Tag Archives: Marvel

Ant-Man and The Wasp! Review!

Ok, let’s get this over with. Arguably, this is the weakest Marvel film of 2018 so far! But, is it a bad film? Definitely not!

Set some time after Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is near the end of his two-year stint under home arrest. While he has reconnected with his family, Scott has not been in contact with Hope or Hank since his actions in assisting Cap in Germany. But, when the scientists begin work with the quantum realm, it isn’t long until the former con is back in the fold.

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Ok, I will do a more in-depth look at the film at a later time. There is a lot to take from this movie, first of all is the humour. While Avengers: Infinity War was a more intense and serious affair, Ant-Man and The Wasp is definitely the perfect tonic to the higher stakes we have already experienced. With the comedic timing of Paul Rudd and the unbelievably talented Michael Pena as he gives us some more fantastic improv to bring tears of laughter to the eyes of the audience. Also, the size jokes continue to be a thing…a great, funny, silly over-the-top THING!

The film is not all about Rudd and Pena; though they could honestly do a 2-hour feature with just the pair of them and I would be sold! Evangeline Lilly is indeed a highlight portraying the titular Wasp, it marks a great progression from her first MCU appearance as the feisty Hope looking to fill the boots of her mother (and doing a damn good job). Michelle Pfeiffer’ Janet is great and I hope someone we will see more of in Phase Four! Also, could Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost be one of the most conflicting antagonists to come so far? Also, wasn’t Walton Goggins fun? How about I just say the whole cast was fantastic (Abby Ryder Fortson is just so adorable as Scott’s daughter, you just really hope she wasn’t subjected to that infamous snap!).

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The film, much like the first, does relish in its smaller scale. Whereas Infinity War and Black Panther had worldwide repercussions, this was a more personal story filled with as many Easter eggs as a supermarket the day after Christmas! If you love some comic goodness or just an affiliation with a certain British musician, this will be right up your street! The special effects reflect well with this and again provide many size related spectacles and gags which again mostly all land. Seeing a GIANT Ant-Man in the water was in one way truly amazing and cheesy in equal measure. Also the car collection, why did that work so well?

If I had a critical point to make, it is within the post-credit scenes (yes, we get two!). While the first clip gives a great tease of what is to come, the second feels like it could have done with maybe a bit more substance. The second actually gives a great hint of what to expect in the future, but it feels almost wasted for a laugh which barely made a chuckle in the packed cinema screen.

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Overall, I have to say I really had a lot of fun. It’s not the best MCU film of this year and would barely scratch my top 10, but there is an appreciation for this segment of the established universe and I do have a particular love for the lead characters. While this sequel may be the most important, it’s fair to say that a potential Ant-Man 3 would make more than perfect sense considering where we conclude!

Give yourself a laugh this summer and remember that we had to wait 4 more weeks in the UK because they thought this film would tank during the World Cup…I waited and I can’t wait for my second viewing.

Final rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP..L to R: Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018
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James Gunn FIRED from Marvel! And Why I Am Conflicted!

First off, I do not want to show myself in defence of the words that James Gunn has been known to deliver on his Twitter account between 2008-2011. The comments are disgusting, horrific and beyond comprehension. Twitter has been seen as a dangerous medium for many users who have experienced a “bump” in their career because of what they have contributed to the social media site. Roseanne Barr saw her sitcom swiftly cancelled following the message she put out about a former advisor of Obama, why she thought a racist post would be OK on such a much used site such as Twitter is just insane and I am glad she felt the repercussions.

While Gunn was indeed apologetic for his comments that he made well in advance and must had been aware to Disney and Marvel before his hiring, the company has in the last 24 hours made the decision to eject Gunn from both Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 and out of Disney altogether. This leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the fans and doubts over the future for the film in question.

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The sacking of James Gunn is indeed a strange case, while I feel that anyone who jokes about paedophilia and rape should be taken extremely seriously and punishment should be delivered to that individual, is it right to punish someone after all these years? As mentioned earlier, I don’t see how Marvel and Disney could not have been made aware of these comments before. Why is it only when he made a comment about Trump, which many have done before, did the historical messages come to light?

The Daily Caller; a website you may not be too familiar with, has also shown their loving support to President Donald Trump in recent years. Not only with the slams against Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but also co-founder Tucker Carlson has seemingly supported Trump over many of the noteworthy articles to fill the papers and the news sites over the last few years.

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As a British citizen, I will admit I don’t dabble in US politics and I also do not have an opinion over what is right or wrong with the political climate of the United States. I write this article more as a piece to consider, James Gunn was exposed by this site and then had members share the historic tweets over the internet. Gunn has in my opinion served his penance and we are talking about the words (not actions) of a man from nearly a decade ago! If the world is able to allow someone to become a world leader after making comments about grabbing women inappropriately or even letting the MCU’s very own Robert Downey Jr. make a comeback after some very dark days, how is this really any different?

Before I finish this, I want to bring forward just one more person…Frankie Boyle! Frankie is a comedian who has possibly created the most disgusting excuses for jokes I have ever seen or heard in my life. Boyle has made jokes about The Queen, Rebecca Adlington, Katie Price’s son Harvey and even mocked those with Down’s Syndrome after performing a supposed 5-minute skit. But, the so-called comic has been allowed to continue with not only his routine, but still regularly features in his own headline TV shows after repeated offences on those who do not deserve the horrid missiles from this awful excuse of a human being.

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Again, I do not accept James Gunn’s comments as the norm and am sickened with the idea that this guy who brought together two fantastic MCU films would have made these words for all to see. I would only say that for so many people who seem to continue to sicken the public with comments and actions are allowed to stay relevant but one man who made a mistake years ago and apologised for it back then has now suffered!

To all the fans of Disney, Marvel, Guardians Of The Galaxy and of Gunn himself, I would ask not to let this incident ruin what you have enjoyed of his work. I admit I can not see the Director/Writer in the same way as I did before this came up, but I do think the work he has done shouldn’t be tainted by what has been revealed. People will always look to hurt someone for one reason or another, and surprise surprise we all make mistakes that will probably bite us in the arse one day!

In the words of The Five Stairsteps…”O-o-h Child, things are gonna get easier. O-o-h Child, things will get brighter!”

Written by a rather disappointed Jonjo Cosgrove

Seven MCU Films That Should Come After Avengers 4

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has never been hotter! 20 films later and the franchise is not only the most successful movie series of all time, but the quality today is a testament to the hard work and fun execution of each entry. Where the films do vary in genre, it is clear that it is all connected. While characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Black Panther have become household names, other favourites like Hulk and Spider-Man have also seamlessly weaved themselves into the MCU.

While we countdown to 2019 (or August 3rd if like me you are in the UK and trying not to get mad at the fact you have to wait for ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ to come out), I want to discuss the Marvel films that need to happen after Avengers 4 closes the Third Phase. Now, I won’t include ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ or ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3’ as they are officially in production. But I will use the films that have been heavily rumoured and mention what I think they could be about.

BLACK WIDOW

WHY – Why not! Black Widow is all but confirmed since the supposed appointment of Cate Shortland as the director of the much-anticipated solo film.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT – While there are a good few people who would like to see a prequel film showing Natasha Romanoff in her younger days before becoming an Avenger. But I think a film where Black Widow actually disappears following Avengers 4 could be intriguing. Maybe we could see the character go off the grid and become a mercenary. How about she later returns to New York to take on the Kingpin (yes, I will keep Vincent D’Onofrio).

We could see a revenge storyline slash team up film where Natasha, wanting to stay away from her former allies after witnessing some truly horrific sights, will unite with Matt Murdoch in and out of costume as both finding a new calling and a new romantic partner. Maybe get some cameos from Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist for a Defenders 2.0! Maybe!

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DOCTOR STRANGE 2

WHY – Doctor Strange was one of the most visually stunning films of recent times. While the character has only been part of the MCU since 2016, he played his part as one of the central characters in Avengers: Infinity War. He actually got more screen time than Cap, Hulk, Black Widow, the majority of the Guardians and even Spider-Man! While viewers of that film may doubt his future, this is one character that still has a lot to give.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT – The first film saw the rivalry grow between Strange and Mordo, we can only hope that this expands over the sequel and see more screen time for Wong and maybe introduce Brother Voodoo as another ally.

In terms of plot, Mordo could possibly work with another powerful villain to take on the Sorcerer Supreme. Mephisto is one villain that deserves to be brought in, but this could also be a backdoor way to introduce Ghost Rider to the MCU (not counting Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Mephisto is super evil and could ultimately trick Mordo and attempt to take over the universe. Maybe a Loki-esque redemption story for the powerful antagonist could see him re-join Strange for a final battle. Introduce hell to the cinematic universe? Could make for a great battleground for the heroes and villians.

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FANTASTIC FOUR

WHY – How many times can FOX royally screw up Marvel’s first family? Well, hopefully that will not be an obstacle for long. With the imminent purchase of 20th Century Fox, Disney will finally be able to bring the Fantastic Four into the MCU. We need another team to rival the Avengers in this cinematic world, plus Ant-Man director Peyton Reed wants to make this film a reality…and I would happily let him.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT – With the opportunity to introduce Doctor Doom and Galactus to the MCU, we could see two films centred on Reed Richards and his team as they face off Doctor Doom in the first movie (with assistance from Silver Surfer) and then maybe a sequel which goes between Earth and the Cosmos as the Fantastic Four team up with the Surfer to take on Galactus (or maybe save the almighty villain for another Avengers film in a few years).

We could also see the Fantastic Four debut in the very likely Black Panther sequel, seeing as T’Challa originally came from their comic book, it could be a fitting link and brilliant Easter Egg. Also, maybe this first film could see some distortion in the space/time continuum to retcon them into the MCU…it could work!

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CAPTAIN BRITAIN

WHY – Possibly one of the hardest ones to bring over (his sister is X-Men fave Psylocke), but as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver managed to cross into the established film series with ease, we could also see Brian Braddock join in very soon. Also, as the franchise has been in the US for its majority with odd spells in Africa and Europe, a UK based hero could be a fun change.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT – Brian Braddock could be seen as a scientist who is working on a potential cure for a disease that could be alien related, with him receiving the “Amulet Of Right” as payment from Merlyn. Similar to Doctor Strange, we could see Cap (Britain) learn a new side to his own world and Modred The Mystic could be seen as both the antagonist of the film and a long term rival/former ally to Merlyn.

We could also get some great scenes in Maldon, Essex. As this is where the character originates, it would be fun for me at least to see a truly nice place in the UK on the big screen. We could also see Braddock begin to doubt his might as a superhero and see him try to get back to his life as a renowned man of science.

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WHY – Since taking the title from Carol Danvers, Kamala Kahn has made a great impression with her own adventures which began in 2013 when the character was exposed to them damn Terrigen Mists and discovered her Inhuman capabilities. As proven with Spider-Man, a youthful perspective is never a bad thing.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT – Whereas Peter Parker was a more immature yet grounded character, Kahn could possibly go a bit wackier while also highlighting her struggles in her family and with the Muslim faith. We could also see her get help from Captain Marvel and see her take on The Inventor, who was her first villain in her own comic.

What more could we have in this film? As Ms. Marvel is able to shapeshift, we could see some great scenes that involve the title character to disguise herself to find out information or to have some potentially humourous interactions with the Avengers (imagine if Kamala tried to disguise herself as Captain Marvel?). This could be a movie which has that ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ spirit with a dash of Ant-Man for good measure.

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SHE-HULK

WHY – Bruce Banner has unfortunately not seen many of the characters specifically from his comic translate to the MCU. If we didn’t include the 2008 film ‘The Incredible Hulk’, we have only had General Ross and Korg as the standouts. Kevin Fiege has said that there will be more women superheroes, and this one could have the perfect entry. Hulk is likely to stay within the film universe for some time, but it would be good to see his cousin Jennifer enter the frey.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT – After receiving a blood transfusion from Bruce Banner, she begins to transform into a milder version of the Hulk. While super strong, Jennifer Walters maintains her personality and intelligence and becomes a powerful ally of The Avengers. We could maybe see She-Hulk and Hulk team up to fight another villain we have almost forgot about…The Leader!

For anyone who saw the 2008 film, there was a small glimpse of Samuel Sterns as he begun to transform into the supervillain with the intelligence to rival the world’s top minds. While Hulk may not be a match for the character on a battle of the brains, She-Hulk could possibly be the one who takes on this almighty foe and give us a conclusion to a long-left plot thread!

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ETERNALS

WHY – We have had enhanced Super Soldiers, Inhumans, Asgardians and even a Hulk! But, how about the offshoots of humanity who are near-immortal? These guys have got some great potential to cause a big threat to the universe and could possibly be the next big clash that could come following the final fight with Thanos.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE ABOUT – These beings are super powerful and have been around since the dawn of man, so how about another space epic which shows a clash that goes between Earth in the distant past and the world as we know it today! We could see The Eternals in their war with The Deviants.

With a tale that could go between Earth, Uranus and Titan (yes, the same Titan that Thanos is from…and he is technically an Eternal). We could see a story which establishes how Thanos’ home world fell to the destruction we saw in Infinity War and see a story which would make it look like the Marvel Cinematic Universe had just been fused with the fighters of Dragonball Z! Now that is a film I really want to see!!!!!!

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Well that is a selection of the films I really want to see in the MCU, and maybe these will form what Phase Four could be! But what films or characters would you like to see? Are you annoyed I didn’t put Black Panther 2 on the list? (let’s be honest, you all know it is going to happen!). Also, could we see the X-Men join in the action? Well, let me know what you think below.

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Marvel’s Inhumans – Episode 1 and 2 REVIEW!

‘The First Chapter’

*Mild Spoilers Ahead*

Many of you may wish that Marvel kept this as a movie in the original MCU line-up, and in a way I will agree with you. It was a bold move for Marvel to develop this as a series following the success of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the way they handled the Inhuman characters that came from there, and this does succeed in many ways. Also, before anyone says it, yes we got Scott Buck behind the show. I liked Iron Fist, but I am not here to win you over on that series.

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We start on earth where a newly “awoken” Inhuman has been exposed to the Terrigen mist, she is trying to escape a strike team who goes after her. This is where we meet Triton, who is sadly given minimal screen time. We then move to the moon and find ourselves in the city of Attilan, giving us our first introduction to King Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Queen Medusa (Serinda Swan) as they are embraced in her magical locks of fire-red hair.

The Royal Family are all loyal to Black Bolt and obey his law, except for his brother Maximus. Where Black Bolt is seen as a good king and a protector of their world, Maximus has had enough of living in secret and believes the Inhumans should go to Earth. Maximus barely takes his brother’s side to begin with, but he finds himself taking charge after being given a glimpse into the future. Taking over the Attilan army, the brother of the king takes control of the city and is only stopped from destroying the Royal Family thanks to teleporting dog, Lockjaw!

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While the show may not be too heavy on spectacle, the earth-set scenes are shot beautifully. The opening sequence with Triton on Hawaii is well executed and even the scenes of Black Bolt and Maximus conversing with each other is a must see. Also, for a protagonist who doesn’t mutter a single word, Black Bolt is indeed a unique MCU character and one who may carry more power than we actually know. Also there is some mystery built up about a shared past between the powerless Maximus and hair-wielding beauty Medusa which I am sure will develop over the series.

We know that this show is still part of the MCU, even though many will think it is just merely cast aside from what could have been a fantastic movie. As for a start to a TV show, there is good and bad points. While the premiere episodes leave something missing, they do bring some great set pieces and make a push on the storytelling front to some success. Without giving too much away, you will almost want to be on Maximus’s side when you see what finally pushes him to take over.

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Special effects aren’t greatly used in these episodes, they weren’t really vital for what we have seen so far. The costumes are in some ways faithful to the book (Black Bolt looks cool and some of the concepts on the female cast members work well), in other ways they look tacky and cheap. Marvel TV needs to take tips from the Netflix costume department and throw in some threads that pop on screen. Make up isn’t a massive issue, though I would expect more people to look less human than what we see on screen. Anyone wondering about Medusa’s hair, I will just say that it does get its uses. The writing isn’t too strong for cast members outside the central trio, but efforts are made on the rest of the Inhumans and I hope they get more exciting material later in the series.

Then, as it should be obvious, we have our cast. First off, Anson Mount is superb as the king of Attilan, pulling so many emotions and saying an array of words without saying a thing. Serinda Swan is sexy and dangerous as Medusa, pulling no punches with that snake-like hair. Iwan Rheon has proved he can be Number 1 bastard before when he played Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones, where he is a whole different beast who honestly thinks he is doing the right thing. Some of the cast do get seemingly short changed with little to do, and I only hope that changes as the show goes on. One last cast mention is Ken Leung as Karnak. Karnak may not be front and centre like the other three mentioned, but he does get some great lines and provides a few decent laughs.

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Finally, I liked these two episodes. The 75 minutes in the IMAX screen does swiftly pass by, making me wonder if £15 of my hard-earned cash was worth the investment into the Inhuman Royal Family. There are problems in the writing, the costumes and with some of the characters. But, as I said, I hope this changes along the way. Inhumans is a property that could get a good few years of life and finally bring the Marvel Cinematic Universe together to blur the TV and Film realms. I would say if you are an MCU fanatic, IMAX may be worth it for seeing the opening two-parter. Don’t expect anything too spectacular on the big screen, save it for TV if you are more curious than dedicated.

Final rating: 7/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

P.S. Lockjaw is quite cool and I am sure a toy of him is currently in development!

You can see Inhumans from Friday 29th September on ABC in the United States and in the UK later in 2017 with a broadcaster yet to be confirmed.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming. Review. “The world’s changing, boys. It’s time we change too.”

Well done Marvel, you proved that you could make Spider-Man awesome again and that Sony should just give over all the rights to Spider-Man and just let Venom be part of the MCU now…but you can scrap the Black Cat/Silver Sable film as we don’t need it!

First off, it is easy to say that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man we have had yet! Taking on Peter Parker is someone who actually looks like he is 15, why was that so difficult to do in the first place? He has a great presence throughout and his version of Spider-Man is the one we always really needed. I will mention more on Holland a bit later once I tell you a bit more about the movie.

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So, the first thing we get is the introduction of Damage Control (the guys in charge of clearing up the messes from The Avengers), this is what basically brings us our major villain, The Vulture. Adrian Toombs, AKA The Vulture (played rather well by Michael Keaton) is seen as just a man who wants to get what he believes is owed to him. The Vulture is not alone, he does have back-up (Two Shockers and a Tinkerer to be exact) who actually do prove themselves as a challenge for Spidey (well, not so much Tinkerer as he…well, just watch it and you will see).

We also get to see how being Spider-Man influences the everyday life of Peter Parker. He is eager to become an Avenger and finds himself with his own challenges. Feeling neglected by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. only appears in about 4 scenes, making it clear this is a SPIDER-MAN movie! Though his scenes are all great and necessary, with some funny interactions with his usual wit and delivery), Peter only wants to prove himself a hero and goes through some tough and funny obstacles to get there. It’s when Peter comes into contact with The Vulture does he realise there is some serious danger coming his way.

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While Spider-Man may not be dealing with someone who has multiple arms or joined with an alien parasite, Adrian Toombs is indeed a terrific villain and someone who really grabs you from his first moments. Overall, Toombs becomes The Vulture to get what he thinks he deserves. You do feel bad for him at one point in the movie, but that doesn’t last long.

I will just say it; Keaton’s Vulture is one of the best villain’s in the MCU so far. I would need to do an official ranking of all villains to show you where he stands, so watch out for that one!

For the rest of the cast, they do prove their worth throughout. Marisa Tomei is superb as Aunt May (and the jokes involving the men fancying her are greatly humorous) and I only hope she remains a staple of this universe. There is also great turns from Jacob Batalon as Peter’s best friend Ned who actually proves his worth as comic relief and a hero. Zendaya and Laura Harrier also give some strong performances with Zendaya’s Michelle getting some good laughs and being a strong character overall and Harrier’s Liz showing great determination and emotion. For the supporting cast, the one I really enjoyed seeing was Jon Favreau coming back as Happy Hogan. Happy is a great character and he was probably given the most to do in Homecoming than any other MCU film he has appeared in.

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This is a Spider-Man that is at home in this world. The characters all feel like natural pieces of this universe and the majority of them make their mark rather well. The teachers in particular bring some good laughs, most of the students are fun too. Having characters like Michelle, Ned and Aunt May shows they are certainly going to become the backbone to Homecoming 2!

For the overall feel of this film, I feel I am about to borrow from what everyone else has said, but I have to agree with them. Spider-Man: Homecoming does feel like a John Hughes movie. The comedy is heartfelt and relatable throughout. The quirky side we get of Peter Parker as a teenager in school is a great contrast to his fearless actions as the web-slinger. Jon Watts is more than welcome to come back for the sequel.

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There is a lot being pushed in this movie towards the future of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it never feels forced or convoluted (*Cough* *Cough* The Amazing Spider-Man 2). The links towards the future of both Spider-Man and the MCU will indeed be met with enthusiasm and make you want Avengers: Infinity War now! Also, look out for all the little Easter Eggs and cameos throughout.

I could talk about this film all day, but I want to end with telling you that this film beats all expectations and will make you laugh a lot! The action scenes look fantastic and the big fights between Spider-Man and The Vulture do go between comedic and dramatic with little effort. The soundtrack, look and characters of a 1980’s high school film with a superhero and a guy who steals alien weapons!

The best Spider-Man film so far!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

P.S. Make sure you see the mid and post credit scenes, the final shot is hilarious and thought-provoking!

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2! Review!

Let’s just say this, it wasn’t easy to make a film that could capture you like the first Guardians film. But James Gunn has indeed delivered a worthy sequel which is both very funny, action packed and will make you cry more than the ending of Marley & Me!

Starting just a few months on from the first film and with Awesome Mix Vol. 2 in hand, the Guardians are hired by the Sovereign Race leader Ayesha to defeat the creature the Abilisk. After things go wrong when Rocket tries to rip them off, the Guardians then have to fight to survive the Sovereign when they attack in waves of remote-controlled ships. It’s after this epic sequence that the true storyline begins.

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We know that Ego is the father of Peter Quill, and these two coming together does indeed pack an emotional punch to the gut. But it is the revelations that come later in the film which really brings you crashing down to earth. Kurt Russell does give it a great go as Ego, and he stays more within his origins than I would have believed. In fact, Ego actually does serve a greater purpose for the film than many may think.

I spoke about the emotion and action, but the comedy cannot be denied. Dave Bautista’s Drax is certainly the funniest of the Guardians in the film. Whether it is him trying to define Mantis’s beauty, speaking of how Ego could mate with Quill’s mum or even a discussion on penises (yes, penis jokes and sex with a planet comment is in this movie!). Also, there is plenty of humour from Baby Groot, a lot of which comes from him being the focus of the opening titles.

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This film is not all colours, action, jokes and quips. This film is definitely the most emotional of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you didn’t cry over the death of Peter’s mum in the 2014 film then you are: A. The most heartless person in the world, B. You mustn’t have paid attention at the beginning and C. you will have a tear in your eye when you hit the big revelation about Meredith Quill.

Expanding the Guardians roster is similar to that of The Avengers, and the characters are as unique as they come. Yondu (Michael Rooker on the top of his game) comes to join the Guardians and is effortlessly cool. Nebula (Karen Gillan) reluctantly becomes a member, and you can see she would rather be anywhere else in the universe. The best of the new Guardians for me though is Mantis, Pom Klementieff is fantastic as the character and you almost want to adopt her for how adorable she is throughout. Innocence is rare in this franchise, and it is only her and Groot who are probably the only real innocent characters in the film series.

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Speaking of Groot, it was a stroke of genius to keep him in his smaller form. This does work for many occasions, and it also brings some more comical moments that could not happen with the full-grown Groot. He seems bent on causing a lot of havoc for Rocket, but he does show he cares. Groot does at times seem a bit helpless, but you can’t deny he makes you laugh a lot. Let’s be honest, everyone does bring some laughs.

Chris Pratt still brings his best as Peter Quill and Zoe Saldana likes to play with her chemistry with Quill as the straight-faced warrior Gamora. I really liked Pom Klementieff in this film and I can’t wait to see her part in Avengers: Infinity War. Dave Bautista’s Drax is indeed the scene-stealer each time, he does get the best lines and even all the penis talk is seen as really funny just because it comes from Drax.

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While I may think there are a couple of little issues (number of characters, changes of pace), these are nothing much of concern. I didn’t see this film wanting a clone of the first, I wanted a natural progression. The film flows nicely, all the little easter eggs and nods to the grander Marvel world is very welcome. Also, possibly the greatest Stan Lee cameo ever? It is definitely up there! Then there is the soundtrack! I didn’t think it could happen twice, but it certainly is a highlight again. Songs from Fleetwood Mac, Looking Glass, ELO and more (I think the soundtrack will be a review on its own!).

A movie with lots of humour, so much action and more heart than a Gallifrey full of Time Lords. James Gunn creates another masterpiece which will only build excitement for Avengers 3 and Guardians Vol. 3! Maybe not the best that the MCU has made, but certainly the best blockbuster of 2017 so far!

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Is Spider-Man The Future Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Do we all remember how excited we were when Spider-Man was finally brought into the MCU. We honestly needed him in the film franchise. Not just for the great character that he has been shown to be in Captain America: Civil War, but we also have Spider-Man: Homecoming out in July (co-starring Iron Man too) and we have him in the Avengers: Infinity Wars movie and its sequel, as well as a Homecoming sequel in 2019. While we have waited so long for this to happen, it is fair to say that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is fully integrated into the established movie universe. But, could Sony be about to destroy all of that?

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Announced in the last few weeks, a Venom movie was said to be coming out on 5th October 2018. Now, a Venom movie in the MCU would be good, wouldn’t it? Well tough s**t. Sony are planning to make their own cinematic universe with not just the iconic villain, but also doing a movie with Black Cat and Silver Sable. Sony, why don’t you ever learn?

Now I don’t have a massive problem with them making a Venom spin-off. But considering this is about the 3rd or 4th attempt to do so since 2007’s Spider-Man 3. At that time, people were underwhelmed with Topher Grace’s less than stellar performance. The spin-off would have been a way to bring the then-established Venom to a more favourable view with its audience. If done then, it may have been fine. Ok, so Sony want to make this new universe and really make a mess while continuing on with Marvel and the MCU. At least that will be fine, won’t it?

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Ok, so there has been some chatter this week about how long Spider-Man will be in the MCU. Amy Pascal (the woman whose emails got hacked where she gave her “suggestions” on films that Barack Obama would like and took part in an exchange where Angelina Jolie was referred to as a brat!) has seemingly suggested the partnership for Spider-man in the MCU won’t last for long. If Spider-Man: Homecoming does become a hit (which is very much a certainty), I can see that Spider-Man will be a big part of the MCU and possibly take over Iron Man as the head character of this universe.

Going forward, the best thing we have to look forward to in this deal is the wealth of villains that Spider-Man brings. Already we begin with The Vulture, being played by Michael Keaton. We also have got Shocker and The Tinkerer in the movie. Imagine all the possible antagonists going ahead. Maybe the Sinister Six could come around (but not be stupidly teased like in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) or we could have double trouble with Venom and Carnage. Also, how can we sort this Venom problem?

First thing, make Venom a part of the MCU. No excuses for not having this character as part of the cinematic universe we have come to love over the last nine years. My theory would be that Donald Glover could possibly be a new version of Eddie Brock. Possibly involving an experiment to replicate Spider-Man’s powers, the symbiote is created and attaches itself to Eddie Brock (possibly a former accomplice of Adrian Toomes AKA The Vulture) and plans his revenge against Spider-Man. Then we could get this Venom film as a way of exploring this character and maybe see him face off against Carnage after initially being a villain. The 2018 movie should be part of the MCU, a late entry to phase three and possibly set up a major villain to take on the Avengers after Thanos (Carnage could possibly be a huge villain to take his place. Along with Dormammu).

If we can all agree, how many villains can you name that are normally associated with Marvel heroes when you take away Spider-Man’s rogues gallery? Ok, we had Loki, Zemo, Thanos and Ultron. But then again, you have Doctor Octopus, Lizard, Mysterio, Carnage, Scorpion, Chameleon, Sandman, Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, Black Cat, Rhino, Kraven, Kingpin and many more. In fact, Kingpin has already proven hugely popular in the established universe in the Netflix series Daredevil. We need more of the characters we grew up with and knew really well.

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It is a no-brainer for the Spider-Man properties to stay in the MCU and just get an overall benefit from the collaboration. To see any of these in the MCU would be a massive win. Sony, I know you don’t listen to these comments and won’t change your minds from what I tell you. But, please don’t stop this deal. What you have here is the potential to continually grow this franchise for years to come. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has kept fresh and highly rated as it has explored many genres, tackled multiple subject matters and striking a deal with two huge companies is indeed another big win.

To put it simple, the MCU needs to continue to evolve to keep itself alive and Spider-Man IS the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character has been well received and is always certain to get many people to the cinema. We have probably not got too long left with Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor and Black Widow. The Avengers team has changed numerous times and will continue to do so. I can imagine Phase Three will end with our Avengers being Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, The Wasp, a new Captain America, Hulk and Captain Marvel. That is already a massive change. Who knows, we may even get Fantastic Four in phase four and really expand on another level.

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But for now, I am happy to see how the MCU evolves. There are so many avenues to see. We have The Defenders and The Punisher on Netflix to come later this year. The Inhumans TV series is starting to look great and all the upcoming films too! We need this universe, it has proven to be hugely satisfying and to see people continue to grow up with this world is truly special. Imagine in 20 years time and the same universe is still expanding on TV and film? Marvel created one of the most unique cinematic experiences of all time, and I hope this doesn’t stop for a long time to come. The future needs a good lead…and that lead, is Spider-Man!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Spider-Man: Homecoming is coming out 7th July 2017 in cinemas.

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Iron Fist: Season One Episode 1-3 review

Am I the only one who has enjoyed this show so far? I am not one to really read others reviews before I write my own, but some people have really slammed this show for a number of reasons. Whether it is down to the casting of Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist, the supposed uninspired fight scenes or even just…well everything. But, I have actually enjoyed the show so far. I will avoid as much on the spoiler territory as I can.

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Let us start with the casting, and I must say I quite like Finn Jones as lead character Danny Rand. I think there are a few issues with him in these opening episodes, but I can’t pin them on the actor. Finn does make us enjoy our time with Danny without making us feel bad for him, except for episode 3 when he confronts Joy and Ward. I can honestly say that this adaptation is probably one of the most faithful, while still taking a few twists to the original story in a satisfying way. Even having the classic iPod was a nice touch, I do enjoy some Outkast on a TV show. In other casting points, I am enjoying David Wenham as Harold Meachum. He is definitely building himself up to be yet another great villain in the Marvel/Netflix setting. I also do like seeing Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing, she takes no shit from anyone. An attitude I think the people behind this show should adopt.

In regards to the racial casting, do these critics read comics or know about its original concept? Danny Rand has always been a white man. Would I have minded if an Asian actor was cast as Danny? No, of course not. I don’t necessarily see it as a bad idea. Would it have really made a major difference to the show? No! I for one am all for diverse casting. Carrie Anne Moss was cast as Jeri Hogarth for the connected world, who in the comics was originally a man! But, this probably actually made the character better. But, that is enough on the cast.

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In terms of action, the first few episodes have a number of moments that does bring in some action. There have been no major fight scenes above a few fists being thrown, but I have witnessed a few uses of the legendary Iron Fist (which does have a Dragonball-esque look to it). The best fight so far has come from Jessica Henwick, which I am sure will have ripples in the upcoming episodes of the show. In terms of development, it does definitely slot itself in to the universe with many hints to the shows past and future. Plus, the appearance of Jeri Hogarth and another pre-established character helps bring this new cast into what we already have and know. The writing on the other hand…it’s ok. I think the whole Danny is mad bit was played wrong, but I did enjoy his buddy who helps him in the mental hospital. Though where episode 3 ends, it is truly making me want to watch more (I would have watched it all anyway).

To conclude, I know this was more an analysis and airing some thoughts rather than a review. I have enjoyed this show, it does offer some great moments and the human element is very strong. I do feel Daredevil and Jessica Jones had the better starts, it is worth noting the dynamic on this begins much better than any of the shows that precede this. I feel there will be a real formulaic set up coming soon in regards to the reason the Rand family crashed in the Himalayas. I am enjoying Iron Fist’s arc, but I also really enjoy seeing where Colleen is going. The Meachum family are a bit whiney, but I am sure that like Luke Cage (*spoilers incoming*) I reckon the Hand will fulfil the antagonist side for the show into its second half. Let’s see what episodes 4-8 bring and see where we stand from that point.

Final rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Inhumans. Are You Excited?

So, do you remember some time ago that Marvel dropped the Inhumans movie from their line-up of the MCU. But, in a very unprecedented move, the project was announced to be back and coming sooner than we thought. Instead of coming out as the film it was expected to be, Marvel and US network ABC will be making an eight-part series set around Black Bolt and the Royal Family. There is a lot more to this new series, including a first for a TV series. I am very excited to finally see The Inhumans we needed, but what are we exactly going to get? These are the reasons to look forward to the show!

Who Are The Inhumans?

Here is a history lesson from the pages of Marvel Comics. The alien race The Kree came to earth to look at the humans as potential soldiers for their war with The Skrulls. Experiments using the Terrigen Mist (How Daisy and many others found their powers in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) resulted in many humans changing into something more powerful. Where the X-Men were born with powers, the Inhumans developed when their potentials were released from the mist. The show will involve a selection of the Inhumans known as The Royal Family. The characters include their king Black Bolt, a powerful ruler whose very voice can destroy everything around him. His partner Medusa, a character who has near indestructible hair and can control it with her mind. The powerful Karnak, a man who can make highly precise attacks and has extrasensory ability to find weaknesses in persons and object. There are so many interesting characters, and you will see that not all the powers are considered a gift.

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IMAX Debut

In what has got to be a first for a TV show, Inhumans will be the first ever TV show to get its premiere in IMAX. This is a huge move for television and will undoubtedly be popular to see this show premiere in cinemas on 4th September next year. To think, this will mean the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have FOUR theatrical releases in 2017! Obviously, it is really early days on the project, but I am sure people will be eager for the September debut of the show. An IMAX debut shows that Marvel wants to have this series out there in the biggest possible way!

TV = More Time

There is a small majority of fans that will possibly be disappointed to see this long-standing film project being brought to TV and possibly involving only a fraction of the budget it may have had in a cinematic release? Well, if we learn anything from TV, some shows like Game Of Thrones (Costs more than many blockbusters!) and Boardwalk Empire look like they are produced as movies and look astounding. Plus, there must be a good amount of money going into the Inhumans show if they are doing TWO episodes that will be IMAX worthy. Also, though only eight episodes initially, this gives us a lot more time to really explore the Inhumans and learn about these characters.

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Not An Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Spin Off

With the few characters from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed to be Inhumans in 2014, it would make you think that the upcoming show would be a spin-off of ABC’s long-running (fourth season) Marvel show. But, it will instead be standing on its own two feet from the very beginning. I would be surprised if it didn’t use any characters established in the earlier show, though the option will always be there as it will be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the show debuting in just under a year, will there be a potential crossover with the Avengers on the horizon? Well, we will just have to wait and see just how much it weaves itself into the established world that has been brewing since 2008.

Who Will Star in Inhumans?

So, I hate to break the news, but I reckon them long-running rumours about Vin Diesel becoming Black Bolt will never become a reality. We know that Black Bolt, Medusa and The Royal Family will be the central characters. But, could we have a few reprisals from the MCU in the new show? Due to the characters being possible because of The Kree, maybe we could see a link to Guardians Of The Galaxy, maybe even Thor? Although it isn’t a straight spin-off of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (I am sure I have mentioned that, haven’t I?), I can’t see why Chloe Bennet can’t appear as Daisy/Quake and shake up (see what I did there?) the show!

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How This Affects The MCU

Many people have wanted to see The Inhumans come out in full force for so long now, even before being announced as part of the MCU. The Inhuman royal family will indeed be a game changer. It has been said this isn’t reimagining the original film plan. But it must be, right? It is focusing on Black Bolt and the other Inhumans, it will be part of the MCU and will certainly weave into the TV and Film realms to change it forever. I am waiting for one or two moon references now in the upcoming films. Also, what is to stop a cameo or two cropping up in one of the upcoming 2017 films? We know the Inhumans have already been creeping in to the MCU, but it is time for them to come out to the world and make their voices heard (except Black Bolt, because he will destroy everything).

Whatever you think, it is just 9 months until we get the Inhumans in full force. No doubt we will be hearing a lot more about the show after Christmas. But for now, let’s speculate away!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Strange Review: Strange? Maybe… (SPOILER FREE)

By Joanna Cosgrove

Marvel’s cinematic universe has given us some great heroes – and villains – but what keeps us coming for more is how this whole universe has so many levels, and so many worlds. We have the Avengers, saving the planet with all their might; we have the Guardians of the Galaxy, protecting the worlds beyond our own; and with the newest installment, we learn that Earth can be saved with the physical and the spiritual. Enter Doctor Strange.

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Alright, we have all heard mixed expectations. As the MCU expands, and we discover more brave faces, we also discover the diversity in how they keep everyone safe. That is where Doctor Strange dazzles us.

The story of famous surgeon, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), reaching past his medical expertise to cure himself of what he was repeatedly told was incurable nerve damage, shows something human in my eyes. He was full of himself, and he closed his mind off to whatever of the universe he didn’t know – he acted as if he knew it all – but he opened up his mind and that led to his powers. Opening his mind made him who he is; the best he can be. It’s inspiring, honestly.

We must discuss the ethnicity issue. It’s been there since the beginning and throughout the promotion for the movie, it needs to be discussed, not the whole movie is released to the public.

I need to admit, Tilda Swinton – as talented of an actor as she is – was possibly a mistake in casting. Don’t get me wrong, the diversity of actors cast in these roles is realistic and appropriate, but I believe the character of the Ancient One would have been best to remain as being Tibetan. “Whitewashing” is not a term I’m throwing in here though, because it’s not necessary when diversity is clear and greatly appreciated, as well as being used for the sake of making a successful film – not just to keep movie-goers happy and avoid the “racist” label.

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Same as whitewashing, we cannot call “cultural appropriation”. The representation of spirituality and healing is not used disrespectfully, and the story of Stephen Strange opening his mind to realities he never heard about and abilities he never gave a chance to before is one everyone can pay attention to. Alright, I don’t really want to be that person who finds depth beyond depth in a normal action movie, but there is here. Like we only believed in the Avengers catering to the usual, the stereotypical way of dealing with the supervillains, we can also be opened up to the idea that the mind is just as mighty as the body it controls. Doctor Strange is an example of changing what we know about the strength of superheroes, using your mind to save the world.

Last, definitely not least, we have the special effects of this movie. Like wow.

The representation of the powers in our world, manipulating surroundings, is more than a regular eyeful. It gives us exactly what we need: a visual understanding of these powers. It makes you imagine “how would that feel?” as the world stretches, spins, and separates in front of our very eyes on that big screen. It’s exciting, and despite it being the result of something most of us won’t believe is a real thing, it makes us believe that little bit more. It’s terrifying, but exhilarating, because that could easily be the world we live in. Let us wish it never will be though. It may not end well for us.

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Overall, worth the watch. It might not be your favourite MCU movie, I’ll admit, but it would be a mistake to skip this, as it holds a whole new chapter in this universe, beyond the Earth and the stars. The universe in our own minds.

Rating: 7/10