Franchise Weekend – Daredevil (2003)

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Writer: Mark Steven Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau, Scott Terra, Ellen Pompeo

 

Plot: A man blinded by toxic waste which also enhanced his remaining senses fights crime as an acrobatic martial arts superhero.


Tagline – A man without hope, is a man without… fear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Origin Film

 

Story: Daredevil starts when young Matt Murdock becomes blind through a freak accident only to see his other sense bring him new life and after his father’s death, he dedicates his life to help fight for the ones who need it. Now an adult Matt (Affleck) he has become a lawyer to help people the mob victimise, if he doesn’t get justice in a courtroom, he puts on the mask to become Daredevil and eliminates the threat.

The Kingpin (Duncan) runs the town and he keeps everyone working for him under control, tired of Daredevil causing problems, he hires Bullseye (Farrell). With a new love interest in warrior Elektra (Garner) the daughter of a billionaire, the sides all come together to give Matt his toughest battle yet.

 

Thoughts on Daredevil

 

Characters – Matt Murdock was blinded as a child and saw his father killed by the mob. He dedicates his life to stopping the mob in a courtroom and if that fails, he will take justice into his own hands. A trained warrior who uses sound to visualise his enemies believing that revenge in the best way to solve the problems. Elektra is the daughter of a billionaire who grabs Matt’s attention, she is trained to protect herself and after her father is killed, she sets out on her own mission for revenge. Bullseye is an assassin for hire, he never misses, well that is his skill, he can turn anything into a weapon and enjoys the competition. The Kingpin is the man that runs the neighbourhood’s crime ring, he will kill anyone that gets in his way and doesn’t care who he kills.

PerformancesBen Affleck in the leading role is good for what he needs to do, there might be a few questions over the blind scenes, but for the fights he can handle himself well. Jennifer Garner has the look and experience in the combat roles, she doesn’t have much to do outside of this though. Michael Clarke Duncan in a villainous role where he is bigger than his opponent is an easy and good choice, while Colin Farrell seems to love playing this role.

StoryThe story shows us how Daredevil rose up to take on the biggest crime boss in the city of New York, he does have to question where he lays in the battle, will he cross the lines the villains do and get revenge for his father’s death. this might seem like a pretty safe origin story which is all we want at times. We do keep most of the story around human enhancements over superpowers which is good to see to because at times we are facing anything from Gods to aliens. The way this story is told does make it feel like an adult Spider-man though.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is entertaining, we have a couple of close combat sequences bringing in an Eastern fight style to the Western heroes mentality which was different at the time compared to what the other comic book films were giving us.

SettingsThe film is set in New York city which is always known for the high crime levels which would make a vigilante believable.

Special EffectsThe effects are interesting because we get the idea of how Matt can see being the main use of effects which does feel unique in style and does add that little something to the fights.


Scene of the Movie –
I never miss.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The blind scenes don’t look natural.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that gets a lot more stick that it deserves if we are being honest, it is a simple to watch comic book movie that gets what it needs to right and doesn’t go wildly over the top.

 

Overall: Entertaining and watchable comic book movie.

Rating

 

 

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Triple Frontier (2019)

Director: J.C. Chandor

Writer: J.C. Chandor, Mark Boal (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona

 

Plot: Five former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the first time in their prestigious careers these unsung heroes undertake this dangerous mission for self instead of country. But when events take an unexpected turn and threaten to spiral out of control, their skills, their loyalties and their morals are pushed to a breaking point in an epic battle for survival.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Heist Film

 

Story: Triple Frontier starts military police officer working in South America Santiago (Isaac) is getting tired of the drug lord causing the pain and suffering to the locals, he comes up with a plan using local Yovanna (Arjona) to get back at him. Santiago returns to America to put a team together with his former squad Tom (Affleck), William (Hunnam), Ben (Hedlund) and Francisco (Pascal) to help him in South America.

The team look at the job with Santiago needing to talk them into completing a heist against drug lord, giving the war heroes a moment to have earnt the money they should have after their years of service, can they complete the job and escape, that is the question.

 

Thoughts on Triple Frontier

 

Characters – Tom ‘Redfly’ Davis is the captain of the unit, he is struggling in the real world trying to be a real estate agent, living in his ex-wife’s garage, he wants to be able to send his girls to college and however reluctant he is to complete this job, but when he sees the potential reward, he is the plan behind the heist. Santiago ‘Pope’ Garcia is the member of the team working in South America, he has been fighting this drug lord for 3 years now and has seen a window of opportunity to take on the drug lord. He brings his old unit together to help a local pushing them all into a job that they can do, but didn’t plan to do, but can do. William ‘Ironhead’ Miller has been giving talks to young soldiers about his experiences, in and out of the military, preparing them for life in both situations, he agrees to help just for some action in his life. Ben Miller is William’s brother, he has turned to MMA for money where he is a good fighter, but it is only a matter of time before he gets hurt. Francisco ‘Catfish’ Morales is the pilot of the unit, he has lost his licence in the real-world, this could give him he security he no longer has in life. Yovanna is the local that has made a deal with Santiago to get the job done, she is doing it for her brother who has fallen onto the wrong side of the law.

PerformancesBen Affleck is strong in the leading role, he does give us the most interesting of the five characters because he makes us see the subtle problems the war machine has on the soldiers. Oscar Isaac is the highlight of the performance because he is playing the character balancing the most. Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal complete the unit, but sadly we don’t see them do much more than being the rest of the unit soldiers.

StoryThe story here follows a former military unit who travel to South America to complete a heist on a drug lord, what they end up facing is a battle to survive against the locals and elements to make it out alive. This does start of with a simple idea of a heist, which surprisingly is done within the first hour or so, most of the film is the journey to escape which sees them facing different obstacles which become increasingly more difficult as the journey unfolds. We do have the themes of soldiers struggling to deal with everyday life here, which is why they go on the heist, this is important, but sadly we only see this in one of the four men that go on the mission. The drug lord doesn’t seem like that big of a threat either, which is strange if we are being honest. This does feel like one of the tried and tested stories we have seen before, which can be enjoyed, but never tests us.

Action/Adventure/Crime The action is all military based, the chase scenes, the formations everything feels very calculated in what we see. The adventure takes the men to a new country, one where they must try to figure out how to escape from, it will test them and their training. The crime is the heist they are looking to commit, against a drug lord.

SettingsThe film is set in South America, this brings us into the jungle environment for the journey and sees us take on the drug lords of the area. It does offer something new for the heist genre though.


Scene of the Movie –
The cliff top shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning enough about the rest of the unit.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard hitting heist movie, it does have a close unit, but it does seem to lack a presence of a villainous figure for the second half of the film.

 

Overall: By the Books military heist film.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

 

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

shakeDirector: John Madden

Writer: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck

 

Plot: A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Oscar Heavy Classic

 

Story: Shakespeare in Love starts as Philip Henslowe (Rush) has been struggling to pay his debts to Hugh Fennyman (Wilkinson) and with his star scripter William Shakespeare (Fiennes) working on the latest play for the theatre which can clean his debts.

Shakespeare looking for his latest muse sees just how Queen Elizabeth (Dench) sees his work where we get to meet Viola De Lesseps (Paltrow) a wealthy daughter of London who dreams of being in a Shakespeare play. When William meets Viola the motivation behind Romeo and Juliet is born and with Viola is undercover as the lead actor of the play but is also being forced into marrying Lord Wessex (Firth) by Queen’s order. With the love between William and Viola being kept a secret one of the most iconic plays in history becomes the reality in the famous Rose theatre.

 

Thoughts on Shakespeare in Love

 

StoryThe story here plays along the lines of seeing how love can inspire the best work from playwrights as we see the struggling Shakespeare re-discover his best work once he falls in love once again. The parallels to what is going on with the play and everyday situation all comes together very well as we see how the final pieces of the puzzle comes together. This does have a full stage feel to everything going on which could easily be a turn off for some people though.

Comedy/Drama/RomanceWe have good theatre based comedy without being a joke a minute throughout this film, the film really does focus on the romantic angle between William, Viola and the problems she must face with arranged marriage to Lord Wessex.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all loosely based on real people that also become the characters within the Romeo and Juliet story that we have all come to know. The performances are all brilliant here showing us that if we want a stage play movie we can turn to these actors for first choice.

SettingsEach setting fits the time period perfectly as we would all be willing to believe we are in the middle of 1593 watching the creation Romeo and Juliet.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that not everyone will but is easily one of the most fascinating ones around as we learn the creation of one of the greatest plays ever written.

 

Overall: Classic in its own right.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Accountant (2016)

accDirector: Gavin O’Connor

Writer: Bill Dubuque (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, John Lithgow

 

Plot: As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Action Thriller of the Year

 

Story: The Accountant starts as we see Christian Wolff at a young age struggling to deal with autism but with the correct tuition Christian (Affleck) has turned his math savant skills to help small town people manage their accounts. He is distant from people but always helps those who need it.

On the other side of the story we meet head of the treasury department Ray King (Simmons) who blackmails a young agent Marybeth Medina (Addai-Robinson) into investigating this mysterious accountant that has been working with the biggest names on the terrorists list, that accountant is Christian under an alter-ego.

Christian’s latest accountancy job is sorting 15 years of accounts for Lamar Black (Lithgow) Living Robotics company that have been working on defence contracts. While Christian gets on with his latest job we see how Brax (Bernthal) goes about cleaning up other questionable actions from the bankers. While Christian must deal with the junior accountant Dana Cummings (Kendrick) being too talkative for his own liking.

As the story continues to unfold we continue to learn just how dangerous Christian really is and what his bigger plan is. As Brax cleans up what Christian discovers his desperate need for completion explodes but what he discovers could expose the fraud going on.

The Accountant is one of the most complete action thrillers of recent years. The story does borrow elements from recent ideas with myself seeing a mix of John Wick and Dexter going on throughout. Where this story stand head and shoulders above most other films is the way the whole story gets completed. Another huge plus point for this film is that every character gets a full development and we see their story arc go full circle.

Ben Affleck gives a brilliant performance in this leading role where we get to see him have the full emotionless character that is intense to level most action character could only wish for. Jon Bernthal continues to shine through supporting roles in films after his time on television. J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson work excellently together again with a perfect story arc to their character. The only negative in this film I found was the character Dana just feels added to the story while this doesn’t mean Kendrick is bad it was the character didn’t quite fit the full story.

This is easily one of the films of the year that I can fully expect everyone to enjoy and even at over two hours long you barely notice the time being used in this film.

 

Overall: Brutal action, story with heart and perfect story telling throughout.

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