Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – 7/10

*SPOILERS BELOW*

It’s fair to say that the Star Wars saga has been in turmoil for many around the world following the release of The Last Jedi and then Solo: A Star Was Story, two films that were heavily criticised by both fans and critics alike. Many believed that the franchise had derailed and there was no way to fix it despite the positive announcements Disney were making surrounding Star Wars in relation to their new Disney+ streaming service.

Disney would have once last chance to roll the dice however with the release of Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, a film which was being billed as the final story of the Skywalker Saga. The movie would have to do a lot to fix the errors the previous two movies made but nonetheless it was still another Star Wars movie that we could watch and the anticipation levels were at an all time high following the release of the first teaser trailer.

Not only would JJ Abrams, director of The Force Awakens be returning to finish the trilogy but the evil Emperor Palpatine, played by Ian McDiarmid, would also be returning for the epic finale.

As more and more trailers rolled out everything was looking perfect, it seemed as though Disney were on the verge of getting their fanbase back and ending the saga in superb fashion.

So has the franchise been avenged? Has JJ Abrams fixed everything that was wrong with the Episode VII? Has Disney pulled off another hit in an already successful year for them?

I saw the movie on opening day and my first impression was no. It was only after seeing a second time that I truly appreciated it and it’s fair to say that it’s the best film out of the new trilogy however it does still make a lot of bad decisions meaning the Force isn’t all strong with this one.

First of all, the best thing about the movie is Kylo Ren/Ben Solo played by Adam Driver. The sinister supreme leader of The First Order continues to struggle with his feelings towards the light side of the Force as seen in the previous two movies whilst also this time being influenced by Palpatine. Driver’s performance is probably the best one yet out the three films. His turning point midway through is so well done and once he ditches the red lightsaber he becomes the most likeable character for the rest of the movie despite only being on screen again once for a few minutes in the final battle.

Another positive to take is JJ Abrams’s clear display to correct every mistake that was made in The Last Jedi. We see it from start to finish but one scene in particular where Rey throws her lightsaber into a fire which is caught by Luke Skywalker, in the form of a force ghost, who tells her this is no way to treat a Jedi’s weapon. This subtle line corrects the mistake made in which Luke bluntly throws his lightsaber off a cliff at the beginning of the previous movie. It’s not a major plus point but it’s something that adds to Abrams giving the fans what they want.

The nostalgia affect comes into play as once again JJ expertly reminds us of characters we loved before, planets we’ve seen before, music we’ve heard before and at no point are you left wanting more references to the previous eight movies. We see a returning Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams and we get some touching moments from him as the old Rebellion general aids the new heroes in their battle against the Emperor. He isn’t in the movie for an entirely long time but we get enough in that he isn’t just a glorified cameo in the end.

Like with the previous two movies, this story mainly centres around the connection between Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, and Ben Solo. Something that has been a massive hit over the whole trilogy is concluded in a fine way as the pair go from connecting with each other through the Force to feeling each other’s pain to then fighting each other in a lightsaber duel. Every moment of screen time the duo share together is crafted so well and their relationship comes full circle by the movie’s end.

Another great thing is getting to see Princess Leia one more time as the audience say their final farewell. The late Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016 and it was announced that she would play a part in the story with unused footage from The Force Awakens being used. It’s a fitting send off as the former princess now turned general uses every last strength in her body to connect with her son Ben which results in her death. It’s an emotional ending as perfectly displayed by the main characters, specifically Chewbacca, when they find out she has passed away.

The chemistry that Rey, Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, and Finn, played by John Boyega, have also makes for some entertaining viewing. It’s the first proper time we see all three characters interact as they go on a mission together. The theme of their friendship has a massive effect on the story and as they all reunite with each other after the final battle you get a great sense of the bond they have and what they have been through together.

On the other hand, one of the big issues the movie has however is the inclusion of Emperor Palpatine. As mentioned earlier there was such a hype surrounding his return but by the conclusion of the movie all I could think about wads how much better they could have used him. We meet the Emperor again on a planet called Exegol where he is scarred and wounded from his fall at the end of Return of the Jedi. At no point does it explain how he survived or why he went into hiding but he’s alive for the sake of the rest of the movie. It is revealed within the first five minutes that, like many predicted years ago, he created Snoke and has been pulling the strings this whole time. We then learn that Palpatine has secretly created a new fleet of planet killing star destroyers which he calls “The Final Order”. Another massive yet predictable revelation is that Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter and his real motive is for her to kill him and become the new ruler of the Sith.

The latest instalment introduces a lot of new characters that have no real bearing on the story. Unlike giving returning characters more development The Rise of Skywalker gives us new characters in nearly every planet the heroes travel to which makes it feel bloated as you try keep up with who’s who. It’s hard to keep track of what’s going on as the movie is so fast paced with so many sub plots that aren’t really resolved by the end.

Everyone is also talking about how great the movie is in that it finally gives C3P0 a big moment to shine. That’s correct, the protocol droid does make a somewhat heroic sacrifice where he wipes his memory in order for the heroes to encrypt a message that can only be read in Sith. It’s a bold move to make only for them to restore everything nearly ten minutes later when he gets his memory back thanks to R2D2 meaning that his sacrifice ain’t all that memorable as the trailers would suggest.

Disney also clearly like to repeat things that went down well in previous movie franchises to get the same sort of reaction as during the final battle a massive fleet turns up to help Poe Dameron and the Resistance when all hope seems lost. You may have seen something very similar in a little but successful movie called Avengers: Endgame where the rest of The Avengers turn up to help Captain America fight Thanos and his army. It’s practically a carbon copy of that scene. Not a massive negative but something original would have been nice to see.

Overall, whilst The Rise of Skywalker is not the perfect movie it’s still a fitting way to wrap up the three trilogies. There are a few bumps along the way but in whole it’s entertaining and gives you everything you could have hoped for. Yes it’s highly predictable but it plays as a “greatest hits” of the Star Wars saga with so many references, cameos and Easter eggs that will please any fan.

Joker

Joker – 6/10

*SPOILERS BELOW*

The announcement of a Joker origin movie had me excited on all kinds of levels. The Clown Prince of Crime is Batman’s greatest foe and more importantly is my favourite comic book character of all time so of course I was looking forward to seeing a new on screen version of the character.

We have seen so many different versions of The Joker in film and television over the last 50 years or so and he has become one of the best pop culture villains. We have been graced with the performances of Cesar Romero in the Adam West Batman television show in the 60s, Jack Nicholson’s infamous performance as the clown in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and Mark Hamill’s chilling voice performance in a number of cartoons and video games. Most famous of all however would be Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning performance in The Dark Knight in 2008.

The release of Suicide Squad in 2016 would hand the reigns to Jared Leto whose portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime did not go down well with audiences and despite Leto signing on for future movies, including appearing in a Batman movie, he would ultimately move on from the role. As a Joker fan I felt the character needed to be redeemed on the big screen following Leto’s exit and us fans were left wondering when we would see the famous purple suit and green hair again.

When the solo Joker movie was first announced there were rumours that Leonardo DiCaprio would be playing the character and that Martin Scorsese would be directing the R rated flick, this news got fans hyped following the success the pair had making The Wolf of Wall Street. However, they both left the project and it would fall into the hands of The Hangover director Todd Phillips who would cast Joaquin Phoenix in the role.

The trailers released drew massive praise from everyone and the movie itself received an eight minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Everyone and anyone were praising how good the movie was and commending Phoenix on his performances so it would surely go down as one of the candidates for movie of the year and even further, one of the best comic book movies ever made?

Well…not exactly.

Let’s firstly establish what actually happens in the movie and the kind of Joker that Phoenix plays.

The dark tone of the movie is set straight from the beginning as Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) struggles with his life as a clown actor. He regularly visits a social worker to talk about his issues who prescribes him with high levels of medication to try and stop him from feeling so negative. The movie also establishes from the very beginning that Arthur has a medical condition that causes him to laugh uncontrollably at inappropriate times.

Arthur stays with and looks after his mother Penny, a former employee of Thomas Wayne who is desperate to speak with her former boss as she believes he will give both her and Arthur a better life. Together the mother and son watch a talk show hosted by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). A show that Arthur dreams about being on and has a hallucination that he’s in the studio audience. Arthur gets the opportunity to appear on the show later in the movie after Murray shows a clip of Arthur doing stand up, ridiculing him for his audience at Arthur’s expense.

Things go from bad to worse for Arthur as he is fired from his job after having a gun, which was given to him by a co-worker for protection, at a children’s hospital.

His life is somewhat lifted when he meets single mother Sophie played by Zazie Beetz, most famous for playing Domino in Deadpool 2. She attends one Arthur’s comedy shows and the pair seem to start getting closer as the story unfolds. However, things turn out bad again as he murders three Wayne Enterprises employees on a train, shooting all three after they beat him up for laughing inappropriately again. This leads to a disturbing scene where Arthur, covered in blood and without remorse, dances in a bathroom and starts to take shape of The Joker.

It is then revealed that Thomas Wayne is Arthur’s father but following an interaction at Wayne Manor between Arthur, a young Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth (yes Batman’s butler!) and a meeting between Thomas and Arthur where Thomas says that Penny is mentally unstable, it becomes apparent that Arthur was in fact adopted by Penny and abused as a child. This is confirmed to Arthur when he steals Penny’s case file from Arkham that shows her condition and tells how she stood by and allowed her boyfriend to abuse a young Arthur.

This is ultimately what drives Arthur over the edge as he goes and smothers Penny with a pillow in hospital and murders the co-worker that gave him the gun which lead to him being fired earlier in the movie. We also find out that all of his encounters with Sophie have also been hallucinations.

The final act sees Arthur escape from two detectives on a train and appear on Murray’s talk show. He asks Murray to announce him as Joker and confesses on air that he murdered the three Wayne employees and rants about how people view him in the world. Arthur then shoots Murray live on air for ridiculing him and is arrested however his actions spark chaos amongst other people living in Gotham who view Arthur as a hero.

The movie ends with Thomas and Martha Wayne being murdered (yes we had to see it again) and Arthur imprisoned in Arkham Asylum where he starts to laugh uncontrollably to the psychiatrist who asks him to tell her what the jokes but Arthur says she wouldn’t understand. The last shot of the movie is Arthur walking down the asylum hallway leaving a trail of bloodied footsteps.

Let me start off by saying this isn’t a superhero movie, yes it’s set in Gotham City and yes it ties in to the origin of Batman but its not your average comic book movie. It’s a disturbing and unsettling movie that pinpoints one mans struggle with the world and for two hours we see him hit breaking point and laugh back at those who made him who he is.

The first act is completely arthouse and it’s only really within the last 30 minutes that I started to get into it.

I’ve seen people write about how much of a masterpiece this movie is and I disagree, it’s not something the average movie goer will enjoy as it predominately relies on cinematography and music for the majority to tell the story Arthur’s descent into madness.

The movie is a great character study as Joaquin Phoenix delivers an expertly portrayal of person suffering with mental health and we see the effect this quickly has on him becoming The Joker.

Phoenix’s performance is chilling and is nothing like we have ever seen in a comic book movie before.

The best part of the movie isn’t the story, nor is it the music or the cinematography, it’s purely down to Phoenix’s acting which carries the whole movie. The support characters don’t bring anything to the story and lack emotion despite what’s going on.

At times it’s hard to watch, not in a bad way, as Phillips’ direction creates this uncomfortable atmosphere that leaves viewers on edge not knowing what Arthur is going to do next. This is a major plus point but I felt as though this only started to take real effect in the last twenty minutes of the movie where he becomes full on Joker but by that time it was too late.

I see people saying that the violence was unsettling but for an R rated movie I have seen a lot worse. Other than the brutal murder of Arthur’s co-worker where he stabs him to death with scissors and smashes his head repeadetly off the wall, there wasn’t anything that I thought was over the line and difficult to watch.

For me the association with Thomas Wayne playing a part in the movie weakened the story and it’s almost as if they had to remind people that it was at the end of the day a Batman related story by including the Dark Knight’s father playing a pivotal part. As I mentioned above, we get to see another interpretation of the Wayne’s being killed which I felt was unnecessarily forced to tie the story into the origin of Batman.

The biggest issue I have is that it’s a complete standalone from the rest of the DC movies and this is all we are getting. No matter how impressed you are with Phoenix’s take on the character we won’t be seeing him again so you can only imagine what it would be like to see him go up against Batman.

In the end I was finding it hard to call it a Joker movie but an art movie that simply uses the name Joker to tie in with the Batman universe. The sole aim is not to give us a typical comic book origin movie origin but to give us an interesting showing at how the contrasts in society can have negative effects on people, in this instance how the world can take someone like Arthur Fleck and turn him into The Joker.

Rambo: Last Blood

Rambo: Last Blood – 4/10

*SPOILERS BELOW*

When someone asks me who the best movie action hero is there is only one correct answer – John Rambo. Sylvester Stallone’s headband wearing knife wielding hero epitomised the 80s action genre and would leave a legacy for many to follow.

The character of Rambo is one of the most complexed character’s in movie history. Over the course of the movie franchise we see first hand the trauma that the war veteran faces as he is cursed with the memories of the Vietnam War and is left to try and move on with nothing but anger and regret.

First Blood was released in 1982 and that followed with Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1985, Rambo III in 1988 and Rambo in 2008. The fourth instalment brought the franchise full circle and with a lot of soul, gave it a truly fitting end. An end that could not be topped and anything that tried to would only damage this perfect ending.

So of course they would go and release another Rambo movie that we didn’t need and as predicted leave us with disappointment.

The fifth film with the sub title Last Blood picks up eleven years after the events of it’s predecessor where Rambo, now with short hair, is living on his father’s ranch with his niece Gabrielle and a family friend Maria, I had to look her name up as at no point in the movie do I recall her name ever being revealed.

Right from the beginning I could sense that this wasn’t going to resemble any of the previous movies, in fact it didn’t feel like I was watching a Rambo movie (apart from the bloody violence).

The plot centres around Gabrielle going to Mexico to find her father who had walked out on her and her mother before her mother died and whilst she is there she is kidnapped and drugged by a Mexican drug cartel. This sends Rambo on a mission to rescue his niece and he finds out she is being held prisoner by Victor and Hugo Martinez, two brothers and leaders of the cartel. Rambo goes to the location and receives a brutal beating from the cartel who then vow to inflict more punishment on Gabrielle due to Rambo getting involved.

A mysterious woman named Carmen takes Rambo to her house where she cares for his wounds (most notably a “V” slashed on his cheek by Victor who does the same to Gabrielle). As Rambo heals, the cartel drug and abuse Gabrielle more until a fully healed Rambo ambushes the brothel, killing a few men and finding Gabrielle who then dies shortly after from an overdose.

An enraged Rambo then goes on a path for revenge in which he decapitates Victor before returning home to set various traps around his ranch as he prepares for the rest of the cartel to arrive in retaliation.

The final fight sequence at the end is straight out of Home Alone albeit replacing Christmas bobble traps with large metal spikes.

Rambo starts to stalk and kill the cartel one by one, using a mixture of weapons and traps in the tunnels he has dug at the ranch. Leaving Hugo til the end of his killing spree, Rambo uses his knife to rip out the brother’s heart before going to sit on the front porch of his house, nursing his battle wounds. The film concludes with Rambo rocking on the chair looking over the ranch, vowing to carry on the memories of everyone he has loved and lost.

At a ridiculously short run time of 89 minutes, the latest movie disappoints on all levels and doesn’t at any minute feel like it’ a Rambo movie. We get our usual amount of gory action scenes and see Rambo butchering people with his knife but other than that there’s no real resemblance to the Rambo we have seen in the previous four films. Take Rambo from the previous movie, he is clearly on edge, doesn’t talk much, is still built with anger and rage but is willing to do good. The Rambo from Last Blood at times has more resemblance to Rocky Balboa than he does with John Rambo, especially within the first 15 minutes or so of the movie where he shows no signs of the man he was before. With the exception of the violence, the only sign we get of his former self is when he tells Gabrielle at the beginning of the movie that he hasn’t changed and that he tries to “keep a lid on it every day” hinting that he still is as dark inside as he always has been.

There’s no real explanation as to what’s actually happened since the events of Rambo nor is there any heart or soul, which were two of the reasons why the last one was such a gem of a movie.

As the credits rolled I immediately had this in the lead for the worst film I’ve seen this year. Let’s also mention the fact that they show clips from the rest of the movies during the credits almost as a way to tease you as you sit there thinking about what good Rambo movies look like.

As mentioned above, it’s a sequel that wasn’t needed. Of course when it was first announced we all got excited thinking about seeing the red headband and knife out in action again but what we actually got was far different. We get a weaker and more fragile Rambo who doesn’t resemble the original action hero who paved the way for generation of action men. I’ll continue to view Rambo as the definite ending to the franchise, Last Blood on the other hand is a cheap and predictable movie that bears no resemblance to the previous movies and in turn shows no emotion or character which is what made the other movies so great.

Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4: 6/10

*SPOILERS BELOW*

The Toy Story movies have been a success in both box office and merchandise. It paved the way for Pixar after the release of the first one back in 1995 and has captured the hearts and minds of many generations since its inception.

After the third Toy Story brought in over one billion dollars a the box office it was invertible that a fourth movie was on its way and it would be the first movie in a post Andy life for our beloved toys. It was going to take a lot to top the third movie which in opinion is the best movie in the series but nevertheless I was looking forward to seeing the fourth and letting my inner child out for one more time.

I took my five-year-old nephew to see it who has become a bit of a cinema addict these days seeing Far From Home with me a few days prior to us seeing Toy Story. I’ll start off by saying he loved it but these films are made for kid’s enjoyment so I would have been really surprised if he turned around as the credits were rolling and said it sucked.

I know I did.

I’m not sure what it was that I didn’t like about it but it certainly lacked the heart and character of the previous three movies. The plot of the movie see’s Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the toys go on a road trip with Bonnie, who has made a new toy Forky, and her parents. It’s more or less a rehash of the first movie where Forky, just like Buzz, initially believes he’s only a fork and not a toy which results in Woody, who is doing everything he can to make Bonnie happy, looking after the eating utensil as they try get back to their owner.

It doesn’t add anything to the previous three movies and I begin to question why we needed it to happen in the first place after the perfect ending in Toy Story 3.

Let’s talk about poor Mrs Potato Head as well; she literally has zero lines in the entire movie! I could not stop laughing every time she came on screen I was hoping she would say at least something but she remains very much in the dark on everything despite what’s going on throughout the story.

There is a few nice moments but no matter how many You’ve Got A Friend In Me’s you throw in there it isn’t going to reach the heights of the previous three movies.

Like the rest of the movies the story is mainly centred around Woody and whilst keeping up with Forky he encounters Bo Peep, one of Molly’s toys who was separated from the rest years before the third movie. She no longer has an owner and helps other lost toys find owners which of course gives Woody a choice to make by the film’s end.

It’s the end of an era for sure as we see Woody give up his leadership and leave the gang for good, staying with Bo Peep but I was left feeling underwhelmed as the credits rolled thinking “Is that the best they can come up with?”.

Overall, it’s not a good or bad movie, it’s just a movie that doesn’t serve any real purpose. We got the perfect ending with Toy Story 3 so why go and ruin that by then creating a new one that doesn’t live up to the height of the third? For kids it’s another fun film for them to watch but for us adults that have had these toys in their life for a long time, it’s uneventful.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home – 9/10

*SPOILERS BELOW*

Fresh off of breaking all kinds of records with Avengers Endgame, Marvel Studios swings back onto the big screen with their friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man in the MCU’s second solo Spidey movie.

Ever since making his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War the web crawler has featured in four movies with Far From Home becoming his fifth in just a small number of years.

The latest instalment in the franchise follows on from the events of Avengers Endgame and gives us some insight as to how Peter Parker is dealing with superhero life in a world without Iron Man. 

Not only that, Far From Home gives us something unique in that we see Spider-Man take his battles outside New York and more importantly outside America (travelling through space in infinity War doesn’t count). The location of the movie is set over four cities – Venice, Prague, Berlin and London with the final confrontation being set on Tower Bridge.

The sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man Homecoming see’s Peter Parker played by Tom Holland go on a school trip to Europe with his classmates where unfortunately for the newest Avenger they encounter Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who recruits Spider-Man to help Quentin Beck aka Mysterio played by Jake Gyllenhaal to defeat The Elementals.

The film continues the light hearted tone created in Homecoming and focusses on the relationship between Peter and MJ played by Zendaya. Far From Home creates the best Summer love story this year as our hero tries to execute his plan of telling the girl of his dreams how he feels about her. The pair’s chemistry on screen is one of the highlights of the movie and is best shown when they go a romantic stroll through the streets of Prague where MJ confesses that she already knows Peter is Spider-Man. 

The other main relationship that’s developed throughout the movie is Peter’s partnership with Quentin Beck who has arrived from another version of Earth to stop The Elementals. Let me say that the MCU Spider-Man series has hit the ball out of the park with it’s villains. First we have Vulture played by Michael Keaton who in my opinion is one of the best villains of the MCU so they set the bar quite high with the calibre of bad guys. When it was announced that Jake Gyllenhaal was to play Mysterio I was a little skeptical as I could think of a list of different actors that I would preferred to have taken on the role. However, Far From Home completely nails the character of Mysterio and the audience watch as the character goes from being the potential new Tony Stark in Peter’s life to having a plan for world domination. The best part about it is you like him even more once his villainy is revealed. There’s no surprise that the “good guy” act wouldn’t last as Mysterio is one of Spider-Man’s greatest antagonists, made famous for using his skills of manipulation and perception to wreak havoc. We get a more up to date version of the character in Far From Home, he’s a former employee of Tony Stark who becomes an emotionally devastating villain for Spider-Man and the audience.

Is Far From Home the best Spider-Man movie to date? I would say so. I saw it on open day with a few friends and went back two more times (once with my nephew and the other with a girl, the less said about that the better!) I enjoyed it that much. It has everything you want in a superhero movie – plenty of action, a smart story, a great villain and Samuel L. Jackson! It’s the perfect follow up to Avengers: Endgame and has potentially the best post credit scene in an MCU movie to date. As the credits roll we wonder what’s going to happen next as the whole world now knows Spider-Man’s true identity. It’s a great cliffhanger to leave us on and like with any Marvel movie you’re left wanting more. 

Shaft (2019)

Shaft – 9/10

Let me start off by saying that the announcement of a new Shaft movie completely took me by surprise. I came across the trailer a few months back and seeing that both Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree were returning was enough to get me excited.

The original Shaft movie came out in 1971 with Richard Roundtree playing the funky private detective John Shaft as he goes up against Harlem mobsters. It’s a classic movie made famous by it’s soul like music score by Isaac Hayes which includes a pretty spectacular main theme. Following the original was two sequels, Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft in Africa before it was partly remade in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson taking on the role of the cool lawman. Fans of the original were not disappointed as Roundtree even reprised his role and being the uncle of the new Shaft.

Now that we’re up to date with the history of Shaft, let’s start talking about how great the latest title is.

The tone of the movie is established right form the very start where we see Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) bust up some goons whilst the classic Shaft theme plays during the 5 minute sequence. It’s enough to get you hooked and gives us a glimpse of what’s to come.

Ok so now to talk about Shaft (you mean we haven’t already?), The bad mother f****r Samuel L. Jackson delivers another fine performance mixing funny with being badass and he steals every scene he’s in. He is the man that would risk his neck for his brother. Well in this instance he’s risking his neck for his son who happens to be an FBI agent. Let’s not ignore the new comer that is Jessie Usher who plays JJ aka John Shaft III. The chemistry he has with his onscreen father makes for some great one liners and some entertaining moments.

I’m not even interested in the plot, there’s something about drug lords and the young Shaft’s friend being set up and then killed but the plot isn’t what makes it a good movie. It’s a predictable story for sure but Shaft is a complicated man and no one understands him but his woman. Speaking of woman, Regina Hall plays Maya, Shaft’s ex wife and the mother of JJ. There are some funny moments which involve her and her former man including a scene where Shaft happens to be in the same place whilst his former wife is on a date with someone else.

Let’s talk about the action sequences this movie has. There is a lot of gun fights and chases crammed into the 111 minute runtime and not one will disappoint. One scene in particular see’s Shaft swerve in on his classic Camaro car and open fire on a group of thugs that have taken his son hostage, it’s so well done and tells you everything you need to know about the character of Shaft. He’s a cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about.

The final act of the movie re-introduces us to Richard Roundtree who helps both Shaft’s in their mission to kill the drug lords. When this film was announced they revealed that Richard Roundtree was reprising his role and he would be the father of Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft but for those who have seen the 2000 release we all remember that he was Shaft’s uncle. Don’t worry there’s a brilliant line which settles that.

Overall, if you haven’t seen the film then what are you waiting for? I wasn’t expecting anything special but it’s certainly up there with one of the best movies I have seen in recent years. From the action scenes, to the humour, to the soundtrack everything you want in a movie Shaft delivers. I enjoyed it so much that I went and watched the 2000 release which I’d never seen before and also thought that was a great watch. Shaft comes in as one of the best releases of 2019 as it brings out the class of the original movie and puts it into the modern age.

Avengers: Endgame


Avengers: Endgame – 10/10

*POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW*

“We’re in the endgame now” – Doctor Strange

The 22nd film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is being billed as the end of an era, the conclusion of a decade worth of storytelling. I was 10 years old when I seen Iron Man in the cinema back in 2008 and I didn’t think for one second the story would be reaching its end 11 years later.

Last year’s record breaking Avengers: Infinity War
brought all our heroes together to take on Thanos in his quest for the six Infinity Stones. Avengers: Endgame is a different type of superhero movie. Our heroes deal with the Infinity War fallout and it’s really about coming to terms with there biggest defeat. Endgame hits all the emotional levels and brilliantly captures that comic book magic. There is no other film experience like it in my opinion and it’s a perfect way to end the “Infinity Saga”.

One of best things is that Endgame is cut down half the characters from Infinity War, which featured a massive ensemble of heroes, everyone shares the spotlight in this one, even Hawkeye.

Speaking of Hawkeye, Endgame makes him more interesting than he’s ever been. We spend a significant portion getting to know him and what he’s going through, including a drastic personality change. He takes command of two of the film’s most emotional scenes, showing just how important his character arc has been since his introduction in the first Avengers.

Thor, again, lightens the mood. There’s a fun, unexpected change to his character that makes for great entertainment. That’s not to say his sole purpose is jokes although in my opinion they went a little over the top with the portrayal of the God of Thunder considering everything hes been through. 

Characters like Thor, Rocket and Bruce Banner/The Hulk make you laugh, but they can also generate some really powerful scenes, and each of the three do so throughout the 3 hours.

Then, of course, there’s Iron Man/Tony Stark and Captain America/Steve Rogers, who are the heart and soul of this franchise. The Iron Man movies remarkably kicked everything off over a decade ago, while the Captain America movies changed the game especially The Winter Solider which in my opinion is the best MCU movie to date.

How Iron Man and Captain America have evolved since their debut is truly a work of excellent character writing and acting. Civil War tore them apart, and in Endgame (as the trailer indicates), we see them together again. To see the duo exchanging words about trusting each other again and regaining their friendship is another massive part of the movie and both Robert Downey Jnr and Chris Evans’ performances are incredible. 

The biggest, well only criticism I had for Infinity War was the lack of screen time Captain America got despite being instrumental to the franchise so I’m glad he got a lot more time in this one and was back to being a main character.

The plot works wonderfully and it certainly builds to a climax that is bigger and bolder than anything Marvel has ever put on the big screen, even bigger than Infinity War. The emphasis is definitely more on character than spectacle here, but there are still plenty of great moments, including a finale that’s one for the ages.

I walked into the cinema with massive expectations but didn’t quite think I would see something as and if not more spectacular than Infinity War. Though I expected to be shown dazzling special effects and great sequences, I really didn’t see how any film could wrap up this decade-long series in a way that was so satisfying, while still giving us a reason to come back for more.

But Avengers: Endgame delivers on all levels and deserves all the accolades it’s receiving. While there have been a few stumbles across the 22 film series, there have also been more high points than low. Endgame brings the curtain down in superb fashion. It isn’t just as good as I was hoping it would be. It’s actually better than I could have imagined.

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