Eleven years ago a film by an untested studio, directed by an indie director with a star who was no longer seen as bankable and based on an obscure comic book character from a company that went bankrupt a decade before was released. From this singular film came the biggest, most ambitious and risky endeavour ever put to film- make Marvel comics cool to the mainstream. Obviously Blade, the X-Men and Spider-Man were all successful but Iron Man kickstarted a decade of interconnected films, bringing obscure comics into the mainstream and changed Hollywood forever. All this leading to the Endgame. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is my generation’s Star Wars, and the hype and anticipation for Endgame has been unprecedented, eclipsing even that of Return of the King and Deathly Hallows Part 2. In my lifetime, only The Force Awakens had this much riding on it. Was it worth the wait? Was Infinity War too high of a bar?
In short.. Endgame surpasses expectations. It is the perfect ending for this journey that started with Iron Man. It’s three hours long but is perfectly paced, never dull and an experience that has to be seen on as big of a screen as possible. Watching this film with a group of Marvel obsessed friends, at midnight, surrounded by a full cinema, in 3D is an experience I will never forget. It is my favourite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I will have to watch it a couple more times to see if it reaches the heights of my Holy Trinity of Comic Book films (Batman Returns, Spider-Man 2 and Logan if you’re interested).
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
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.
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-
Another year done and dusted- and what a year it’s been for nerdom. A new Doctor arrived, Thanos killed half the universe (SPOILER ALERT for the three people who don’t know), the Skeleton Detective got political and del Toro won his Oscar. 2019 promises to be huge, so without further ado it’s time to reveal what I am looking forward this year in terms of films, television shows and books. We are returning to Hawkins, visiting our favourite drunk reality jumping cynical genius once again, travelling to a galaxy far far away and the most underrated comic book hero of all time is getting a new coat of red. 2019 is going to be huge.
For over seventy years Aquaman has been DC’s resident joke character. Thanks to some silly interpretations and the cheesy nature of the early comics the character, despite being one of the founding members of the Justice League and a constant in pretty much every lineup, has been seen in pop culture as “the fish dude”. This is in spite of his rich mythology and rebrand as a fighter and a warrior in the New 52. One of my primary concerns about the DCEU tackling Aquaman was built on the awkward attempts to make everything ultra serious yet still trying to make Aquaman a joke- in Justice League he made no impact as he simply stood around making jokes about how he talks to fish whilst the film tried desperately hard to make the audience take this inherently silly character seriously. It just didn’t mesh well. Jason Momoa was a good choice for the character but unless Aquaman’s world was treated with respect he simply wouldn’t translate well to the big screen. Well, the fears have been washed away (ooh, water puns, how original) by James Wan’s brilliant film that embraces the comic book campiness and adventurous tone of films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark whilst balancing it out with actual respect for the mythology and world building, creating a film that’s both immensely fun yet also being quite serious. See DC, this is what you should have been doing from the start!