Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 || Trailer Review

I watched this trailer twice before I realised that I have no idea what this movie is about but I don’t even care. I mean, there’s a baby groot – it doesn’t get more adorable than that.

With that said I think that it’s pretty safe to assume that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is going to involve the team saving the galaxy in some way or another. The first film was an underdog because it was so very out there and when it turned out to be amazing, it was a shock to most people. This one has a lot more pressure on it.

Whilst the trailer doesn’t say much about the plot of the movie, it promises that this film will be at least as funny as the last and twice as cute (thanks to one baby groot). Hopefully it also has a great story that isn’t just there to pull the Guardians closer to the rest of the MCU in preparation for the next Avengers movie.

How many times have you watched the trailer? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Wait, What Happened? || Geek News

With one week until the US elections, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are dominating the news cycle and as somebody in the UK who is largely unaffected by the results, I’m sitting back and loving all of it. However, there is other news – cooler news. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and you find yourself asking: wait, what happened? I’ve got you covered.

The Defenders Run Will Be 8 Episodes

Marvel have a pretty solid formula in both their films and series but they are straying from it with the upcoming series: The Defenders. Whilst their other Netflix series have had 13 episode seasons, The Defenders will only be 8 episodes long.

I have mixed feelings on this. Obviously I want as much of this show as possible but if they only have 8 episodes of material then I wouldn’t want it stretched out to 13 and risk losing quality. If that dampened your excitement for the show maybe these new set photos will cheer you up.

Disney Developing Live-Action Snow White Movie

Image result for snow whiteDisney are roaring ahead with their live-action remakes and the next classic in their sights is Snow WhiteThe Girl on the Train screenwriter, Erin Cressida Wilson, is in negotiations to write the script with Benk Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) attached as songwriters. The movie will include some of the original music but new songs are also being written.

In recent years there have been two separate attempts at a live-action Snow White in Mirror, Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman but neither really captured the magic of Disney’s animated version. Hopefully Disney won’t fall short of their own original.

The Flash Loses Its Second Director

Image result for rick famuyiwaRick Famuyiwa has become the second director this year to leave ‘The Flash’ movie over creative differences. I’m trying to have faith in the DCEU, I really am, but they make it so difficult. I mean, what are Warner Bros. doing to these directors? Just let them make a nice movie!

The film was set to begin production early next year and was slated for a March 2018 release but whilst Warner Bros. are yet to release a statement, it seems unlikely that that will happen.

Do you wish that the Defenders was longer? Are you tired of Disney remakes? Do you think that The Flash movie will get its act together in time for a 2018 release? Let me know in the comments.

5 Ways Doctor Strange Breaks The Marvel Mold

Doctor Strange was released last week and it was another fantastic addition to the MCU catalogue (you can read just how fantastic in our review over here) but it was very different to our Avengers style heroes.

Sure, there was the lovably arrogant protagonist like Iron Man; inter-dimensional travels like Thor; and of course, Stan Lee, like every MCU movie but this movie still stood out as an original. Here are five ways that I think that Doctor Strange breaks that Marvel mold:

(1) The Mystic

Image result for doctor strange stillsImpossible science and alien technology – definitely a part of Marvel’s wheelhouse. The mystical? Not so much. Doctor Strange marks their first venture into this particular topic and they do it well. Looking back on Season 4 of The CW’s Arrow, you can see that the mystical is not an easy theme to just dive into but Doctor Strange delivers it in a way that makes you trust it and not think too hard about the particulars.

(2) Open Celebration of Cults

Let’s face it: we might love to see the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy all teamed up but they’re not the smoothest teams out there. In fact, they tend to spend most of their movies fighting with one another rather than whoever the big, bad villain is. In Doctor Strange we see what can only be defined as a cult (and some characters do define it as a cult). Maybe you disagree but with titles like ‘Sorcerer Supreme’ what else can you call it?

(3) Marvel Studios Intro

Image result for new marvel studios introThis is slightly less to do with the film itself but this is the first MCU film to run the new intro that was announced at San Diego Comic Con this year. I actually forgot all about it and was incredibly unnerved when I saw it run before the movie.

(4) No Lasting Destruction Of Cities

Between them, Marvel heroes have wrecked New York, London, Lagos, and Johannesburg amongst others. It’s great that they’re saving the world but if Captain America: Civil War taught us anything, it’s that people aren’t ecstatic when their homes and family become collateral damage. Doctor Strange has plenty of huge action sequences but he manages not to decimate any landmarks. Avengers, take notes.

(5) The Death Fake-Out

Doctor Strange abandons the death fake-out. Yup, unlike that time with Coulson or that time with Nick Fury or that time with Loki or that time with… I think you get the point. When people die in this film, people actually die. At least I think they do. You know, there’ll probably be another movie and they could bring them back but for now it seems pretty permanent.

Have you seen Doctor Strange yet? How else do you think it differs from other Marvel movies? Let me know in the comments.

Doctor Strange || Review

9/10

As far as MCU films go, Doctor Strange has been the one that I was least excited for. Maybe that was because of a lack of advertising; the fact that I didn’t have much prior knowledge of the character; or because it had the incredibly daunting task of following on from Captain America: Civil War. Regardless, I didn’t have that same sense of anticipation that normally accompanies a new Marvel release. Unsurprisingly I now realise that I should have more faith in Marvel.

My biggest worry with this movie was the director, Scott Derrickson – whose previous body of work is almost entirely of the horror genre. Knowing that he fought for the chance to direct this film (completing 8 separate interviews with Marvel) I was sure that he was passionate about the project but passion doesn’t always translate to a good piece of work.

In this case Derrickson produced one of the most cinematically beautiful films in the Marvel catalogue. An obscenely large budget and beautiful sets helped but that doesn’t take away from how perfectly crafted each shot of this film came across.

The cast was fantastic but with actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton, that was always a given. The real star of this movie was the visual effects which were astounding. There were moments where I jumped in my seat because the dimension-bending visual was so realistic.

I struggle to find any fault in this film: it is a truly immersive piece of work (although its musical score’s similarity to the new Star Trek theme was slightly unnerving). However, I will say that it left a lot unexplored and there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered. Fortunately, this was just an origin story and we can look forward to seeing plenty more of Doctor Stephen Strange in the future.

Have you seen Doctor Strange yet? How would rank it compared to its Marvel predecessors? Let me know in the comments.

A Beginner’s Guide To Doctor Strange

Everything you need to know before Doctor Strange hits cinemas tomorrow.

What is it?
Doctor Strange is the fourteenth movie in the MCU and the second one in Phase 3 of the MCU.

Wait. I have to watch thirteen other films before this one?
What? No, of course not. I mean, I would whole-heartedly recommend that you do watch all thirteen other films in the MCU if you haven’t already but you don’t need to. You should be able to understand this movie with no prior knowledge.

What’s it about?
Well, this is a bit wild so stay with me. The movie Doctor Strange is about the character Doctor Strange from the comic book Doctor Strange.

I hate you.
I know. Anyway, serious answer:

The character, Doctor Strange (a.k.a. Dr. Stephen Strange) first appeared in Marvel’s Strange Tales #110 in July 1963 and was created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee.

Dr. Stephen Strange was an amazing surgeon until a car accident destroyed his hands, taking away his ability to perform surgery. He then travels the world looking for a way to repair them and finds the Ancient One who starts him on and guides him in his study of mystic arts. Also, there’s bad guys and stuff.

Who’s in it?
It’s another typically amazing MCU movie line-up: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, and Benjamin Bratt amongst others. Fingers crossed there are also a couple of wider MCU cameos. Oh, and Stan Lee will pop up somewhere.

What about the creative team?
That’s very interesting: Scott Derrickson is the director and co-writer of this film and if you are familiar with his work then you’ll know that this is a departure. His films include Sinister, Devil’s Knot and Deliver Us From Evil. I don’t think that Marvel are venturing into the horror genre but I have no idea what to expect of this film with Derrickson at the helm.

Are the reviews out?
Indeed and overall they are very positive. Reviewers are going crazy for the special effects and it sounds like it may be worth watching in 3D.

Marvel vs. DC: TV Edition

It’s the infinity question: Marvel or DC? Obviously the answer is normally Marvel but that’s just in print and on the big screen. It is now the golden age of television and the two comic giants have not slacked in getting their content out on TV. As of right now, there are more than ten Marvel/DC shows airing and even more in development. The question is: who’s better?

marvel v dc.png

Marvel: Netflix

With the recent release of Luke Cage (full review here), the Marvel Netflix series are in the spotlight at the moment. This group contains: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and in five months, Iron Fist.

Of all the comic book shows, these are the most unique in terms of format. Thanks to Netflix, these 13 episode seasons are all released at once which has the awesome effect of being able to watch them in one sitting – almost like a 13 hour movie.

They are praised for their grittier, darker tone in comparison to the wider MCU but what I love most about these is the characters. TV allows character development on a much larger scale than film but even by that standard, it feels like these dive into the stories of everybody: heroes and villains alike. Also, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple is my favourite thing.

My only gripe is something that Netflix proudly claims: this is “event television”. It only comes around twice a year and if you watch them immediately (like myself) you’re left with nothing for 6 months.

DC: The CW

The CW is home to the Arrowverse – The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl – but many people don’t know that the show, iZombie, is also based on a DC comic.

Network television is a far departure from Netflix which means that these shows aren’t allowed to be as violent or deal with heavy issues. The general tone of them is much lighter but they all have their own unique stamps which make them really good at being what they are.

Image result for izombie

My personal favourites are Supergirl and iZombie – Supergirl is unabashedly feminist and maintains this unbelievably bright, cheerful aesthetic. It could come off as cheesy but the character dynamics are fantastic and the actors (particularly Melissa Benoist) really sell the story.

Unfortunately, without the space to explore any more substantial themes, some of the plots can become needlessly convoluted and no amount of good acting can make you believe the stakes that are being presented to you.

Marvel: ABC

Whilst Agents of Shield is technically the only Marvel series currently on ABC, I live in constant denial that Agent Carter got cancelled so I’m just going to include it in this category.

When Agents of Shield began it seemed like it was just fan service: “don’t worry guys, Coulson’s okay!”, but it has evolved since then and I think that it’s finally finding its own feet in it’s third season. That is largely helped by the fact that they now have a later air time which means that they can get a bit more violent.

Image result for agent carter

Agent Carter never had that issue: it is a show that has known exactly what it’s about since the beginning . These shows are a nice reminder that whilst we watch the superheroes, there are ordinary folks that do just as much, probably more.

DC: Fox & AMC

Finally DC have Gotham and Lucifer on Fox, and Preacher on AMC.

I’m not going to lie: I think that Gotham is the definition of trash-television but for some reason I continue to watch it.

Preacher is much more interesting. I fell in love with the concept but my interest dwindled as the first season played out. I think that these are the riskier, more experimental ideas and whilst they aren’t perfect, I love the fact that these networks are taking a chance on something different.

So, those are our shows. Which is better?

Marvel! I mean, come on, I’ll be loyal until the day that I die but I genuinely believe that the quality of their shows is miles ahead of their DC counter-parts. DC might have more breadth but that isn’t always a good thing.

What do you think? Marvel or DC? I am completely biased? Let me know in the comments.

Luke Cage || Review

*Spoiler Alert*

8.5/10

There’s nothing that can hurt you, so what the hell are you afraid of?

My issue with Superman is that he’s boring. He is essentially all-powerful and he lives to save people – no matter what he comes up against, the outcome is pretty predictable. I was slightly worried that Luke Cage might suffer from the same problem. If he’s invulnerable, how exactly were they going to create real stakes? Never doubt Marvel.

After months of anticipation, the first episode of the series was aptly named, “The Moment of Truth” and it delivered. They made sure to pack it full of wider MCU references, from the Avengers, to Jessica Jones, and even Justin Hammer (definitely look out for all kinds of Easter eggs in this series – including that Power Man costume).

If they felt that they had to reinforce the fact that this show was a part of the MCU, that’s because this is completely different to anything else that Marvel has produced.

Whilst the Netflix shows are known for their grittier, darker takes on heroism; Luke Cage strays from that model. Yes, there’s blood and violence but Luke isn’t like Matt Murdock or Jessica Jones. He has his issues but he’s not the tortured vigilante: Luke Cage is warm and funny and it takes an Uncle Ben-esque moment to force him into the position of hero.

There are no masks and Luke doesn’t fight crime in the shadows – he’s out in the open. Honestly, this feels almost revolutionary for a superhero show: a hero who doesn’t hide??? Obviously there are reasons why this doesn’t happen often in the genre and this show examines those to great effect.

One of my favourite scenes in the entire season is where Luke and Cotton Mouth fight, not with their fists but in a debate. It’s brilliant and a technique that other shows can’t employ. It makes it immensely clear that the battles in this series extend past brawls between individuals and incorporates a fight for the public support.

A hero is nothing without a good villain and there are plenty to choose from in this show – maybe too many? This show was fantastic at building the back-stories of all of their characters but sometimes it felt too late. They would wait until that character’s final arc and then reveal their motivation which meant that there was such a long period in which these villains just didn’t quite make sense.

The perfect example of this is the show’s “big bad”, Willis. We’ve seen the theme of religion handled expertly with Daredevil’s Catholic guilt, and in comparison this felt weak. The idea of the character was a lot more interesting than the execution and at points it felt like he was just a caricature of an evil religious zealot.

On the other hand, I liked the other villains of the season a lot more – particularly Shades and Mariah. Throughout the season a part of me was rooting for Shades and I was certainly sympathetic towards Mariah during that game-changing scene in episode 7 where she kills her cousin.

Rape, racism, prejudice: this show handles some heavy themes. Luke Cage is a black superhero and that matters a lot. The creators of the show don’t try to dismiss that, they really embraced it and portray this honest depiction of black lives in Harlem without being preachy. It gave a balanced view: looking at the racial divide from both sides of authority.

There are a lot of things that make this series special and you certainly can’t forget the soundtrack. It had already been announced that music would be a large part of this show and it was true. The mixture of jazz and hip-hop, whilst actually shooting in Harlem gave a wonderfully authentic feel to events. Harlem feels like more than a setting, it’s like a character in and of itself.

Amongst my favourite parts of this show were the flashbacks, which were always superb, the gorgeous cinematography, and more Claire Temple than we’ve seen in Daredevil and Jessica Jones combined.

This didn’t hit as hard as Daredevil with the action sequences; it didn’t have as compelling an antagonist as Jessica Jones; but it held its ground. Luke Cage is a different kind of hero so he has a different kind of show. It’s still amazing.

What did you think of Luke Cage? What were your favourite parts of the series? What didn’t you like? Let me know in the comments.