Month: July 2015

August movie preview

Summer movie season is a-swinging and drawing to its tail end already with August fast approaching, here are some movies to look out for. (Release dates are US dates by default)

Fantastic Four – released on the 7th of August

A re-boot of the widely disliked previous Fantastic Four films, this reboot helmed by Josh Trank gives the famous characters a new look and style to them, also giving them a new origin. As we see the story of how a group of friends take on a risky mission to another dimension, inadvertently giving them powers and unintentionally creating a threat to the earth, the film stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell.

The Gift – released on the 7th of August

A psychological thriller, written, produced, directed by and also starring Joel Edgerton about married couple – Simon and Robyn, whose lives gets abruptly interrupted by Simons strange high school friend, Gordo, things escalate and Robyn questions how well she really knows her own husband, the film stars Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E – released on the 14th of August

Guy Ritchies latest film is a spy action comedy about West meeting east in the cold war as two highly trained spies, from the CIA and the KBG need to work together to take on a bigger global threat, the film stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Wikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris.

Straight Outta Compton – released on the 14th of August

A biographical drama from F Gary Gray about the history and founding of the widely popular and famous hip hop group the NWA in the 80s, the film stars Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr.

American Ultra – released on the 21st of August

American Ultra is an action comedy film about sleeper agents in America who exist, though completely unaware of their skills and abilities, one of them gets activated and is considered a threat by the US government who feel they need to take him out, though he proves to be quite a handful for them, the film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman.

Hitman: Agent 47 – released on the 21st of August

The latest Hitman live action film about the titular Hitman, agent 47, based on the games of the same name, agent 47 is an expertly trained assassin who takes on contracts or hits for an organization of high profile targets around the world, the film stars Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Thomas Kretschmann.

Sinister 2 – released on the 21st of August

Bughul returns in this spooky sequel, following the events of Sinister as a new family moves into a rural house, as Bughul tempts the children into committing heinous acts, a police officer attempts to investigate past murders and put a stop them completely, directed by Ciaron Foy, the film stars Shannyn Sossamon, James Ransone.

Z For Zachariah – released on the 28th of August

A sci-fi drama directed by Craig Zobel about a world desolated by a mysterious virus, three individuals try to survive but get intertwined in a potentially dangerous love triangle, starring Chris Prine, Margot Robbie, Chietel Ejiofor.

Thor: The Dark World review

We return to the story of the lord of thunder, Thor in Thor The Dark World, directed by Alan Taylor, set after the events of Thor and The Avengers, Thor returns to earth to find that Jane has been affected by a mystical force which Thor must protect and keep safe from an invading army and an evil leader who plan to take over Earth and other realms with it. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddlestone, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Ecclestone, Kat Dennings, Jaimie Alexander, Idris Elba, Adewale Ikinnouye-Agbaje.

Thor returns in his 2nd outing, a much more lighter feeling affair, though Thor also had a lighter, comedic tone, this time around the realm of the magical is in the forefront and explored with the existence of the reality altering ether that Jane comes across, drawing the attention of Malekith (Christoher Ecclestone) and his dark elves. Seeing this more mystical side to Thors world was a great touch and the effects of the Ether itself and it properties made for some cool looking scenes, also seeing more of Asgard was one of the better parts of the film as a fair amount of action takes place there.

And once again Thor rocks the visuals with the film looking great, Asgard in particular looks fantastic in its glimmering glory and the set pieces in the film involving the dark elves are great, as are the design of the dark elves ships and how they fly, though in the long run they aren’t the best thing about of the film. That would be Loki actually, well Loki and Thor, with some great performances from Tom Hiddlestone and Chris Hemsworth, bantering and playing off each other really well, The Dark World explores more or Lokis psyche and really plays on the mythos of Loki being a trickster, using that side of his personality to good effect in the plot.

Meanwhile other great performances are brought to the table by Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Idris Elba as Heimdall and Sif/The warriors three, though the warriors disappointingly play a smaller role this time around.

Thor and Lokis relationship is complex to say the least but it does make for some great viewing, the villains however don’t, though they look quite menacing, Kurse (Adewale Ikinnouye-Agbaje) seemed unstoppable but was quite stoppable as things turned out and Malekith (Christopher Ecclestone) had little to no development and while Marvels’ thing is to develop their heroes over their villains, some more compelling villains can be a good thing. A good thing about the film was its tone though, a nice balance between it being light hearted, peppered with jokes delivered well enough by Darcy (Kat Dennings) and the intern, the humour does work though it may take you out of the action a bit each time. And even with the humour, the film does have dark undertones to it all, with Lokis clearly broken psyche, some deaths and the faceless, cold looking dark Elves.

Thor The Dark World isn’t a bad Marvel movie per se but it’s not great either, showcasing the other worldly realms and creatures from Thors catalogue was fun but a weak villain and lackluster showdown ultimately made for the film not being as good as it could have been.

6.5/10

. Great visuals

. Some creative, fun action sequences

. Rather weak, one note villain in Malekith

Iron Man 3 review

Iron Man 3 is the culmination of the Iron Man trilogy, directed by Shane Black, it follows on from the events of The Avengers with references to the action that took place in New York and presents Tony in a new light, he’s still a genius, billionaire, philanthropist playboy, but he’s also insecure now and is having recurring nightmares of falling from the Chitauri portal in New York.

The main core of the Iron Man cast returns – Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany, with some notable additions in Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, a long time enemy of Iron Man and Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, an ignored, vengeful scientist with hatred for Tony, Rebecca Hall also stars as Maya Hansen. The cast does well in the film and again, Robert Downey Jr is the star, more or less playing Robert Downey Jr/Tony Stark but Guy Pearce is also fantastic in the film as Killian, playing an insecure man out of his luck, turned arrogant with rather questionable intentions as he wants to utilise a serum called extremis to create an army of superpowered soldiers.

It’s great to see Tony in the film in his element, with his plethora of suits, though he never really clocks solid time as Iron Man in the film, no more a few minutes at a time, he also gives out his address publicly so the Mandarin can attack him, probably not the best idea Tony, despite having a tonne of armoured suits.

And while still being a well made film, it looks great, the cast is great and the plot is interesting, Iron Man 3 has its problems, Tony barely being in an Iron Man suit is one of them and even if he gets in one, it’s comically destroyed or falls apart which was a shame and tonally odd, for Iron Mans’ supposedly darkest film. Therein lies the problem with Iron Man 3, a Marvel film wanting to be bit darker while still keeping its light tone, it didn’t quite work and I certainly just wanted to see Tony as Iron Man. Exploring Tony more as a person was a good idea and showing his insecure, self doubting side was interesting but it never really went anywhere. Tony met a kid who reminded him of the joy of invention and having hope and he sort of fixed himself, a pretty simple solution to Tonys’ post traumatic stress and nightmares, though in saying that it was good to have Tony get back into heroic ways sooner rather than later and eventually get into the Iron Man suit again.

Tony and Peppers’ relationship is explored a bit more in the film and Maya presents a potential problem for them both, as she’s a former lover of Tony but that never really materialized, though Rebecca Hall is a great actress and is also good in the film, she’s left with not much to do. Ben Kingsley also disappointingly gets to just be a plot device, a ruse to distract Tony but he’s also quite funny as ‘The Mandarin’, though that twist probably didn’t need to be there at all. The film just really didn’t know what tone to go with ultimately and it stretched itself a bit too thin, not portraying Tonys more vulnerable side convincingly enough, not being a great drama or a great action film.

That being said, Killian is a decent villain and has equally and there are some good action set pieces to be had, though far from the best in the Iron Man trilogy, the final fight is also decent and it was awesome seeing all of Tonys’ armoured suits in action but again it would have been great to see Tony clocking more time as Iron Man overall.

6/10

. The performances in the film are good

. The Mandarin twist was a bit lame

. Not enough Tony as Iron Man

The Avengers review

The Avengers assemble in Marvels culmination of 4 years of universe building and their first film to showcase their movies’ big hitters, The Avengers come together to fight off earths’ biggest threats, threats they couldn’t beat individually and the threat that causes them to join forces is Loki, an Asgardian trickster and the brother of Thor. Joss Whedon directs the critically acclaimed and very successful film and has his Whedon-isms all over it with a great brilliant cast of heroes playing well off each other, bantering and seamlessly interacting in a believable way for the context of their world.

Whedon is great at ensemble work having done years in a few different TV shows, (Firefly, Buffy) and you can really tell that he’s at home with directing Marvels premiere fighting team. You also have a strong inclusion of humor in the film with some great, witty writing and characters riffing on each other throughout the film, making for an entertaining, enjoyable film that is an easy re-watch.

The action is also great, seeing some of Marvels’ heroes fighting together is great visual spectacle and is no doubt a reason why the film has proven so successful, Marvel fans who wondered what it would be like to see Hulk smash on the big screen, alongside Iron Man, while Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Thor fighting together. The plot is great and thoroughly engaging as the mischievous Loki poses a serious threat, through all the banter and joking, he does mean serious harm, Tom Hiddlestone brings a jovial, playful and nuanced performance as Loki and captures the character perfectly. While we get the return of fan favourites Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Blackwidow (Scarlett Johansson).

Another great aspect of the film is the dialogue, snappy, funny and witty, Whedons style shines through and brings a lot of humour to the table as you watch some of your favourite Marvel characters interact and bounce off each other.

Personally, Chris Hemsworth as Thor is one of my favourite Marvel perofrmances, while Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark is always fun and a memorable. The Avengers does sort of falter in the final third however with throwaway villains and Loki being defeated all too easily but in the context of the story it was a fun conclusion (puny God!). But back to things it does well, the action of course, especially in the latter parts of the film, action scenes are near seamless as you get that iconic panning shot of The Avengers fighting the alien Chitauri in downtown New York, going from one Avenger to another as they use their unique abilities to fight, that one sequence is alone is great to watch but overall the action is very on point. Either being purposeful for the plot with Thor and Hulk having a showdown, which logically follows from Bruces’ state of mind up that point or Thor and Iron Man fighting when they first meet, not yet knowing they’re on the same side, it’s a credit to the films plot that the action was meaningful and felt well placed, pointing to character development or plot advancement.

The Avengers works really well as a tight knit blockbuster which knows exactly what to do and when to do it, scenes are all important in referencing previous Marvel films, setting up events to come in the film and progressing the story, the writing is great and the plot is very functional, it’s as engaging as it needs to be and Marvel fans get the entertaining ensemble movie that they had always wanted. The film is a great success and non comic book fans can also enjoy it with each character being well written – distinct and entertaining, alongside a villain that is both menacing and a bit of an entertainer, everything comes together in an enjoyable, effective way.

8/10

. Engaging plot with great pacing

. Brilliant cast who deliver some equally brilliant performances

. Action sequences in the film are great to watch, well put together

Captain America: The First Avenger review

Captain America is Captain Americas’ first outing in the MCU, directed by Joe Johnstone, it chronicles his life as a soldier in WWII and meteoric rise to folkloric hero, Captain America, a science experiment utilising super soldier serum to enhance human beings to superior physicality and fighting ability which goes well. The film has an A-list cast, including Chris Evans as Cap, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Richard Armitage, Stanley Stucci, Toby Jones and Samuel L Jackson.

The majority of the film takes place in WWII an the film has a distinct grainy, almost sepia tone to it which was a nice touch, though the film still looks great and the dialogue/writing likewise reflects the time period quite well, as we see Cap fighting in the war alongside American soldiers, saving lives and earning his iconic mantle as Captain America. It’s great spectacle to see Cap fighting at his best and showing off his impressive physical prowess and abilities. The costumes in the film are also great as period films go and the story was an interesting departure for Marvel, their first and only MCU film set mostly in the distant past for one, the plot still manages to be engaging without a modern setting or any other modern marvel characters.

Captain America manages that because it’s well constructed Marvel movie, maybe not the most flashy or the most memorable but it’s still good, Cap himself is an interesting character, being the everyman and wanting to help everyone but knowing he can’t always do that, his relationship with Peggy Carter is also a great touch for the film, Evans and Atwell really sell the relationship and make it believable. And also being set in the past, the film has nice easter eggs in loose reference to the Avengers through Howard Stark, Tony Starks’ father, who was also a pretty great character. Bucky is also a big part of the story, being Caps’ best friend, the apparent loss of Bucky is tragic to watch and relates to themes that Cap goes through, those themes being loss, feeling out of place – with him literally being out his time period at the end and fitting in. Though in WWII, Cap, Bucky Barnes and the US go against Hydra, the organization during the war that experimented in weird science, mysticism and extreme experimentation and Hydra presents a formidable threat, led by the ruthless Red Skull, whose origin we also get to see in the film.

Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is the main antagonist of the story and is a great villain, Captain Americas’ arch nemesis, he’s the leader of Hydra and a menacing presence, willing to sacrifice people and play dirty to get a win for the bad guys and he represents the polar opposite to Cap personified. Hugo Weaving plays the role really well and brings enthusiastic performance, though Marvel hasn’t done much with the character since and it’s a shame because Red Skull is a pretty good comic book villain. The emotional beats in the film really hit home, with Cap taking the ultimate sacrifice to save others, thinking Bucky is gone forever and that he’ll never see Peggy again as well and it’s great to see the story progress, decades later to now, plonking Cap in our time and forcing him to deal with the situation.

Captain America is a great origin story and an engaging, interesting drama as well, suffering from not being the most memorable Marvel film even in comparison to its own sequel, it’s still a good watch and a solid film.

7/10

. Very well written film, good character interaction

. Visuals, costumes capture the mood and feel of the time period

. Red Skull wasn’t used to his full extent

Thor review

Thor is a 2011 Marvel film and Thors first live action outing, directed by Kenneth Brannagh, it chronicles the story of Thor in the MCU and sets him up as a strong, formidable character, we see his childhood and upbringing in Asgard, growing up with his mischievous brother Loki, the two of them growing to have a rivalry in wanting to please their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Thor however gets too arrogant and is banished to earth by Odin, in an effort for him to regain his humility and become a great hero again, meanwhile Loki schemes in Asgard to gain power for himself.

The film has a brilliant cast and Chris Hemsworth especially is a glove like fit for Thor, embodying his jovial nature and love of fighting, while Natalie Portman, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddletone as Loki especially make a stellar supporting cast, Loki is still one of Marvels most compelling and interesting villains and Hiddlestone plays the role excellently. There’s a great sense of theatricality about the film and this works to great effect earlier on with scenes between Hopkins, Hemsworth and Loki, it almost feels like a play at times and some of the performances are great.

On earth, Thor is out of place and uncomfortable but willing to change and this provides for some good Marvel-esque humor, with Thor being in such unfamiliar territory, Kat Dennings especially brings a few laughs. Jane and Thors developing relationship is also there but not hugely important, with Portman and Hemsworth chemistry feeling a tad forced, I do buy them as a romantic pairing but I can see how people might not. Thors story is enjoyable and even though Thor has never been one of Marvels’ more grounded or ‘realistic’ characters, he still has an interesting character arc, as he rediscovers his humility and importantly changes as the plot progresses.

And in characterizing him like that, Marvel has given him a grounded and relatable side to him, though he can fly, call down lightning from the sky and so on, the film flows really well and every scene is purposeful, setting up later events and or having some relevance to the story, meaning no scenes are really wasted, even Thors’ humorous bantering. And the film also looks fantastic, Kenneth Branagh effectively portrayed an otherworldy Asgard with its’ alien looking structures, the sky bridge, the Byfrost, Heimdall, the frost giants, all look ethereal and visually striking, Thor has a natural advantage in being an other worldly character and having different locales, so the film takes good use of that.

Thor is sort of let down when it comes to the heavy hitting stuff though, Loki isn’t an equal physical match to Thor though he is a good mental match for him, while the biggest physical threat to him, he defeats in about 5 minutes which was a bit of a let down but that being said Loki and Thors showdown was decent. Thor also works in putting a few building blocks in place for The Avengers in including Hawkeye in one scene and Phil Coulson in the plot, which was a nice touch for Marvel.

Thor definitely could have use a stronger villain to take Thor on in a physical sense but Loki still provided a compelling and entertaining threat, while the film as a whole is a great entry point to the character and a solid, engaging movie that certainly flies by .

7/10

. Great twisting and turning plot

. Fantastic visuals

. Brilliant casting and cast

Iron Man 2 review

Iron Man 2 is the continuation of the Iron Man series, again directed by Jon Favreau, Tony Stark is now more renown and even more popular for inventing his remote controlled suits of armour, which he plans to weaponize and sell off, though the US government obviously has its’ objections to that. You’d think Tony would have learned his lesson from Iron Man but of course there are problem with his vision, Tony is also declining health and has to come to terms with that, while the rising threat of a vengeful man out for Tonys’ blood in Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) comes into play.

The cast from Iron Man returns with RDJ, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany, while the actor playing James Rhodes is switched to Don Cheadle, with the additions of Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, a longtime tech rival to Stark and Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash. Just off the bat, the cast is brilliant and they all play off well with each other, Tony in relating to and interacting with other characters makes the film a great watch, especially with his scenes with Nick Fury, Potts and Rhodey.

Tony gets an interesting arc (pun totally intended) in Iron Man 2 but not one as compelling or interesting as in Iron Man, his change in health is an interesting turn for the story but it doesn’t exactly make him any more grounded, he’s as cocky as ever and makes more armoured suits for his personal use. Which isn’t to say he’s bad in the film at all, he just lets his ego go a bit out of control, resulting in his remote controlled suits getting taken over later in the film. The writing in the film is good, mirroring Iron Man and some of the exchanges between Tony and Potts, Tony and Rhodey are pretty hilarious, Favreau knows how to write good, entertaining films and Iron Man 2 is no exception. And as far as the visuals go, it looks great with ever more armoured suits in play, including Rhodes War Machine suit, Whiplashes’ own suit and several others which look great in high definition as they fight it out in action scenes.

And as awesome as Mickey Rourke is, his character doesn’t get the best run out in the movie, Whiplash is defeated fairly easily on both occasions that he confronts Tony and yeah, he just wasn’t a good villain in the end with more of a focus on Tony and a slight set up to The Avengers. Also Tony is never really in that much grave danger in the film which got rid of any major tension, though Pepper is, but then she’s saved quickly by Tony and his quick thinking. Though the final battle scene does look great, it’s far too short and anti-climactic, sort of a nice summary of Tonys interaction with Whiplash as a whole. Iron Man 2 does sort of fall flat as a whole, not being as compelling or good in terms of an interesting plot arc for Tony and the villain this time around is worse than Obadiah by a stretch, though the visuals look good and the plot is still fairly engaging.

Iron Man 2 is by no means a bad movie but it falls in the lower end of the spectrum in the MCU in terms of quality.

6.5/10

. Good but overly short action scenes

. Great writing, one of the funniest Marvel movies

. Plot definitely lacks a compelling villain or threat to Tony

Iron Man review

Iron Man is essentially the Godfather of Marvels’ MCU and the starting point for all of the cinematic success and joy we’ve gotten in the past 7 years, aside Iron Man 3 of course, directed by Jon Favreau, it’s still regarded as one of the best MCU films. And it chronicles the story of Tony Stark, already a genius, billionaire but also an arms dealer, he’s captured and held in a cave and invents a weapon, a suit of armour to fight the bad guys. Iron Man works well with a great cast starring Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Clark Gregg, Paul Bettany and Jon Favreau.

And of course Robert Downey Jr really brings it home as Tony Stark in a role he seems to have been born to play, Tony is just that cocky, charismatic guy that is kind of a douche, but also just that guy and the film really establishes the persona he’s come to be known for having, while also throwing in him inventing the Iron Man suit. While Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a great balance to Tonys’ ego and can go round for round with him in bantering and verbal sparring, which is great to watch, Jon Favreau crafted a very tight knight and entertaining film in Iron Man, jumping us right in to Tonys’ life without a solid origin, but it still manages to work.

While Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) presents a formidable and menacing villain, Iron Man still has some of the best writing in the MCU and has a naturally comedic tone to it, brought on by Favreaus’ directing and close work with Robert Downey Jr, you can tell the two love working together and in their respective roles, as Favreau himself is also in the film as Hogan, Tonys’ friend. Also the action sequences in the film are pretty good though not on the scale of Iron Man 2 and 3, it’s still awesome to see Tony in the Iron Man suit for the first time exploring its’ capabilities and seeing what he can do, while the special effects in general are great.

Iron Man is also great because it presents Tony nearly at his lowest, in terms of firstly making a prototype Iron Man suit which doesn’t function that well and as rich and smart as he is, he’s still human and vulnerable to error, seeing him go through the various prototypes and fail while trying to make the suit was pretty funny and showed his human side. Tony isn’t really a relatable character, being a genius inventor and billionaire but he’s still a great character though his charisma, sense of morality and justice and of course great one liners, while seeing a more vulnerable, human side to him in the first film was a nice touch, as invincible as he may feel when he’s in the Iron Man suit.

8/10

. Great entry point for Marvel, sets up tone of things to come

. Very good writing, great character interaction and good humour

. Was a good origin story for Tony, seeing him develop into Iron Man

X-Men First Class review

X-Men First Class is an X-Men reboot, directed by Bryan Singer and a period film, set in the 60s’ in the height of the cold war, focusing on the first rendition of the X-Men and how they came to be, while we also see a younger Charles Xavier a Erik Lensherr as former friends before they became enemies. First Class has Hugh Jackman returning but an almost entirely new cast, including James Mcavoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Kevin Bacon.

The film represents re-invigoration for the X-Men franchise and was the breath of fresh air fans of the franchise needed after The Last Stand and Origins and the setting really works, initially you may wonder how interesting an X-Men film set in the 60s’ could be but the plot is great, seeing younger Xavier and Magneto especially was great. Spearheaded by Mccavoy and Fassbender who are brilliant in their respective roles, Mccavoy embodies Xaviers’ calmness and sense of morality, while Erik is far more forceful and always prefers action to dialogue, seeing the two iconic characters actually work together was also fun. It was great seeing different mutants previously not seen in an X-Men film as well including Havok, Darwin, Angel, Azazel and Emma Frost. Simply showing more, varied mutants is a good thing as their abilities were on show and look great on screen, with First Class having some great special effects on display.

The younger cast of mutants also play their roles well, Jennifer Lawrence especially as Mystique and Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy, bringing a believable relationship to the story, Mystique represents fear and self doubt among mutants, she wants to fit in and be accepted for who she is like Hank and they bond over that. This runs alongside Xavier and Moiras’ relationship, also present but not that important in the long run. Though interestingly, Xavier and Eriks’ relationship is the biggest part of the story and sets the foundations for future events and the future of the X-Men itself.

The film is very well directed and the film speeds along, not because the pacing is bad but because it’s a joy to watch and does away with the cheesiness of Origins and The Last Stand, giving us cool mutants with a decent share of screentime and a formidable villain in Sebastian shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw seemingly has good intentions but a wild disregard for innocent life and ulterior motives, Bacon plays him very well and makes quite a menacing bad guy, his powers being essentially unstoppable, you do wonder how he’ll be beaten, which is a testament to the films great writing with twists and turns and things you definitely won’t see coming.

The action is great, although not as action packed as X2 or The Last Stand, the action is shot well and always serves the plot, while the set pieces in the film are big in scope and some of the best scenes in the X-Men franchise, Magneto levitating a submarine out of the sea and Azazels’ attack scene for example. The film still works and is a great film without massive or extended fight scenes and is a compelling watch.

And the final third is great, a good conclusion to the film setting up the X-Men universe as we know it, the emotion is there and it hits well, Mccavoy and Fassbender really selling the former friendship turned sour between two men of very different ideals who grow apart but still respect each other as individuals. Battle lines are figuratively drawn between Xavier and Magnetos’ followers, First Class ends on a great note, leaving room for things to come.

8/10

. Cast is fantastic, especially Mccavoy, Fassbender, Lawrence

. Set pieces in the film are great

. Plot is engaging, well written

Terminator Genisys review

Arnie is back in Terminator Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor, the latest installment in the Terminator franchise but this time things are different, Kyle Reese is sent back to the past from the future by John Connor to protect his mother, Sarah Connor in the past from attempts from Skynet to kill her but as he arrives in the past, things aren’t the way they should be. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, J.K. Simmons.

Genisys starts off like the traditional Terminator movies with time travel and an initial goal being set for a character to go into the past to either kill or protect Sarah Connor (or John Connor) and this time Kyle Reese is the one sent back to 1984, with the future resistance and John Connor presuming that Sarah is weak and unaware of future events and Terminators. Things are a lot different this time though and that’s where things get a bit strange, the plot is easy enough to follow but some things will probably leave you scratching your head, as some of the characters in the film itself do but Genisys takes the central time travel aspect of the series and plays with it a bit.

That tinkering made for an overall interesting plot with a few twists and turns, with the big one unfortunately being already out there as the trailers spoiled it, but still I thought it was a new, exciting avenue to take the Terminator series down, the performances in the film are all generally pretty good. Arnie brings his veteran T-800 deadpan delivery and is great in fight scenes, while Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese and Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor are both decent, while Jason Clarke as John Connor is great.

Even the supporting characters who play minor roles are decent enough, J.K. Simmons and Matt Smith, though Smith in particular would have been great if he was given a bigger role. The plot is alright feels non stop, with very few breaks in action for slower moments with the new T-1000 as ruthless and unrelenting as ever, while Jason Clarke as the new Terminator was pretty awesome, the new poly-metal (I may be saying that wrong) design was a nice touch and brought new a new dynamic as a new Terminator that had to be fought with in a new, different way.

The action in the film in general was good, though unspectacular, there simply aren’t many memorable scenes from it, though the golden gate bridge school bus flip was pretty fantastic. And on the whole visuals look great, from the new Terminator, to the re-touched, younger looking Arnie and to the various forms the Terminators take on, the effects for the new John Connor especially look pretty cool.

I really didn’t find too much to be disappointed in and I think it’s an engaging, fun new entry to the franchise, it has its problems for sure with some wooden acting and probably a host of time travel mind bending plot holes but it’s a solid Terminator film and does something new, which for the most part works for the story.

7/10

. Interesting new design for terminators

. Decent action

. More Time travel that further convolutes the Terminator timeline