Freaking out about Sci-fi & Moives

Reviews

Star Trek Discovery, Episode 1 & 2 review

When I first heard that Star Trek was coming back to the small screen, I was excited. But as more information came out I started to get worried, epically after that first teaser trailer was realised.
Here is my review for the first two episodes of Star Trek Discovery, I will keep the review spoiler free and I’ll let you know if that fear was justified, after words I write about the issue I have with the show and why they are here.

Within the first few minutes of Discovery starting you can see that Bad Robot (That right JJ Abarms Production Company) has pulled out all the stops and given this show a feel of a big production movie. But then I would expect little less when they are spending 8 million dollars per episode.
The story has a decent flow to it though it does get bogged down a little by explaining everything, but this to be expected from a pilot episode as they are setting up the characters and the world around them.

A first for Star Trek, this show lead is not the Captain but the First Officer Michael Burnham played by Sonequa Martin-Green. She is Human but was raised on Vulcan by Spock’s Parents. Which we learn about though flash backs. I expect that we will see more of this as the series goes on.

CBS has billed this show as being set in the Prime Universe and ten years before James Kirk historic first five year mission which was seen in The Original Series (TOS). This means that it would lead into TOS, and then the first six films, Star Trek The Next Generation etc. and not the latest films set in JJ Abrams Kelvin Universe.
Being set ten years before TOS it also means that the show taking place at the same time as the original pilot for Star Trek (The Cage) which was aired after the original run of TOS.

Discovery pilot set up the war with the Klingons which will become a cold war by TOS era.
There are some issue with the Klingon which I get to at the end of the review and look at as lifelong fan of Star Trek. It is stated that the Klingon Empire is in disarray due to the 24 great houses being at war with each other and only come together as the Great Council for matter that affect the whole Empire. T’Kuvma played by Chris Obi, is trying to bring the 12 houses together under the teaching of Khaless. (A great Klingon Warrior who brought the Klingon houses together with honour and the code of the warrior to form the Klingon Empire. He more of a religious icon.)
The USS Shenzhou, is sent to a binary star to investigate why Federation Communication relay has gone off line. While investigating the relay the Shenzhou comes across an object that turns out to T’Kuvma Mothership. T’Kuvma pays no attention the Starfleet ship and send a signal out for all the Great Houses of the Klingon Empire to come.
On Learning that the object the Shenzhou is investigating is a Klingon Ship, Captain Georgiou played by Michelle Yeoh calls for back up. The head of the Klingon Houses arrive and T’Kuvma is able to unify all but one House. Other Starfleet ships arrive and battle starts with both sides taking heavy lose, though Starfleet take a bit more of kicking that the Klingons.

While the two episodes that make up the pilot are entertaining it felt like a prelude to the start of an episode, we don’t even get to see the “Hero” ship the USS Discovery in either episodes except during the opening title for the show and this more like a blue print drawing.
The acting is decent but given the talent working on these two episodes it could have been better.
But then again this could have been down to the writing. The aliens look good but not great with the exception of the Klingons. Doug Jones who plays the science officer Lt. Saru is good, as he is known for working under heavy prosthetics. However when he talks you can’t see is mouth open to much due to the level of the prosthetics applied to his face.
When the Klingon talk it all in Klingon, which I have no issue with, however I found that the subtitle where either up to long or where quickly changed before you could read them and in some cases you could not even read them as they merged in with what was going on the screen.

Star Trek Discovery does have potential but it still comes across as running straight into action.
It also seemed to missing some of the philosophy that you got from classic Trek.
So was I right to be worried about this show yes and no, but it only the first two episodes and there is room for it to head in the right direction. I guess I will only really pass judgement until have seen the whole season. It not bad, but it still not quite Star Trek either.

Okay onto the Nic-Picking.

First I am going to start off with the way this show was aired. While I live in the UK I am getting Star Trek Discovery from Netflix. However over the pond in the US, they got the first episode show on CBS, if you wanted to watch the second and the following episodes you have to sign up to CBS All Access for $6 per month with adds or $10 for no adds. To me and no doubt many others in the States this makes no scene as people are going to be unwilling to pay $6 a month just for one show, when they are already paying for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, plus cable. I would not be surprise if CBS have shot themselves in the foot with domestic viewing figure and it will be interesting to see what the number are for the second episode. I would also be not be surprised if this becomes one of the highest pirated TV show in the States.
For those of us outside the States and watching on Netflix we also got the pilot episode broken into two. The was no real need for this as the story picked up from the ending of the first, and could have been show like the pilots of The Next Gen, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. (Enterprise pilot was only 45 mins long.) This took me out of the story for a moment and had to wait for the previously on… Even though Netflix normally skips which it did but not all of it.

The next issue I have with the show is the time setting. “10 years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise” as promoted, yes it is 10 year before Kirk historic five year mission, but Spock and the Enterprise are running around the quadrant under the command of Captain Christopher Pike as I stated in my review. Gene Rodenberry was about looking to the future and not the past, so this should have been set after Star Trek Nemesis, but I can let that go.
This leads into the look of the show, the Starfleet ships and interior have not followed the look set in the Cage or TOS, but gone for something that has come straight out of one of JJ Kelvin Universe movies. Though the ship scale looked to be correct this time around.
Now before you start say you can’t have a TV show from today have the same cardboard wall look of the sixty, and I would agree with you. But there are fans out there are making Model of the TOS Enterprise and making them look current without losing the feel of Matt Jeffery original design. Madkofish design is a prime example.

This also goes for the uniforms used in the show, why are they so different from the ones see in the Cage? This is one area that JJ got right with his films; he brought back the classic uniform but at the same time made them look modern.
But they did manage to make the phaser and communicator look modern but at the same time keep the TOS style.

The next grip I have with the show is the Starfleet Delta, at this time that emblem is only used on the USS Enterprise. Starfleet only used it as their own after Kirk first or second five-year mission, this is 15 to 20 years after the event shown here. At this time, each ship had their own emblem warn on the uniform with the department logo with in it. Medical, science, command with etc.
Think of it this way. Into day navy a crew member on a ship will wear the ship name and sometime emblem on the day to day uniform. It only when they put on a hat or dress uniform would they have the navel emblem on it. Their uniform would still say which country they are from with a flag normal on the shoulder. However, they never did this in TOS which is fine. But when you have a group of people on staff that are supposed to make sure that continuity stay straight this is a big failing.

Now here is the biggest issue I have with the Show. THE KLINGONS.
Where to start with the Klingon’s? let start with the right of Star Trek.
Since Vicom Paramount spilt into two spate companies, The TV wing (CBS) and the Movie wing (Paramount Pictures) the right for Star Trek was split between the two. CBS got the TV rights and all the product right that goes with that, mean all the clothing to do with the TV shows mugs, models, calendars, DVD’s/Blu-rays, books, comic etc.
Paramount only got the right to the movies and their products. When the JJ first JJ Abrams Star Trek movie was being made and they decided to do an alternate timeline/ reboot, Paramount had to go to CBS to get the rights to use the Characters of Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rests, they also need to get the right for the look of the ships and all Aliens that have first been seen on the TV shows.
This is why the Enterprise looks so different and have the Apple Store bridge. This is why also why the Klingons had a different look in the deleted scene from Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Paramount had to pay CBS to use these things. To keep the cost of the right down new Aliens where created that had never been seen on any of the TV show as Paramount did not have to pay for the rights. Then Paramount gave these right to Bad Robot as they produce the films.

Now CBS has decided to make a new star Trek TV show and have gone to Bad Robot to make this show. Because of the way the rights work between CBS and Paramount, if CBS gives the full rights to Bad Robot they can then use them in any next Star Trek film they make for Paramount, which means CBS lose on this income. So what Bad Robot has had to do is use what limited rights they have got from CBS and Paramount without stepping on the toes of either one so said party dose not lose out on the paid rights. I hope that make scene to you. This is where the new Klingon look comes in as it not the look used on the TV shows or Movies.

Okay so due to rights a new look for the Klingons was needs, I have no problem with this. Where my problem comes in is with continuity, in a Story Arc in Star Trek Enterprise Dr. Arik Soong realised a virus on the Klingon population which turned them into looking more human. It explained the why they looked different in TOS (In reality the TOS make-up was not that great.) it also touched on the classic DS9 episode Trail’s and Tribulations. With Worf mentioning that Klingon don’t like to talk about what happened to them. So, this show is set 10 years before TOS and about 100 years after what Soong did to the Klingons. The Klingons should be looking more Human than the Klingon seen later in the first six movies and after TNG etc.
What they should have done was come up with a look that was halfway between the Klingons had seen in TNG and human, they could have even had some people looking closer to the Klingon look we know and love and some closer to looking like the ones seen in TOS. This way it would have been a new look for the Klingons and keeping within the rights that Paramount and CBS have.

As for the main Klingon ship seen in the show, I have no problems with it as it is hinted that it is over hundreds of years old. Which means that it predates anything we have seen from the Klingons.
however the other Klingon ships follow the designs and it does not work. Again due the rights they can’t use what has been seen before but could up with a new ships designs that still would have fitted with the era.

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The Art of Stjepan Šejić

I came across Stjepan Šejić work by chance while looking at stuff on Devaintart.
I took a look at his profile and found that I was enjoying seeing the art he was producing. I then found out that he also had another account on Devaintart for an online comic called Sunstone. This comic is for adults and not suited for children in anyway.

It started out as a way to get his mojo back after working on Witchblade. The Character in his pictures slowly started to tell a story and before long a comic was born.
Given some of the funny stuff Stjepan had done, I thought I would give the first issue of Sunstone a go. Needless to say I came for the Art but stayed for the Story, and I am hooked.
Some might be put off by it as it is set in the world of BDSM, but that is just a small part of it as it is a lot more than that and well written. 50 Shaded of Grey this is not. (His other Comics are more your normal stuff.)
Having worked for Top Cow Comics and due to the popularity of Sunstone, Stjepan has now published the first four parts of Sunstone and the fifth is on the way. These can be found in Comic store or from Amazon.

The one thing that makes Sunstone different from other comic artist/writers is that Stjepan publish a finished strip on deviantart as soon as he has finished it. Once a chapter is finished it is then clean up and sent to the press to be published as a phyical book. At the same time Stjepan will start on the next chapter as well as work on other comics for Top Cow.

Why does Stjepan do it this way? Well I’ll let him tell you in his own words.
(This is take form his Journal on Devaintart)

“Often i get asked why i put my books online for free when i am trying to make a living of them
Well, here’s why. Comics are a small and a very competitive market. Ten times so if you are working on creator owned stuff and ten times over if you aren’t a big industry name.
And multiply it twice over again if you as a writer aren’t a big name.

Now me, i am moderately known for my art. Trust me people being e-famous for some silly superhero jokes doesn’t translate to comics sold XD
In fact there is a general prejudice about the priorities of artists who take up writing. I still remember early reviews that exclaimed genuine surprise that my stories were actual stories and not just excuses for splash pages and spreads.

So, with all of that working against me, here i am in the market that is fughting for a very small number of readers, all things considered. People buying comics have limited funds, so i am supposed to convince them to take a risk on me because…reasons?
Truth is, it’s not even an option. Creator owned comics live and die by their sales even more so than your franchised ip stuff. I have seen many die. It is a terrible feeling to see your creations evaporate due to lack of awareness. Hell, we’ll take it when they die because they’re shit! That’s on us as creators, you know… but seeing a good story die before it can even take off …that shit hurts!

So what’s with me and all of this free stuff left and right?
It’s simple really. The way i got it figured, we live in the age of crowdfunding. For multiple reasons i will not partake in that but i do very much believe that people are willing to support good projects that they like.
So here i am with my simple premise: i make comics, if people like them, they can support them by buying them. That way i get to make more comics.
My way people actually get to see the comics in their entirety and decide whether or not they want to support my storytelling addiction XD
There are four books i am actively creating
Sunstone (for adult readers) you can read the webcomic on my shiniez.deviantart.com/ account
Death vigil
nebezial.deviantart.com/galler…

Switch
nebezial.deviantart.com/galler…

Ravine (with my friend and co writer ron marz)
nebezial.deviantart.com/galler…

there are volumes of these books available online through amazon barnes and noble, online comic shops and real bookstores and comic shops (that decided to carry them)
Oh… and once again, i don’t do crowdfunding.
3 reasons:
1 my country doesn’t have the taxation for it quite worked out
2 the feeling of owing peope rewards would eat me alive and run me into an early grave
3 the lure of it deteriorating to on demand port scares the shit out of me XD
So yeah, that’s it.
I make books, if you buy the books i get to make more books, if not…well, i can always find other stuff to do
Stjepan out!”

I have to say this approach of his has worked on me as normal I would not have picked up the Sunstone story, but after reading it and loving it I wanted to give something back to the author/artist. The best way of doing that was by going out and buying the books.

With that check out his work, if you enjoy the story’s he producing you can buy the books and if not at least you not lost out on anything but time.

For Stjepan work check out his main account.
nebezial.deviantart.com

For his Sunstone stuff check out his other account.
shiniez.deviantart.com/
(It should be noted that due to adult material in this account you will have to be a member of Devaintart in order to enjoy it all.)

Now here some of his funnies. click the picks to fully enjoy them and read the captions.

he_s_no_good_to_me_dead___p_by_shiniez-da5hoof

beautiful_sounds_of_the_night____crickets_n_stuff_by_nebezial-d581rh2

let_it_go_bruce__by_nebezial-d86phy2

ah_stupid_ideas___why_must_you_plague_me_by_nebezial-d5zzjke

first_time_is_always_awkward_xd_by_nebezial-d86klrp

for_tony_stark_being_an_ass_is_an_artform_by_nebezial-d4nwcxm


X-Men: Days of Future Past, Film Review.

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Brian Singer make a welcome return to the X-Men franchise with a film that units the original X-Men trilogy with X-Men: First Class and the Wolverine spin off films. This film that units these films so that they are all set in one universe. It also try to fix a number of continuity errors in the franchise.

X-Men: Days of Future Past starts in the near future in which both mutants and most of the human race have decimated by the deadly killing machines known as The Sentinels. In this apoplectic world Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) have put their difference a side and battling to save what left of mutants and humans. But they are losing the war, so have gathered the last remains of the X-Men for a last-ditch attempt to stop the Sentinel war from ever happing and change their present so it is no longer the nightmare they are living.

Based on the X-Men story of the same name, Brian Singer has had to make some changes so that it will fit with the film franchise and unit them. In the original story it is Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) mind that goes back in time into her own body to make the change. However this would not work here as the past setting is 1970’s, in which she would be -20 years old.
To solve this problem Singer has picked Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to go back as he is ageless.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is by far the most ambitious film in the franchise to date. But not just with story but also sorting all the notorious continuity errors of the other films.
This make X-Men: Days of Future Past a soft reboot of the franchise. With this in mind Brian Singer has gone out and delivered the best movie to date. It also show that the X-Men franchise is best served when it is in Singer hands.

X-Men: Days of Future past is an entraining film from start to finished, all the Character get to grow a little weather it is in the future or the past. Once again James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are excellent as the young Charles Xavier & Erik Lehnsherr respectively. Re-joining them from X-Men: First Class is Nicholas Hoult as Beast and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Also along for the ride from the original trilogy are Halle Berry as Strom. Her role was cut down due to her pregnancy, Shawn Ashmore as Ice Man, Daniel Cudmore as Colossus. Of course there are a few more actor from the original trilogy that appear in the film but they are just cameo and I won’t spoil who they are if you have not seen the film.

With the exception of X-Men: First Class, every X-Men film has been pretty much the Wolverine show, this not surprising given that Wolverine has to be one of the most popular Mutants from the X-Men line of comics. It is refreshing to see that in this film he has taken on the role of the team player and is the bridge between the future and the past. It is also fun to see that he has become the mentor to the man that will later become his mentor.

X-Men: Days of Future Past, has some great action scene, but the one stand out moment is with Quicksliver (Evan Peters), when he helps break out Erik Lehnsherr from prison. The scene was filmed with a high speed camera then played at normal speed to given the sense of speed that this Character move at. Both the future and past have different look with the future being dark, while Singer has captured 70’s with bright colour to show the difference between the two. The Sentinels of the 70’s look right at home and have a retro yet futuristic look for the period look to them. While the ones of the future look similar to the Destroyer from Thor, but a pick more menacing.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men film to date and while it sort out most of the continuity errors, it does not manage to fix them all, and even creates one or two. But they are easy to overlook. In my mind Singer has been the best thing to happen to the X-Men franchise and it should not really leave his hands as a producer or director. (He did not serve as producer on X-Men: The Last Stand and is an uncredited producer on X-Men Origins: Wolverine.) Like Marvel Studios, Fox has started to add post credit scene to their Marvel films so keep and open for one that will lead into X-Men: Apocalypse.
I give this film 4.5 out of 5.


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Logan: So, you always were an asshole.


Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Film Review

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster

Age of Ultron brings Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) Phase 2 to a close, even though Ant-Man is the official last film. But that is a standalone film and the events of Phase 2 will not affect what will happen in Ant-Man.

Age of Ultron is set roughly a year after the events of Captain America: The Winter Solider, S.H.E.I.L.D is gone and the world thinks Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is dead. Over the last year the Avengers have banned back together to bring Hydra down for good and reclaim Loki sceptre.
Unknown to them Agent Coulson has found its location and given the information to Maria Hill (Cobbie Smulders) who then forwards the information to the Avengers. (This event does not happen in the film but in the TV show Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D season two episode “The Dirty Half Dozen.”) This brings us to the action pack opening of Age of Ultron.
From the get go Whedon, does not disappoints, with lot of action and humour. We get introduced to two Enhanced Humans that was briefly scene in the post credit scene from Captain America: The Winter Solider and also a closure to the Hydra storyline started in that film. (Though I will not be surprised if we see more of Hydra in later episodes of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.)
With the help of Dr Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) attempts to build an A.I that will help save the world from extra terrestrial threats, using his Iron Legion. This is where the creation of Ultron (James Spader) happens. From this point on the Avengers go after Ultron to stop him at any cost.

The film has lots of drama with a budding romance between Banner and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson.) and we get to see Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) personal life away from the Avengers.
This gives Renner a lot more to work with this time around instead of being a mind-wash drone like he was in the first film. Spader is excellent as Ultron and brings a lot of comedy to the role which you not expect for someone trying to wipe out all life on Earth. Ultron has been flesh out better than past villains in the MCU, which is a good thing as so far all they have seem to be is just progress the story along.
We finally get to see Paul Bettany on Screen as Vision and the roll really suit him. But it also looks to be the last we hear him as J.A.V.R.I.S.
Newcomers Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) fit in well. It a shame we don’t get their real heritage, being the children of Magneto. But this is down to the rights issue that Marvel has with FOX, who currently own the film rights. So don’t expect any mutants appearing in the MCU.
As for the rest of the main cast, this is their forth time or more playing their roles. So they all know what they are doing.
Age of Ultron is a dark film; one of the reasons for this is that Joss Whedon has states that The Godfather Part 2 was inspiration for the film. But Whedon does not go to dark making sure to lighten some of the darker moments with comedy that we come to expect from him. While some of these did make me laugh, there where not as many laugh out load moment as there was in The Avengers.
The action is fast and you are able to follow what is going on screen, and there is lot going on screen with the hundreds of Ultron drones.
Age of Ultron has the most effects in a Marvel film to date, and it stunning. It looks like Marvels did not waste a penny in this area. One the highlights form the CGI. Is Iron Man fight with the Hulk in the Hulkbuster suit. This fight bring everything fans have wanted to see when these two go up angst each other on the big screen.
As with Marvel other films there are lots of hidden Easter eggs for fans of the comics with find and quite a few references to up coming films in Phase 3.

Joss Whedon has been very busy since he wrapped up work on the Avengers, with kick-off Marvels TV show Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D (which is part of the MCU) and working behind the scene of Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Solider. So that they will set up events that will lead into Age of Ultron. With all of this he has managed to pull it off again and deliver a very enjoyable film. After I watched it I thought the film was missing something and I could not put my finger on what it could be. But now that I had a few days to think about it, I would put it down to the fact that even though he has brought so many elements together it’s no longer new like it was with the first film. Add to it the hype that was been created it all adds up.
As I have stated, Whedon has delivered once again. After five years working at Marvel he has earned a well deserved break. (Joss Whedon dose have the option to come back to the MCU and do another film.) For Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, they have some very large shoes to fill, as they are currently set to direct Captain America: Civil War and then start work on bring everything together for Avengers: Infinity War Part One & Two, which could also include a fair few of the Marvel TV shows that are part of the MCU.

I give Avengers: Age of Ultron a 4.5 out of 5.


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Tony Stark: What’s the vibranium for?
Ultron: I’m glad you asked that, because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan… [blasts Stark]


The Wolverine, Film Reivew

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X-Men, Origins: Wolverine, is a painfully bad film this is due to the fact that the film maker of that film buggered up Wolverine back story and we don’t even need to mention what they did to Deadpool. Luckily Deadpool has got his own film coming out early 2016 Staring Ryan Reynolds. Check out the test footage/ trailer found on youtube to get an idea of what it will be like.
Given how bad X-Men, Origins: Wolverine was it looked unlikely that everyone’s little runt of a mutant would get another standalone film. But thanks to his popularity and Jackman’s portrait of him. 20th Century Fox has given us The Wolverine.

The film takes place sometime after X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan has returned to Canada and living in the wildness, only venturing into town to pick up supplies when he needs them.
Logan, is tormented by survivor’s guilt and is haunted by recurring visions of his deceased love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Unknown to Logan he has been tracked down by Yukio (Rila Fukushima). She informs Logan that her employer Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) has requested that he see Logan one last time before he dies. (Logan saved Yashida in the Second World War when the A Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.) Logan is convinced and heads off to Japan to see Yashida. On his death bed Yashida offers to take Logan healing factor so that Logan will be mortal and Yashida can live.

The first ¾ of the film is very much in the style of a film Noir, this gives the film a totally different feel to X-Men, Origins: Wolverine. While the film is not action packed it does have some great action in it and you can see the influence of Chris Claremont-Frank Miller Japan Saga from Wolverine own comic. However the final act of the film is the biggest let down, going from a film Noir style to your typical Superhero flick, we also get to see Sliver Samurai, but like Deadpool, it is not the one fan’s love from the comics which is a great shame. The Character of Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) is not really need in the film and is only there for a major plot point that could have been done another way.

Hugh Jackman is at his best as Logan/ Wolverine and really buffed himself up for the role; furthermore, this film offers the most captivating portrayal of the character put on the big screen yet.

The Wolverine feel like it should a 15 rated film (R Rated) but has been toned down for a PG-13 rating. There is still plenty of blood from Logan slashing up the Yakuza and Ninja’s, but none of the gore. It’s also shows a little of Japans underworld, but the story really does not have a moment to go into depth with it.
What little action scene that are in the film are entertaining especially the fight on top of a Bullet Train hurtling through Tokyo.

The Wolverine is an entertaining film and this is what a Wolverine standalone film should be.
It just a shame that the final act of the film lets it down, but at least it does not even come close to the awfulness of X-Men, Origins: Wolverine climax. It’s because of this I am giving The Wolverine a 4 of 5.
Be sure to stick around after the end credit sequence for a scene film by Brain Singer that will lead to his return to the X-Men Franchise with X-Men: Days of Futures Past.


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Shingen: What kind of monster are you?
Logan: The Wolverine!


Guardians of the Galaxy, Film Review.

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Marvel Studio like to make big gambles, the first was going it on their own and making their own film, with Iron Man. Paramount pictures only distributed the film and did the marketing. The Incredible Hulk film rights are with Universal studios, which is why that film was distributed by them. But Marvel must have some agreement to user the Character in their own films and why The Incredible Hulk (2008) is part of Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Marvel next big gamble was to release two films with characters that are little know or without much appeal outside of the United States, to set up a Cinematic Universe that would lead into The Avengers and bring Phase 1 to a close.
At this stage it is no doubt that Marvel’s gambles have paid off in a big way with the MCU now one of the most profitable film franchise of all time. (As of writing this The Avengers is still the world third highest grossing film.)

With Phase 2 already on its way to leading into The Avengers: age of Ultron, Marvel is at it again with another major gamble, this time with Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a little known comic set around a band of criminals and mercenaries, led by the half human half alien Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord. (Chris Pratt) So it was a big surprise that Marvel would go down this road.

The film opens up to us seeing Quill being abducted from Earth moments after his mother’s death in the mid 1980’s. We then see Quill twenty years later, he is on his own on an alien planet. Going through an ancient city long dead, in a scene lovingly modeled on the opening sequence from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Quill enters a build to retrieve a mysteriously powerful silver orb and, instead of a rousing John Williams fanfare, the soundtrack erupts with Native American rockers Redbone singing “Come and Get Your Love.” This sets the tone of the film music.
It’s not long after this we are off to the planet Xander, home of the Nova Corps. This planet will play a major role in the film, we also get to meet rest of the Guardians expect for Drax (Dave Bautista) on this planet but it not long until he joins up with the rest of the team.

James Gunn has done a stunning job with writing and directing and bring a great cast together.
Prat is superb as Quill and the role seems to really suit him, he can go from playing someone that is just costing along life nor really giving a care to serious in moments. It’s not surprising that Quill was the inspiration for Han Solo. Gunn has stated that Prat had to lose weight for the role, but given his audition he was prepared to give him the role even if he did not lose the weight.
Zoe Saldana, is quickly becoming the go to girl for Sci-fi and that not a bad thing. She plays Gamora the cold hearted assassin with style.
Bradley Cooper voices Rocket Raccoon. Though Rocket is CGI, he steels most of the scene that he is in.
Vin Diesel voice Groot and was recorded saying “I am Groot” over a Thousand times. Diesel also recorded the line in different languages so that his own voice would be used instead of getting some in to record the line for that country.
Michael Rooker plays Yondu Udonta, he is the man that kidnaps Quill has a young boy, but he also raises him as his own. In the original Comic, Yondu was a leading member of the Guardians.
Glen Close plays the leader of Xander people and is head of the Nova Crops.

Guardians of the Galaxy gives the MCU wider scope outside the boundaries of Earth and Asguard.
It shows that there is a bigger universe out there full of wonder with many potentials stories and a lot of history to explore in future films.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a light hearted film with lot of comedy thrown in with the action. You would not think that a film set in an alien worlds/ space with a 70’s and early 80’s soundtrack would work, but it does and just adds to the fun ride.
The villain Ronan (Lee Pace) looks to have been flesh out a bit more than some of the villains in other MCU films. We also get bit more of Thanos which was hinted at the end of The Avengers.

While Guardians of the Galaxy is part of the MCU, it does not really belong in Phase 2 as it is not connected to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, except for a post credit scene from Thor: The Dark World which helped set this film up, at this point it more of a standalone film.
Guardians of the Galaxy is more of a set up for the third phase in the MCU, particularly Avengers: Infinity War – Part I (2018) and Avengers: Infinity War – Part II (2019).
Has Marvels biggest gamble to date paid off? Yes and Marvel keeps going from straighten to straighten with their films. This also shows with it line up of future films with them going to more characters that are unknown outside of your typical comic book reader. (Ant-Man, Which ends Phase 2, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Marvel Girl.)
I give Guardians of the Galaxy a 5 out of 5.
All I can say now is roll on May 1st for Avenger: Age of Ultron.


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Rocket Raccoon: We’re the fricking Guardians of the Galaxy!


Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Film Review

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Captain America: The First Avenger, was an okay film but really did not site to well with the other Marvel films, but this was to be expected as it was an origins story tell where Captain America came from and setting him up for The Avengers movie that came out afterword’s.

Captain America: The Winter Solider is different and one of the best films that Marvel has put out to date. However Captain America: The Winter Solider is different to the other Marvel Cinematic Universe films. (MCU) reason for this is that Captain America: The Winter Solider, dose not try to be a superhero film first. In fact it more like a 70’s cold war thriller with superheroes thrown in.

The story is set three years after the events of the Avenger and Steve Rodgers is still trying to get uses to living in the modern world. He has settled into life as a soldier working for the security agency S.H.I.E.L.D. – though he’s also something of a celebrity and a curiosity. He doesn’t have a secret identity. He doesn’t need one. He’s always Captain America, in or out of the costume.
Everything changes for Steve and he starts to question the things he has been told, as event around him change and people reveal their true intent.

As I have said before Captain America: The Winter Solider is a different film to the other MCU films with it cold war thriller type story but also introduce new characters with their own origins story. Lucky these character don’t need a whole film to tell these stories and they are done without too much fuss. While these characters could hold a film on their own.

Chris Evans, is still perfectly cast as Steve Rogers/ Captain America, he really get to shine here, it a shame that he wants to step away from acting to take on a more directing career, but I am hoping that Marvel and Disney will talk him round to keep playing the character as long as he can.
Scarlett Johansson is back playing Black Widow, here she has larger role to play with in the story. It also refreshing to see that there is no sexual tension between her and any of the other characters. It more of a strong female role, the sort you would see Joss Whedon write.
Samuel L Jackson is back as Nick Fury. Jackson has had more to do here that any of the other MCU films he has been in to date and it really is time Marvel gives him is own standalone films, which no doubt fans will want to see.
Anthony Mackie play Sam Wilson a Veteran that helps Cap and Black Widow, he used the flight name of Falcon.

From the start the film is action pack and the pace does not slow down with lots of twist and turn. The Winter Solider has everything you expect from a cold war thriller, twists, betrayal, resurrection and redemption. Doing this sort of story marvel has taken a big gamble, as this not the sort of story you would expect from a superhero film. But it has paid off and really work for a Captain America film. Captain America: The Winter Soldier sets up quite a few changes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which further speaks to Marvel’s confidence in what they creating with their MCU.
The biggest changes to the MCU is most notable in Marvels Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D after the mid season break of season 1 and continues with season 2. However it effects on the big screen is still yet to be seen, but not doubt we will see something with Avenger: age of Ulton later this year.

If there was any doubt that Marvel can create a Universe on the big screen as well as the small screen, even after Phase 1 ending with The Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Solider has proven Marvel knows what it doing.
With a stellar cast with some big names and some not so well know
Marvel is now ready to taken an even bigger gamble with the third Captain America film as it will be doing the Civil War arc, which effect the whole Marvel Universe in the comics. It should be a fun ride, which will be even better that Marvel has now come to an agreement with Sony to use Spider-Man in their films. (Spider-Man will be making his first appearance in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War in cameo form.)

Captain America: The Winter Solider has to be one of Marvel best films to date and there is not much more you can do to improve it. I give this film a full 5 out of 5.


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Steve Rogers: Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?