There were high expectations from Marvel and director Joss Whedon following on from 2012 mega hit The Avengers. But would too much hype mean all my expectations will be crushed Hulk style?
Having grow tired and concerned over whether the Avengers can stop every battle coming their way Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr.) convinces Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to help create an A.I that will help defend Earth. Unfortunately his creation Ultron (voice by James Spader) decides the best way to save Earth is to destroy the Avengers and humanity. Teaming up with a pair of gifted twins (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) they plan to bring the Avengers down and the world to its knees.
While the film doesn’t reach the dizzy heights of the first Avengers movie it’s still a great summer blockbuster. Theres some nice character moments to develop members of the team like Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). While there isn’t as many Whedon-isms as I would like there are still some very funny one liners. There was a surprising amount of swearing in the movie and a lot of innuendos. There was some hilarious moments such as the Avengers trying to lift Thor’s hammer. I loved Chris Hemsworth’s worried expression as Captain America (Chris Evans) nudged the hammer. The film also had some nice emotional scenes such as the Avengers coping after having been given a massive beat down by Ultron and the twins. Ultron made for a good villain even if he isn’t as awesome as Loki. We also got plenty of drama as the Avengers came into conflict over Tony’s actions, building up some nice tension between iron Man and Captain America which shall continue into the next Captain America movie.
Not everything worked. The middle of the movie dragged a bit for me. I didn’t believe the romance between Banner and Black Widow. They have better chemistry as friends. I wasn’t completely sold on the twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch either. Quicksilver suffered from the fact that X Men: Days of Future Past did the character so much better. Scarlet Witch just felt a bit undeveloped but could be more interesting in future installments.
There are fears that Marvels run of movies will become stale, but while they continue to make enjoyable summer movies and have a great team of actors and directors, I think they still have a way to go before we start seeing a real dip in quality.
Rating 4/5 – not quite the smash that the first film was but still a great superhero movie
When I first heard that another Godzilla movie was being made my initial interest was zero. My interest piqued a little when I heard Gareth Edwards was going to directed it. I was impressed with Edwards first feature M0nsters and I was hopeful about what he could do with a huge budget to spend. Then when I saw the first trailer for Godzilla I was properly excited. Would this be the film to finally cast aside all thoughts of the 1998 Godzilla movie?
Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a soldier finally back home on leave to see his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and son. However his leave is disrupted by his father Joe (Bryan Cranston). Joe is convinced that the Japanese authorities are hiding the real reason for a catastrophe at the Janjira nuclear plant which killed his wife 15 years ago. Joe and Ford’s investigation leads towards something much bigger than they ever could have expected.
I have so many mixed feelings about this movie. I don’t know if I was being particularly thick during this movie but there were large periods I was getting very confused about what was going on. I also got really annoyed at the terrible dumb-ass decisions the army makes to solve their problems. Considering I didn’t understand half the time what was going on even if I knew they were making a bad move.
The film starts off exciting with the incident at the Janjira nuclear plant in 1999, and whenever the creature would come and cause destruction the movie was really enthralling. But there were plenty of scenes in between when I was just bored and wanted to get back to the action. There was also a point where a major character died and instead of feeling shocked it was more a case of “oh are they dead?”
The human characters also fell flat. Aaron Taylor-Johnson makes for likeable hero (even if he is saddled with a boring distant father-son back story with Cranston). But the rest make for dull characters. It’s a shame to have got such a great supporting cast and for them to be wasted like this. Elizabeth Olsen plays the devoted wife and mother and looks scared at lot. And that’s about it. Oh and she’s a nurse. Ken Watanabe is left sprouting lots of exposition and looking serious. Sally Hawkins bares even worse given hardly anything worthwhile to do.
Where this film excels in is its realisation of Godzilla. There’s so much build up, so much hype and when you see him it doesn’t disappoint. The team behind creating such a creature really must be applauded. He is breathtaking and seeing him fighting, and destroying cities is just brilliant to watch. However we didn’t see him nearly enough, the movie is called Godzilla yet sometimes he felt like a side character in his own movie.
Edwards seems to fare better when it comes to the creatures he has created for the screen but the human side and the story needs more work. However he’s showed us he can work well with the Hollywood big boys, on his next movie he needs to do like his title character and smash it.
Rating 3/5 -dull characters and story, however Godzilla is a perfectly realised creation
All the world’s a stage in Joe Wright’s big screen version of Anna Karenina-literally. Most of the action is set in and around a theatre. Scenes transform from bedrooms, to ballrooms to train stations and horse races as Russia is confined to a stage for us to view Anna’s story. Occasionally we enter the outside world with Levin’s farm or the fields where lovers Anna and Vronsky meet.
Anna is married to the respectable but cold Alexei (Jude Law) but on a visit to meet her brother (Matthew Macfaddyn) she meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and embark on an affair that will have tragic consequences.
Anna Karenina is visually stunning. The costumes are amazing especially Knightley’s dresses and ball gowns. But it’s not simply a matter of style over content. Far from distracting the visual aspect helps keep the audience engaged, especially as the film is two hours long. The setting adds to the theme that Anna’s world is like a stage, she is there to be scrutinised by society and her affair is like a form of theatre to be whispered about by its audience. There is a sense that all eyes are on her, judging her but unable to stop from looking at her as she falls further into her own form of self-destruction.
This is Joe Wright’s fourth film and it does share similarities to his earlier films. There is a ballroom scene between Vronsky and Anna where they suddenly become the only two people in the room which is similar to a scene in his Pride and Prejudice. The film also appears similar, at least in the beginning, to Moulin Rouge with its flash design and costumes but where Moulin Rouge moves along at breath neck pace with songs about all you need is love, Anna Karenina looks at the price of love and whether the all consuming desire is worth it.
There is good performances from all the cast. Kiera Knightley holds her own as the passionate, longing Anna and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a strong Count Vronsky, the younger man who pursues Anna and then has to deal with the consequences of their affair. The best of them is Jude Law who plays Anna’s long suffering husband Alexei. He is a much more sympathetic character then Anna; it’s easy to emphasis with his suffering of trying to deal with a wife that everyone is talking about and who admits to his face that she does not love him.
It’s not easy to decide whether Anna is deserving of our sympathy. Of course it’s not right how society treats Anna for her affair (especially in comparison to her cheating brother) but it’s hard to root for a character that destroys everything because of the passionate love she feels for Verosky. Despite this she is a compelling character to watch even if she’s not always likeable.
As the curtain falls on Anna Karenina it’s will be the theatre setting, costumes and Jude Law which stands out in the audience minds