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Film Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

“I Don’t Think Tony Would’ve Done What He Did, If He Didn’t Know That You Were Going To Be Here After He Was Gone…”

With Avengers: Endgame managing to tie up a decade’s worth of multi-layered storytelling with enormous success, with the recent re-release clearly a marketing tool to make sure Marvel’s gargantuan epic finally knocks Avatar off the top spot for highest grossing film of all time, the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this week is arguably one of the first MCU films to carry with it a heavy sense of superhero fatigue, particularly with Endgame still taking up cinema screens across the globe, and one which follows on from the high watermark of what audiences now come to expect from releases within its’ respective cinematic universe. Acting as a sequel to both 2017’s Homecoming and Endgame, Far From Home sees Jon Watts return to direct Tom Holland’s portrayal of the friendly neighbourhood wall crawler for a film which although feels very familiar, is a sweet, thoroughly entertaining and highly comedic chapter in the Marvel universe, a move which sees young Peter Parker attempt to come to terms with the loss of Tony Stark/Iron Man by venturing upon a school trip in which his only goal is to build up the nerve to finally unleash his feelings on the zany MJ. Whilst a road trip without the sight of digitally designed mayhem would have been a bold choice indeed to follow on from Endgame, Far From Home of course features enough web-slinging and superhero goodness to make every MCU fan more than happy, and with such a likeable cast and sharp, clever dialogue, Watts’ movie shows there is still an abundance of life in the old Marvel movie making machine yet.

With an opening act which attempts in a hilarious cliff notes format to present the aftershocks of the events of Endgame, where those not affected by the so called “blip” have of course moved up in years whilst the returned have stayed the same, Far From Home successfully manages to blend the “Spidey” sensibility of Peter Parker attempting to balance the responsibility of a superhero with the wishes of a teenager as seen before in the likes of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, a movie which still remains top of most people’s favourite wall crawling live-action feature, and thanks to a deliciously engaging script, Holland’s performance is a tornado of teenage angst as he is constantly interrupted by Samuel L. Jackson’s returning Nick Fury and co. in order to aid Jake Gyllenhaal’s (Nocturnal Animals) Quentin Beck against the forces of “The Eternals”, even when asking out Zendaya’s (The Greatest Showman) MJ is the most important task in his life. As for Gyllenhaal, the multi-talented cinematic legend does begin somewhat awkward in a role of which an actor of his pedigree tends to avoid, particularly after the non-existent success of Prince of Persia, but as the movie’s central, and somewhat expected for those familiar with the Quentin Beck/Mysterio character, twist finally arrives, the American is allowed to breathe, turning a somewhat ordinary antagonist into one of the more memorable MCU villains, one which taps into previous Gyllenhaal roles, particularly his full-on level of unhinged madness within the superb Nightcrawler. With a runtime slightly too long and a concluding act which is hard to distinguish between other MCU chapter conclusions, Far From Home is an excellent Spider-Man film and a very good MCU story which takes on the heavy task of following on from Endgame and passes with just enough success.

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: Glass

“My Work Concerns A Particular Type Of Delusion Of Grandeur. I Specialize In Those Individuals Who Believe They Are Superheroes…”

So where do we being with Glass? Let’s begin at the end of the twentieth century in which an up and coming M. Night Shyamalan blew critics and audiences away with The Sixth Sense, a psychological chiller which to this day remains one of the go-to texts for jaw-dropping, I-never-saw-that-coming twists, and a movie which solidified Shyamalan a pathway in Hollywood forevermore to make pretty much whatever he wanted. Following on from The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable continued the interesting pathway the Indian-born filmmaker had already set sail for, introducing both Bruce Willis’ (Die Hard) David Dunn, the football player turned security guard with a miraculous ability to see criminal acts alongside an abnormal level of strength, and Samuel L. Jackson’s (Pulp Fiction) Elijah Price/Mr. Glass, who during the climactic twist of the movie is revealed to be the overarching villain with an unhealthy obsession with comic book heroes. From Unbreakable onwards, Shyamalan tortured audiences with wave after wave of downright insulting big-screen releases, only to fully redeem himself in 2017 with Split, the James McAvoy led B-movie horror of which Shyamalan’s latest, Glass, acts as a direct sequel. Confusing a huge majority of audiences who if unaware of the events of Unbreakable, questioned in tandem during the post-credit scene of Split , “why the hell is Bruce Willis in a diner?” Glass attempts to band together both Split and Unbreakable in an Avengers style team-up, offering up a confusing and sanctimonious muddle of tonal waverings whilst featuring some of the most laugh-out-loud moments of unintentional hilarity I have seen in years.

Let’s face it, on a fundamental level, Glass really doesn’t need to exist in any form whatsoever, with the gap between Unbreakable and Split so vast in terms of time that the decision to stitch those two films together in the first place ultimately lessens both works as a whole, with the individual picture much better as a single story rather than being the victim of utmost contrivance by slamming them altogether as trilogy. With Glass therefore, audiences heading in without previously seeing either Unbreakable or Split will have no idea whatsoever going in, a perfectly reasonable notion considering the franchise dependant world we are currently in, however with gargantuan levels of teeth grinding exposition, Glass doesn’t even attempt at playing it low-key in terms of storytelling ability and instead goes straight to the George Lucas handbook by screaming every single minor detail in the loudest way possible. I mean come on, Glass is the type of film which has incidental characters literally spell out what is happening even when the audience is already a million steps ahead. Now I’m all for silly movies, I mean Skyscraper was stupid but managed to pass the time rather nicely, yet as with anything stamped with Shyamalan’s name on, there seems to be a overriding sense of sanctimony creeping over it, and when the creator believes his work to be of such great importance, the weaknesses become more obvious and the grating, angry emotions begin to fester, particularly in regards to a movie which has such gaping plot holes, I literally just began to laugh at how amateurish the storytelling was out loud in a cinema full of paying customers. With no substance and a reliance on dull, uninteresting levels of wacky supposed “style”, Shyamalan returns to the cinematic black hole his career once fell into, with Glass a movie which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and annoyingly degrades the watchability factor of two of his three best movies. Oh well, at least we still can watch The Sixth Sense again without puking.

Overall Score: 3/10

Film Review: Incredibles 2

“It’s Time To Make Some Wrong Things Right. Help Me Bring Supers Back Into The Sunlight…”

With the likes of Inside Out, Zootropolis and this year’s Coco categorically proving that the twentieth century has been open ground for a wide range of superb animation releases, the much anticipated return of the power-inflicted Parr family in Incredibles 2 after a prolonged fourteen year wait since their first appearance on the big screen back in 2004 mightily continues the winning streak which Disney is currently relishing in. Directed and written by Brad Bird, the brains behind the original, whose ventures in between the two films have included the rather enjoyable Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and the not so enjoyable Tomorrowland, Incredibles 2 is a uproariously entertaining animated blockbuster, one which attempts to balance two separate story-lines as it revels in reverting particular familial stereotypes and one which ties into the conventional superhero mould by blending action spectacle with an abundance of rib-tickling humour, and whilst at times the twists and turns are rather unsurprising and the movie carries an overall feeling that two hours is far too long for most movies, let alone an animated feature, Brad Bird’s fourteen year project in the making does have flaws, but thankfully the many positives result in his latest feature being a damn fun ride.

Ditching the real life time gap and picking up three months after events of the first film, Bird’s screenplay sees the Parr family attempting to rebuild their life after the outlawing of superheroes, and with the help of Bob Odenkirk’s (Breaking Bad) Winston Deavor, a superhero-loving millionaire, the matriarchal figure of Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter, The Big Sick) is placed front and centre of a scheme to reintroduce powered saviours back into favour of the world’s ever-watching eyes. With Helen’s absence therefore, the job of stay-at-home parent falls to Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson, Gold) who attempts to juggle the stress of managing his three children and wife’s new found success alongside the threat of the ominous Screenslaver, a tech-savvy terrorist type whose intentions seem to be aimed towards the newly popular band of superheroes. Jumping in and out of the two main narrative strands throughout the course of the movie, the primary superhero plot involving Elastigirl and her discovery of Screenslaver is solid enough fun, incorporating flashy and bright action set pieces including a high speed monorail chase and some epilepsy inducing boss battles, however the real winning streak of the movie falls in events back home with Mr. Incredible, particularly in the discovery of infant Jack-Jack’s new-found powers, an extended gag which offers a wide range of set pieces which genuinely land up there with some of the best on-screen comedy I have ever seen. With eye-catching animation, a heartfelt centrepiece message at the centre of the story and a heavy balance of enough there to fulfil both child and adult audiences alike, Incredibles 2 isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it offers enough of a good time to be more than worth a visit to see its’ ravishing pleasures.

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

“I Can Assure You, We Are More Than Prepared For Any Assault…”

Samuel L. Jackson is unfortunately the type of actor who nowadays more often than not falls into the category of “picking up the cheque” when it comes to movie role choices, and whilst I’m game for most things with Jackson in some form of leading role, with recent releases including The Hateful Eight proving that Jackson still has the capacity to show off his acting chops, there comes a time when there can only be so many films in the ilk of xXx: The Return of Xander Cage that you begin to question your fundamental allegiances. With The Hitman’s Bodyguard however, the latest from Australian director Patrick Hughes, a filmmaker who came to big budget fame with The Expendables 3 back in 2014, Jackson teams up with Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, Daredevil‘s Élodie Yung and Gary Oldman in order to create arguably the most retrograde action comedy of the past few years. Whilst B-Movie nonsense is a genre of movies which sometimes can be overly charming and irresistible even with the fundamental flaws at the heart of it, The Hitman’s Bodyguard manages to fail at every hurdle it attempts to maneuver, utilising nonsensical elements to a somewhat cynical effect and testing the patience of its’ audience from pretty much the outset.

After being demoted from his role as a triple A rated security agent due to the extraordinary death of a client, Bryce (Reynolds) is brought back to the spotlight by ex-partner and Interpol agent Roussel (Yung) in order to protect the life of contract killer Darius Kincaid (Jackson) who is set to give evidence against the evil dictatorship of Belarusian leader, Vladislav Dukhovich (Oldman). Cue retrograde treatment of all female characters, unnecessary levels of violence and jarring usage of profanity, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the type of movie which features phoned-in performances from the entirety of its’ leading cast, who in their attempt to swivel around the cliched and idiotic plot, scream, shout and swear their way through two hours of absolute nonsense. Reynolds is unbearable, Oldman is worse, and Jackson seems to mixing his performance as Jules from Pulp Fiction with his character from Snakes on a Plane, just without the cool and sophisticated characterisation of the former. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the type of movie which makes Bad Boys II look like a masterpiece. Avoid.

Overall Score: 3/10

Film Review: Kong: Skull Island

“It’s Time To Show Kong That Man Is King!”

As per the new craze of recent cinematic ventures, the newest big-screen franchising exploration comes in the form of classic Hollywood monsters being revamped and reissued in Legendary Entertainment’s so-called “MonsterVerse”, beginning of course with Rogue One director Gareth Edward’s excellent Godzilla in 2014 and continuing this week with Kong: Skull Island, a “re-imagining” of the infamous giant ape who graces the big-screen for the first time since Peter Jackson’s take on the character back in 2005. Helmed by The Kings of Summer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, as well as featuring arguably one of the best casts of the year with Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson all vying for screen time, Skull Island is the type of movie which justifies the existence of IMAX-infused mega screens, with the trailer alone being rife with a heightened sense of spectacle and splendour. As for the finished article, Skull Island is indeed the silly, OTT monster-mad movie I think many were expecting without ever pushing the boundaries of being anything more than such.

Light on characterisation yet heavy on the spectacular at times, Skull Island is inherently silly from beginning to end, with a runtime which feels almost half the length of Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation but too feels completely different in tone, relying on the effects-heavy production of giant spiders, murderous “skull-crawlers” and of course the titular Kong himself rather than any meaningful contribution to fleshing out its’ leading stars in a manner which took up the first hour of Jackson’s movie back in 2005. Helping the film along in its’ choppily edited fashion is the rip-roaring sound of the 70’s, with a soundtrack which ranges from Black Sabbath to David Bowie. evoking the shadow of a film like Apocalypse Now, an argument particularly obvious due to Skull Island’s Vietnam War setting, whilst the CGI-fuelled monster-battles feel almost too much like a Jurassic World rip-off at times to be put in the same league of jaw-dropping splendour as its’ predecessor within the same cinematic universe, Godzilla. Much likes its’ titular ape, Skull Island is a big and fluffy piece of escapism which knows what it wants to be and doesn’t attempt to be anything more. Yeah, that’s right, Kong is very fluffy. Well, sort of.

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

“We Need Someone Who Can Move Like Them, Fight Like Them. It’s Time To Be A Patriot…”

Adding to the long list of sequels which no one really wanted this week is the return of Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, the thrill-seeking sports enthusiast turned spy who uses his extremely silly background to kick some bad guys half to death in an even sillier b-movie esque manner, one which brought with it a wholly forgettable sequel featuring Ice Cube in the lead role with the only meaningful link between the two being the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson. With The Return of Xander Cage therefore, it comes with no surprise whatsoever that this third instalment is utter dross from beginning to end, saved ever so slightly from being a London Has Fallen style hate-fest by not being a film which sets out to offend anyone but instead suffers from a knuckle dragging screenplay which seems to serve no purpose except to inflate the ego of its’ leading star who takes on the challenge of being one of the film’s many producers as an excuse to be at the helm of a movie which will no doubt be regarded as one of the most self-aggrandising releases in recent history.

Although the film does manage to exhale a few cheesy laughs during the course of its’ agonisingly overstayed welcome, the ridiculously generic narrative forces itself along in order for Mr. Diesel to sleep with, flirt with and throw grenades at as many of the female cast as possible, a female cast which of course seems to be entirely populated by Playboy style models who seem to serve no purpose within the movie except to be degrading eye candy. Ironically however, aside from the mass onslaught of female extras, the movie does at least feature some kick-ass female leads in the form of Ruby Rose and Deepika Padukone who when aren’t shooting endless rounds of ammunition into bad guys, sink back into non-existence with sloppy and utterly cliched dialogue. As said previously, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage isn’t exactly a film which sets out to harm anyone, it just really sucks at what it does set out to accomplish from start to finish.

Overall Score: 3/10

Film Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

“You Don’t Have To Make Us Feel Safe, Because You’ve Made Us Feel Brave…”

Tim Burton is back with his latest project, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, based on the novel of the same name by author Ransom Riggs, and whilst Mr. Burton hasn’t exactly hit the high notes of what he can accomplish in recent years, a mediocre Burton film is at least better than most things released in the calendar year of film. With Miss Peregrine’s, the typical tropes and traits of what makes Burton’s films his own are unashamedly there to see from the offset and whilst we are treated to a two hour plus marathon of sub-gothic horror, all with a teenage friendly 12A rating, which includes invisible monsters, Alice In Wonderland type parallel time zones and the removal of a hell lot of eyes, Burton’s latest is an undeniable snooze-fest, one that has the baseline of a good idea but one that is orchestrated in a tedious and rather unconvincing fashion, concluding with a final act which can only be regarded as the physical definition of anticlimax.

As we follow Jacob (Asa Butterfield) into the titular home, ruled over by the strict, yet caring, Miss Peregrine, portrayed in an overtly scene-chewingly fashion by Eva Green, the film begins in a compelling air of mystery, particularly when we are introduced to the notion of the Hollows, their origins and the plans of the evil Dr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson). Unfortunately for the film, as soon as we are swayed away from the charming introductions to the residents of the titular home and into the bigger picture involving the Jack Skellington-esque Hollows, the film totally collapses under the weight of attempting to get as much plot in its’ two-hour runtime, resulting in a messy narrative which doesn’t allow the concluding act to have the impact and sense of closure it of course is meant to have. Although the film boasts some good performance from the likes of its’ younger cast, with Ella Purnell arguably being the standout, Miss Peregrine’s is a poor attempt for Burton to get back on form and therefore can only be regarded as a undeniable let down.

Overall Score: 5/10

Duo Film Review: The Hateful Eight

Dan’s Review

Loved from an early age, Quentin Tarantino has no doubt had a astronomical effect on the early stages of my cinematic knowledge with Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and to an extent, his work elsewhere on True Romance and everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, From Dusk Till Dawn, being early examples of a somewhat unhealthy obsession which over the years has strangely subsided due perhaps to my ever-increasing age or Tarantino’s failure at creating something that topples the magnum opus of his early, and better, work. Reuniting with actors such as Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful Eight suggested somewhat a return to Tarantino of old, whereby nostalgia and almost cringe-worthy attempts to reassert Tarantino’s love for cinema of the past would be discarded in place of a film that is in fact, wonderful. Staying away from trailers and fast-tracked reviews in the build-up to its’ release, the experience of watching The Hateful Eight was similar to that of watching your dad attempting to dance at a wedding, where although some parts are cringe-worthy and incredibly misjudged, on the whole you are quite amazed and taken aback, with Tarantino’s latest being a weird mixture of thrills, spills and blood, lots of blood.

After a series of fortunate events lead to an array of characters being bundled in to a place of shelter away from the snowy storm of a time soon after the American Civil War, tensions soon begin to mount regarding the real intentions behind many of the occupants who may indeed may not be who they say the are. In the middle of such is Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren, a.k.a “The Bounty Hunter”, a man whose intentions mirror that of Kurt Russel’s John Ruth, a.k.a “The Hangman” who is escorting the captured criminal Daisy Domergue to Red Rock in order to face swift and meaningful justice, yet their forced stop at Minnie’s Haberdashery leads to a turn events seemingly based around the captive Domergue whose real identity is equally ambiguous as the rest of the occupants within the stagecoach lodge. Following in light of its’ title, The Hateful Eight does indeed feature a rafter of characters all hell bent on being more vile and unlikable as the next, with both Warren and Ruth being violent, notorious bounty hunters whilst Domergue being completely unparalleled in her disgusting nature, all the while being beaten, strangled and flayed in blood over the course of the movie. With such characters at the heart of the film, it is indeed hard to engage emotionally with any of them, resulting in a strange situation similar to that of Pulp Fiction whereby although most of the people portrayed on-screen are inherently bad, it doesn’t stop from them being rooted for in some sense, with the character of Warren being my personal choice throughout most of the film even when told of his downright disturbing history as a bounty hunter and killer.

In terms of the film’s successes, the movies’ cinematography, direction, and score all deserve a sincere amount of applause, particular the former and the latter, with the swerving scenic scale of the mountainous surroundings being a beauty to behold and then brought right back down to earth within the confines of the cabin, boosting the tense atmosphere that takes note from Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs rather too obviously, whilst the return of Ennio Morricone also marks the best score within a Tarantino film since Kill Bill: Vol 1 and should indeed reward him with yet another Oscar. Positive too is the acting trio of Jackson, Russel and Leigh who combine to become the standout performances, whilst the utterly stupid amount of violence that resonates within the film is not only ridiculously enjoyable but taints the film with Tarantino’s lust for a sense of exploitation he has always seemingly been after since the days of Pulp Fiction, which although may not be for everyone, added to the film’s overall sense of fun and B-Movie grandness.

Where the film is ultimately knocked by any chance of gaining full marks is its’ ridiculous need for a strong-willed editor to come in and say, “look Quentin, can we lose at least half an hour of the film?”, particularly in the first act in which the endless waves of dialogue start to become tedious and un-engaging, something of which I kind of expected when seeing its’ eye-popping runtime, whilst the inclusion of a nonsensical voice-over by Tarantino himself, the pantomime performance of Roth’s attempt as an Englishman, up to the final act, and a borderline racist, cliched inclusion of the character of Bob, a.k.a “The Mexican”, result in The Hateful Eight being a few steps away from the masterpiece many have proclaimed it to be. Highly enjoyable but with rather too many obvious flaws, The Hateful Eight is a strong return for Tarantino yet continues my willingness to see another masterpiece in line with his better and bolder earlier work.

Dan’s Score: 8/10

Pete’s Review

As you’ve probably noticed, Dan is a big fan of Tarantino. Myself however, not so much. I watched Pulp Fiction many years ago and honestly didn’t pay much attention to it as I had other things to be doing and seeing snippets of crude, over the top violence didn’t really do it for me. It felt like he was always trying too hard to be edgy and I couldn’t stand it. Until Django came. Django was the film that peaked my interest. A topic that’s typically trodden delicately around was attacked with brutal honesty, a western flair and little discretion. It’s cast were huge, it’s acting was on Oscar worthy and the music still livens up my commutes 4 years on! You’d suspect those 4 years to reward those patiently waiting with something as equally delectable but I can’t say I’m impressed. Dan and I have seen two variations of the film.  For some reason, somewhere along the line, something was cut out which equated roughly 6 minutes less for Dan’s viewing alongside no interval break while I was “treated” to the original cut. So, what was this space filled with and why? We don’t quite know. It certainly wasn’t the excruciating “Chapter” breaks throughout that took your immersion and used it to floss and spitting you break a dribbled mess. Perhaps it was the rolling credits at the very beginning of the film that informs you of an actor that you spend the majority of the time waiting for to pop out of the woodwork while you watch a horse drawn cart get pulled through the snow several miles away. We don’t quite know.

 My Mum and Dad always taught me not to play with my food so lets be frank. Its OKAY. That’s it. Sure, the filming is gorgeous and the scenery locations are real pretty to look at and all but you can’t polish a turd. While Django pulled no punches and its actors were on top of their game, The Hateful Eight swung and missed. Samuel L Jackson is back to his usual self as there is a fair bit of consistency with him. Tim Roth however is a completely different kettle of poison. I liked him in Lie To Me and hated him in that one Hulk flick that no-one talks about. The stereotypical British accent was god awful. Its almost laughable until you realise that this isn’t a comedy. The stereotypes all the way through are painful and feel like more of a joke than actual characters. Even more so when you consider that Tarantino actually tried to develop some of these characters. Instead he just gave up and insulted them all by making them utterly annoying and dull as doorknobs.  Does the story pull it together, Pete? I don’t feel it does. As I mentioned previously, you are waiting for a certain actor to appear who is the catalyst to the whole situation and that really ruins any sort of surprise. Now as a premise, the story could be great. Eight bounty hunters locked up in a blizzard with one prisoner with a huge bounty on their head. But logic defies these guys. Everything is coincidental and was actually rather lacklustre in execution that bored me for the majority of the time.

Rather than drag on for too much longer, I’d like to note a few more things. The violence, while excessive was alright, the effects for it were fairly lacking and with The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero involved, I expected a higher quality of visual gore. I also expected a lot more from the soundtrack. John Legend’s “Who did that to you?” is a common tune for my playlist and Rick Ross’ “100 Black Coffins” joins that also but I’ve got nothing from this. The songs mirrored the movie incredibly well while Hateful Eight’s soundtrack merely blended into the background. I don’t feel that the Hateful Eight was a film for the consumer. It was no where near complete and didn’t have the pizazz needed to contend with its big, badass brother. Tarantino has been noted over the years talking about wanting to make a western film and it seems he’s probably riding that wave and letting the marketing sell the product no matter what. So overall what do we have – An exceptionally long experience which left me with nothing more to say than, “Meh.”

Pete’s Score – 6/10

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Cockney’s Royale

To say Matthew Vaughn has had a rather entertaining film career would be a slight understatement. Shooting to the attention of many after producing Guy Ritchie’s, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998, Vaughn has had a directed a wonderful array of films so far, with Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class, all being particularly brilliant. Now we have Kingsman: The Secret Service, a film so unavoidable, particularly in my local Vue cinema, where trailers have been hyping it extensively for the past month or so, which in my own experience, is a risky business, with this level of hype more than often leading to a rather high expectation level from cinema goers such as myself. So as I walked into an empty, late-night, EXTREME screening of Kingsman, the bar was set reasonably high, probably more so than any other film so far this year. Mission commence…

First off, the plot is basically Kick-Ass meets the Bond franchise, with a helping of Johnny English. which on paper, sounds pretty damn fun. To sum Kingsman up in one word however, you do not to need to stray far from the film’s choice of music; it’s completely bonkers, with it’s ultra-violent tendencies, including a wonderful Scanners-esque death scene, and ludicrous plot, albeit stealing riffs from 28 Days Later, Stephen King’s Cell, and even Channel 4’s wonderful Utopia, making it a highly entertaining couple of hours,.Furthermore, it’s clear to see the amount of fun everyone involved in the film were having, particularly Colin Firth who makes the most out of playing the suave, smooth and exquisitely dressed Kingsman agent Harry Hart, perhaps making up for his lost opportunity at playing 007 himself*.

Amidst all the fun however, the film does have it’s weaknesses. Firstly, it’s not as good, or as funny as, Kick-Ass, where comparisons to such are inevitable. In fact, I laughed a lot less than I thought I might, which only results in seeing the flaws within the film much easier, especially in certain scenes when the film is attempting to get a chuckle out of the audience and falls flat on its’ face. Secondly, the film is all over the place, and is shot at 100mph, which in an action flick is generally acceptable, yet for some reason, in Kingsman I found it rather annoying, much like I did every Samuel L. Jackson talked (seriously, what was with that strange lisp?). These weaknesses however, are outweighed by the positives, where if for some reason you are looking for a stupid, semi-funny, action spy romp, Kingsman is definitely the film for you.

Part Johnny English, part Kick-Ass, Kingsman is pretty much what it says on the tin. Funny? Sort of. Action-packed? Most definitely. Violent? Unbelievably. Until the next time Mr. Vaughn…

Overall Score: 7/10

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Quicky Review – SPOILERS

Captain America - Winter Soldier 1I have returned from the dark depths of university deadline season with only a few mental scars. So yeah, expect plenty of content over the next few weeks until I get slapped with another essay and a few exams…

Just a quick shout out, don’t go announcing a 3rd film before the 2nd has even released. You ruin it. So Friday we toddled into the cinema to watch possibly one of my favourite members of Marvel go kick some ass. Captain America is easily one of the most relateable characters within the Avengers with the strongest story so far.

Obviously, you would suspect by the title that the movie is about the Winter Soldier. If you’ve lived under a rock the past few months, it’s Steve’s (Chris Evans) best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan), you know, the one who fell off the train in the last one. So it turns out he’s not dead and that the movie actually does fuck all with his character. He appears for snippets but in reality he has little change to the outcome of the movie and probably should have called the movie something a little more relevant. Yet, as a story, The Winter Soldier is substantial. Moments, which for any Marvel fans will sit them there in shock. So in reality, Hydra were never defeated. Taking Bucky and wiping his memory and using him as their bitch assassin. Now one of my big pet peeves with the story is that SHIELD sent in Black Widow but told her boyfriend; Hawkeye to do one. Now when it comes to do, Hawkeye is an Avenger and should have been involved!

Compared to other Marvel Avengers, Captain was raised in a war and naturally, you have to accustom yourself to killing some bad people. This has been acknowledged and it truly is brutal. Not smashing them with a hammer or punching them with a massive suit of armour, he’sCaptain America - Winter Soldier 4 got a fast pace that is rarely matched and the shift between him and shield is incredibly fun to watch. Then we have Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who pretty much climbs all over assailants and then the brand new Falcon (Anthony Mackie) who kinda just shoots people while flying around with these bomb ass wings. However, I don’t think I could ever see Anthony Mackie in a different light after Pain & Gain’s titty milk moment.

I’m not going to bore you with talk of the acting or screen play. We all know that Marvel as a production company nail all the special FX and the actors are not just pretty faces. The Winter Soldier probably stands as one of the best single hero Marvel movie in many years. Even with a few moments that are a little unnecessary, the movie flows quickly with extravagant actions scenes which seem more realistic compared to Iron Man. Although Tony Stark and Hawkeye should have made an appearance, Captain America deserves an 8/10.

PS – Quicky review is to get back into the swing of things, plenty more content on the youtube channel or follow me Instagram and Twitter on the right of the page!

Captain America - Winter Soldier 2