Is Thor: Ragnarok The Most Fun Marvel Film Yet?

By Dominic Cassidy (@lyre_of_apollo)

Ragnarok, the third in the solo Thor movies, is by far the best. With What We Do in the Shadows actor and director Taika Waititi at the helm, the movie benefits from having an experienced funny man in charge of things, as aside from being good (thoroughly quite excellent) it is fun. It is the only adjective that comes to mind; the movie is funny, smart and uses the actors to fantastic lengths.

To say the previous Thor films have come short is putting it lightly: the first one was kind of nondescript, feeling really small scale and The Dark World felt too overtly serious a solo romp for a character that is the real comic relief in the Avengers movies. Thankfully, Ragnarok gives the viewer no fear that there will be much in the way of Schindler’s List level seriousness.

The tone of the movie is absolutely perfect throughout, adjusting just enough to fit, while keeping a comfortable goofiness. In this sense, the set design is really just perfect, especially in some of the more exotic locations. It really harks back to the whole 80’s marvel celestials stuff, mad bright colours and random circuits drawn on things, makes the movie just so pretty that you’d be hard-pressed to take your eyes off it.

Story-wise, Ragnarok isn’t anything super unique or that deep but without the pressure of being final or important (i.e Avengers), it definitely had a more, setting up vibe, like a comic book getting ready to go into a big series wide event; which on the way to Infinity War’s release is really refreshing.

One thing that ought to be commended for the movie is the actors: Chris Hemsworth absolutely nails the boisterous thunder god and seems really relaxed in the role, just having fun with it. It did feel at points uncomfortable to be seeing Loki on screen again, but Tom Hiddleston’s performance as the trickster god really makes you forgot misgivings as he and his onscreen brother bounce off one another so well.

As always, Jeff Goldblum is absolutely fantastic as the eccentric Grandmaster, bringing a kind of Ralph Fiennes M. Gustave panache to the roll. It would have been nice however to see more development with Cate Blanchett’s Hela as sadly, she just comes across as a nondescript big bad.

Being a superhero movie, the action scenes are fantastic, off the cuff, using CGI very well, and while it may not be photorealistic, it does lend to the very comic book style the movie seems to have, and moves away from something that has plagued the bigger Marvel movies – a problem of being too serious at times, and giving the fight scenes interesting venues.

Finally, while the move is nothing new, the sheer sense of fun at play here definitely makes it one of the better Marvel movies. With the main cast bouncing off of one another so well, it is just sad this sort of thing couldn’t have been carved out for the Norse hero sooner. Hopefully, after the unprecedented success of the more comedic ventures like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ragnarok, this fun practice becomes more of the norm from the folk at Marvel.

rating 7

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Captain America: Civil War REVIEW

When news got out that Civil War got greenlit due to Batman Vs Superman, a film that was as dull as it was messy, it wasn’t a surprise that many grew worried about the reality of this massive clash of clans. Not only is the film a sequel to the Marvel magnum opus Winter Soldier but it’s also a successor to the rather disappointing Age Of Ultron.

In addition to this, there’s also the film’s duty to introduce new characters as well as set things up for future installments in the MCU and somehow, whether it’s due to some infinity gem or the Russo brothers natural talent, Civil War manages to do all of this and more, managing to be just as enthralling as its predecessors and then some.

Having the Avengers fight amongst themselves isn’t anything new but it’s never been on this kind of scale. With The Avengers now being seen as dangerous whilst ungoverned, due to events in previous films as well as those in Civil War, the team is now split into two: Team Cap which feels that the Avengers should stay independent and Team Iron Man who supports the government oversight.

The story, for what it’s trying to achieve, isn’t overly complex and has a surprisingly good flow despite the 2hr 27 min run time, managing to establish the motivations of both teams superbly. Often you’ll find your allegiance fluctuating, despite tweeting how you were #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan religiously beforehand, making the film just as engaging as you’d have expected.

Civil War 1

Thankfully there’s no MacGuffin, an issue that I covered in my rant on the MCU, though the “villain” isn’t much of an improvement. While he has some well established motivation rather than just being evil, unlike Lex Luthor in BVS, it feels like the character of Zemo, one with a very interesting backstory, could have been best kept for a future installment due to his minimal involvement in the film.

Civil War is also full of emotion due to the conflict ignited by Bucky Barnes whose past is the catalyst for a lot of action which this film does perfectly. The big clash at an Airport Terminal is undoubtedly the best set piece ever conceived in the MCU which I refuse to spoil due to some pretty surprising elements. Just make sure to pick your jaw up from off the floor afterwards.

Civil War 2

The highlight of the film for me were the introduction of two major characters, the first being Black Panther. Having never made a big screen appearance before, he didn’t disappoint on his debut and left the audience desperate for his big solo venture in 2018. No doubt we’ll get some more info about his origins which may or may not differ from the comics but regardless, the Prince of Wakanda looked badass as fuck.

Then there’s the elephant or, rather, Spider in the room. Yes, the web slinger makes his MCU debut and oh my god. Never before has there been such a faithful adaptation of Spiderman before now as Tom Holland manages to manifest the awkward, teen charisma for his time as Peter Parker but then hits out with his quick witted jibes that had the whole cinema laughing out loud.

Civil War 2

Surprisingly he has a lot more screen time than I expected and may have even had more lines of dialogue than Superman in BVS! Marvel may have messed with beloved characters before but this iteration of Spiderman more than makes up for that.

While the film isn’t perfect by any means, the first half feels a bit sluggish from time to time, Civil War goes some way in combating the fatigue many face when it comes to superhero films. What we have here is a film that asks questions but doesn’t forget what should be the main focus of these films: having fun.

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THOUGHTS ON: Batman VS Superman

I should have known it was too good to be true: a film where Batman and Superman brawl, right there on the big screen. It’s not like we haven’t witnessed it before, countless comic issues as well as The Dark Knight Returns were every DC fan’s wet dream, but this was gonna be a big budget, live action adaption.

We can all admit that we were excited for it. Even if you were suffering from superhero fatigue at the time, as soon as that trailer dropped you knew you had to see it. God Versus Man. Day VS Night. The Son Of Krypton vs The Bat Of Gotham. It was shaping up to be the must see film of the year, arguably the decade.

So why do I feel so disappointed?


A big

SPOILER ALERT

is needed as there’s no way I can talk about this film’s flaws without going into some detail. Oh, not that I should have to mention this but this is my opinion so if you liked the film, hell, even if you loved the film, that’s fine. I’m glad you had fun with it as the numb feeling I endured when walking out of the cinema is not something that should be envied.

Where better to start than addressing the title itself as, after all, the main reason you probably went to see this film was to see The Dark Knight take on the Man of Steel. The fight itself wasn’t actually horrible, both characters putting in an equal amount of punches though Batman undoubtedly was the victor. Or would be anyway if it weren’t for the stupid fucking reason they stop fighting.

The reason they start fighting isn’t exactly well thought out either. What should be a battle fueled by their conflicting ideologies, which isn’t so much hinted but flat out stated during the movie, is instead down to Superman having to so he can save his mother. This will be totally subjective as will everything else I list but really? It’s 2016 and we’re still using “x’s y is captured by z” as a motive to move things forward, possibly the biggest cliche in the superhero book.

Back on track however, one word will stick in your mind and possibly in any cinema staff having to stand outside the screen due to the loudness: Martha. Believe me when I say this that Batman and Superman stop fighting because their mum’s have the same name. You can try and excuse this by saying “Bruce lost his mother so he doesn’t want Clark to go through that” and I’d say good point and also how are you talking to me when I’m the one writing this?

I’d also say that Batman, with his view that Superman needs to be destroyed as he is too dangerous, wouldn’t do this. Batman straight up murders people and there’s no way to deny it as at one point he chucks a grenade into a small room with two people as well as setting a guy on fire. While I’m not overly bothered about him going against his usual moral code, it seems odd that a guy who so unempathetically murders crooks who no doubt have families of their own somehow turns a new leaf as soon as Superman mentions his mum. Not only that but they act like best buds after this revelation despite the fact Batman was about to stab Superman into something that would titled a kryptonian kebab just a few seconds ago.

Let’s change focus now and have a look at the man who set, and I use that word very lightly, this fight up: Lex Luthor. Played by Jesse Eisenberg, every moment he was on screen I was either laughing at how ridiculously over the top and absurd his performance was or cringing at the constant metaphors and quotes he was making. Those who argue that there’s no humour in BVS will tell you that Luthor gives a few good laughs and they’d be right. Unfortunately though, and bare with me because my Superman knowledge ain’t the best, this is supposed to be YOUR MAIN VILLAIN WHO IS INTIMIDATING AND A GENIUS, NOT SOME INDIE PRICK WEARING A BANKSY TOP WITH A LOT OF MONEY. Luthor didn’t feel like a cunning character and had little motive for Superman to go away as he seemed to benefit greatly from the aftermath of Man Of Steel. If he really wanted him dead, surely he would do the smart thing and just shoot him with a kryptonite missile or something?

I feel like a large amount of my gripes with BVS comes from the clunky script. We all knew that DC were lagging behind Marvel in terms of a cinematic universe but oh christ was it blatantly obvious and poorly executed. Slate Marvel films all you want but they’ve at least gradually churned these films out. DC on the other hand incorporated the other members of the justice league in the most lazy way imaginable by having Batman email Wonder Woman.Yup, you read that right: EMAIL.

Even if you ignore this, the flow of this film just feels so rough, full of subplots that just feel messy and not well thought out whatsoever. Lois Lane suffers from Amazing Spiderman syndrome here, having some sort of independence and, dare I say it, character before having it stripped away and becoming a damsel in distress who needs saved not once, not twice but THREE TIMES. The dream sequences also felt unnecessary, either telling us an origin story that’s been told countless times before or just existing so they can tease at a future villain.

I couldn’t write a spoiler review without touching upon the big shocker that was Superman’s death. This I can blame partly on the trailer that revealed Doomsday who previously has savagely murdered Kal El so as soon as I was aware he’d make an appearance, I knew this was coming. I suppose you could say I would have been like this regardless if the trailer showed me but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. DC would never be ballsy enough to kill Superman permanently and so, the very last shot is off the dirt as his grave slowly rising. So close DC, you were so close to doing one ballsy thing.

I wanted to like this film so badly. Despite all of the negative reviews I had read, I still wanted to see it and enjoy it so for fans to dismiss criticism as critics being “marvel fanboys” is absurd. The film isn’t the worst thing ever. Ben Affleck gives an amazing performance, there’s the expected spectacular Snyder visuals and the action that I mentioned was a joy to behold. I have my hopes that future films, such as The Flash, will be an improvement and that DC will learn their lesson. Unfortunately though, as it stands, the gif down below sums up perfectly how I felt about Batman Vs Superman.

None animated GIF

4/10

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Deadpool MOVIE REVIEW

Wish superheroes nowadays weren’t all dure faced, serious shits? Then Deadpool might be the film for you. 

If you weren’t able to tell from the countless trailer reactions and previews up on my site then you should know that I was a little bit hyped for this film about a loud mouthed, regenerating merc with as much one liners as he has ammo, so much so that I named it my number one most anticipated film of the year. So of course I should have been disappointed with it since there’s no way it managed to surpass the expectations I had set out for it?

Nope. In fact I’m going to go so far as to say it’s the best film Marvel has ever created since Spiderman 2 (please put the pitchforks down). Thankfully I won’t be just throwing that in for controversy and will justify myself in this fun, not at all Buzzfeed-esque list. (Ooh, click-baity.) So without further ado….


1. A Truly Faithful Comic-Book Adaption 

It would have been so easy to incorporate Deadpool into the Marvel Cinematic Universe just to make a few extra bucks. It’s an easy safe net for any new superhero film that may risk being too weird or unfamiliar (see Guardians Of The Galaxy) and when you’re dealing with a character like Wade Wilson, who has a tendency to brutally mutilate his enemies after hitting on them, I can understand any urges Marvel may have had to censor it.

Thankfully this isn’t the case as Deadpool is as potty mouthed, violent and weird as ever. Wearing it’s 15 rating with pride, the film never lets you forget it with some truly cringe inducing moments with bones breaking, brains splitting and heads suddenly no longer being attached to bodies with extremely gruesome detail.

This isn’t just an excuse to have a bit more blood on screen though as it helps for the viewer to better understand the relationship between our titular  character and his prostitute girlfriend Vanessa as well as experience the true pain and torture Deadpool had to endure to get where he is. Violent and heartfelt, this is near enough the perfect Deadpool film. We’re forgetting one thing though…..

2. Side Splittingly Funny

The main factor that draws in people to Deadpool is his self referential humour that doesn’t so much break the fourth wall rather than totally destroy it. In the comics we have him pointing out the cliches and pitfalls of the medium and Deadpool in this film is no different.


The funniest moments and the narrative rely heavily on the fact he is aware he’s in a film, one being where Deadpool points out the size of the set before bringing up the fact that he’s only seen two of the X-men because of budget issues. Other moments are a bit more subtle (“I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to them”) but all of them add up to further enhance Deadpool’s uniqueness both in its humour and execution. We’ve got last one point though and it may be the best reason yet to go out and see this film…

3. Marks A New Age For Comic Films

Right bare with me on this point before you laugh me off as going insane or something along those lines. Think back about the history of superhero films. Back before the 2000’s we had some awful adaptions of our favourite heroes bar a few batman films and by the time Spiderman hit our screens we had what I’d call the cheesy phase of comic films where they were still finding their footing and sometimes even hit it bang on (X-Men being a great example).


We had the dark, gritty era brought on by Christopher Nolans batman films before we endured the onslaught of interlinked films like Iron Man and Captain America where we seemed to have perfected the formula which, love it or hate it, works. As far as I see it, without any dramatic change we’re gonna hit a superhero fatigue and with Deadpool I can see a whole new range of mature, vastly different comic book films.

With Deadpool being sold out at certain times and converting those who previously had no idea who he was, it’s inevitable that this will be another franchise in the making but if a chimichanga loving, mercenary for hire can become a success then what’s stopping DC giving Deathstroke his very own film or Marvel getting even more obscure characters to have a shot?

 Deadpool has been both a critical and commercial success and for good reasons: the pacing is flawless, it’s true to the source material, it packs as much heart as it does laughs and it’s not unafraid to wears its shortcomings on its sleeves. So go grab a ticket and enjoy yourself, though not as much as Deadpool does when left alone with a unicorn teddy.

9/10

For Fans Of: Kick Ass