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Showing posts from October, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 5 Review

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I was surprised to find that after having left Star Trek: Discovery for a little while that I only had two episodes to catch-up on, given how long I'd felt that I'd not watched this series for. Perhaps I was missing it, or perhaps I've just been too caught up with life - and the new seasons of the DC shows (which all bar Arrow have been off to a mediocre start). Sitting down to watch 'Choose Your Pain' though, I found myself not quite as gripped by the episode as I had been previously. Perhaps the bright sunshine outside didn't help with the atmosphere of it all, but otherwise I just couldn't place my finger on why I wasn't quite as invested.
Perhaps its because the series has been consistently good so far. I've enjoyed the previous episodes, I expect good things from the next, and thus the episode delivers on that. There's no real disappointment, but there's no overwhelming sense of excellence to the episode. It's as-expected, and perh…

First Thoughts on 'The Flash' Season 4 (Episode 2)

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I wasn't originally planning to write another piece on The Flash's fourth season so soon, but after watching 'Mixed Signals', I have several thoughts I'd like to put down. Firstly, this week's episode of The Flash for some reason became a soppy relationship drama: Barry and Iris go to couples' therapy, and Cisco and Gypsy have their own relationship troubles - both brokered by Caitlin telling stories about her and Ronnie. Yeah...these are the two main through-lines of this week's episode, and I can't help but wonder if the writers have completely misjudged their audience here. Arrow very much had this problem in its own third and fourth seasons, and Legends of Tomorrow with the last episode (although to a much smaller degree), but here in The Flash, I'm just a bit bored of it all. The Flash has always put some focus into the romantic relationships between characters, but this episode just focused far too much on it for no apparent reason. The w…

Marvel's Inhumans - Episode 1 Review

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For those looking for a spoiler-free review of the series premiere, you can check out my review of the IMAX 'movie' version of Inhumans from September, but otherwise...here's my spoilery review of the first episode of the series.
There's a few notable differences from the IMAX version here. The title sequence is shortened from a Netflix-style minute long sequence to a much shorter, credit-less version, while we're actually given the opening few minutes as a pre-credits sting, or prologue. There's also a whole plot-line in which Maximus murders the leader of the Inhumans genetics council, which from memory was absent from the 'movie'. I also believe that there were some additional scenes with the Earth-based scientists, although a plot-line from that has not yet emerged. That being said, getting to watch both versions has been very interesting for me. I've had a certain amount of distance to make re-watching Inhumans somewhat worthwhile, and the sma…

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) - Written Review

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Sitting down to watch Thor: Ragnarok, I can imagine many people are expecting different things. Some want the third Thor installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, others a soft-reboot of the character, and those left just after a good Marvel flick featuring the God of Thunder and the Hulk. Thor: Ragnarok manages to fit in all three particular expectations, but does so in such a way that only those specifically after a Guardians of the Galaxy-esque Thor film will be completely satisfied.
Two years after departing Earth in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor Odinson has been travelling the galaxy in search of the Infinity Stones. Returning to Asgard, Thor finds that all is not well, and that Hela - the Goddess of Death - has arrived to wreak havoc. Allying himself with his adopted brother Loki, Thor endeavours to find his father Odin and prevent the perils of Ragnarok - the end of Asgardian civilisation...
How does the film fair? Well, after a fun opening prologue along to Led Zeppelin&#…

First Thoughts on 'The Flash' Season 4 (Episode 1)

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I'm not sure if I wrote any posts about The Flash season 3 on this blog, or even on season 2 - perhaps the latter was simply a full-season review, as the second season of the series seemed to dawdle quite a bit in terms of narrative progression. Last time we left Barry and co though, our scarlet speedster had vanished into the speed force, leaving Team Flash, and his fiance Iris, behind.
This new season picks up six months later, with Iris trying to move on from Barry's loss, and Wally and Cisco taking care of Central City's meta-human population as Kid Flash and Vibe respectively. Nowhere to be seen are Jay Garrick, Gypsy, Tom Felton, Jessie or Harry Wells, but considering the third season's sprawling cast, a much tighter set feels a bit more comfortable. There is such a thing as too many good-guys in these superhero shows.
When the Samauroid attacks though, Cisco decides that it's time to bring Barry back from the speed force, despite initially stating that the …

Legion: Season 1 - Written Review

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Created by Noah Hawley and based upon the Marvel comic book series, 'Legion' is the first television addition to the X-Men film franchise, following the David Haller (Dan Stevens) as he struggles with what he thinks as a mental illness, but what government agency Division 3 and the mysterious mutant Summerland group believe to be special telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Told from David's perspective as an unreliable narrator, the series manipulates time, space and even reality itself as it tells the story of a man struggling to find himself.
First things first: 'Legion' is not for everyone. It's narrative isn't so much convoluted, but is told in such a way that at points makes it difficult to understand. If you're willing to watch a mystery series that actually makes sense once it resolves itself, you probably won't have any real problems with this method of story-telling. 'Legion' isn't convoluted...but that doesn't mean it…

First Thoughts on 'Supergirl' Season 3 (Episode 1)

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Supergirl returned to UK screens last night in the opening episode to its third season, and I can't help but feel a bit disappointed and underwhelmed with the result. While I'm used to giving seasons of television time to breathe - given that these DC shows have 16-23 episodes of time to tell their respective stories - here, in one episode of Supergirl: season 3, I felt a pang of disappointment that I just couldn't shake throughout.
For a bit of context here, I've never cited Supergirl as a particularly amazing or even that great a show, but I've enjoyed it because it is just a fun superhero adventure with likable characters and entertaining action set-pieces. It's light entertainment, and a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, despite its short-comings - mostly boiling down to the show's often on-the-nose writing.
So what was up with this premiere episode? Well, for starters the opening dream sequence was...um...a bit awkward to watch. It looked like some kin…

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - Written Review

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Thirty-five years after Ridley Scott's original, Denis Villeneuve (of Arrival and Sicario fame) brings us the thrilling second chapter in the story in Blade Runner 2049. Is it as good as the original? What does this mean for the original film's ending - or multiple endings? And is this just a shallow sequel-baiting film trying to turn Blade Runner into a franchise?
The story follows LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who upon a routine retirement - the euphemism for a Replicant execution by Blade Runner - discovers something mysterious, which begins to turn his world upside down. His commanding officer (Robin Wright) instructs him to destroy all evidence, while the Wallace corporation begins to take an interest in K, sending out Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to find out what K now knows - knowing the potential ramifications. As K digs deeper into this mystery, he soon finds that maybe he already knows more than he thought...
If you're wondering how Deckard (Harrison Ford) fits into this…

Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 4 Review

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So alas, here we are again for the fourth episode of Star Trek: Discovery, and the pattern of building on the pros and rectifying the cons of each episode is maintained in an episode that continues all of our main story-threads in a satisfying mid-point episode. With the creature now in Discovery's care, Burnham manages to work out what it is - and its relation to the spores the Captain wants to use for interplanetary travel.
Quite what these spores have to do with the broader Star Trek mythology I'm not entirely sure. I vaguely remember the trail of the Enterprise looking quite similar to these spores in the JJ Abrams movies, so maybe this is where its all going, but for now I'm finding this arc surprisingly interesting. The way the creature is being used as a navigator is quite interesting, and I sense an animal rights-themed episode at some point along the line given how it appears to be weakened by the ordeal. Michael's empathy with the stranded creature is also i…

Doctor Who: Shada returns!

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For those who aren't aware, Shada was set to be the final serial of Doctor Who's 17th season, starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Lala Ward as Romana II and John Lesson as K9 in a big, six-part sprawling epic written by Douglas Adams - of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently fame, who'd also written The Pirate Planet and City of Death for the series, in addition to being a script editor. The story would have followed a sinister new foe in the form of Skagra, who together with a malevolent mind-stealing sphere attempts to enter Shada - the prison planet of the Time Lords. To do this, however, he must steal a Gallifreyan book from retired Time Lord Professor Chronotis, who has sought the Doctor and Romana's help to hide it. For those who have, like myself, read Gareth Roberts' wonderful adaptation of Adams' scripts, you'll know just how witty and bonkers Shada is. Or was. Or could have been. It's a little complicated.
The novelizatio…

Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 3 Review

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Here we are already at episode 3 of Star Trek: Discovery and this Netflix Original Series is wowing me every minute. It's a spectacularly well-made and well-written series, and I'm just blown away by the whole production. Speaking as a non-Trekkie, this is the Star Trek for me. Not the JJ Abrams flicks, or arguably the original shows, but Discovery.
So, following on from last week, Michael Burnham is now a prisoner of Starfleet, infamous for her insubordination aboard the Shenzhou, when she is picked-up by the USS Discovery and its captain, played by none other than Jason Isaacs. Thus, we have what appears to be our actual set-up for the rest of the series: Burnham working for Isaacs' Captain aboard the Discovery, trying to make up for her past mistakes. Along the way of course, not all is at it seems and ideas surrounding special particles and strange monsters appear to be building some kind of mystery arc for the rest of this season.
This episode in particular - 'Co…

Superhero Films In 2017: The Constantly Changing DC Cinematic Universe

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I am writing this a few short hours before a new Justice League trailer drops. I'm not sure whether I should actually watch it - will it just spoil the third act of the movie? Am I that bothered? I'm not too sure. Regardless, I just wanted to set the scene of this piece. Several days ago, a news story broke that the so-called "DC Extended Universe" wasn't actually officially called that, and - depending on which article one read - either didn't have a name (in which case, surely you'd just stick with that name) or it had a different name (one that DC and WB didn't want to share for whatever reason). For some reason, I instantly had flashbacks to that whole "Dark Universe" announcement from Universal a few months ago. It just sort of came out with the release of The Mummy, after everyone had been calling it the "New Universal Monsters" franchise. If it wasn't clear beforehand, DC and Warner Bros don't really have a definiti…

Superhero Films In 2017: A Look at the X-Men Series

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Next in this series of editorials, I thought it'd be fun to tackle the X-Men Universe, produced by Twentieth Century Fox. As part of Marvel's film deals in the 1990's, Fox gained the film rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Daredevil, and thus in 2000 we got X-Men (2000) directed by Bryan Singer. While not regarded as a classic, the film was surprisingly successful at the time and gained a sequel in X-Men 2 (or X2: X-Men United in the States) in 2003, followed by the infamous Ben Affleck-led Daredevil film; a Fantastic Four movie and Elektra spin-off in 2005; and then X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, which marked a significant turning point. While their other Marvel projects hadn't taken off, The Last Stand marked the first disliked X-Men movie, and when Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) failed to reach the success Fox were hoping for, Matthew Vaughn was brought in for a soft-reboot with X-Men: First Class (2011), w…