REVIEW: Wonder Woman (2017)

When pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands onto the home of the Amazons, bringing news of a war to end all wars, Diana (Gal Gadot) leaves her home and all she knows to go fight to save those who can’t protect themselves.

Diana is a brilliant hero. She’s confident in her powers and her beliefs so there is none of the “oh the pains of being a superhero” that you often see in superhero movies. She is strong and compassionate, and while she doesn’t always understand the world of Man, the film never makes it into a big deal or is condescending about her lack of experience.

There’s humour to be found in her bewilderment and it’s all very charming but never patronising. I think that’s one of the great things about Wonder Woman, it’s never defensive about its titular character nor its story, it’s sincere in the way Diana and the film itself, celebrates inner strength and the power of love and compassion.

In many ways, the film makes you wait for the action sequences, instead spending time allowing the characters to talk and learn from one another. These quieter moments are never boring and are often funny. That said when the action and fights do happen, they’re brilliant. The way you see Diana, and the rest of the women of Themyscira, fight is magnificent. They are all powerful and skilled and the way the camera shows off their skills is captivating. There is so slo-mo used, which does make sense as Diana can move super-fast, so you can really see how she avoids gunshots and bayonets.

Diana is an amazing character and the shots of her fighting side by side with Steve, and leading him and Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) into battle gave me chills. Gal Gadot gives a great performance, showing both Diana’s power and sensitivity in the face of war, and the quieter moments between her and the other characters are a delight. While there is sometimes a joke made about a woman in battle, none of the men who fight by Diana’s side ever doubt her or her abilities.

The villains in Wonder Woman aren’t the most well-developed but as that is something that could be said of a lot of superhero films, it’s not a huge complaint. I would much rather have a film with a fantastic hero and a mediocre villain, than a great villain and a dull hero. Ludendorff (Danny Huston) is an army General with grand plans and Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya) is a master at making poisons, she was an interesting character and it’d be cool to have learnt more about her.

Wonder Woman is a wonderful film. It’s very much a traditional superhero origin story but is a lot more charming and sincere with it. Diana is a brilliant hero who brings a sense of hope to the world. 4/5.

BOOK BLOGGER HOP: Do your bookshelves have any bookish items on the shelves?

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly feature hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, to find bookish blogs and to learn more about the bloggers themselves. You can find more info on the feature here.

This week’s question is: Do your bookshelves have books ONLY or do you also have bookish items on the shelves?

Now I have two bookcases. One is full of paperbacks and that one just has books on it but my other bookcase, which has hardbacks and graphic novels and comics on it, has all my Funko Pops on it.

The Draco Malfoy, Harley Quinn and Leia ones all came from bookish subscription boxes and the rest I’ve got myself. There’s a Stan Lee one I got from London Comic Con a couple of years ago, then there’s Poe Dameron from Star Wars, Chekov and Jaylah from Star Trek Beyond, then there’s my Marvel one’s Black Panther, Black Widow, Scarlett Witch and Hawkeye – them four are my favourite characters in the MCU (at the moment anyway, it changes regularly). I’ve got some smaller superhero figures that I’ve got from friends or free with stuff as well.

Do you have any bookish or geeky items on your bookshelves?

May’s Illumicrate Box

My May Illumicrate Box arrived earlier this week while I was visiting a friend abroad so it was a nice surprise waiting for me when I got home.

Illumicrate is a quarterly YA box based in the UK. Unlike a lot of subscription boxes this one doesn’t really have a theme each quarter so it’s always a surprise to see what’s included. There was a lot of stuff in this month’s box.

There were two books included in this month’s box. There’s a signed copy of Truth or Dare by Non Pratt which sounds like a super interesting book. I believe it’s got the same story from two points of view so you read it like a normal book and then you flip it around and read the over characters side of the story. It’s all about friendship and internet fame which since I’ve read Eliza and Her Monsters I’m a lot more interested in. The other book was an advanced reader copy of The Waking Land by Callie Bates. It’s a fantasy story with magic and warring kingdoms and I think it’s released later this month. Book books came with a letter from the author and The Waking Land also came with a signed bookplate.

Now the goodies were pretty cool too. There’s a Feyre mug from Merwild, who I believe is a character from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series but I don’t really know I haven’t read those books, but I really like the design and you can never have too many mugs. There’s a Mermaid Lagoon Candle from Flickerink which has a really strong and sharp tropical scent – I love it but my mum’s not a fan so that’ll be one I use when she’s out.

There’s a very cute keyring from Nutmeg and Arlo which has the “Swish & Flick” quote from Harry Potter along with a wand – my house keys used to have a felt bird on them but that fell off a while ago so have been meaning to find a new keyring for them so this could well be the replacement. There’s some lovely Beauty and the Beast artwork and door hanger from TJ Lubrano which is so pretty. Though I’m always unsure as what to do with art prints.

Then there was a map bookmark from Penguin Co which is quite clever and sits on the corners of the page you’re up to, and then some extra goodies for Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith, Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles and The Gender Games by Juno Dawson. I am very tempted to put The Gender Games pin badge, which has the quote “Let the Gender Games Begin” on it, on my work lanyard just to see what the reaction may be – I work at an all-boys school so it could be interesting.

So that was all that was in this month’s Illumicrate box! It was definitely jampacked and I feel I will use most of the stuff featured. I think I’ll be reading Truth or Dare sooner rather than later and I am intrigued by The Waking Land.

Now my bank balance can take a break after I ordered three different bookish subscription boxes this month!

REVIEW: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) past catches up with him when undead Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his crew are out for revenge. Jack sets out to find the trident of Poseidon as it might be the only thing to save him.

The Jack Sparrow you meet in this film is not like the one seen in the previous films, especially the first three. Those films he acts a bit drunk and is weird but he’s still a crazy kind of smart that he can see the moves ahead and surprise people. In Salazar’s Revenge he’s a bit past his prime, is very drunk and if he does achieve something it’s more by accident than any type of skill. Unfortunately, it makes Sparrow annoying as the film focuses more on the slapstick humour of the character than his wit and it’s kind of sad to see him like that.

Joining Sparrow on his adventure is Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) who each have their own agendas for searching for the trident. Both are fun additions to the franchise and each do things to further the plot and seem to have their own character arcs. I did like Henry a lot, he’s his own person but you can see both of his parent’s attributes in him which is nice.

This film has a messy plot with a lot of characters and motivations. There’s a witch (Golshifteh Farahani) that serves no real point than delivering information to other characters in two scenes and then is never seen again, and there’s the British Navy once again but that plot thread is almost an afterthought.

One of the problems with this film is there’s a fair few times that the plot and character backstory contradicts what you’ve already learnt in the previous four films. This might not be as noticeable if you haven’t seen them in a while but watching this film less than a week after concluding my rewatch, I noticed multiple things that didn’t add up.

On the most part, the action looks good and is fun, the guillotine sequence is a bright point in the film but it gets very CGI heavy as the film progresses. Salazar is a menacing villain, though admittedly he’s a bit hard to understand sometimes, and the scenes between him and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) are pretty tense.

Salazar’s Revenge lacks the charm of the first film and while it brings back some old characters which helps add to the emotional impact of the film, it’s not that memorable. 2/5.

REVIEW: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Meg, Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin travel through a “wrinkle in time” to find their missing father at the advice of Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. But can they overcome the dangerous forces they meet on their journey through space and time?

A Wrinkle in Time is said to be a children’s classic but I’d never read it nor had never heard of it till all the talk about the film adaptation which is due to be released next year. It was the film and hearing about all the people cast in it, many of them are some of my favourite actors, that got me to pick up the book.

I like how A Wrinkle in Time combines science with fantasy and how it shows different planets and creatures through the eyes of a child. As both of Meg and Charles Wallace’s parents are scientists there’s a lot of talk about maths and fact and how people work things out. This was great to see in a children’s book as in some ways it made difficult topics like traveling through space accessible – and it’s always great to see a young female character interested in STEM subjects.

Meg is a great character. She’s about thirteen years old and sometimes gets overwhelmed by the situation she is in, missing her father and being flung into danger by three strange beings, but she uses her faults to overcome her fear. That’s the thing I really liked about Meg and this book, it took a character’s faults like stubbornness, fear and anger and made them a valuable part of the character. Yes, those traits are often seen as negative but they are a part of Meg just like her love and intelligence.

The thing that surprised me most about A Wrinkle in Time is how it shows that parents are fallible. There’s a childlike wonder throughout most of the books, even with the threat of danger present, that when Meg sees her parents as normal people for moment it’s a surprise. I think this theme is a great thing to include in a children’s book.

I liked A Wrinkle in Time well enough. It’s a quick read with likeable characters but as someone in their twenties, it’s not a book I loved. I can see why it’s become a much loved book for many but it does lack that emotional punch reading it for the first time as an adult. 3/5.

REVIEW: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is coerced by old flame Angelica (Penélope Cruz) and her father Blackbeard (Ian McShane) into a quest to find the fountain of youth. They aren’t the only ones after it though with the Spanish and the British, led by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), searching for it too.

While On Stranger Tides continues the trend in this franchise of having great costumes, music and set design, it unfortunately doesn’t have the fun or emotional-heft of the previous films. This may be in part as it’s the first film not to feature Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will (Orlando Bloom), two central characters in the previous three films, and instead you have a new villain, new crew-mates, and a new love interest for Jack.

Blackbeard is a decent villain. He’s menacing and has a very clever ship, though this is probably down to Ian McShane’s performance more than the script. Blackbeard is set up to be a fearsome pirate but after you initially meet him, he’s not that fearsome. He’s by no means a nice guy and is incredibly selfish but he’s not terribly threatening after the initial reveal.

There’s a side romance with missionary Phillip (Sam Claflin) and mermaid Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) that could have easily been done without. In many ways, they are both plot devices, Phillip especially, and there’s not enough insight into their character for the audience to become attached to them in anyway.

On Stranger Tides is just a bit bland. It’s moves from one event to another and because there’s no real character development nor many interesting characters full stop, the times these characters are put in danger you don’t really care. Jack Sparrow, while still a bit mad and full of plans that unbelievably work, isn’t enough to make this film enjoyable. 2/5.

My EMOJIATHON TBR

I hadn’t heard about the Emojiathon till I saw Alyssa at PucksandPaperbacks post her TBR and it’s a super cool month long readathon. It’s hosted by DylanTheReader5, NayaReadsandSmiles and MickeyBetweenThePages and runs throughout June and there’s lots of different challenges for you to try and complete. You can find out more about the twitter sprints that are going to be held over the month on the @emojiathon Twitter account and here is a list of the challenges – the main goal is to complete four challenges but there’s no real limit.

Now, as I always say with my readathon TBR’s, I like to have some choice so I have tried to find a book for every challenge. So, without further ado here’s my TBR.

Read a book that was gifted to you: Filmish by Edward Ross
This was sent to me by Ellie for the last round of the NinjaBookSwap, it’s a graphic novel all about the history of film and I’ve been looking forward to reading it for ages.

Read a thriller or horror: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
This is a recent buy and sounds like a thriller with a missing child and the mother not knowing who to trust.

 

Read a futuristic/sci-fi book: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid and/or Saga Volume Six by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
I started The Diabolic at the end of last year and got half way through it, then put it down and never picked it up again. I can remember a lot about it so hopefully I’ll be able to start from where I left off. I love Saga so this should be no problem.

Read a book that takes place in a different country than your own: Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
I’ve borrowed this off a workmate to read for my Read the World Project as it is set in Russia – it’s supposed to be a proper page-turner.

Read a book you’re annoyed at yourself because you haven’t read it yet: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
I’ve heard such great things about this book and can’t believe I haven’t read it yet.

Read a book in under 24 hours: The Trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by Sybille Bedford
This little book is only 80 pages’ love so it’s definitely an easy one to read in a day.

Read a book about a current event: Nasty Women
This is a collection of essays I backed on Kickstarter. All the essays are about what it is like to be a woman in the 21st century.

Read a book about a marginalized group: Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
The main character in this book is intersex and I’ve never read a book about that before.

 

That’s my TBR! Let me know if you’re taking part in the Emojiathon, I think it’s a clever and different kind of readathon compared to the ones I’ve taken part in before