Black Panther (2018)

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Letita Wright, Sterling K Brown

 

Plot: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.


Tagline – The Avengers have a new king.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Specular Visual Superhero Movie

 

Story: Black Panther starts after the events of Civil War, T’Challa (Boseman) returns Wakanda to claim his throne as the king of Wakanda after his father’s death. going through the ceremony with the rest of the people including his ex-love Nakia (Nyong’o), most trusted general Okoye (Gurira), little sister Shuri (Wright) and leaders Ramonda (Bassett), Zuri (Whitaker) and W’Kabi (Kaluuya).

Being the new king of Wakanda his first mission is to track down former enemy Ulysses Klaue (Serkis) who is planning to sale a Wakanda weapon which brings back an old friend Everett Ross (Freeman) and a strange who believes he has the right for the throne in Erik Killmonger (Jordan), can this battle be the one that shows T’Challa his rightful place as the king and the Black Panther.

 

Thoughts on Black Panther

 

Characters – T’Challa is the new king of Wakanda, he wants to continue the calm peaceful reign like his father, but will need to face his father’s past to bring the new future for the technological advanced society. He has the expert combat skills, the calmness to be a leader and following rituals like the leaders of his past have. Erik Killmonger is a mercenary that knows he has a right to the throne and will go to any lengths to take the throne. He has an impresses kill count in battle which makes him a deadly enemy. Nakia is the former partner of T’Challa, she returns to support him and wants to see him open the technology of Wakanda to the world after her work as a spy around the world. Okoye is the greatest warrior in Wakanda, she must stay loyal to the throne regardless of if she believes in the leader of not. Shuri is the younger sister of T’Challa, she works on the weapons being the bubbly gadget lady that makes the most jokes and easily steals the scenes she is in. we have plenty of other characters with some being inside Wakanda, others being enemies and others being friends in waiting.

PerformancesChadwick Boseman is wonderful in this leading role, he bought us everything we got from Civil War and made us only want more from his character. Michael B Jordan gives us a great villainous performance that is as complex and he is deadly. Lupita is good in her role as she offers Chadwick a difficult set of decisions. Dania gives us the kick ass character and one we know she can play well. For me Letita Wright is the breakout star from this movie, being able to steal nearly every scene is something that will get people talking. In fairness the whole cast is great throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows T’Challa and his rise to be the king and the next Black Panther, he must come to face the new challenges of being a leader, be it the conflict within or the conflict from the outside world. He must make the difficult decisions which could bring his people to a new stage to the world. This is a good introduction to this character and his world, which does have moments which you will have seen in other movies, but works enough to make this stand out on its own.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action sequences are wonderful to witness, we have brilliant camera work which will make one certain moment truly seem original and stand out. The adventure takes us to this new world, technology advanced from the rest of the world. The sci-fi world we enter isn’t like anything we could imagine seeing in the middle of the rain forest.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to make every location feel different from the last, this helps us enjoy the environments we are entering.

Special EffectsThe effects can’t be faulted once, they all look spectacular making this one of the best visual experience of the year so far.


Scene of the Movie –
South Korea fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I felt moments of comedy missed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful addition to the MCU, we get to learn more about The Black Panther character and the world he is from, which only makes us want to see more of this in the future.

 

Overall: Brilliant addition that still stands out as one.

Rating

 

 

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Justice League (2017)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel (Characters)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Connie Nielsen, Henry Cavill, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Ray Fisher

 

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.


Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Blast

 

Story: Justice League starts as a new unknown threat is attacking the world, with criminals committing acts of terror in the aftermath of Superman’s death. Bruce Wayne (Affleck) teams up with Diana Prince (Gadot) to stop this new threat Steppenwolf, who wants to destroy the world, yeah the usual villain stuff.

The team they recruit includes Barry Allen (Miller), Arthur Curry (Momoa) and Victor Stone (Fisher) as these three new recruits get a better introduction than we saw in the Batman v Superman movie. Using their skills they are left with an ultimate decision which could swing the battle in their favour or risk seeing the world destroyed by this ancient evil.

 

Thoughts on Justice League

 

Characters – Bruce Wayne, knows his weakness, uses his money to recruit the team, his technology to spy on the team and his human touch to connect to the characters. Diana Prince lives a quiet life after the event of Wonder Woman over 100 years ago, she still believes in the good in human and beings from different backgrounds. Barry Allen is a young man living off the grid trying to find a way to get his father out of prison, he gets excited to be able to work with a team and gets most of the laughs. Arthur Curry is a man of mystery, one with the ocean, he has left his past behind him which leads him down the Logan road. Victor Stone is a science experiment gone wrong, part human, part robot needing to learn to control his newly found abilities. Lois Lane is here, she doesn’t do much to be honest. Clark Kent is the heart of the characters drives to fight, he selfless actions last time out give hope to them all.

As for the alter-egos Batman looks so out of place in this film, we have Gods, experiments gone wrong and this random rich guy who is past his best, trying to pull the team together, he is ineffective in the combat scenes too. Wonder Woman gets the best moments in the fights, jumping on the beliefs of just how inspirational the character is. The Flash gets moments that will make you laugh, but you would rather be watching Quicksilver moments. Aquaman gets the awkward underwater scenes, which must be hard to shoot, he enjoys a good fight though. Cyborg is the brains of the team, solving the problems before they happen.

As for the villain, Steppenwolf he is a threat there is no doubt about that, he is ruthless too, but his desire for destruction does feel like it got ripped out of a Transformers movie.

PerformancesBen Affleck is a good Bruce Wayne but not a good Batman, you can believe his arrogance when trying to build the team. Gal Gadot is the star of the hero’s side of the story showing in the world of DC she is their trump card. Erza Miller does add the much-needed comedy to the serious film and hits more than he misses. Jason Momoa is good throughout too, his character feels like what Wonder Woman was in Batman v Superman, we just what more. Ray Fisher is strong too, he gives the character the darkness needed to make us want more from his backstory. The none Justice League performances are fine, but no one gets much time to do anything. Having a CGI villain means we only get the voice work which works for the film.

StoryThe origin of the Justice League, well Marvel did it with the Avengers so, why not. To be fair we got the first seeds of this in Batman v Superman and this continued the ideas to show how they could come together to fight an evil presence. My problems with the story come from the trailers, which show the team working together, much like Stephen King’s IT we follow the individual stories for a large amount of time trying to play the will they won’t they game about joining the team, but the trailer gave this away. If you want to see the story continue you strongly I will say DC’s storytelling for the bigger picture is going in the right direction and this is easy to follow and enjoy is this is your style of film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is big, like you would expect for the superhero movie, sadly Batman doesn’t fit in the action sequences in my opinion. The ci-fi comes from Gods, aliens and experiments working together in battle be it with each other or against.

SettingsThe settings are all over the place, not in a bad way, we get the references to previous films and teases of locations for our new addition.

Special EffectsThe effects are complete mixed bag, we get certain moments which look great but then we get the weak moments that disappoint.


Scene of the Movie –
Rebirth

That Moment That Annoyed Me Batman feels very out of place in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the superhero collection, in a year of impressive films this doesn’t crack my top 3 in the genre but doesn’t take the spot of the worst, I could happily enjoy watching this again and I hope you do too.

 

Overall: Fun enjoyable superhero movie for everyone to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

 

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Eric Pearson (Screenplay) Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Eric Pearson (Story)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Jeff Goldblum, Ray Stevenson

 

Plot: Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thunderous Blast

 

Story: Thor Ragnarok starts as Thor (Hemsworth) is on a mission to stop a threat to Asgard but returning him he learns of a new threat in the disguise of his Brother Loki (Hiddleston) pretending to be Odin (Hopkins), but this has bigger problems as the brothers must locate their father to return him to his throne before Hela (Blanchett) Goddess of Death comes to claim Asgard for herself.

The adventure takes the two across the universe meeting Hulk (Ruffalo) fighting as a champion for powerful ruler The Grandmaster (Goldblum) but this only gives Thor the fuel he needs to build his team to head back to Asgard before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Thor Ragnarok

 

Characters – Thor we know now, the God of Thunder but after Hela arrives on the scene he must learn to control his true powers to once again save his people from their impending doom, showing the leader skills, his father was admired for. Loki is back exposed but Thor but joining him to save the people that raised him, he does try to use his tricks to say ahead in this mission but finds he isn’t up to the standard he once thought. Hela is the Goddess of Death, hell bent on destroying Asgard and everyone who will not follow her orders, this is a villain that isn’t afraid to fight as we see her killing anyone that gets in her way including whole armies alone, she is easily one of the better Marvel villains and shows this franchise produces the best villains, but don’t get me wrong this character only works in Thor.

For the secondary characters we have, Hulk who has found himself being a champion fighter after going missing from Earth and as Bruce he gets to explore the galaxy unlike he could imagine. Valkyrie who is a drinker but lethal bounty hunter collecting contenders for the fights but does have a connection to the Asgard history. Heimdall returns as the once all seeing guardian of the Bifrost the teleportation they use to get from different worlds, he is in hiding after what happened in the previous film but he will always fight for his people. We get a string of other character with Grandmaster being the powerful ruler of a planet people are forced to follow his entertainment of death matches from across the galaxy.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth as completely embraced this character as his own now, this is now one of the best performances from any actor in a superhero role. Tom Hiddleston continues to entertain as Loki, he does look like everything is ticking in his mind in every scene too. Cate Blanchett gives a great performance in a role you can see she is having a lot of fun playing. Idris Elba finally gets a kick ass character to play and is great too. Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster is fantastic to watch, part charismatic leader part psychopath. Tessa Thompson gives us a performance that could rival any female supporting character in any Marvel film, plus she is gorgeous in this role. Mark Ruffalo gets great moments, embraces the characters he is playing too. The whole cast is great even the small roles throughout the film.

StoryThe story bottles down to Thor needing to learn his powers to once again save Asgard, this has been the route for all the film in his side of the franchise but you know what, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it baby. This does increase the stakes to the threat but it isn’t only bringing Thor’s character around we also learn more about Loki, Hulk and even Heimdall while introducing us to new potential heroes in Valkyrie and Korg. This shows brilliant world building in preparation for Infinity Wars because you will feel by the end of it Thor will know his place in any battle that could come his way. We do also have a lot of distance between the heroes and villains which helps because we only get the one showdown fight which is kind of all we need too.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is great, we have hard hitting comic violence, hero versus hero and a villain that isn’t going to get beaten easily. The adventure takes Thor across the universe to work with new friends, old friends and family to defeat the enemy. Take Thor’s full story into space helps too, because we have only ever seen the Guardians in space, but this shows we can have a space hero without it being the star side of it all, instead new worlds, with new monsters.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic, we do have a new world, that could be anywhere but have plenty of new species of aliens on it which Thor must navigate, Asgard of course and a moment or two on Earth but only 5 minutes or so.

Special EffectsAll the effects seem to hit the mark for me, from the opening battle Thor goes through to the final showdown between the characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor versus Hulk

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Trailers give too much away.

Final ThoughtsI love the Thor movies, I won’t deny this, I find enjoyment in them over most of the other Marvel films because I like the idea of ancient Gods. This does take things into a complete mix of Gods and Sci-Fi which works, the soundtrack beats out Guardians for fitting the scenes, the style is delicious to watch and for me this is the perfect last building block before Infinity War.

 

Overall: Fun, frantic, enjoyable superhero movie that will make you laugh more than you could imagine.

Rating

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

 

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Character Building of the Galaxy

 

Story: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 starts with the guardians Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket and Baby Groot protecting the galaxy once more doing a paid job for Ayesha (Debicki). The payment is none other than Nebula (Gillan) who they aim to target her bounty, but when Rocket commits the same crime the Guardians are once again on the run.

Being saved by Peter’s father Ego (Russell) the team split up with an old friend Yondu (Rooker) the Guardians will learn more about themselves, working together and being the saviours of the galaxy again.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Characters/PerformancePeter gets a chance to learn about his father while still trying to be the leader of the Guardians continuing on his maybe romance with Gamora. Gamora tries to continue being the strong silent type but this time gets to deal with her relationship with sister Nebula. Drax becomes the best character in the film getting all the best line with his way of life that he once lived, having a connection with Mantis. Rocket continues to deal with his wishes to be alone and not make friends seeing himself in Yondu. Baby Groot is fun for the most part getting the cute award. Yondu continues on his arc as we continue to learn he isn’t as much of a bad guy as he wants to be. The additional characters include Mantis who does get plenty of laughs with her innocent nature, Ego is also very interesting with his past becoming the interesting.

Performance wise, I feel Chris Pratt does struggle to maintain the charm he gave us in the first film, Saldana does continue to look the part of a kickass warrior though. Dave Bautista for me is the star of the film getting all the laughs wanting you to see his next scene. Cooper continues he great work voicing Rocket and Rooker does well with his increased involvement in the film. Kurt Russell fits into an 80‘s themed movie perfectly and does well throughout. If you are going to look into Stallone to be a big part you will be disappointed as he is only in one scene building his character for future films.

StoryThe story can be described in one phrase ‘character building’, I say this because we have a lot of pairing up as the good guys work with bad guys putting their differences aside to see themselves in a new light. This is the base of the story and is great for the next stages of the Marvel Universe but in the end we are left with something slightly flat with the normal big fight feeling at the end. This isn’t the best story but can entertain where needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is large scale but nothing new with the adventure also not being on the level of the first film, the sci-fi is all good looking at the potential universes the Guardians could have adventures in the future.

SettingsThe settings are all created to look beautiful and unique without being something of complete wow factor.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great and it is hard to find a fault in them for the most part.

Final ThoughtsAs a huge fan of the original film, I couldn’t help but find myself slightly let down because this film does feel slow in places and too character development heavy.

 

Overall: This is a fun film and it will be important to where the film franchise goes next.

Rating

 

 

Suicide Squad (2016)

squadDirector: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Common, Ezra Miller, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Scott Eastwood

 

Plot: A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Complicated

 

Story: Suicide Squad starts as we see Amanda Waller (Davis) putting together her elite squad of criminals with Deadshot (Smith) The Joker (Leto)’ girlfriend Harley Quinn (Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Courtney), Diablo (Hernandez), Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Enchantress (Delevingne). After being green lighted the squad is ready to get to work.

With this team put together it is the Joker himself that starts to search down his love while the team sets out to try and clean the streets for Amanda Waller and stop a brand new evil from taking over the world.

Suicide Squad ends up being a film which just adds the comic book characters to the world of dysfunctional bad guys needing to do the good job. This adds comic book characters that only the diehard fans would know because even after playing the first Arkham game we only meet Killer Croc that is involved in this film. The evil is basic and levels with RIPD and the almost non-existence of the Joker sucks most of the excitement out of this film because Deadshot is such a generic anti-hero character. Harley Quinn is quirky but not as bonkers as we need her to be and most of all this just ends ups feeling like a piss poor attempt at The Raid with comic book names.

 

Overall: This film lacks the violence required it lacks the humour required and now I find myself wondering what is next for the DC Universe because this is yet another bland addition to the universe.

Rating45