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Showing posts from April, 2018

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 5, Episode 10 Review

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With all the excitement surrounding Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War, its easy to forget that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still ongoing elsewhere with Marvel's Agents of SHIELD reaching its mid-season finale last night in the UK...about two months later than in the US. "Past Life" brings Season 5's first pod to a close as the team embark on a last-ditch effort to escape 2091.

Its an episode very much designed to resolve key plot-threads from the previous nine episodes, resulting in a rather peculiar installment of the series that probably flows much better when watched immediately after the previous episode (and vice-versa). The plot's already in motion, meaning that we have little time to 'get in' to the episode before things start kicking off. However, due to the nature of the story, its not as 'epic' as some big episodes have been in the past. I recently discovered that ABC had actually slashed the budget for the show, hence why…

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - Review

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The phrase "I'm shook" springs to mind.

Ten years after Marvel Studios released their first independent motion picture 'Iron Man', the studio brings together (almost) all of their superhero characters into one enormous event film - 'Avengers: Infinity War'. Bursting at the seams with characters, ongoing arcs and a narrative sprawling across space, can the team behind 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and 'Captain America: Civil War' pull it off?

Short answer: no, of course they can't. But they do a pretty great job trying.

'Avengers: Infinity War' is a film perhaps lacking in character development all round, so much so that many characters feel like special guest stars in a film focused on bringing everything together. If there is a main character here, it's Thanos - played via motion-capture by Josh Brolin - on his journey to find all of the Infinity stones. The Russo brothers have compared this to a heist film, althou…

Venom (2018) - Official Trailer Reaction

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"Embrace your inner anti-hero" is the tagline to Sony Pictures' 'Venom', one that feels so unoriginal and corporate-mandated that I can just picture the guy in the suit sitting in the board room feeling quite chuffed with himself for that. I mean, film taglines are rarely great now, but...seriously? That's just lame.
Not that we should necessarily expect some genius piece of creative story-telling here from 'Venom'. It's a movie mandated by the fact that the character sold some cool, and probably quite cheap toys back in the day...probably in the days when Toys R Us were still going, making the film seem somewhat irrelevant in 2018. This was a film made because Sony thought there was money in expanding the Spider-Man franchise into multiple installments with separate spin-off films. A cinematic universe, as it were. The problem with all bad cinematic universes though is that in order to gain peoples' investment, each film either needs to stan…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 5, Episode 9 Review

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As we hurtle towards Agents of SHIELD's fifth mid-season finale, the cards are laid down on the table as the agents prepare for their final confrontation with Kasius, and their eventual journey back to the present day.
Unlike with previous episodes I'm finding it very difficult to work out what to say. In many ways, this was an transitional or checklist episode that filled in important plot details while the narrative moves from one clear beat to another. It's establishing the final "act" of this half-season, putting the characters under-pressure to succeed against all odds. There's nothing wrong with this of course; the episode is filled with tension, action and key plot developments, laying the groundwork for next week - and presumably beyond. If there's a problem with this though, its that episodes like "Best Laid Plans" are a little forgettable in the long run. As in, I cannot tell you anything that really happened in the episode beyond the…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 5, Episode 8 Review

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"The Last Day" is another excellent episode in this season of Agents of SHIELD, and in many ways is a fantastic follow-up from last week's installment. While "Together or Not at All" was predominantly focused around Kasius and Sinara, "The Last Day" is very Team SHIELD-centric, resulting in some key character points. Fitz and Simmons are back together again, Daisy is facing the very real possibility that her role as the destroyer of Earth is an inevitability, and May starts to question her own future.

Actually, despite everything else going on, this is clearly a Melinda May episode, even if it doesn't seem as such at a first glance. At the start of the episode, May is starting to question her role in the team. Beforehand she was a fighter and a pilot, but with her injured leg she can no longer protect the team as well as she wants to, and while stuck in 2091 cannot pilot any of the vehicles with a great deal of success. Without the scientific know…

Marvel's Jessica Jones - Season 2 Review

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I'm really late to the party with the second season of Marvel's Jessica Jones, but in my defense I was really busy when the season dropped on 8th March (incidentally International Women's Day). Finally though, over Easter weekend I managed to watch the entire season, and to be honest I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps my expectations were much lower than most other peoples', but generally this season has had a "meh" reaction from audiences, criticising it for being overlong and not being as interesting as the first season. In my opinion though, I actually found this to be a slight step-up from last season, despite not having nearly enough David Tennant as Kilgrave.

This second outing for Jessica felt like an actual mystery to me, unlike the first which featured an over-arching narrative that seemed to go absolutely nowhere for most of the season, in part because the show's premise was explained very well in the trailers - which essentially simplified five,…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 5, Episode 7 Review

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Given how serialised Agents of SHIELD has been over the last four seasons, its difficult not to repeat oneself in these episode-by-episode reviews, but I'd once again like to talk about Kasius and Sinara, because "Together or Not At All" is a brilliant and compelling look at the dynamic between the two, so much so that it's virtually a B-plot, and even so features very little interaction between the two. In fact, correct me if I'm wrong but the two only share two scenes together in the episode, at least in terms of interaction. Their dynamic is very interesting in part because the writers have done such a wonderful job at characterising them, and making them much more compelling characters than one could've possibly thought with Kree overlords. 
With 90% of the Kree in this show and in Guardians of the Galaxy all being male, Sinara represents a rarity in being a female member of a very hyper-masculine species who prioritise war and violence, choosing to demo…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 5, Episode 6 Review

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With Fitz leaping into action to rescue Daisy and Simmons, "Fun and Games" raises the stakes of this fifth season with the team finally leaping into action to escape the post-apocalyptic 'underground' base.

Getting to see Fitz pretending to be this fearful potential buyer from Kasius was an interesting angle for this episode to take, and unlike in most TV shows, he's actually pretty convincing - aside from his reactions to seeing his teammates. His rough persona also allowed us to explore a little more about Kasius - who has been exiled to the station by his father, seen as a disappointment. Kasius' decision to prove himself worthy of his father's respect makes for an intriguingly vulnerable villain. The Kree are constantly shown as these physically imposing strongmen, but Kasius' more gentle nature makes him a much more compelling villain - even if he isn't too sympathetic. Sinara is also quite a good hench-woman character, with her domino mask-e…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 5, Episode 5 Review

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Remember when Agents of SHIELD did "4,722 Hours" back in Season 3? The standalone bottle episode focused entirely on Simmons' ordeal on a hostile alien planet? Well, that episode was almost universally acclaimed and has thus spurred writer Craig Titley on to produce another bottle episode for Season 5 with a similar approach. Due to other working commitments, actor Iain De Caestecker wasn't able to reprise his role as Fitz from the start of this season, and thus is given an episode entirely dedicated to him here, and I think its safe to say that "Rewind" is the episode of Agents of SHIELD I've been looking forward to all season (which, admittedly, isn't all too long in the grand scheme of things).

Joining Fitz on his quest to find the SHIELD team is returning agent Lance Hunter (Nick Blood), who left along with Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) in the third season. Since then, their spin-off series Marvel's Most Wanted was cancelled after only a p…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 5, Episode 4 Review

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I'm writing this review a little bit later than I had originally intended. Given that I mostly end up having to catch up on Agents of SHIELD even after it airs in the UK, it gets quite difficult to keep going with these episode-by-episode recap reviews. Sooooooo...apologies if this isn't as in-depth as the next two. They were written almost instantly after having seen them.
This episode was very clear in that it wanted to play with your expectations. The parallel narratives with Coulson, May and Deke inspecting Level 35, alongside Mack and Yo-Yo being assigned by Grill to threaten another person on the station don't seem to connect until its revealed that the person Mack's supposed to beat-up is actually trying to save babies being raised by the Kree on Level 35 as perfect Inhuman servants. It's an unsettling twist, and hits Mack quite hard, given that he lost his daughter in the Framework after having been able to mourn her death in the real world. It's someth…