Action scenes! Part of the parcel that comes with comic book films. Thanks to the rise of computers and new filming techniques we have seen some truly spectacular comic book battles, and to honour Avengers: Endgame let’s take a look at some of the finest brawls presented on the silver screen. To qualify for this list, two or more combatants must be physically battling each other and have somewhat equal strength. Excluded are chase scenes (with warm regards to The Dark Knight’s highway pursuit), one sided demolishing (Wonder Woman kind of thrashes the German Army with no effort in the iconic No Man’s Land scene, despite it being a magnificent sequence) and action scenes that have no actual battles between opponents (take Nightcrawler’s White House sequence or Quicksilver’s standout scene in Days of Future Past). With that aside, let’s look at how the comic book world’s finest slug it out-
10. Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and Johann Kraus vs Nuada and the Golden Army- Hellboy II: The Golden Army
One of my favourite characters is Hellboy, created in 1994 by Mike Mignola. A demon born in the pits of Hell to destroy mankind, Hellboy (or “Red” to his friends) rejects his purpose and instead dedicates his life fighting demons and other paranormal threats. He joins the BRPD (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense) and leads a squad of other magical beings to defend humanity. I love the comics, but I wouldn’t have read them had I not seen the films by Guillermo del Toro first. With the reboot coming out (I will give my thoughts on it at the end of the post), now would be a great time to look back on the two films, and why they remain one of the best adaptations from a comic book.
The character of Shazam- sorry, Captain Marvel, no not that one… whatever, is a long and complex one. The character who is mostly known as Shazam predates the creation of modern day DC and Marvel. In 1939 Fawcett Comics conceived the character as, ironically, a rival to Superman. In fact, Captain Marvel was given a film in 1941. In response to the adventures of the Marvel family outselling the Man of Steel, Action Comics chose to first sue then eventually join forces, with DC Comics buying Captain Marvel in the 70’s. Unable to use the name due to obvious reasons, his comic book was renamed Shazam! and his backstory altered, giving the character more distinction from Superman. Within mainstream continuity he was still referred to as Captain Marvel due to Marvel’s Captain Mar-Vell having been killed off. The New 52 relaunch in 2011 however officially christened the character Shazam after Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel, and no one but the die-hard fans know DC even HAD a Captain Marvel. So that’s the backstory. And as I said in my Captain Marvel review, there is no need to compare the films. They are completely different films with two very different characters.
This month I immersed myself in a huge variety of films. From tentpole releases to classics, from obscure genre films to dramas, March saw this cinephile engage in a lot of exciting cinematic stories. From this month I’ll be stating if I’ve seen each film before and just for fun, how I saw them-
Have I seen it before? Yes.
How did I watch it? Netflix.
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is one of my favourite horror films. A extremely original and blackly comic take on suburbia and race, Get Out can make you laugh one minute then have you with your mouth on the floor with the bizarre and brutal world Peele concocts. Daniel Kaluuya more than proves he deserved the Oscar nomination for Best Actor with his tour de force central performance as Chris, giving Bruce Campbell a run for his money as greatest “Final Guy” in horror history. It could have been easy for the film to simply be a “racism is bad” message but it’s a lot more complex than that, examining the mentality behind rich white American suburbia and the subtleties of race relations. I cannot stress just how funny and quotable this film is and whilst it is technically a horror film it is mainly a satire and whilst it can occasionally be uncomfortable viewing it is always one step ahead of the game and presents the audience with twists and turns that just captivate you. I highly recommend this film to the three people who haven’t seen it.
With Endgame just around the corner, one key Marvel character has yet to be introduced- Carol Danvers. A very long and complicated comic book history including an alien who dies of cancer , a period in a coma when Rogue of the X-Men steals her powers, multiple identities and a long stint with the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Carol Danvers FINALLY became Captain Marvel only recently in the comics, leaving her former moniker of Ms Marvel to be inherited by Kamala Khan. Carol Danvers is one of Marvel’s most high profile and important female characters and no matter what the comics are trying to do to her (Civil War II? Really?) the fact remains that a film with this awesome character is long overdue. The latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe does an excellent job streamlining the insane and convoluted backstory of the character into an accessible film and the result is a really fun time at the cinema that leaves you wanting more. And with Captain Marvel set to appear back on our screens in just over a month’s time, it’s great that her solo film has given audiences a taste of what Thanos will be feeling.
Well this is unexpected news. As James Gunn’s sequel/reboot/spinoff of Suicide Squad called, um… The Suicide Squad (the “The” is very important) goes into production we’re hearing interesting things such as how literally everything barring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is being jettisoned. Ok, an interesting approach but given the tepid reaction to the film I don’t blame Warner Brothers. Personally I liked Suicide Squad but oh boy was it flawed (glares at Jared Leto doing a weird Jack Nicholson impression and the absolute wrong villain) but still fun overall. Deadshot was played by Will Smith initially and whilst I personally didn’t mind him in the role it was more Will Smith than Deadshot. As Smith is busy making even worst career choices it appears WB are looking to not do the sensible option and remove Deadshot from the next film but recast him. Who are they considering? Idris Elba.
Alrighty righty let’s get straight back into my monthly list of every film I saw in 2019. I still didn’t see anything at the cinema (although that will have changed in a month’s time) but I still saw plenty of quality films. Let’s dive straight in-
A Nightmare on Elm Street
One of the most iconic horror films of all time, this timeless 80’s classic is often imitated, never bettered. Focused on a group of teenagers being haunted in their dreams by the mysterious Freddie Krueger, the film gave birth to one of horror’s greatest heroines- Nancy Thompson. We all know who Kruger is now after endless sequels and saturation but in this original film he is an enigma and a terrifying presence brought to life by the great Robert Englund. This film is also known for being Johnny Depp’s first film and even if you haven’t seen the film you know what happens to him- it’s a memorable and brilliant scene. If there’s one film that captures the 80’s suburban nightmare, then this is it. It’s been referenced so much, most memorably in Rick and Morty, but the impact is still immense. The best way to watch this film is when you’re on the verge of sleeping, and it’s how I’ll watch it next time. It’s one of the great slasher films and any horror fan should watch it.
As a huge film buff I watch many films a year, and I’ve always intended to make a list of films I’ve seen so I can count how many I saw at the end of a year. I’ve decided to do this one month at a time, starting from January obviously, with the films being in the order I saw them. I won’t go too in depth with them, just summarise them and give my brief thoughts but hopefully I will have a wide range of titles by the end of each moth. Every film I watch counts, including films I’ve already seen. Cinema, Netflix, Sky, DVD… anything I see goes on the list. So without further ado, let’s go, forgetting the fact it’s already February 1st-
Do we really have to do this again Academy Awards? Every year you run into some kind of controversy you can’t escape from, and this year we have the Oscar host debacle. To cut it short, whilst I don’t know anything about Kevin Hart and don’t want to tackle the (really really messy) situation the Oscars have got themselves into, essentially we have no host for the Oscars. This role is usually a famous comedian who opens the show with a monologue and then introduces each segment whilst keeping morale up and prevent audience fatigue. This hasn’t worked though as the Oscars have been losing viewership each year. Could it be because no one has seen the films they nominate and nor do they care? Probably. But the host is still important, and more importantly they have to be funny. In fact, I’d rather have the one host present all the awards than have different presenters for each. Humour is subjective of course but a good comedic personality will have enough charisma to sustain a large audience. So with the announcement of the nominations happening today (so much effort to find out the LA times vs GMT) let’s take a look at who could actually tackle the job presenting and get me mildly interested this year (beyond Into the Spider-Verse’s Animated Film win hopefully in the bag and Black Panther’s possible nominations very little has me interested this year). Hypothetically speaking though, if I was in charge of running the Oscars (and I wasn’t doing the hosting job myself obviously) I would narrow it down to five choices I believe will do a good job-