Coco Review

Coco is Pixar’s newest effort, following a young boy called Miguel and focusing on the Mexican culture and in particular the Day of the Dead. It’s been done before in animation, with Book of Life as recently as 2014 using the same mexican festival as a setting. I haven’t seen that flick, so I’m not affected by the comparisons some may have between the two. 

Coco follows in the footsteps of recent disney films in having music as a major component, but this time that music is also a key part of the story, meaning the music doesn’t feel as random as in some animated films. No song in Coco is as memorable as “How Far Il Go” from Moana, and I don’t expect children to be singing Coco’s “Remember Me” as often as you would hear Frozen’s “Let It Go” in the months and years after that films release. Every song is more in line with the story though, and they fit in seamlessly. 
Coco is very much a story driven film that shows off the Mexican family culture respectfully whilst taking us to the colourful and exciting world of..the dead. So often death is avoided on kids films, but the way Coco treats death and the afterlife is unique. Dressed up in colour, music and fanfare, a core part of the world is that if nobody remembers you in the living world, then you cease to exist in the land of the dead. Thats quite a drastic condition to have in a Pixar film. The way it’s subtlety woven into the story amidst this vibrant world serves the story very well, keeping things entertaining  but still creating real drama in the third act.

It’s no surprise that once again Pixar showcases why it’s the No.1 animation studio in the world. The level of detail on the world is insane, and it’s only the cartoonish elements like the character design that give away that this isn’t a live action film. The day of the dead theme allows the animators to really express themselves and the characters and architecture in the land of the dead make it feel like somewhere you’d love to go. 

The characters of Miguel & Hector are the real heart of the film, with the latter starting out seeming like a side character and over the film we discover more and more about his history and his motivations. Miguel is extremely likeable and you’re on his side from first minute to last. 

That last minute, well the last 10 minutes, is Up (get it) there with the most emotional scenes Pixar has produced. As you may know if you’ve read my blog regularly, nothing in films makes me cry, except the movie Hitch, but I can imagine someone with a heart might shed a tear or two towards the end of Coco. 

Coco delivers yet another hit for a studio which has, aside from the Cars Franchise and The Good Dinosaur, always put out consistently great movies, and Coco is no different. 

Good: Excellent Animation, fun characters and a heartwarming story make this work for me.

Bad: There really isn’t a lot to complain about here. The story is a little predictable and none of the songs are as catchy as previous efforts, but that’s about all that’s negative about Coco.

9/10 – Pixar does it again! 

All The Money In The World Review

Ridley Scott takes a step back from making sci-fi films like The Martian and Alien, and takes a crack at a story based on real life events. With a lot of drama during production with Christopher Plummer coming in to replace Kevin Spacey, and Plummer’s scenes being filmed in just 2 weeks, I was surprised to see the level of praise this film was getting. 

Starting off with that aforementioned replacement, I have to say I am astounded how well Christopher Plummer’s scenes are integrated into the film, and the performance given by the veteran actor. I don’t know what Kevin Spacey’s performance would have been like, but its hard to imagine anyone being able to deliver better than Plummer does. The buzz around his performance is completely warranted and the fact he filmed it all in 2 weeks just adds to the astonishment. In a time when method actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman take months and months working to perfect a character, there’s something unusually refreshing about an actor just turning up on day one and performing excellently despite the lack of preparation.

Plummer isn’t alone in his excellence, with Michelle Williams excelling in her role as the desperate mother of the kidnapped boy. She was in the last movie I reviewed, The Greatest Showman, and seeing her solid performance there backed up by this one really shows her diversity and talent. I found myself engaged with her struggles and cheering for her to find a way to get her son back. Her son is played by Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher) and I have no previous experience of this guy but he plays it well, even if there isn’t a great deal for him to do except look sad and be beaten by his captors.

Mark Wahlberg is also in two films in cinemas at the moment, this film, and the comedy Daddy’s Home 2. I don’t think these two films could be more different, and it’s good to see Wahlberg taking on more serious roles. He gives the best performance I’ve seen in a while from Marky Mark, and it’s good to see him continuing to mix it up between comedy, action and serious roles. The real stand out of the film to me is the french actor Romain Duris, who plays kidnapper Cinquanta. For me his arc is by far the most interesting, going from a confident, intimidating kidnapper to a sympathetic ally over the course of the film. I haven’t heard much buzz about him but I thought he gave a superb performance, even if it didn’t quite match the efforts of Christopher Plummer.

What you may have noticed here is this review is all about the performances of the actors. That is, quite simply, because that is what this movie is 100% focused on. There is no action, no comedy and no real twists throughout the film. It does toy with you, and the script is written to try to tease you with different potential outcomes but the strength of All The Money In The World is in the performances director Ridley Scott manages to draw out of his cast.

The film plods along quite evenly for the most part, although there is easily around 30 minutes I felt could have been cut out. Once we get into the story and figure out where the plot is going, the film kind of stands still and catches its breath for a bit before anything else exciting happens. This slight dip in engagement wasn’t too much of an issue as I was still interested in what was going to happen and there is one particularly difficult scene to watch that really kicks you back into gear for the final act of the film.

The Good: This is chock full of some excellent performances from a few members of the cast, and the story is intriguing even if it does feel stretched over the 2 hours.

The Bad: As i said there is still some fat that could have been trimmed from the film, and the plot is pretty simple. It’s the Characters you stay for.

8/10 – Christopher Plummer masterclass. 

The Greatest Showman Review

The Greatest Showman stars Hugh Jackman among a few other recognisable names and is based around the rise of legendary entrepreneur P T Barnum. I love Hugh Jackman (albeit mainly as wolverine) and was curious to see him in a different role to what I’m used to, so I went into the final movie I am seeing that was released in 2017 quite optimistic.

What should be stressed is that The Greatest Showman is not a biopic. Anyone going into this film expecting a faithful telling of P T Barnum’s life is going to be disappointed. I don’t know much about the man himself so for me I just wanted an entertaining film with some good songs like the trailers promised.

In terms of the music, the movie certainly delivers. The songs from start to finish are catchy and upbeat, giving a real feel good factor during the singing and dancing scenes. These scenes, whilst entertaining on the whole, don’t feel like the characters are signing them in the actual scenes. It isn’t the case in every scene but in a few songs it felt a little like a music video rather than a musical. This is the only complaint I have regarding the music in The Greatest Showman. Whether its Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron or any other character leading the way, they got my foot tapping throughout the film.

Hugh Jackman’s charisma is the driving force behind the film and the producers and director must be very glad they got such a talented actor take on the role and bring it to life. Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya are the main supporting cast and each of them give decent enough performances, but never threaten to steal the film from Jackman.

That films main story is a pretty standard rags to riches story just wrapped in a 1800’s aesthetic. This basic plot does just serve as a vehicle to get to the next song, and there’s at least one song where the song doesn’t quite match the tone of the particular moment we are in. I get the feeling from other reviews from people who may know more about P T Barnum, and from what I gather there is a much more complicated and interesting story to be told by a film based on him. What The Greatest Showman delivers is a generic fun musical without the depth that some might have hoped for from the source material. The musical numbers justify going to see the film, but don’t go expecting much beyond that.

The Good : Musical fans will undoubtedly get a kick from the musical elements of The Greatest Showman, and Jackman is so magnetic on-screen he will satisfy any fans of his.

The Bad : Generic plot and the more emotional moments not really hitting let the film down. Also some of the worst CGI in recent memory, like full on Playstation 2 graphics on show.

6.5/10 – The slightly above average show!

 

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review

It’s finally here, after a pretty great year of films we hit December and Star Wars Episode 8 is finally on screens worldwide. The expectations for Rian Johnson’s film were through the roof going into it and it seemed an almost impossible task to live up to the hype. After one viewing I didn’t feel ready to review this film, so this is my first review having seen the film twice.

Picking up right where Episode 7 left off, the opening scenes are engaging and get you straight into the film. Theres no slow open here, we are thrown into The Last Jedi and expected to remember where things ended in the Force Awakens.

From there the films story weaves three seperate stories that all come together towards the finale in what is the boldest and most shocking Star Wars film to date. Not to say that this is an entirely dark movie, in fact there’s more funny moments than you’d think, but the reveals, twists and character choices are so unexpected that I was truly shocked at some of the revelations.

Mark Hamill finally gets to speak and makes his return as my childhood hero Luke Skywalker. He gives what is comfortably for me the best performance he’s ever given in a live action film. This is a character we haven’t seen for over 30 years and we get reveals about what he’s been doing and why he is where he is, and Hamill does a great job of showing the mental scars the events have inflicted on the character.

We see Carrie Fisher in what was the last performance before her untimely passing, and the first time she is on screen does remind you of the sad circumstances. Once into the movie, she gives what is a powerful performance and very similar to Hamill, the wear and tear the character has been through is clear in the performance. Leia is tired in this film, having led one rebellion and now at the beginning of another she is the leader the new characters look to in the film.

Those new characters, and by new I mean the ones introduced in The Force Awakens, are played excellently across the board by Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega. Daisy Ridley has come along a lot from the Force Awakens and she is better this time round than she was in the original, where I thought she was a little iffy at times, particularly early in the film. Oscar Isaac as Poe is perfect, he has that charisma that just makes him magnetic on screen. Boyega as Finn is given arguably the weakest plot line of the 3, but his performance is still great.

Adam Driver returns as angsty villain Kylo Ren, and he is fantastic, really portraying the conflict inside his own mind with the decisions he’s made. Andy Serkis brings gravitas to the wrinkly CGI bad guy Snoke, and even if I’m not sure this had to be a CGI character. His motion capture skills aren’t really used much, it’s more of a regular acting performance.

Among the negatives for me, aside from Finn’s slightly weaker and at times out of place storyline, was Domnall Gleeson as General Huxx. He commits to the character 1000%, but at times he is just too over the top. The film does make fun of this, but it just didn’t work for me when he’s supposed to be an imposing figure. I just don’t believe he’d have got to the position he’s in based on the way the character is in the film.

I find it very hard to think of this film without my fandom knowledge of the universe of star wars coming into it. As a huge fan of the franchise, this film is an absolute thrill ride. To someone who isn’t a big fan it may seem like there are a few moments that don’t fully add up. However to me every big moment paid off in a huge way.

Director Rian Johnson has somehow delivered on the potential we saw in trailers. He takes characters we know and love, and develops them and challenges your expectations. On top of this excellent character building is some astounding action, featuring an amazing space battle, a lightsaber fight that will live long in fans memories, and a moment that is so cinematically beautiful I wish I could capture the 3 or 4 seconds of it and frame it, you’ll know it when you see it.

Star Wars The Last Jedi is a powerful, character driven story that is surrounded by the pomp and fanfare we’ve come to expect from Star Wars films. It’s a franchise unlike any other, and this is a film that boldly steps out from the expected pattern and takes Star Wars into unknown places. Coming out of Episode 7, I had a decent idea where the next episode would pick up, and I was right. This time, coming out of Episode 8 having seen it twice already, I have no idea what to expect next, and I can’t help but be excited about that.

Good for: Every Star Wars fan will get something from this. The bold choices may not work for some, but for me this is a brilliant star wars film.

Bad for: The crazy few who don’t like the franchise. Seriously how can you not enjoy Star Wars. Mad people.

Verdict – 8/10 – Up there with the best Star Wars had to offer.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Review 

The original Jumanji film came out over 20 years ago, starring Robin Williams and becoming a hugely popular film with an entire generation. This sequel has gone from a “why are they doing this” to “I actually think it might be good” over the last year. With the duo of the Rock and Kevin Hart involved and adding Jack Black into the mix, I was hoping they could do the original film justice and bring something new as well.

Jumanji’s biggest strength is the chemistry between the four main characters. The three mentioned above are joined by Karen Gillan of Dr.Who and Guardians of the Galaxy fame. They all bounce off each other really well and their willingness to make fun of themselves is what really makes Jumanji work. The majority of the jokes hit for me, and the self depricating humour mixed in with poking fun at video game conventions made me laugh out loud quite a few times throughout.

The video game element brought into this sequel really is a great device that helps to bring Jumanji into the modern day. As a keen gamer, recognising a lot of the tropes of video games added something else to the experience I wasn’t expecting. The bar for video game movies wasn’t very high, but this is probably the best live action video game movie we’ve seen so far. 

If the heroes are the biggest strength, the villain is the biggest weakness. The bad guy is forgettable, and often I forgot he existed until he popped up again on screen. His scenes seem like they’re from a different movie at times, and it didn’t work for me. The goons/ henchmen were more entertaining purely because they acted like video game henchmen do (pretty dumb), and seeing how that was executed on screen is a laugh for gamers. 

The villains plan and therefore the actual task our heroes have set out to do is basic, and full of plot holes. Theres a rock that gives the villain powers when he touches it, but then everyone else who touches it doesn’t get these powers. Except for one moment when someone does. So that’s not been thought through enough for me, and it did have me scratching my head a bit as to what was going on. 

The action in Jumanji is silly, over the top and in the world of the video game that’s been set up, it all makes perfect sense. There is some questionable special effects at times, but the action is engaging enough, if not spectacular. The action is at it best when used for comedic effects, and I think that’s a good parallel for the film as a whole.

Whether it’s Jack Black acting like a teenage girl, or Dwayne Johnson being a nerdy guy, Jumanji excels when it’s focused on making you laugh. The plot is nothing remarkable, serving purely as a vehicle to carry us to the next joke. Jumanji surprised me how much fun I had watching it, I just hope it makes some money for us to return to Jumanji again with these characters, but then releasing the film the week after Star Wars might put a dent in those hopes. Jumanji hits theatres December 20th in the UK. 

Good for: fans of any of the main cast, you get a good serving of them all. Jack black arguably steals the show. Jumanji fans will enjoy how this pays tribute to the original as well.

Bad for: Thin plot and weak villain are a let down. Some jokes may be a little too dirty for younger kids, even if they were the ones that made me laugh the most. 

7/10 – Good fun, Great chemistry carries the film. 

Justice League Review 

I’m confident in saying that before any of the modern superhero movie craze started, a Justice League movie was top of the list of films I’d love to see. After the success of the MCU and the rise of the superhero film, DCs stuttering start to their films universe has been a painful one as a big fan of the source material. Nevertheless here we are, a Justice League film is finally in cinemas.

With no character rights issues like marvel had with Spiderman and co, DC is able to field it’s big players in their first movie and for someone who grew up on the Justice League TV show, just seeing these characters on the big screen brought to life by good actors is an absolute treat. Each actor, from the once again majestic Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, to the new kid on the block Ray Fisher as Cyborg, has bags of talent and hopefully it bodes well for the future.

Jason Momoa’s sheer screen presence turns Aquaman from a joke character to a legit badass, even if the character is pretty one note throughout, always cracking wise about the situation. Ezra Miller plays the Flash with a real sense of childish excitement, and he has some really great moments. I think this incarnation of the speedster is different enough from the Flash on TV right now that we can differentiate easily between them, which is a worry some had. As I mentioned previously Ray Fisher is really strong in his first credited role, not bad for your first gig in Hollywood, a key role in Justice League. Cyborgs a little to broody in this film for me, but I think the future will see the more light hearted character that we know from Teen Titans coming into play. 

Whilst the actors are solid, the problem with these three characters is that they are just dropped in with no previous context. It does a good job of making you interested in seeing more, but in a 2 hour superhero team up movie not knowing 3 characters of the 5 man team advertised is a problem when we can’t spend much time with them.

Gal Gadot has proven her critics wrong, showing again she has the acting chops and the charisma to lead a film like this. She’s the DC universes shining light right now and this film highlights her again as a stand out. Alongside her is Ben Afflecks Batman, who was terrific in the last film, is decent enough. This time (crucially) he isn’t murdering guys left right and centre, but the actor himself doesn’t seem as interested as he had been previously.

Spoilers, Superman does have a role in this film. Henry Cavill is back in the role and he has licence to be a bit more cheerful now with Joss Whedon at the helm. Whedons effect is felt on the film, it has great moments of dialogue between the characters, and these are the best part of the film.

The villain of this film is the most generic, basic superhero villain ever. He is also a fully CG character. That combination means that the very basic plot is uninteresting and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The heroes are the reason to watch Justice League, the villain could be almost anything and it wouldn’t have made a difference if this was the plan. 

The films colour pallette is quite odd, in that you can see a clear change between Zack Snyder directed scenes and Joss Whedon’s ones. The film starts out dark like Batman v Superman and ends as light and fun as the Avengers, but the overall tone is consistent throughout. When you consider how troubled the production of this film was it’s a wonder its as cohesive as it is. Aside from the colours popping a little more later in the film, you couldn’t tell there’s been 2 directors.

Justice League is a great comic book movie if it was 2008.  Theres moments in this film that will make you feel like a kid again seeing the biggest superheros combine and kick arse. Unfortunately it’s 2017, and in a world where we get 3-5 decent to great comic book movies a year, the flaws in Justice League stand out a little more. It could be said it’s very similar to the first Avengers movie, except that has multiple movies introducing every character so it didn’t feel as rushed together. I had a good time though, and it’s another step in the right direction for DC and Warner Bros.

Good for: those of you who have always wanted to see these heroes together. Theres a few pinch yourself moments and by the end of the film you’ll know DC is slowly trying to turn the ship. 

Bad for: people becoming a little tired of the superhero films, this is as generic a plot you’re going to find. It also suffers from the lack of set up for 3 of the characters who have never been on screen before.

Verdict : 6/10 – a step in the right direction, but not a huge one. 

Murder on the Orient Express Review

Kenneth Branagh brings us this new adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie story centered around the legendary detective Hercule Poirot and a murder on a train. Boasting a star-studded cast and the most incredible mustache in movie history, I was excited to sit down and enjoy a murder mystery film, a genre rarely delved into these days. 

The first thing to note is that Kenneth Branagh is the star of this film both behind and in front of the camera. His Poirot is so thoroughly entertaining to watch on-screen I longed for another mystery to come along afterwards. His acting performance is excellent and easily the best part of the film.

The supporting cast boasts industry legends like Willem Defoe and Judi Dench alongside rising stars like Josh Gad and Daisy Ridley. Given the talented nature of the cast, it is a little disappointing to say they are all good at best. It’s possibly due to Branagh’s magnetic performance, but nobody in the supporting cast gives a real stand out showing to stick out in my mind after the film.

One other thing I loved about this film is the cinematography. The special effects are a little iffy at times with some very obvious green screen effect but it’s everything on the train that really looks good, with inventive uses of the camera to film this enclosed space. The style of the film is perfected by the excellent make-up and wardrobe on this film, to  contribute towards make this a film that looks and feels perfect for the time period.

Murder on the Orient Express steams along at a good pace once it gets going, and you have to be switched on to keep up with the developments that are being presented to you on-screen. You get an insight into how brilliant Poirot is supposed to be right from the start and get the impression it’s all a bit too easy for him at times. This is where the main character development is in the movie, with Poirot the only character to have any real changes from how they are at the start of the film.

One of the main issues I have with this film is that whilst it’s all clicking for the inspector, us as the audience are not presented with any clues to piece it together ourselves except in the form on exposition by the lead character. In fact, the film acts almost like a documentary documenting Poirot’s thoughts as he goes through the investigation. I am trying to stay as spoiler free as possible but a key component of the investigation is based on something we have no way of knowing about as the audience, and are only told the information as it becomes relevant for the situation on-screen.

I guess the key point I want to make here is that the murder mystery side of the film loses its impact when the audience cant possible piece together anything without a load of exposition from Poirot, and to me this is a missed opportunity. We get an insight into how the detective worked it out, but the This is okay, but prevents us from feeling really involved in solving the mystery.

Verdict

Murder on the Orient Express is certainly no less than a good film. the performance of Kenneth Branagh alone is worth watching. But if you’re looking for a really engrossing mystery to investigate yourself along with the character in the film, this one just misses that special something to take it to the next level. Still, it stays on track as a solid adaptation of an old tale and will bring the story to a new audience hopefully, so we can start to get more from the murder mystery genre.

7/10 – And the winner for Best Mustache goes to…

Kingsman: The Golden Circle review

I am late to the party on this one but I finally got out to see the sequel to the original  Kingsman which is one of my favourite movies in recent years. I was looking forward to what they could do with a sequel and had my fingers crossed it could live up to the high standard it’s predecessor set.

Kingsman 2 picks up where the last film finished and dives straight into the action. The start really does give you a taste of what the entire film is going to be, action packed and fast pace. This breathless start gets you back into the Kingsman world and reminded me of the style and flair that director Matthew Vaughn is known for.

Every shot is colourful and use of slow mo and zooming whilst the camera changes angles  within the action scenes is such a unique technique that it stands out straight away. It really is unlike anything  else I’ve seen in film since the last Kingsman film. Where in the first one I felt it was used with restraint, this time the technique is thrown at you again and again, which caused it to lose a bit of the impact it could have. Every action scene uses it, and it got a bit tired by the end for me.

Whilst the action did grow a little tired for me, the gadgets and weaponry are all brilliantly over the top and it is great fun seeing what crazy things the filmmakers have come up with this time. They take the James Bond gadget gimmick and take it to extremes which parody the legendary spy series and pay respects to it at the same time.

Plot wise, there isn’t a great deal to be said. The antagonist fulfils almost the exact same role as the previous film, this time with Julianne Moore in the role in the place of Samuel L Jackson. This is one area where the film struggle to live up to its predecessor, with Moore giving a decent but unremarkable performance. Sam Jackson was so brilliantly weird in the last film that this time round I felt we just got a standard villian with a similar plan as the last one, but without the same magnetic charisma Jackson brought to the first one.

Taron Edgerton returns as Eggsy and although there isn’t any real arc for the character, he’s still great in the role. Colin Firth returns alongside Mark Strong, and the latter of those stole the film for me. Channing Tatum, Hale Berry, Jeff Bridges and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn from Game of Thrones) join them as the Statesmen, essentially the American version of the Kingsmen. They are all solid even if I did feel like some parts were thrown in to set up a potential spin-off “Statesmen” film.

What we have here is a sequel that repeats the previous instalments 2nd and 3rd acts. Where the first Kingsman had us spend time.with Eggsy training and watching him.grow through the mistakes he makes, this time round he’s a undeniable badass from start to finish, and the stakes never really seem that high. The decision to bring Colin Firth back was an odd one, as the plot didn’t need him, and I think that may have been a move to get people back in rather than really to serve the purpose of the story, as I feel the films events could have played out the same without him in it.

Verdict

Kingsman The Golden Circle delivers up a tonne of good action and entertaining scenes, but without the surprise factor of the original, and with the heightened expectations placed on it, I think it fails to deliver on the promise of the franchise. It’s not a bad film by any stretch, it just isn’t half as memorable as the first.

6/10 – Solid but nothing new to see here.

Thor Ragnarok Review

I finally managed to get back to the cinema after a busy time and a trip away, and when I went online to book a ticket for tonight to see Thor was out I was really excited to see it as i thought it came out next week. The trailer for this put a huge grin on my face with how fun the film looked, and hoped the film could replicate that throughout. 

As every critic seems to have been saying so far, the film keeps that smile on your face the whole time and it’s extremely fun. I have not laughed this much in a Marvel film since the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Director Taika Waititi’s pushes his sense of humour all over the movie and whilst the light and jokey tone clash a little with the severity of the events of the plot, I find it hard to believe anyone would watch this movie and not enjoy the laughs.

The tone clashing with the storyline is an issue for me, as i do think that the issues dealt with should have held more weight considering the ramifications it could have on the wider MCU going forward. The light tone made it feel like everything was going fine even in moments that i felt should have been a bit more perilous for the protagonists.

Speaking of the protagonists, Chris Hemsworth returns for a fifth time as the titular character and he continues to improve. The Thor character has developed over the last few years and this movie really allows Hemsworth to let his own personality and comedic style show through in the character. In the first film Thor was very much a rigid, serious character who had moments of humour, now that balance is very much weighted towards the humorous side.

Tom Hiddleston returns and continues his perfect track record of being one of the most interesting and entertaining characters in the entire MCU. Mark Ruffalo’s gives us probably the best one screen showing of Hulk, with more personality than we’ve ever seen. The rest of the supporting cast all match up to the tone, with Tessa Thompson and Jeff Goldblum being particularly memorable. The stand out supporting character for me is Korg, who is voiced by the director Taika Waititi, which was an unexpectedly great part of the film.

Cate Blanchett plays antagonist Hela, and she is certainly not bad in the role. She doesn’t have many dimensions to her character, and i thought there was more that could have been done given her origins that are mentioned in the film. It’s another case of the villain being the weakest character in a Marvel film, and it is causing a little concern for Avengers Infinity War next year, a film that hinges on the villain being intimidating and actually threatening the heroes. Hela fulfils the role of the antagonist in the film.

The action, yes it has taken me most of the review to get to mentioning the action in a superhero movie, is superb. There are some scenes that are just astounding to watch and unbelievably beautiful just to look at. One scene in particular is like a moving painting, unlike anything i have seen before.

Verdict

The majority of the jokes hit the mark, and the action provides something new, both making Thor Ragnarok is a genuinely great time in the cinema. The tone not allowing for any real seriousness does detract from the film for me. With the serious looking Black Panther and the epic Avengers Infinity War on the horizon in 2018, a light hearted romp with Thor could be just what we need. Also, Led Zeppelin’s  Immigrant Song is used terrifically. I just didn’t know where to fit that in the review.

8/10 – Thor Ragna-rocks. 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a film that, on paper, is perfect for me. Two charismatic actors with good chemistry in an action movie with lots of quips and jokes throughout. Going in I was hoping to be entertained but was curious about the plot and the rest of the film. 

The first thing you have to say about The Hitman’s Bodyguard is that the chemistry you hope for between Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds is there. They bounce off each other brilliantly and they are easily the best part of the film. Ryan Reynolds keeps his character grounded enough to stop it becoming a Deadpool copycat which to be honest I wouldn’t have minded too much considering how much I loved him in that role. He is so good at the quick one liners and comedic elements he can make anything watchable.

It’s a very good job him and an on form Sam Jackson are in this as the rest of the film really struggles. The only other part that holds up at all is the action, which considering the director’s last movie is one of the Expendables franchise you would expect no less. Some slightly iffy special effects can be forgiven for what is a smaller budget film and the action is fun to watch when it happens.

That is all the good that the Hitman’s Bodyguard has to offer, and whilst it is entertaining the film has a number of issues. First of all the plot is anything but compelling, with a Belarusian dictator played by Gary Oldman (more on him in a second) on trial for war crimes and the Hitman played by Sam Jackson has a file that is needed for this trial to convict him. Of course, being an eastern european dictator, Gary Oldman has a number of his own hitmen out to stop Jackson reaching the court in Holland. The plot is laid out early on, then largely forgotten for long periods of the film. It serves as a reason for Jackson and Reynolds to be on their crazy road trip but it lacks any degree of subtlety.

Now I love thoroughly appreciate him Gary Oldman’s work, from his role in Harry Potter as Sirius Black, to his picture perfect Jim Gordon in the Dark Knight. He is rumoured to be in with a shout at an oscar win this year, and im glad because he is a fine actor. That all being said, he is terrible in this film. The accent he put on disappears when he raises his voice above a certain level, there is no motivations behind why he appears to be doing these terrible things. I do not understand why you would get a talent like him and tell him to play the most generic bad guy you could imagine with no depth for him to explore. This goes down as one where he was just cashing his cheque.

The other supporting cast are scattered through the film, with only really Salma Hayek being memorable in any way. Despite her being fun to watch, her character has literally no reason to be in the movie. Elodie Yung is a thousand times better in Daredevil and the Defenders than her character here allows her to be, although she does do well with what is another poorly fleshed out character.

Verdict

The strangest thing about The Hitman’s Bodyguard is that despite its obvious flaws and knowing it is not a good movie, I still had quite a laugh watching it. This is a testament to the chemistry and charisma of Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. Without them, this would be a terrible film. With them, it’s just below average with some fun moments scattered throughout.

4/10 – 2 points each for Jackson and Reynolds.