Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Review

Guardians 2 Mantis

With a subtitle of Volume 2, it should be immediately obvious that James Gunn’s follow up to his surprise smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy is not so much a sequel to the original’s story, but more a continuation and heightening of its mood. Doubling down on everything that made its predecessor such a unique and beloved blockbuster, from the jokes to the colour palette, it lacks the freshness of Guardians 1 but is still an absolute blast of a sequel that proves that the MCU is still more than willing to take risks as it extends its reach into the wider cosmos.  Continue reading

Logan Review

Logan

Though not the most consistently great director, James Mangold has proven, with Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma, that he has the ability to craft genuinely excellent films, which is part of why his lacklustre 2013 X-Men effort, The Wolverine, was so disappointing. With the release of Logan, though, it becomes clear that The Wolverine was clearly just Mangold’s dry run at the character, and clearly one hampered by studio restrictions. Now, with an allowance to cut loose with a 15 age rating and a standalone, intimate, introspective story, he’s delivered one of the finest comic book movies yet, and far and away the best entry in Fox’s X-Men universe.  Continue reading

Doctor Strange Review

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Much of Doctor Strange’s first act will feel very familiar to long-time Marvel fans. A highly skilled and very rich narcissist is overtly insufferable, before undergoing a brutal humbling and starting a journey towards superpowered enlightenment. Encouraging obvious comparisons to the first Iron Man, but with a Dr House-esque surgeon rather than a weapons-manufacturing industrialist, and adding Guardians of the Galaxy’s love of ‘70s music to the mix, it almost seems like the latest addition to the MCU might be going down a rather rote path. Thankfully, there’s no reason to worry. Not only are these early scenes fun despite their familiarity, once Doctor Strange really kicks into gear it becomes a brilliantly paced surrealist action film with some extravagantly brilliant visuals.  Continue reading

Captain America Civil War Review

Zemo Civil War

 

More than even either Avengers movie, Captain America: Civil War is the biggest culmination of the MCU story so far. Every hero we’ve grown to know over the last seven years of Marvel movies (aside from Hulk and Thor) coming together for an enormous showdown led by Cap (Chris Evans) on one side and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) on the other. It’s a monumental task, one Batman v Superman failed with far fewer characters, but Joe and Anthony Russo along with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have delivered Marvel’s best instalment yet and the best comic-book movie ever made. Immense fun from start to finish with brilliant action, a memorable cast of characters, and a surprisingly engaging villain, Civil War raises 2016’s blockbuster bar to a level that I doubt will be reached for the rest of the year.  Continue reading

Deadpool Review

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Deadpool is the latest in a very long line of superhero origin movies, but from the very first few seconds it makes it clear that it’s far from a conventional one. Opening on a bruising car crash and highly stylised gun/sword fight, Deadpool immediately eschews the problem of most origin stories (the main event of the costumed hero in action takes about an hour to arrive) with a canny flashback structure. Wasting no time in introducing us to Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), it’s only after he’s killed a swathe of hired guns that we delve into the past that made him this hideous but highly effective mutated killer. Continue reading

Big Hero 6 Early Review

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This movie will sell a lot of toys. Whilst that is far from the defining feature of Big Hero 6, it is surely a line that was used when Disney was discussing their first animated team-up with Marvel (the film is loosely based on an obscure comic series). All the characters lend themselves very well to action figures, and the star of the piece, Baymax (voiced with a child-like deadpan by Scott Adsit), is one of the most lovable animated characters ever put on screen. Every single moment of the film in which this Michelin-man like figure appears is memorable, from his first awakening to a hilarious sequence where he runs out of battery, which for reasons unexplained turns him into a deflated drunk. I can’t imagine kids appreciating any 2014 character as much as this kindly robot and, come the end of the film, I absolutely wanted a Baymax of my own. Continue reading

Iron Man 3 Review

After kicking off the first phase of Marvel movies that culminated in the Avengers making all of the money in the world, it seems fitting that the next step of this franchise should be taken by Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. Alone again after he and his super-friends saved new York from aliens, Tony Stark now faces a more personal, grounded journey. However, this does not mean the franchise has ‘gone dark’ and Iron Man 3 has not become Batman in a fancier suit. Instead, newcomer Shane Black leaves a very personal mark on the year’s first true blockbuster, filling the film with humour and a refreshing lightness of touch, continuing the separation of Marvel’s silly and fun cinematic universe and the Chris Nolan world of pseudo-realism and emotional heaviness. Continue reading