Film review: Wonder Woman

Okay, this is was a swings and roundabouts sort of a deal for me. They got a lot of stuff right, but I still think they have a way to go before they match the sheer awesomeness of Guardians of the Galaxy or The Age Of  Ultron.

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Okay, so what did they get right. Well, first off: Gal Gadot. This was a courageous and inspired piece of casting. I can imagine the punch-ups around the water cooler when someone suggested putting a near-unknown in the armoured corset, rather than someone with a more Johanssenesque quality.  Well, the gamble paid off; Gadot brings a sort of naive, willful determination to the role, which was a welcome relief from the square-jawed stoicism we saw in Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Film review: Ghost in the Shell

If you’re familiar with the Manga classic of the same name, then there’s not much in this film that is going to surprise you, and this is a good thing. It’s pretty much the same story: at some unspecified point in the future, humans enhancing themselves with cybernetic body parts has become the norm. The mysterious Hanka Corporation has taken the notion one step further: a completely artificial body piloted by a human brain.

Now, taking a classic piece of Manga fiction and turning it into a Westernised action flick is always going to be a “swings and roundabouts” proposition. The advantage is that you have a classic story to work with. The disadvantage is … that you have a classic story to work with. As long as you stick to the original plot and keep most of the classic set pieces from the original, then the fans will give your efforts a grudging approval at the very least, and thunderous applause if you’re very lucky (or very good). The problem is that something that is essentially a cartoon may not translate well into a live action movie. Ghost in the Shell gets away with it … just. They’ve changed enough of the sequence to make it worthwhile for the affeciandos to see it, but kept enough of the original to delight them. Not bad, not bad at all. Continue reading “Film review: Ghost in the Shell”

Iron Fist: So far, not so good…

Netflix continued its Marvel Comics love-fest with the release of Iron Fist this week. If you’re not familiar with the comic book – and by all accounts, not many people are – then it tells the story of one Daniel Rand who was lost in the Himalayas following a plane crash. He’s raised by warrior monks and returns to New York some fifteen years later to reclaim his legacy. Yes, he’s a secret billionaire … with no shoes.

It’s a story as old as time, but with a nice modern twist, or so we thought. The early showings have been mercilessly panned by critics who reckon it’s nowhere near as good as Netflix’s other Marvel collaborations: Daredevil (brilliant), Jessica Jones (not so superhero-y, but still brilliant), and Luke Cage (gritty and brilliant). There have also been lots of complaints of ‘white-washing’: why is a Kung-Fu master being played by a white guy? What, you couldn’t you find a Chinese actor who knows his way around the martial arts? This particular complaint you can pretty much ignore. Iron Fist has been around since the seventies. He started off white; he’s always been white. If he wasn’t white I’m not sure how they make the whole thing work. No, the real complaints are about the show itself.

Now, I’ve only watched the first two episodes, and I usually like to give it at least another one before I decide whether or not it’s a dud. I haven’t done that in this case because its predecessors were pretty damn good from day one, so I kinda expected the same from Iron Fist. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen so far, it’s not in the same league. Continue reading “Iron Fist: So far, not so good…”