Saturday, 27 April 2019

Avengers: Endgame

11 years in the making, the Endgame is here. After this, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same. I want to start this review by saying that it is fully SPOILER FREE, no story points, nothing. Which means it is quite vague and a bit short, maybe I'll write something about with spoilers in the future but for now I just wanted to give you my initial thoughts on Avengers: Endgame, despite knowing full well that this epic of a film is going to need a rewatch before any thought is solidified in my mind!

This film truly is the culmination of 22 films, its the end of an era and Marvel knows it, closing this chapter of the MCU with a victory lap of fan service of epic proportions. If you're not a fan, you're probably going to hate it. If you are a fan, then like me, you're going to be grinning so much it will probably hurt. However, fan service only goes so far, this film is not perfect, in fact, Infinity War was much more complete and satisfying on a story level compared to Endgame, which is more satisfying on a fan level. This film is bursting at the seams with everything it has to handle, walking the line between a sombre film about grief and a hokey superhero movie, occasionally not getting that balance 100% correct. There are some choices made with some of the characters that kind of work, but at the same time, they're quite the choices! Either way, as always it's great to see these colourful characters interact with each other no matter what the circumstances.

What I like most about the Russo Brothers direction is how they are able to get the best performances out of their actors. Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans in particular, work so well with the Russo's, really sinking their teeth into the performances and giving some of their best yet within this film. The whole ensemble cast is working hard, the original six truly showing how far they've come since 2012's first Avengers film.

This film gets nuts, like absolutely bonkers and ridiculous at times, like I said, choices are made, some odd, some that will get you punching your hand in the air out of pure geeky joy. I was 14 when Iron Man came out, I'm now 25, I've spent a big chunk of my life watching these films, being obsessed, being hyped. It's a very satisfying conclusion to just over ten years worth of storytelling, it has the right to pat its self on the back, though maybe at times a little too much!

The special effects are great, not one character seems to have been shortchanged, every single one feeling part of the world, no matter how or small the task of bringing them to life was. Other technical achievements include the music, it feels like a long time since the criticism of the MCU's melodies, I think everybody can hum The Avengers theme tune now and it is used to great and emotive effect in Endgame.

The MCU will carry on, but it won't be the same. It's an odd feeling. I 100% need to watch this film again but for now, this is how I feel. Endgame is far from perfect but it's a very satisfying conclusion and film unlike any before it and most likely after it as well. I'm rating Avengers: Endgame a 4/5. I'm going to miss being excited for this film.

Make mine Marvel!

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

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 11 March 2019

Captain Marvel

Here we are, film 21 one of the MCU and there is no denying, it's a little bit embarrassing that this is the first film in the franchise with a sole female lead. I'm happy it's here now but there is no doubt it has been a long time coming.

Captain Marvel follows an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her people and the Skrulls, whilst simultaneously fighting with the recurring memories of her - unknown to her -  former life as an Air Force pilot on earth.

The title character is played by Brie Larson and she is joined by Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch and with it being set in the '90s, a digitally de-aged Samuel L Jackson and Clark Gregg reprising their roles as Nick Fury and Phil Coulson.

You can tell Marvel no longer want to do origin films but with a character like Captain Marvel, it's hard to do without one because her story is a mix of the earth and cosmic based lore, which is unlike anything we've seen before. It's also quite confusing; I didn't actually know that much about Carol Danvers going in so I can't comment on comic accuracy but I can say that it takes a little while to get your head around everything going on. You can tell the film is struggling as well, exposition is clumsy and contrived, the opening is just a little more disorderly than we're used to from a Marvel film.

When we get to Earth things are a lot smoother, it feels a lot more familiar, reminiscent of phase one of the MCU. However, I think I might be as torn as Marvel must have been on this film. I want something different, and they definitely cater to that but it's confusing and messy, but when it's familiar it feels bland and too much 'been there, done that'. It comes together in the third act, which makes the good parts of this film quite difficult to talk about without spoilers, but I will say that when certain story elements are revealed, it really elevates the film to something quite different and something a bit more poignant.

Brie Larson is a great addition to the MCU, though I think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg of her potential in her first outing. She clearly has the acting chops, but the writing did sometimes let her down (this is not Marvel's funniest film) and despite her doing a lot of training for the action the editing and camerawork does not showcase just how hard she worked. That being said, she plays the stoic hero very well and her more human moments are touching. It'll be interesting to see how the Russo brothers handle her in Endgame, as they really seem to have a handle on character, story and structure within the confines of a feature film. Not that this film handled it badly, it was just a lot of new and complex balls to juggle. With the information dump out the way, the future can only be less complicated.

One element of this film that was great to see, was the Skrulls faithfully realised on the big screen. The make-up and costuming look awesome and Ben Mendelsohn absolutely kills it as Talos, making for yet another unique and complex antagonist. Marvel really seems to have a handle on that now. They've also got a handle on the de-aging CGI process, with younger Nick Fury looking pretty flawless. Coulson looked a tad smooth at times but I'd be surprised if general audiences would even notice. It's a cool technology that's well used here.

Overall this is quite a middle of the road Marvel film, it's quite the complex story to tell and it does struggle but it's an okay start for the new Captain. The stuff it does well, which is unfortunately spolier-y, is very good; you've just got to sit through some pretty so-so stuff to get there. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, it was okay. I'm rating Captain Marvel a 3/5. I'm still excited to see where they go next with the character.

What did you think of the film? Love it or hate it, let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!