Avengers: Infinity War – Trailer Discussion

So…that happened.

If you weren’t lucky enough to be at Disney’s D23 or San Diego Comic-Con earlier in the year, chances are that you’ve heard of some kind of mind-blowing presentation of the next Avengers film, with Spider-Man and Iron-Man fighting together, Thor meeting up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and a bearded Captain Rodgers. You may have even been so desperate to watch this that you ventured into the darkness and tried to find some sort of copy online because you simply can’t handle the expectation.

Well…that expectation is over.

Last week, Marvel Studios has revealed the very first official look at Avengers: Infinity War. And what a look it is. If you haven’t yet, make sure to catch our Editor-In-Chief’s reaction and watch the footage here.

Now that you’ve seen the trailer a good dozen times (I know I have) it’s time for probably my favourite part of the marketing of a comicbook film: easter egg hunting and speculation. I’ll start from the top of the trailer, highlighting things that surprised me, comicbook references and where I think this is all going. Feel free to join the discussion!

1- The Tone Is Changing

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This is the first, and probably biggest, thing to notice in this trailer. From the haunting rendition of Alan Silvetri’s excellent Avengers Theme, to the sinister imagery, this trailer is the darkest of all MCU trailers.

It is also the best.

It’s a trailer worried about not just throwing in some jokes and comic book imagery, but actually setting up a story and the stakes of the film.

2 – The Aftermath of Ragnarok

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Thor and Hulk have been (mostly) absent from our blue planet since the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron. We got to see them briefly joining the Revengers in this year’s Thor: Ragnarok and (SPOILER WARNING!) fail to save Asgard from destruction. While on the way to bring the surviving Asgardians to Earth, Thor, Hulk and Loki get intercepted by a huge sized ship which resembles the vessels first seen in Avengers: Assemble. In the trailer we see that a rough-looking Thor ends up on the ship belonging to the Guardians Of The Galaxy while Bruce Banner crash landed on what appear to be Stephen Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in New York. It seems like these two will be the bearers of bad news to Earth’s Mightiest Hero’s, as it seems like they’ve met Thanos’ wrath firsthand. Speaking of which…

3- Thanos Is Here, And He’s Been Busy

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We finally get a proper good look at the Mad Titan. And he looks incredible. I mean, this is what performance capture was created for. Thanos is bearing the Infinity Gauntlet, and it’s interesting to note that, in the trailer, he already has two infinity stones: one purple and one blue.

Over the course of the MCU’s 17 films, we have seen the majority of the stones, all of them have distinct colours and, based on their comicbook counterparts (called Infinity Gems) we can figure out what they do.

There are a total of 6 Infinity Stones: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Time and Soul. Thanos is seen, in this trailer, to hold the Power and Space Stones. Essentially, this means that he has gotten the Space Stone from the Tesserac and the Power Stone from the Orb in Xandar (the planet where the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy takes place). This leaves the Mad Titan within four Stones of being all-powerful. Just how many Stones will be in the Gaunlet by the end of Infinity War remains to be seen. My guess? Two more.

4 – They’re Doing The Thing

From the moment Vision and Scarlet Witch were introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the big question amongst comicbook fans was whether or not the MCU was going to go head first into the romance between the two characters.

Well, the answer is, apparently, a thousand times yes.

In the trailer we see Wanda and Vision sharing a bedroom and exchanging some incriminating looks. More on that, Vision is shown in full Paul Bettany glory! Whether this is due to Vision’s shapeshifting abilities (like the one displayed in Age Of Ultron with his cape) or is another extension of Wanda’s powers, remains to be seen.

5- Spidey-Sense…And That Suit

I was one of these people who had a massive problem with Spider-Man: Homecoming. That being said, I am excited to see more of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and one of the moments of the trailer that gave me literal chills was the representation of his spider-sense. It’s simple and makes it less of an Deus Ex Machina and more of a fallible ability, which is good! We all like our heroes to have flaws.

Another thing we see is that Iron Spider suit in action and it looks…fine? I actually like it a lot more that I was expecting, considering how much I despised it in Homecoming. Here, it looks good, with the colours not being too vibrant or off-putting. Yes, it was only for about 5 seconds, but the point still stands.

6- Get This Man A Shield

And give Chadwick Boseman his own film! Oh wait…

Probably one of THE moments of the trailer was Captain America (bearded Captain America, aka NOMAD! Maybe?) grabbing the spear thrown by one of Thanos’ Black Order member, Proxima Midnight (God, I love comic books), and coming out of the shadows both literally and figuratively. This scene seems tied to a previous shot of Vision seemingly losing his Infinity Stone (although I don’t think that will happen just yet).

For a bonus point, notice how Tony, previously, is using the cellphone Steve Rodgers has handed him at the end of Civil War. Continuity, right?!

7- The Showdown…

The trailer seems to imply that the majority of the action will occur in two location: New York and Wakanda.

This is interesting for a number of reasons.

New York makes sense because almost all the films in the MCU have taken place there, including the invasion in Avengers: Assemble. Plus, Stephen Strange is around and Thanos may want a little something the Doctor carries around his neck.

But why Wakanda?

My bet is that the last Infinity Stone will be there, and we will be introduced to it in 2018’s Black Panther. Maybe there’s some connection between the Totem of the Black Panther and the Soul Stone? It would be an interesting twist from the comics and would save any complications/introduction of different types of magic. Or maybe I’m wrong and the MCU will decide to introduce Adam Warlock. One of the two.

8- …And The Casualties

I am going to be blunt; I thought Captain America: Civil War was going to bring some casualties into the MCU. I thought Cap was done for. Alas, I was wrong.

In hindsight, not killing him might have been the best option…

Because Thanos is here.

The Mad Titan needs a big entrance. A proof that he is an enemy unlike any other the Avengers have ever faced. And what better statement to make than to kill one of the big heroes?

The bets on who will die vary. Personally, I think Steve Rodgers will not make it out of Infinity War, which will be devastating, but necessary.

Or maybe the big deaths will come in Avengers 4?

Or maybe

Just maybe

This is the end of Infinity War:

So that’s it for my ramble on that incredible trailer.
But I want to hear what YOU have to say.
What are your thoughts on the Avengers: Infinity War trailer?

Loveless – Brand New Trailer!

Divorce can be something bitter and dark, it can be twisted and horrible, it can affect everyone around you. That’s the basis of Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless 

The film revolves around a Zhenya and Boris who are going through a bitter divorce. Through heated arguments, and heinous resentment, their 12 year old son Alyosha gets the brunt of their frustrations, leading him to run away.

Winner of Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival, this looks intense and terrific. What do you think?

Loveless is out 9th February 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Trailer & Clips

Dinosaurs. We certainly love dinosaurs. The bigger, the badder, the better, we say. But we’d never think about bringing them to life!

Not just because it’s a bad idea but there are several movies telling us exactly what will go wrong. And here is the next one – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. 

The film sees our heroes return to the island in order to save the dinosaurs when something threatens to wipe them all out.

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt return and this teaser looks fun. What do you think?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is 17th June! 

Suspiria – Review

I was in Fopp recently, listening to the most insane and eccentric piece of music I ever had the pleasure of turning around to the employees to say “what the hell is this? I love it!” To which I was presented a Dario Argento Soundtrack CD – a compilation of the horror masters seminal works and their undeniably brilliant scores. I am going to be completely honest now: while I had heard of Argento, his movies were a dark side of cinema I had yet to plunge into. As the music enveloped me in this tiny story, crazed and deliriously excellent, I just knew I had to expand my Argento horizons. Starting with the delectable and stunning Suspiria, which luckily had a 4K restoration this year.

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Starring Phantom of the Paradise’s Jessica Harper, Suspiria revolves around a ballet school out in the woods of isolated Germany. Susy is a promising dancer, invited from America to conduct her training underneath the schools tutelage. However, when she gets there in the middle of a rainy night, she sees a fellow student running away cryptically from the school. That student winds up dead, even after finding solace, and soon tensions surrounding the institution start to rise. Especially when Susy regularly starts to become ill and deaths start becoming a more frequent occurrence. Could there be witches at this prestigious dance school?

If you want to create an effective horror film then look no further than Argento’s work. Even just Suspiria, it holds more haunting weight than most horror movies out there in a modern era. Because Argento knows how to utilize suspense and imagery in a masterful way. Drenching the film with this unnerving use of vibrant colours, profound and surreal as well as evocative and enthralling, Argento beautifully drags you into this horror story. Then lavishes you with blood and gore. Unafraid to give us some quite horrific deaths, Argento invokes chills with the grim (and brightly doused) deaths in ultra-violent and ultra violet well. He also implements outstanding artistic camera shots and these grand glossed elements that work with the bleak undertones adding to the simple if confused plot (that, rather than hamper the final product, helps set an atmosphere alongside the girls at this school).

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With this redolent tone, adding the tension with rather poignant and rightly perplexed characters who toil with the issues going on around, (with Harper shining here). It is really pulled together with Goblin’s undeniably perfect score. Italian Prog Rock masters just enthuse another level of horror to the film as the score wraps along the frights. Random wails of “Witch” with this electrical guitar vein like lightening sending shock of chills down your spine.  This level of surrealism in the music is tinged with a hammering heart beat mirroring the panic of our centric heroines. Itwill stick with you, unnervingly.

There are many reasons why Suspiria is one of the first films poised on critic’s lips when you talk about scary and daring films. Nearly forty years after first release, this horror movie is a stunning bit of enhanced aesthetics and deep drama. This is colourful yet damning, youthful yet archaic and simple but complex.

You may not like school, but at least you aren’t at an Argento School.

Suspiria is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Atomic Blonde – Review

Charlize Theron is the Queen of action films. Mad Max: Fury Road has gifted her the crown and there is no way we can dethrone her after her Furiosa performance. Here is an actress who can slam a fist into an enemy one minute and make us swell with emotion the next. She is one of the finest actresses we have and her versatility makes her unstoppable.

Continuing that trend, her latest film Atomic Blonde is a brilliant flick for her new royal status.

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Based a graphic novel named The Coldest City, the film revolves around the height of the Cold War in 1989 where tensions have mounted in Berlin, still split by the giant wall. KGB spies have gained access to a list of undercover agents working for the Allies. Agent Lorraine Broughton is sent in to investigate and retrieve the list with the help of agent David Percival, who happens to be enjoying the Berlin seediness a little bit too much. Together, they have to ensure that WW3 doesn’t occur.

Atomic Blonde starts off as a hard-slog. The film certainly takes a lot of time to kick start with a rather choppy beginning that sets up a convoluted plot, struggling to set a tone between high-octane rambunctious slick action such as John Wick or Kingsman and grittier, darker, and grimmer action tales. Within this muddle, Charlie Theron and co fail to stand out as your attention worryingly slips bit by bit into this rather tedious affair.

Luckily, the film decides to get it’s act together by the end of the first half. The tonal discrepancies meld into each other as the gloss and grit become fellows instead of enemies, the plot points unfold and clear the foggy element whilst director David Leitch gifts us with some breath-taking scenes. It is almost as though Atomic Blonde was fooling us – tricking us into believing the entire movie is going to be naff before unleashing pure action fury upon our eyeballs. The fights are superbly done (more on that later) and you start to care for the characters in this meshed world.

Charlize Theron, plummy accent aside, is a tremendous actress here. I mean. That’s a given. We all know she is going be excellent but her lead actress “badassery” is genuinely exhilarating here. What is remarkable about the film is that she is never under the male gaze, even during a sex scene with Sofia Boutella, she has an agency that is entirely her own (and, sidenote, she is a bisexual heroine and what’s not to love about that. Representation matters). A lot has been said about the fighting sequences and Broughton’s style. The more I think about it, the more I recognise its genius. It tackles this notion of Strong Female Characters who punch and quip, very rarely getting bruised or hurt. In fact, with our lead here, she puts up tremendous battles with her opponents but she has to work twice as hard to scrape and maim her opponents. It is with these pulpy and meaty fights Atomic Blonde really excels. She gets hurt (actually, the appropriate term here is “she gets fucked up.”) It’s exhausting to watch but also humorous and intoxicating and absolutely paramount in setting Theron’s character away from the usual SFC pack. She’s a fantastically compelling lead, with a layered history you cannot wait to untangle with intriguing debriefing scenes flowing in a hilarious arc.

James McAvoy’s feral Percival is a fascinating side character reminiscent of his stellar role in Filth (there is even a moment where you want him to bellow Same Rules Apply.) The greatest thing about Percival is you think you know him, but there are plenty of surprises here.  Rambunctious and energetic, McAvoy is having the time of his life playing this tantalising role. Alongside the pair of them are the likes of Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, and John Goodman who get some great moments in here too.

Takes a while to kick in but then kicks you in the face with awesome. You won’t get out of Atomic Blonde the same high you get from Leitch’s John Wick and those first sketchy scenes really do dull the final product, frustratingly. But, nevertheless, there is enough humour and ferocious scenes to appease. Especially with a grim yet neon addled aesthetic and remixed 80s soundtrack. A violently amusing cinematic respite for your brain.

Atomic Blonde is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Shin-Godzilla – Review!

In recent years, it’s been hard not to feel a pang of sorrow for the gigantic radioactive lizard that is Godzilla, especially in the western world, as both recent attempts at Hollywood creating a new franchise featuring the King of the Monsters have resulted in abject failure, and a distinctly disinterested shrug from the box office audience.

There are many reasons why this could be the case, but the most obvious reason is the confusion of the overall message of the Godzilla series; nukes are bad. Whilst Japan holds an evocative first-hand account of the damage that can be caused by such weaponry, the United States has somewhat glorified its nuclear deterrent, and is one of the more vociferous countries to demand they be kept as a just-in-case scenario instead of disarming them. As such, both Godzilla films released by Hollywood in 1998 and 2014 respectively refused to focus on that aspect, instead choosing to look at how awesome America is in destroying giant lizards. Fortunately, Toho (the original production company behind the 1954 Godzilla movie) is still making the films in Japan, and their latest, Shin Godzilla, has recently come out in the UK, and it is maintaining its message of nuclear disarmament that has been so prevalent from the beginning.

The premise of Shin Godzilla is fairly simple, Godzilla has once again risen from his home on the bottom of the ocean and is terrorising Tokyo for the umpteenth time, and it is up to a group of scientists and politicians to neutralise the creature before the USA can drop a nuclear warhead on the beast. The plot of the film chooses to focus more on the political and scientific side of things as opposed to the military (although they get their fair share of screen time too.) It changes what could have easily been billed as an action film into something more akin to a tense political thriller with emphasis on more level-headed, and logical characters searching for a peaceful solution instead of the gung-ho military types that are often the protagonists of when it comes to this style of story.

No matter how enjoyable it is to watch the human protagonists attempt to stop him, it is the spectacle of Godzilla himself that draws you into this world, along with the special effects that accompany his trail of destruction. The film uses a combination of CGI, models and Dynamation (the stop-motion animation technique designed by Ray Harryhausen.) The mixture enables the filmmakers to create a visual style where the strongest points of each effect to help negate the weaker aspects of the others. The overall impression is a sight to behold.

It is the ease with which one can recognise Godzilla which highlights the major problem of the film, especially if you are watching it using English subtitles over the original Japanese audio. In an effort to help inform the audience with who each character is as they are introduced, the film provides subtitles with their name, unfortunately, this is often combined with the character in question performing a dialogue, making it necessary to either pause the film to take in all the information, or risk missing out on a key part of exposition whilst trying to read another portion of the screen. It’s a minor gripe, but when you can’t work out if the person talking is the President of Japan or one of his aides, it can lead to some minor confusion.

Shin Godzilla is a worthwhile addition to the Godzilla Franchise and a nice introduction to the back-catalogue of films. The final scene may feel a little cheesy and heavy-handed with its overall metaphor, but there is a lot of truth also embedded within it, especially some earlier shots that are reminiscent of the 2011 tsunami that damaged the Fukushima-Daichi Nuclear Plant. If nothing else, this film is definitely a better watch than the versions with Matthew Broderick and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Shin Godzilla is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!