves into casual action fare. Plus it’s hard to imagine THIS Tony Stark being the same one who (maybe, if they go close to the source material) advocates government registration of superheroes.

7. Iron Man

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Ok now we’re getting into awesome stuff. This is the film that launched not only the MCU, but superhero movies being fun again. After Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy it looked like all future superhero movies would just be fifty shades of grey and dark blues (and just as painful as that sounds). A great origin story, brilliantly directed by Jon Favreau, and the casting of Robert Downey Jr. was a master stroke. It was a risky decision but one that paid off.

6. Ant-Man

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Very, very fun. Paul Rudd is very funny. Yes, it would have been better if Edgar Wright stayed on but still. I saw this soon after Age Of Ultron, and the action set pieces in this were a lot better, featuring the best use of Thomas The Tank Engine I’ve ever seen in film.

5. Iron Man 3

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F*ck you I liked it. I know a lot of people don’t, and I understand why. But this was the first time the series tricked me. I’m a pretentious film student so I recognise plot twists early, but this one genuinely came out of left field, but in a way that made sense, it wasn’t one of those “and the killer turned out to be the goldfish all along!”. Yes, it still sucks that Iron Man films have had the worst villains so far but meh. This one also should be commended for actually showing character growth, Tony Stark is haunted by the actions of the Avengers movie, he’s basically suffering PTSD, sadly this was pretty much forgotten about by Age Of Ultron, very disappointing.

4. Avengers Assemble

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I rate this higher than the second one only because the action sequences aren’t as long, and at the time it was new. Plus it resurrected The Hulk as a character after two previous attempts to make a live action film about the character. This film established Loki as THE best villain in the Marvel Universe, which counts both for and against it. For because in this film he’s a charismatic, logical villain. Against because they can never hope to do that again.

3. Captain America: The First Avenger

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Yes, other films have been better, but this was the moment where the series grew from “action fare” to “cinematic genius”. The first (and best) use of cinematic emotion in the series. Usually when people say “Superhero movies are grown up and mature” they show things like Deadpool etc, things which are “adult”, but not “mature” (and yes, there is a difference). This would be a better option, exploring themes of identity, loss, and the commercialisation of war heroes to raise money instead of winning the war. The casting of Tommy Lee Jones in it added authenticity to the film, oh, and Hayley Atwell is superb. This is the first time they went beyond the “superhero saves world” story and focused on the hero themselves, a truly touching tale that was a worthy introduction to the character.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Probably the best example of a comic book movie transcending the genre. This film is almost like a cold-war era spy movie. Has the best plot of any of the films, fantastic characterisation, and is just all round brilliant. Amazing but not too comical, this film is not “look at this ooooo moment”, it’s not spectacle, but it is spectacular.

1. Guardians Of The Galaxy

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A part of this is because everybody expected it to fail. When it was announced people were certain this would be the biggest flop in Marvel history, more so than SuperLee, a superhero who fights crime with sarcasm and bitterness, which was invented by me, in my head, just now. But this film is amazing, it’s funny, smart and perfectly acted. It’s odd that Marvel has made better characters from a tree that only says three words than a lot of films manage with entire monologues. A space opera which is definitely the most fun film from all of them, and overall that’s what films should be: fun. It’s not the film with the best story, or the best acting, but it is definitely the one you’ll want to watch the most.

5 Of The Worst Comic Book Adaptation Castings

Yes, it’s time for the disappointing sequel to last weeks blog. I would explain what it entails but if you can’t gather what this blog is about from the title then you’re not really our intended audience.

5. Val Kilmer – Batman Forever

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Do I even need to explain why? I mean, look at him! I won’t do the unfair thing of posting a current picture of him and decrying that, I’m looking at a picture of him from the film. Awful, just awful. . Do you know who I blame for this miscasting? Not the director, not even the studio. I blame this man:

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Yup, Ethan f*cking Hawke. Now I know, I blame him for everything, but this time I have justification (unlike the time I blamed for the time I fell over a cat). He was offered the role and turned it down.

4. Jamie Kennedy – Son Of The Mask

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The original film was very much a product of its time, pushing the line between light and darkness, and launching the career of both Cameron Diaz and Jim Carrey. At the time it was the second highest grossing superhero film, and considering that it’s based on an unknown quantity it’s amazing that it took the studios so long to realise that if the film is good enough the fact not enough people know the source won’t matter (a lesson that it could be argued wasn’t truly utilised until Guardians Of The Galaxy in 2014). Now, let me just say here that I do really hate Jim Carrey, but that’s not based on the quality of his work, more the stupid idiotic things he says.

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Things like this

But credit where credit’s due, he’s a good clown. And that’s what this film needs, a clown, someone slightly elastic and otherworldy. And he does that very well. You cannot replace that with Jamie Kennedy, a person who’s done almost nothing of note outside of that E3 omnishambles. So yeah, on this note, Jim Carrey was the better option.

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3. Jim Carrey – Kick Ass 2

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Now this has nothing to do with his performance in the film, which was actually surprisingly good, and everything to do with his promotional work for the film. Which consisted of him disowning the film and telling people not to watch it. His reasoning was that after the Sandy Hook massacre, saying he could no longer support being in a film with that level of violence. Because before Sandy Hook there was never any violence, and certainly no mass shootings. Nope, not, a, single, one.

Whilst I have no doubt that Sandy Hook was a tragedy, for it to be the bit of violence that tips you over the edge is just strange. It’s almost naive to think there was no violence in the world before that, and his reaction is like a school child getting into politics “guys, guys, did you know there was a war years ago?” You read the script, you signed on to do it, in a world that was post-Columbine, post-9/11 etc you knew what you were doing. So for you to not fulfil your duties post-filming is just shameful. If you want your profession to be seen as a proper job, then actually do the thing you’re paid to do.

2 Idris Elba – Thor

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Now this is in no way a slight on his performance, or even a slight on him. In fact it’s the opposite, the reason I oppose this is because he’s too good for such a minimal role. And the fact he’s now such a badly written (barely even) supporting role is an insult to an actor of his quality. Now I don’t want to be a prick and say like “oh, he’s much better than that, proper actors shouldn’t do super hero films”, I just feel he could have played another role. The fact he has already been established in the Marvel Universe means he now can’t move into another role within the universe, one with a bit more gravitas (and screentime).

1. Robert Swenson – Batman And Robin.

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I know, it may be unfair as he’s not an actor. But I remember when it was announced that Tom Hardy was Bane, all that people were talking about was how big a failure the character was in Batman and Robin so this means that the film will surely fail with such a weak character. Now, I know he’s a devastating character in the comics, but most people who would be going to see the film aren’t going to have read the comics. All they will know about the character is what he was like in the film. Part of it was due to the way the character was written, but part of it was due to the casting as well. The fact they didn’t even cast an actual actor, instead casting an overweight wrestler, spoke volumes about how seriously the makers took the character, and it almost killed the chances of the character being taken seriously.

 

5 Of The Best Comic Book Adaptation Castings

For those of you who don’t live on twitter or facebook, and as such, don’t exist to me, International Woman’s Day on Tuesday. I felt I should commemorate this by doing a blog about it, maybe the best films directed by women? Maybe the best actress’s, or maybe the best female roles in films. The possibilities are endless. Then I realised, that’s condescending as f*ck so went with this instead: Enjoy!

1. Robin Lord Taylor – The Penguin (Gotham)

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I thought I’d start with the one that will annoy the most people. Not with picking someone that isn’t good, because he is VERY good in this, but because what it means for the rest of the blog. You see, I decided to limit myself in this blog to one per franchise. So this is the Batman one. Think about that, that means I’m not including Heath Ledger, I’m not including Jack Nicholson, Adam West, Anne Hathaway (which considering how much I love Hathaway, really says something), Michael Keaton, Mark Hamill, Robert Swenson.

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That alone should say how good I find his performance. But I’ll try to explain it better: before I watched the series I HATED the character of The Penguin. It seemed to cartooney, too silly to work, so something could never work in a modern gritty show. Yet with him, it works. He’s without a doubt the best part of the show, and makes it worth watching just for him.

2. Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man (erm, Iron Man)

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Let’s get something straight, a lot of you don’t like the Iron Man character. You may think you do, but you don’t. You like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Let’s face it, when Marvel made this film it was risky, more than it would seem to be now. Captain America would have been a much safer bet as he’s more recognisable. But Iron Man was better as a character to introduce the audience to the universe. Luckily it paid off as now we have Guardians Of The Galaxy etc, on the downside, we also have Avengers: Age Of Ultron. So it’s not all good.

3. JK Simmons – J.Jonah Jameson (Sam Raimi Spider-Man)

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I’m not doing this blog in any particular order really, just the order I feel like, because I’m a rebel who don’t play by society’s rules, man! If I was doing them in order of how absolutely PERFECT the casting is, this would be top. Numero uno. Number one. Top Gun. Jaws. The Godfather.

It’s often said that certain actors are born to play certain roles, and this is the one that he was absolutely BORN to play. He’s not playing the character here, he is the character. He embodies absolutely everything about it. God knows who they replaced him with when they rebooted the series, probably some blonde sweepy haired blue eyed prick from Dawson’s Creek or something.

4. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

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I was tempted to go with James “Smugface” McAvoy for the X-Men section. He gave Xavier a certain vulnerability that Patrick Stewart was never really given the chance to. Then I thought, maybe Fassbender as Magneto? I mean, he OWNED that role. Or maybe Hugh Jackman for defying all odds and being amazing at Wolverine (odd to think now, but a lot comic book fans HATED the idea of him as Wolverine when it was announced. But then again they also hated it when Ledger was announced as The Joker and Ben Afleck was announced as Batman, so really this just proves they don’t have a f*cking clue). But then I thought; f*ck it, it has to be Reynolds. It really does. Not just for what he did in the film, but because of how he’s embraced the character out of the film as well.

5. Christopher Reeve – Superman

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Do you even need to ask why? I mean, LOOK AT HIM!

 

So yeah, that’s it for today. Subscribe, follow, comment, stalk us and send us cake. You know, the usual 🙂