Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is the only Spider-Man in his universe but when he encounters portal creating villain the Spot (Jason Schwartzman), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) re-enters his life, introducing him to more Spider-People than he could’ve ever imagined, led by Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac).
Five years ago, Into the Spider-Verse blew everyone’s minds and now the anticipated sequel is here. Can they capture lightning in a bottle once again? They sure can!
Across the Spider-Verse is once again a stunning piece of animation. Not only does each Spider-Person look so different they are often animated in different ways making them each standout. It’s not just the individual characters but it’s the worlds they inhabit too that benefit from this care and attention. The colour scheme and style of Gwen’s New York is vastly different to Miles’ New York for example, and the same can be said for the other universes the characters visit. Gwen’s world is especially beautiful. The Spider-Gwen comics are one of the few comic series I read years ago and the pastels and almost water-colour styling from the comics are what builds up her world in the film which is a really nice touch. (more…)
In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
As the latest Indiana Jones film will soon be upon us, I decided to revisit the previous four films for the first time in about 15 years. I watched the original trilogy for the first time in 2008 in order to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the cinema with friends who’d grown up watching Indy, and I’ve seen bits and pieces of all the films over the years since but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen them in their entirety since the first time I watched them. So, in some ways this will be like watching them for the first time.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a bit good, isn’t it? It’s proper old school filmmaking and it’s such a fun and exiting film. It surprised me how many of the iconic Indiana Jones moments happen in this film, the fact that the rolling boulder sequences is in the film’s opening and there’s still a lot of brilliant action sequences still to come is wonderful. Raiders of the Lost Ark really has become the blueprint for action-adventure films like The Mummy and National Treasure and it’s great to see where some of the tropes originated or gained popularity from. (more…)
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family’s quiet life is shaken when they’re targeted by Dante (Jason Momoa), the vengeful son of Brazilian drug kingpin Herman Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida).
I think we’re at the stage with this franchise that you’ll know whether or not Fast X is for you. The action set pieces are bigger and more ridiculous and unbelievable than ever, characters survive things that they really shouldn’t if real-world logic applied here, and it’s still a lot of fun.
Fast X juggles a lot of characters as the family has gotten bigger over the course of this franchise and there’s new characters too in Tess (Brie Larson), a potentially-shady government agent, and Dante who is out for revenge. The film does suffer a bit by having the family split up for much of the runtime, because it’s the various relationships between these characters that mean just as much as the wild stunts. Having Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) split up especially is a shame as their dynamic has been one of the core ones of this franchise. As Fast X is a part one of two (or potentially three) films, that will presumably be fixed and all the different groups of characters will finally be together again. (more…)
Still reeling from the loss (and sort of reappearance) of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Peter Quill (Chris Prtt) rallies the team to save the universe and one of their own as the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) sends out mercenaries including Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) to retrieve one of his past experiments – Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper).
The Guardians of the Galaxy films and characters have always been a bit of a mixed bag for me. Some characters I really like, others I find annoying and the films themselves don’t always work for me with the kind of humour they have running through it. So, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. That James Gunn-humour is still there, and while I heard other people in the cinema laugh out loud a lot, I don’t think I did once but would still regularly grin a joke. Unlike in other MCU films where a joke undercuts any dramatic or emotional tension, Vol. 3 didn’t really have that and actually let some more dark and serious moments settle with you.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 delves into Rocket’s backstory and his connection with the High Evolutionary. It is almost hard to watch all the animal experimentation going on even though they’re all computer-generated and it definitely skirts the edges of body horror at times. The High Evolutionary is also one of those kind of old-school villains in the sense there’s no tragic backstory and instead they are just a horrible, manipulative person who does evil things to innocent people and you want to see get them get their comeuppance. It’s kind of nice to have a villain that’s there to be awful and for the audience to hate without being like “well they kind of have a point to an extent”. The High Evolutionary has a huge ego and a god-complex and does horrendous things because of it and thinks he’s right. He’s just the sort of villain you want to see beaten. (more…)
Martial artist-in-training Ria Khan (Priya Kansara) believes she must save her older sister Lena (Ritu Arya) from her impending marriage. After enlisting the help of her friends, Ria attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists.
Polite Society was such an unexpected delight. It’s inventive and fun and blends different genres so well. It’s a martial arts action film, a family drama, a romance, a comedy, a coming-of-age story and it combines all those elements really well and in unexpected ways. It also excellently blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Ria and Lena are the only characters who have been stated to know martial arts, but that doesn’t stop other characters getting in on the action. Plus, there are moments where characters have evil monologues or characters fights are more symbolic of their argument. It’s a really odd but interesting and compelling way to tell a story. (more…)
Edgin (Chris Pine), a charming thief, and his band of unlikely allies undertake an epic heist to steal a great treasure including a powerful ancient relic, from Forge (Hugh Grant), a double-crossing political leader, and Sofina (Daisy Head), a dangerous wizard.
I’m not someone who grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons, in fact I’ve only played a campaign once an that was during lockdown over Zoom and I had very little clue as to what I was doing. So, when it comes to any references or homages to the game this film might have, I don’t have the knowledge to notice these things so I very much went into Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves as just someone who likes fantasy stories. Plus there’s the fact it was a story about thieves and features heists – two things a love in media.
I enjoyed Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves a ridiculous amount. The setting is very much a generic fantasy land with taverns, grand castles, and a variety of creatures including dragons. However, it works because the sense familiarity in the setting and genre tropes means the odd differences standout more and having a shorthand on how this fantasy world works means there can be more focus on the characters and the plot. (more…)
With Nike’s basketball division failing, sport marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) sets out to beat the competition – Converse and Adidas – and sign basketball rookie Michael Jordan.
Air fits into one of my favourite subgenres of film – people being really good at their jobs. There’s something really satisfying about seeing people work hard, believe in what they’re doing and working together. Plus, there’s the element of it being an underdog story which always works well in sports movies. It also does the most important thing a sports film can do, make a sport understandable and interesting for anyone, no matter how much or little they know about the sport which is basketball in this instance.
Air is superbly directed with director Ben Affleck making a bunch of phone calls absolutely thrilling. It’s a testament to how good the script is when it makes a story where you know the ending so engaging. It’s also a surprisingly funny film and is downright hilarious at times thanks mostly due to Chris Messina’s David Falk, Michael Jordan’s agent. Any phone call between him and Damon is excellent and usually a bit chaotic too. (more…)
With the price on his head always increasing, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds a way to defeat the High Table; kill the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) in single combat and win his freedom.
Obviously we got to talk about the action as that’s what the John Wick franchise has become known for and Chapter 4 takes things to a whole other level. There are probably about half a dozen sequences which could be the standout in any film so that fact there’s so many exciting and impressive sequences in one film is something to be commended. For a fourth film in an unlikely franchise to be this good and to take its characters and the action to levels we haven’t seen before is really something else. The final act is action on a level and like the sequences before it, it knows how to have some fun with it.
One of the things that makes the many thrilling action sequences work, besides from being well shot, edited, lit, and choreographed, is that many of the key characters are motivated by things other than revenge and desire for a big payday. It’s loyalty and family that drives most of them. Whether that’s blood family like new characters Shimazu and his daughter Akira (Hiroyuki Sanada and Rina Sawayama), or family of choice like John, Winston (Ian McShane) and Charon (Lance Reddick), or even the family that the Tracker (Shamier Anderson) has with his attack dog. These characters have something to fight for other than themselves and it makes any threat they face feel more real and there’s consequences for the decisions they make. (more…)
When the daughters of Atlas (Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu) return to Earth with plans to destroy the world of humans, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his adult superhero alter ego (Zachary Levi), must bring his superhero family together to save the world.
The first Shazam! film was an unexpected delight and while Shazam! Fury of the Gods doesn’t reach the heights of the original, it’s still a pretty fun sequel that builds on the themes of family that was so essential to the first one. That being said, I would’ve like Asher Angel to have more screentime with his on-screen siblings, as adult Billy aka Zachary Levi, definitely had the most screentime with the siblings, both the kid-versions and the superhero-versions. The first film had such a great balance between the superhero and the kid stuff but in Fury of the Gods it was definitely more skewed towards the superhero stuff. Which kind of makes sense but it was to an extent where you sometimes for got that this superhero was a teenager – especially as teenage Billy was a lot calmer and more thoughtful than superhero Billy who sometimes veered off into being almost Deadpool-esque with the abundance on one-liners and acting more like comic relief than a hero with responsibilities. (more…)
After Mona Lisa (Jeon Jong-seo), a young woman with telekinetic powers breaks out of an asylum in Louisiana, she makes her way to New Orleans where she meets fellow misfits and outcasts.
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon starts off strong with this neon-infused New Orleans setting but everything does peter out in the second half. It’s a film that has both comedic moments and more serious ones and the blending of those two doesn’t always work. When it’s focused on the more eerie side of things that’s when it really worked for me.
There’s a level of tension throughout the film as though Mona Lisa has these powers which allow her to make people do whatever she wants, she’s been locked away from the world for so long that she doesn’t really have many social skills or awareness of how the world works. She’s naive in some ways and it’s easy for her to be taken advantage of. Especially at the beginning when she’s just got out of the asylum and is just wearing a straight jacket, because of Jong-seo’s size it makes her look even more vulnerable. (more…)