Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thor: The Dark World

When the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer came out the other day I thought that the film would easily top the solo outing films of Marvel phase 2. However I may have been wrong, because Thor: The Dark World just raised the bar pretty damn high! After feeling a bit let down from Iron Man 3 and Marvel's TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D I went into the cinema with average hopes and a critical mind, I came out having just had a blast of a time! Read on to find out why and as always my review is spoiler free!

Thor: The Dark World picks up after the events of The Avengers. Loki is in jail, Thor is back on Asgard with the Bifrost Bridge rebuilt, whilst love interest Jane Foster is down on Earth still doing science experiments and attempting to get over her fling with the demigod. All this gets shaken up when Jane discovers the Aether, a dark force that wakes up Malekith, a dark elve that wishes to bring revenge to Asgard for killing his people a long time ago. Like the first Thor, the plot is quite simple making for a fun and easy watching film, something I really loved about the first film. There's obviously a bit more going down in this second instalment but the heart of the first film is still there even with new Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor on board.

Let's start with the acting, as with all Marvel casting so far, everybody is perfect in their roles. Especially Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston who you couldn't imagine anyone else in their roles as Thor and Loki, their chemistry on screen is even better again and every scene with two becomes the highlights of the film. In villain duties is Christopher Eccleston as Malekith who does a decent job but his performance lacks being memorable, not by fault of his own but my fault of yet another underwritten villain who's plan is essentially to destroy everything, again. One of my favourite characters though is Heimdall played by Idris Elba who gets even more kick ass action in this film. 

That's one of the best things about Thor 2, the really cool moments that see your favourite character do something so cool it makes you nerd out. Early in you know you are in for a good ride when Thor jumps off a balcony twists grabs his hammer and flies away. There are loads of moments like this which make for a really enjoyable watch. This is something Iron Man 3 failed to deliver on apart from the end scene with all the suits but that was unfortunately mostly spoiled in the trailers. Like Iron Man 3 though Thor 2 is very funny but it never feels like a comedy. Unfortunately a few of the joke do fall a bit flat. 

We also get to see the continuation of Marvel writing some stronger roles for it's female characters. They're not fully there yet but I sure would soon like to see a film with female superhero lead soon. Thor's mum Frigga is one of these strong characters and even gets her own fight scene that turns out to be one of the best of the film. Natalie Portman's Jane Foster is still a bit of a damsel in distress but has no fear of standing up to the likes of Loki and even Odin. A love triangle between Thor, Sif and Jane is also hinted at but never really goes anywhere.

The film itself looks great! The use of real sets and locations really makes a difference and something I imagine Alan Taylor had some doing with. The fights are more epic and everything is dirtied up a bit. Saying that Thor is not going down a Nolan esque route with being dark and gritty, far from it actually, in fact it's a very fun and moving adventure film. The visual effects were also great and the whole film looked awesome!

A few dodgy lines and acting aside, Thor: The Dark World is a great ride and really delivered a lot higher than what I expected it to. The story is great and has some great unexpected twists and a lot of fan service. There is a lot of teasing of the future of phase 2 and beyond, so much so that you will hope they announce a Thor 3 soon! Remember to stay for the mid credits and post credits sequence! I really, really loved this film and I can see it becoming one of my favourites of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not without its flaws but you sure do get one hell of a Thor film that leaves you wanting more, therefore I am giving it a rating of 4/5.

I think Alan Taylor really brought something special to the Marvel universe and it is unfortunate that due to rumoured disagreements with the studio and few suspicious answers to questions during the junket for this film that he most likely won't be back. However the bar has been raised for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Guardians of the Galaxy.

What did you think of the film? Do you agree with me or disagree completely? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

Ok so it just came out and I thought I would give you my views on the trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So first of all, here it is:

I just want to start by saying that since The Avengers trailer, no trailer has really gotten me super pumped for a film... until now. That's not saying I didn't enjoy the ones for Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, but they didn't make nerd out like I just did.

Now this trailer is awesome, for a teaser it's a got a little bit of everything and even hints that The Winter Soldier may not be the only trouble for Cap. Nope, looks like S.H.I.E.L.D is militarising itself as we saw multiple helicarriers in the trailer and Cap beating up some of the agents in an elevator. Could Robert Redford be the big bad of the whole piece?

We got our first look at Cap's new suit and although it wasn't in this trailer, the teaser for this trailer also had him in his WW2 costume. Why could that be? We also got our first look at Falcon who looks awesome and also seems to be in some trouble with S.H.I.E.L.D as one of the Quinjets was firing at him.

Though S.H.I.E.L.D look to be antagonists of this piece I've got a feeling it will be Redford's character that's corrupt rather then Nick Fury who I reckon will stick at Cap's side along with Black Widow and Falcon.

Anyway i'm going to go watch it again because my god is it cool!

What did you guys think of the trailer? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Check back soon for my review of Thor: The Dark World. I'm so hoping it will be good because with average Iron Man 3 and pretty awful Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Marvel need to pull something out of the bag quickly!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Dirties

Odds are you haven't heard of this film, but you really should watch it! If you are fan of Kevin Smith and his podcasting association Smodco then you might have heard him talking about The Dirties, the first film he picked up with his new company 'The Kevin Smith Movie Club'. It is how I heard about the film and now after watching it I feel that I should let you guys know about it as well, not just because it's a small independent film made by students but also because it is awesome!

The Dirties is a found footage film about some friends making a film together that involves them taking down a gang of bullies in their school called The Dirties. One of the friends however takes the idea to far and starts to actually plan a real life shooting of their school bullies on camera.

The school shooter concept is something that is quite real and topical right now, but the film is very good at not hitting any nerves or being offencive at any point. It humanises the school shooter and creates a very interesting character piece. The style of the film is a 'found footage' film and although we have had a lot of these recently, this one again is original by making the camera one that the friends are using to make a film. The reason they have wireless mics on them most of the time is for the same reason. This choice makes the whole film a bit more believable and adds to some of the scenes that already feel scarily real. Not that this film is a horror, it's more of a comedy drama about people who love film. And you can really tell they love film, because there are a bunch of references to many different films and pop culture scattered throughout.

For me as a film student, watching this group of friends on screen make a film is familiar but also inspiring as some of the filmmakers themselves are students. This film just makes we want to go out and make more films! They are a great success story of independent cinema and prove that if you try hard enough you can make it. This really is such a great film but I'm making this less of a review and more of a 'please watch this', because small films like this need to be supported, so if you're not convinced by me yet check out the trailer here:

Or again if you're not convinced you can check out an interview with the director Matt Johnson and Kevin Smith here:

Surely you're convinced now right? Well you should be because I thought it was brilliant. I'm giving it a solid 4/5. Look out for The Dirties to feature on my top 10 list of year later this year! Go check it out on VOD services now!

Thanks for reading!