TL;DR – A film with a great cast, strong banter, engaging action, but the third act does not capitalise on all these.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film.
Black Widow Review –
Back when Spider-Man: Far From Home came out in July 2019, I don’t think anyone knew just how long it would be before we got another Marvel film up on the big screen. Well, just over two years later, it is time to dive back into this world by going back to a time just after Civil War.
So to set the scene, we begin our film in the deep dark days of the far past, the 1990s. In Ohio, we are introduced to a completely average family, normal except for the fact that it is entirely manufactured and the father Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and mother Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) are Russian spies. They are here to steal secrets from SHIELD (well, HYDRA pretending to be SHIELD). One emergency flight to Cuba and the family is split up and forced into the Soviet machine. Years later, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is now on the run after Civil War, and it just so happens to be time for a family reunion.
TL;DR – A very ambitious film and while it does not quite reach the lofty goals it sets for itself, I give it credit for trying when so many others don’t bother.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
I have seen films that have embraced absurdism before, I have seen films that have explored World War Two before, I have never seen an absurdist film about World War Two before, well that is until today. This is a film that honestly I would have loved to be in the pitch meeting for because I have no idea how the hell it got greenlit even though I am glad that it did.
So to set the scene, in the midst of WW2 and living in Nazi Germany we find a young boy called Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis). In the aftermath of his sister dying and his father being away “fighting on the Italian front”, he spends his days at a Deutsches Jungvolk Hitler Youth training camp with his friend Yorki (Archie Yates) run by a very nonplussed Wehrmacht Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). When recovering from an accident involving a grenade Jojo discovers that his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a Jewish girl called Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic, which brings Jojo into a moral quandary not helped by the suggestions from his good friend Hitler (Taika Waititi).
TL;DR – Infinity War brings everyone together and then tares them apart leaving you with a foreboding as to what will happen next, but also an excitement as they try to work it all out.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars (this is a tentative score, it might change after Part 2)
Post-Credit Scene – There is an end credit scene
It should be no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the new Avengers film. In preparation not only did I map out the Marvel Cinematic Universe (see here) but I also ranked every film released in the build-up (see here). However, if I am to be perfectly honest, part of this stemmed from a nervousness, could they stick the landing, could they create a story that would give justice to all the desperate characters they were involved, could they actually bring on Thanos? Well as you can probably tell I have seen the film now, so I can now answer those questions … sort of. Now a quick note today, there will be [SPOILERS] for several of the recently released Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok (see review) and Black Panther (see review). As well as this, I will try to avoid most of the major spoilers until a paragraph at the end when we discuss the ending, but because of how quick the film moves this is just a general [SPOILER] warning if you have not seen the film yet.
TL;DR – There are some aspects, like the animation which are superb, but also some things like some of the story aspects that leave you wondering why did they make that choice.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Hmmm, this is a difficult film to review because as much as it is unique work of art celebrating a form of animation that you don’t see much these days. It is also a deeply problematic story with regards to some aspects of its narrative and characterisation, and as such, it is hard to rectify these two halves. Well, it might be difficult, but then that is what we are here to do today so it is time to rise to the occasion and dive into the world of dogs.
TL;DR – A visual extravaganza, Taika Waititi with the cast and crew gave their all to this film, and it amazing to watch.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is a Mid and End Credit Scene
Wow, what an amazing end to a film trilogy, and one of the strongest so far for Marvel. I’ve always had a kind of indecisive feeling towards the Thor films so far. They have been a case of fantastic casting matched with just ok storylines. Now when you have Anthony Hopkins going gangbusters, then even a bad script will look good, but overall I just thought the Thor films were ok and nothing more. To be fair, I think it was a testament to the quality of Marvel’s films that while Thor might have been my least favourite Marvel films it was because they were only ok, not fantastic. However, I was honestly wondering with everyone doing their big Cinematic Universes now if superhero fatigue would set in given my relationship with the films so far, but nope this film was a riot from start to end and I highly recommend it. So today we will set the scene, and then have a look at all the factors that went into making the film work. However because of the nature of Thor Ragnarok and its story, we are going to hit spoilers much earlier than we would normally do, so to be on the safe side I am implementing a [SPOILER] warning from this point onwards.
TL;DR – It’s not the best film I have seen, while it has some laughs, it is let down by its highly predictable storyline.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is a Mid & End credit sequence
It is the year 2009, those heady days when Balloon Boy was a thing, remember that, oh and Kanye West was an ass at the VMA, wow how times have changed. It was during this year that The Hangover a relatively small budget (35mill) R-rated comedy came out in cinemas and made a metric-ass-ton of cash at the box-office. Since that time there have been a string of R-rated ensemble comedy films that have tried to capture that same draw with 2011’s Bridesmaids being the closest contender. So why do companies keep making them, well they’re cheap, low risk, and a chance at a very big potential reward, but because of this combination the films tend not to be that good most of the time. So today we are going to be looking at the next challenger into this realm with Rough Night which while not being anything revolutionary does have its moments of interest.
TL;DR – This is a difficult film to review as it excels in so many different ways, the music, visuals, and it really nails the aesthetics, but something is missing and it just felt more ‘safe’ than anything else.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
So it’s the future and the world has moved towards merging the biological and the machine with people adapting themselves with cybernetic implants. However, this is only augmentation, but now the supposed next step in human development is here, with a human brain inserted into a robot body, a ghost within the shell. Is this the next stage in human existence or simply a weapon being released into the world, a saviour or a curse? This is the set up for Ghost in the Shell a movie adaption of the original manga series of the same name. Well it has been a rocky launch for Ghost in the Shell, and we’ll get to that issue in a moment, but first I need to take a moment to explain my relationship with Ghost in the Shell before talking about its positives, and then we’ll get into what didn’t work.
TL;DR – This is without a doubt the Marvel film so far, it gets the action right, the story right, the characters right, it is a fantastic film that I highly recommend.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
P.S. There is a mid and end credits sequence
Ok wow, what a film and so far the best film for 2016 and indeed the only one so far to get a 5/5 score. After the recent poor outing of Batman v Superman, I was wondering if Marvel could actually pull this off. Can they contrive a plausible reason these characters would be fighting, actually manage all the characters in a movie that is totally not Avengers 3, but let’s be honest, this is totally Avengers 3. However, I needn’t have been concerned, the Russo Brothers are masters of their craft and they show it here in spades. Ok to lay out how this review will go, the first part will just give a general spoiler-free analysis, and then in the second part we will be going full spoilers, there will be a warning so you can skip it if you have not seen the film.
TL;DR – While not a flawless movie, it is beautifully crafted and a great follow-up to the Disney classic.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Jungle Book continues Disney’s campaign to recreate its classic animated films in live action remakes or hybrid live action. So far we have had the quite bold Maleficent, the serviceable Cinderella, and now it is time to take on Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece ‘The Jungle Book’. The choice to do The Jungle Book is an interesting one because it is not without its problems, the original cartoon while still a classic in every right, does have some very problematic depictions. As well as this, the author of the original work is Rudyard Kipling and whether Mr Kipling intended to or not his poem “The White Man’s Burden” became a literary justification for a new wave (or at least an intensification) of colonialism and imperialism throughout the world. So while none of this would have been problematic in the 1960s, it is today, and it is clear Disney or at least the director and writer had these issues on the radar when filming. So within this potentially problematic environment, it is really quite interesting to see Disney take quite a risk here, and it is a risk I do believe that has paid off for them.
TL;DR – Hail Caesar is an interesting film, with a lot going on, but that is much of the problem, its scattershot nature means the film lacks real substance, but it still has a lot of spectacle to make up for it.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
This is an interesting film, but it is also a very flawed film and that makes it quite difficult to review, or at least score. There are some really interesting ideas at play here, and there are also some amazingly wonderful set pieces throughout which are a joy to watch. However, it is trying to do so much, that it just can’t do any of the ideas justice, so it just feels like a scattershot of a film, which is a bit a disappointment.