Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Director: Jon Watts

Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Steve Ditko, Stan Lee (Comic Book)

Starring: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Favreau, Angourie Rice, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori

 

Plot: Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: An Entertaining Jumble

 

Story: Spider-Man Far from Home starts when Peter Parker (Holland) and his classmates MJ (Zendaya), Ned (Batalon), Flash (Revolori) and others head off to Europe for a scientific school trip, Peter’s plan is to finally tell MJ how he feels, but things don’t go to plan.

Peter finds himself recruited by Nick Fury (Jackson) to help new superhero Quentin Beck known as Mysterio (Gyllenhaal) fight a new threat that is attacking cities in Europe, trying to decide if he is ready to tackle the added responsibility of being a superhero.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man Far from Home

 

Characters – Peter Parker has two main storylines going on in this film, one side of him is the high school student that wants to tell the girl he likes his feeling, nervous and social awkward. The second one sees him facing the reality that he was hand picked to step up and help save the world, a decision which sees him wanting to just take a break from. Watching Peter balance the two is interesting because the high school one was the weaker side, the superhero side is very interesting to follow. Nick Fury is also adapting to life after the snap, where he isn’t in the same level of control on everything going on in the world, he wants Peter to come and work for him and doesn’t like being told no. They did try to recapture certain elements of the chemistry he had with Captain Marvel too. Quentin Beck is the new superhero dubbed Mysterio because of his powers and ability to defeat the elementals that have started attacking the major cities, he offers Peter a chance to discuss his position with having powers like nobody else has since Tony’s death. MJ is the girl of Peter’s dreams, she is very different to both versions of MJ we have seen before, being very distant to the rest of the class, but always manages to capture Peter watching her.

PerformancesTom Holland does do a very good job in the leading role, if it was just the high school side of the film, he does struggle at times, but it is the human effect of being a superhero that completely makes you believe what he is going through. Samuel L Jackson does what we expect from him in a supporting role, as does Zendaya who does everything without standing out. Jake Gyllenhaal though, he was a joy to watch especially in the second half of the film, he just takes his role and runs with it.

StoryThe story here follows Peter Parker on his high school trip that gets interrupted to help try and save the world from a new threat, testing him to see if he is ready to replace Iron-Man. This like the character of Peter Parker can be broken down into two simple positives and negatives, the high school trip stuff, is there, most of it gets pretty boring quickly, it is here to help show a human life that he could have though. The superhero side of the story is the highlight because it does get to show how the once confident Peter is starting to question if he is ready to step up after seeing the consequences to what has happened to people in their lives. The villain is a surprise and while I won’t get into details, it is very entertaining to watch and could be one of the best they have bought to a stand alone film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in this film is brilliant to watch, it blends with the special effects and doesn’t turn into anything as ridiculous as it could be when you see the fights. The sci-fi element of the film does address the dangers of technology being in the wrong hands once again, but it all works for the story being shown here.

SettingsThe film gives us the basic European settings, we have Venice, Prague, Berlin and London, you know well know locations that have large populations which could get destroyed.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film did seem flawless, we do have large scale, dust, water and fire monsters used for battles which all look like they could be real along with certain twists in the story which only add to the effects.


Scene of the Movie –
What is real?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the high school stuff.

Final ThoughtsThis is a real mixed bag of a superhero movie, it could have been fantastic, only it gets too carried away dealing with the high school world which does drag things down.

 

Overall: Entertaining enough.

Rating

 

 

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Captain Marvel (2019)

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Screenplay) Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Nicole Perlman, Meg LaFauve (Story)

Starring: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Ben Mendelsohn, Samuel L Jackson, Lee Pace, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening

 

Plot: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.


Tagline – Discover what makes a (her)o

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Superhero Movie 101

 

Story: Captain Marvel starts as Vers (Larson) a Kree soldier is still figuring out how to control her powers, with her trainer Yon-Rogg (Law), her first mission sees her captured by the enemy alien race the Skrulls who help her learn about her past, on Earth as a pilot.

Vers must learns who her true self is once on Earth with Nick Fury (Jackson) helping down memory lane, before deciding which side of the war she should be fighting on.

 

Thoughts on Captain Marvel

 

Characters – Vers is how we meet her first, she has been trained to be a Kree warrior soldier, ready to get into the war against the Skrull. Vers does have powers she hasn’t fully learnt how to control yet and returning to Earth on the mission, will help fill in the blanks in her memory to show her a life she had before her training, as a fighter pilot named Carol Danvers. This is a character that is easier to write for, because it is the trademark design of a hero needing to learn about their powers for their first battle. Nick Fury is a younger agent in SHIELD, he witnesses first hand what Vers is fighting for and decides to help her even if it means going against the rulebook, he gets the bigger picture and in this film loves cats. Talos is the leader of the Skrull, he needs information from Vers to help his side in the war, he has become desperate and can shapeshift into any species he sees. Yon-Rogg is the leader of the Kree unit, he has been training Vers for combat and with his team, can be a threat for any opponent. Mar-Vell is a scientist that Carol worked with on Earth, her research is key to the war, she also appears as the Supreme Intelligence for Vers communication, which is meant to be somebody important in your life. Maria is the old pilot friend of Carol’s she believed her friend died and has spent her time raising her daughter away from the busy world.

PerformancesBrie Larson does a strong enough job in the leading role, she doesn’t quite have the comic timing for her jokes to come off, like many other actors in this universe, but does shine in the more serious moments. Samuel L Jackson gets to enjoy playing a younger version of himself, he gets to poke fun at the ideas people might have about him as a person too. Ben Mendelsohn is strong too, his accent can jump around in places, but for being under the makeup, we understand his characters emotions. Jude Law does well in his role too, he takes the mentor role, which is better than his outing in Fantastic Beasts. Annette Bening becomes the one you most want to see more from, in dual roles, she can make us want to see more of her characters.

StoryThe story follows Vers a Kree soldier that must learn about her past to understand her own powers, to make a decision on which side of a war she should be fighting for. This is an origin story for Captain Marvel, so we know the stakes are going to be less, because we don’t need true end of the world stuff going on here. The strangest way to describe most of this story would be like a Star Trek story, a person meets both sides of a war and must decide which side to fight on and once we get to the decision it plays out like how Kirk or Piccard would deal with the situation. This doesn’t mean it isn’t good or entertaining. The rediscovering the past is interesting to see and gets to play a lot of 90’s nostalgic moments too. One of the biggest negatives in the story does come from having the inclusion of characters we have seen die latest in the universe, because this does take peril away from them, both good and villainous figures. This does tick al the boxes for an origin story, it makes us care about this new character and ties in nicely to what will be happening next in this universe.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is a mix of hand to hand combat, weaponry combat and flying combat, be it space or on Earth, everything is enjoyable enough to get what is required from this side of the film. the sci-fi side of this film uses the idea of an inter galactical war that Carol has become a part of, showing that the human heroes and enemies might not be the only threats to Earth.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we have the space location each has it own unique look to show us on different planets, while on Earth we go through the military bases and quiet of the radar places without needing to just blow everything up.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong throughout, we know and expect this by now in the Marvel machine.


Scene of the Movie –
It’s just a cat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Captain Marvel seems too powerful.

Final ThoughtsThis is another entertaining fun addition to the MCU, it gives us a by the book origin story that we can understand the difficulties that Carol must be going through.

 

Overall: Fun, entertaining origin story.

Rating

 

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Chris McKenna, Erick Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

 

Plot: As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.


Tagline – Real heroes. Not actual size.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: Ant-Man and the Wasp starts as we learn Scott (Rudd) is under house arrest after getting involved during Captain America Civil War, his time is nearly up and he has no communication with Hank (Douglas) or Hope (Lilly). After getting a message through the quantum realm Hank and Hope take Paul to help them locate Janet (Pfeiffer) who they believe is still alive in there.

The idea is to go in and save her, only weapons dealer Sonny Birch (Goggins) wants the equipment to sell on the market and the mysterious Ava (John-Kamen) wants the energy to save her life. What follows is the team coming together to get the best of both worlds.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp

 

Characters – Scott Lang is no longer aloud to be Ant-Man under house arrest for his action, he has started a business and tries to entertain his daughter within the house. He gets information which could save Janet, Hank’s wife and must risk staying ahead of the FBI to help, his joke timing is very hit or miss though. Hope is now the Wasp, a flying superhero with the same size shaping abilities as Ant-Man, she is getting the equipment together for the rescue attempt and handles most of the best fighting from the good team. Hank wants to save his wife and is willing to put differences aside, Dr Foster is the former partner of Hank’s that has theories that could help. Ava is the deadliest villain, she is a young woman that was a victim of quantum effects making her life constant pain, she wants to end it, she has been a ghost for SHEILD for years now. Luis the most entertaining character in the film by far, he gets laughs in every scene, gives natural reaction to the situations and could easily have his own movie. Sonny Birch is a weapons dealer, generic as they come.

PerformancesPaul Rudd is fine in the leading role, he doesn’t seem to have the chemistry with the cast for the comedy though, not his fault, its more the character. Evangeline Lilly gets to have he good fight scenes showing off her character but the rest of solid enough. Douglas, Fishburne and Pfeiffer are ok, but they are mostly just trying to keep their names in big movies. Michael Pena is the scene stealer by a long way. Walton Goggins, well people said his character in Tomb Raider was generic, this is worse, he has nothing to work with. Hannah John-Kamen plays the most interesting character but struggles to make us either care or hate her character.

StoryThe story here takes place 2-years after the events of Captain America Civil War, Scott is paying for being involved in that fight and now Hank needs his help to save his long thought of lost wife. Them being criminals now doesn’t make this easy as they must operate in secret which brings the attentions of other people that want the technology. This story is set over 2 days, the 2 days before Scott has his house arrest finishing, which gives the film a race against time and needing to make sure Scott is in his home whenever the FBI turn up. The science does make this hard to follow in places and the tone of the story does fill mix, Scott and Luis are always hitting jokes, but most of the rest of the story feels like it should be a lot darker.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action is the basics to what we would have come to expect, the fights with ghost are the highlights of the action. The adventure is trying to keep ahead of the FBI even after there is no evidence he is leaving the house. The sci-fi side of the film can easily go over heads, because of all the scientific conversations.

SettingsThe film keeps the action in San Francisco which is fine, we know the iconic location there which get used at times through the film, it is the quantum realm which is the most beautiful and haunting places to visit.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film can’t be faulted in anyway, they look fantastic and the scaling abilities all work for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
End credits scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It felt like Scott was telling jokes, rather than being naturally funny, like Thor.

Final ThoughtsThis is largely forgettable from Marvel, not because it is bad, but because it follows Infinity War, which is the only film we want to see the next chapter of right now in this universe.

 

Overall: Pay check sequel for Disney.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Spiderman (2002)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Spiderman Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man starts as we meet high school student Peter Parker (Maguire), he only had one friend at school and that is over privileged Harry Osborn (Franco) and his high school crush Mary Jane (Dunst) attending a field trip at science laboratory where Peter gets bitten by one of the spiders.

The next day Peter finds himself stronger and more aware than ever, he has gained the spider skills, Peter uses his time to learn his abilities, but when his Uncle Ben (Robertson) becomes a victim of crime, Peter becomes Spiderman protecting New York City from the criminals.

With high school finished Peter and Harry move to New York, where they find jobs, but Peter has been fighting crime become front page news. Harry’s father Norman a CEO at Oscorp determined to make the most money unleashes the Green Goblin on the city, giving Spiderman his first opponent that will tests his abilities.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man

 

Characters – Peter Parker is the socially awkward high school outcast, he does have the brains to become anything but when he gets bitten he becomes Spiderman where he starts to fight to protect his city after losing his Uncle. Norman Osborn is the career driven genius that will go to any lengths to be the leading developer in government technology, but when he loses his way, he goes out to stop anyone with his Green Goblin persona. Harry is Peter’s best friend and son of Norman, he watches how everything unfolds but also starts dating Mary Jane. Mary Jane is the high school crush of Peter, she does stick up for him as they share the same dreams.

PerformanceTobey Maguire is great in this leading role showing the innocence side of Peter but away from the high school age. Kirsten Dunst is a beautiful Mary Jane and while mostly the damsel in distress does give us a good performance. James Franco showed us all the potential he has started to show us in this role. Willem Dafoe enjoys the villainous role through the film and is easy one of the better conflicted villains in the universe.

StoryThis is an origin story for Spiderman that came out just when the superhero boom was starting up, it bought us a new hero to root for and one that was filled with the odd joke. We have the motivation for Peter to become Spiderman, a friendship which will become important through this franchise and a villain that is conflicted with why he is doing the things he is doing. It may well be a by the book origin story it does have enough darker moments to make us see the light in his actions.

Action/AdventureThe action fits the comic book genre perfectly with the adventure side of the film coming from just what Peter is learning of his new skills.

SettingsNew York City makes for the setting here, much like in the comics, it works because of the landscape that Spiderman will be taking on with his web slinging.

Special EffectsThe effects for this film show us that practical effects could still make an excellent film, the CGI feels very little.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You do feel like we needed more of the high school side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an origin film that does hit the marks, a villain that can do enough damage but is never a true threat, learning the correct path and building a bigger picture for the whole franchise.

 

Overall: Easily one of the best origin stories.

Rating

 

 

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds (Screenplay) Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza (Comics)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Bill Skarsgard, T.J Miller, Terry Crews

 

Plot: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.


Tagline – Prepare for the second coming.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh a Minute Comedy

 

Story: Deadpool 2 starts when Deadpool (Reynolds) gets forced into helping Colossus back at Xavier’s mansion, his first mission to calm Russell (Dennison) a tortured mutant about to cause chaos with his fire ability. When things go south Deadpool ends up needing to protect Russell from the time travelling warrior Cable (Brolin) that has come from the future to kill Russell, along the way Deadpool puts together a team, the X-force with Domino (Beetz) using her ability to help in ways Deadpool doesn’t understand.

 

Thoughts on Deadpool 2

 

Characters – Deadpool has gone international with his crime fighting ways now, but when he suffers a life changing moment he goes in search of a purpose, he spends most of the film trying to save Russell from Cable with one liners coming out his mouth in nearly every scene. Cable has come from the future in search of a mutant that has killed his family, he will use his technology advances to get to him and fight to stop the mutant before he could clash with his family in the future. He is the opposite to Deadpool, cold hearted killer, but broken too. Vanessa is back and gives Deadpool all the motivation he needs to complete his tasks. Domino is the new-comer most people will enjoy, her ability is luck, she is super laid back and everything just seems to fall her way. Russell is the teenager with fire ability, he has been abused at the home for mutants, which has made him the enemy when he wants to kill the people that abused him. When it comes to the rest of the characters we get good moments with them throughout the film, but none of them become the centre of attention.

PerformancesRyan Reynolds shines once again in the role he was destining to play. Josh Brolin makes for an excellent Cable, they even throw the short jokes about him not matching the comic book Cable’s size in too. Zazie Beetz is the breakout star of the movie, having never seen her in anything, she handles this laid-back role very well. Julian Dennison, you might remember him from the Hunt for the Wilderpeople, he brings that level of performance here which adds to the comedy in the film. The rest of the returning cast do a good job as the new faces, but none reach the level of the previous mentioned performers.

StoryThe story here does follow similar path to the original Deadpool, where Deadpool must take on a villain using the friends both old a new while adding comedy into the revenge premise. This keeps everything simple, gets to poke fun at the genre of superheroes and does bring a turning point for the Deadpool character and his actions. There are shocks in the storyline, but I felt like I was watching a superhero version of Looper for the most part.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action gives us plenty of fights between the characters, we get to see how the director has used his past experience in the John Wick films to make the action scenes feel more intense, the inclusion of the Cable character gives us more sci-fi elements with the time travel and weaponry. It is the comedy that we have come here for though, it would be fair to say barely any jokes miss, and while some are reference heavy, the target audience should understand them all.

SettingsThe film gives us settings like a Fast and Furious movie, we have point A for one action sequence, point B for the next and part C for the final act, it is by the book and for the most part they check off action picks well.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film look brilliant too, even when they is a reference to a CGI battle, it works for the film and makes you laugh along the way.


Scene of the Movie –
Healing time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain characters don’t get as much screen time as you feel they should.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful sequel that brings us more laughs, more enjoyment and great new characters.

 

Overall: Funniest film of the year.

Rating