Screen Unseen – Midnight Special Review

Screen Unseen – Midnight Special Review

I always look forward to a screen unseen, especially when it’s a film I wouldn’t have gone to see of my own accord. This time the film was Midnight Special, directed by Jeff Nichols of Mud fame. This is a film I’d have probably caught when it was on Sky or Netflix rather than gone to the cinema to see (although I’m a Limitless member now so I’m going to go and see everything). So again Screen Unseen has done it’s job in showing me a film that has been viewed favourably by critics, before release and something I might not have been to see. I find myself once again playing Devil’s Advocate however. I want to be a critic, however I find that I disagree with critics a lot. I’m a massive Kevin Smith fan for example. Most recently I disagreed with the way the industry has taken down Batman V Superman. Now I disagree with the praise they’re throwing upon this film. The film is about a young boy who has been kidnapped from a cult that has adopted him by his birth father. The father discovers that the boys has powers and he must get him to a specific destination at a certain time. In the mix of this the Cult, NSA and FBI are all after getting their hands on this boy.

Michael Shannon has an aura of mystery and power about him. I started loving him as an actor after watching Boardwalk Empire. However I think he needs a new agent as he keeps picking bad films in my opinion. I can see why this role appeals to him however. He plays the boys dad and the role requires someone who would believable taking charge and battling head first in to something he doesn’t and can never truly understand. Michael Shannon’s quiet confidence and presence fit this role perfectly. He is as creepy as you can get without even trying which goes well with the characters implied damaged history and current very confusing situation. Adam Driver does really well with a limited role as an NSA investigator (he also says Red Sabre at one point which made me chuckle). The young Jaeden Lieberher who I really liked in St Vincent does well with what he was given which is a ton of very cheesy lines. The understated effects in this film are done really well. It is done on a much smaller budget than most Sci-Fi films, but that has probably helped the director not take things too far. Instead we get some very simple effects seriously juxtaposed with normal life making them have a much stronger impact than the CGI we will get shoved down our throat in Independence Day soon.

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Now I have managed to squeeze out some positives to make this a fair and balanced review, on to how I actually feel. This film is easily one of the most boring things I’ve seen in a long time. I felt like the first half of the film I was watching a really bad M Night film. It spent ages trying to build up the cult closing in on the boy, the FBI doing the same and the NSA getting close to understanding what is going on with this child. This was primarily people speaking in low tones with zero character. Due to this I was waiting for it to kick off. I didn’t feel any tension building, but that was clearly what they attempted to do. So I was waiting for it all to get started. Then we had a brief two minute gun fight, in which no one dies or gets hurt beyond Kirsten Dunst bumping her head. For some reason this is a world in which everyone wears the highest grade bulletproof vest apparently. Then we once again have a long time of nothing. There isn’t anything that can keep you invested in the story and in turn you don’t care about the kids well being. This is a child on screen and I found myself not caring if he lived or died, which is kind of the whole premise of the film.

There is only one proper female character, the boys mother played by Dunst. Disclaimer here, I have always hated her, I think she is an awful actress. I haven’t seen the second season of Fargo yet however and people seem to have been impressed with her so I was willing to give her another chance. To be fair to her she was given nothing to work with. We meet her a third of the way in to the film and all she does is stare longingly at nothing and say nothing of any substance. She is truly placed in a massively backwards role, in that she must do what the man says. She is a passenger throughout as a character. However at the end, I wont give away too much, she was given a chance to redeem the character. She failed miserably, once again showing she has the emotional range of a cucumber. This is all awful and makes the actual enjoyment of the film impossible for me. Looking at it away from the actual cinema going experience however and the film is also largely unoriginal. Young creepy child, check. Been done millions of times. Must get said creepy child we don’t understand to a specific destination at a certain time. Similar premise to E.T. pretty much.

This film starts off like it is going to explore some interesting topics. It introduces us to this cult, that believes this child is their saviour. It actually came close to exploring god and man’s relationship to it. I thought right so we’re seeing this child who people believe is god and the FBI is hunting them down. This is going to be interesting. Instead we just ended up with a boring, unoriginal and badly written Sci-Fi film. I have a high bar for Sci-Fi and can be very critical of it however, with a lot of my friends not understanding how passionately I despise Prometheus. With this film you may not be as emotionally invested in to hating this film as I am, but I truly believe you will leave the cinema, eject the DVD or close your laptop and within the week forget everything about this uninspired, pretentious mess of a film.

 

3/10

 

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

Thursday morning I was woke by a text from Sam, directing me towards the Rotten Tomatoes controversy around this film. I have to admit it worried me a bit, but not a lot. I often find myself playing devils advocate against the general consensus of critics. I caved however and had a quick read of some spoiler free reviews that were on the lowest end of the spectrum. The first review of a film I’d read before watching a film in years and it did kind of dull my excitement, which was obviously incredibly high. Maybe that was for the best, because this film has been met with a lot of anger where as I left the cinema having thoroughly enjoyed myself. Sam however just said “I’ll have to think about it.” Which usually means he hasn’t really enjoyed himself, but he wasn’t bored to tears. My guess is his review of this film would be much more critical than mine.

Let’s start with the positives first. Ben Affleck is the biggest positive. Director Kevin Smith was the first to defend the casting when it happened. He basically said that Ben Affleck is Bruce Wayne in his normal life, so put him in the suit and he’ll become Batman. He wasn’t wrong. When he climbs out of a still floating helicopter, dives in his car and races towards the chaos from Man of Steel and then runs towards a crumbling building. No matter what you thought of the film, that was hands down the most Batman thing I had ever seen and we hadn’t even seen him in his suit yet. Then as Bruce Wayne, he was much more charming, portrayed the playboy image much better than Bale did in my opinion as well as nailing the haunted, troubled side that Bale got very right. It’s too early to judge where he falls on the Batman spectrum (Clooney to Keaton), but I look forward to seeing him keep tackling this role.

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Another positive for me, was something that has been venomously criticised. Jesse Eisenberg and his representation of Lex Luthor. His performance was large, chaotic and actually portrayed him as pure evil. This is not what we usually see from Luthor. He is usually as cool as Bruce Wayne himself, but much more greedy and corrupt. A lot of people didn’t like this change, but I absolutely loved every second he was on screen. He felt like a serious threat, for the first time ever in a Superman film in my opinion. It is hard to create something that you feel could even slightly a threat to such a super charged, ridiculous at times superhero. In keeping his genius, but giving him zero boundaries it actually gave you the impression that even though incredibly powerful, both Batman and Superman are simply pawns in his game. Also making him socially awkward and creepy just added a nice twist in my opinion. I mean he’s been coddled by his riches, never really interacted properly with normal human beings and is massively insecure about anyone being smarter than him, it kind of makes more sense to me.

I loved how dark the film was, with Batman being completly brutal, the debate about the morality of Superman and of course the scene in the courthouse, which when you’ll see it you’ll know what I mean. We don’t see much of her but Wonder Woman looks like she’s going to be a welcome addition to the big screen. At one point she hits the deck and this little wry smile crosses her face, just a little tip off to let you know this is a serious warrior who actually takes great pleasure in kicking arse. Cavill was much better in this than in Man of Steel. Started to give Kent a bit of personality instead of just staring at mountains constantly. Finally felt an actual passion between him and Amy Adams, who again I loved. She’s one of my favourite actors of the past decade and I like how they have kept the Lois Lane character as one of the bravest out of the lot of them. Also Jeremy Irons is a better Alfred than Michael Caine. I’m saying it, challenge me if you want I’ll fully understand, but he just is.

The film does have it’s massive downfalls however. The obvious ones being dream sequences, it’s an overused cinematic device that needs to die alongside women asking “what do we do now?” I personally am not a fan of the big bad being something without a personality. I get that Lex Luthor was the real bad guy, but Doomsday was where the serious danger came from and when you have a character that is just a mess of CGI, just running wild and destroying it bores me. I mean we know who is going to succeed in the end, because this is cinema. Ultron in Avengers was brilliant because of his personality and that’s what made that film good. Doomsday was one of the worst parts of this film. Also what I’m going to call the Martha connection as that doesn’t give too much away. There was a much better way to make Batman and Superman become best pals than that. Lazy bit of storytelling in my opinion. Also the editing in my opinion was as close to garbage as you can get in a modern day film. That is why I believe people felt there was little plot and too many ideas to grasp. Twenty minutes could have been shaved off and some scenes put in to a different order to make this film more cohesive, more on message and less confusing.

The biggest problem is however that this film has tried to do in one year, what Marvel spent the best part of five years doing. Introducing characters, making us care about them, giving them viable reasons to meet and then throwing them together for the fun part. What has made the Marvel world so appealing is the fact that we met these characters properly when we first see them. By the time we hit The Justice League movies I hope it has been rectified, but the briefness in which we are introduced to three of the characters, in such a mundane way makes me worry for the universe a little bit. Not too much however, because like I said I very much enjoyed myself. You can pick holes in the film as much as you like and that’s what this blog is here for, but this is a comic book film about superhero’s. If you take it too seriously and treat it like analysing Citizen Kane then you’re missing the point. Big fight scenes, super powers and gadgets. That’s what we are here for and you definitely get it, done well, here.

6.5/10

NonSuper Heroes

NonSuper Heroes

As my last post seemed to hint at, this blog post that follows the superhero trend was going to be about my favourite villains. However after what has happened in Brussels today; celebrating acts of terror, even if fictional, doesn’t feel right. Often we use films to escape from the horrific truth about life. That horrendous things aren’t contained to the big screen, but happen every single day. They often happen in areas of the world that our media doesn’t care about, because they don’t fit the narrative. Today however, as on November 13th it’s happened on our doorstep again. First and foremost I wish to send every positive thought I have towards the people of Belgium today. However I also want to say don’t allow this to warp your life view. Don’t become Katie Hopkins who demands we #StopIslam. Don’t be like Donald Trump, blaming the attacks on world leaders who allowed refugees in. Keep in mind, a lot of refugees are innocent Muslims who are fleeing the exact horrors we witnessed today. Also keep in mind the good in the world. The messages of love and support that are being spread across social media from people of every kind of background shows that this world isn’t full of villains, but in fact most people are inherently good. So in that vein I’ve changed this from a post that looks at the bad guys in my favourite films and also isn’t looking at the superheroes, with their money and powers. Instead I want to look at the fringe players in these epic tales. Regular human beings who are just inherently good. Taking on the world without the powers and money is much braver.

5. Lois Lane – Man of Steel

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Unlike anyone else on this list Lois Lane isn’t part of an army, or doesn’t wield a badge. She is just a journalist. I guess rather than bravery, due to her line of work, morbid curiosity would probably be a more accurate term. Still, chasing down someone she senses is a super-powered alien, then wanting to just sit and talk to them, that takes courage. Then let’s not forget getting on to Zod’s ship, and conspiring with the memory of another dead super-powered alien to take down a bunch more super-powered aliens. Basically Lois Lane is without a doubt one of the most stupid people on planet earth, but at the same time one of the bravest and badass people.

4. Agent Phil Coulson – The Avengers

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For Thor, staring down Loki took strength as he was his brother. For Tony Stark, it was bravado, he always knew he could whip his suit out if necessary. For Agent Coulson, a simple human being, to stand up to and take a pop at someone who is basically a god and low key (geddit) an ice giant could be seen as pure insanity. Rather than leaving it all to the big supercharged heroes surrounding him, he saw his chance and he took it. As Tony said “He was out of his league, he should have waited.” He knew The Avengers needed something that would rally them together. In sacrificing himself, he managed to do what Fury couldn’t and that was to get all of these gigantic egos to work together and without that, Loki would have won. He’d certainly be higher on this list if it wasn’t for the fact he had an entire army behind him. Makes him slightly above a normal human.

3. Peggy Carter – Captain America: The First Avenger

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Again someone else who had the Army behind her and also I’m kind of cheating a bit here. Most of her astonishing and brave accomplishments come in the TV series Agent Carter. However still in Captain America she runs head first in to battle without a small bit of hesitation and also supervises a bunch of young men in the army, punching one who tries to undermine her authority square in the chops. To be a woman in the army at this period of time, never mind one with her bravado and lack of thought for the rules takes bravery on it’s own. But to plan a secret mission involving a super solider and an eccentric billionaire genius, that could have easily lead to the end of her career took gumption. Like I said however, slight cheat here, the reason she beats Coulson is her almost single handed attack on Hydra in Agent Carter.

2. John Blake – The Dark Knight Rises

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I refuse to call him Robin, up until that little line at the end of the film he was John Blake and he was a cool, moral badass and that’s the character I’m talking about. First of all he gets a mention in here, because he’s the most intelligent person in Gotham. He manages to figure out Batman’s identity! I mean who’d have thought the man with a tank and helicopter would end up being the richest man in town! He is the man who wasn’t afraid to shout down the police commissioner, argue with Catwoman and just hands down take on an entire militia with nothing but his service handgun and a stupid amount of bravery. He is basically Bruce Wayne, but without the money and a fraction of the anger. Most of all however he was concerned with saving the orphans and the city that helped him when he was in need. In the end he had the bravery to drop the badge that has protected some of his more morally ambiguous decisions and go it alone. As he describes it, dropping the shackles that stopped Gordon and becoming the figure that gets their hands dirty.

1. Commissioner James Gordon – The Dark Knight Trilogy

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James Gordon has been one of the most common characters in Batman folklore and has always been a fan favourite. Arguably he has never been portrayed better than Gray Oldman in the Dark Knight trilogy. A figure who has set out to take on Gotham’s underbelly in all forms. This doesn’t just means trying to fight the mob bosses, the insane villains and the thousands of henchmen. It also means fighting his own. With a massively corrupt police force both underneath him and above him. Other than Alfred he could be the only person Batman trusts. He fakes his own death, shoulders the burden of the true story of Dent and attacks the mobs where it hurts them, their wallets. In this he arguably neglects his family a little bit, but surely it is worth it. Other than Batman, Gordon has done more for Gotham than anyone else and that is why he will forever be a fan favourite for time to come and I can’t wait to see how J.K Simmons handles the weight of the role.

Netpicks – All is Lost

Netpicks – All is Lost

I am currently stuck in bed with the worlds worst cold and I feel like I am on deaths door but god damn it I will get a Netflix recommendation written! All is Lost is what I would call the epitome of hidden gems. Starring Robert Redford the story is simple, he plays a man stranded at sea on his own and the film shows us his attempts to battle a ferocious storm. That is literally it, the film only stars him and has literally two lines of dialogue. Now I know that’s not exactly an indicator of a great film, but for my money what is always an indicator of a great film is if it pulls you in and this film certainly pulls you in.

The performance here by Robert Redford is a miracle as he is literally given no dialogue to work with and yet we understand what this man is going through and the ordeals he is facing the entire time. It is refreshing to see film-making this bold and original. It is very rare that films in Hollywood come up with fresh ideas and pull it off, so to see a neat idea carried out well is fascinating. He commands the screen, you feel every crash, wince and the occasional muttered swear word. The films director JC Chandor is certainly one to watch and his other two films are well worth checking out (Margin Call and A Most Violet Year). For a young director to showcase this much craft, elegance and skill in his directing is rarely seen and has to be admired.

What I loved most about this film was just how simple it was and that it was a film about problem solving , a mans desire to survive but instead of using his brawn, he is using his intellect. This is gonna make me sound old beyond my years but it is nice to watch a film in which intelligence and craft are put on screen to be admired. I will admit that this is a very difficult film to write about as it is literally so simple and yet has such intellect it is truly a unique marriage between the two. Actor and Director both shine through in this film and once again my love of cinematography is satisfied as this film has some beautiful shots in it.

One of those films which lingers in the mind long after you have watched it!

8/10

 

The Bad Good Guys

The Bad Good Guys

Just one week and a few hours until Batman kicks Superman’s kryptonian arse. Of course we all know they’ll end up the best of buds by the end of it, but still everyone wants to see Batman win this alleged greatest battle of all time. At the start of the week I wrote about my top five favourite superhero films. The more I think about it the more wrong it feels that I didn’t include Batman Returns. The reason I say returns is, because of how amazingly well Danny DeVito played The Penguin. Growing up watching the cartoons and reading the comics, The Penguin never captured me as a proper villain. Just some chancer gangster who was easily disposed of. DeVito took that thought and stamped all over it. He brought a chaos to the role that made him just as exciting Joker. He is what I would describe as a good bad guy. Someone who takes a bad guy and makes you love them. Molina as Doc Ock, Ledger as Joker and James Spader as Ultron. Then you have the other side of it. The bad good guys. Now I don’t want to blame this entirely on the actors involved here, although they shoulder some blame. I’m talking more about the films that drop a deuce on the heroes. This is the list of the five worst superhero movies, starting with the fifth worse, to the absolute worst and believe it or not, I’ve not included Daredevil!

5. Spider-Man 3

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I’ll start this off by saying I hate Tobey MaGuire. You rarely see an actor that you genuinely think is stealing a living, but he is one. Somehow he manages to be at his absolute worst in this movie. Emo Parker is pretty much all I have to say about this film to warrant it’s inclusion on this list, but I’ll say more. Any fan of the comics couldn’t wait to see Venom, he is one of the coolest comic book characters around. Then they cast the weird kid from That 70’s show and gave him one of the worst reveals of all time. Sandman is not a villain I was looking forward to seeing, but then he too managed to disappoint me. When you go in with very low expectations and somehow still manage to be pissed off then they’ve done a poor job. I never sensed any real chemistry beween Dunst and MaGuire in the first place, but by this film you have to question whether the actors even liked each other as people. Redeeming feature however. J.K. Simmons was born to be J Jonah Jameson.

4. Green Lantern

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This one often gets mentioned when people talk about terrible superhero films. Ryan Reynolds of course has played multiple comic book characters, finally getting it right with Deadpool this year. I basically tossed a coin over whether to slate his Wolverine Origins version of  Deadpool or his Green Lantern in this list. Wolverine would have finished a healthy number six on this list. Lantern wins out on being a loser however, because it has taken one of the most interesting superheroes, with some of the coolest powers and cheesed it up. They made the dialogue corny, toned down Reynolds trademark wit and charm and cast Blake Lively as the most two dimensional woman I’ve seen in a film for a long time. I mean this and The Town is all I’ve ever seen her in so I wont judge her as an actress, but this performance was dire. The effects where over the top and cheesy, having a CGI suit was just silly, but that could all be forgiven if it wasn’t so boring. Just pure unadulterated boredom.

3. Kick-Ass 2

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Kick-Ass was a funny and charming as well as having some cool and exciting fight scenes. This film was the complete opposite. It was crude, a little bit creepy and went for shock in the fights rather than creativity. Jim Carrey distanced himself as far away from this film as possible. Once this franchise lost Matthew Vaughn it was always going to struggle. What I didn’t expect was them to overly sexualize a teenage girl, to just go for out and out brutality and violence rather than clever exciting action scenes and also dumped most of what was funny, Kick-Ass and his friends interacting. Instead it made Kick-Ass a bit of a dickhead to his friends and family. I just felt uncomfortable for the whole film. I mean I’m not a prude and I don’t mind violence, but she was a teenager, it’s just sick. Violence can only be over the top when it’s done very well. Like Tarantino for example. Otherwise it’s just like the comedian who says something racist for the shock laugh.

2. Ghost Rider

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This could be the worst screenplay ever written. Corny line after line from the most uninspiring and ridiculous superhero to have ever existed. The special effects on his face just look ridiculous. Nicolas Cage is obviously either the best actor to have ever lived or the worst. We’ll never figure out which, but if you’d only seen this film you’d go for the worst. The sequel I’ve heard is worse, but I didn’t give it the time of day to find out so I have to go with Ghost Rider. Eva Mendes on the other hand is usually quite a solid actress. I’ve never been blown away by her, but fairly solid. In this she just pips Lively for personality in a photo finish. My brother once took quotes from this film and commented on a lot statuses on my Facebook account. All that says to me is this film popped in to his head for being the most ridiculous film he could think of. One thing I would say about it though is if you want to watch something ironically, you can’t really do better.

1. Batman and Robin

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This piece of shit. The film that almost killed superhero films. A massive critical and financial failure. I mean if you look at the cast of this film, plus it’s Batman. Everything about it should have worked. It took cheese to a whole new level, it took consumerism to a whole new level and it just wiped its arse with any decent Batman story in the past. The film consists entirely of puns, one liners and shameless plugs to merchandise. The way they depicted Batman himself makes it appear as if no one attached to the film had ever seen a single thing to do with Batman. Even Adam West and his TV series managed to more accurately reflect what the character is all about. Writing about why I hate these films has been easy up until this one. It is so fundamentally bad on every level and laughs in the face of something I have loved since being a child. It would enter my list of the top five film I hate of all time, never mind managing to top this Superhero list. Joel Schumacher apparently defends this film and took to the internet to argue his case. Now that is a real life super villain.

 

 

Batman V Superman V Captain America V…

Batman V Superman V Captain America V…

When the credits rolled on The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 I felt incredibly sad. Not just at the kind of lame ending, because I could forgive that as I really enjoyed the rest of the film. I felt sad, because we had waited eight years for a Batman film to come around after the misery of Batman & Robin. Nolan delivered across the board with a top quality trilogy from my favourite superhero and it was over. Would I have to wait another eight years to see Batman again? Of course that was stupid. Of course I wasn’t going to have to wait that long again, because of Nolan. Back when Burton tackled Batman superhero films were a novelty with a niche market. They were often camp, cheap and a lot of fun. Nolan made these films serious films, to be enjoyed by serious people. Oscars for superhero films didn’t seem that weird anymore. It was no longer geeky or weird and instead it became a major part of the mainstream to be a fan of these films. Since then we have seen an entire film and television universe created in front of our eyes over at Marvel and in doing that they have made an absolute killing at the box office and in merchandise. So it’s not surprising really that at midnight next Thursday I get to see Batman back in a film that is set to open up the DC universe in the same way. So I am not sad anymore. Far from it, between Star Wars and all these superhero movies I have become a fan of the blockbuster again. After years of Michael Bay movies and over the top disaster films I can actually enjoy going to the cinema outside of awards season again and I couldn’t be happier. I decided in celebration I am going to spend this week posting about superhero movies and the joy (and sometimes not so much joy) they have brought me. To start on a high note, this post right here is about my top five favourite superhero films of all time.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

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As I said before, Superhero films became very serious really quick. We saw Tony Stark battling PTSD for example. This was good in a way, but for a while I felt like the fun was on it’s way out. Guardians for me stopped this from happening. Casting Chris Pratt of Parks & Rec fame as the lead man led to some seriously fantastic comedic moments. This film took a lot of people by surprise. How can people like a film where two of the main characters are a racoon and a tree? Turns out very easily and I personally stated that it was easily the most enjoyment I’d had in a cinema for a long time. That is one hundred percent the reason this film makes my top five. No pretentiousness surrounds this film, it exists so that children and adults alike  will leave with a grin on their face having had a seriously enjoyable time.

4. The Avengers

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I wasn’t sure whether to add this one at first, originally having wrote down Batman Returns. Then I had a think back to the day I went to see it. Then I had to include it and not even at the bottom of the list. It has its flaws, it’s all very grandiose and Loki, although brilliantly performed by Hiddleston, never felt that powerful to me. However the goosebumps I felt when seeing all of these characters, fighting together for the very first time overshadowed every single flaw to the point where they don’t matter. This film was a thing of dreams. Now with Civil War coming up and Batman V Superman it’s easy to forget how iconic this film was. To get all of these superheroes, with all of these actors and the budget for the effects required was just amazing and probably scared a lot of studio executives. If this film had been a flop, either critically or financially then it would never have been tried again. So thank you Whedon. You gave me Buffy and you’ve also given me this.

3. The Dark Knight

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I often say, the hero matters, but it’s the villain that makes it. So to have the best superhero (I’m not interested in any arguments against this, Batman is the best, just accept it) and the best villain on screen, being directed by one of the best directors around. It was really just a case of how, not if, good this film would be. Turns out absolutely amazing. Heath Ledger nailed The Joker better than anyone else ever has done in my opinion. I wasn’t a fan of Nicholson’s joker, believe it or not. It felt like they had to force some kind of motive behind his actions. That isn’t what the Joker is about for me. Every other bad guy has a reason. The Joker doesn’t need one. He is just an insane, disturbed individual who only exists, because The Batman exists and Ledger got that down perfectly. It is the greatest single performance to have ever happened in a superhero film and that is why The Dark Knight is in this list.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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This film was the biggest surprise I’ve ever had watching a superhero film. I never really liked Captain before, I didn’t dislike him, but I was never as excited by him as I was Iron Man or Batman. This film changed that. It didn’t just address Steve trying to adjust to his new life in the present day. It also looked at adjusting to new methods of war. With conspiracy, secrets and surveillance running alongside his battle with The Winter Soldier it felt more like a spy film with a super twist. It changed the landscape of the Marvel Universe and did so in a very entertaining fashion, with some of the cooler fighting scenes, involving The Captain’s shield being utilised in a very cool way. The brilliant chemistry between Evans and Johansson added another element as well. Probably the first depiction of two attractive people working together and it not becoming a romantic sideshow, but in fact just a great partnership between two powerful heroes. It’s always the film that comes to mind when I think of the one that gave the MCU a solid foundation to push off from and start exploring different genre conventions and interesting stories.

1. Watchmen

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Following Batman Begins and Dark Knight’s success, It’s no surprise that Hollywood execs started looking at what other dark comics could earn them some cash. They didn’t find that in Watchmen, with the film hardly breaking even. A lot of critics hated this film. A lot of fans of the graphic novel hated the film. Well now here I am an ameteur critic and a fan of the novel, putting it on top as my favourite Superhero film of all time. The film just blew my mind. The aesthetics of each scene was spectacular. Comic book films feel real now a days. They felt campy and faker than a comic in the past. This film has hit the middle ground that it looks and feels like a comic, but isn’t surreal at the same time. It’s as if this is just another universe that is running alongside ours and we’ve picked up a documentary that has fell through a wormhole. The score/soundtrack is one of the best from any film. The X-Men films have tried to address the whole, hero is a perspective thing, but still we consider Xavier the good guy and Magneto the baddie. This film we truly don’t have anyone who is all good and anyone who is all bad. Other than Dr Manhattan who is someone above us all observing humans, the heroes are just a lot of flawed humans who thought they were doing right and how they interact with each other. Which at the end of the day isn’t that all that any of us are.

Netpicks- Slow West

Netpicks- Slow West

My Netflix pick of the week is this brilliant, haunting western starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi-Smitt McPhee.  Although I watched the film a while back I still every now and again tell people I know about it and how much I want them to see it, always a sure sign that a film is great in my opinion. The film as I have said previously stars Michael Fassbender who is such a brilliant chameleon of an actor who turns in mesmerizing performances virtually every time we see him (just recently his portrayal of Macbeth blew me and Paul away). What I love most about Fassbender is the fact that he stars in big budget blockbusters such as X-Men but then stars in hidden gems like this one.

The film loves the Western genre and plays around with the conventions of the genre superbly and takes you on a melancholy journey through the Wild West as McPhee’s character looks for the woman he loves. Slow burning and simmering but never boring this film is brilliant for people who like to spend time with there characters and try to gain an understanding of them without ever being told what there feeling. The acting on show here is top-draw and I think the independent films like this do deserve more time in the spotlight but at the same time that wouldn’t make them so enjoyable to find now would it!? A memorable turn from Ben Mendelsohn is also worth mentioning as he truly gets under the skin as a threat to our two protagonists.

As a film student I have always been a sucker for a film which pretty cinematography and direction and this film has both of those to satisfy my pretentiousness. The first full feature from John Maclean it is truly amazing that he has been able to pull off a film with this much style, sophistication and sure panache at the first time of asking and his career is looking hugely promising. The cinematography and framing are breathtaking and individual shots could easily be seen as individual masterpieces of art direction and mistaken for paintings.

A playful film full of invention, this is well worth checking out as a film against the “norm”

9/10