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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Upcoming Stuff For The Blog…

Howdy people of the internet, it’s your friendly neighbourhood Hypersonic55 just here to give you an update as to what’s going on with my blog as of recently and what will be coming up in the near future.

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What’s Going On

So what’s been going on in my world? Well a lot of stuff and not so much at the same time. For those you of who follow this blog you may have noticed that things haven’t been too active on this blog in the last month or so. There’s certainly been a lack of reviews for sure, though I have been watching films at home and in the cinema. At this point in times I’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron four times now and I’ve seen Mad Max: Fury Road twice, so I’m in my groove. Outside of that I obviously got went to the MCM London Expo, I’ve been also drawing a lot to improve my skills and I’m been gaming a fair bit too playing some Super Smash Bros. 4, Mario Kart 8 and Pokemon Shuffle. But the main thing that’s been eating up my time is work. Having a job is fun because I like money, but it also tires me out and conflicts with a lot of my socializing and free time in general. Even though its been eight weeks now, I still haven’t fully adjusted to the whole ‘having a job’ and ‘being an adult’ kind of thing.

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What’s Coming Up

But I guess you’re more interested in what I’ve got coming up right? Well I have a lot of reviews on the horizon and if I can get my ass in gear then there will be plenty of them and other blog post coming. So let’s talk films, there’s two major films that still need reviewing on this blog and that’s Pitch Perfect 2 and Tomorrowland. Both films I was meant to see opening weekend but I couldn’t fit them around my work schedule, and most days when I’m not working I just want to be inside. But I want to stress that those reviews are coming so look forward to those.

PP2-TMDGoing to try and review these films by the weekend at the latest.

In addition to the films I got some TV-based stuff to talk about too. With all of the major comic book TV shows all done and dusted I wanted to analyse them, check out their strengths and weaknesses and compare them overall. I want to cover everything from The Flash and Constantine to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil and everything else. Plus I’ve also been watching Buffy again recently so my review of season 6 is already in development.

TV-Shows-For-ReviewsPlenty of TV shows for me to talk about from now until the summer lol.

And finally I’m hoping to do some music reviews and talk about some video games too. OH and just to combine the last two subjects, I’ve recently updated my parts 1, 2 and 3 of My Favourite Music In Video Games posts, so check those out and look forward to part 4 because it’ll be a fun one to discuss!

Well that’s me done for now, just look forward to some fancy material from me in the near future and over the next month too. To those regular readers and the new ones too thanks for your continued support and I’ll see ya one the next blog post, laters! 😀

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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Life

 

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Tilda Swinton in Talks for Marvel’s Doctor Strange!

Howdy people of the internet, time for a news post and today I wish to talk about an interesting bit of casting news that hit the web recently surrounding Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange film. The following information comes from superherohype:

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The Hollywood Reporter brings word today that Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) is in negotiations to play The Ancient One in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. No stranger herself to comic book roles, Swinton previously starred in the adaptation of Snowpiercer and 2005’s Constantine.

Secured high in the Himalayan mountains, the Ancient One served as a mentor to Stephen Strange and aided him in his ascendance to Sorcerer Supreme. When the character eventually died, Strange was still able to summon him from the spiritual plane in order to aid him. Though the character has traditionally been male in the comic books, THR notes that Marvel was originally searching for male actors but retooled the role to make it a female.

Scheduled to hit theaters November 4, 2016, Doctor Strange is scripted by Jon Spaihts and is said to follow the story of neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions. Scott Derickson will direct the film, which sees Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role of the Sorcerer Supreme. A previous report noted that 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor was in talks to play the film’s villain, though this hasn’t been confirmed by the studio.

When I initially read this I was like “Huh? Well that’s, odd.” But when I started to think about it, I started to dig the idea. Now I don’t know too much about the Doctor Strange mythos beyond what I learnt in Marvel Ultimate Alliance and saw in the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon, but even then it isn’t that much. But if Marvel are going with Swinton for this role, then it looks like a totally different version of the character. As far I’m aware the character’s always been a male, was old and had an Asian-looking appearance. And I can see some fans moaning about this casting decision, but in these modern times, gender and race-switching is the in thing, however if the actor chosen is capable and if it serves the purpose of the story then there shouldn’t be any complaints. Tilda Swinton is pretty good actress and while I have seen an extensive amount of her work, what I have seen leads me to believe that she’d excel in a role like this. She was really good in the Narnia Only Lovers Left Alive, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, just to name a few. If Swinton does end up getting this role it’ll be interesting to see how they update the character and make her fit into the MCU and to see her work with Benedict Cumberbatch seems so cool to me.

So what do you think of this news? Do you think that this is a good role for Swinton or are you troubled by the casting choice and changes from the source material? Please leave your comments below, until next time, peace out! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Films, Media

 

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London MCM Expo May 2015 Review

Howdy ladies and gents, today I am here to give you my review on the London MCM Expo. Now it has been AGES since my last review of this convention (the last one being in 2011), but I felt like I had to talk about it considering all the madness that’s took place. Now before I get started I just wanted to mention that I only did the one day because I just didn’t have the funds or the free time outside of work to attend all three days. But that’s about it. Okay, let’s get going!

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So the London MCM Expo, the biggest UK convention for anime, manga, comic books, movies and video games held two times a year in May and October, it came back this weekend, and I attended for the first time in two years. Last year marked the first time I hadn’t attended since I started going in 2008 which was really random to me, but since I had a great time at the London Film and Comic-Con in July, that more than made up for it. That being said, this event, even though it has gotten absurdly huge and different in appearance over the years, I have such a heavy load of good nostalgia associated with this convention, so it was only a matter of time until I went back. And my Saturday experience was a combination of joy, extreme happiness, tiredness, frustration and confusion. Make no mistake, MCM is still a great place to go for a unique and joyful experience, but some of its pleasures come at a cost, and I’m not just talking about you wallet.

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Now I’m going to talk about what I got up to and separate this review into two halves; what and I liked and what I didn’t.

What I liked

This year was all about seeing what’s new, what’s remained the same and enjoying myself, and there was plenty to enjoy. Going to the Expo this year I noticed how huge the hall space was, I feel like it’s doubled in size since my first time in 2008. Walking from one side to the other felt like a 5-10 minute walk, but if you weren’t walking straight, stuck in walking traffic or had to make certain turns at different spots, then it would be a slightly longer trip.

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There was this nice wall of cat drawings and I contributed as well, the one cat with his eyes closed and arms crossed on the yellow paper was mine. 😀

In terms of what I got up to, well I didn’t play too many games, see too many talks or even see the Cosplay Masquerade, but I did get to talk to some great artists, play some games and get some photos with some guests. I took a fair few photos of cosplayers. After 2012 I really lost interest in taking photos because I stopped making YouTube videos and it felt more like work than something I liked doing, so I really wasn’t going to do much this year, but then I got a good few photos this year. And just in general there was a lot of great costumes on show, loads of Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Spider-Man, Final Fantasy and Nintendo-related characters among many others. I was surprised by the amount of Game of Thrones characters with a good few Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys Targaryen ladies walking about.

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When it comes to games I viewed some cool matches from Dragon Ball Z: Xenoverse, enjoyed seeing J-Stars Victory VS in action and looking at all of the crazy attacks and multiple characters from different anime in one place. The only other game I checked out was One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, it looked a little more impressive than I thought, while the game looked just like your standard hack and slack with really dumbass CPU enemies that run around just to get beating up, but when I saw Fujitora in action with crazy attacks, combos and finishing moves it made me want to by the game. But when it comes to the games I actually played, it comes down to Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. Wii U.

Firstly, even though I’ve had no interest in Splatoon at all since its reveal at E3 last year because it wasn’t my kind of thing, I thought I should have at least given it a try. So with the demo on show I gave it a try and I found it to be pretty fun and much better than I expected. Running around, shooting ink, swimming and defending your territory, it was pretty fun. I even ended up getting the most ink covered for my team and didn’t die once, for a first-timer that was great. The controls felt a bit weird though with the use of the Wii U Gamepad to move the camera around and that threw me off when I trying to move around and defend myself from enemies.

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But then I played some Smash Bros. and that’s when things got interesting. For me, this game series is my jam and this was the first time I got to play the game with a Gamecube controller (and it felt amazing), so we played a 6-player stock match, 5 humans and 1 Amiibo and 3 lives. The first match was hectic and it came down to me as Captain Falcon vs Ness, unfortunately I lost, but in the second match I came back with a vengeance as Lucina and schooled Ness as I sent him plummeting into the abyss! The final match I played as Fox, but was knocked out fairly early on because that tricky Mega Man Amiibo kept moving all over the place and giving me problems. 😛

Super-Smash-Bros.3DS-WII-UOh yeah you that where there’s an Expo there will be some Smash Bros. action for me!

But the highlights for me was three things:

  • Meeting John Noble
  • Meeting Iain De Caestecker
  • Meeting Jon Schnepp and seeing “The Death of Superman Lives”: What Happened?

The main reasons I went to this convention was for those three points listed above. When it comes to the photo sessions, when I saw that John Noble, yes, the Walter Bishop from Fringe was gonna be there, I literally exploded in my mind at the chance to see him. So waiting to see him yesterday was insane, long and extremely tedious, but just getting there, meeting him, shaking his hand and being so humbled by his kindness, it was the best kind of overwhelming experience. It was a heartpounding and lovely moment. And then I got to meet Iain De Caestecker later on, I liked him in Filth, but I’ve mainly been invested in his performance as Leo Fitz from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the guy was SO nice and friendly, loved it.

Me,Noble,DeCaesteckerOverwhelming happiness, that’s what it these photos were all about yo!

And the final part of my day was seeing a screening of The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?, the documentary from Jon Schnepp looking into the cancelled Superman film from Tim Burton starring Nicholas Cage. Seeing this film was great, it was such an intriguing and informative look into a film that got so far into development but then got canned. All of the great guest contributors, archive footage, editing and humour all came together in such a fantastic and fascinating manner. This was definitely a story that needed to be told and I’m glad that Schnepp was able to get this documentary finish. And speaking of Schnepp, I just wanted to comment on how great it was to see the man in person. He introduced the film and then did a Q&A afterwards and he was just as hilarious, charming and humble as he is on AMC Movie Talk and getting to meet him after all of these years of watching the online show felt like a dream. Oh and shaking his hand was such a delightful feeling. 😀

TDOSLWH-posterSuch a good film, one I would recommend to anyone who is curious about this project.

What I disliked

Firstly I have to address the LINES!

south-park-s05e06c05-lines-lines-lines-16x9Now I know exactly how Cartman felt, it was enough to drive one to madness.

Now I’m no stranger to standing in lines at events like this and I’ve gotten used to it especially when it comes to playing games, watching the Cosplay Masquerade or getting autographs/photos with celebrity guests… That being said, usually there’s a system in place so that you know where to go when you start to queueing and avoid collisions with the general public just passing by, but NOPE, not this year. Those guys at the Excel really dun goofed this year. When it came to photo sessions specifically there was no order, everyone was everywhere, lines for certain people were spread across three different locations, some people skipped the queue altogether and the general public just trying to get by had to force their way through. There was SO much frustration and it was all because of miscommunication and lack or order.

And the staff, they had no clue. Really, you could have asked four or five staff members where you were meant to stand before you got the correct answer  and by that point you had probably wasted 30-45 minutes of your time. And only after allowing you to stand in the wrong places do the get organised and attempt to get a system in place for the different queues passing into each other, and even then, there was conflicting information and a lack clear instructions because no one had a bloody megaphone! I know I complained about the waiting periods at London Film and Comic-Con last year for their outside lines, however, at least their photo session tickets had clear sections to stand in and system in place for calling you up when it was your turn. This kind of thing can’t continue in the future as the fans I was standing with were ready to revolt out of anger, confusion and sore legs.

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Now imagine these lines, but with 5 to 10 times as many people squashed in one spot. Chaos!

The only other thing I would complain about is more of a nostalgic nitpick, and it relates to the state of the Expo. A few years ago this convention was big, but it was controlled, fun and felt unique, but in recent times the convention has gotten a little too big. There’s so much going on with the stalls, events and guest stars, I feel like the event’s gotten too big and out of control. Sure making the Expo bigger to accommodate more stuff is always interesting for new and returning fans, but I feel like this isn’t the event I remember and some of the charm has been lost.

In conclusion the MCM Expo in London was a good time. After a little break from this convention it was nice to go back and revisit the place that exposed me to the madness of fans and the content on display. This even was pretty frustrating though, unorganised staff, loads of queues and lack of information really knocked this experience down a few pegs, if the Expo is to continue then it needs to get its act together. But other than those formalities I had a hella good time and should I find a reason to return in the future I may do so.

So did you go to the recent MCM Expo and if so what did you think? Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post. Laters! 😀

 
 

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Mad Max: Fury Road Review

Howdy ladies and gents time for a new review and today I’ll be talking about Mad Max: Fury Road. This film has been the topic of discussion in the world of film for a while now and considering that all of the early reviews have been extremely positive, its sent my expectations through the roof. So I saw it yesterday and now I’m ready to pass judgement.

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Here is the plot in a summary:

“In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.”

Overall the story was a really good. The narrative isn’t too dense, but what is on display is interesting and surprisingly deep and dramatic at points. Story-wise the film takes its cues from Mad Max 2 & 3 and has Max as a drifter and then come across people who he helps along the way. The story took a little while to get going for me, at first I was wondering where the story was going and when it would get interesting, eventually it picked up, got very interesting and by the end I was satisfied with the conclusion. While this film works well on its own, I feel like those who are familiar with the previous Mad Max films will get the most out of this new entry in the series. Much like when you’ve read a book or a comic that’s been adapted into film, you get to compare it to what has come before and enjoy updates, changes and references, and this film falls into that category for sure. This film draws from the older films, but Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior feels like the main reference for this film as there are clear easter eggs, story and visual cues taken from that film. Fury Road in a lot of ways feels like the spiritual successor to The Road Warrior, but with modern cinema’s quicker pace and that’s what I loved about this film.

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When it comes to the cast they all do really good jobs in their roles. Tom Hardy as “Mad” Max Rockatansky is pretty cool, Max is one of those strong and silent types, doesn’t say much but when he does its for a good reason. Max is also haunted by images of his past which trouble him but in a way also guide him. Hardy brings a certain level of gruffness and physicality to the role and he’s good, but I wish I’d seen more of him in the film. Really it is Charlize Theron who steals the show as Imperator Furiosa. This is a character who is on a mission, has good intents and will stop at nothing to get it completed, even if it means making some dodgy dealings or shooting people. Theron has proved to be a chameleon in the world of film as she can get lost in many roles, and while you can see that it is her, she really is almost unrecognisable as this character and does such a great job being a badass. Nicholas Hoult does a good as Nux, he’s a super charismatic, funny and sympathetic a soldier who wants to be recognised by his leader and goes to great lengths to impress him.

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Hugh Keays-Byrne is awesome as Immortan Joe, to know that Bryne is back as the villain in this film like he was in the first Mad Max is just the most insanely cool thing ever, he was one of my favourite parts of the first film and here is subtly strange, crazy and merciless. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad was surprisingly quite good, of the Five Wives she was probably my favourite because of her importance and screen time. Whiteley has come a bloody long way since Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I almost didn’t recognise her and acting skills have increased a great deal too. Zoë Kravitz as Toast the Knowing (random name) was probably my next favourite because of mean persona and her action moments. Riley Keough as Capable, Abbey Lee as The Dag and Courtney Eaton as Cheedo the Fragile were fine. Nathan Jones was also good as Rictus Erectus and finally Melissa Jaffer was lovely as Keeper of the Seeds.

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As for the presentation, what can I say, it was bloody brilliant! Everything about this film just screams of brilliance and insanity. Whether you are talking about the cool costume designs, interesting vehicles or that one guy playing that flaming guitar (who is awesome by the way), it is just so strange and attractive to the eyes. The visual side of this film is bloody impressive, the use of practical effects for all of the action sequences was so beautiful, so nicely choreographed and edited together and there are times when you’re just trying to confirm that you are watching exactly what you are seeing on-screen. I also loved the overall sense of style, colour scheme, cinematography and use of CGI the larger set pieces like that massive sandstorm scene. If I had one nitpick it would be that some of those sped up sequences were a little jarring and off-putting at first but eventually adjusted. Also the music by Junkie XL was really good, it was a very aggressive, loud and intense score and I proper got into the music in the car chase sequences.

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In conclusion Mad Max: Fury Road is a pretty damn awesome film. The direction is solid, there is a delightful sense of style and madness, the performances are great and the film literally has some of the best practical action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. George Miller should be commended for being able to come back to this franchise after so long and being able make it work in the modern era of cinema and yet make the film feel in line with his previous Mad Max films. With that being said I still wanted a little more from this film and I wasn’t left in awe or speechless when I left the cinema. But I want to stress again that I really liked this film and I highly recommend it as it deserves to be seen by everyone.

Rating: 8.5/10

So what did you think of Mad Max: Fury Road? Did it live up to or pass your expectations? Also do you think it is the best film of 2015 or not? AND do you feel like my thoughts on the film are fair or do you think I’m in denial about everything (say what you want, I’m ready to defend myself). Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and start the discussions yo! Thanks for reading, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Top Five Review

Howdy people of the internet and welcome to another film review and today’s review comes in the form of Top Five, the latest film from Chris Rock in which he stars and directs. Now I had been waiting to see this film for months after seeing the trailer and its initial release in the US, and luckily my local Cineworld were actually showing the film so I saw it and now I’m ready to pass judgement.

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The plot for the film came be summed up as the following:

“A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality-TV star fiancée talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her TV show.”

Overall I thought this film’s story was pretty good. What I liked about it so much is that while it was comedic, there was also a lot of drama and truth to some of the subject matter involved. This film deals with issues of truth, identity, relationships, talent and knowing the difference between what is right and what is easy among other things and it is handled nicely. I like how to the two main characters butt heads at first but then start to warm to each other, help each other out later on down the road. While the film’s story feels familiar, it at least tells a compelling tale that is funny when it needs to be but is also heartfelt and relatable when it needs to be too. The film also felt kind of self-referential to Chris Rock and his career (I guess that was intentional), and it was interesting to see certain parrells from Rock’s character to himself, and it kind of felt like Rock was saying, “I still have it. I may not be in the spotlight anymore, but I still have the funny factor that you love.”

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Now let’s talk about the cast, it is comedy central as there are comedians left, right and center and it is awesome. Chris Rock as Andre Allen is very good, as the star he would have to be, but luckily this character has just the right amount of humour, charm, arrogance and heart to make him a well-rounded character. Rock is essentially playing himself here, bit unlike some of his previous comedic roles, Andre feels more fleshed out and realistic because of his career choices and similarities to Rock’s natural persona. I felt like Rock wanted to portray a certain kind of character in this film because he was directing as well acting and he really acted quite well. And then there’s Rosario Dawson as Chelsea Brown who was great as the journalist interviewing Andre. Chelsea is a smart and witty who asks all the juicy and important questions, she wants a good story and is not afraid to get under Andre’s skin to get them. Dawson as always looks incredible, but she is also very likeable, fun and heartwarming in her role. Together Rock and Dawson have lovely on-screen chemistry. Gabrielle Union was very nice as Erica Long, Andre’s fiancée. Erica was a light-hearted, happy and spoilt little lady who was pretty much trying to get her 15 minutes of fame, she’s quite irritating and mean, but behind all the smoke and mirrors you see that she has a heart and Union played her part well.

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J. B. Smoove is great as Silk, Smoove is pretty damn funny whenever her shows up in a film or TV show and here he’s great too. The only other person who shows up and leaves as big a an impact se him is Leslie Jones as Lisa, this woman is really funny and had some of the best lines and moments, I wanted to see more of her. OH and Cedric the Entertainer as Jazzy Dee, what a legend. Cedric, that guy kills me sometimes with his comedic roles and Jazzy Dee is no exception, he’s off-the-wall and strange but also super hilarious too. Tracy Morgan as Fred, that guy was also funny and I love Morgan in general as he finds ways to make the simplest of things funny to watch. Kevin Hart even shows up for a bit as Charles and as usual he’s pretty good. Also Sherri Shepherd as Vanessa she was lovely and had some good moments in the film too. There are also some unexpected cameos in this film as well, I won’t ruin them for anyone who wants to see the film but I will say that their appearances are great. Oh you know what? Screw it. MINOR SPOILER AHEAD… The is a scene with Andre and DMX in jail and it was one of the most random, bizarre and hilarious moments in the film, so weird and yet so great.

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In the end Top Five is a good film and was a very different film then I was expecting. While this film doesn’t reinvent anything and there aspects of the story that have been done before, on the whole it is a well-made, funny and dramatic film. This is the most notable piece of work that Chris Rock has done in years and I’m happy to see that he can still be entertaining but can also direct too.

Rating: 7.5

So have you seen Top Five and if so what did you think of it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Captain America: Civil War Synopsis & Cast Revealed By Marvel Studios

Howdy ladies and gents, time for some film news. Now I know there’s been some pretty big film news floating around the internet recently with the all of the images on the Suicide Squad, Star Wars: The Force Awakens info and images and rumoured info on the upcoming Spider-Man reboot with the potential actors and directors, but I’ve honestly been too lazy to report it. However today there is some news that I can’t ignore and that’s the new info on Captain America: Civil War. The following info comes from superherohype:

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“Marvel Studios has commenced principal photography at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on Captain America: Civil War, the third installment of its Super Hero franchise. The production will shoot on location in Atlanta, Georgia, which serves as the base for the film’s production, as well as locations in Germany, Puerto Rico and Iceland.

Set for release in the United States on May 6, 2016, Captain America: Civil War is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, “Community”) from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The Winter Solider, Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger). The film returns Chris Evans as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America along with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Paul Bettany as The Vision, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes/War Machine and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch.

After his debut in Marvel’s Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Paul Rudd will make his first appearance alongside the Avengers as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Captain America: Civil War.

The cast of the film also includes Chadwick Boseman (42, Get on Up) as T’Challa/Black Panther, Emily VanCamp (“Revenge”) as Sharon Carter/Agent 13, Daniel Brühl (Inglorious Basterds, Bourne Ultimatum) as Baron Helmut Zemo, Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones, William Hurt (Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk) as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey).

Captain America: Civil War picks up where Avengers: Age of Ultron left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is produced by Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige, with Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo’s creative team also includes director of photography Trent Opaloch (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Elysium), production designer Owen Paterson (Godzilla, The Matrix), and three time Oscar-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).”

To be honest I was already hyped for this film long before Avengers: Age of Ultron came out, but now that it’s filming and we’ve gotten all of these recent announcements my hype levels are actually exploding in my mind. I want this film in my life now. That’s how hyped I am. What I like about this news is two things:

  • The cast
  • The story details

Firstly that cast, damn! SO MANY PEOPLE, SO MUCH TALENT! In addition to having all of the great characters from Winter Soldier coming back we see The Vision, Hawkeye, War Machine and Scarlet Witch have returned from Age of Ultron too which is just delightful. Anyone that’s seen Age of Ultron knew that these characters were more than likely going to return but it is the fact that they’re confirmed that makes me smile. More Vision, War Machine and Scarlet Witch makes me very happy. Oh and having RDJ back as Tony Stark/Iron Man always makes me smile too. Also seeing Sharon Carter/Agent 13 is a wonderful thing, and getting to see Boseman as Black Panther in full costume is gonna be a delightful feeling for sure. But let’s talk about the bigger news that not only Paul Rudd will return as Ant-Man, but we also have bloody William Hurt back as frigging General Thunderbolt Ross from The Incredible Hulk! What!?! If there’s been one missing link in the MCU is the lack of connections to that Hulk film from 2008, it’s been largely ignored, so to have Hurt back adds to the continuity of this world and I would love to see his interaction with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and see what kind of conversations they’ll have or how they acknowledge each other. Oh and finally I’m curious to know what character Martin Freeman will play, some say he’ll be some kind of government official at the center of this war, and in some ways I’m inclined to agree.

And then there’s the plot. Which basically sounds like the superheroes do something bad, the government steps in to control how they operate and this doesn’t bode well for the heroes with some for it and some against it, and then chaos ensues. I like it. It’s a very different, yet familiar take on the Civil War storyline from the comics. I’m just curious to see what this incident is and how it will trigger the government to step and what will be the exact catalyst for the heroes going to war with each other. I have some ideas but I’ll wait until more details arise before I make assumptions.

While Age of Ultron stumbled a bit with its plotlines and use of characters, it was still a very enjoyable and fun film, though I feel like some fans’ trust in Marvel Studios has been shaken. I feel like this film will have to be amazing or people will moan about Marvel’s ability to make good/consistent work. I believe in the Russo brothers, the way they handled Winter Soldier showed me that these are men who know what the deal is having a good relationship with the people at Marvel so they can craft an entertaining film that they want but also what the fans want too. As long as this film handles the cast correctly, sticks to its main story and doesn’t get lost in setting up from future films, it’ll be badass for sure.

So what are the main things I’ve taken away from this news? Well:

  1. Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Ant-Man and General Ross are back, YAY!
  2. The story sounds great.
  3. Once again General Ross is back, continuity! 😀

So what do you think of this news? Are you more or less hyped than before for it? Please be sure to drop your thoughts in comment section below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Films, Media

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron SPOILER-HEAVY Review/Discussion

Howdy ladies and gentlemen of the internet, if you’re a big comic book fan or film fan in general chances are you would have seen the recent beast of a film by the name of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and if you haven’t yet you should. There is so much going on in this film and that it would be impossible for me to not do a long spoiler-based discussion on the film, so after seeing it three times I believe is it time to talk about it in a great deal of detail. So if you haven’t seen the film read my spoiler-free review, then come back here. Alrighty then for those of you still here, let’s get started.

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Now before I get into this I just want to clarify a two things:

  1. The following thoughts are just the opinion of an avid film/comic book fan
  2. I am not a blind fan boy, if a film has issues I will not pretend like they don’t exist and will bring them to light if necessary

So with that in mind I am going to talk about what worked, what didn’t and what could have been improved (though the latter will technically be attached to what didn’t work because most of those points collide with each other).

What Worked In Age of Ultron

As a Whole, turned out Great

Avengers: Age of Ultron was always going to have a lot going up against it. Firstly it had to out do the first Avengers film which was a pretty damn good film and is regarded to be one of the best comic book films ever. Secondly it also had to fend off the great Phase Two films from 2014; Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Thirdly it had to take the already established characters and bring in a new villain and three additional characters. And finally the film had to take several storylines and set up for future films and make it work in one cohesive manner.

In the end I believe Joss Whedon, the writers and everyone involved in this project did a good job at making it work. This film represents everything that you like about the first film, but introduces a lot of new and interesting elements that work very well too. The film moves at a breakneck speed and continues to evolve these characters and the world of the MCU.

Hawkeye

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I think the main thing I took away from Age of Ultron the first time and again on my subsequent viewings was how awesome Hawkeye was. After being Loki’s puppet for the majority of the last film, this time round he gets so much love. He has a lot of the best scenes, great dialogue and really is the core of the Avengers team. Even though he is just human with a bow and arrow, he’s aware of his limitations and makes do with the skills that he has. Whether he is making a great speech about the ridiculous nature of battle with Scarlet Witch, chilling with his teammates or talking to himself about taking out Quicksilver, he comes across a totally cool, fun and relatable person, and anyone who has dismissed him before should be pleased with the way he was handled here. Oh and the fact that he had a hidden family stashed away in a farmhouse off the grid was the biggest surprise ever! I thought it was a trick or dream sequence, but it WAS real, totally unexpected and add a big layer or depth to him, he’s not just a fighter, he’s a family man and has something to fight for beyond his teammates.

Character Moments

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One of the key elements of this film that I think were better than the previous film was the character interaction and quieter moments between the Avengers team members. As great as the action sequences were, some most entertaining parts involved the characters just talking to each other. For the established characters it was about them just enjoying each other’s company and cracking jokes, but it was also about seeing how far they’ve come and learning more about their insecurities and trust issues (especially after their encounters with Scarlet Witch). Whether it is conversations between Vision and Ultron or watching Tony and Steve debating over different ideals while chopping wood, it is all good stuff. I think the best character moments (besides Vision and Ultron’s conversation near the end of the film) is the relationship between Black Widow and Bruce Banner/Hulk. Both of them are troubled and hurt individuals, they find each other, they flirt with the idea of being together, but in one scene we see how they tragically wouldn’t be able to make things work out. Banner fear’s that the Hulk would still be threat and that he wouldn’t be able to have children, and then Widow drops a bomb; she’s been sterilized so she can’t have children. Damn, that’s some heavy stuff there. Add on top of that the wonderful interaction that Hulk and Widow have on the battlefield and when she used the lullaby to turn the Hulk back to Banner, they are soft and beautiful. Oh and that last scene when Hulk leaves Widow and flies off into the unknown on his own, it’s very special and on top of everything they’ve been through together already, it just adds to drama their characters and their potential relationship.

The Humour

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Humour has always been half the fun of a Marvel Studios film and while it hasn’t always worked, in The Avengers it was one of the best parts of the film and here it is no exception. The jokes are witty, quick and work both verbally and physically. Whether it is all of the men trying to pick up Thor’s hammer, Quicksilver getting shot in the arm after the police are told to ceasefire, Ultron referring to Cap’s Vibranium shield as a frisbee, Tony Stark getting giddy over a secret door or Vision picking up Thor’s hammer in a casual manner, there is plenty to make you laugh. The jokes feel a little less forced than some of the previous films and it works because it’s used in the midst of dangerous situations or adds to the character interactions.

Vision

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Even though this character is only in the film for a short time, he leaves a very big impression. Vision is a combination of JARVIS and Ultron, but is his own entity and from the time he is introduced he’s very interesting. He’s calm, assertive, intelligent and articulate. There’s something very clean and pure about him, but it is the way interacts with characters that makes him brilliant, whether he’s speaking with the Avengers or talking with Ultron (which are some of the best moments in the film), the guy is just really awesome. It also helps that he pick up and use Thor’s hammer and is a complete badass in battle flying around dismantling robots and shooting head lasers. Paul Bettany should be noted for his lovely performance in this film, Bettany as JARVIS has been one of my favourite minor characters in the MCU films (much like Agent Coulson before he got killed in Avengers) and to see him evolve into a physical being where can interact with the Avengers.

Ultron

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While Ultron doesn’t have the same kind of charm, likeability and elegance that Loki has, the guy is clearly the best villain the MCU has had in a while (besides Winter Soldier). Ultron wasn’t just another typical evil villain looking to take over the world, he wanted to purify it by evolving the human race and taking out those who didn’t fit into his grand design of a perfect world. It also helps that he was smart, quite funny, big-headed and could go into a temper tantrum like a child at anytime. Oh and Spader’s voice work, excellent, I really helps elevate a character if the right voice is behind it.

The Ties to the MCU

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This is just a small point but I really liked the sense of continuity in this film as it ties in nicely with not only The Avengers but also some of the previous Phase Two films. Seeing the film the first time, I just got so happy at the party seeing not only Rhodey, but also Sam Wilson as well. Both of these guys are some of my favourite side characters and to see them conversing and interacting with characters beyond the solo films is delightful, funny and again adds to the continuity. Also having War Machine coming in and fighting with Iron Man when dispatching the Ultron drones was awesome, those two haven’t been together on-screen since Iron Man 2, so its nice. And of course there’s Thor’s vision about the Infinity Stones/Gems and the mid-end credits scene with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet which not only ties this film with Captain America 1, Avengers 1, Thor 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy. Oh and with Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaw (who was great by the way), we’ve gotten a piece of the puzzle from the upcoming Black Panther which will happen in a few years. SO MUCH REFERENCING!

Action

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Straight from the beginning of the film this film straps you in for this action thrill ride and never let’s go. I mean the introduction of the film jumps right into an action sequence which shows not only how well these heroes work individually but also as a unit. It is incredibly well-choreographed and features that awesome slow-mo shot of the team together from the third trailer. Some of the fight sequences feel like they are ripped straight from the pages of the comic books, it’s that accurate. And it is not just the team together that have the best scenes, Thor happens to get a lot of love in this film and has the best fights I’ve seen him in since Avengers 1, possibly even Thor 1. Also Captain America’s strength from Winter Soldier has carried over to this film and its put to good use. It seems like Cap and Thor have a good connection as they seem to seem up a lot and do cool combo attacks too. Everyone has their moments to shine, Black Widow is cool, Hulk is a beast, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are lovely, and the list goes on. I have to say one of my favourite moments was seeing Iron Man, Thor and Vision are striking Ultron down together, it was pure badassery. Though, I believe the slow motion battle sequence where the Avengers defend that one spot against the Ultron drones has to be the best in the entire film. The way it is crafted is done with such care, style, beauty and it is pure fan service to the fans.

What Didn’t Work/What Could Have Been Improved

A Bit Too Much Going On

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I think this has been the main point/problem with Avengers: Age of Ultron, that there is just a bit too much going on. I have to say on your first viewing the film it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a great deal of plots to follow with the Twins, Ultron, Ulysses Klaw and the Vibranium, Black Widow and Bruce Banner’s relationship, Thor’s quest to learn about the Infinity Stones, the creation of Vision, etc… It can be a bit much and since there will be specific stories you get invested in you will either end up get engaged only to switch to something else or get stuck with something that doesn’t interest you or have a piece of story that feels like it detracts from the main narrative. While Joss Whedon did well to balance out all this ambitious amount stories and didn’t make a complete mess of things like Spider-Man 3, Iron Man 2 or The Amazing Spider-Man, the film has clearly suffered from an oversized plot which needed to be much more straightforward. If certain characters were removed and things were streamlined then the film would have flowed a lot better, though personally I wouldn’t know what to take out because I liked everything for the most part.

Time Devoted to the Twins

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I really liked the inclusion of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, they added a lot of interesting elements to the film with their powers, close sibling relationship and their reasoning for joining Ultron and then later converting to the side of the Avengers. That being said at the same time, if handled differently they could have been removed and it would have given more screen time to other characters or helped streamline the plot. It kind of feels like they’re around just to show off their powers and eventually join the other heroes. I wish there had been more screen time given to their characters to see more of their close bond, maybe see flashbacks when they were children or when they were being experimented on by Strucker or using their powers for the first time. Just small things like that would have helped.

Ultron’s Evolution

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With Ultron I was hoping to see more of how he came into being, saw the world, grew to see its problems and then decide that things needed to change and turn evil. The jump from his creation to him having a plan to take out the Avengers and make humanity evolve or be destroyed was pretty damn quick and I believe a little more time spent with him, giving him some more development and screen time would have done wonders. Also I wanted to mention his physical transformation, I was hoping to see more of a gradual transformation and more bodies, maybe even see him take one body and get morphed/upgraded in a machine, but no, we go from one body to the next pretty swiftly which was a little disheartening.

Action Sequences

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As much as I loved the action in this film which was gorgeous and kick ass, at the same time this time it felt like it had a little less “wow” factor to it. I’m not the only one to say this, some other have mentioned that the action this time round, while really good, there wasn’t as many memorable scenes/sequences as the first Avengers or like Winter Soldier where there was a lot of cool hand to hand combat which blew my mind. And while the action is usually very clean, wonderfully framed and pretty, the CGI looked a little inconsistent, some of the action was done with a few too many quick cuts and sometimes the shots seemed a bit too zoomed in, but that’s nitpicking for sure.

Repetition From Avengers

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One of the other major complaints that’s come from this film is that it rehashes a lot of elements from the last film, mainly the final act where the Avengers go up against a villain with an army. Just switch the Chitauri with robots and the final fight is almost exactly the same. I give this film credit for raising the stakes and creating a more life-threatening situation with Ultron taking a piece of the earth and using it like a meteor to crush the rest of the world below. But besides that it is essentially the Avengers, trying to save civilians and fighting an army.

No Big Continuity Related to Iron Man 3 and Thor 2

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I think this was something that a good few fans and critics brought up around the time the film was released early to the press and here in the UK. Winter Soldier is clearly the most referenced film in Phase Two with its use of Falcon, the mentions of the hunt for Bucky and Baron Strucker saying he worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. when Cap said he worked for Hydra. But beyond that Iron Man 3 continuity feels non-existent, besides having Rhodey around, there is nothing to be found about the film, no mention of Tony’s anxiety attacks or why he started building suits again after he blew most of them up and had no lab to work in. And Thor’s last film feels invisible, besides seeing the Aether in his vision and a mentioning of Jane and the convergence, his film feels like it has had little consequence going ahead in this film.

Other Notable Points

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There are just a few other things I wanted to mention like:

  1. Baron Von Strucker: When I saw Strucker at the end of Winter Soldier I thought he would have a substantial role in this film, and while he was fine and the same time I thought he was incredibly underutilized and could have been featured more many in some flashbacks or addition scenes with the twins.
  2. Doing More With Scarlet Witches Visions: Besides what was done with Tony Stark and Black Widow, the other members of the team members’ visions weren’t that damaging or extreme. Widow relived the dark days of her past and Stark saw his worst fear, those scenes were handled well. But I wish we’d seen a little more and done things that were psychologically more damaging for the team.

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In conclusion Avengers: Age of Ultron is a bloody good follow-up to avengers and while it didn’t turn out like a lot of people had hoped, when you think about it could have turned out a lot worse. The first Avengers film came out at a time when comic book films were really starting to become a big deal, but they were not as frequent or as popular as they are now. The MCU was also very different too, The Avengers was the first of its kind as since then, the world has expanded and there is more characters populating it, and since the MCU is all connected there is a certain expectation from the fans to see how one film affects another. Age of Ultron does suffer from being part of a larger world and with the multiple plot points things can get a little messy. That being said, again this film is still a good time, it is hilarious, action-packed, full of fan service and character development and the most important fact is that it is fun. The film is entertaining and at the end of the day that is all you need a film to be right?

So what did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Is it the film you hoped for or not? And do you agree with any of my points or not? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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