Guardians Of The Galaxy Is Out Of This World

 

Alright, I’ve had 4 hours sleep, which was interrupted thanks to a lovely pounding headache, but I have to write this now because I cannot stop thinking about Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, as I do with all the films Marvel releases, but the Guardians have had a special place in my heart for a while. The first film was a triumph, and made me fall in love with how different they are from other superheros in the franchise, how the humour is kicked up a notch, and just simply how lighthearted this rag-tag team of misfits are.

But Volume 2 hit me sideways. I was not expecting the turns this film took, I was expecting a laugh out loud comedy action film, instead I got a funny, but poignant, film focusing entirely on one important thing: family.

When we left the Guardians Of The Galaxy had just learnt to work together as a group, and in this film, they still work together, but they’ve become a family. And by family, I mean a very dysfunctional one. Peter and Rocket argue constantly, Gamora is ignoring all of Peter’s advances, Drax doesn’t listen to a word anybody else says. Groot mostly stays out of it, because he’s just a tiny baby tree (and by just I mean the cutest thing Marvel have ever created), who is in essence a toddler who likes to cause trouble. The arguing is getting worse and worse, they all love each other in their own ways, but they haven’t learnt to live together, and they are getting close to tearing each other apart.

Meanwhile, Yondu’s crew have mutinied against him, The Sovereign are after the Guardian’s, and there’s a mysterious man hanging around with an alien claiming to be Peter’s dad. That’s right, Peter’s dad has found him, and we finally find out why Peter could hold an Infinity Stone without dying instantly.

I won’t say who he is for spoiler reasons, though if you’re on the internet as much as I am, you’ll know by now, as it was announced months ago. All I’ll say is that the man is full of mystery, and thanks to him, we find out so much more about each member of the team, things that we were desperate to know, some we really weren’t.

I’m making this sound like it’s really angsty all the way through, and it really isn’t. The essence of what makes Guardians Of The Galaxy is still there, the humour definitely more adult in places, but this is still as fun as the first one, if not more so. The plot is great, with some fantastic plot twists that hit me so hard in the chest I nearly wanted to cry. The stakes are higher, the bad guys are more powerful, and most importantly, the films heart got bigger. The Guardians have always been about family, and this time it shines brighter in the most beautiful way.

Volume 2 is like Volume 1, dialed up 100 notches, it’s brilliant, fantastic, just as mind-blowing as the first. I loved every second. I laughed, I nearly cried, I freaked out in places at references as to what is to come later in the MCU. Essentially, I loved it. Plain and simple.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 is an awesome mix of fun, love, and consequences. A film I feel that everyone should watch. Marvel have once again hit the nail on the head, and made one amazing film.

 

Logan’s Swan Song

logans-swan-song

Seventeen years ago, the X-Men burst onto our screens, starting a whole near era in superhero film, one that admittedly has it’s problems thanks to timeline changes, but still a very enjoyable one. Two of the lead roles, were Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, and Professer Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart, who have now become iconic in these roles. Logan says goodbye to both, paying tribute to them, as well as giving them one last adventure. An adventure that’s unlike any other X-Men film before it.

Usually, the X-Men films are reasonably funny and lighthearted. But Logan is anything but lighthearted. It would fit more with the Marvel Netflix series’ than the rest of the X-Men canon. The story is dark, and gritty, not holding back on the character’s hardships, or how badly life had hit them.

Professor X is deteriorating mentally, barely able to control his powers, Logan is looking after him, working as a chauffeur to raise enough money to look after them both. There is no-one else that can help, the X-Men are gone, the mansion left unmentioned, mutants are dying out. The world thinks the professor is dead, a terrible accident killing him a year ago. And, possibly most importantly, Logan is also dying. His healing powers are failing him, poisoned by the Adamantium wrapped around his bones. Logan’s body is littered in scars, his wounds don’t heal as fast, he’s drinking to cope.

To say the least, things are bleak. Things get only bleaker when a nurse calls for Logan’s help, to take her and her daughter to Eden, a safe haven for mutant kind. A company is after them, and want to kill the girl, named Laura. Logan and Xavier get dragged into the fray when they discover that Laura is not human – she’s a mutant, one with some very familiar powers indeed.

What follows is still bleak, but brilliant. Despite this being a superhero film, it does not follow the usual tropes. This is more a story about a man learning how to care again, facing the worst adversity he has ever faced, despite the costs to himself. The audience is swept up completely in Logan’s struggle, routing for him more than ever before.

Logan is, in essence, one of the best X-Men films ever made. It’s beautifully shot, beautifully written, and beautifully acted. A bittersweet experience, as you never want this to end, but knowing it has to. Not only will the film end, but these characters are going to be gone forever at the end too.

Yes there were things left unexplained, and there were no appearances from any other famous X-Men, they weren’t even mentioned by name. But if things had been fully explained, if others were mentioned, it would have detracted from what this film is – Logan’s swan song.

While I did not want to see Logan ever go, the same with Professor X, it would do a disservice to this film to demand they bring these character’s back, through a timeline change, or by any other means. This was the perfect ending for the character, the last five minutes nearly bringing me to tears. By far, this was Logan’s best solo film. His ultimate goodbye.

I used to say that David Tennant’s regeneration was the day my childhood ended, but now that has been surpassed. I have spent most of my life watching and loving the X-Men, despite it’s faults and mistakes. Logan though may just now be my favourite, we saw Logan in his true form, in all of his glory. I loved every second.

Thank you, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, you and your characters will be dearly missed, and never, ever replaced.

Star Trek Is Beyond Good

First of all, let me apologise for the header, my only excuse is punny titles on blog posts and that’s the best one I could think of in this head.

Now, onto the review.

Star Trek Beyond is the third installment in the Star Trek reboot series, and it does not disappoint. The story follows Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk and team crash landed on an unexplored world, separated and facing a dangerous new enemy – Krall.

I, for one, was slightly worried about how this film would turn out. Previous director JJ Abrams was only producing this film, the directors chair now filled by Justin Lin from the Fast And Furious franchise, and I was worried about how that would turn out. Would it still retain the previous film’s charm, the lens flares, anything that made the films feel distinctive? Trust me when I saw that the film feels different, but it’s not too bad a difference. It still feels like Star Trek, the characters are the same, the story line is still good, and there’s definitely enough Trek in there to satisfy fans.

One thing that is rather different from the previous films, is that there is a lot of humour in this one. This would be because Simon Pegg has co-written the film, and has added his sense of humour. But it’s not out of place, it actually works quite well. Most lines go to either Pegg’s character Scottie or Karl Urban’s Bones, though Kirk and Spock also get a few lines in too.

Another difference is that Chekov plays a a larger part than usual in this film. Chekov is usually a slightly more background character, but in this one he’s more at the forefront of the action, having a lot of screen time with Kirk. It’s a lovely thing to see, though still slightly sad, due to the recent passing of Anton Yelchin. His bigger role, and his dedication at the end, really made the film feel like it truly was ‘for Anton.’

The tribute to Leonard Nimoy is also a beautiful touch to the film. I won’t spoil what is done in tribute to him, but I will say that it will make classic Trek fans cry. My best friend and I, who have only ever watched these new films, welled up at his tribute. It was written in brilliantly, and while plays a key role in two scenes, is not completely ‘in your face’ or too over the top. It’s just right, stated well, and straight forward, sort of like Spock in that respect.

There is only two things that bugged me about this film. One was that the camera work during fight scenes was a bit too shaky to see what was going on, which spoiled them slightly for me. And the second was that I felt like Krall’s reasonings for his actions, along with his weapon, could have been explained just a bit more. I was left guessing for most of the film as to why he was so against Star Fleet, and never really understood what his weapon did, or why he needed the artifact to make it work.

But all in all, Star Trek Beyond is a great bit of film. It’s funny, witty, with a good plot line. The cast is great, the fight scenes are good, and it was great to see the affect of five years in space on the crew. They seemed stronger and closer together than in the first two. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Farewell Peggy Carter

Today is a sad day indeed, for today we have received the news that Marvel’s Agent Carter has been cancelled by abc in a frankly terrible decision. Peggy is sadly, no more in the MCU, apart from possible movie cameos from Hayley Atwell, and quite frankly, I am not pleased by this in the slightest.
Agent Carter is, for me at least, a big show. I love it dearly. I fell in love with Peggy during Captain America: The First Avenger, and have continued to love her since. I loved her spirit, her keen sense of adventure, and her devotion to saving people, no matter what she was told. Peggy didn’t give up in times of hardship, and never let someone tell her what to do. If she wanted to do it, she did it, without caring for the consequences of her career. As long as the world and the people in it were safe, Peggy did not worry about the repercussions of her actions. She did what had to be done, time and time again.
So when it was announced that she had her own tv show, exploring her life post Steve Rogers, I was ecstatic, and could not wait to see what she would get up to at the SSR. To say the least, I was not disappointed in the result. Agent Carter was a tv show with strong morals, great adventures, and one hell of a dynamic leading lady. Every week Peggy kicked ass, saved New York or LA, all the while coming up with great sass and looking great. It was funny, and silly in places, like all the best Marvel films, but it was also a great drama. I love every single second of it.
But what was even more epic was the message this show had. It carried over the message that Peggy has always had – that women are just as good as men. That even in the most sexist of times and work places, a woman can not only succeed, but she can do it without sleeping with anybody to her where she wants, without the help of a man, and without having to sacrifice her femininity. The show broke the mould in every way it could. It showed a regular human woman could save the world without a man doing it for her, that female friendship is so important, that women do not have to constantly be at war with each other, and so many other things.
Peggy Carter, to say the least, was a feminist hero, sort of like a non-powered version of Buffy set in the 40s. She gave so many important messages, the most important being ‘know your value, anybody else’s opinion doesn’t matter.’
Peggy broke the usual rules of tv, she was smart, beautiful, feminine, and saved the world. She didn’t have special powers, wasn’t an expert at combat, and didn’t let anybody stand in her way. To say the least I will miss her, and of course the ever wonderful Mr Jarvis, and her adventures. I can only hope that something like Netflix will pick up the series, and that she isn’t left to die like this.
Peggy will be sorely missed in this household, and many more across the world.
Farewell Agent Carter.

Pointless Character Death

Hey, long time no see. Blame the damn assignments for uni. Anyway, I want to talk in this blog post about a problem. Something that is a major problem in so many really good franchises, that don’t just annoy me, it annoys a lot of people. I’m talking about pointless character death.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fine with character death… sort of. But only when it is a necessary death that serves a purpose. When it doesn’t serve a purpose and it was simply done for either shock value or to create tension between characters, it really winds me up.
Take Sam on How To Get Away With Murder, his death was necessary because the entire show is built around Keating and her students getting away with his murder. His death was semi-justified too, he was an absolutely horrible human being, for reasons I won’t get into for people who plan on watching the show, and his death is the premise of the first season.
Another example is Rue from The Hunger Games. Its a horrendously painful character death, but it serves a purpose of sparking off the revolution and forces Katniss to fight back and get revenge on that Capital.
But when a character death is utterly pointless, I just get so annoyed. Recently, I was watching season 10 of Supernatural, and it got to – spoiler alert here guys if you’re not on season 10 – where Charlie Bradbury died. And her death was so completely and utterly pointless and wrong that I was angry about it for days afterwards. Basically, she died to drive a wedge between Sam and Dean, that was it. She died for that single reason, there was no other reason whatsoever. And it was incredibly annoying.
I mean, the writers could have not killed her, and just injured her instead, easily! The whole reason why her death caused the wedge was because she was helping Sam find a cure for Dean and they were lying to him about it. But because she was in danger, Sam had to tell Dean what was happening, and it caused a huge wedge between them because she died. But the same effect would have been caused if the writers had saved her, but she was badly injured instead. She could have easily been badly injured and the wedge would have still been made. Hell, Cas could have saved her, because he can teleport because he’s an angel and the wedge between the brothers would have still been there.
But no, the writers killed her off. And now she probably isn’t coming back. 
This happens time and time again in things, TV shows especially, where characters are killed off for no reason. I understand it when an actor wants to leave, like with Derek and Greys Anatomy, but even then that death could have been avoided. Derek could have simply just stayed in DC and asked for a divorce or something instead of dying in one of the worst character death scenes I have ever seen. I cried after that one. Actually cried, and I rarely cry over character death, I generally end up just getting annoyed.
Because characters aren’t supposed to just die to create tension, or to be a shock that creates hype on the internet. It’s supposed to really mean something. It’s supposed to be like Buffy’s mum, who died to force Buffy to grow up and stand on her own two feet. Like Dobby, who died saving Harry. Like probably Captain America, who’s death will hopefully force Tony to see the extent of what he’s doing and stop the war.
It’s supposed to be like that, not a death just for hype. When it’s for hype, it’s just pathetic, and clear that the writers are lazy and have no idea on what to do with a character anymore. It’s stupid, and I hate it. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand when writers have to rapidly change story lines because actors are pregnant, like in Bones, so they have to write something like Vincent dying to force Booth and Brennan to finally sleep together out of shock or something, so Brennan gets pregnant. That I can totally understand, but surely it doesn’t always have to end in death?
Can’t a character just be injured for once? Or can’t they come back as a ghost? Or decide to move away? Or something that isn’t them dying for once?! Killing someone off isn’t the only way to get rid of them, it is entirely possible for characters to leave through other means and still have it hurt like hell. Look at the Doctor and Rose at Bad Wolf Bay, Christina leaving Greys Anatomy, Zack turning out to be Gormagon in Bones!
All of those hurt like hell, and with Rose and Zack alike, created great plot twists people weren’t expecting. It’s entirely possible to create a feels inducing moment without killing people off. Writers, take note of that, and stop killing people like Charlie Bradbury off. Please, before I lose my mind.
What do you guys think about character death like this? Do you think any of the people I’ve mentioned had a good send off, if so, why? Or are there any other characters you pretend didn’t die because their deaths were so utterly pointless? Or did you see a really great character send off that didn’t involve them dying? Let me know down in the comments, it would be great to hear from you!

Happy World Book Day!

I love books, always have done, ever since I was a small kid. I was lucky enough to be brought up by a Mum who is a true bookworm, and so was always being read to, and reading by myself. It was to a point where I was reading on twenty minute car journey’s (without feeling sick, might I add), and I ran out of room on my shelves, so had to get rid of a load (which hurt, a lot). I read so much that by the time I was ten, I had run out of children’s books to read and so started on Kathy Reiches – and I’m really not joking on that one either. At ten, I was reading Kathy Reiches’ Bones series.
As a high schooler, I read nearly the entire Angus, Thongs, And Perfect Snogging books in two weeks, which inspired several more trips to Waterstones to pick up book-to-film/film-to-book adaptions. I had to slow down a bit for my GCSE’s and A levels (and to start writing too, of course), but I still kept at it really quite diligently.
Even now, I’m a big fan of books, I want to be an author when I graduate, so of course I love books. As I write this, I’m listening to a song called Boys In Books Are Better by Carrie Hope Fletcher, because I relate to it so much. If you haven’t heard that song, here’s the link:

But what is it about books that I love so much? Well, that’s a hard question, because there’s so much. 
There’s the escapism element, for a start. I love getting lost in a story line, being completely and utterly swept up in it all. I tend to read teen fiction and things about the supernatural, I love getting so lost in it, I forget that vampires/werewolves/whichever mythical creature is involved isn’t real. 
Falling for the characters is another reason, because as Carrie above says, boys in books really are better. Who wants a real guy when you can read about Finnick Odair or Draco Malfoy? (I’m a Slytherin, what can I say?) Nobody! Fictional men may not be perfect, they may have their flaws, but damn it I love them anyway (even when most of them are dead… and not coming back). 
Finding strength in characters too, I have always looked up to strong female characters. So while I fall for Kili, Draco and Shane Collins, I’m also looking up to Katniss, Eve Rosser and Valkyrie Cain. I love to read about these brilliant outcasts, who come in and save the world. Sometimes I like to imagine that I’d be as amazing as them in the same situation, even when I know that I’d die within five minutes. It’s fun to pretend for a little while, after all. 
Before I spend the next six years telling you all the reasons why I love books, I should probably wrap this up. Basically, I love it all. Books are an incredible thing. They provide hours of entertainment, introduce us to new concepts, inspire us, and so much more. And all of it with just words, just 26 letters, rearranged again and again, to make sentences, which make paragraphs, which makes stories. Honestly, where would we be without stories? Without Harry Potter, without Bilbo Baggins, without Skullduggery Pleasant? Nowhere, we would be bored, we wouldn’t know what adventure and bravery was. 
But with books, we can sail the high seas, fight the Capital, stop Valentine. We fall in love, solve mysteries and crimes, travel to far off places – some of which don’t even exist. We can do all of that and more. For someone like me, who’s socially awkward and doesn’t like to leave the house all too often, a book is a godsend. 
So what is it that I love about books? Everything, really. I love it all. Books are magical things, and if everybody spent more time reading them, I think we would all be that little bit more magical ourselves.