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)
Where the hell do I start with this review? I guess I’ll start with my initial thoughts after I saw Avengers: Endgame for the first time at a midnight screening on opening night. To be honest I wasn’t sure how to feel about the movie. Part of me left the theatres unsatisfied and borderline disappointed with what I got. As I started to play the movie over in my head again nothing changed. My feelings towards it got worse. But I felt like it was my duty to watch it again before I gave my entire thoughts. Maybe some things would change the second time round. Or maybe my initial thoughts would become solidified with that second viewing.
Honestly, viewing Avengers: Endgame a second time made all the difference for me. Just the personal viewing experience alone. I sat through that midnight screening tense and constantly on edge. My mind was going a million miles per hour with all the theories I had going into the movie. I can only speak for myself, but going in more relaxed with no pressure made me enjoy the movie a whole lot more. And even though I still have my issues with it. I found myself slowing falling in love with the movie. As I finished my second viewing I started asking myself “What the hell were you thinking when you tweeted out “the movie is just fine? Is this not everything you wanted from it?” And I hold my hands up. I’m happy to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong about Avengers: Endgame.
Given there is so much that goes on in this film it would be impossible for me to touch on every aspect. So, what I’m doing with this review is splitting it up in to three main sections which are dedicated to each act of the movie.
Act 1: Aftermath of the snap
Oddly enough, this is what I was looking forward to the most going into Endgame. We only caught a glimpse of how the Avengers reacted to the snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. But how would they feel/change once time had passed? For such a huge moment in the universe were they going to let the snap sit there and sink in? And boy did they. Seeing Tony like that after he returned to Earth was rough. I thought it was a great character moment. For someone that always has the answers it was heartbreaking to see him so defeated. Then I started to get concerned when the remaining Avengers went into space to kill Thanos. Although it was satisfying watching the Avengers show up to Thanos’ garden and straight up kill him I was so happy when I saw that ‘5 years later’ title appear shortly afterwards. I’ve seen a lot of people say the first act was too slow, but it was so important to me.
Seeing the Avengers lose AGAIN and hit rock bottom was needed for this movie to work. And I love how the snap impacted everyone differently. Tony gave up and focused on his family, Thor went into hiding, Cap was trying his hardest not to accept defeat and Black Widow was left to pick up the pieces with the rest of the Avengers. Oh, and Clint was in Tokyo being a straight badass. Then you have your everyday people. I really appreciated the scene of Scott Lang looking through the countless names at the memorial park. It just reinforced the impact of the snap for me. We have all witnessed this universe grow and expand over the past 20+ movies and throughout that opening act it just felt…empty.
Act 2: Quantum Realm
I remember Infinity War being described as a ‘heist movie’, but I felt that even more here with how the Quantum Realm was used to go back in time and collect the stones before Thanos. And even though I knew they were going to be revisiting major events in past movies I didn’t expect them to be interacting with previous versions of themselves. I thought it was a nice twist as it added to the already huge stakes. I loved this concept with Cap especially. As soon as he walked into that elevator I said “Oh, they’re about to do it aren’t they?!”. I didn’t get what I wanted, but the “Hail Hydra” line was a nice touch. However, for as much as I enjoyed the time travel aspect of the movie it did come with its issues. For me this is where the movie started to get muddy and kind of drag for me. It got to the point where it felt like they were trying to do too much. You start to jump from one timeline to another and one side plot to another with Thanos plotting in the background. On a second viewing it does start to make more sense, but I still felt overwhelmed by the end of the act. The whole time travel aspect has created some debate online since the release of the movie. So, I’m glad to see that I wasn’t the only who has issues with it.
Act 3: Assemble
With all of the stones collected and Hulk doing the snap it was all leading to this. What a third act! It did not disappoint at all. This might be my favourite final act of any comic book movie. Captain America, Iron Man and Thor teaming up against Thanos was enough for me. And you add in Cap using Mjolnir for the first time. Oh, I was more than content. Then they took it to the next level by introducing the “dead” characters. I was blown away by the shot of Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Black Panther running at the end of the Infinity War trailer. The Russos really just put that shot on steroids here. Seeing every single character in the MCU charging at Thanos and his army, I was just in awe the whole time. I just noticed I haven’t spoken about Thanos much in this review so far. It just shows how crucial the gauntlet was to him. Because throughout the movie he got his ass beat. I would’ve liked to have seen him put up a better fight. Maybe take out one of the Avengers during the final conflict. But that could’ve been too much now that I think about it, because we needed to sit with Tony’s death. Plus it was so satisfying watching Scarlet Witch nearly kill him all by herself. I came to the conclusion that Infinity War was Thanos’ movie and Endgame is the Avengers’ movie.
This whole time I thought it was a given that Captain America would die in the final battle. I was so sure that Cap would die and Tony would eventually retire. I honestly didn’t think they had it in them to kill off the face of the franchise. And the way he went out was perfect too. Even when the snap happened and you see Tony laying there burnt up and barely conscious. I still didn’t think they were going to kill him. Knowing Tony I was just waiting for him to say a joke or something to break the tension. When Friday said his condition was “critical” it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is why I admire the first act so much. I loved seeing Tony as a father and for him give it all up to save everyone was beautiful. Also, Cap has questioned his selfishness since the first Avengers and for him to make the ultimate sacrifice was perfect for the character’s arc.
Now on to Captain America. If you didn’t know Captain America is my favourite MCU character. In terms of my all time favourite comic book characters he’s fourth on the list after Superman, Batman and Spider-Man. Once Tony died I thought was Cap going to stick around? Was he going to lead the next Avengers? Then I saw him preparing to go back into the Quantum Realm to put all the stones back. I knew he wasn’t coming back straight away. Again, like with Tony I thought Cap’s ending was beautiful too. He finally went and enjoyed his life for once. I know he’s a fictional character, but I was so happy for him in that moment. However, I didn’t see this movie as an ending for just Captain America and Iron Man. This was an ending for the Avengers as a whole. Or at least the original members. Tony’s dead, Cap’s retired, Black Widow’s dead and Thor gave ownership of Asgard to Valkyrie. I honestly have no complaints about any of these decisions. Nor would I change them if I had the chance. I just know then when we get that next Avengers movie way down the line, the line-up is going to look a whole lot different.
There you have it! This might be my longest review ever. If any movie deserved this much of my time it was probably Avengers: Endgame. I just had so many thoughts running through my head especially after the first viewing. Thankfully, I went for another viewing because I found myself appreciating the movie a lot more. Do I put it over Infinity War? I’m not sure yet. I might have to watch it one more time before I decide. Both Avengers Infinity war and Endgame are at the top of my MCU list. In fact they both have a spot on my all time favourite comic book movies list. Bringing in the Russo Brothers was one of the best decisions Marvel Studios has ever made. I just want to thank them for picking up the torch and giving me a beautiful ending to this saga that I have grown up with.
Avengers: Endgame 9/10
Least favourite characters:
Thor – I understand what they were trying to do with the character and how he dealt with grief/guilt. I understand people put on a brave face and laugh their way through pain, but I felt like they were being too comedic with it.
As expected the trailer for Todd Phillips’ Joker movie arrived today. And to take a phrase from Heath Ledger’s Joker for a second…it didn’t disappoint. I mean where do I start with this one? Before the trailer even dropped I was fascinated with the idea of this movie. Now this is my most anticipated movie of the year. I love the whole vibe I’m getting from this movie. It’s dark, tragic, crazy and will most likely be full of dark humour. Just as a Joker movie should be.
Here are my main talking points from the trailer:
Joaquin Phoenix is getting a lot of praise as expected and rightly so. But I want to start this off by giving Todd Phillips and the rest of the crew behind the scenes some praise. The way the movie is shot caught my eye immediately. There are some amazing shots in this trailer and I think they did a good job at capturing the 80s. Plus the music they chose fits the tone of the movie/trailer perfectly.
On to the main man himself Joaquin Phoenix. I’m trying not get carried away here, but I think he’s going to kill this role. It looks like he went all out for this role. His mannerisms and the presence he commands on screen with the full make up on. I was in awe the whole time. His Joker laugh is great too. Again, I’m trying not to get carried away here, but it feels like they made a great choice by picking him for this role.
The most interesting thing about this trailer to me is the way they’re approaching the Joker’s origin story. From the moment this movie was announced people were automatically turned off because the Joker is someone who doesn’t really have an origin. But what they’re doing with this movie. I’m all for it. I’m not one of these gatekeepers. If you’re going to do it, just do it well. The way the trailer starts by showing us Arthur caring for his mother and seeing what the character has become by the end of the trailer had me hooked. I want to see this journey the character goes on. I want to see him start off as someone we can sympathise with and then it just takes a sharp turn to where we aren’t meant to be rooting for this guy. We should hate him, but love him at the same time. At the end of the day he’s a bad guy. And he’s going to do some crazy shit to people in this movie, I can guarantee you that now. I also love how they’re focusing on mental illness in this movie, something a lot of people can relate to.
God, I cannot wait for this movie. I’ve already watched the trailer more than 10 times. And I love it even more with each watch.
Here are some of my favourite shots from the trailer:
Let me know your thoughts on the trailer down below.
The Joker is set to be released later this year on October 4
We’re only a month away from one of the biggest movie events of the year. Or all time some would say. But how long will this event known as Avenger: Endgame last? Well, according to AMC Theatres Avengers: Endgame has a runtime of just over 3 hours. 3 hours and 2 minutes to be specific. This would make it the longest movie in the MCU ever and rightly so. While this runtime hasn’t been officially confirmed by the studio yet I would be shocked if it doesn’t go past the 2 hour and 30 minute runtime of Avengers: Infinity War.
There you have it. We could potentially be in the theatres for 3 hours on April 25th. Make it longer by a couple more hours I wouldn’t mind.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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 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!
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)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 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.
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?
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.
As expected the new Venom trailer dropped today. I’m trying not to get carried away here but this is easily the best trailer they have dropped so far. Yesterday I said this film would either make or break the film in terms of people deciding if they’re actually going to watch it in October. And the early responses I’m see to the trailer have been positive for the most part. With each trailer the reception to the upcoming film continues to improve but that could just be me and the people I follow on Twitter. We’ll get our real answer in October with how many people actually go out and see the movie during its opening weekend.
The main thing I wanted from this trailer was to see more Venom. Now of course that seems obvious right? But given the character is so reliant on special effects I was worried about the CGI not being finished yet. Luckily I got exactly what I hoped for with this trailer as there was plenty of Venom in this trailer for me. Firstly his design is great! He looks like he just walked off the comic pages (yes I know he doesn’t have the white spider on his chest). As the trailers have been released you can see how they’re slowly updating his design. I love how Venom is getting more defined with the addition of the white veins on the Symbiote. The way Venom moves around is done well and of course it helps differentiate himself from Spider-Man. However, with all the praise I’ve given this trailer so far there is one major problem I have with it. And it seems like I may not be the only one who had this problem. At certain parts in the trailer I found it really hard to understand what Venom was saying! For example the scene at the end where Venom is about to eat that guy in the convenience store. I had to re-watch this scene multiple times just to understand what he was saying. Maybe Tom Hardy’s just having bad luck with these type of roles. Hopefully it doesn’t end up turning into a similar situation with what we saw in The Dark Knight Rises. Just to refresh your memory after early test screenings Christopher Nolan went back and made Tom Hardy re-record his lines because audiences were struggling to understand what he was saying. With the release of Venomonly around the corner this might have to be something the studio considers. But then again I did see some people saying they had no issue with his voice and they understood everything he said.
As for the plot of the movie director Ruben Fleischer has said the movie will be heavily influenced by the Leathal Protectorstoryline. The comic has a group of Symbiotes which consists of Scream, Phage, Riot, Lasher and Agony. At this point we’ve only seen 3 Symbiotes (excluding Venom). I can’t see them including all of the Symbiotes from the Lethal Protectorstoryline because at some point it will just become overkill. We aren’t sure yet as to how Eddie comes in contact with the Symbiote. But it’s clear that Riz Ahmed’s character (Dr. Carlton Drake) has multiple Symbiotes in his possession. Does Eddie volunteer to be tested or does Dr. Carlton force him to? Clearly we can see from the trailer Dr. Carlton has been experimenting on other people with the Symbiote as he looks to create this new race of species. At one point in the film Dr. Carlton will experiment with a Symbiote on himself in hopes to takedown Eddie Brock. Dr. Carlton’s Symbiote is called Riot. For months it has been rumoured that Carnage will be the main villain of the movie. Now it’s clear they’re holding off with Carnage and are planning on brining him in later on. I wouldn’t be surprised if we catch our first glimpse of Carnage during the post credits scene.
I wouldn’t be worried about these trailers showing too much of the movie already. I believe the majority of what we have seen so far takes place within the first 45 minutes of the film. They haven’t shown us a lot of Eddie’s relationship with Anne Weying (played by Michelle Williams). And to be honest I’m really looking forward to spending time with Eddie Brock without the Symbiote. He has never came across as a super interesting character to me but the casting of Tom Hardy already looks to be a great choice with the way he is portraying Eddie. In particular I love the early dynamics of Eddie trying to fight off the Symbiote as it takes control over his actions. Surprisingly the trailer actually had a few comedic spots which I wasn’t expecting at all. It just shows that while this is going to be a dark film, it’ll also be a film where you can at least expect to have some fun.
This is it! It’s the moment we’ve been building to this entire season. What is the Valley Beyond? What’s The Forge? Who’s going to die or survive? Is this the end of the park? This season finale had a lot of expectations to live up to and for the most part it did for me. However I can’t help but feel that some aspects of this episode felt rushed and how the show runners started a lot of threads that they just couldn’t bring to an end in a satisfying manner to me. I don’t want to waste any more time as there is a lot of stuff to breakdown in this episode so let’s get straight into it!
Inside The Forge
We start the episode with everyone heading to the Valley Beyond, not knowing that The Forge is the key for opening of valley. The scenes that took place within The Forge were fascinating. While The Man in Black arrives at The Forge what happens to him during this time isn’t told to us until the post credit scene. When Dolores runs into him we’re just about to find out if he’s a host or not but she interrupts that process and I’m left even more confused at the end of the episode. Dolores and Bernard are the main characters who spend most of the time there. The Forge is a facility that keeps the data of all the guests that have visited the park. It’s mentioned that it has over 4 million ‘souls’ which explains the wealth of the company because you have to think visiting the park wouldn’t be cheap at all. Inside The Forge both Dolores and Bernard visit what I would call the core of the park a much bigger version of the Cradle, under the surface and its inner-workings. This is where surprisingly enough we run into Logan who isn’t alive but is the systems A.I, he’s in control of everything. He was tasked to make the perfect replications of the guests and it took over 18 million versions to find the perfect version of James Delos. But as we saw when William was testing his own version of James Delos he would malfunction because they can’t live in the real world. However he mentions Dolores might be their best chance. We actually find out that Logan and the park under control of Bernard which was a huge revelation. As Ford told a couple of episodes ago this was now his story. He himself has been to The Forge many times and wanted Dolores to see it for herself. They literally have the guests code put down into book. I thought it was interesting how Logan explained that humans weren’t that difficult to understand. All their decisions keep leading back to the same point and it’s the hosts who are perfect. James Delos’ code is only 10,000 lines which is crazy when you think about it, all his decisions, thoughts and feelings fit into one book. Delos’ book is one amongst the millions that are also present in The Forge. The shot of the endless rows of books was great for depicting it as an actual library and it’s understandable as to why Bernard would want Dolores to come here.
The Valley Beyond – Eden
During Bernard’s conversation with Logan it’s revealed that Bernard was the one who created the Valley Beyond or the Eden as its called, a new world for the hosts. While they can’t survive in the real world this one was created that would allow them to be free and make their own choices. It’s at this point that a crack starts to appear at the top of The Forge’s facility giving the hosts the option to jump into the Eden. Just by looking at the Eden I got this heaven like feeling from it. It was beautiful watching these hosts run into this new world. Going into the Eden would leave their lifeless bodies on the other side which explains the number of dead hosts in the valley, something that has been a key factor during this season. However not everyone was going to make it to this new world including Maeve. It was heartbreaking to watch Maeve and the people around her go out like that. I initially thought they were building up towards a stand off between Maeve and Clementine but that wasn’t the case. I love how Maeve finally got that moment with her daughter. Watching her daughter run off into the Eden while sacrificing herself was a great way for Maeve to go out. But I have to bring this up, what does death mean any more? It’s hard to feel emotionally attached with Maeve’s death when they could bring her back so easily. While everyone sees the Eden as a a new world and an opportunity to be free Dolores sees straight through it. She calls it a counterfeit world and the only world that’s real is the ones the humans belong in as she starts the process of a ‘data purge’. This leads to Bernard actually killing Dolores as his suspicions of Dolores turning into a monster becomes a reality.
The Real World – Dolores/Hale
I’ll be honest I did not see this twist coming at all. Dolores was inside Hale?! This was so crazy and genius at the same time! I thought how this all tied in was perfect. Bernard was in charge this whole time, its been his narrative from the start. Ford was never present in this season as we thought he was, it was because Bernard wanted him to be there. It makes sense why he scrambled his memories in fear that Delos would find out what he knows. I thought it was interesting how this season was built around trying to perfect a host that could survive in the real world and it was finally achieved with Dolores in Hale’s body. Dolores reveals how she initially created Bernard with Arnold in mind and now he’s kind of done the same thing in return after he kills her in The Forge. I also want to bring up how Dolores has a change in heart, she actually saves everyone in the Eden, she beams their data far away in a place that it can’t be reached. She’s actually the hero of the season, for all this talk of her being the ‘Deathbringer’ I have to hold my hands up she won me over here with her actions. I have to eat my words again because I thought she didn’t have feelings for Teddy I thought she was just using him. It was great seeing him in the Eden and it shows Dolores’ feelings for him were genuine. Just to clear up any confusion this was made possible because she took out Teddy’s memory core at the beginning of the episode.
By the end of the episode in the current timeline (it was so hard to tell in this episode) Dolores finally leaves the park. Before she leaves the park she has a really interesting conversation with Stubbs. He implies that he could be a host but does it matter anyway? This character has been in the background for the majority of the season. Was this meant to be a huge bombshell? If so it didn’t work for me. It just goes to go show how he was protecting the hosts this whole time. As Dolores leaves the park we see in her bag she has the memory cores of 5 hosts. One of those we know for sure is Arnold/Bernard who she eventually brings back (could one of those balls be Teddy and her father Peter Abernathy). Now she’s giving him his opportunity in the real world as he programs him. Throughout the season we’ve seen scenes where Dolores is testing Bernard and this is it. They’re in the current timeline after the events of the Valley Beyond in the real world. One thing that I found really interesting with their interaction is how Dolores tells him “You’ll try to stop me and we’ll probably both die”. Implying that there will be further problems between the two characters in the future. I love how the episode ends with Arnold literally opening a door as he enters the real world which has been the main theme for the entire season.
After Credit Scene
I’m going to be honest here I have no idea what this scene was about. During this episode while Dolores and Bernard were in The Forge we see The Man in Black also go in there and that’s it. What happens to him inside The Forge is left to our imagination. This scene clearly takes place way down the timeline in the future because The Forge as we now see it is in disarray. William is greeted by his daughter Emily who I believe is still dead but just like Logan she is present via. A.I. The scene ends with Emily running the fidelity test on William as he still has the same injuries to his hand. Honestly I don’t know what to make of this. A major theme of this episode is how humans choices leads them to a specific point, is this Williams point he keeps running into? But for William to be under the fidelity test wouldn’t that mean he’s a host? Or is he really just losing his mind and this is all in his imagination as he’s been questioning his own reality this whole time. You know what I would have been fine if the character had died in this episode. I thought it would have been the right time to bring the character’s journey to an end. When William was shown receiving help by the Delos team after the events of the Valley Beyond I was disappointed. This scene just left me with so many questions and it was kind of frustrating rather than satisfying. They can’t just seem to end one point they’re trying to make, they continue to dangle the carrot in front of us. Now we have to wait a couple of years for our answers.
Overall for the most part this was a really satisfying episode of Westworld. Was it trying to juggle too many storylines at one? Absolutely, but that’s Westworld in a nutshell. While there were some aspects that didn’t sit well with me in this episode but with the way first episode started and where we ended last night was satisfying enough for me. Retracting Bernard’s crucial steps was a great choice for this season to go in and everything surrounding it lived up to the same quality. I’m not sure if I like this season more than the first one just yet, I’ll probably leave that for a future article. But as for right now I’m kind of glad this season is over. This show is exhausting mentally and I’m happy to take a break from it for a year or so.
Let me know your thoughts on the season finale and the season as a whole