A Darkness Falls – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 3/4

Ok, one more on the subject of Infinity War, then later this week I want to talk about how the MCU as a whole has changed cinema for the worse, and better. For today there is a Spoiler Warning in effect, but it’s coming up two weeks since release, and there’s only another week to Deadpool which will be a very different movie-going experience.

Today I want to cover villains, events, and the two characters I never covered: Hulk and Gamora. Let’s start with one of my favourite parts: Continue reading “A Darkness Falls – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 3/4”

Super Team Ups – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 2/4

Spoilers Ahead!

Tuesday I summarised the MCU as best as I could in brief, and tried to give you some idea of what to expect from Infinity War without giving too much away. Today the gloves are off, and so begins the review proper.

Given the volume of characters in play, it makes absolute sense to divide the narrative between them, each group trying to find a way to halt the progress of the Mad Titan. So let’s take this group by group, doing insufficient justice to each character as we go because we have many years to summarise with each:

Continue reading “Super Team Ups – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 2/4”

Review – Thor: Ragnarok

Does anyone know how many films we’re at now? We’re coming up on ten years of the MCU and it’s been a hurricane of films, TV shows, shorts, games, tie-ins in the actual comics, and desperate, laughable attempts from other companies to try and recreate the Marvel/Disney success that it’s no longer funny when they try. Does it still need discussing?

Well yes. Because as hard as direct rival DC/Warner tries to fight back with their dark and gritty universe built on the back of Nolan’s success with the Batman trilogy, Marvel seems to be reactionarily becoming more comical with their titles. Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and now Thor have added three of the funniest films to be released this year, and under the “Super-Hero” genre rather than typical comedy. Perhaps it’s just the appeal to the geekier sense of humour that drags me in, or maybe it’s that we’ve become so comfortable laughing alongside some of these characters after years spent in their company.

Thor: Ragnarok is inextricable from the rest of the MCU films, it cannot stand alone but it does not need to do so. Let’s take a look at why… Continue reading “Review – Thor: Ragnarok”

Trailer Review – The Mummy & Thor: Ragnarok

I fully intended today’s article to be pure ranting, but something came along to soften my mood.

In a bid to catch hold of the rising star of the Marvel shared universe, Universal announced a while back that they had plans to bring together their classic horror properties into a single entity. It was initially slated to begin with Dracula Untold, the rough diamond that could have gone onto far greater things in smarter hands. It’s a shame, I for one enjoyed Luke Evans in the titular role as a king who embraced a curse in order to save his people, but I can respect why the cliched, overly romanticised and effects-heavy film might have grated on certain audiences. So instead the franchise begins with a new approach on The Mummy.

Tom Cruise was on the list of stars optioned for the role of Rick Connors in the 1999 action fantasy that ultimately went on to immortalise Brendan Frasier. It was a fun film, suitably terrifying while still light and fun enough that anyone could enjoy it, and Frasier, Rachel Weiss, and John Hannah formed a team of capable but humorous characters that richly deserved a third instalment that instead ended in tragedy, sadly dooming the future of that particular franchise without a reboot.

Of course, as we’re looking at a broader horror franchise, perhaps for the new film horror is the angle to take, rather than the kitsch family adventure we’ve come to associate with the Mummy title. I love the look of the new Mummy. No more Imhotep, introducing Ahmanet, cursed priestess come to conquer the modern world with her ancient magics, complete with giant screaming face in a wall of water, very cool. But for good quality horror we’re missing a few key elements, highest of which must be vulnerability.

Ahmanet is presented in the trailer as an overwhelming force, utterly daunting and positively apocalyptic in scope, a foe to be fought with wit and desperation. In the trailer we see guns which will doubtlessly be useless, but the rest of the footage is a sizzle real of Tom Cruise doing awesome things and surviving certain peril, not a trace of the calamitous pulp adventure stylings of the ’99 film. We have an action hero in a horror film, thus negating both. Whether I like Cruise or not (I don’t) he’s still a bad fit for the job, and I have a profound sense of foreboding.

Russel Crowe has adopted the role of Henry Jekyll, and here I must also levy a certain amount of scepticism. I suppose I have a little more respect for him as an actor, and I can certainly see him as the intimidating alter-ego but as the sympathetic and vulnerable doctor? John Hannah rather immortalised the part for me a long time ago.

I want to go see the new Mummy film, but I go with some preconceptions, the promotional work is not filling me with optimism for this or any other attempts Universal might make in the future. The MCU has been brought about as a labour of love, and everyone scrabbling for a piece of that shared-universe action is coming across as sad and desperate. Something new might be needed, something with a unified universe to build upon that could be brought to life by a director who already has a passion for it. Something like H.P. Lovecraft’s works assembled by Guillermo Del Torro perhaps?!


Anyway, let’s get to the good news from the week. We got a new Thor trailer, and it looks both epic and hilarious!

Immediately I’m struck by a lot of elements in the art direction that are screaming Guardians of the Galaxy at me, bold colour schemes, 1980’s graphics, industrially styled settings populated by a wide variety of alien species, and Immigrants Song – very fitting for a Norse god. We might finally see the tie-in we’ve been waiting for, a character connection that goes beyond the Infinity Stones and Thanos, a formal introduction to the more Earth-bound Avengers. All of this assuming nothing crops up in the new Guardians film coming out in a week or two!

Cate Blanchett as Hela looks truly epic, unclear is Loki’s allegiance in her war with Asgard. We get a fleeting glimpse of Karl Urban as Skurge dual-wielding automatic rifles, a look at the back of Valkyrie’s head, and out first shots of Jeff Goldblum in the role of Grandmaster. That’s a lot of stuff to take in all at once! So much detail, a spectacle that may yet escalate all that we have seen so far, a veritable tour-de-force for the series, but what’s everyone going to be talking about?

Hulk!

And may I say, “Awww Yeeaaah!”

Had the narrative not nimbly removed them from the fray, this is the rematch we all wanted to see in Civil War. Last time Thor took the upper hand by dumping Mjolnir on Hulk’s chest and pinning him to the deck of the helicarrier while the audience laughed at his frustration… at least they did at my screening. This time Hulk has scrap metal armour and no magic hammer, smashed to bits by Hela.

At least one meta-series is going according to plan, despite the people claiming it’s on its last legs or starting to look like it’s in trouble. Ragnarok is still while away, we still have Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man to go. In the mean time I will be watching developments in Universal’s efforts with curiosity. They’d better get Jekyll and Hyde right.

Jekyll and Hyde

This falls pretty high on my list of pet-peeves. Rant ahead.

The original tale of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde was a spectacular study on the dichotomy of good and evil as it pertains to humanity. We all know the story, but more often than not our biggest misconception is that Hyde is a monster in anything other than a metaphorical sense. Confusion tends to arise around the description of Hyde as being unpleasant to look at, grotesquely disfigured and possessed of monstrous strength.

Jekyll and Hyde are physically the same person, but where one is a pure and innocent soul having separated all of his evil desires, the other embodies those evil drives completely, the idea being that ones personality is reflected in ones face, and that the extreme division in Jekyll and Hyde makes it impossible to recognise one as the other. Continue reading “Jekyll and Hyde”

Avengers: Age of Ultron

This one clinches it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe can no longer be taken on the merits of each film. Not that the Avengers 2 was a bad film, but it cannot stand alone as a film, or even as a sequel to Avengers, it demands the supporting framework that has built to this moment. Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and to no small degree Guardians of the Galaxy are essential viewing to be able to fully appreciate the journeys taken to reach this point.

It’s those journeys I want to look into as I go through this review. Continue reading “Avengers: Age of Ultron”