Finally got round to watching Aquaman. Made me think of Black Panther meets Green Lantern. Better than the former, on a par with the latter.
Despite a night with no sleep courtesy of a vomiting baby, we staggered into the Glasgow IMAX screen for the 11:00 showing. Best seats in the house, as well!
“Soon, everyone in the city will know how it feels to live in a world without power, without mercy, without Spider-Man!”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: The continuing adventures of Spidey, the return of Harry Osborn and the rise of Electro
See it if you like: Seriously? You need this information about a superhero film?
This films seems to be dividing the film-going public, at least as far as those I know who’ve caught it. Personally, I really enjoyed it. Gillian pretty much enjoyed it. One of my pupils labelled it “alright, I suppose” while a facebook friend dropped it into the “shit” box. Even so, the one thing most people do seem to agree on is that it’s better than the previous installment.
One point to make clear – and a thing that was worrying me from the trailer – is that the film doesn’t feature that many villains, at least certainly not all at once in a big battle or anything. It’s all the better for it, too. You can have too much of a good thing, and with a character like Spiderman, plot is as important as action. I’d not want to see him battling four villains simultaneously – it would just be messy.
Instead, we have one main villain in Electro (Jamie Foxx) whose development and origin are paced and explored much as Spidey’s was in the last film. I won’t spoil too many details of the others in the film!
Visually, this is one of the best superhero films I’ve seen bar none. Especially in 3D on an IMAX screen, the web-slinging scenes of Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) swooping and tumbling from location to location are staggeringly well done. Perilous drops, acrobatic flips and physically accurate (as a “proportionate strength of a spider human being” can be, I guess) movement.
There are moment where I felt that the pace dropped a little too low, but this was offset with plenty of little references to keep an eye/ear out for and the excellent comic timing and intonation of Garfield. People have generally responded negatively to his portrayal of the Webbed Wonder, but in this film I think he’s nailed it. Definitely not trying to be Tobey Maguire, instead marking his own territory.
When I’m absolutely exhausted, I usually don’t enjoy watching films much as I’m too tired and fidgety. Despite this, I really did enjoy this outing for the Webslinger and would happily recommend it. But, as I say, you may not fall on the same side of the fence as me.
One disappointment – the mid-credit teaser for another film (I won’t spoil the surprise) is not included in the IMAX presentation. You’ll only see it on regular screens. Boo.
We managed to get early showing tickets for The Raid 2 so decided to try and cram in the new Marvel film before it. And almost managed. Courtesy of the usual delays (work, kids, traffic), we missed the first ten minutes *grumble*
“This isn’t freedom. This is fear.”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: Fury and Rogers are framed for treason while bad guys try to take over the world.
See it if you like: Jason Bourne with super-strength
Producer Kevin Feige described the film as “a 1970s political thriller masquerading as a big superhero movie.” And I agree completely. There’s more of a story here than you get in many superhero films and the leading characters very much come across as pawns in a much bigger game.
Sure, it’s full of explosions and incredible CGI – plus one of the best car chases I’ve seen in recent years. And, yes, there’s a guy with a metal arm and another with a shield made of indestructible metal (how do they forge that stuff anyway?) who can fall 20 storeys without dying. But it’s still a thriller at heart and not a bad one.
As far as action films go, it’s up there with the best of the child-friendly ones. The fight sequences are very well done and I gather that as little CGI as possible was used for them. It shows, with realistic movement and punches and kicks that really crunch.
If there’s an issue, it’s that it’s just a bit too predictable. Macguffins are visible a mile off and as soon as certain plot aspects are revealed, the remainder of the story unfolds in your brain an hour before it’s happened. “Oh, right – so that’s the bad guy, that’s the plot, he’s really that person, those need to be dealt with, he’ll end up there…”. Without troubling you with a spoiler, if the hugely prominent “man filling vending machine” doesn’t make you realise that it’s going to be used as a plot device shortly then you need to watch more films.
Chris Evans is good as Cap, and seems to have improved with each film. Scarlett Johansson brings the Natasha Romanoff character through from Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, and cements her place in the big scheme of things leading up to the next Avengers movie. Cobie Smulders also plays a part in linking elements of the Marvel Universe together, playing AGent Mariah Hill as she has done in the S.H.I.E.L.D. show on TV as well as Avengers Assemble.
Simply, though, it’s a great couple of hours’ entertainment. I enjoyed it easily as much as the first couple of Iron Man films which is high praise, despite the predictability.
The Raid 2: Berandal
“It will be a few months. You can’t know where I am. And I can’t be seen anywhere near you.”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: The surviving police officer from the first film is placed undercover working with a gangster’s son to try and uncover corruption… with predictably blood-squirty results.
The Raid was a superb film. Buttock-clenching tension, explosive violence, incredible athleticism and all in a claustrophobic setting. Its sequel takes the lead character (Rama, played by Iko Uwais) and throws him in jail, acting undercover to get close to the son of a gangster so that he can weed out police corruption.
First thing – this is not a rehash of its precursor. No attempt has been made to run with the formula and do it all again. This is a more intelligent film, with more plot twists and characterisation. The downside of this is that there are far too many long, slow sections in between the kick-ass action that we came to the cinema to see.
Funnily enough, this film was supposed to be made before “Redemption”, but funding ran out on that so director Gareth Evans had to switch to a smaller budget option. The script for “Berandal” was thus adapted to take start two hours after the first film ended, so it continues directly on from the action there. A third film is being planned.
The plot itself isn’t terribly complex, but there are a fair few characters to get your head around and – let’s be honest – everyone in the cinema was there for the fight sequences. Thankfully when they arrive, they are not disappointing.
As the film progresses, the violence gets harsher, more over the top and far more bloodthirsty. Slashings, stabbings and so on take over from kicks, punches and twisted limbs which littler the earlier sequences. It’s pretty splattery stuff.
One point in its favour is the final one-on-one fight scene. Where I found its equivalent in “Redemption” to be drawn out to the point where it lost it’s realistic edge, this one is far better. When it ended, the audience I was with almost seemed to exhale at once as if we’d been holding our breath. I heard one “ffuuuuuck….” and one or two people clapping briefly.
Even that, though, is topped by the car chase which is simply lovely. In a “Look at him die! Wow!” kind of way, at least.
Definitely worth seeing, but harder work to appreciate than the first film’s all-out non-stop action.