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

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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.

Legion Is Unleashed

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Last night, Fox released a new TV show from the Marvel universe – all about Legion, otherwise known as David Heller, and his struggle to deal with his powers. Or, more accurately control the powers he doesn’t even know he has.

David doesn’t know that he’s a Mutant, instead he thinks he’s a paranoid schizophrenic, who has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and is trying to deal with his illness. But as a viewer, we are shown that this is not the case. David in an incredibly powerful Mutant, who can do incredible things. Things like switch bodies, move objects with his mind, possibly even read minds too, and so much more that hasn’t been explored yet.

And, there’s been a murder. Or someone has disappeared, and only David knows what has happened, but his fractured mind can’t make sense of anything that has happened. Someone desperately wants to know though, and more importantly, want to study David’s powers, leading to more mystery and intrigue.

What is really clever about this show, is how the writers show David’s perception of the world. We see his memories, his fantasies, and through trippy graphics, hints of his true power, all while not being given all the answers to what is going on. Right up until the end of the episode, we are kept guessing as to who everybody is, what is happening, and what is real and what is David’s imagination. It’s confusing, but in a good way, you can follow along, but there’s still mystery as to what is actually going on, and I absolutely loved it.

I know I say that a lot about Marvel’s TV adaptions, as well as it’s films, but I did genuinely love this too. Going in, I had no idea just what Legion was, further than the fact that David was a Mutant, and I came out absolutely gripped, and desperately needing more of this series.

I must commend Dan Stevens for his acting skills, he has made David come to life brilliantly. And after some internet research on the original comic counterpart, I can see how well he has laid the groundwork for David’s powers and psyche to come to life. It was subtle, yet excellently done, I can’t wait to see what he, and the rest of the series, does next!

Doctor Strange Mind Trip

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Anybody who knows me will tell you the same thing – I love Marvel, and I love Benedict Cumberbatch. So as you can imagine, Doctor Strange has caused a lot of excitement for me. And by a lot of excitement, I mean it’s been a huge part of my life ever since the casting was announced on this film. My favourite actor, and my favourite franchise combining? What could be more perfect? (Well, a McFly song somewhere in the film would have been wonderful, but hey, two out of three isn’t bad)

Never before in my life have I followed the production of a film so closely as I have done for Doctor Strange, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally see the film yesterday, after two long years of waiting.

And all I can say is wow, just wow. This film is brilliant, in so many ways. It’s an origins story, which could seem outdated and boring by now, but this film does it in a slightly different way.

I’ll start from the beginning. Doctor Stephen Strange is the best neurosurgeon around, he’s at the top of his game, working only on the hardest (but curable) cases he can find. He’s arrogant, rich, and only out for himself. He has to be right, constantly, and does not hold back when he finds someone stupid. But it all changes when he has a violent car crash, which crushes his hands, leaving him with nerve damaged hands which constantly shake, and unable to do surgery.

After hearing that there’s someone out there who can cure him, he goes in search of The Ancient One, and that’s when his entire world is turned on it’s head. He’s introduced to magic and the mystic arts, and after some false starts, starts to train and learn everything he can about them, slowly becoming entrenched in this world of magic, albeit reluctantly.

Sounds like a normal Marvel origin story, right? Wrong. Because unlike Iron Man, Captain America or Thor, Stephen Strange doesn’t want to be a hero. He just wants to be a surgeon again, he doesn’t want to kill others to save the world, or anything like that. He wants to save lives in the operating theater, like he’s been doing his entire life. There’s several arguments throughout the film over this, and in the beginning he only fights when he has to, not because he wants to. It’s only towards the end of the film when he changes his mind, unlike all of our other heroes in this universe.

Another thing that stands out in this film is how Doctor Strange battles. He doesn’t have a special suit, isn’t enhanced in any way, isn’t a Demi-God, or battling alongside aliens. He’s completely human, a human with magic, and mystical objects which help, sometimes hilariously, along the way, but he’s still human. And he gets hurt, a lot, in this film. Not just in training with The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), but in actual fights with the enemy.

His powers sometimes fail him, he loses important objects he needs to battle, he doesn’t fully understand the mystical powers that are working around him. For once, we saw a hero actually get beaten, several times over in fact, and in ways that made everyone wince in sympathy in the cinema.

It was a refreshing thing to see, and made the character more realistic in my opinion. I’m sure others are getting slightly tired of the hero winning battles without much issue their first time round, so to actually have someone get seriously beaten really grounded the audience in reality, despite all the magical things going on.

Even the magic seems sort-of grounded in reality. Of course, it’s as trippy as the old Steve Ditko comics, and it takes you on a wild ride through the weirdest of dimensions, but the characters make this all seem rather normal, because it’s normal to them. It’s their way of life, their way of protecting the world, and has been for centuries. The way it’s been done gives the audience just a glimpse at what’s out there, what Doctor Strange will go on to accomplish as the Sorcerer Supreme, while still making it accessible, and not making the whole thing seem too… well, strange. 

All in all, Doctor Strange is possibly now my favourite Marvel film (sorry Civil War), it had all of Marvel’s hallmarks – great wit, engaging characters, amazing end credit scene (stay right to the end of the credits, there’s two end credit scenes) – but it was different from the classic origin stories we know and love.

It’s needless to say, but the acting was also superb, the casting on point, and the costuming/effects were done beautifully. Everything came together perfectly, setting up a sequel in the future, expanding the MCU even further, and changing up everything. It’s a must see film for any superhero fan, and hell, even if you’re not a superhero fan, go and see it anyway, because it’s possibly the best film I’ve seen all year.

To say the least, it was worth the two year wait.

Captain America: Civil War – A Spoiler Free Review

Last night I saw the midnight showing of the new Captain America movie – and my God it was one hell of a roller coaster ride! The title is not kidding when it says ‘Civil War’ because this really is a war between the Avenger team. Friends are fighting friends, and they’re not holding punches, to say the least, Marvel were not holding back when making this movie. It has to be seen to be believed.
You may be thinking just why I’m saying that – the trailer gives the plot away right? They’re all fighting over the Sokovian Accords. Wrong!
Well, half right, there’s other things at play here too, which I won’t go into for spoiler reasons. What I will say is that the trailers are completely misleading, Marvel have presented every clip to look one way, when in the actual film, it’s going another. They’ve actually used different takes in some cases than they do in the film, to mislead it’s audience. And somehow, that really, really works. You expect a scene to be going in one direction, then Marvel throw the curve ball at you and leave you reeling.
To say the least, this film is two and a half hours of tense fighting, mainly focusing on Chris Evan’s Captain America, and Robert Downey Jnr’s Iron Man. Characters like Black Widow, Bucky Barnes, Hawkeye and Vision are involved, but the argument is centered around Cap and Tony Stark. It’s agonising to watch their friendship deteriorate, even as they desperately try to stay friends, while remaining on opposite sides. What I enjoyed about this was that the character did try to talk it out, and that both sides of the argument were shown.
In this film, there is no right and wrong, there is just Steve Roger’s opinion, and Tony Stark’s, and you as the audience member can choose which side you are on. It’s a tough one to call though, both sides have their good arguments, and both sides also have their bad. Both make mistakes along the way, both try to do what they think is the right thing, and they are both right in their own ways. Even now, I’m still on the fence about which side I’m on, I still honestly do not know. I don’t think I ever will choose a side for definite, it’s just too difficult to call.
Besides all this angst and pain, the film is also surprisingly funny in places. Paul Rudd’s Ant Man is as funny as his solo film, Bucky and Falcon have sort of teamed to make a great double act, who bounce off each other, and Steve Roger’s well.
And, who’d have thought it, but Spiderman is hilarious in places. Honestly, I never find Spiderman funny, in fact, I generally find him a bit tedious and boring. But this film really brings him to the fore, in some ways he and Black Panther steal the show. For once Peter Parker is compelling, actually looks like a teenage boy, and acts like it too. Tom Holland did a fantastic job playing him, and I feel like after his own solo film, I may actually become a Spiderman fan.
Likewise, Black Panther was not what I was expecting. For some reason, I was expecting a more wild character, someone who would not listen to anybody and would act within his own needs, but I was wrong. T’Challa is incredibly regal and calm, willing to listen, yet absolutely lethal in his search for revenge. I don’t know much about his character history, but his future in the MCU is going to be very interesting to say the least.
All in all, Captain America: Civil War is a masterpiece, possibly the best Marvel movie to date. The ending is unexpected in a lot of ways, and is going to lead perfectly into Avengers: Infinity War. There’s brilliant light and shade throughout, you will laugh and cry for the entire film. There’s only a few niggles I have with the film, and those are either down to personal preference, or because I was expecting something different (mostly at the end credit scenes, of which there are two. The scenes are good, but I was expecting a different character to be in one, but that’s just me). But this film is incredibly, honest to God amazing.
And one thing is for certain, the Avengers will never be the same again after this.

Good Deadpool? Bad Deadpool? GOOD DEADPOOL!

I’ve literally just come back from watching Deadpool and I have to get out my feelings right now, because my God Deadpool is amazing! I loved every single second of this madcap, fourth-wall breaking, swearing, gory, laugh out loud funny origin film, and I’d highly recommend that everybody go and see it… Unless you’re squeamish, or have a delicate disposition, then I’d say stay away as far as possible. If you’re into this sort of stuff, then you’re going to LOVE this film.
Going into Deadpool, all I knew about him was the basics – he breaks the fourth wall, swears a lot, and is known as the ‘Merc With A Mouth,’ other than that, I knew nothing. I’d seen Wolverine Origins (which gets ripped to shreds in this film, or at least Hugh Jackman does anyway) but my knowledge was so skin thin I could have gone in completely ignorant. What I got in return was absolute genius – a completely new take on the ‘hero origin’ story, where the hero doesn’t even want to be a hero. Wade Wilson (the man behind the mask) just wants revenge on the man who gave him his powers and destroyed his skin, and to save his girlfriend from the same man, he doesn’t want to be a hero, and he makes sure everybody knows it.
To be honest, this is more of a revenge story than anything else, it’s nearly two hours of Wade seeking revenge, with pieces of flashback to explain why Wade is after this guy in the first place. And somehow, that works, and more importantly, you fall in love with Wade as he does this.
From the opening scene, Wade Wilson is having gory shoot outs with his enemies henchman, destroying cars and turning one guy into a shish-kabob. The audience knows straight away that Wade is not a good person at all, and yet, as his story is told, you fall in love with him. It’s all through his wise cracks and his love for his girlfriend Vanessa. He’s ridiculous in so many ways, but absolutely lovable, not in a way that you’d take him home to meet your mum, but still very lovable. His jokes about Hugh Jackman (of which there are many), the X-Men in general, and pop culture are completely on point and hilarious.
At points, he gets a bit near the mark with his sex jokes, but that was the whole point of Deadpool in the first place – he’s not supposed to be correct all the time. He’s supposed to be absolutely insane, rude and dangerous, the antithesis of the anti-hero. And in this film, it’s perfect for him. No other hero could pull this off at all, Wade Wilson is the least politically correct super hero ever, and it’s absolutely perfect.
Deadpool in fact doesn’t pull any punches, or hold back in any shape or form. The fourth wall breaks are everywhere, some so subtle you nearly miss them, and others right in your face. Swear words fly around so damn often you forget that this is a Marvel film, they’re not at all bleeped out like they are in the comics. The blood and guts are absolutely everywhere, hell even the naked shots aren’t held back either. Where other films would use tasteful angles to avoid showing someone’s manhood in the middle of a fight, Deadpool doesn’t shy away at all. Nothing in Deadpool is shy, or chaste, or anything of the sort. It’s loud, in your face, hilarious, and absolutely brilliant. I only have two objections – 1) Hugh Jackman doesn’t actually turn up, and neither does Wolverine, even though both are mentioned, and 2) Deadpool never physically meets Stan Lee, which could have been epic. Oh well, there’s always next time for these two wishes!
In all seriousness though, Deadpool is an incredible film, and the perfect way to start this year’s superhero offerings from Marvel. I can’t wait to see what Wade will get up to next, all I can say is that it’ll be absolutely epic.