Movies to look forward to in 2017

With 2016 drawing to a close the dawn of a new year approaches and, quite frankly, the films coming out in 2017 are quite incredible. Here are just a few which I am most excited for:

LOGAN

The final instalment for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine having done 9 X-Men films in the past 17 years. Logan is a new look for Wolverine with the now aged hero living in a dystopian future for mutants. this movie is gritty and looks to provide closure for fans of those who have followed the X-Men movie franchise from its very beginning in 2000. Charles Xavier is once again played by Patrick Stuart, and Dafne Keane joins the crew to play Laura, and perhaps provides a future for mutants after all. Logan is out in March.

LALA LAND

Ok, so for Americans this movie is not a 2017 one, however it is not out until January 13th in the UK, and the hype being built about it from the States is enough to make me very excited. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play Mia and Sebastian, an aspiring actress and jazz musician. They fall in love and the film follows their romance as it is challenged by the rising success of each of the characters. Directed by Damien Chazelle who has apparently done an incredible job in bringing the film together, LaLa Land is a film to see, and one which is set to claim many Oscar nominations.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

A real version of the classic Disney Princess movie from 1991 which was the first Disney cartoon to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens come together in this modernised retelling of the story released in March, and early opinions are very positive about it.

JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2

Keanu Reeves returns as the hit-man John Wick for a second film to be released in February. The success of the first movie, both commercially and to critics was enough to convince the requirement of a second, and although the plot is not known, it can be guaranteed to be another action packed, thrill ride adventure.

LEGO BATMAN

Following the surprise success of Lego movie, the Lego Batman movie is perhaps not as surprising as it would first appear. Will Arnet returns as Batman/Bruce Wayne with Ralph Fiennes as Alfred and Michael Cera as Robin. Chris McKay directs and his involvement in the Lego movie suggests the project is in the hands of a man who knows what he is doing. The early trailers for this movie have been great, very funny and the character Batman seems to me to be like a more PG version of Archer. Due to release in February, Lego Batman looks like great fun.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL.2

The return of the entire original cast as our favourite band of space saviours, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldama, Bradley Cooper and Dave Bautista, is very exciting indeed. The original film was great fun and with a fantastic soundtrack to match was a surprise hit for a not so very well known comic book made into a film. The trailers for the new film look as though they continue the fun and energy found in the first film; with a release date in April 2017, the new film is one to look forward to during the cold winter months of the New Year.

WONDER WOMAN

The disappointment that was Batman V Superman did give some positives, one of which was Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The success of her character has now been followed with a solo film for her, and I believe is the first female lead super hero movie in this new generation of super heroes.  Wonder Woman is drawn into war from her seclusion following the crash landing of American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). He informs the unknowing Amazons of the global catastrophe and Wonder Woman is left with no choice but to follow Trevor and go to war for the sake of humanity. So many reasons to be excited for this film, but we must wait until June.

ALIEN: COVENANT

Director Ridley Scott returns again to the sci-fi genre on which he founded himself. Alien Covenant picks up where Prometheus left off, but a few years down the line. A crew on the ship, Covenant, are travelling across the galaxy when they see a planet which presents itself as a possible paradise, but which is in fact a hell hole, and the planet on which the events of Prometheus took place. With Fassbender and Noomi Rapace returning the film must intend to provide explanation to what took place in the inbetween years from Prometheus to Covenant, and also aims to link more definitively with the Alien movies. Due to be released in May.

So there are just a few of the great movies to look forward to next year and I, for one, cannot wait! Have a great New Year!!

Batman vs Superman: Thoughts and Opinion

The recent blockbuster smash Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has been torn to shreds by many reviewers, so here I am to give the opinion (my opinion) of a movie and comic book fan. Although underwhelming compared to what could have been, the movie was not completely dire, and undeserving of its current rating on sites like rotten tomatoes, where the score stands around 31%. So here’s to a slightly different look, a spotlight on the positives, as there were some and thus there is much to be excited about for the future of DC in the movieverse. The following review is entirely my opinion on things, feel free to interject, refute and offer your own thoughts. I have also attempted to keep this review spoiler free, so read on without fear of ruining the film for yourself.

The movie’s layout made it appear to be split in two, with the first half centring mostly on Bruce Wayne and his attempts to discover Lex Luther’s evil machinations. This part of the movie was good, enjoyable to watch, giving a good introduction to Affleck’s Batman and giving some story to the whole movie, without going over the top on mad action scenes. This also saw the introduction of Gal Gadot, and set up her later appearance as Wonder Woman. The last hour was when the madness began, and the movie slipped into a CGI fest reminiscent of Man of Steel, creating excessive destruction for the shits and giggles of doing so, repeating similar scenes and generally lacking an inventive conclusion to what promised to be a good movie. However, within there was good to draw from amongst the carnage.

Affleck’s Batman was fabulous to see; clearly the intent was to give the audience this hardened and grizzled Bruce Wayne, now older and tired due to the amount of time he has spent fighting crime. Aesthetically this batman was very cool, the suit looked great and it was clear Affleck worked hard to get in shape (the guy was fucking HUGE!!!). Obvious comparisons to the Batman created by Nolan and brought to life by Christian Bale in the most recent reincarnation of Batman can be made, but I refrain from doing so for some reasons. The two Batmen are very different; they have different characters, with Affleck’s Batman being most similar to the Batman seen in Dark Knight Rises: the older and scarred Bruce Wayne. But the movies give both Batmen different problems and although both attempt to portray a realistic Batman, there is clearly an element of the unbelievable with the involvement of Superman and other such characters and events, which Nolan was careful to avoid in his adaption. Bale’s Batman is written very differently too as he encompasses the journey of Batman, where as Affleck’s is centred very much on this end stage in Batman’s career. Affleck’s appearance in the movie contributes to the character, with slightly greying hair and a worn out look in his eyes, he approaches problems with two options, either as Bruce Wayne or “The Bat”. There is a very definite distinction between the two, again suggesting perhaps that time has taken its toll and it has become necessary for Bruce to see the Batman identity in this way so as to avoid overlap with his life outside of crime and fighting. Ben Affleck’s Batman is a fresh take on the character and it gives me much hope and excitement about potential future films that may be made involving him.

Along with Affleck’s strong performance was the incredible job done by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The wait for a female superhero finally over, and boy, did Gadot knock this out of the park. Her scenes with Wayne were very interesting and the two actors seemed to connect and gave a very convincing performance that made the majority of the movie a pleasure to watch. Without wishing to give too much away, of course, but Gal Gadot’s performance was magical. She suited the character down to the ground, emitting power with her mere presence in scenes and again, as with Batman, the costume design was on point giving this Amazonian warrior complete dominance on the screen, and it is only a shame that she features relatively little overall. Gadot’s heroin is a relief from the male dominance held on the super hero world and this in particular (though obviously the pure badassness of the character contributes significantly also) makes this another super hero to be extremely excited for the upcoming movie and the future involvement of Wonder Woman in DC’s cinematic unverse.

The main fault with the movie lies with the involvement of Superman (despite him being a title character…hear me out just one sec), not to any particular fault of Henry Cavill, who played Clark Kent and the Kryptonian hero well. As with Man of Steel (a movie I dislike for its lack of story and attempts to cover this up with repetitive and unnecessary CGI destruction), there seems to be the idea that a Superman movie must involve massively excessive CGI effects, resulting in giant slug fests that level cities and destroy buildings without a concern for consequence. What made the Batman-Wonder Woman first half of the movie good was that there was story, with not pure madness and carnage from the outset; both characters act detective outside of their super hero guise and this gives time to digest and appreciate the action sequences when they come along. You would have thought that Clark Kent, an investigative journalist, would have the potential to do something similar, instead he spends most of his time on trivial tasks that leave the character without depth and he seems out of place in the movie as both other protagonists develop the plot towards its conclusion, where as Superman just breaks things.

Some quick side-notes: The soundtrack for this movie was great, Wonder Woman’s music was sublime, completely fitting the character and adding to the epic shadow her formidable presence already casts.

The actual showdown between Batman and Superman is done very well, not excessively destructive and very interesting to see how the characters react to the presence of one another (one of the many things that drives Bruce Wayne to the edge is this Super Human presence).

And finally I would say the movie was, for the most part, Aesthetically pleasing, well shot, and for this Zach Snyder deserves credit (amongst many others).

In conclusion I would say that this movie is worth a watch if you are a fan of the genre, perhaps even if not. It provides a platform for the future of DC’s movies and introduces some very interesting characters. Once again it feels, as with Man of Steel, that overuse of CGI ruined what could have been a solid film, along with some dubious decisions by characters and a fairly ludicrous (even for a comic book movie…IKR?!) conclusion. 5.6/10