Wonder Woman 1984: SPoiler Free Review

Christmas Day provided us with two big hit releases, Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul (technically for me Wonder Woman came out on 16th but pshh). The latter was Pixar at their best, the first is somewhere that only Wonder Woman is in the DCEU, reliable entertainment.

As I was constantly navigating Twitter to avoid any Wonder Woman spoilers, I was getting rather annoyed. This film seemed to blow people shit hot or fucking freezing. There was no in between and it seemed the negativity was louder than the positivity, as it normally is.

As a big fan of the first film I really wanted to make up my mind on this one so I tuned in as soon as I could and sat through it’s lengthy two and a half hour runtime. What I found was that Patty Jenkins understands the world she’s created and is able to provide fun, action and a solid universe for her stories to live in.

Wonder Woman 1984 builds on the first by exploring Diana a lot more and Wonder Woman a bit less. The whole film feels much more grounded in a sense, from the god fighting we had in the first film.

Wonder Woman 1984 takes place quite a few decades after the events of the first film. We’re in the bright and colourful 80’s and Diana (Gal Gadot) has found her place in it. She’s taken a job at a museum and stays pretty detached from forming relationships. Her morals mean that she is unable to leave behind the sense of being a superhero but she does it as discretely as possible.

Part of her job allows her to meet Barbara (Kristen Wiig), a typical geeky girl with lots of underlying quality features. Barbara is asked to take a look at some artefacts that were part of an attempted robbery. One of which is a stone (yes, we back to the stones) that comes with a message about granting wishes.

I know I said this film feels more grounded, and despite this film being about wishes, it is. Naturally, Diana is suspicious but doesn’t realise what the museum holds. Barbara is in awe of Diana, being everything she wants after a life in the shadows.

There’s also a third player, Max (Pedro Pascal). He’s a failed business tycoon but is after the stone, being the only one who knows anything about it. He manipulates Barbara into getting it and absorbs it’s power. From there he can grants wishes.

Dian’s throwaway wish is granted and we see her reunite with Steve. Her only friend, it would seem, Barbara has a new sense of power and Max starts to build his ideal world. These three stories become closely linked but then start to go in their own direction. These narratives are interesting but 84 does struggle to manage them, meaningfully.

Like I said, we spend more time exploring Diana’s world as a normal person. Her relationship with Steve drives her need to find out where he came from and how to stop Max. We see her at her most mortal. Her relationship with Steve brings out a side to Diana that a lot of superheroes tend to lack. I could only compare it to Captain America and Bucky. The connection is genuine and it throws away all powers and just explores how emotion drives need.

As things get worse for each character it dawns on Diana exactly what is happening and what needs to happen in order to prevent any further influence from Max and his wishes. The story or morality and consequence is explored quite a bit in this film. I don’t think it means to be political at all but it does mean to expose our reliance on a higher power.

84 is lengthy, it does suffer from this, slightly. The 3 main characters are developed but not too deeply. We see more of Max than Barbara, which is a shame because Kristen is really good. Barbara seems to have a more complex personality that would be great to explore, but she’s cast to a power hungry type of role.

When we do see the Wonder Woman side of Diana it’s truly magnificent. I think that the team at Wonder Woman, guided by Patty Jenkins make her feel so cool without any cheesy girl power. The action is really top tier and well choreographed.

Some of the CGI could be worked on, and I find that a strange thing to say because it would appear any delays didn’t allow for any extra post production.

Wonder Woman is a colourful film, and it does feel like a comic book film but it doesn’t take full advantage of the 80’s setting. I know it would only get slated for copying the style of Ragnorok but I think more could have been done. It definitely plays set design and score safely, but maybe they need safe.

Overall Wonder Woman 1984 is able to deliver a well made extension of Wonder Woman’s character. It isn’t syncing up with her first appearance in Batman v Superman or Justice League but I think that’s for the best.

It feels like Jenkins is steering the DCEU and not Snyder. Her level of work should be emulated and I don’t blame Warner Bros for wanting her on more projects. I don’t think it would happen for a while but I’d love to see what Patty would bring to a third.

Where to Watch: Theatres (Europe), HBO Max, Rent (from 13 Jan).

Runtime: 2h 31m

Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal & Chris Pine

Enola Holmes Review

When you hear ‘Holmes’ it sounds like an all to familiar story to write. However when you realise this is about a teenager carrying the name we see she lifts it very high to standout as a detective to take seriously.

Enola Holmes, played by the brilliant Millie Bobbie Brown, is out to find her mother after being left on her own before her infamous brothers come back to dictate her life.

Enola was raised by her eccentric mother, the most respected and loved person in her life. Her brothers left early and did not have any influence on her upbringing as we see when they return and try to correct her mothers ‘mistakes’.

Through her mothers tutelage she rejects the idea that she should have learnt to be a proper lady of the house and likes the idea she learnt some proper skills to use in life and maybe some useless ones (she’s clearly not a tennis player).

Sharing the screen with the iconic Sherlock and the outdated Mycroft, Enola stands tall to match their wit and carve her own story, without the need for anyone’s approval except for that of her mothers.

Enola carries the burden or being a Holmes, female and teenager with her and the audience on her back. Her pieces to camera work excellently to to give us a glimpse at her thoughts, whether this is in humour or to raise and eyebrow at the 1800’s period silly expectations.

Having Enola be fierce, intelligent and full of wit fills this film with substance and character. Her interactions with the other characters and the environment around her make for interesting viewing and each scene brings something worth watching.

Despite being set in the 1800’s it does a good job to bring modern normality to such a strange period that Enola must fight through. Millie’s excellent portrayal of Sherlocks younger sister shows just how talented Millie really is.

She leads this film with ease, shouldering many ideas that would normally fall flat without charisma or talent. The film runs at a pace to give the fast action a contrast from the sweeping countryside and chivalry of middle class England. Enola’s lack of respect for the ideals she is expected to portray add to the excitement of the mystery.

The final layer that Millie is able to portray as Enola comes as a story of a teenage girl trying to find her place in an ever changing world. This narrative gets her mixed up with a young Lord and trying to save women everywhere. It’s her growth from an introverted countryside girl to a captivating city female pointing at the world around her that gives this film extra dimensions and shows how Harry Bradbeer is great at blending genres.

At the very best this film is charming through its characters or score and it’s lows make for some silly detective work backed by a good story. There’s really not much to dislike here and I hope Netflix continues to back this lot and maybe give us a franchise backed by Nancy Stringers original literacy and Jack Thorne’s adaptation.

Starring: Millie Bobbie Brown – Enola, Henry Cavill – Sherlock, Sam Claflin – Mycroft & Helena Bohnam-Carter – Mrs Holmes.

Directed by: Harry Bradbeer

Written by: Jack Thorne (Nancy Springer adaptation)

Where: Netflix

NEw Mutants: New Characters same struggle

I finally got around to watching Fox’s last X-Men production yesterday and I wasn’t as disappointed as quite a lot of critics said I would be. Sure there were somethings that could have been better but I enjoyed a lot more than I disliked.

The plot

When we are introduced to the ‘New Mutants’ we see that the main character Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) is being hunted down before waking up in a hospital.

Here she is informed of the New Mutants programme, designed to help those transitioning through their powers. It’s much like you’d imagine a mental hospital to come across, with an old aesthetic, a kind nurse and lots of cameras and suspicious security. Dani is thrown into group therapy, there’s good patients and bad ones and in this case, powers.

As Dani begins to explore why she is truly in the programme, with some help from Maisie Williams’ Rahne (Wolfsbane) and Anya Taylor-Joy’s bully character Illyana (Magik), she begins to realise not everything is as it seems.

The other patients also begin to realise that something has changed when they start to vividly visualise nightmares that weren’t there before. Pointing the finger at each other they realise it’s time for out.

You’ll probably think that, with this plot, there’s nothing new about it and you would be absolutely correct. In my opinion it is a fairly safe plot to use just with added mutants.

The Good

There’s more good than bad, so it’s a good place to start. To begin with the characters are interesting. Whenever we are introduced to new Mutants (especially the ones we don’t traditionally know) it’s always fun finding out their story. In this case as they are in a hospital there’s even more to it.

With how the plot is worked each character has some really good set pieces. We are introduced to them by way of what really drove them to use their powers and find themselves needing help.

This is where the horror element we heard about years ago comes from. This horror part is both good and bad. It works as a really good angle to tell the story from. Some of the scenes do have a genuine tension to them. The setting is dark, the characters are alone and it’s all a bit weird as we don’t really know their powers or what’s going on.

Thing is, it’s a comic book movie about people with powers, so how scared can we get for the characters fate?

When the characters do use their powers they have been well done. The CGI is good and they feel almost down to earth, with maybe the exception of Illyana. We’re not bombarded with this constant display of CGI.

Illyana’s Magik does steal the show when we talk about powers. She’s the most ‘badass’ with her powers and would probably make a good protagonist in like a Deadpool kind of way. She has the ability to teleport, a dragon and a magic sword she wields in an armoured arm.

Her ‘hate everything’ grungy attitude means it feels cool when she launches into using them.

The film also has some serious issues such as racism and sexuality. The sexuality is a first for the comic book world in this sense. It’s something that maybe deserved more recognition for the way it’s so normally dealt with in the film. There’s no big moment or bells and whistles its just normal as it should be.

The Bad

So where does this film get it wrong? It’s the same problem I think a lot of the X-Men films have and that’s bringing it all together.

As I have said the characters are interesting enough and when we’re exploring their stories it’s really good cinema, New Mutants fails to bring it all together cohesively. The same can be said for Apocalypse and Phoenix.

New Mutants looks to be the product of what started of with a lot of passion that has been drained by studio interference, delays and Disney’s merge.

There’s some really lazy script writing, it’s relatively short and is missing something. That bit of flair or charisma that you would normally get from group movies. You get the feeling that this film was clearly to far along to cancel but not close enough to carry on supporting.

Final Thoughts

I hope this project gets picked up again in the future. I’m probably biased towards X-Men films for some reason as I normally love them. The idea is really cool and some of this film is very strong.

They needed to show conviction in making a horror or an action film. They needed a better script to really draw out these characters relationships with themselves, each other and the world around them.

There isn’t really a villain, which is okay but we needed more of a direction to the film. It shifts a couple of times towards the end.

Having actors that represent the characters better would be an improvement. Half of them had fake accents and I’m not sure why as their heritage was never a major factor in their stories.

It’s well worth a watch and if Illyana had a spin-off somewhere I’d be happy to see more of her character.

Tenet Review – Spoiler Free

Sorry posts haven’t been as frequent as I would like them to be, I’ve finally moved and settled in (&fixed my WiFi). However I did find time to watch Tenet in the cinemas.

First up my return to the cinema after AGESSSSS away was probably my worst trip ever! (Nothing against Tenet as you will see). Forget screaming kids, lights, mess or noisy neighbours no, this was sound mixing! Our screening started to go out of sync after about an hour. Awful business, so I’ll be going again.

Anyway, to the actual film. My god what a film. Early impressions are that it’s my favourite Nolan film. For some context Inception was my favourite before Tenet as I am not a massive Batman fan.

So, what’s it ACTUALLY about?

Tenet is for all intents and purposes a traditional spy flick. A lot of people around the internet has said this is like Nolan taking on James Bond. Which in some ways it is, just not as stylish in terms of characters.

The plot in essence is to prevent a bomb from going off that would end the world as we know it. Problem is we don’t know where the bomb is, hence spy.

Although as we have come to expect with Nolan’s original stories it’s not that simple. This also includes a version of time travel we have seen before but also we have not seen before. What haven’t we seen? Inversion.

What takes this away from a traditional spy action film is the use of time travel to tell the story. The Protagonist of this story must understand how time travel works and then find and disarm the bomb. Getting interesting now eh?

Inversion/ niosrevnI

One of the key things to understand about this film is the inversion mechanic that it is based on.

When we meet The Protagonist (that’s his name, seriously) played by John David Washington he’s in an extremely good mission to retrieve an asset. The score for this sequence and all sequences is incredible and high octane. This is from the first minute as well.

From the very start, this film fills you with intensity and pulls you in, which is something that I absolutely loved. It was immersive from start to finish.

During this sequence The Protagonist notices how a bullet rushes past his head, as though it had already been shot. Next thing we see is The Protagonist is ‘dead’ and being escorted for another mission where he is introduced to inversion.

The explanation of this is that everything that uses energy flows forward and inversion is the process to swap that so it flow backwards. This means you catch bullets, get cold from fire and even steer in the wrong direction.

The discovery of this then leads to its source and the discovery of time travel itself. How it is used in the film is extremely clever and it will amaze you.

Characters, what characters?

You’ll notice in this film that character development isn’t really a thing. It flashes forward so quickly we just don’t have time to understand the characters as people. John David Washington plays The Protagonist extremely well. He comes across as cool, cold and charismatic.

Robert Pattinson plays a character called Neal. For a Neal he’s not in any way boring. His chemistry with Washington is great and Neal’s story is one that is probably worth paying attention to the most. Pattinson definitely has a future as a cool, spy/ detective kind of role, (maybe even in a black suit and cape?).

The villian isn’t a nice person and has a rough time with Elizabeth Dibicki’s character Kat. They both anchor the film and begin to be the reason for the plot moving forward. Kat is troubled as you would expect (damsel in distress) and the villian is Russian and selfish for reasons we never really know why. There’s a lot of tropes with the characters and I think that’s intentional from Nolan as he was focused on the plot.

Will I Understand It?

One of the questions normally asked is will I get it. I know that not everyone will go to the cinema to be challenged and have to put pieces together and that’s okay.

This film will not hold you hand through the film.

The time travel and narrative can get confusing. There’s scenes designed to help you keep up but they’re not instructions. The voice/ score audio isn’t the best balanced as well you could easily miss some dialogue.

Final Thoughts

As I said at the top, this is my favourite Nolan film. It appeals to me in so many ways. The characters are simple but there’s enough to get their personal motives. The narrative is good and well thought out and the plot matches that. The time travel element is the spice that is needed and elevates it to that level for me. Being asked to think during a film is something I love. Keep me guessing and surprise me still is the route to my heart most of the time. Inception did this, Shutter Island did this and Se7en does this all really well.

Most likely my film of the year. I said it would be in my article previously. I’d be surprised if there’s a film as good as this in the next 4 months.

Uncut Gems Review

Much like the title this really is an uncut and unpolished gem. It really is a bit of a mess and wasn’t deserving of an Oscar.

Adam Sandler surprised everyone when he released his out of character crime drama on Netflix.

Naturally this garnered a lot of attention as to what was Sandler thinking.

The film quickly started to gain praise for its story and portrayal.

All of a sudden it was found amidst award nominations that Sandler wasn’t humble about.

Checking out this film I had high expectations but was ultimately let down.

Uncut Gems follows the events that unfold when Sandlers main character Howard manages to get his hands on a precious uncut Opal from an Ethiopian mine.

With this discovery he hopes to make a lot of money and finally settle all his debts. Not your typical debts, he’s a fucking moron that deals in dodgy business.

It’s all a bit of a mess.

Part of my confusion came when I realised how much he owed to one particular party, $100,000. Yet he appears to own an apartment in New York and a nice family home, a nice car and care for his 3 children.

How could this dodgy del boy really still have any money. His reputation seems to proceed him but he is still able to deal amongst the elite?

Before he is able to sensibly sell on the gem he’s acquired he agrees to let NBA start Kevin Garret look after it who then believes in it spiritually as he performs better.

Mix that in to the people after Howard, his affair and his gambling addiction and its all a bit of a mess. And that’s how I found this film a mess.

It seems looking around that’s what people liked about this film, that its difficult to follow and it really works in Sandler’s favour. I however thought the opposite.

I never struggled to keep up, but I struggled to stay invested. Howard isn’t a likeable character, in fact, no one is. The film ends, and I kind of thought, what’s the point? Nothing is explained, so don’t be looking for answers.

Sandler gains praise, but I honestly thought he’s still same old Sandler, just without any jokes. I’m glad he never won an Oscar. Julia Fox was good throughout and I hope it breaks her into further roles. Idina Menzel had nothing special to work with.

All in all there are some good parts to this film and you do wonder how badly it all ends. Sandler does have another trick up his sleeve, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it again. I think with some better direction this film would be a extraordinary crime film. [Insert joke about crime and my time].

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker Review

“may the fourth be with you”

As The Rise of Skywalker has now hit Disney+ I thought it would be good to kick everything of in a grand ol’ Star Wars style.

Star Wars was for old people, yuck.

Nathan – circa 2000

This is also a brilliant film to start with becuase my god man it is up and down. Good and bad. Cathartic and frustrating. That does depend on where you are in the Star Wars fandom…

Star Wars has grown with me, it was this film series that my parents enjoyed or I would hear them discuss but that was for old people, yuck.

Fastforward to 1999 ( i was a grand old age of 7) and this series is going through a comeback. Amazing that this franchise was getting the updated, amazing CGI we had on the tip of a new millienium.

Buuuuuuut. Not quite it didn’t exactly soar in fact it actually managed to fall without a parachute.

Fastforward another 16 years and its happening again. This time we wont see the same mistakes. In fact The Force Awakens tried so hard to be more of a 4 than a 1 it basically was A New (Same) Hope.

Wait, this was meant to be a review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker??

Here we are with The Rise of Skywalker the ‘Return of the Jedi’ Disney version. Alot of the core Star Wars fans I’m sure would deny that this is a Star Wars film and well they could be correct. But with how much it has used from the original trilogy its hard to ignore.

I for one did enjoy it mostly. I was tired of the Skywalker Saga at this stage. I want original, I think thats why Prequel feels different but good. The characters are fresh despite being names we’ve heard.

Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver (Girls, Blackkklansman, Logan Lucky) has the best story and is possibly the most redeeming part of this story. The once destined leader of the Dark side is on a journey to advoid but ultimately meet redemption for his actions previously.

Kylor Ren by https://www.instagram.com/ajmartist__

Rey played by Daisy Ridley (Murder on the Orient Express, Peter Rabbit) is determined for Kylo to meet his redemption or does she want to kill him? Its easy to get lost. BUT she does want to find out who her parents were because you can’t just be force sensative with good genes.

The pacing is fast paced, but not in a good way, more of a it all goes so fast that you almost can’t see that there’s alot wrong that J J Abrams is trying to put right. All of a sudden you’re at the end trying to catch up like Finn trying to catch up to Rey.

Much of the supporting cast do not have a story arc worth writing about, so I won’t, much. Poe is Han Solo 2.0 (he has so much potential, played brialliant by Isaac Oscar). Some characters were needlessly depreived of screen time (look at you Rose) but the effects and CGI are stellar.

Not the worst (could have been Solo). Not the best (not as iconic as V) / 10