Tag Archives: 2013

My Interview With Millie Manders

Recently I got a chance to put a few questions to my old buddy Millie Manders, a fantastic singer-songwriter who is a force to be reckoned with in the British music scene. When I first met Millie in 2013, I was blown away by her powerful vocal work and intricate lyrics which told such fascinating stories.

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As it’s 2019 and a lot has happened, I saw this the perfect time to speak to Millie and I am happy to share with you now the outcome of that chat…

You had a huge 2018, it was an incredibly busy year for you and The Shutup, what did you see as your personal highlights?
Releasing a new EP after two years was a huge highlight, and seeing the reaction to it was amazing. We got to tour to new towns, we went abroad as a band for the first time, we had more people coming to our shows than ever before… So many highlights….
In 2018 you released the new EP ‘Shutup’ and I loved hearing it over and over. What made this release different to the previous EP’s?
Collaborating as a band for a start was always going to make it different. You then have the cumulative interests and sonic preferences of a group begin to merge making it, in my opinion, more interesting – the previous EP was also a collaboration but with other producers and songwriters. I have always retained topline (melody) and lyrics though, on the most recent EP too.
To answer your question though, the processes were different. George wrote a horn line that became the basis for Right To Life. Brave was a jam session that focussed around the drums and bass. Lolipops was originally a poem I wrote and One That Got Away was a hook I had in my head for days. 
For the first time we went to a professional mixing/mastering engineer who really knew how to craft our vision sonically and made our recordings sparkle beyond measure. Each person involved in creating Shutup is, I believe, very proud of the end result.
Last year I saw a lot of updates from you with your shows and festival appearances. What show was probably the most memorable of last year?
 Rebellion without a doubt. There were some incredible shows – Boomtown, Nice N Sleazy, Bearded Theory were all incredible – the crowds that came and supported us blew our minds, but to be on the Empress Ballroom Stage – a 3000 capacity room at 1:30pm and to see it packing out for a band barely known was one of the most emotional experiences I think any of us have experienced. I nearly cried. I also nearly threw up. Haha!
2019 has just begun, what shows have you already got in the pipeline for fans to come and see you?
We are at Rebellion again this year, plus we have Nice N Sleazy, Camden Rocks and a few others, plus we will be coming to Scotland for the first time since 2014 and a bunch of other places. Loads of shows in loads of places!
With the release of various Eps over the years, have you looked at maybe doing a full album in the future or would you prefer another EP next?
It’s something we want, but it has to be right. I’d love to release an album but I would rather release another EP than release an album with songs I only half believe in. A body of work needs to be as good as you can make it. So yes, but not til it’s right.
I have over the last few years seen you rock the Ukulele. Is there a particular instrument you would love to learn to play?
Sure! Loads. I’d like to pick up my clarinet again. I’d like to learn guitar properly and get better with my sax. I’d love to be able to play the piano. I’d quite like to try learning trumpet….
The mix of ska and punk is very evident in the latest EP. But, I remember when I heard you sing ‘I Feel Good’ live and was blown away by your vocal range. Would a cover album ever be on the cards? Or a recording of that track?
Super unlikely. But who knows?
By the end of 2019, What would you like to see achieved by yourself and the band?
I’d like us to have a heap of new material written if not released. I’d like us to be touring in other territories both in and outside of the EU. I’m always looking to progress musically.
A fun question to finish on. You are stuck on a desert island and you are only allowed one album, one food item and one luxury item. What do you pick?
The album thing is really hard because that’s not something that has ever stayed the same for me. When I was 15 it would have been Dookie by Green Day. At 18 it would have been Stoosh by Skunk Anansie. Two years ago it would have been To The Moon by Popes Of Chillitown. Right now probably I Was Broken When You Got Here by Call Me Malcolm… Tomorrow who knows? But surely no matter how good the album, if you only had one, at some point silence would become more appealing?
One food item?? God this is a horrible question haha! Is there other food on the island?? ummmm……. Vegan Sriracha Mayonnaise. That stuff goes with anything…
One luxury item… Coconut oil. Cheating a bit but its a brilliant moisturiser, healer, hair product and cooking oil. Boom!
Millie, as always, thank you very much. If people want more information on you and the band, how can they do that?
You’re welcome!! Thank you Jonjo!!
Here’s a list:

 

If you have never heard anything by Millie Manders before, here are a selection of her songs for you to get your teeth into!

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TEN BEST LIVE-ACTION MARVEL TV CHARACTER PORTRAYALS

Marvel TV shows have been a big extension to the MCU since Agents Of SHIELD debuted in 2013. With four shows currently in this universe, and a number more still in production, we have got lots to enjoy. There has been some fantastic performances so far in the last three years and I am sure Luke Cage this month will continue the trend. With ABC making a great start with the Agents side of the MCU and Netflix bringing us The Defenders, this list had a great mix of portrayals. Honourable mentions go to Mike Colter’s Luke Cage who narrowly missed the list, though will be right in the Top 10 from the previews of his upcoming series. Elodie Yung giving us a great Elektra really did well and Agent Carter actors James D’Arcy for being Mr Edwin Jarvis and Wynn Everett as she became the villainous Whitney Frost!

  1. Deborah Ann Woll – Karen Page (Daredevil)

All heroes need something to keep them grounded and Karen is definitely a character that is needed in the show.Deborah Ann Woll is cast well as the love interest to the title character and is at the centre of the story in both seasons. Karen may not be the toughest character, but she is willing to do all she can to help her friends and fight for justice. Her life changes when she comes to Nelson and Murdoch, but it is her investigation into The Punisher which really shows her worth.

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  1. Clark Gregg – Agent Phil Coulson (Agents Of SHIELD)

The man who was the backbone to the MCU throughout phase one was warmly welcomed back when talks of a spin-off begun. His death was maybe not liked by many, but there is a lot of good that came from this. First, we got a great mystery which lasted quite a while as to how Coulson came back to life. Clark Gregg embodies Coulson perfectly and he is a fan favourite. For a character that was made especially for the MCU, you can find him in all the different medias of Marvel and I am grateful for how much we get of this brilliant character.

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  1. Elden Henson – Foggy Nelson (Daredevil)

Every show needs some comic relief, and it works better if they also become the heart of the show. Foggy Nelson, best friend and business partner to Matt Murdoch. Their friendship changes forever when Foggy finds out Matt is actually Daredevil. As a lawyer, Foggy is definitely very resourceful and willing to do all he can to help those he cares about, that includes Matt and Karen. For most of the series, he is a source of humour and a break from the gripping drama in the show. But from the moment he finds a bludgeoned Matt in his apartment, that is when Foggy became his best!

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  1. Ming-Na Wen – Agent Melinda May (Agents Of SHIELD)

What happens when you get a character that is able to overshadow your main star, you get Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May. Known for her nickname The Cavalry, May is one of the toughest agents in SHIELD history. The character at one point stopped doing missions after something big happens and her life is in tatters. Though she may not be too social with her team, she is very protective and can kick the arse of any person that gets in her way. You wouldn’t want to get in a fight with May, but you would definitely appreciate her assistance if it was needed.

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  1. David Tennant – Kilgrave (Jessica Jones)

A man who is able to manipulate any person just by talking to them, Kilgrave is indeed a very dangerous character. He hasn’t got super strength, he can’t fly and can’t shoot beams from his hands, but he can control practically anyone. At one time, he was able to bend the will of Jessica Jones for his own gain and she had since lived with the nightmares of her actions. Kilgrave proves numerous times he is not to be messed with and David Tennant brings to the MCU his best performance since starring in Doctor Who.

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  1. Charlie Cox – Matt Murdoch/Daredevil (Daredevil)

From the first episode, we know that Matt Murdoch has been fighting crime both in and out of the court room for some time. Matt Murdoch is just truly wanting to get justice in his city. After his father died, he wanted to do all he could to protect the innocent. His path leads him to face The Kingpin and later the vigilante The Punisher. Daredevil was one of the first MCU heroes to prove just how vulnerable they can be, seeing Matt an inch from death is really hard to watch, but it may just be the most intriguing thing about the man without fear!

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  1. Hayley Atwell – Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)

Much like Coulson, Peggy has been a backbone to the MCU for quite some time. Since her debut in Captain America: The First Avenger, she has appeared in other Cap films, a short and in Agent Carter. Taking her role as a founder of SHIELD, Peggy continues her fight against those who could threaten the world while still holding some hope of seeing Steve again. Fighting her way through a sexist 1940’s America, Hayley Atwell gives her greatest performance as she gives the world the first true female hero in the MCU!

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  1. Jon Bernthal – Frank Castle/The Punisher (Daredevil)

Anyone who is a fan of The Punisher character will know that it’s not been easy to make this character appeal to an audience (Looking at 1989 and 2008 on this one). But, Jon Bernthal not only does a great job, but he steals the show every time he appears. He is more than a match for Daredevil, he has one of the greatest revenge stories in the comic book world and he honestly believes he is doing the right thing. Tormented by the death of his family, his path for vengeance and personal pain won over everyone…no wonder he is getting his own TV series!

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  1. Krysten Ritter – Jessica Jones (Jessica Jones)

For anyone who has seen Krysten in any other show, you will know her versatile she can be. Appearing in shows such as Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 was proof of her dedication, Jessica Jones is no exception. The character has not had the best of upbringings (how many superheroes actually did?), but she still tries to do what’s best. After her initial altercation with Kilgrave, Jessica struggles to get her life back together. She becomes a private detective and also has some powers too, not someone to mess with. PTSD plays a big part in the show, and to see the suffering Jessica has been through and goes through in the first season, you can’t help but feel for her. Sure she is drinking a lot, having sex with someone she is investigating and generally not caring about a lot of people. Inside, Jessica Jones is a character I feel the most for as she seems to put on such a strong front to forget her past.

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  1. Vincent D’Onofrio – Wilson Fisk/Kin gpin (Daredevil)

Coming up with a villain like Kingpin was a masterstroke for Marvel Comics, seeing him on screen is even better. Michael Clarke Duncan made the character fantastic in the 2003 Daredevil movie, but Vincent D’Onofrio made for a superb addition to the cast. We see him gradually in the first few episodes, but we know who he is immediately when we finally meet him. Wilson Fisk starts as a very private businessman who eventually comes to the light when he looks to “save” his city. We also get to see what made him into the Kingpin by seeing flashbacks to his childhood and also watching him fall in love with this to-be wife Vanessa. Don’t let this sensitive side fool you, he will still beat you to death (thinking of a certain car door scene). Definitely a powerful character and the best portrayal from Marvel’s TV line-up.

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

TEN BEST LIVE-ACTION DC CHARACTER PORTRAYALS (ARROWVERSE and GOTHAM)

Superhero TV shows have generally been a strong force in animation form for many years. With certain exceptions such as Batman 1966, Lois and Clark and Smallville, there has never been such high quality comic based shows on TV at one time. With DC ruling the roost on The CW and Fox, Marvel’s MCU taking Netflix and ABC by storm and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and Outcast making some damn fine TV! So, the first in a number of countdowns, I wanted to give some top 10’s based on more current comic book shows and the characters that feature within them. With the short lived Constantine being hugely popular, Arrow creating a massive TV universe and Gotham giving us some great origins on much loved characters.

This list was not easy to write, but there was so many to choose from. Honorable mentions go to Morena Baccarin’s Dr Leslie Thompkins in Gotham, her partner and good cop Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon and Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells and Reverse-Flash in The Flash. I want to know who you would say was portrayed best as opinions will always vary. This is my personal list, so take this as you will.

  1. Harold Perrineau – Manny (Constantine)

Portraying an original character in a comic book show is not always seen as a great idea, but Harold Perrineau pulls it off so well as the angel Manny. Guiding Constantine on his journey to prepare for the oncoming war with evil, Manny appears at times of great need (even when John really could do without seeing him). Sometimes a very insightful character and a moment or two of comic relief, it is a shame that we may not see him spread his wings in Constantine’s future anytime soon.

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  1. Teddy Sears – “Jay Garrick”/Hunter Zolomon/Zoom (The Flash)

Trying to top the brilliant work by Tom Cavanagh in season one was never going to be easy, but Teddy Sears takes you on one hell of a journey in season two. Revealing himself to be Jay Garrick at the start of the season, he claims his speed was stolen by another known as Zoom! The twist here is that Jay is actually Hunter Zolomon AKA Zoom and he has hatched a plan to destroy all universes and speedsters…including Barry. Who knows if he will run again into the lives of the STAR Labs team.

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  1. Emily Bett Rickards – Felicity Smoak (Arrow, The Flash)

Originally a minor character, Felicity grew to be one of the most important characters in the Arrowverse. Originally an employee of Oliver’s step-father Walter, Felicity proves herself to be a welcome addition to Team Arrow. Originally only wanting to save Walter, Felicity eventually joins the team full time and is vital in helping Oliver become more understanding and find new methods to deal with crime. Though many see their romance as annoying, Felicity really does make a big impact in the show and I hope she will do for a long long time to come.

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  1. David Harewood – “Hank Henshaw”/J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter (Supergirl)

One of the biggest surprises of Supergirl was the revelation that head of the DEA Hank Henshaw was actually the Martian Manhunter. Having been nearly killed by the real Hank Henshaw, Kara and Alex’s father saved J’onn and in return J’onn promised to look after Alex and Kara as much as he could. A character with a huge heart and one of the most heartbreaking backstories in comics, he fights his inner demons and becomes a true hero who eventually gets the recognition he deserves.

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  1. Manu Bennett – Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Arrow)

Probably the greatest rival to come up against Oliver, Slade Wilson originally helped Oliver Queen survive on the island and gave him the help he needed to escape and find his family. After Slade was injected with the “mirakuru”, he finds himself stronger than ever before, but his mind suffers from the chemical. He personally wants revenge against Oliver after what happens to him in regards to Shado and losing his eye. Killing Oliver’s mother and almost destroying the city was indeed enough to push The Arrow to his limit!

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  1. Danielle Panabaker – Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (The Flash, Arrow)

When she had her cameo in Arrow, I was not too sure how much I would like this character. But from her first episode, Caitlin is shown to be a great part of the STAR Labs team. She is shown to be very distraught over the particle accelerator explosion which seemingly killed her fiancé and at times being cold towards her friends. Though Caitlin is indeed, in at least one life, destined to be the villainous Killer Frost, she proves a true friend and a heart to the show. She knows how to take on enemies without powers of her own and will do anything to help you.

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  1. Stephen Amell – Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Arrow, The Flash. Legends Of Tomorrow)

The man behind the Arrowverse, Oliver Queen returns to Starling City after five years being presumed dead. When he returns, he takes on the mantle of The Arrow to fight the crime in the city as part of his promise to his father. Originally wanting to take on this crusade alone, Oliver later gets assistance from John Diggle, Felicity, Roy Harper, Sara Lance, Laurel Lance and even his sister Thea. Though Oliver may be sometimes hard to trust, he does care about his friends and family and does show a lighter side with his friend Barry/The Flash.

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  1. Grant Gustin – Barry Allen/The Flash (The Flash, Arrow)

After getting caught in his lab as the STAR Labs accident happened, Barry Allen became The Flash. Originally unsure if he deserved his powers, Barry would go on to become one the greatest heroes in existence. With a pure heart and mind, Barry is definitely the best person to have on your side when in trouble with a meta-human. When Barry developed his powers and begun travelling through time, we see him truly get emotional with anything around his deceased mother when he sees her in the past. We want Barry to have a happy ending, but has he destroyed the world to get it?

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  1. Robin Lord Taylor – Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Gotham)

The only Gotham character to make it into the list, but there is a good reason why he is this high! Robin Lord Taylor from episode one managed to make Penguin probably the best portrayal of the character in any medium. Danny DeVito done a great job in Batman Returns, Nolan North makes a great performance in the Batman Arkham games but it is Taylor’s take on the character which is unique and intriguing. Starting as an aspiring gangster, he eventually takes control of the Gotham underworld and uses many means to get what he wants. Whenever his version of Oswald Cobblepot takes to the screen, I am glued!

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  1. Matt Ryan – John Constantine (Constantine, Arrow)

You know you have done a character right when you have a fan and cast campaign to get you to be the character again (eventually appearing in Arrow Season 4) and then becoming the character again for an animated movie (2016’s Justice League Dark). Am I right? Matt Ryan embodies the character perfectly and does everything right. He smokes like a chimney, isn’t afraid to be rude, enjoys being an arse to people and fights demons with ease. The look is also done right, down to the hair colour and the clothes. We may have only had 14 hours of TV with John Constantine, but I am sure Matt Ryan’s version of the character will be around for a long time…and maybe that petition to get a season two of Constantine will also become reality one day!

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

With Captain America: Civil War just a couple of months away, the start of Phase Three will see some huge changes come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With favourites such as Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Spider-Man about to debut in the world, there is plenty of excitement growing for the upcoming movies. But, we should not forget the past. The 12 films in the series so far have proved just how far the series has come. With a great majority of films doing a splendid job, tight casting and some of the most memorable scenes in cinema through the 21st century. The MCU is definitely going to leave a huge mark on cinema history forever. Let’s see how the films so far rank from worst to best…

  1. Iron Man 2

Maybe the obvious choice, but it had to be. First off, we get Mickey Rourke after he wowed in The Wrestler and Sin City being given very little in terms of character development and being made to look too much like a slimmed down Iron Monger suit. We finally get Samuel L Jackson making his first full appearance as Nick Fury, but where exactly does he go for a majority of the film? Then we had Terrance Howard being replaced (though I did grow to like Don Cheadle a lot more from Iron Man 3 onwards). Though not a bad movie on its own, it is certainly misguided.

  1. Thor: The Dark World

Now, in my defence I think this film is very funny and the chemistry between the cast was great. It definitely gave us a better look at Asgard and was the first MCU film to really feature alien planets prominently. Though, the lack of menace from Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith and the story was almost non-existant. It did seem the film was just throwing ideas at a wall, hoping something would stick. Though seeing Stellan Skarsgard running around in the nude at Stonehenge is definitely something fun and unexpected, it couldn’t save the film.

  1. The Incredible Hulk

Don’t make Edward Norton angry…oh, they did! Clearly a huge improvement on the unrelated 2003 ‘Hulk’ by Ang Lee, this film still had a lot to prove. Luckily, the biggest improvement was the actors who stepped up. While Edward Norton may not be the favourite Hulk anymore, he certainly made a good attempt at being Dr Bruce Banner. With Liv Tyler being the heart, Tim Roth proving to be a top villain and William Hurt giving us the true General Ross, what could go wrong? Well not much, but from this film we could see it seemed almost unrelated to the MCU, save for that little post-credit scene which I still believe is a flash-forward to ‘Captain America: Civil War’.

  1. Iron Man 3

After The Avengers did the best job possible for superhero movies, it was then left to Robert Downey Jr. and his friends since 2008 to somehow continue after this peak. While it was not as good as the 2012 team-up, it certainly did keep the entertainment levels up. Breaking the previous formula slightly from the first two films, we see Tony Stark go against someone with powers. The extremis-powered Killian was certainly a good match for strength and proved to be a greater danger and a better villain than some that came before.

  1. Thor

We get to meet Thor, God of Thunder and our first true “alien” for the Avengers. But also, we get to meet Loki. Possibly the best villain the MCU has shown, Loki really gets to have fun and he really gets to show his descent into evil with emotional consequences. The fight between the “brothers” is certainly a highlight for the MCU and to see the legendary Sir Anthony Hopkins take the part of Odin was too great to be true. The film may not be perfect, but it is a fun piece and will be regarded as taking a huge step in the development of the MCU.

  1. Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Bringing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes together for the second time was no easy task, and the ripples of it still resonate nearly a year later. Joss Whedon had previously done so much for the MCU from taking on The Avengers and giving his touch to phase 2 overall. Though Whedon has said about his struggles with the movie, he certainly did give 110% and maybe put in a bit too much into the runtime of the movie. Setting up many elements for phase three, bombarding many characters into the film and not giving them the necessary breathing space, it was a huge task. Though the film is great, I am sure we could have had a few changes. Ultron was great though!

  1. Ant-Man

Funny name? Think it’s a gimmick? Well, it isn’t. Many didn’t know that Ant-Man actually came to comics before many of the Avengers you may know, and it was a worthy wait to see him finally come into the MCU. Bringing a huge amount of humour and truly creating a different character for the screen, it was indeed a lot of fun to finally explore the world from a different perspective. Plus, how many comic actors can really make a character who is a thief become a popular film hero? Paul Rudd really made this character his own, and I am sure Civil War will see him shine again!

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger

We had Iron Man, we had Hulk and we also just had Thor. To complete The Avengers, we needed the super soldier from the 1940’s. Going back in time, we get a few ties to the other avengers in regards to the serum which would later be adapted and create the Hulk, or even Howard Stark meeting Cap before his son would by 70 years. Also, we get to see a character that possibly is the most vulnerable of all the heroes we had seen so far. Plus, the iconic Red Skull is well achieved by Hugo Weaving, and we need Red Skull back! Plus we got Peggy Carter, and she is awesome!

  1. Iron Man

Iron Man kicked off the MCU, and he made the Marvel world cool again. The bad taste of Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand and Fantastic Four made the mid-2000’s a bit dull for comic adaptations. Iron Man though, proved you could be fun and serious. Robert Downey Jr. made himself the coolest guy in Hollywood by taking this B-list Marvel character and making him challenge and better many heroes that came before. Also, it showed that big stars wanted to be in superhero movies, a trend which still continues today.

  1. The Avengers

The results of years of work paid off in a huge way. The highest-earning superhero movie of all time, and for a great reason, and some of the greatest fun I have ever had at the cinema. Seeing the return of Loki, we saw the god come to earth to claim it as his own. The Avengers then assemble and bring everyone on their A-game to make a brilliant work of art. Also, who knew that a superhero movie could be that funny, and the biggest laughs coming from the Hulk of all characters? Definitely a spectacle in cinema.

  1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The film which many people apparently dreaded (many people felt mixed on Cap, and few were originally interested in his next solo outing). Coming out in the UK in MARCH! Yes, that is MARCH. It seemed too early of a date to become a blockbuster, but we was wrong. Captain America came back on fighting form and within minutes, proved himself to be one of the most popular characters in cinema today. Chris Evans took the superhero to new heights and brought in “The Dark Knight” of the MCU. It was gritty, intelligent, tough, fun and had heart throughout. The reveal of Bucky may have been obvious from day one, but nobody cares when you leave that film thinking “Captain America is F***ING AWESOME!”. He may not fly, have weapons coming out of his arms or can turn green, but he certainly knew how to fight his critics.

  1. Guardians Of The Galaxy

Where do we begin? This film was almost doomed from the start. An unknown group of heroes, a director known more from Slither and the live-action Scooby Doo films (Yep, he wrote them. No joke!) and how about the idea of a sentient tree and talking raccoon being friends? Well, you was wrong! This film was just incredible. It was a hug punch of adrenaline into the mainstream and showed that risks should still be taken in Hollywood. The film was just a delight for the eyes, the music from the 1970’s was a perfect complement to the visual treat and the acting was second to none! James Gunn is currently making the sequel, due to be released next year. If it is half as good as this movie, I will be very happy indeed.

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove