Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman is an exciting, beautiful and spectacular addition to the DC movie universe. The first ever female-led superhero film does not disappoint and is long, long overdue.

Rating – 4 out of 5

Director – Patty Jenkins

Starring – Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Lucy Davis

Certificate – 12A

I was extremely excited to see Wonder Woman on the big screen – it’s about time a female superhero took centre stage! I had high expectations and I’m happy to say these were met for the most part. It was inspiring to finally see a strong female character take the lead.

Wonder Woman is an origin story – a great one! Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons. wonder_woman_posterThe story begins with her childhood on Themyscira, the island of the Amazons, where she is trained to become a warrior and begins to find out the true power she has.

When an American pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), crash-lands on the shores of the island, Diana comes to learn about a war raging in the outside world. She decides to leave her home, convinced she will be able to stop the war and save mankind.

Gal Gadot is the perfect casting. She portrays Diana’s strength, along with her naivety beautifully and brings a powerful passion to the character. Gadot and Pine’s characters bounce off each other, creating exciting and humourous story-telling. Diana’s naivety is a driving force for this humour, creating plenty of laughs when she first steps into London and begins to understand this strange new world.

It is a CGI-heavy film and although this creates some absolutely stunning visuals, it becomes too reliant on the effects during the final action scene and ends up feeling somewhat rushed and becoming almost disorientating. However, the CGI on the island of Themyscira is what brings the beginning of the film to life.

Director, Patty Jenkins, chose a beautifully enchanting location, which is enhanced flawlessly by the CGI. The special effects also stand out in one scene especially and that is when Diana’s mother, Hippolyta, is telling her the story of how the Amazonians came to be. The story’s animation is breathtaking, keeping you completely enthralled for the duration.

It is a shame there wasn’t more time spent on Themyscira. It is one of the stand out parts of the film and it may have kept the story flowing more fluidly. Instead, we are quickly thrown into the war-torn world Steve knows, with the London portion of the film dragging on a little longer than needed. The costume design is second to none and can be fully appreciated during Diana’s wardrobe montage scene, with the brilliantly quirky Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), whose appearance is far too short lived.

Overall, Wonder Woman is a great origin story and lives up to expectations for the most part. The CGI may be too heavy at various points, but the story is fascinating – not only does it keep you hooked and excited but it brings a more human feel to a superhero film, focusing on love and the good and evil in humanity. It is one of the best DC movies and shows that the story is just as, if not more, important than the flashy superhero CGI effects. Wonder Woman is a long overdue female-led superhero movie which is inspiring and exhilarating.

Featured photo & body photo – © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Logan (2017) review

Logan is unlike any other X-Men film. It is thoughtful and emotional; a superhero film with real feeling.

Rating – 5 out of 5

Director – James Mangold

Starring – Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook

Certificate – 15

Being a fan of the X-Men franchise, I was looking forward to seeing the final part of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine story and I found myself blown away. Logan is dark and hard-hitting – one of the best films I have seen in a while.

The film is set in the not so distant future of 2029, where an ageing and grey Logan (Hugh Jackman) is caring for an ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in a hideout on the Mexican border.

A weary Logan is looking to live out the rest of his life in a quiet existence, hidden from a world where mutant kind is close to extinction.

However, the appearance of a young mutant called Laura (Dafne Keen), who is being pursued by a mutant hunting military organisation, takes him and Professor X in a completely different direction.

James Mangold, who also directed the second installment in the trilogy, has created an excitingly vicious but moving story. Securing a higher age rating for the third and final film has enabled him to bring Wolverine’s story to a close in the best possible way. Logan follows in Deadpool’s brutal and bloody footsteps, opening the action up and letting Wolverine loose. Exciting action scenes, gory special effects and a highly emotional story line make this film one of the best in the X-Men franchise.

Compared to the action packed, end of the world plots of the other X-Men films, that often rely on their special effects to keep you watching, Logan is very character focused and story driven. The deep and dark plot shows more of the human and kind-natured side to the usual beast-like character.

You are forced to see Logan and Xavier stripped back and showing their mortality. Xavier’s extraordinary mind is battling with dementia and Logan’s healing power is slipping away. Both Jackman and Stewart play their parts perfectly, with Stewart’s performance being one of his best yet.

Laura, aka X-23, plays a silent role throughout most of the film. Although it is a far from silent performance. Communicating solely through facial expressions and body movements, she faultlessly portrays all of Laura’s emotions. Keen puts on a stunning show and with her character’s abilities being very much like Logan’s, she captures the essence of Wolverine perfectly. The way she presents the animalistic nature is captivating; leaping and slashing her way through the bloody fight scenes, ripping the bad guys’ heads off. An outstanding casting of a young sure-to-be star, who has such a powerful presence.

Jackman has confirmed that this will be his last film in the franchise and his performance is a flawless tribute to the character. After 17 years in the role, this finale is the ultimate and most satisfying goodbye to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

A heartwarming yet heart-wrenching story; Logan is an emotional and incredible finale to the trilogy.

Featured photo – Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein – © 2017 Marvel. TM and © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Assassin’s Creed (2017) review

The Assassin’s Creed franchise took a leap of faith this year with their first feature length film soaring into cinemas on New Year’s Day.

Rating – 3 out of 5

Director – Justin Kurze

Cast – Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson

Certificate – 12A

As a fan of the games, I was looking forward to seeing the franchise being brought to life on the big screen. Although I did have reservations on whether it could be pulled off, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Directed by Justin Kurze, the story follows Callum Lynch, played by Michael Fassbender, who finds himself caught up in a scientific programme ran by Dr. Sofia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) at the organisation, Abstergo.

Abstergo uses their revolutionary technology, the Animus, to explore the past memories of Callum Lynch’s ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha during the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.

The Animus allows Lynch to synchronise with and discover the genetic memories of his ancestor to help reach Abstergo’s goal of finding the lost ancient artefact, the Apple of Eden.

The story also focuses around the two main and very powerful organisations, the Assassins and the Templars, and looks to explain the relationship between them.

People who are already fans of the franchise will be able to pick up aspects of the storyline that have been lifted from the games with the test subject Desmond Miles’ game story (Ezio Auditore) being the most closely linked to the film since it also features the Apple of Eden.

As a fan it is also very easy to appreciate the stunning artistic visuals and the fast moving story-telling. Unfortunately, the quick pace of the film and the way important storyline information is not fully explained in the movie may cause confusion and frustration for viewers who have zero prior knowledge of the franchise.

The high-class cast draw you in – Fassbender and Cotillard are perfect. They bring their characters to life and it is easy to see that they have thrown themselves into their roles. They portray a real passion and strength in their scenes together which builds the emotion in the story and helps to save it from various aspects the story is lacking in.

When visiting the past memories the dialogue is pretty much non-existent and being unable to get to know the characters and fully immerse yourself in this part of the story is disappointing. During the Animus scenes the constant flicking back and forth from Lynch in the Animus to Aguilar in the memory creates a disconnect and it’s a struggle to feel a link to Aguilar’s story. It is a contrast to the games where feeling connected to the past stories is something that is very prominent and important.

All is not lost in the memory scenes though. The stunts are spectacular and the beautiful visuals of the landscape are shown through eagle eye views which depict the breath taking scenery of Spain in the 15th Century. Horse drawn carriage action scenes in a dusty, desert-like Spain creates excitement and of course the iconic leap of faith just tops this off bringing one of the best parts of the game to life. The constant action and tension building keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.

Assassin’s Creed is exciting and stunning. It is by no means perfect and is definitely geared towards people who are already fans of the franchise with parts of the story letting it down. However, it is a must watch for anyone who has experienced the immersive video games, who are now able to witness a great series brought to life on the big screen.

Assassin’s Creed will be released on DVD on the 15th May 2017 and is available for preorder on Amazon.

Featured photo – Photo Credit: Kerry Brown. – Copyright © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.