Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Watching this film I expected it to be the greatest animation of 2018. The critics seemed to be highly rating the film, expressing its excellence. But instead, I was left a bit underwhelmed – I wouldn’t say it was the film of the century.

I liked the concept: the idea did seem great. Although, what you watch in the trailer isn’t exactly what you watch in the film. Multiple Spider-Men all joining together. The new Spider-Man the one we follow for most of the film, he is a great little character. Then there’s the Amazing Spider-Man, Gwen, and then we detour into some stranger versions, a cartoon pig Peter Porker, a robot with an anime-styled character and finally a film noir Spider-Man – the last three seem confused in the understanding of what Spider-Man is. But apparently all the same as they were bitten by a radioactive spider. The background comic stories behind the characters was fun and made sure they weren’t repeating the same story which was good. But ultimately, the film doesn’t spend that much time as all of the Spider-Men together but rather exploring the life of Miles Morales getting used to his new spidey-lifestyle.

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You end up feeling great sympathy for the villain of the film, maybe this was too persistent, as we’re supposed to support Spider-Man through and through. Additionally, the Amazing Spider-Man had lost his excellence and excelled into self-pity over the years, leaving behind someone mad for pizza and lying around. His character was rather underwhelming, however I think he was supposed to be executed in that way. But ultimately, that life-changing moment he’s supposed to have by the whole experience never really occurred. Although, Jake Johnson voicing him is fine by me any day!

The animation is cool, it has this comic effect that completely changes animations we are familiar of. But after a while, it becomes mad with bizarre bright colours and explosions of nothingness. In some cases it worked, with the spider senses seen and the screaming of AAAHH when necessary. But by the end with the villain succeeding in his plans, the whole screen just becomes a mass of bright colours and the narration is lost in a mist of madness where it can’t exactly be followed with what is happening.

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I think what came down to it was that it felt a little too hyped up. There wasn’t a great revolutionary scene with all of the Spider-Men band together. Where this could of happened, you become more lost in the plot at this point and missed what could have been some great comic Spider-Man action. The style of animation was unique and clever, but overdone in other parts. All in all, the potential of both the plot and animation didn’t feel like they could interweave together in harmony but instead occasionally fought against each other for the centre stage.

Might be an unpopular opinion…

Salt (2010)

An Angelina Jolie action spy film – I don’t think I can think of a film that isn’t good with that particular phrase. Angelina Jolie has to be one of the best action actresses, she is phenomenal in executing all parts of the film. What action movies aren’t great with her? ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’, ‘The Tourist’, ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ – all brilliant, including ‘Salt’. 

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‘Salt’ follows a CIA agent accused of being a Russian sleeper agent. Once this is declared, everything goes awry for Agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie), she ends up on the run from the CIA and we have no idea what is actually going on. You become so intrigued into the mystery of the whole film, constantly wondering what is going on and what the hell Salt thinks she’s doing!

This action is non-stop explosive action throughout the whole film. The audience are warped into this action lifestyle of spies. It’s an extremely interesting plot from start to finish. I was hooked from beginning to end, glued to the screen. It’s explosive and action-packed, with some excellent fighting scenes and a brilliant plot to be absorbed into. What more do you need in an action film?

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I would definitely recommend this film. Watch and try to discover who Evelyn Salt is. Watch as the mystery unravels itself, but you’re not entirely sure until the very end. With action such as car chases, jumping down elevators and scaling buildings, it really is non-stop and exciting all the way through. Besides it’s Angelina Jolie!

Captain Marvel (2019)

Let’s bring it all the way back to the beginning. To the beginning of earth’s understanding of out of space threats. To the creation of Marvel. It is the start of all stories.

I didn’t have my hopes up with this film, it’s just another film I was going to see. And to begin with, I wasn’t completely sold. But soon enough, I was absorbed into the film. I loved the music, who doesn’t love a bit of No Doubt and TLC? Then of course the special graphic effects were amazing, when are they not nowadays? ‘Captain Marvel’ was so fast pace, it was a great escapism to get lost into.

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Vers (Brie Larson) has completely forgotten her identity after a crash made her lose her memories. Living on the planet, Kree, she finally has the opportunity to use her powers that were given to her to fight for her country. In her first mission, an ambush is set waiting for her. Landing on earth, she finds her emotions always get in the way of her mind as she tries to track down the enemy’s target. But that’s not the only thing she discovers, but instead everything she’s forgotten. You become warped into an enemy that can shapeshift. You have no idea where they are as they could look like anyone. It’s fun and simple.

I really liked her story. I wouldn’t say it was the most shocking, because I could kind of tell where the whole movie was heading. But regardless, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy watching it unfold. I did love all the originality of the beginning of Marvel. Definitely enjoyed all the connections to unasked questions in all the other films. We see the return of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – which I have to say, they did well to look younger – his story of how he first found out about space troubles. Plus, there’s a cat, and it’s amazingly hilarious. Other than the cat, I can’t say the comedy was hit there as usual in Marvel films, unfortunately.

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Was this the best Marvel film I’ve ever seen? Probably not. But I still enjoyed the story very much, particularly loved Vers back story and lost past. And I adored the connections to other films, the realisation of questions you didn’t even ask in previous Marvel films. I even enjoyed the plane fights and Vers growing into her powers. It’s an enjoyable escapism and a brilliant original story. You know you’ll have to watch all Marvel films before ‘Avengers: Endgame’ anyway!

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016)

J K Rowling is back and the Harry Potter fans are not left hanging when we are taken back to this magical world we all know and love.

Set in New York, America, in a very different light from Hogwarts, as pre-Harry Potter we are introduced to a different magical world, yet one with similarities we know and can relate to so well. This was done brilliantly. I don’t know about other Harry Potter fans but I feel that his story ended perfectly for us to accept an end and move on, therefore I didn’t want to watch another film that was a repeat of all the characters we already know (and love) or similar stories repeating themselves as we’ve already ingested those. I’m a big believer of those things coming to an end and not over-doing it to eventually ruin it (not that J K Rowling could actually ruin anything). So where does ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ fit into this? As it was set in a different country, a whole different atmosphere was created; this a difference that was needed. Plus the introduction of new characters and different aspects should be loved. However, saying this, there were similarities to get the Harry Potter fans excited and ready for a new story. This was excellently done, I don’t want something completely different, polar opposites wouldn’t satisfy Harry Potter fans, and I believe that this film had the perfect combination of similarities and differences that Harry Potter fans and new fans would love.

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The new world was brought to us in a blast. A dramatic beginning to throw us straight into the wonderful, yet dangerous side of magic. But even before that, as you’re sitting there ready to watch this new almost prequel of Harry Potter, the music, that joy that brings Harry Potter fans to the reminder of when it ended in 2011. Then the film began, hooking in the audience straight away with a new plot we are unfamiliar with, yet need to know. There were many little plots going on at the same time in this film, with newspaper clippings, to the danger, to the Salem witches hunters, to Mr Graves (Colin Farrell), to the magical world of New York, to the main character, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). However, all these plots tied perfectly in the end. Now we all know Eddie Redmayne can play some challenging roles excellently, so we know he will be brilliant in a role such as this one. He plays the nervy, awkward, animal loving young wizard perfectly. A character we want to understand, yet one with much more depth than we are aware. Newt is a character who introduces the magical creatures to us extremely well. Not only are we fascinated with these new creatures, but they are adorable or even funny, as some escape and are accidentally let loose onto New York City. As I said there are many different little plot lines, so we don’t just delve into these new magical creatures, but they make the film fun and unpredictable to watch.

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There’s also an introduction of some other characters that should be appreciated. In America the non-magic person is called a No-Maj, even if we are familiar of the word Muggle; although do not be raged by this change in name, as Newt is a British wizard and appreciated Hogwarts as the best wizarding school in the world, plus he is more well known to a non-magic person being a Muggle as we are. Anyway, as we come to terms of a new dialect as Newt does himself, we are introduced to a No-Maj as he becomes a main character. One of my favourite characters in the film I might add. Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). A fellow man who just wants to open up his new bakery. However, he becomes wrapped into this magical world just as the audience does, we learn about the new magical creatures along with Kowalski, which in my opinion brings the audience in with the film more closely; cleverly done. Kowalski is a humorous character, one confused by this new world yet loving as well. Also, we cannot forget Tina (Katherine Waterston) and her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), two new characters to be appreciated as they both bring a new edge to the film, even Queenie being able to read minds.

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I would recommend seeing this film, it really is worth a watch. Even if it is quite a long film, however we are quite used to this from Harry Potter. But I believe ‘Fantastic Beasts’ cleverly combines what we know and what we don’t know extremely well to keep the audience gripped and even bring in a new audience. Besides of course there are similarities as David Yates directs it, just like the last four Harry Potter films. There are times in the film of stress, of fun adventure, of laughter, and of shock. If you can’t tell I enjoyed the film a lot and there’s even a glimpse of Johnny Depp! It’s the first introduction to our new characters and new plots, beginning the love of magical creatures for many more films to come. Ones that tie into the Harry Potter world we know. Besides one of the creatures is adorable as all it wants is shiny things… Isn’t that persuasion enough?

The Incredibles (2004)

‘The Incredibles’ is a brilliant classic animation that should be in everyone’s childhood. Well that’s my opinion anyway, and it’s my review so I would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this film to watch right away.

“Every superhero has a secret identity”. This is something we become to know extremely well in this film, it is the basis of ‘The Incredibles’. When the world no longer wants superheroes, they are forced to live among everyone else. I love how this is done at the beginning of the film, through newspaper clippings, sketches in court – it will become clear if you watch it… The beginning throwing you straight into that action element of the film, and delving into the love of Mr Incredible being a superhero. Then it jumps 15 years ahead and begins the main story line, the Parr family trying to live a normal suburban life.

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Introducing the characters then. As I’ve already mentioned the film is based around the Parr family. The man of the family, a man of incredible strength, Mr Incredible or Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson). Next, the wife, a woman of extreme flexibility, Elastigirl/Helen (Holly Hunter). And their three children. Invisibility and force fields are the powers of the eldest child, Violet (Sarah Vowell). The middle child, Dash (Spencer Fox), is like his name says, very speedy to say the least. Then finally, the youngest Jack-Jack, who’s “not even toilet trained”. And of course, there has to be a villain! This is Syndrome (Jason Lee). Syndrome, a non-super wanna-be superhero, if that makes any sense… The film is built up and built up to the ultimate plan of Syndrome’s, which finally hits at the end in a burst of more action and the urge of the Incredible family to save the world.

This film has a mixture of romance, comedy, adventure and a lot of action. Then throw in some enjoyable and brilliant animation. What more could you want? As Bob reminisces the old glory days of using his powers and saving people, it leads to him lying to his family. This eventually leads to a family adventure, one involving a lot of action. As Helen angrily goes to save Bob, their two eldest children become tied up into the action, which forces them to finally come to grips with their superpowers. Dash, a child in love with his powers but unable to show who he is, finally is able to run and run fast; his scene of running on the island is such an enjoyable part of the film for the audience, with edging close calls as he is chased by those who want him killed, the audience is wrapped up in Dash’s love for running and him discovering his new limits to his powers. The romance between husband and wife, Bob and Helen – despite the lying – is cute in its own way too.

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I have to mention, watching this film as an older audience – not saying I didn’t enjoy it, quite the opposite, this is a brilliant film. But the film is very clever in how it covers other issues in life, especially family issues. A young girl struggling with her confidence. A young boy unable to express himself, just wanting to compete. A man who just wants to be accepted in society again and appreciated for saving people which he loves to do. And finally, a woman trapped in lies told by her husband. I love how all this could potentially delve into realities of the audience even if it is a film about superheroes. This makes it a family film for everyone to enjoy.

‘The Incredibles’ ends on a cliff-hanger, begging for a second film. Which I believe is a want for many people, including me. So I thought what is best is to do a film review on this classic animation that should be remembered and appreciated by everyone. Just in case those who haven’t watched it can, seeing as it is such a great film, and be ready for ‘Incredibles 2’. Yes, in preparation for the next Incredibles movie, said to be released in 2018. 14 years after this classic first one. I will definitely be racing to see this next one. Just hope it is up to standards of this brilliant one. So go and watch the adventures of the Parr family because you won’t be disappointed in this animation.

The Ugly Truth (2009)

Looking for a romcom full of sexual innuendos and hilarious awkward moments? ‘The Ugly Truth’ qualifies significantly for both these areas.

Two opposite characters. Yet two the audience both love. And when I say opposite, I mean parallel. Firstly, Abby, played by no other but Katherine Heigl. A woman of a lot of romcoms, films such as one of my favourite films ever, ‘27 Dresses’, or even ‘Life As We Know It’. I know she’s in a lot of other things, but just two of my favourite romcoms that she stars in there. Abby is a producer of her own show, to say the least a control freak, always wanting things the way she wants, while desperately trying to find her perfect boyfriend, although not had much luck in the past. When her boss tells her she’s struggling at her ratings, one solution is made no matter how much Abby opposes it. This is to bring in Mike Chadway, a man loved by a hell of a lot of people, known for his brutal, even if slightly (I underestimate here) rude comments and opinions on relationships. Played amazingly well by Gerard Butler, a brilliant actor anyway. Sexual innuendo after sexual innuendo, he does it well to add to the humour of the film without making it uncomfortable, over-the-top or forced. He is the best comedic element of the film and of course should be appreciated.

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So a woman that wants to find love and a man who only believes in lust and seduction, of course leads to conflict but a deal. If Mike can get Abby the perfect man, then Abby will be nice to him on her show. Simple as? Or is it? Just a simple romance comedy plot line. However, obviously a great one!

An understandable age limit, this is a film of ages above 15, just because of the many, oh so many, references to sex, and swearing… Although, I have to say, there are many films that are alike to this, however ‘The Ugly Truth’ has to be one of the best films that does it well to actually make it humorous. It cleverly combines brutal opinions, with cute moments for the audience to route for, mixed with awkward situations you’d never wish upon yourself, within all this snarky comebacks that will get the audience laughing. Of course there are many other characters to appreciate, there’s obviously the love interest, Colin (Eric Winter); personal assistant and best friend to Abby, Joy (Bree Turner); the husband and wife news anchors, Larry (John Michael Higgins – ‘Pitch Perfect’) and Georgia (Cheryl Hines). All other characters that add to the humour of the film, and make it that much better.

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If you’re looking for a new romcom and haven’t seen this one that I would definitely recommend it. It is a film full of comical moments and a feel-good movie. It’s a brilliant romance comedy, for the older ages, but nevertheless one to not be forgotten in a hurry. Everyone knows some comical rivalry always goes down well anyway.

The Misogynist (2011)

‘The Misogynist’ is a creative and unique short film. There is definitely a particular essence to the film which is so different to others; although I liked this difference. It went well with the film especially the plot.

The camera is something that has to be pointed out. The use of the camera was very unique and varied in shots. There were extreme close ups, long shots, medium shots, everything. But what I liked the most is that there were moments where the camera followed the character, but contrasting mostly that it was completely still. Moments where the only thing moving was the character himself, the landscape quiet and still, just vast empty spaces the main protagonist was walking into. This gave such a unique style to the film that should be appreciated.

So anyway, the plot of the short film. The film lasts just over 12 minutes, however a lot is said. But cleverly, there actually isn’t much dialogue, a lot is said in the silence of the moments; although a lot is said when they are actually talking as well, more than you think. The main protagonist is husband, Harlan (Pascal Yen-Pfister), a photographer struggling to find his new project to shoot; to give him his edge and his own personal style. There are also two other characters, ones that contribute to two different parts of Harlan’s life. The wife (Rhea Sandstrom) mostly contributes to the life at home situation, while she is constantly at work, Harlan is struggling with his new project. You can tell from the beginning, there is a trouble in this marriage. The camera represents this distance between the characters. Significantly she does tie in with the life of photography but only because she is the symbol of what Harlan’s new project is based upon. The other character is W.D. Frost (Timothy Cox), who manipulates the photography part. We are told about Harlan’s career and his difficulty he is going through in regards to his photography. We discover through W.D Frost that something isn’t quite right when he gives his first selection of pictures.

I would recommend this film for a unique stylistic short film that has quite an eerie, creepy feel to it. A film that represents a bit of foreshadowing and many various camera styles. So did Harlan ever find his new edge for his photography?