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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 31- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. The latest episode of the podcast features my review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. 🙂

Anyway here’s the episode 31:

Now I already did a written review for this film last week and this episode is around a week old now, but since Guardians 2 getting being released in the US this week it felt appropriate to release a post about this episode to hopefully increase its visibility.

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review (Spoiler-Free)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I’m going to be talking about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the long-awaited sequel from Marvel Studios. Now back in 2014 I loved Guardians of the Galaxy, it was an unexpected surprise of that summer and so creating a sequel that would equal or exceed the previous film was going to be a mammoth task. But anyway I saw the film yesterday/this morning as part of a double bill at Cineworld and now I’m reading to pass judgement!

The story can be summed up as the following:

“The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

At this point in time I’m finding it a tad difficult to formulate my thoughts into works. Guardians Vol. 2 is an interesting beast, it is really good and an overall fun adventure, however it’s also uneven and not as cohesive as the first film. So depending on how you felt about Guardians 1, this film will be more of what you enjoyed before or be a disappointment.

If the story does one thing well it is covering the main theme of family as this film has a strong emphasis on the ties between Peter Quill and his father, Gamora and Nebula, and of course the Guardians team themselves. This film shows what it means to be a family, whether you’re blood related, adopted or have a strong connection to someone and we also see the highs and lows of those relationships. Another strong element was the fact that the story also got quite emotional and dramatic and I didn’t expect that, but it was a welcome surprise. As for the humour, one the first film’s strongest points, it was a little hit or miss, some of the jokes were amazing and other didn’t land as well, plus they were coming a little too frequently for my liking, so anyone annoyed with the frequent humour in Marvel films won’t be a fan of this film. And lastly for the first time in a while Guardians Vol. 2 feels like a standalone adventure with ties to other films or the larger MCU being next to non-existent and there not being any major set up for future films. Now of course there is some set up for a sequel and some great references to the comics, but otherwise this was an isolated film, so anyone hoping for MCU connections definitely be disappointed.

As for the cast they were all very good, though some stood out more so than others. Chris Pratt is a standout as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, he has not only a great sense of timing for his humour but he’s incredibly engaging and has good dramatic moments too. Zoe Saldana was solid as Gamora, she had some good moments with Peter and Nebula, but like the last film I wish I had seen more from her. Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer like the last film had some great comedic moments, and some unexpected subtle dramatic material too, some of his jokes didn’t land but otherwise, good stuff. Baby Groot was adorable, hilarious and used well throughout, and Rocket Raccoon had some really solid moments in this film and like before, Bradley Cooper’s voice work was really great. Other returning cast members including Karen Gillan as Nebula and Michael Rooker as Yondu do really well, Nebula got a lot of additional story material that really enhanced her as a character and while Gillan’s performance was a little overdone at points I still liked her, oh and Rooker was incredible as Yondu having more dramatic and hilarious material than before and I loved the character. As for the new cast members Kurt Russell did well as Star Lord’s dad Ego, I thought he brought a dramatic sense of flair, personality and humour to this role and his scenes with Peter was great. Pom Klementieff as Mantis was so cute and funny, I liked her abilities and interactions with the guardians team and Elizabeth Debicki was interesting as Ayesha, she had some funny scenes, but other times it was a little awkward. I also appreciated the appearances from Sean Gunn, Laura Haddock and Sylvester Stallone.

When it comes to the presentation it was really solid. Visually like the previous film, we are treated to a gorgeous film with a vivid colour scheme, good cinematography, great artistic direction, really detailed CGI and action sequences that were fast, ferocious, inventive and fun to watch. The soundtrack for this film was pretty good, though not as recognisable and as varied as the previous film, and Tyler Bates returns for the film score and he crafts some really nice music, some returning themes and some new material that works well with the on-screen action.

So to conclude Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a solid sequel, it did well to advance the story of the characters, had good action, humour and heart. However, the uneven story, misuse of certain characters and a not so solid humour prevent it from being the amazing sequel I thought it could be. And so how would one compare this film to the other MCU films. Well as a sequel I’d say it’s better than the worst two films, Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World, and Iron Man 3, so I’d say it’s sort of on the same level as Age of Ultron, okay now here me out before you verbally attack me. Age of Ultron is a film I that had a lot of great elements within but overall wasn’t as consistent and enjoyable as the previous film and I felt a similar way about this film, while not as disappointing, I felt like this film wasn’t as straightforward or consistent as the last adventure, but it’s still worth a watch.

So have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 1 Review (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, it is time for another one of those big reviews that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, I am talking about the final Netflix show before Defenders comes out later on this year, I am of course talking about Marvel’s Iron Fist season 1. Now this show’s had one hell of an interesting ride before and during its release with early episodes getting pretty negative press from critics and then having fans slamming critics for their opinions because they think the show’s great. Either way my hype for Iron Fist super high, but the early reviews did make me worry. However, I finished the show yesterday, I’ve had some time to think about it and I’m ready to share my thoughts.

So what’s the story for this show? It can be described as the following: “Danny Rand returns to New York City after being missing for years, trying to reconnect with his past and his family legacy. He fights against the criminal element corrupting his world around him with his incredible kung-fu mastery and ability to summon the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist.”

Okay, so Iron Fist’s story. The words that immediately come to mind especially for the first half of the series would be dull, frustrating, repetitious, contrived and convenient. Those are words I never expected to associate with this show. Now none of the previous Marvel Netflix shows have been able to fully escape moments of bordem or tedious material, but show has them from the beginning. Unlike previous shows where I was on board within three episodes, this show took until episode six for me to start to get into it which was crazy. On paper this story sound like all sorts of fun and with Danny’s backstory and how it ties into what’s happening in New York with the criminals running around, it should be captivating, and yet we spend too much time on small/unimportant things, take too much time on plotlines that spread over several episodes instead of one or two or set or mention certain things that have no pay off (like the mysticism and backstory with K’un-Lun). I think it the script that does the most damage to this show with dialogue and scenarios that felt unoriginal, weird and silly. The show felt incredibly slow and it honestly felt like a chore to get through, sometimes I stopped completely paying attention to mess with my phone or play some video games. By the time the show ended I was curious as to why things unfolded in the way in which they did and if the writers had shortened, changed or simplified the story from what we had gotten, the show would have benefited from it immensely. That being said, there’s still some redeeming qualities in the story, mythology and characters especially from episode six onwards, while not consistently good there’s still elements to appreciate.

Episode highlights include:

  • Immortal Emerges from Cave
  • Felling Tree with Roots
  • Black Tiger Steals Heart
  • Dragon Plays with Fire

When it comes to the cast, I think they did their best considering the material they were given and some actors/actresses were good while other didn’t fare as well. Firstly there’s Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist, here’s the thing, I like Jones as an actor and I thought he did the best that he could, that being said I didn’t like Danny Rand that much. He was a well-meaning guy with some cool martial arts talents and a sense of justice, but my god he was such an annoying, naive and frustrating person to follow. I understand the he’s endured a lot with the loss of his parents and the years he spent in K’un-Lun isolated away from the normal world, but he came across as a very childish, irrational and illogical individual. Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing fared a heck of a lot better, she had an interesting personality, code of conduct and her initial story and character moments felt far more engaging than Danny. Unfortunately because of the writing I felt like she ended up doing a few things that made her less engaging to watch but otherwise she was solid.

Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup as Ward and Joy Meachum really fluctuated in terms of how much I liked them. At first they were both incredibly dull, surface level characters with no interesting qualities and I wondered why they took up so much screen time besides the fact that they were tied to Danny’s childhood. It wasn’t until later when Ward’s story started to get interesting and I was curious to see where his character went and Joy, well I liked her, but she seemed to change her motivations and moral code a few too many times for me to like her on a long-term basis. David Wenham as Harold Meachum was a lot of fun at times, but then other times he was a little generic and plain, Wenham committed to his material hundred percent and I thought he did well in his role. Ramón Rodríguez was really effective as Bakuto, he had a very cool and intimidating presence, and seeing the return of Wai Ching Ho as Gao was great though not utilised to her fullest. Sacha Dhawan as Davos was awesome, he was a stern, aggressive and badass warrior who stole a lot of shine from Danny and was one of my favourite parts of the show. And finally Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, man I love this girl. While her integration in this show wasn’t as natural as the previous shows, she did have some of the best charisma, humour and logic of all of the characters, at this point she needs her own show or at least a more meaty role going ahead.

As for the presentation, well, it was significantly less impressive than I had hoped. Like the previous Marvel Netflix shows it is shot well for the most part and the style and presentation of New York is lovely. What was a little hit or miss was the action scenes, anyone who has read this blog knows that I LOVE me some well choreographed martial arts and considering who Iron Fist is and his comic book source material I was expecting something on another level. However, what we got at best was some interesting and fun fight sequences that borrowed from some classic and more recent films, but then were times when the fights looked okay to really dull lacking a sense of urgency, style, flair, impact and speed that was really required for characters so closely associated with martial arts. As for the soundtrack by Trevor Morris wasn’t all that impressive, unlike previous Marvel shows (especially Luke Cage) the score has no presence or does little to elevate what’s happening on-screen. The most memorable piece of music is the opening theme and that’s all because it reminds me of “The Game Has Changed” from Tron Legacy.

In conclusion season 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist is a disappointment. The show is not complete garbage as a lot of critics have made it out to be and there is some fun to be had once you get into the latter half of the season, but as it stands, I feel like the bad outweigh the good with a lot of issues relating to the dialogue, pacing, characters and most importantly the martial arts. It isn’t fun, there’s no real sense of personality or flair and compared to the comics and the shows that preceded it, it should have been much better. If you love the show, more power to you, but I can only recommend this show if you’re curious or a completest of MCU material.

So have you seen season 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist and is so what do you think of it? And how would you compare it to Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Logan (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents how’s it going? So after months of waiting with really solid trailers and ominous black and white imagery, we’re here in March with the release of Logan, one of the most notable blockbusters of the year. I’ve been hyped for this film since the first trailer and with the early reviews I got really excited to see the end result, so after checking it out last night I’m ready to pass judgement.

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The story can described as the following:

“In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.”

What I appreciated about this film was how different it was. The best way to describe this film is that it is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, you’ll be laughing one minute and be super sad the next or be shocked one second and super tense later on, this film covers every emotional base. Tonally it’s not only different to the rest of the X-Men films, but also comic book films in general, the direction and approach to story, character and drama felt dark, mature, melancholy and surreal. If it weren’t for mentions of mutants, verbal and visual cues to previous films and the use of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, you probably wouldn’t guess this was an X-Men film at all, and that could be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of fan you are of this film series. The overall story is solid and unfolds in a lot unexpected ways, if I had anything I would nitpick about, and I mine the tiniest nitpicks would be that the film’s story unfolded differently than I expected and there’s a few questions the film presents that never get enough clarification, but otherwise I really enjoyed this story.

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The cast as excellent and all did great in their roles. Firstly thee’s Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine and he kills it in this film. Jackman’s been fantastic in this role for the last 17 years and has only gotten better with each film, and he we get Logan at his lowest point, he’s troubled by his past, is in bad shape, not healing properly and his lifestyle is hardly ideal but he has no other choice. Jackman really channels the core elements of what makes Wolverine such an interesting and endearing character in the comics not through the physicality of his performance but also through dialogue and facial expressions. Patrick Stewart’s return as Charles Xavier/Professor X was incredible, while I’ve always liked what Stewart brought to this role, in this film because of Xavier’s old age, condition and certain story elements we get to see a totally different side to this character, one that is fun, strange and hard to watch at times and as usual Stewart puts his talents to good use here. Oh and of course we have to talk about Dafne Keen as Laura, good gravy, I dunno where Jame Mangold and the casting people found this girl but she was damn good! Laura is an interesting character not only because of her origins but also due to her interactions with other but in the conversational type and physical type, she’s quiet yet feisty and she doesn’t say much but says a lot though facial expressions and kicking ass and Keen is such a humourous little badass but also quite serious too. Boyd Holbrook was really good as Donald Pierce, Holbrook was always physically intimidating, charming and cool as the tenacious villain, Stephen Merchant was also very interesting as Caliban, he had a more substantial role than I expected and I liked his interactions with Logan too, and finally Richard E. Grant was also quite memorable in the film too.

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When it comes to the presentation it was really solid. Visually the film was damn good, the cinematography was really good with some lovely landscape shots, good angles and tracking shots during the action scenes and a good use of colour too. But I seriously have to commend the filmmakers on the action, holy crap this film was gorgeous. This film puts that 15/R-rating to good use as people get cut and stabbed left right and center, there’s brutal gun fights and explosions, and it is handled with great style, violence and brutality. Wolverine and Laura go to work in this film with some of the best choreographed action scenes in the superhero genre, plus some of the kills are some of the best, most filthy and creative material I’ve seen for a while. And the film score from Marco Beltrami was pretty solid, at times it was really impressive, dramatic and had presence in the action sequences for sure, that being said some of the instrumentation felt a little too heavy or strange in parts.

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In conclusion Logan was a pretty dramatic session with a lot of unexpected elements with the story and characters. Loved the action, violence and quiet character moments, it isn’t your conventional comic book film, but it’s definitely the Wolverine film fans have wanted for years and I would recommend it.

So are you going to watch Logan or if you’ve seen it what did you think of it? Be sure to drop me a comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 1 Review (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another one of those beastly reviews and today I’m reviewing something I’ve waited ages to see, I am of course talking about the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage. The funny thing is, even though Mike Colter’s Luke Cage was one of the best aspects of Jessica Jones, I wasn’t too hyped about him getting his own show initially. However, over time when I watched and read interviews with the cast, producers and showrunner, my interest increased, but it was after the Comic-Con trailer dropped in July that I was down for this show. So now that I’ve seen it all, how is it? Well read on and find out!

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So what’s the story for this show? Well our protagonist, Luke Cage is an ex-convict who was experimented on in prison and given super strength and durability, however he escapes and now resides in Harlem hiding in plain sight. However when problems arise in the city, Luke has to step  up and confront issues past and present in order to keep everyone safe.

What I appreciated the most about this show immediately its sense of identity, Luke Cage is totally different from Daredevil and Jessica Jones in style, tone and story, however, it shares enough similarities that in certain elements that it fits into the same universe as the previous shows. Straight from the beginning you notice the show’s sense of presence, charisma and sophistication that you don’t see with a lot superhero TV, and as someone who has been following this show long before the marketing started, it was fascinating and rewarding to see how showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker’s vision come to life in such a vivid manner after reading and watching all of those interviews. The show also does a really good job of telling its story slowly and methodically, having a lot of the key superhero story plot points, but also telling a story which felt smart, realistic and relevant to social and racial issues that are happening in the world today.

I would also like to note that Luke Cage might be the most consistent of all the Marvel Netflix shows so far, Jessica Jones‘ episodes tended to fluctuate in terms of enjoyment and relevance and the same can be said for this year’s Daredevil season 2, and even Daredevil season 1 there was a dip in quality in the final three episodes (not so much the finale though). As I was binging Luke Cage every episode had content that was felt compelling, fun, interesting, dramatic and most importantly relevant, none of it felt like filler, though I have heard some say that the final two episodes felt weaker than what came before and while I can see that point of view, at the same time they didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the show. I also liked how the show took some chances and made some surprising turns with the overall story and use of certain characters. Oh and the references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be my favourites so far with ties to specific characters, events and technology from a few of the films and previous Netflix shows being used to great effect in verbal and visual ways. With all that being said the show wasn’t perfect, firstly there was a misuse of certain characters over the course of the season. Secondly there were some plot points that were brought up but never got properly concluded or didn’t have as much of a satisfying pay off as one would expect. And for all the references that were put into the show, I felt like some of them were teasing certain things that never came to pass unfortunately.

Episode highlights include:

  • Moment of Truth
  • Code of the Streets (personal favourite)
  • Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?
  • Step in the Arena (personal favourite)
  • Just to Get a Rep
  • Manifest (personal favourite)
  • Blowin’ Up the Spot
  • DWYCK
  • Take It Personal (personal favourite)
  • Now You’re Mine

When it comes to the cast they were all really good, and I found it intriguing how a lot of them had surface level personas, but as the season went on you discovered their real selves, though some stood out more than others. Firstly there’s Mike Colter as Luke Cage, damn this guy is good! Colter bring such a sense of fun, charisma, subtlety, magnetism and depth to this character who’s already endured a lot in his life and has more personal struggles ahead of him with the villains and scenarios he gets into. I also adored how grounded and relatable Luke was, he was an every man, like he belonged among non-superpowered people unlike Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock who feel anything but normal and have questionable personality traits. Mahershala Ali was beyond great as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, here we had a character who is your standard villain but in all the right ways, he’s charming, intimidating, smart and has some really compelling personal history that enriches him as a character, and every time he was on-screen you wanted him to come back. Simone Missick as Misty Knight was also very good, at first I really appreciated her no-nonsense/cocky attitude, but it did take me a while to feel connected to her and thankfully due to the use of the character in the story and some terrific acting from Missick she ascended into my favourites department. Theo Rossi as Shades was someone I thought would be a throwaway character, but he quickly became one of my favourites due to his totally chilled out demeanour, sense of style and character motivations, plus Rossi’s acting made him so likeable.

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Alfre Woodard was fabulous as Mariah Dillard, this lady was driven, committed and proactive, though the actions of Luke and Cottonmouth created some issues morally and personally for her as time went on. There was a lot more to this character than I expected, and the reason I liked her so much was because of Woodard’s acting, bloody hell I forgot how good she was and she has some really great material at certain points. Rosario Dawson did well as Claire Temple and had a fair amount to do, far more than I expected when it came to learning more about her and see how she fits into main story, and Dawson just brings that passion, charm and beauty that she’s known for in full effect. Then there’s Erik LaRay Harvey (who I remembered from Boardwalk Empire) as Diamondback and he was pretty good too, while his character wasn’t nearly compellng or fleshed out as the rest of the cast, at the same time he was pretty scary, perceptive and ruthless and it really helped that Harvey excels in these kind of roles. A powerful arms dealer who is Cage’s half-brother, and framed him for the crime that sent him to Seagate Prison. You also have Frank Whaley as Rafael Scarfe and Ron Cephas Jones as Bobby Fish, both characters have ties to the main characters (Scarfe with Misty and Fish with Luke), and they have some really cool, hilarious and notable moments in this show. And finally there are some wonderful cameos from characters who first appeared in Daredevil and Jessica Jones and they are used to wonderful effect, especially one key character who you’ll know when you see him. 😀

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As for the presentation, it fabulous. Visually the show looks very nice and consistent with the previous shows, but I feel like there was a lot more attention to detail when it came to the framing of certain shots and general cinematography. I also loved the way the filmmakers captured Harlem in all of its areas, it makes you feel like you know the area and you get in on the ground level from the fancy areas to the dark back alleys. And I have to talk about the action scenes, while not as impressive as Daredevil (obviously because Luke’s no martial arts expert) I really enjoyed the way the show depicted Luke’s strength and durability, but also how he fought in his action sequences which were frantic, hard-hitting and sometimes hilarious. Oh and that intro with the visual imagery and song, fabulous! As for the soundtrack, composers Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad made something damn special, their score for this TV show has such a beautiful sound that feels intricate to the show and has a variety in its sound, but calls a lot a 1970’s funk/disco sound with some hip-hop vibes. Oh and that the choices of music from real life musicians whether they were life performances or just placed within an episode were fantastic and captured the mood and style of the show so well.

In conclusion season 1 of Marvel’s Luke Cage is a damn good show and I would say it’s miles better than Jessica Jones, but not quite as solid Daredevil‘s first season, though it’s damn close! This show has a lot to say over with its themes, issues and story aspects which were explored in such a thoughtful, emotional and engaging manner, and with such fabulous performances and an incredible soundtrack it is impossible to deny this show’s quality. It does have some issues with the use of characters and unanswered story elements, and some may not enjoy the slower pace, but overall it’s some damn good TV which I highly recommend.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen season 1 of Marvel’s Luke Cage and is so what do you think of it? And how would you compare it to Daredevil and Jessica Jones? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Ultimate Spider-Man Season 2

Howdy people, I’m back once agin with a TV review and after two years since my last review on this show, I’m back talking about Ultimate Spider-Man season 2. Now back in 2014 I was watching this show and I dunno why it’s taken me so long to get back to this show, but since I’ve had a bit more free time over the last month I decided to plough through the season and today I want to share my thoughts.

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So let’s get this out of the way first, I’m not the biggest fan of this show, but season 1 had small, and I mean SMALL glimmers of potential for future episodes. And the thing about Ultimate Spider-Man is that with season 2 is that it’s not bad, but not great. With the first season it was a struggle but now with this season the viewing experience was a little more tolerable.

So here’s the pros of season 2:

  1. The show makes attempts at character development
  2. The show also tries to have emotional impact rather than focusing on humour all the time
  3. Interesting character cameos
  4. The amount of references to the comics for fans is pretty good

But for all the improvements there are cons and here they are:

  1. All of the issues from the last season carry over into this season (horrible cut away jokes, bad character development, etc.)
  2. Pointless episodic adventures
  3. Lackluster fight sequences
  4. Weak and repetitive villains

Best episodes:

  • Journey of the Iron Fist
  • The Parent Trap
  • Blade & Hollowing Commandos (two-part episode)
  • Sandman Returns

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Just to expand upon the points I made above, USM season 2 does make an attempt to tell some more meaningful stories and has a better focus on Peter Parker’s solo adventures as Spidey or his interesting team ups with some other Marvel heroes. The relationship he has with his team is better and the development made between him and Luke Cage and Iron Fist was great. Also the show still looks pretty good with its art direction and animation, but that’s more or less solid. Oh and finally I liked how some of the story elements from last season carried over to this one and how some episodes came in two parts. That being said, this show is still infuriating with its use of poor humour which is bottom-of-the-barrel, silly, juvenile and comes at the worst times especially when it comes to certain serious moments. The use of villains were poor imitations of their comic book counterparts, some are poorly integrated while others pose no real threat some are used far too often without room for other villains to make an impression. But what really pisses me off about this show is the same reason I hated the first season, and that is the handling of the title character, Spider-Man. He’s written as an idiot. He’s always so cocky, hot-headed, impulsive and low in intellect. Now I understand that he’s young and still learning, and granted Parker does have decent moments of growing up and learning life lessons, but that is not an excuse to turn one of the coolest Marvel characters into such a dimwit for the sake of humour and being relatable to children. If Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Spectacular Spider-Man could make be shows that appealed to kids but didn’t treat them like they were stupid, then there’s no reason this should can’t do the same.

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In conclusion the first second of Ultimate Spider-Man is better than before, with welcome improvements made in the story and character department, however that isn’t enough to make it must-watch TV or something worth watching for anyone other than children not familiar with any other Spidey media. Well as I head into season 3 I can only hope for better material.

Rating: 6/10 (Better than last season but not by much)

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 2 – Captain America: Civil War Spoiler Session!

FilmFocus-CivilWar

Howdy people of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last week I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and that first episode focused on Captain America: Civil War in a spoiler free review and today I’m return to the recent Marvel film with a spoiler-based discussion. It is slightly longer than the last episode but it’s no too long, I mean originally it was around 1 hour! 😛 But any way in this episode I discus a little more detail: Black Panther and Spider-Man, Vision and Scarlet Witch, discuss the drama in Civil War and why I liked Baron Zemo among other things.

Anyway here’s the second episode:

As I said before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m back here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂 So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you like it. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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I’ve Started a Podcast!

FilmFocus-CivilWar

Howdy people of the internet, to all of your who still pay attention to this blog I wanted to announce that I’ve started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and the first episode dropped online today! The reason I started this podcast was due to the fact that for the longest time I’ve wanted to get back into doing reviews online, but after YouTube became a little more stressful and complicated than before I had to bail and rethink my return to the online landscape, and for about a year I’ve wanted to start a podcast but didn’t have a solid idea. But in the last few months I’ve made a lot of plans and movements, and after some setbacks it’s finally a reality. Now I would like some long-term success with this, but at the end of the day I will be doing this for fun and hopefully I’ll still be doing this more than six months from now.

Anyway here’s the first episode:

 

In each episode I’ll cover a different topic and this week’s topic is revolves around my spoiler-free review for Captain America: Civil War. So if you have some spare time on your hands and would something strange yet fun to listen to then please check it out. And if you like it then be sure to share it with your friends! Also if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War (Spoiler-Free!)

Howdy people of the internet, so after waiting two painstakingly long days to get back to my laptop I’m here to give you my review of Captain America: Civil War. I’ve seen the film twice in IMAX (once at the midnight screening and again on the same afternoon) and I’ve had a lot of thoughts in my head about this film, and a lot of it is spoiler-based, but I’m going to try my hardest to be as vague and spoiler-free as possible. Alrighty then, let’s begin. 🙂

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So the story can be described as the following:

“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.”

What should be clarified straight away is that Civil War is definitely Captain America 3 first and foremost, as the story furthers what we learnt in The Winter Soldier, but it also acknowledges the larger world of the MCU by introducing most of the main heroes so far, but also adding new characters and stories in this film. What I loved more so than anything else was that there was drama, real drama and it was material that was raw, emotional and effective. This is easily the most layered and emotional film in the MCU to date dealing with the themes of freedom, accountability, revenge and friendship being handled in a realistic and captivating manner. Not only do get to see Captain America try his best to keep his best friend safe, and butt heads with Iron Man with their different ideologies, but also see our heroes weigh out the pros and cons of their actions, pick sides based on their beliefs and clash. It was not only interesting, it was also complicated morally and ethically too. You’re given both sides of the argument and luckily both sides are effective at what they’re trying to convey, you’ll probably be conflicted during and after the film ends as well. If I have any issues with the story it was probably just a few changes in some of the character motivations which would have elevated the film a little more, but I have to hand it to the writers and the Russo brothers for juggling so much material and making it work in a coherent and stylish manner.

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With the cast they were all brilliant, and while some stood out more than others, everyone has a reason to be in the film and have their moments to shine and some of the best moments in the film are just with characters talking and interacting. Firstly there’s Chris Evans who was brilliant as Steve Rogers/Captain America, he’s a faced with difficult choices, and yet found a way to be just as heroic, charismatic and true to his beliefs while also being a leader and friend to his allies. Robert Downey Jr. killed it as Tony Stark/Iron Man, just when I thought I’d seen everything from this character, we find out there’s still more to learn. In this film Stark was very still very humours, but also passionate, vulnerable and driven and while he seemed like the bad guy, at the same time you understood his viewpoint. Scarlett Johansson  was wonderful as Black Widow, it was cool to see her character more in line with The Winter Soldier version where she was intelligent,logical and showed off her skill set on and off of the battlefield. Sebastian Stan also did well as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier continuing to be an interesting and tragic character with good ties to Steve Rogers, and speaking of ties to Steve, Anthony Mackie also did a great job as The Falcon, their bond continued to grow and get tested with the appearance of Bucky and I liked how funny Falcon continues to be.

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Oh and Black Panther, dear god, he was brilliant! Chadwick Boseman was everything I wanted him to be and everything, as T’Challa/Black Panther he was intelligent, driven, honourable, tenacious and when he threw down, damn! He was insanely athletic, flexible and animal-like and I adored his treatment in this film. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen as The Vision and Scarlet Witch were brilliant, I love how they had developed a grew since Age of Ultron, but found new hurdles and personal issues to fight through, Vision continued to have a lot of funny and thought-provoking dialogue, while Scarlet Witch had a good few light-hearted and dramatic moments that developed her character in great ways. Jeremy Renner looked like was having a great time as Hawkeye and I really enjoyed his scenes, the same could also be said for Paul Rudd and Don Cheadle as Ant-Man and War Machine, both of them bring back what you loved about their characters and have great moments in the film.

William Hurt’s performance as Thunderbolt Ross was also great, he’s changed a great deal since The Incredible Hulk, but I really enjoyed his role as the government official attempting to keep the Avengers in check. It was great to see more of Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter as she had more to do and had a good few memorable moments in the film, and Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross was delightful and tough and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last from him, and the return of Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones while brief was really cool. Daniel Brühl as Baron Helmut Zemo was interesting, while he’s not utilized in a conventional way and won’t please fans of the comics, I thought his role was very smart, though I believe the film would have worked without him. And finally Tom Holland as Spider-Man, holy crap! Marvel Studios nailed it! If you’re like me you’ve seen Spidey done five times and he’s been done well in certain areas but not completely comic book accurate. But here he’s the most accurate Spider-Man the to date with right balance of action and humour. He’s introduced in a logical and natural way, and seeing Holland as Peter Parker inside and out of the suit was delightful as he felt so fresh different to the actors who’ve come before him.

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When it comes to the presentation it was pretty solid. Visually the film is very nice, the cinematography is great with some wonderfully shot action sequences, good editing and wonderful CGI. The fight scenes are some of the best in the MCU so far with really creative, acrobatic and versatile action for everyone involved whether they be superpowered or not, and there’s the much-talked about epic fight sequence in the airport which for me was one of the most beautiful fanboy moments I’ve ever seen. It was like a comic book come to life in the best way possible. However I will say for everything I liked, I will say that the shaky cam in some of the fight scenes was a little chaotic, and the visual effects in certain parts of the film felt a little lacking in detail and didn’t mesh as well with the live-action footage, but those are nitpicks for sure. As for the film score, Henry Jackman returns to compose and his score definitely feels in line with Winter Soldier, but was also a little more dramatic and heroic than before. However this score while it works within the film, it didn’t have any standout tracks or a theme that I can remember like some of Marvel’s previous films.

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In conclusion Captain America: Civil War was a lot of fun and solid follow-up to Winter Soldier. While it won’t change the game for the superhero genre, it did dive a little deeper into those thought-provoking and emotional territories that the MCU hadn’t fully embraced beforehand, and with some awesome action, an intriguing story and well-developed characters, this is an adventure that people won’t want to miss out on especially if you’re fans of these films and comics.

Rating: 8.5/10

So are you going to see Captain America: Civil War and if you’ve seen it what did you think of it? Please sound off your thoughts in the comments below ane I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Review (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, after all the waiting and waiting and WAITING, we’re here in 2016 and Marvel’s Daredevil season 2 and I’m here to review it. I adored the first season and made mention of that in my review, and after an epic binge over the course of Saturday from midnight to nightfall, I binged the hell out of this show coz I’m crazy and I’m an addict. So how does the second season of Daredevil fared? Well read on and find out! (Oh and careful for spoilers from Daredevil season 1, though I can’t imagine why you’d be reading this if you weren’t aware of transpired last season)

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So what’s the story for this season? Well Matt Murdock is still a blind lawyer by day and continues to fight crime at night as Daredevil and things seem to be going well after the incarnation of Wilson Fisk, however new challenges come in the form of the dangerous Frank Castle/ Punisher, and Matt’s ex-girlfriend Elektra Natchios, things get a lot more complicated as Hell’s Kitchen becomes home to all new levels of crime and chaos.

From the beginning things kick off pretty quickly as you’re filled in with what’s transpired since last season and then get introduced to the new plot elements and characters that will inhabit this world for the forseeable future. This season is all about morality, the value of life, relationships past and present, and when you take the law into your own hands, how far is too far? And with those themes comes new layers of darkness, psychological issues and sensuality through the storytelling and character moments that’s so incredibly dramatic, engaging and heart racing. This season also gets into some thought-provoking areas when covering the Punisher and Daredevil’s different ideologies and brings up questions like: Is the criminal justice system enough? Where does one draw line? Is it right to take a human life? And if one crime is worse than another does that person deserve death or a shot at redemption? We really get into the mind space of what it means to have rules and whether they should be abided by or not when they don’t work, and seeing both sides of the argument really adds some perspective not only to this part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also for superhero adaptations in general.

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I would also say that this season is better with its pacing and storytelling resulting in more consistent and satisfying episodes than before which just made me want to jump on the next episode immediately. Another aspect of note would be legal material. More so than last season, the lawyering is at the forefront and there’s a lot more conversations dealing with the law and how it works, the research, evidence and how it can help and hinder certain cases, and court room drama too which is very good and full of suspense and tension. Nelson and Murdock are really put through their paces and have interesting new hurdles to overcome and it is really well written and captivating stuff. Oh and the references to the comics, last season and Jessica Jones were awesome, it was nice world building too. And that’s all the stuff I can tell you, believe me there’s so much I want to share about this show, but it’d be giving away too much good material, suffice to say that there are plenty of surprises and moments that’ll frigging blow your mind! XD

Episode highlights include:

  • Bang
  • New York’s Finest (personal favourite)
  • Penny and Dime (personal favourite)
  • Kinbaku (personal favourite)
  • Semper Fidelis
  • Guilty as Sin (personal favourite)
  • Seven Minutes in Heaven (personal favourite)
  • The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
  • Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen

When it comes to the cast, the returning members all do such great job as they’ve settled into their roles but have also gained additional layers too, while the new players do really well to change things up and yet stay relevant to the main plot. Firstly there’s Charlie Cox who is once again wonderful as Matt Murdock/Daredevil. He’s still very smart, courageous and cool, but he’s still flawed and has issues with his duality as a superhero and lawyer that make his life a lot more complicated and the way it unfolds is such a whirlwind of emotions, and Cox handles his material so well. I also believe this season also dives a little deeper into the mind of Matt; what drives him to do what he does as Daredevil and how it affects the people around him. Elden Henson also steps up his game as Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, this season he’s in a more interesting place not only because of the legal material he has to deal with but also the lies and complexities that come with being friends with Matt and hiding his secret. Deborah Ann Woll does a fantastic job as Karen Page too, unlike last season she had her uses but was primarily a background character, here she’s a lot more pro-active, has her own agendas and her efforts are quintessential to this season’s story and characters.

The newcomers are just as important, so let’s start with the man who nearly steals the whole show, Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/Punisher. This is how you do the Punisher justice. Prior to this series both Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson have portrayed this character in 2004 and 2008, and while both of them had elements of the character done right, neither of them had the full package, but Bernthal has it. Here we have a man on a warpath, who is calculated, strategic, driven and scary as hell, but behind all his exterior there’s a tragic story that almost justifies his actions and makes him human/relatable. Bernthal really has a good lock on what makes the Punisher so engaging to watch whether he’s fighting, shooting or giving speeches, this man is like a hurricane of different things, he moves like the T-800 and yet has a depth to him that’s beyond your average killer. And then there’s Élodie Yung who is so sexy and deadly as Elektra Natchios, Jesus Christ! This woman is perceptive, smart, vivacious, playful and all sorts of trouble, and the backstory she has with Matt is one of most intriguing, fun, destructive and sensual relationships I’ve seen in quite some time. Their relationship in one of passion and toxicity and just seeing how things unfolded in the past and present was incredibly satisfying thanks to some incredible chemistry from Cox and Yung. I also enjoyed the appearances from Michelle Hurd as Samantha Reyes and Stephen Rider as Blake Tower who added an intriguing new dynamic to legal side of things.

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And finally there’s some of my favourite returning characters too. Rosario Dawson once again shines as Claire Temple offering her services both as a nurse and counsel for the good guys was great, Royce Johnson also returns as Brett Mahoney and it’s so awesome to see more of him in this season, and of course the cast wouldn’t be complete without Scott Glenn as Stick who is just as rude, sarcastic, funny and hardcore as ever. There are also some other returning faces but I’ll let you discover those on your own. 😀

As for the presentation, it is just as good as ever. Visually the show’s received a bit more of budget for new locations more intricate camera movements, better lighting, more digital and practical effects and more detailed make-up as I think the show’s a little more violent than before. Just like last year the action is badass with some beautiful fight choreography, gun fights, explosions and the introduction of ninjas just made everything better. Also John Paesano returns again to craft the soundtrack and it is fairly dramatic, emotionally gripping and awesome.

So are there any problems with this season, well yes there is. This will really depend on the individual, but for me there were certain storylines that didn’t pay off in the way that I’d hoped, and you could argue that Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk left such a major impression on fans last season, that this season definitely a little empty without him being the primary focus of Daredevil’s missions. Plus while most characters get moments to shine, certain people (me included) will be disappointed with the amount of screen time and specific character arcs that they’ve gotten.

In conclusion season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil is absolutely fabulous, I cannot praise it enough. While it may sound like I’m just a biased fanboy, if you really looked at this season as a whole, it takes the foundation of first season and improves on it in every way with such incredible attention to detail with the story, character development, action sequences and expanding this world’s mythology. I think your appreciation for this show will depend on what you want from this season and whether you loved the first one or not, but in my mind this is easily the best TV-based superhero material available. I’m already hyped for season 3 and I’ll probably be sure to watch this season again very soon. 😀

Rating: 9/10 (Even more fun than the first season)

So have you seen season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil and is so what do you think of it? Did it meet or exceed your expectations? And I’m also curious to know which did you prefer, season 1 or 2? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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