Spider-Man: Homecoming

Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel fans rejoice! We have another roaring success with the newest addition to the Cinematic Universe. Since his introduction in Captain America: Civil War, the newest reincarnation of New York City’s web slinger, played by Tom Holland, has captured the hearts of Marvel fans.

During the wall-crawler’s first stand-alone film, we see the clean-up of New York after the Avenger’s (2012) battle. Some entrepreneurial workers who are less than pleased when they have the post battle clean up contract taken from them. Luckily, they find other ways to make a profit from the battle. Add a little time jump (Civil War, 2016) and, of course, things have started to go bad; But Spidey is there to save the day.

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Doctor Strange

Image: Marvel Comics

Latest in the Marvel cinematic timeline, Doctor Strange is yet another success.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an accomplished and respected neurosurgeon. At the top of his field, Strange has everything he could want or need. When tragedy strikes, Strange finds himself without the use of what he perceives as his most important tool, his hands. From there, we’re thrown into a story of rediscovery as the doctor searches for a way to fix his hands and return to his previous standing, only to find that he’s destined for something else entirely.

Benedict Cumberbatch as our leading man plays his part well. Portraying the intelligence, and cockiness that goes with it, before finding some humility. The development that Strange goes though during the movie makes good use of Cumberbatch’s ability and experience with different characters.

The special effects used at the climax of the film are absolutely stunning. For anyone with sever motion sickness, this might prove an issue; but if you can struggle through it, then totally worth it!

Perhaps one of the biggest features of this film is the lesson that you are more than you might think. We often find our niche in life and, while that’s great, occasionally something happens that leaves us without that safety blanket. This is the point where people either break, or shine.

Suicide Squad

Releasing a bunch of convicted felons to military custody and ordering them to save the world? Sounds like a good idea to me!

DC’s Suicide Squad are the worst of the worst. They steal, destroy, maim, and kill. And they’re our only hope.

From the start, our views of these characters are brought into question. They’re bad guys, right? We’re not supposed to like them; let alone feel sorry for them. But that’s what begins to happen as soon as the screen comes to life.

Deadshot (Will Smith), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) smash their way into our hearts as they smash some baddies.

Will Smith as Deadshot is awesome from his first appearance. With a quick tongue and a little cocky, some might think he’s all talk; but he soon proves he has the skills to back up that attitude.

Killer Croc is big, mean, and ugly. And he knows it. His character, I found, doesn’t show the major, out-right development that the others do, but it’s there. You just have to see past the scales.

El Diablo has already changed his ways by the time we meet him. From bad ass gang leader to pacifist, it’s quite the difference. He’s not interested in fighting. But obviously, that’s no fun in an anti-hero movie.

Aussie villain for the win! Captain Boomerang is an excellent role for the Australian born Courtney. While I admit I would have loved to see more of him during the fights, Boomerang as a character made me giggle more than a few times with his thick Aussie accent and cracks at everyone.

Of course we can’t forget our leading lady, the one and only Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie is wonderfully twisted in her role as the psychiatrist-turned-villain. Her backstory is definitely one that will invoke a little sympathy.

The other much anticipated character that cannot be ignored, is none other than Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. Jared Leto plays this maniacal jester’s newest incarnation.

One of the biggest criticisms I’ve come across in regards to Suicide Squad is the lack of screen time the Joker has. In my humble opinion, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The film is about the Suicide Squad. Harley is a member, however unwilling; the Joker is not. So as much as I’m excited to see more of Leto’s Joker in the future, his use in building Harley’s story but allowing her to take the lead is fantastic. Having said that, I am in agreeance with many fans asking why DC and Warner Brothers used so much Joker footage in the advertising stage.

Between the quick paced fights and traumatizing flashbacks, the darker feel for the DC cinematic creation they started with Dawn of Justice is continued. These comic book character are not just for kids.

The soundtrack to this film is certainly something else. While it still does well to move with the action and emotions of the film, the selection of songs themselves feel a little list a playlist someone has put together as their own personal soundtrack to life. And let’s be honest, that’s exactly the egotistical thing some of these guys would do.

Hate to love them or love to hate them. It makes no difference in the end. Either way, you’re in for a wild ride when you check out Suicide Squad.

 

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

X-Men: Apocalypse

The newest in the X-Men saga (or perhaps only the third? I’m still confused after Days of Future Past) takes us to the early days of some of our favourite mutants.

With the re-opening of Professor Charles Zavier’s (James McAvoy) school, comes the students. Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) just want to learn how to control their powers. Unfortunately for them, there’s another new threat to the world and they get dragged into the fight.There are more mutants in this movie than you can poke a stick at. Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, and Michael Fassbender return to their roles of Mystique, Beast, Quicksilver, and Magneto. We also get a couple new additions, with Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler, Alexandra Shipp as Storm just to mention a couple.

With so many characters playing pivotal roles, you’d think things would get a little crowded. But even with so many characters and the cutting between the good guys and bad ones, you don’t get too overwhelmed.

With so much story to tell, it’s quite impressive how much information is squeezed into this movie, without it feeling like you’ve been given too many unnecessary facts.

As you’d expect from a film titled Apocalypse, most of it is quite serious. But there are still a few giggles to be had. Whether it be from the quick wit provided by quick-talking Quicksilver, or the few hidden inside jokes that you have to pay a little more attention to.

If you’re familiar with the original three X-Men films (2000-2006), the sides that some of the mutants take in this battle may surprise you. But it all boils down to the same final point. That hate breeds hate. People fear what they do not understand. Whether it be humans fearing mutants, mutants fearing humans, or mutants fearing each other. And as Raven so simply puts it, “just because there’s not a war, that doesn’t mean there’s peace.”

Captain America: Civil War

As heroes become more powerful, so must the villains if they’re to have any chance of winning. And when battles become more intense, live are going to be lost. But is it worth it? How can this destruction be controlled? These thoughts and so much more are posed as the future of the Avengers is brought into question.Directors of Captain America: Winter Soldier, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo return for this next installment, Captain America: Civil War. 

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) find themselves on different sides of the coin when it is proposed that the Avengers no longer be allowed to act as a private enterprise, but should come under the jurisdiction and control of the United Nations, only to be deployed when the UN decide it is necessary. With Iron Man and Captain America at odds with each other, the rest of the Avengers stand divided. 

With so many high powered individuals, this was never going to be a simple or easy battle. Both sides pull out all the stops, recruiting whoever they can find. The result? Some pretty quick paced and painful looking fights! 

Each character has a unique style, catering to their own individual weapons and abilities; yet, with all these differences, they still manage to move with amazing synchronicity to use and allow for the other members of their team.

After operating side-by-side for so long, people are bound to make personal connections. The banter, sarcasm and inside jokes between our heroes makes this obvious. It carries over from when they’re fighting together to when they are pitted against each other, creating an amusing juxtaposition, and reminding us that, although they may not agree with each other right now, they are fighting for and against a cause, not each other.

As far as superhero movies go, it’s fair to say that Marvel is stepping up their game with this one. Civil War has a much grittier and darker feel to it, showing us the consequences of people’s actions in the form of lives lost. And not just the lives of the bad guys. After the opening battle of the movie, King T’Chaka addressed the UN stating that live had been lost “Not only because of the actions of criminals, but by the indifference of those pledged to stop them. Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all.” 

A bit of fresh blood is added to the mix, in the form of Peter Parker (Tom Holland), the young, new hero, Spiderman. True to the comics, Spiderman is a quick talking, fast thinking, nerdy kid, who, despite having been a hero on his own for a little while, still has an innocence about him. He wants to see the positives in every situation, despite what life has already thrown at him. His quirky comments, hero-worship of the older Avengers (on both sides of the fight), and overall childish enthusiasm, bring a little more joy to the screen.

If you aren’t up to date with the rest of the Marvel cinematic works, you’ll still be able to enjoy this latest installment. If you are, you’ll find yourself connecting the dots. With so many characters and heaps of little details, you’ll find answers to one question, while asking yourself three more. 

With an ending that will leave you both satisfied at the close of one chapter and wanting to know what comes next, Civil War is another title in Marvel’s list of successes. 

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Photo: Warner Bros.

Bringing new life to a character who has already been cinematically portrayed by five different actors, over eight movies was never going to be an easy task.

In Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, director Zack Snyder brings the gritty reality of Gotham’s Dark Knight to life once more. In this next instalment of DC’s story, we pick up where 2013’s Man of Steel left off. Batman, Played by Ben Affleck, helps to show us a different perspective of Henry Cavill’s Superman.

We start to see what their world is really like. Snyder endeavors to remove the rose tint through which many of us have begun to view the superheroes of our childhood. Jesse Eisenberg’s slightly skewed portrayal of Superman’s age-old arch nemesis, Lex Luthor, lends to the mania that is life with heroes and villains in the 21st century.

In addition to the Justice League’s two powerhouses, we also get re-introduced to its tough-as-nails leading lady, Wonder Woman. This version of the Princess of Themyscira is brought to us by Gal Gadot. Gadot’s character lends a twist to the movie as we get to see herself, Affleck and Cavill’s personas learn about each other for the first time.

There is a lot of story crammed into this two and a half hour tale, with many hints towards where we could be taken next. We see a few faces that, in recent times, haven’t been on the big screen and it certainly leaves plenty of options for Warner Bros. Pictures to continue on with this saga.

Whether you’re rooting for Superman, have your money on Batman, or think that Wonder Woman will take them both, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a must see for all superhero fans. Hopefully, this will usher in a new era for our favourite DC characters and bring new life to the heroes of our childhoods.