Superman: Red Son – Review (Spoiler Free)

Superman: Red Son which is directed by Sam Liu adapts the famous work of Mark Millar and is the latest entry into the DC Animated Universe. Being a fan of Liu’s previous DC work with titles such as Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay and The Death and Return of Superman I was going into this with high expectations. Not only due to Sam Liu’s involvement, but because Superman: Red Son just happens to be one of my favourite graphic novels ever. And I’m happy to report that for the most part Superman: Red Son met those expectations. Is it perfect? No, it definitely has its issues which I will get into later on. But throughout the 80+ minute runtime, even though I knew what was going to happen I found myself invested every step of the way until the climax.

For this review I will not be going into details about the comic itself or what happens in the movie because I want to try keep this as spoiler-free as possible. If you haven’t read the comic I would highly recommend you pick it up either before or after watching this adaptation.

Story

Superman: Red Son can only be described as the ultimate ‘what if?’ story. Instead of superman’s pod landing in a farm in Kanas. This time it lands on the other side of the world…in Russia. So not only is this Superman raised by different parents, he’s also raised up in a totally different environment and this helps shape him as an entirely different Superman than the one we’re so used to seeing. This is why I love the comic so much. I find twists like these to iconic characters so fascinating and Superman: Red Son is no different.

Seeing how Superman operates in 1950s Russia is refreshing when it comes to the character because part of what makes this setting so different is the political climate of the country at the time. And while he tries his best to help the people judging by what side of the fence you’re on you can actually see this Superman as either the hero or villain of the story. What I liked about this adaption of the story is how it tries to humanise Superman more than in the comic. I could still sense the essence of Superman in version of the character with how he dealt with issues. Whether you agree with him or not you could always see that he was trying his best to better the lives of others.

Action

The action in Superman: Red Son is definitely its strongest aspect. Fight scenes are shot well and are straight up brutal at times. This is certainly the case when Batman gets involved. Batman is another depiction of a character which I love when it comes to this movie. Plus, I don’t care how many times it happens or what iterations of the characters they are. I will never get tired of watching Superman and Batman go toe-to-toe for a couple of minutes. The inclusion of the Green Lantern Corps was much needed too as with their Lantern Rings they bring an entirely different dynamic which helped bring some variety to the fight scenes.

Animation

One of the major complaints when it comes to the DC Animated movies is the quality of the animation. Now, usually it doesn’t bother me that much. But with Superman: Red Son it actually did. For a story that was set in the 1950s of Russia it sure didn’t look or feel like it. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it felt like I was just watching another DC Animated movie and a lot of that has to do with the animation style. This might be because I’ve spent the last week watching all of the DC Animated movies in preparation for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. But those movies should look and feel the same because they are part of the same universe. I just wish the studio changed up their animation style when it came to the Elseworlds movies to further help differentiate them from the current timeline.

Ending

I haven’t gone into much detail about the changes and similarities from the source materials. Going into the movie like with previous adaptions I wasn’t expecting a full adaption. I knew there was going to be a few changes. And for the most part I was happy with those changes. However, when it comes to the ending of the movie this is where I have my biggest issue. Not that anything was changed, something was left out. A major twist in the final panels of the comic which I love. Honestly, it’s my favourite part of the story. I still remember that jaw-dropping moment as I was turning those final pages. I just don’t see what was gained by leaving out that final twist from the comic. Once again, if you haven’t picked up the comic I highly recommend you do for that twist alone.

Closing thoughts

Overall, while Superman: Red Son is far from perfect I still believe that it is a solid and warranted adaptation of the source material. Regardless of my issues with the ending and some other changes from the source material there is still enough here that should keep you entertained especially, when it comes to the story and the action. I would also say that there are parts of the movie which are done better here than in the comic itself. That’s why I’m always open to adaptations like this. I love to see a creators take on a fellow creators work and with Superman: Red Son Sam Liu does a solid job at adapting one of the greatest comics stories ever made while adding his own touch to it.

Superman: Red Son – 4/5

Superman: Red Son is available on Digital Download now, and Blu-ray& DVD on March 16, 2020.

Click here for a chance to win a copy of Superman: Red Son on Blu-ray™

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines – Review

This review will contain mild spoilers

The DC Animated universe is back with its latest installment, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. It’s about time the Amazon warrior got the attention she deserves. Wonder Woman: Bloodlines marks the second animated movie based on Wonder Woman since 2009. And while Wonder Woman: Bloodlines retreads a lot of the steps seen in both the 2009 animated movie and most recently Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017) it does it with a fresh twist leeaving you wanting more at the end.

Story

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is described as an origin story, but I honestly don’t see it as that. The origin aspect of the story only takes up the first 10 minutes of the movie. After that you get a time jump where Wonder Woman has become accustomed to life outside of Themyscira. But she eventually finds herself having to go back home to fight against potential world ending invasion. So the origin aspect of the movie isn’t as bad as some people have been making it out to be. As someone who considers themselves as a casual Wonder Woman fan I didn’t mind the retelling of her origin. After all, when it comes to characters like Batman I feel like I’ve seen his origin over a hundred times. With Wonder Woman: Bloodlines I like the way her origin is handled. Not much is changed about it making her story easy to follow. It’s great for people who are new to the character and once the story moves along it feels like its own separate graphic novel/arc which should appease most fans who love the character.

Voice acting

The movie is well-acted throughout as Rosario Dawson plays a kind, but powerful Diana Prince at the same time. Her chemistry with Jeffrey Donovan who plays Steve Trevor was one of my favourite aspects of the movie. You get a sense that their relationship is genuine and it’s one where you actually want to see them together because they play-off each other so well. Every one else is the movie is fine, but these two as to be expected, do most of the heavy lifting. In general, the voice acting is something I find myself always praising when it comes to these DC Animated movies, it’s become one of their staples. They have yet to disappoint me when it comes to this department in their movies.

Great action

The action in Wonder Woman: Bloodlines was one of the strongest elements of the movies. As it should be with a character like Wonder Woman. It shows just how powerful and brutal she can be in combat compared to her male counterparts such as Batman and Superman. It caught me off-guard in certain situations, especially during the final act. It definitely pushes the boundaries of the ’12’ rating and it’s refreshing to see. Although it was short, I really liked the fight between Diana and Cheetah. It just made me more excited about what their showdown is going to look like in live-action next year in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984.

One issue I did find during the fight scenes (especially the ones in the city) is that they kind of felt lifeless. This wasn’t the fault of the action itself, but more to do with how the environment was portrayed. The cities for the most part outside of the scenes in Themyscira are empty. You don’t see any civilians or cars driving past while Wonder Woman is fighting on the streets. It would have been nice to have seen a populated city in potential danger as Wonder Woman was fighting. I think it would have added a lot more stakes to the fights.

Overall, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is another solid entry into the DC Animated universe. Not only is it a great standalone movie but it just shows how much potential this character has. Rather than see her team up with the rest of the Justice League in future animated movies I would love to see Wonder Woman receive her own trilogy of animated movies instead. As for Wonder Woman: Bloodlines being an origin story it’s a great reintroduction for both new and old fans. But they only scratched the surface here. There are so many more stories that they can tell and I cannot wait to see where they go next with Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 8/10

Huge thank you to amazing people at Warner Bros UK for providing me with an early copy to review.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is out on both digital and Blu-ray today

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Joker Spoilers Review/Discussion

So after I uploaded my spoiler free review for joker last week I decided to make a spoiler version too since I love the move so much. Feel free to check it out my review below. I would love to hear any feedback whether it be positive or negative. I’m still learning (I think the audio should be a lot better this time)

🙂

Shazam! – Review (non-spoiler)

Shazam! is the latest entry into the DCEU. After the recent success of Aquaman all eyes turned to Billy Batson, a kid who can turn into a superhero by saying the word Shazam! Tasked with bringing Shazam to the big screen for the first time is David F. Sandberg. Most known for his horror background this would seem like an odd choice given Shazam’s character. But just like James Wan, David F. Sandberg proved he can adapt his style and produce a great superhero movie. Because that’s what Shazam! is at the end of the day. I had such a great time while watching this movie. My cheeks started to hurt because I found myself smiling so much. Shazam! is a movie full of heart that grabs you from minute one and takes you even further once Billy discovers his powers.

Family

One of the main reasons why this film resonated with me so much is the use of family as its theme. Billy from a young age not only struggles to fit in, but he has an even harder time trying to find a place he can call home. And throughout the movie it has him going back to his past to look for answers. I won’t spoil it, but I found some of these scenes really emotional. By the end of the movie it’s really nice to see how things turn out for him. You see how Billy changes over time, especially with how he treats people. Because at the beginning of the movie he’s not the nicest kid, but given his upbringing you can kind of sympathise with him. It’s just so satisfying once his character makes that change.

Perfect casting

I cannot praise the movie any further if I don’t give a special shoutout to the cast here. The movie works because of them. And you know what’s the best part about it? The majority of the main cast are kids! They’re going places after this movie. As for the main star Zachary Levi he’s just perfect in the role. I knew he was going to nail the role from the first trailer. He not only embodies this version of the character so well, but he makes if feel so realistic to me if that makes sense. I would totally be acting the same way he does in the movie if I found out I could become a superhero. He and Jack Dylan Grazer play off each other so well. Every time it was just them two on the screen together I wanted more. My favourite part in movie is once Billy gets his powers he takes Freddy along with him to discover what powers he actually has. This whole 10-15 minutes section of testing Shazam’s abilities is amazing and it works so well because of the chemistry between the actors. The rest of the kids who make up the foster family are great too. Faithe Herman as Darla was a standout too. Every time she was on the screen she got a positive reaction from the audience.

Dr. Sivana

Speaking of great casting Mark Strong as Dr. Sivana provides for an interesting main villain. Surprisingly, Dr. Sivana is actually given a lot of screen time compared to other villains in superhero movies. The movie actually opens with him. So not only are we following Billy’s journey we’re also following Dr. Sivana’s arc at the same time too. He’s isn’t a throwaway villain. The writers made sure that we understand why he took this route and the impact his upbringing had on him, just like with Billy. What I liked the most about Dr. Sivana is how he’s a genuine threat to Billy and the public. One of the best scenes in the movie involves Dr. Sivana in a boardroom. It’s straight up terrifying, clearly David F. Sandberg was channeling his horror roots in this scene. This scene really stands-out in the movie and it helps solidify Dr. Sivana as a formidable opponent for Shazam.

A lack of punch

With all the praise I’ve given to this movie so far it’s only right for me to bring up what I didn’t like about it because it’s not a perfect movie. Personally, I thought the action was just average. Not that it looked bad because given the lower budget I thought the CGI was fine throughout the movie. But the action scenes/fighting didn’t show me anything different. I was expecting more to be honest. And this ties in with another issue I have with the movie which is the third act/final fight. I thought it could have been a lot better. My main issues with it are that it had the same type of action as we saw throughout the movie and I felt like it went on for too long. Other than the action, humour is a major aspect of the movie. And while for the majority of the movie it worked there were times where a joke would take me out of the moment. At this point I might be nitpicking because 90% of the jokes landed for me. Plus there genuinely were some laugh out loud moments throughout.

Closing thoughts

Overall, even the flaws aren’t enough from stopping Shazam! being a special movie. It may not make a billion dollars like Aquaman, but I think Shazam! will win the hearts of many people. It won my heart. I love this movie and I can’t wait to see it again, along with a couple of sequels in the future. At a time where it may feel like we’re getting too many superhero movies and there may be some fatigue. Shazam! is a breath of fresh air to the genre. Do yourself a favour, go out and see this movie!

Shazam! will be released on April 5

Spider-Man Far From Home Trailer: What We Learned

Last month it we saw the release of the trailer for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame movie. This month is was Spidey’s turn. Keep in mind we didn’t see Spider-Man at all in the Endgame trailer as he’s meant to be “dead”. With Far From Home set to pick up minutes after Endgame this trailer gave a great insight of the web-slingers life, post the snap.

Post Endgame

So, after Endgame and the snap that changed the universe, things look to be getting back to normal for Spider-Man. Aunt May seems to have accepted the fact that Peter’s Spider-Man. And while being an Avenger, it doesn’t stop him from dropping out of school. As told by the title of the movie, a lot of it going to be taking place outside of New York and all over Europe instead. While the character is so closely tied with New York, personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Spider-Man operates in a completely different environment.

New Suits

With this new environment comes new villains and of course, new suits. Starting off with the spidey suits in this movie. It looks like he’s going to be wearing three suits throughout this new adventure.

Stark suit

The first suit we get to see is the Stark suit, given to him by Tony Stark in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We see him wearing this suit at the beginning of the trailer when he’s giving a speech to the children. He’s also wearing it later in the film when we see him meet up with Nick Fury in London.

New suit (no name yet)

The second spidey suit we see Peter in has no name…as of now. This looks to be the main suit for the movie and while it looks similar to the Stark suit, there are subtle change. First of all the colours used are different. We can see this with the use of a darker blue on the lower part of the suit. The wrists are no longer red either, they too have this darker blue appearance. Also, if you’ve seen some of the set leaks from the movie the spider on the back of the suit is different too. How he gets this new suit will be interesting to see. Maybe it is the original Stark suit and he makes some adjustments to it?

Stealth suit

Now this is the suit that has got people scratching their heads the most. Mainly, because it reminds them of Spider-Man Noir. Regardless if it’s influenced by Spider-Man Noir or not it’s clear to see that this is more of a stealth suit. This actually raises questions about the Stark suit to me. The Stark suit was so advanced to the point where it had a ‘kill mode’. Wouldn’t that same suit also have a ‘stealth mode’ too? Maybe he loses the Stark suit somehow. Either way it’s not shown in the trailer but through set leaks this stealth suit does have the shield logo on it. My best guess would be that he gets this suit from Nick Fury. It makes sense too, since he’s still wearing the Stark suit when he first meets him in the trailer.

Elemental villains

As with every Spider-Man movie one of the most exciting aspect about it are the villains we get to see. Spider-Man has one of the best rogues’ gallery when it comes to comic book characters. If this trailer is anything to go by, it looks like we are getting multiple villains. The villains are going to based on the elementals. In the trailer we see Hydr-man (water), Magnum (earth) and Hellfire (flame). We only catch a quick glimpse of these villains. It’s possible they could be named differently in the movie. And it’s also likely they haven’t shown us all of them yet.

Mysterio

While the Elementals look to be the main villains of the film that all changes when Mysterio shows up in the trailer. The way the trailer is cut it looks like he saves Peter from Hydron. Here’s where things get tricky. Given Mysterio’s powers, are these Elementals real or just illusions? Emergency Awesomeness pointed out in his video how in the comics Mysterio once created illusions of villains and defeated them so he would look like the hero at the end of the day. That could well be the case here. Last month it was also confirmed Mysterio isn’t really the villain of the movie. In fact he’s meant to be a good guy. I can see him taking Peter under his wing, but ultimately still fighting him at the end of the movie.

These were just my quick thoughts on the trailer and the main things that stood out to me.

Let me know your thoughts on the trailer down below

The Punisher – Season 2 Review (Spoiler-Free)

I was lucky enough to gain access to screeners for the upcoming season of The Punisher. As someone who loved the first season I couldn’t wait to start watching. And after watching all 13 episodes, I found myself content with the season overall. I liked it…I just didn’t love it like the previous season. I would actually say there’s a clear gap in quality between the two seasons. Because while I enjoyed this season for the most part. There were also aspects that I didn’t like at all which really hurt the season as a whole. It’ll be interesting to see how other people react to this season. But for now you’re going to be stuck with me as I give up my thoughts on the upcoming season.

THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

A fresh start

At the end of the first season Frank Castle was given a clean slate. And season 2 starts off with Frank trying to make the best of his new situation. The season actually begins with Frank outside of New York. Now, this aspect might not sound the most appealing but I actually enjoyed the parts outside of New York. You get to see a different side of Frank. Someone who isn’t constantly looking over his shoulder. He’s more open with others. I’m not going to spoil it but he even comes across a potential love interest while in his new environment. However, make no mistakes about it, Frank still has that side to him. It’s not long before he finds himself straight up kicking-ass and killing assassins in a bathroom. Keep in mind this all takes place within the first episode. The season begins with a strong first episode in my opinion. But of course it’s not long before he has to eventually go back to New York, which is where the rest of the season takes place. But most importantly he doesn’t turn up to New York by himself.

Second chances

I believe the key theme for this season is people getting second chances in life. Here it applies to the two main characters of the season; Frank Castle and Jigsaw.

Frank’s arc

If you watched the first season or are familiar with the character’s background in the comics. You would know Frank witnessed his whole family getting murdered right in front of him. And up until now Frank blames himself for all of their deaths. This plays into this season because Frank finds himself in a situation where this time, he can try help prevent a child’s death. This isn’t a spoiler, but Frank runs into this girl who is being hunted down. This results in him protecting her for the majority of the season.

You get to see their ups and downs together during the season which I found interesting. But I can see some people getting bored of it when they watch it. Especially, at the start of the season when it feels like Frank is just babysitting her. I mean at times he literally is. Even found myself getting frustrated with their relationship because you could see where it was going, but it felt like they were spending too much time on it. I get it, seeing Frank protect this girl is nice and all. But I want to see Frank be the Punisher! It takes it’s time, but eventually, we get the Punisher we all know and love. And of course, that’s where Jon Bernthal really shines in the role.

Jigsaw

On the theme of ‘second chances’ this also applies to the main villain of the season, Jigsaw. I have to get this out of the way first. What you saw it in the promotional images when it comes to Jigsaw is what you get. He got his face dragged through a broken mirror at the end of the first season and now he just has a couple of scars to show for it. Honestly, I know it looks ridiculous, but after a couple of his scenes it didn’t bother me as much. Overall, I liked the addition of Jigsaw as the main villain in this season. Just like with Frank, Jigsaw finds himself attached to another character for the majority of the season. This would be his therapist. She offers him a second chance because what Frank did to him at the end of the first season mentally destroyed him. His arc is about whether if he can rebuild from that traumatic experience and go back to how he was before it. 

So, we spend a lot of time with Jigsaw and his therapist in sessions and it’s interesting to see where their relationship goes. But no matter what happens, he’s ultimately drawn back to Frank Castle. Having spent the previous season with them two going back and forth, I thought it would be too much for another season. I was wrong. The character of Jigsaw really adds a fresh dynamic to their feud. Without going into detail, there’s this one episode where Jigsaw actually gets one over on Frank. He kind of turns the tables on him. Personally, I think it’s the strongest episode of the season. Jigsaw was also central to another one of my favourite episodes. It involves him and his crew robbing a bank. Again, without spoiling it, I just love how the episode ends. Plus I’d like to add that we actually get to see scenes with Russo and Frank before they were in the marines. I liked these scenes too, it added more backstory.

As for Ben Barnes’ performance, I think he done a good job. I must say there were times when I felt like he was just doing too much. But then again, because of the complete difference in character between Billy Russo and Jigsaw I can understand it. The more I think about it I actually liked the aspect of the character more than the performance that came with it.

One villain too many

Here comes my biggest issue with the season…John Pilgrim. I would say he serves as the co-main villain of the season. I’m just going to say it. I didn’t like him at all. First of all his character is something that I felt has been done too many times before. He’s this religious figure in the public, but of course, behind the scenes he’s the total opposite. He even talks in Bible verses if you know what I mean. To put it simply, Pilgrim is this former mob person/current assassin who spends most of the season tracking down Frank Castle and the girl he’s with. I never believe he’s a threat to Frank or anyone to be honest. Like with Billy Russo’s character in the first season. I believed he was this former marine and now someone who was in charge of his own organisation which was a genuine threat to Frank and the state. With John Pilgrim? No, it just didn’t work for me.

They even try to give him some backstory and show this other side of him with his family but it never clicked with me. I would have preferred if they’d just focused on Jigsaw as the main villain of the season. Mainly, because there’s history between Billy Russo and Frank. Even though Jigsaw is almost an entirely different character, there’s still a piece of Russo in there. And I really like how that links in with Frank by the end of the season. Pilgrim’s character at one point says something along the lines of “Why am I still hunting Frank? He’s done nothing to me”. And I found myself completing agreeing with him. They needed to do something different with this character. Personally, I would have just cut him out. I’ve got to admit though, there was one thing I really liked about John Pilgrim…his action scenes. Like with all the action scenes in this series, they didn’t hold back with his. Some of his fight scene are so brutal! Especially, his showdown with Frank. There’s one scene with him that is still stuck in my head. During one fight he rams the top of his head into someone’s mouth to knock them out and in the next scene he’s pulling out the guy’s teeth from the top of his head.

What’s next for The Punisher?

As I was watching the season finale I could help but feel disappointed by the end of it. Not with the season because I enjoyed the majority of it. But knowing this is most likely going to be the last season. How could I not feel disappointed? I think even the show runners knew it. The season doesn’t end with this major cliff-hanger like the last season of Daredevil. What hurts is that even after two seasons there’s still so much potential left with this character/series. I just want to see Frank Castle’s story play out. I even want to see more of the supporting characters who were also great in this season too.

Closing thoughts

Overall, while I didn’t enjoy this season as much as I did with the first one. There’s still a lot that I liked about this season. I enjoyed Frank’s arc throughout the season along with his chance of redemption. The action scenes are amazing as expected. Jigsaw as the main villain ended up being better than what I expected. I just wish he was the only villain of the season. However, the season isn’t perfect by any means. There are some real slow parts that drag. Especially, after the first two episodes which makes it worse because it starts off so well. It does slow down by the middle, but from episode 8 onwards the season makes up for its inconsistent pacing.

Make sure you check out the season for yourself next week!

My Favourite Comic Book Movies of 2018

What a year it has been for the comic book movie genre! There’s no shortage of comic book movies today. But it’s all about trying to keep the genre fresh and at the end of the day, producing great movies. And this is the purpose of this article. Of all the comic book movies that were released this year I wanted to give you guys my own personal ranking. Just a heads up, I haven’t included every comic book movie that was released this year. This is just a list consisting of my four favourite comic book movies of 2018.

4. Black Panther

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Black Panther is another solid entry into the MCU. When I think about this movie the first thing that comes to mind is the cast. The cast of Black Panther was easily the highlight of the movie for me. Especially when it comes to the supporting cast. In particular, I really enjoyed Michael B. Jordan’s role in this movie. Killmonger is just behind Thanos when it comes to my ranking of the MCU villains. I also liked how Wakanda as a place was handled from the look and feel of it. You really got to understand why this place is important within the universe. However, I must say that at the time of the movie’s release I think I bought into the hype. While I enjoyed the movie, it’s not as great as I first remembered. It’s just solid. And that’s not a bad thing. At first, Black Panther was in my top 5 MCU movies. But now looking back, it just falls out of my top 5 MCU ranking. However, for this year it was still a strong comic book movie. It’s just that the bar has been set so high. I’m still looking forward to seeing what Ryan Coogler does with the sequel.

3. Aquaman

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The more I think about this movie, the more I love it. Now, don’t get me wrong this movie is far from perfect. For example, some of the musical choices. Yes, I’m talking about that Pitbull song. Also some of the romance didn’t work for me along with the humour. However, when this movie got something right, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. James Wan really went above and beyond with Aquaman. Just the scale of the movie is something that should be admired. The characters are strong. The action scenes are refreshing for once. The costume design is amazing. It has strong villains. And the third act is one of the best I’ve seen in years when it comes to comic book movies. Although, I hated the Pitbull song. I have to admit I was wrong about the soundtrack as a whole. It’s definitely a lot better than when I first heard it. Aquaman is on pace to make a billion dollars at the box office and it deserves every penny. Warner Bros. should already be laying down the blueprints for the sequel. With James Wan at the helm of course.

Feel free to check out my review for Aquaman here!

2. Avengers: Infinity War

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What else can I say about this movie that hasn’t been said already? It delivered in every aspect to me. It was a dream come true for me to see all these characters interacting with each other on the screen for the first time. And to see them lose? Oh, I loved it! It only makes me more excited to see what happens in Avengers 4. With each viewing this movie gets better. I talked about Aquaman’s third act, Infinity War also has a really strong third act. Sometimes when I don’t feel like sitting through the whole movie I just skip to the fight scene on Titan and let it play out from there. Of course, I have to mention Thanos before I finish this. Hands down my favourite villain of the MCU. In-fact one of my favourite villains ever. Josh Brolin delivered a great performance which was helped by the VFX team who did an amazing job with the character’s look. I can’t wait to see how the remaining Avengers deal with the ramifications of the snap in Avengers 4.

For as much as I loved Avengers: Infinity War, it didn’t take the number one spot for me…

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Look, I knew Spider-Verse was going to be a great movie. I just didn’t know it was going to be this good! I can’t speak highly enough of this animated movie. As a huge Spider-Man fan, I have to say this is easily the best Spider-Man movie we’ve had to date. And it stars Miles Morales! Which makes it even better. The fact that the up and coming generations get to see a different Spider-Man on the screen is awesome. While Miles is the star the movie I loved the other characters just as much. I could spend so much time just going into detail about how much I enjoyed each character. But to keep it short I’ll just say Spider-Noir was by far my favourite character. The voice acting in this movie is top tier. Not to mention the animation style! The visuals in this movie are breathe-taking at certain parts. Miles’ relationship with his uncle was also a standout for me because of how it played into the overall story. As you can see I loved this film. I’m still struggling to find something I didn’t like about it. And weeks later… I still can’t find anything I dislike about it. So, I’m just going to let the film be great. Please, go see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse if you haven’t already.

There’s my list! As you can see regardless of my ranking I spoke highly of each film. It just goes to show how great this year was when it came to comic book movies. Hopefully, next year is even better. It certainly has the potential to do it.

Let me know what your personal list is down below.

Aquaman: Review (non-spoiler)

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited by Warner Bros. to attend an early screening for Aquaman. So, before I start this review I just wanted to thank the good people at Warner Bros. UK for allowing me to watch one of my most anticipated movies of the year a little earlier than everyone else. I’ve been waiting so long to see James Wan’s take on The King of the Seven Seas. From the moment he was attached to the project I had extremely high expectations. And yesterday, those expectations were not only met, but beyond exceeded. Aquaman showed us that Wan could take the comic book movie genre to another level. The film rises to the occasion and will leave you wanting more as there is still so much that is yet to be explored in this universe.

A very ambitious film!

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The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this movie is the term, ‘scale’. It’s huge in every form. Look, I knew the ocean was huge, but even I was taken back when watching how they interpreted it on the big screen. I lost count on the amount of kingdoms/underwater cities were introduced. Every single one of them were distinct from each other. None of them looked the same at all. This is what I admire the most about the movie, its ambition. They could’ve easily played it safe. For example, have the whole movie take place in Atlantis or another city. But they really went all out, by going full comic book! You’re probably going to see this a hundred times while reading other reviews. Yes, Aquaman feels like a comic book brought to life on the big screen. And I believe this is why comic book lovers and the general audience will enjoy this movie.

On the subject of scale I think it would also be a great time to mention the visuals in this film. Visually, alone this movie is a huge achievement. I mean 80% of it takes place underwater and of course there’s going to be an extensive amount of VFX used, and for the most part it looked great. Every time they were underwater it actually looked natural (helped by the great sound design). In general, I really enjoyed the cinematography. There are some shots in this film that are just epic. The final act/fight between Arthur and Orm played out amazingly! Seeing the two fighting with the lights hitting their costumes provides for an incredible viewing. Once again, it helps this whole comic book aesthetic the film is going for.

Well balanced tone

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Another thing I really liked about Aquaman is how the tone was handled. At the end of the day Aquaman can be a fun movie. It can also be a more serious movie if you want to look at it in that way. It strikes a good balance in between the two. I found this even more enjoyable because not only is the film juggling tones at the same time. Its also doing that with genres too. To me these two elements go hand-in-hand. Honestly, you can find genres ranging from Sci-fi, action, adventure, horror and comedy when watching Aquaman. Like I said, because all these elements are balanced well. It really gives Aquaman this lane of its own when it comes to the comic book movie genre. Having said that, I would have personally, toned down on some of the comedy aspects. A lot of the jokes just didn’t quite work for me. But, I understand why they were there. The audience were laughing quite a lot during the screening.

Strong characters

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I think it’s time I talk about the characters in the movie. Just by looking at the of names attached to this project the acting in this movie was easily, the least of my worries. At this point I feel like I’m giving this movie too much praise. But I cannot lie I loved the characters for the most part in this film. Jason Momoa is clearly having the time of his life as Arthur Curry, and it translates on the screen. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out a bunch of his lines were improvised on the spot. He just seems to be enjoying the role that much. Arthur’s journey back home and to the throne is one that was entertaining and has me in interested in seeing where the character goes after this.

Orm

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Orm is up there with one of my favourite comic book villains in the past couple of years. This is mainly because of Patrick Wilson’s performance. Much like Jason, you can tell he really enjoys this role too. All you have to do is look at some of his recent tweets. The guy is still in character. Orm’s motivations are both easy to understand and relatable. I think a lot of DC fans will find similarities between Orm and General Zod from Man of Steel. What I liked the most about Orm is how he isn’t just an evil version of Arthur. He can stand on his own. You genuinely believe that he’s a major threat to both Arthur and the surface world. Overall, Orm’s a really great villain in this movie. Not to mention he looks amazing too when he’s fighting in his full costume.

The women in this movie are badass!

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Now, onto the women in this movie. They are straight up badass! Starting with Mera. If you thought she would end up being this damsel-in-distress. Or just there to serve this romance angle. You’re totally wrong. Mera almost steals the show for me. In-fact she carries the movie in certain parts. She can very much hold her own and doesn’t need to rely on Arthur to get her out of difficult situations whenever she finds herself in one. Arthur’s mother too, Queen Atlanna, another strong female character. I can’t really go into detail about her character for spoiler reasons. But trust me, Arthur inherited a lot of his fighting style from his mother.

Black Manta! (major highlight)

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I had to save the best for last…Black Manta! Hands downs my favourite thing about this movie. Black Manta has always been one of the coolest DC characters too me. And seeing him in that outfit moving around on the screen was a joy to watch. I love his backstory too. Again, I can’t really go into detail but, I liked how he tied in with Arthur and a few other characters. If I had to pick out one issue I had with the character it’s that I wanted more of him! Don’t get me wrong I thought he was used well. But, looking back on it now I think they could have split up Orm and Black Manta as main villains in separate movies. I guess that’s still kind of a compliment at the same time by suggesting both characters/actors are good enough to carry a movie as the main villain by themselves.

The Score…was disappointing

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If you know anything about me you would know that I love my scores in superhero movies. I couldn’t wait to see what Rupert Gregson-Williams had come up with for this type of movie. I have to admit I was kind of disappointed. Apart from Orm who has a great theme, nothing really caught my attention. I can’t really tell you what Arthur’s theme is like, because it didn’t jump out to me. Again, a lot was going on during this movie and maybe I was just too caught up in the moment to notice the score. I can only speak for myself. I was going in expecting this Man of Steel/Dawn of Justice level type of score and I didn’t get that. I will still be checking out the soundtrack when it releases. Hopefully, my opinion on the score will change.

Closing thoughts

Overall, Aquaman is about as blockbuster as they come. I had a great time and would recommend this movie to anyone, not just comic book fans. I think anyone will find something they would love in this movie. From the stunning visuals, great characters and the breath-taking action. Or it could be that amazing third act/final fight which is one of the strongest I’ve seen in years when it comes to comic book movies. As for what this means for the DCEU? Is it “saved” once again? I can’t tell you how bored I am of that conversation. To me the DCEU has always been alive to me. Yeah, it’s had a few bumps in the road. But, films such as Man of Steel, BvS and Wonder Woman will continued to be talked about for the coming years. Aquaman, joins those other movies and proves that the DCEU isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Aquaman 9/10

The Avengers 4: Endgame Trailer: Less is Better

Finally! After spending months in the dark after the events of Avengers: Infinity War we get something tangible from the upcoming Avengers 4 film. Not only did we get the title (Endgame), which I love. We also, got a teaser trailer to go along with it. It was a long wait but man did they deliver.

In general I really like this trailer. What I liked the most about it, was how it was handled. A lot of times in the past we’ve seen trailers show too much. However, with this trailer they took the opposite approach. They showed as little as possible, but it still got people like me hooked. There’s so many questions people have after this short trailer. I’m just going to give my thoughts on what the main characters are going through.

Tony

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The trailer starts off with Tony at his lowest point after losing the battle against Thanos on Titan. I loved this whole opening with Tony. It brought this sense of hopelessness to the film. Just a quick reminder to us that yes, the Avengers lost. Tony for one of the smartest people in the universe looks like he has no answers left as he records this goodbye message to Pepper Potts. What I liked the most about the dialogue here was how it felt like Tony was also talking to us, the audience. Especially when he was saying things like every journey has an end. With Tony on the verge of dying, flying in the middle of no where. It feels like a certain captain might run into him. I also have to point out that he’s not alone on the ship. Nebula is also present with him as she is shown in a later shot on the same ship.

Thanos

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After winning Thanos is doing exactly what he wants… living his life. He’s in the same place where we last saw him in Avengers: Infinity War. It appears the gauntlet is still busted from the snap. Thanos looks to be on him farm, growing crops and just minding his own business. For how long though? I think the rest of the Avengers will find their way to him.

Rest of the Avengers

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After spending the opening moments with Tony. The rest of the trailer is centred around the Avengers who survived the snap. It’s mainly up to Captain America and Black Widow, to somehow bounce back after their greatest defeat. I just love how the impact of Infinity War is felt here. With half the population gone the world seems so small now.  Seeing Steve cry was tough. Thor too. He didn’t even have to say a word. You can see what’s going on in his mind. After all, he didn’t go for the head. He must be blaming himself for all of this. Hawkeye is back! I mean Ronin! He looks to be in Japan just kicking ass. My guess is he’s gone full Ronin since his family were taken away from him by the snap. The trailer ended with Ant-Man showing up to the Avengers HQ. The last time we saw him, he was stuck in the Quantum Realm. Well, it looks like he can get in and get out of the Quantum Realm. This means he’ll be crucial in the movie. Because I guarantee the Quantum Realm will be used in this movie to help get the rest of the Avengers back.

As for the Avengers who fell victim to the snap? Well, we have no idea what they’re doing. And good! I don’t want to know until I sit down in the theatre next April. This trailer was overall a great appetiser for what’s to come. I hope they keep this vague approach with the rest of the promotional material for the movie.

Let me know your thoughts on the trailer

 

Venom Review: An Entertaining Mess

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Venom is Sony’s first instalment into their Spider-Man spin-off universe. But after watching Venom, I’m not sure how successful this universe will be. Before I start this review, I just want to preference it with this. I’m a huge comic book fan. Spider-Man is my second favourite superhero after Superman. I have to say a Venom movie without Spider-Man doesn’t bother me too much. Ever since the film was announced a lot of comic book fans have been against it because of the lack of connection to Spider-Man in this movie. And I totally understand their complaints. But speaking for myself, I was actually really looking forward to this movie (mainly because of Tom Hardy). Would I love to see Venom go up-against Spider-Man? Of course, but you can’t always get what you want. So, I went into the movie last night open-minded and hoping for the best…

What they got right

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This film has a lot of issues but hands down the best thing about it is Venom himself. Venom is brutal, scary and surprisingly very funny. Not to mention he looks great too. The VFX team did a great job with the character’s design. Watching Venom and Eddie Brock go back and forth was really the highlight of the movie for me. I’ve seen this movie be described as a buddy cop movie. And honestly, I could just watch them two walk the streets of San Fransisco for two hours. One of the main reasons why Venom as a character works so well in this film is because of Tom Hardy’s performance. Granted he wont be getting nominated for any Oscars with this performance. But I think his take on Eddie Brock is a lot better than I expected. And of course, if you didn’t know he also voices Venom too. That’s probably one of my favourite aspects of the character, I just love his voice. The voice is so out there and crazy it bounces off Eddie Brock perfectly. Also, I can hear everything he’s saying this time. The relationship between Venom and Eddie Brock is so good, I just wish we got to that point a lot quicker than we did. Because to be honest, the film is pretty boring at the start until Venom is introduced.

The bad…writing

The biggest issue I had this with movie is the writing. Going into this movie I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece in storytelling and character development. However, I expected a lot more than what I got. I just don’t know where to start and how best to describe it to you. I’m so confused at the some of the decisions that were made. As I just stated the relationship between Venom and Eddie Brock was the best thing in the movie. It feels like that’s where all the attention went in the writers room. Because everything surrounding it was just bad. From the dialogue, story and character motivations, a lot of it felt so rushed and underdeveloped.

The biggest causality of the writing in this movie is easily the TONE of it. To put it simply, it’s all over the place. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. At certain parts the film is a straight up comedy. And in the next scene they’re trying to be super serious. I’m fine with a film having a dark/light tone but Venom, didn’t strike a good balance at all to me. For the most part I really enjoyed the comedic parts of the film. Like I said Venom was really funny in this movie. But I couldn’t help think during certain parts of the film “was I meant to laugh at that?”. It was hard to tell when they were being funny on purpose of if it was done unintentionally. This is where I have to also lay a lot of the blame at the feet of the studio here. I don’t think they knew what they wanted with this film. Is it going to be PG-13 or R-Rated? Eventually they’ve opted for the PG-13 route in order to make more money and create a universe that would be Spider-Man friendly. Personally, I feel the studio should’ve gone the Deadpool route. Make it R-rated, go all the way with it. Think about how you want to incorporate Spider-Man later.

Riot

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Comic book movies today for the most part are defined by their main villain and Venom is no different. The main villain of the movie Riot, (played by Riz Ahmed) who I think is an amazing actor suffers from once again, bad writing. From the moment we’re introduced to his character you just know he won’t be that compelling. The final fight between the two only lasts for what felt like five minutes. It was also hard to tell what was going on during their fight. What doesn’t help is how Venom and Riot look similar when it comes to colour and size. And when you have them fighting in a poorly lit environment it just became hard to follow the action. Granted, I haven’t seen many people bring up this issue, it might’ve just been me. The action in the rest of the movie was great and it flowed really well. It also helped show why this character is loved by many because of how differently he conducts himself from Spider-Man.

Is it really that bad?

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Now I know it may sound like I’ve just been beating this movie to death. But I can’t lie, despite all of its flaws I have a fun time with Venom. Look, If you go in expecting an incredible film you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. I have a love/hate relationship with this movie which I haven’t experienced in a long time. If you go in looking for flaws you’ll definitely find them. If you just want to have a fun time for two hours I believe you would be satisfied for the most part here. The aspects that work (mainly Tom Hardy) are really entertaining. Take Tom Hardy out of this film I don’t think it would work at all. Yes, the movie is riddled with issues but it never got to the point where I wanted the movie to end. I’ve seen this movie get compared to the likes of Catwoman and Batman & Robin. I 100% disagree with these views. The film is getting a lot of undeserved hate. However, let me clarify this, I totally understand why some may not like this film. But in the era of superhero movies Venom is no way near one of the worst comic book movies ever. It’s kind of in the middle for me. I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it. Will I be picking it up on Blu-ray? I’m not sure yet. If the studio decides to release an R-Rated cut along with some extra footage, then they will definitely be getting my money.

Venom: 6.5/10

Let me know your thoughts on the film