Showing posts from September, 2017

Superhero Films In 2017: An Analysis of Marvel Studios

Somewhere along the line I fully intend to produce a full-length essay on the current situation of audio-visual superhero fiction, because at the moment the sub-genre (because ultimately that's what it is) is so prevalent in our media that escaping either their popularity or influence is almost impossibly difficult. Whether trailers for the latest Marvel movies are trending on social media, or there's a huge posters adorning buses, billboards and cinemas, or trailers and TV spots either just before a film you want to see, or even between a programme you want to watch. Big-budget Hollywood blockbusters generally have this kind of influence (Blade Runner 2049 being the latest to ratchet up its marketing here in the UK), but superhero movies have seemingly changed the entire cinematic and to a certain extent television landscape in such a way that people are either rejoicing or just completely fed up with the whole thing.
Such an analysis into what has now become a staple of 21s…

Star Trek: Discovery - Episodes 1 & 2 Review

Star Trek as a science fiction franchise is in this really weird place right now in popular culture. While the whole thing seemed to be making a big comeback with JJ Abrams' first Star Trek movie in 2009, and continued so in 2013's Into Darkness, the series in its original format as a long-form television series didn't seem to be on the horizon. Star Trek Beyond was promised as big event film for the franchise's 50th Anniversary last year and sunk at the box office - despite seemingly doing okay in terms of numbers. Then Star Trek: Discovery was announced for a late 2016 release, then an early 2017 release, and finally a late 2017 and into early 2018 release...not quite the 50th Anniversary promotion the franchise was clearly aiming for.
As for my thoughts on the whole thing, I personally find Star Trek such a dense franchise to get into that I'm really not sure it's worth my while. There's several different series' and a total of thirteen feature films…

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) - Written Review

After the unprecedented success of Kingsman: The Secret Service in 2015 (a mere year before Deadpool came long and beat it), Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman are back at it again with the exciting next installment in the series, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
A year after saving the world from Richmond Valentine, Eggsy is now a fully-trained Kingsman agent - working under the code-name Galahad - working through life as both a super-spy and also the boyfriend to a Swedish Princess. However, when a face from the past shows up on Kingsman's doorstop, Eggsy begins to uncover a sinister conspiracy revolving around the Golden Circle - but not before Kingsman itself is attacked. Together with Merlin, Eggsy seeks help from the American branch the Statesmen as they try to stop a sinister plot that could threaten millions of people around the world...
I suppose I should be clear before I go much further: I don't want to spoil The Golden Circle for those who haven't seen it, but in ord…

Electric Dreams: Episode 1 'The Hood Maker' - Review

'The Hood Maker' marks the first installment in Channel 4's new anthology series Electric Dreams, based upon various short stories written by Phillip K Dick - author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, or more commonly known as Blade Runner.
In this episode, Richard Madden plays a detective looking into cases of anti-Teep (or anti-telepathic) protesters, with the assistance of Holliday Grainger, a Teep herself. Together they uncover the mystery of the hood maker, a man who's sent out a variety of anti-Teep hoods to the general population in an effort to resist their physic powers. Not all is as it seems though, and perhaps learning the truth can be harder than remaining in ignorance...
If you haven't seen the episode yet, I'll try to avoid spoilers as best as possible. The series is new on TV, and I can imagine some just want to read this wondering whether or not to watch. Put simply: this episode in particular isn't anything special, but maybe in the …

Should Class have been cancelled?

Oh wait, sorry, did you want more? Fair enough...
For those who don't know, Class was a BBC Three original series written and created by Patrick Ness, as a young adult-targeted spin-off from Doctor Who. Set in Coal Hill School, the series saw four teenage leads and their evil alien teacher Miss Quill assigned by a certain Doctor to protect the area from cracks in space and time, from which anything could spring from. Insert monster-of-the-week formulas, teen drama and a rather clunky over-arching narrative here.
Now, that really doesn't sound like a bad idea for a series, or even a Doctor Who spin-off. Contemporary Who has definitely had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer influence, as did The Sarah Jane Adventures, and Torchwood definitely took inspiration from Angel. A teen-oriented show would be fine...if this was about ten years ago, when TV was actually trying to engage this kind of audience. Nowadays teenagers have plenty of specially-targeted shows on Netflix, and stickin…

Fant4stic (2015) - Written Review

You know when you think "how bad can it be?" Well, I ended up learning this lesson the hard way with Josh Trank's 2015 disaster Fantastic Four, or, more commonly known as Fant4stic. How bad can it be? This bad.
Fant4stic is a terrible, terrible movie with as many redeeming features as there are actual colours in the film. That is to say, few and far between, and so dim when they do show up that you really have to be searching to find them. Fant4stic now seems to have reached the point of circulation, now added to Netflix with a TV network premiere probably imminent. Don't watch it. Just don't. There is so little to enjoy here that you'll just want to switch it off anyway. And even if you do, for whatever reason, still want to give it a go to see how bad it can be... Batman and Robin is hilariously bad. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is overlong, overstuffed and frankly a bit boring. X-Men: The Last Stand is dull, humourless and utterly forgettable. Fant4…

Marvel's Inhumans: The First Chapter - Review

Honestly, I'm a little stuck on what to call this. Is this Inhumans episodes 1 and 2? Is this Inhumans: the movie? The pilot? Parts 1 and 2? I really don't know. It's a bit difficult to really talk about this when I have no idea exactly what it is. Some people are billing this as Marvel's Inhumans: The First Chapter, so I might just stick with that for the time being.
Now, I've not been one of those on the Inhuman hate-train over the past year. For me, the idea of an Agents of SHIELD spin-off being a miniseries as opposed to a $200 million feature film sounded a lot more reasonable, and was also helped by some early promotion about it being a big IMAX epic. Having seen Inhumans: The First Chapter in an admittedly impressive IMAX screen though, I can't say the IMAX benefited the show at all. The production values are so mixed on the whole that the show can never make use of the superior technology at its disposal. It's pretty TV-ish, and not especially cine…