Birds of Prey: And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Without a doubt the person who sells this film is Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. She is the star of the show who holds the whole film together (she does kind of have to be the star as she is the main character and all but still…). Margot Robbie portraying the infamous Harley Quinn is phenomenal, she was brilliant in ‘Suicide Squad’ and again in ‘Birds of Prey’. Her whole character is mesmerising to watch. She snaps from this unhinged villain to a trained psychiatrist during moments of the film which adds depth to her character and comedic contrast. Margot Robbie executes all the excellent elements of Harley Quinn to perfection on screen. Even the way she looks sells the character.

It’s hard to put into words a define plot to this film. This is where I thought it was a little weak and underwhelming. It revolves around Harley Quinn and others soon become significant main characters; including a police detective, a crossbow killer, Black Canary, a young thief and Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). If you’re a big DC fan or have seen the many other programmes, then the characters would make a lot more sense and reflect your known knowledge of the comics. However, if you’re like me and started watching ‘Arrow’ and got bored, or the first ‘Flash’ episode was too over the top, then you’re just watching for Harley Quinn and the film by itself. The plot then becomes loose which is not really heading anywhere as a lot of character backgrounds suddenly crash into one.

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Basically, Harley Quinn and The Joker have broken up. Harley now realises her protection in Gotham City has been lost and instead she’s wronged a lot of people who now want revenge on her. The way this is shown on screen is so fun and stylistic with bursts of colours and quick flashback explanations. Meanwhile, we follow Roman Sionis (the dominant villain of the movie) in his murderous ways as he searches for a diamond, which becomes lost and hunted for. A crossbow killer is involved in the story too, although her acting wasn’t great. It is kind of random at why Harley is involved in the whole fiasco, but she’s adored on screen, so I didn’t hate it. On the other hand, I don’t like when a supernatural element is randomly chucked in at the end – it does irritate me (you’ll know what I mean when you see the film). Finally, the moment in the trailer of the women banding together is a brilliant fight scene of screen (even if it is right at the end), of course Harley Quinn’s final action-packed scene is perfectly set in an amusement park.

The entire film is narrated by Harley Quinn herself, at times she even looks at the camera to the audience. I did like this stylised choice; however, it is a lot of talking. The narration is throughout the entire film and there isn’t a lot of time without it. It does, again, put Harley Quinn at the centre of the film as she’s telling us the story. Furthermore, towards the beginning of the film, the timeline is not linear, instead it bounces around – the narration is the sole reason for understanding the changes in time.

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Overall, I did enjoy the film. Did I think there would be a stronger plot? Yes. But was it still enjoyable due to Harley Quinn? Yes! I’m not going to say this is a ground-breaking film of cinematic history because it is far from it. Nevertheless, there are a lot of action-packed scenes and empowering women moments; although many of them weren’t Harley’s moments surprisingly. She is funny in her own crazy way and she’s a lot of fun to watch.

Joker (2019)

Now I’m a huge fan of Heath Ledger as the best Joker ever to hit the screen. And within The Dark Knight Trilogy, I believe that Heath Ledger is still phenomenal as Batman’s greatest nemesis (‘The Dark Knight’ review here). Nevertheless, in this background story Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker is outstanding. He becomes the character in a multitude of ways. His look is haunting, his laughter echoes in the silent cinema room, his silence makes you sit still. I found myself frozen in my seat, unnerved by what this Joker by succumb to, waiting for the final snap.

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Pinpointing the actual plot of the film comes down to two words: character development. The film is what it says on the tin, it is about the Joker through and through. His life, his development, his road to violence. The whole film is full of tension. Arthur Fleck, aka the Joker, is incredibly unnerving. The unpredictability of this character is haunting. Although at the same time, there is a victimisation of the villain – he’s been rejected from society, horrifically beaten and abandoned. It’s heart-breaking at times with a condition that seems to get him worse into trouble, you feel for Arthur as he’s ridiculed and misunderstood. The background story with this mother only deepens throughout the film and adds to Arthur’s misery as he discovers more about himself. This story was inviting to be discovered and draws you in to find out more.

All Arthur wants is to fulfil his mother’s given nickname of ‘Happy’. He wants to give people joy and laughter, to put smiles on people’s faces. But with a multitude of psychological problems, he finds it’s not as easy as he has always believed. His nickname becomes ironic in his hatred of life and misery of everything. His uncontrollable laughter becomes a result of ignorance and hate. His mask is his clown and he becomes the clown to set the crazy world right but into deeper chaos.

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There is a connection to the Wayne family. However, this was something I didn’t want to be obsessively covered and happily it wasn’t. The nod to the family and little Bruce Wayne is enough to keep the film separate from all the other franchises and adds development into both families. If it went any further I believe the ‘Joker’ would become a film retelling a story already told – fortunately they knew their limits to make the film different but still having a nod to Batman which you can read into as much as you wish and not have it forced upon you.

As a stand-alone film, ‘Joker’ could continue as a phenomenal film. Add anything to it and I’m worried it’ll lose all meaning and be lost amongst a mass once again. I may have missed the comedy that others laughed at, but I was lost in the psychological thriller and drama of this character we know so little of. The film has given a deeper meaning to the reasons behind, but an unnerving, unknown understanding to his happy ending. There’s a clear snap but the audience can understand why, even though his violence is extreme and shocking, it was a society that has been leading him that way for too long and he’s finally found his meaning to life. Perverse and deep in meaning, ‘Joker’ is definitely a psychological thrilling drama trying to come to grips with this complex character as a victim and as a villain brought as one. Additionally, I will always welcome Robert De Niro to my screen.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man so far! He tops Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in my opinion.

Tom Holland is who makes this film brilliant. His quirky, awkward teenager presence as Peter Parker is welcomed on screen. ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ finds Peter Parker desperate to keep a normal life. We watch as Spider-Man tries to cling onto his summer vacation with his friends at school. Travelling around Europe, Peter sets himself a plan to tell MJ (Zendaya) how he really feels – aww. But when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) makes an entrance by shooting Peter’s friend with a dart gun, Peter’s summer holiday becomes a save-the-world expedition once again.

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‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ has the same awkward funny moments as ‘Homecoming’ did. The plot is also a brilliant one, interesting and intriguing. Leading on from the catastrophe of ‘Avengers: Endgame’, the world is feeling the loss of beloved Avengers, where others have given up the game and many have died. Spider-Man still lives, although weight is off his shoulders when another different superhero comes on the screen – Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Elementals have taken over the world, destroying famous cities; fire, wind and water explode through Venice, London, Prague.

I did have a few reservations about this film. For starters, I wasn’t sure about Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio as it did seem like a weird choice. Furthermore, Marvel has had so many numerous films, can it continue to get better or it is just the same story over and over again? Especially after the mass hit of ‘Endgame’. However, I did not need to worry. Jake Gyllenhaal was a good addition to this Marvel film. His and Tom Holland’s bond on and off screen has to be loved by the audience. Plus, the plot was refreshingly different and interesting throughout.

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‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ was an enjoyable film. It has the action and the comedy. Tom Holland and Zendaya are fabulous and brilliant characters on screen. As is Peter Parker’s best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon). Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan is ever more so present in this film and should be loved, his character is brilliant. Elements throughout the film get darker and twisted as the plot unravels and unravels. For some reason, I knew all the twists in this film, so if you know them, they don’t become such the great twists and turns throughout. Although, still worth the watch as it is a great film with brilliant Spider-Man skills developing further and Peter Parker’s presence as a teenager is also perfect.

PS. Don’t forget the two scenes at the end of the credits – they’re gooduns.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

I now understand the fuss… I understand why this has smashed box office scores. I understand why this film was sold out across the world. Yeah, I get it. This film has such a perfect, wholesome ending to the original Avengers. I know they are making new Marvel films, but I truly believe this to be the perfect final ending of the amazing originals: Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye. It was perfect for all these characters, all the way to end. Ok, I might have said this before, that Marvel has dragged it out for too long, but I take it back for this ending to be concluded. It was truly a brilliant film and I cannot contest otherwise.

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‘Infinity War’ told us that Thanos was successful. He was successful in making 50% of Earth’s population disappear. This included some of the new heroes: Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Only a few were left behind to pick up the pieces. The world has become broken and lost. A lot happens when everyone loses someone, tragic, drastic changes. Our heroes that are left behind becomes ones we don’t recognise; Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) are examples in particular. Others become desperate in fixing the world, unable to move on: Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).

Can Marvel make a film longer? Yes! Three hours ‘Endgame’ is. But so much happens, and it really doesn’t feel like it is that long. Everything that happens makes so much sense in the film that you can’t really take any of it out. Plus, you cannot predict any of it. Well maybe you can predict some parts just before they are about to happen, like just before. Nevertheless, don’t go into this film having the plot predicted and easy, it’s a film to absorb you and shock every element.

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‘Avengers: Endgame’ is a mass of action scenes with the usual excellent special effect, of the familiar comedy of the loved characters and of an emotional rollercoaster to take you on. The film gets your shocked, sad, hopeful and laughing. I have to mention the phenomenal moment that got me cheering for the film (not literally…) – the absolute love for the women power was empowering. I really can’t say there was any part in the film that I didn’t enjoy. I was hooked from beginning to end, lost in the cleverly thought-out plot that was intriguing and brilliant. Every character was perfect in their execution and reasoning in the plot, we needed them all and they all came to a hell of a finale. Although, to have a full understanding of every second, you do need to watch all other Marvel films connected, however, I haven’t seen them all and it still made sense to me.

The Dark Knight (2008)

‘The Dark Knight’ is definitely one of the best superhero films out there. With the most phenomenal villain on screen. Batman vs The Joker. This is the second of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy: the first being ‘Batman Begins’, the third ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

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A new villain has come to Gotham, one crazier and extreme unlike any other that Batman (Christian Bale) has seen before. In his crazed make-up and his purple suit, The Joker (Heath Ledger) resembles a mad man with nothing to lose and only chaos to gain. Meanwhile, there’s a new hero in town, the District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who will do anything to clean the streets of Gotham, a knight in shining armour determined to take the Mob down and all the criminals in his city. But The Joker is determined in his acknowledgement of Batman being his perfect half to “complete” him, he wants to continue a warp of madness in the city that messes everything up for Dent, forcing a clean city to turn on its head.

I truly think this is a brilliant film. It is quite a long one, but there is so much to the plot that you become emotionally invested, warped into Gotham. There is so much meaning and drive to the plot that brings this film to light. The director is obviously essential in making this trilogy as phenomenal as it is. The brilliant use of sound and lighting makes the audience feel tense in the crucial places. But we cannot forget the outstanding cast of this film. Personally, I think Christian Bale is one of the best Batman’s. With Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman on his side as Alfred and Lucius Fox retrospectively, who can’t appreciate the characters? Additionally, the magnificent Gary Oldman as Gordon, the officer trailing the streets with Batman in the shadows on his side. However, I’ve left best till last, the brilliance of the villain can never be forgotten. Heath Ledger brings The Joker into a different, creepy, unnerving light. Every word is listened to in tension. His laughs echo through the film in remembrance of Gotham’s crash. He becomes the antagonist and brings this phenomenal cast to a close.

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I would definitely recommend watching this film. You become warped into Gotham with Bruce Wayne’s new chaotic life where The Joker personally victimises Batman. The film is a whirlwind of action and special effects excellently executed for the audience to escape into. You really don’t know what can happen with The Joker in the mix.

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!

Aquaman (2018)

A new DC character coming to life on screen after originally showing his presence in ‘Justice League’. Jason Momoa as Aquaman greets us again in his own film. A fun, action-filled movie that’s enjoyable and a great escapism as the characters go on a journey.

We have a brilliant back story to Arthur, aka Aquaman, as we are told about his parents’ forbidden love making him a son of both an Atlantian and a “surface-dweller”, both being able to breath above and below water. Therefore, he is regarded a “half-breed”, unworthy of his claim to the throne, even if he doesn’t want it. But when his half-brother declares war on the surface for how they have ruined the seas, Arthur is left with the only one being able to do anything to stop it. A journey begins when Mera (Amber Heard) orders Arthur back to the lost city of Atlantis in the bottom of the ocean where it once sank. They head on a scripted, tough journey in a hunt for another lost object, the first King of Atlantis’ trident. But things obviously don’t go according to plan…

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I did enjoy this film. I think Arthur is a great character, stubborn and ruthless in his ways, but also caring and desperate in others. Jason Momoa plays a brilliant Aquaman. His character is easily to adore. The things he says did make me giggle. His journey takes us underwater, to a cool new world of the city of Atlantis. I really enjoyed the back story of this kingdom and it’s sunken ending. It felt very Indiana Jones at times, on a journey through a desert searching for something lost. Meanwhile, King Orm (Patrick Wilson) is on a mission to destroy the surface world, but Aquaman can’t get his support when the Atlantians don’t know who he is.

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‘Aquaman’ brings new characters in a fun, exciting underwater world. Although, the film was extremely predictable, to the point of being able to predict words before they were said. But guess what? It’s DC and it’s not a film of unpredictability and shock, let’s be honest! It’s an enjoyable film, long but it works as they’re on a journey. Nicole Kidman is even in it! However, I didn’t realise it was her…

Moral of the story: We need to look after our seas…