Saturday, 29 October 2016

Doctor Strange

Marvel's latest is finally here! I was always a little apprehensive about this one due to my disliking of Marvel films going too 'fantastical', my little knowledge on the character and Benedict Cumberbatch's American accent which sounded a little ropy in the trailers. I was however silly not to be excited because Marvel have come out with yet another hit and it might just be one of their best films yet. Find out why in my SPOILER FREE review.

Doctor Strange follows a former neurosurgeon as he embarks on a journey of healing only to be then drawn into the world of the mystic arts. The film has a very impressive cast with Benedict Cumberbatch finally getting to take centre stage in a big blockbuster film, supported by the likes of Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams. All do very well in their roles and put everything into bringing some of the comic-book characters to life. Though it is unfortunate that Rachel McAdams is not given much to do in the film apart from being the 'will they, won't they' love interest, one of its biggest flaws. It is forgivable though, this film could have been all over the place, introducing new characters, introducing magic and mysticism while still having an easy enough plot for audiences to follow is a hard task. The director, Scott Derrickson, thankfully pulls it off though and even brought the film in at just under two hours in length. The plot is tight, the pacing is fast and there is not one boring moment I can think of. 

The biggest criticism I have seen of this film so far has been it's 'paint by numbers' origin story. Now yes, there are certain elements that have been seen before but then there are also certain elements that are in every film, such as the character having and arc and overcoming their flaws. This is not something to criticise of this film, if anything it takes the tropes of the origin stories and plays with them, it feels fresh and exciting, there are elements which would be too spoilery to mention that made me so happy about how they went about settling things. Every action scene felt unique and creative, I was blown away by just how good the action was, it felt like something we had never seen before even if the comparisons to Inception are definitely going to be and have been made. Each action sequence was so character driven, each time Strange learnt something about himself and it moved him forward as a character. And yes the same might not be said about the villain, but Mads Mikkelsen still manages to make his presence felt, he might not be the most memorable villain but he definitely isn't the worst. This films is one of the most unique films I have seen Marvel pull off and only second to Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a lot to get your head around here and they pull it off in great fashion, it’s not their funniest of films but the humour is injected in order for this film not to take itself too seriously and it does, and doesn’t take anything else away by doing so.

Now let’s talk about the visuals, one of the main elements of the film that most people agree with, this film looks stunning. The effects are amazing, they never felt out of place, they're trippy and magical and the people behind them must have had so much fun being able to play outside the box and do whatever they wanted with them. We're living in a day and age where these sort of effects can now be used so eloquently and so masterfully to make comic-book films look even more like their source material. And talking of comic book accuracy, bravo to the costume designers of this film, I might have read maybe one or two Doctor Strange comics in my lifetime but even I got chills when you first see Benedict Cumberbatch in full costume for the first time.

I was really surprised by how much I liked this one, I went in hoping for something better than Ant-Man and came out watching one of the best Marvel origin stories since the first Iron Man film. Seriously this film is brilliant, I even liked it more than Captain America: Civil War. I think in a world where superhero films are now being mass produced it's nice to have something that feels different, this is why people took to Deadpool so well and its why they're also going to take well to this one. More of this Marvel, more of this. I'm giving Doctor Strange a rating of  4.5/5.  Best superhero movie of the year. 

What did you think of Doctor Strange? One of Marvel's best or just another superhero film? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Girl with All the Gifts

The zombie genre has been on a weird ride over the last five or so years and it seemed that, like the vampire genre, it was running out of steam, it definitely was taking its toll on me! That was until the other day though and I saw the brilliant new zombie film The Girl with All the Gifts.

The Girl with All the Gifts is an adaptation of the book of the same name, written by M.R Carey. I had read the book a couple years ago and had been pleasantly surprised at how well a zombie story had been presented on the page rather than on the screen. Now it’s on the big screen and there is something about it that feels so fresh, it’s a story like one we haven’t seen before, not even the The Last of Us which many people have compared the trailer to. The film follows a scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future as they embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.

The author of the book also wrote the screenplay for this film, which shows because it sticks very close to the source material and does not hold out on its pretty crazy ending which I thought may have been tampered with. Credit should also go to the casting director though who brought together the brilliant cast made up of Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close and newcomer Sennia Nanua who, as child actors go, is pretty darn good and thankfully so, since her performance carries the film. The characters in this film felt like they had been ripped from the pages of the book, they looked and sounded just like I had imagined them to.

The zombies themselves are slightly different, they run, which isn’t original but it’s never been something I’ve always liked, in this film though it really worked, it made the zombies very scary and the situations that the characters were in almost nail-biting tense as you knew they could never just stab their way out of it. This mixed with some excellent sound design and some of the best and most terrifying zombie transformations I’ve seen made for a very tense and scary film at times. Setting a zombie film in England is something we’ve seen before but it’s been a while. It was great seeing dystopian style city high streets equipped with all shops we’re used to and helped put me in the shoes of the characters.

The many twists and turns this film takes and the introduction of new elements to the zombie genre really solidifies this as one of the best films out there. Like many great films, it takes a look at our own society and reflects and criticises how in this day and age we would probably handle the unknown. This film felt so refreshing and so original and even though I had already read the source material, I still was taken back by just how invested and tense I was becoming during certain scenes. The music in the film was unlike anything I had ever heard before in the genre and was able to hit me emotionally as well as unnerving me at the same time.

Now it’s not for everyone, for one if you don’t like zombies or gore this probably won’t be for you. It’s not perfect, there’s the odd strange decision made by characters and the ending comes so quickly after a slow build up that I’m sure it won’t sit well with everyone. I really enjoyed this one though and was so happy to see just how true the filmmakers had been to the book and also how much they had invested into making this something different and allowing it to stand out in an ocean worth of zombie films. I'm giving The Girl with All the Gifts a rating of 4.5/5.

Have you seen the film? If not then stop what you're doing and go to the cinema! And if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!