Uproarious Thor Ragnarok

 

Uproarious Thor Ragnarok (1)

Loki is on the throne of Asgard.

Thor is having visions of the end of worlds.

Hela has escaped her prison.

Ragnarok is upon us, time to fight!

And what a fight it is! Thor Ragnarok is the third solo adventure for Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and it is most probably the best one.

This film see’s Hemsworth really come into his own as Thor, as he tries to stop  The Goddess Of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), from destroying Asgard. There’s only one problem – he’s stuck on Sakaar, forced to fight The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) for the entertainment of The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is of no help, and neither is Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a fellow Asgardian stuck on the planet.

It’s entirely up to Thor to bring his team together and face down the Goddess, to save his people, his planet, and possibly the galaxy, from Hela’s wrath.

What follows, is a brilliant, uproarious thrill fest of fights, high stakes and laugh out loud humour, reminiscent of Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Taika Waititi really took a risk with Ragnarok, while not everyone liked the previous formula for Thor solo films, they still worked brilliantly, and possibly fit better with the classic Norse Mythology. But Taiki utterly flips this on its head – Ragnarok is bright and full of jokes, Thor doesn’t take himself as seriously, Loki doesn’t get all the oneliners, and even Hulk gets a chance to shine outside of a battle scene.

But despite all the humour, you still feel the gravity of the situation.

Hela is on the warpath, Asgard is unprotected, and there’s nothing stopping her from destroying everything in her way. The danger is very real, and while this film is hilarious, it never forgets that it is supposed to be about Ragnarok. The tone takes a little while to adjust to, but once you do, this film propels its audience through every second and never lets you go.

I loved every second of this film, it was fantastic from beginning to the end. From the storyline, the humour, the new characters, and the cameo (Hiddlesbatch fans will be reasonably pleased with Doctor Strange’s appearance, though we will have to wait until Infinity War for a possible magic fight between Stephen and Loki), it was all genius. Definitely a risk work taking.

Thor finally got his chance to shine and become The God Of Thunder he was always supposed to be. Norse Mythology was given its due, and while a lot was changed to fit more comic book elements into it, the essence was still there.

I feel like Thor’s journey has properly begun now, I cannot wait to see where it takes us from here!

Advertisements

Full Disclosure On The Addams Family

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky, the Addams Family! And their musical has finally come to the UK!

I’m a life long Addams Family fan, I’ve loved the films since I was a child, was nicknamed Wednesday by certain family members, and have generally been a massive fan of the iconic family for years. So when I heard that there was a musical, I had to check it out.

Sadly, for years, it didn’t come over to the UK, so I had to make do by listening to Carrie Hope Fletcher sing ‘Pulled’ (Wednesday’s big solo) on repeat for three years.

When the UK tour was announced, I raced to get tickets, especially when I found out that Wednesday was being played by Carrie. I’ve been a huge fan of her too for years, so to see the two collide was an absolute dream. A dream, that did not disappoint.

The Addams Family musical is focused on Wednesday, who has fallen in love. But she’s not in love with just anyone, she’s in love with a *shudders* normal boy, from Ohio. In fact, she’s not just in love with him, she’s engaged to him. The only problem is, Morticia doesn’t know, and Wednesday wants her blessing.

So, she organises a dinner, for her fiance Lucas and his family to meet her family, and gain the blessing of her parents. And that’s where things go wrong. Wednesday has driven a wedge between her parents, forcing Gomez to lie to his wife for the first time in their entire marriage, Lucas’ parents’ marriage is failing, Pugsley is scared to lose his sister, and the families, to say the least, clash, with sometimes hilarious, yet strangely poignant, results.

I was worried before I saw the musical that it would be too different from the films, that it wouldn’t be done well, that everybody would be wrong for their roles. That Andrew Lippa wouldn’t capture the true essence of The Addams’. But I needn’t have worried. It’s clear this musical was lovingly made. There’s changes to the characters we know and love, but that’s because they’re grown up now, with new experiences under their belts. They’re still psychopaths, still in love with death and all things dark, and most importantly, they’re a family.

Because really, that’s what The Addams Family has always been about. Family. As they sing in the opening number, it’s family first, it’s family last, it’s family by and by. It’s about learning more about each other, getting through the tough times, fighting for the ones we love, and showing just how a family should be… Even if that family is slightly odd.

Filled with brilliant one liners, darkly wonderful songs filled with lyrics such as ‘I want my love to cut you like my knife,’ and fantastic acting, The Addams Family is unmissable. Especially for those who has always wanted to do the ‘click clicks’ with an audience, wanted to be part of the clan, or just simply wanted another Addams adventure.

I wish I could see it again, and I hope that I will get the chance some day in the future. Even if I don’t, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It fulfilled many childhood dreams, I laughed, I clicked, I clapped, and I finally got to hear Pulled live. I’m a very (un)happy Addams fan.

Click. Click.

 

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.

Fantastical Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

since-1611

Harry Potter is back! Well, at least his world is back, in this brilliant new prequel, which weirdly, has barely anything to do with Harry Potter himself.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them follows the story of Newt Scamander, a young wizard who loves, and studies, animals, travelling to 1920’s New York. It would be a simple trip too, if it wasn’t for the fact that his magical animals kept on escaping and causing havoc in the city, which coincides with a dark force threatening to reveal the wizarding world to the Muggles (or No-Maj, as they’re called in America).

Now, I know I say this a lot, but I wasn’t sure about this film at first. Prequels can often be slightly painful to watch, and come across like studios trying desperately to get more money from a franchise. But this didn’t this came across a lot better than I was expecting to be honest. Fantastic Beasts felt more like a film set in the universe of Harry Potter, while being extremely removed from the story of Harry and Voldemort. Setting the film in the 20’s was a great idea, as it meant that there was no way to mention Harry, Ron, Hermione, Voldemort, or anybody really related to them, because none of them had been born yet. Their troubles hadn’t even begun.

This really helped to create an almost new universe, where this story could be set. It allowed Newt and his friends to be completely separate and new, there was no need to compare anybody to any previous character in this massive franchise. Everything was new, with just little points of conversation which reminded the audience exactly what they were watching.

And what they were watching was, if you’ll excuse the pun, rather magical. Newt’s shy, bumbling, animal-obsessed nature was actually quite sweet in places. From the clips I had seen previously, I was half expecting to hate Newt, but when the clips are given context, and the rest of the film allows his character to unfold, he’s actually quite lovable, and nothing we’ve really seen before in a Harry Potter film. The creatures he was trying to help were nothing short of extraordinary, and nothing like any of the things Harry ever encountered. His interactions with them spoke of true affection, which in some ways reminded me of Steve Irwin.

Newt’s friends were also great additions to the team, none of them even hinting at falling into the same slots as Harry’s gang. Not once did I look at one of the characters and say to myself ‘that’s the Ron/Hermione/Neville etc,’ all of them were entirely new, and still entirely part of the team. Even the No-Maj proved to be more than just comic relief for the other characters.

The story itself is also really all-encompassing. There’s hints of what’s going on in the wizarding world, specifying Grindelward and his terrible attacks, more information on those what happens to the magical children who slip through the cracks, and so much on the differences between the English and the American wizarding way. None of it is ‘info dumped’ either, it’s all revealed in timely places, and will doubt please every Harry Potter fan desperate for more information about the world of wizards.

The only thing that slightly disappointed me in this film was the effects. Not that the CGI wasn’t amazing, because it was truly amazing, but because there seemed to be very little practical effects. With the original Harry Potter movies, creatures like Buckbeak were robots, or puppets, or actors with make up on. In this film, all of it is CGI, which was slightly disappointing. Of course, I understand that with some of these creatures, it just was not possible to make a puppet, or whatever else, that would look realistic. But some scenes I thought would have been greatly improved by some real life effects, to really ground the film in reality.

Other than that though, this film is brilliant, and perfect for every Harry Potter fan out there. With some very fantastic beasts, great characters, subtle grounding in the original world, and some whip-lash inducing plot twists, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a wonderful film. Between this and the Cursed Child play, Harry Potter is proving to be more than just The Boy Who Lived, his entire universe is slowly turning into The World That Stops Surprising. And I for one, am incredibly excited for what’s coming next.