So Long Solo

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I did a mad dash to the cinema the other week to catch Star Wars’ Solo before it ended its run.

Overall, it was an OK film. Alden Ehrenreich did well as the young Han, and as the film progressed he slowly developed Solo’s customary swagger. It was interesting to see how he came to be named Solo, and how he got into the life he did, and the film made for a nice little background story. So you didn’t miss key moments in his past that link back to the original franchise, the original Star Wars strain would play, you know, as an annoying “hey, this moment is important!” to the audience 🙄.

I guess I’ve been spoiled by the likes of Avengers and Deadpool, where the humour is apparent and frequent (or in the case of Deadpool, thick and fast), and I forget that other science fiction films are less in your face. As is the case with the Star Wars franchise, where action and storytelling are at the forefront, and the occasional humour elicits the meerest of smirks. This was true of Solo, so if you’re after a laugh-out-loud kinda film, this ain’t it.

That being said, it’s an enjoyable addition to the franchise, though I can see why it may have stalled at the cinema. It’s a slow runner of a film, and to be honest, we’re being a bit saturated with Star Wars film of late, what with the trilogy. I know the same is more than true of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (3 films a year y’all!), but as I said before, they’re a different kind and calibre of film, which is possibly why ‘offshoot’ films continue to do so well (though time will tell with AntMan and the Wasp).

Still, I’m glad I caught it, but I hope they stop and have a think before releasing the Boba Fett film they’ve had in the pipeline, as I have a feeling that could do worse at the box office.

As a Marvel side note. I’m happy to report that the Paramount channel has come to UK TV (including Freeview). Why does that warrant mentioning? Because it brought with it Marvel’s Agent Carter.

Set shortly after the war, and Captain America becoming a popsicle, it sees Peggy Carter relegated to secretarial duties in the SSR, and having to deal with the misogynistic headache that comes from that. Then Howard Stark is accused of treason, and he drags Peggy into the fray to help clear his name, along with the help of his butler, Jarvis. I enjoyed the first episode, and it was cool to see where ‘Jarvis’ came from. Hopefully Paramount will see fit to run the first season in its entirety, and the second season quickly after, but it’s a shame it’s another Marvel TV series that got cancelled too soon.

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Dead Awesome

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It was with a bit of trepidation that I went to go see Deadpool 2 at the cinema the other week. Apparently, the first showing of the film to test audiences didn’t go down too well, and there ended up being a load of reshoots. Usually, for a film, this news does not bode well for its quality.

However, it turns out the reshoots were just to add more screen time for Cable and Domino, and that the initial showings were well received (the joys of skewed/fake news!), and the film I went to see was just as hilariously violent, chaotic, and fourth-wall-breaking as the first.

I gave both Avengers: Infinity War, and Deadpool 2, 10/10 on IMDB, but I think Deadpool 2 just squeaks into the lead at the decimal point level for me. The laughs came fast, it didn’t take itself seriously (quite the opposite), and I crushed a bit too hard on Cable. Plus, the post-credit scenes were quite cathartic in a couple of places for Marvel fans like myself.

In other Marvel-related news this week, I got a free £10 from PayPal to add to my wallet, and this time I bothered to spend it, getting the first Avengers film on Google Play. Sweet!

Monthly Reads – June 2018

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June’s been a bit of a chill month reading-wise. No long, grandiose novels, but rather two more instalments of the Death Note series, an X-Men comic, and a Marine Conservation Society magazine (which, in all honesty, I skipped through the majority of).

I’ve noticed that with the new storylines on the offing, the Essential X-Men comics have been reformatted, and are now 51p dearer. That extra few pence does, however, get me a marginally longer read (75pgs vs 69pgs) and a thicker spine with the volume info written on it (making it easier to find these instalments amongst my 100s of other volumes).
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Part 5 and 6 of Death Note has Light relinquishing his Death Note, and with it, all memory of Ryuk and his past as Kira, allowing him to help L track down a new Kira who’s appeared and is systematically killing of businessmen. I’m still enjoying this manga series very much. Book 6 also marks the half-way point in this novel series (there are 12 books altogether) so I’ve still got some way to go till I reach its conclusion.

The rest of the month has seen me go back to my DVLA books, as I’ve got my first driving lesson scheduled for the beginning of July (eep!) and I need to take my theory before then (or at least after the first couple of lessons), and I’ve pretty much forgotten everything I learnt from last month’s read-a-thon (stupid brain!). So back to learning I go!

Dust to Dust

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Now the crowds have cleared, I went to go see Avengers: Infinity War. And yes, it was all it was hyped to be. Marvel/Disney delivered as usual, and it was a film full of action and dry humour. Although, the banter of the Guardians team does tend to grate a bit (not to mention the fact that Star-Lord was a total d*ck in this film, and no, I have no sympathy towards his behaviour).

Leading up to this viewing, I’ve had a nightmare of a time on social media, trying to avoid all the memes and spoilers, especially those involving the names of those who died/died?/”died”. As it turns out, only two characters I thought were going to bite the dust did (in one case, literally! 😆), which was cool (though probably not for them).

Still, it sucks that I now have to wait a whole year before I can see the culmination of what’s just happened. In the meantime, I suppose I’ll have to make do with Deadpool and Ant-Man and the Wasp…oh, and the news Star Wars Solo film.

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The end of May also saw me handing in my last two assignments for my Open University first-year modules. Not sure how well I’ll do for L185: English for Academic Purposes online as the tutor (as usual) was contradicting what the question was asking for. It’s been a frustrating course simply because what the essay titles say they want to see written, and what the tutor in his mind wants to see written, tend to be completely separate things. The titles have a more generalistic tone, my tutor, not so much, and I’ve been in a case where the week before the hand-in deadline, I’ve had to rewrite and restructure my essay simply because the tutor has sent out an email detailing what he wants for the essay. Maddening! Hopefully, someone else will be marking it, and they won’t consider the information that I’ve included in my essay “wrong”. If they do, then my academic grammar and spelling will hopefully pull my score up enough to allow me to pass the module. Otherwise, there’ll be hell to pay!

Thankfully, TM129: Technologies in Practice has been less of a headache. Despite a slightly lower than average score for my final TMA (thanks to one question where I completely didn’t understand what it was asking for, and despite my tutor’s notes, still don’t know what it was asking for), I achieved a distinction overall for my OCAS. Hopefully, my EMA won’t ruin that.

So that’s it, year one is now finished! Now I’m free till October (or probably September, as that’ll be when I’m likely to get my materials and the module websites will open). Time to get my drive on!

Here Kitty!

monochrome-3199102_1280.jpgI completely forgot to say that I went and saw Black Panther at the end of last month.

I enjoyed the film a lot, though I’m not sure it lives up to the hype of ‘best ever Marvel film’. For me, it was good, but not that fantastic, and in my mind, it doesn’t beat the first Avengers film, or the most recent Thor film.

Still, I can see why the African American/black community has been so excited about this film. In displaying the cultures of Wakanda, it really excels, and the African costumes and culture on display were a treat for the eye, and so too was how they were interwoven into the technically advanced nation. Native art and tech side by side. The majority black cast proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that they can carry a mainstream film without issue, and with utter presence. Also, the female leads certainly deserve the tag ‘fierce’.

Although I may have not been entirely blown away by the narrative, I highly recommend this movie, and I certainly hope there are many more films like this one. There needs to be/should be more mainstream black-cast-lead films, and Black Panther proves there are no excuses for why there shouldn’t be. Too much time has been allowed to pass since the Blade trilogy, so here’s to Black Panther 2; pronto!

Thor-some Sauce

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I managed to go and see Thor: Ragnarok the other night, and boy was it awesome. The laughs came thick and fast, and there was plenty of action. The Thor series definitely went back to its roots, but this time without the tepid love action courtesy of Jane’s inclusion, which I always felt was a bit weak and shoe-horned in.

Honestly, I would have given Thor: Ragnarok 10 out of 10 on IMDB if it weren’t for two minor things. First, Cate Blanchett’s Hela was rather hammy (why do women badies have to chew up the stage so much?). Secondly, Bruce Banner was more ‘bumbling’ than he has been in the past. That being said, if I could’ve, I would’ve given this a 9.5 as these are pretty minor gripes compared to the film as a whole, which was fantastic.

Overall, I think this is one of the best entries into the MCU, beaten only by the original Avengers film. Actually, they may even be level-pegging. So if you haven’t seen this instalment, do so. You won’t be disappointed!

Flu and Film Reviews

Despite an encroaching cold, I managed to go to the cinema a couple of times this past week.

giphy-downsized.gifFirst I caught up with Despicable Me 3 (which is probably where I picked the lergy up from). To be honest, the film wasn’t a patch on the previous two films. I laughed, but it was usually at the minions. There was one moment that got me thinking, and not about the story line. [non-spoiler alert]. There’s a moment when Dru and Gru are on a beach, talking, and Dru is sat, playing in the sand. It was just a small action, but the fact that they included this random little detail (who hasn’t sat on the beach and absent-mindedly dug a hole?) and the detailing of the sand itself, made me realise just how far and how intricate animation has become. It was a cool little revelation, but it couldn’t elevate the film above its mediocre delivery.

spider-man-2319337_1280Then, with a scratchy throat, I went and saw Spider-Man: Homecoming. The cinema was packed, which surprised me, considering how long the film’s been out, and I ended up getting a cricked neck in one of the front rows. Thankfully, the film was a hoot and a half, and I hardly noticed the fact I was sat practically horizontal in my seat. Bringing Spider-Man into the MCU’s fold was a good move in my opinion. The action was fast, the dialogue was funny, and there was a much lighter tone to the whole thing (a key ingredient to Marvel’s big-screen appeal over DC). I can’t honestly fault the film, and I’m actually looking forward to more Spidey films. Oh, and the Marvel end credit scene was also incredibly trolley! *Bravo!*

So, to sum up, if you haven’t seen either film, I’d say go see Spider-Man on the big screen, and wait for Despicable Me 3 to come out on DVD … or on the TV.