30 April 2015

Agents of SHIELD S2E16 "Afterlife" review

After last weeks "One Door Closes" changed the entire status quo of the season as SHIELD was overrun by' 'real SHIELD', this weeks "Afterlife" has Skye waking up in a secret establishment for those with the potential to become Inhumans after being rescued by Gordon, while Hunter and Coulson are on the run from 'real SHIELD', hiding out in the cabin that Skye was previously kept in.

28 April 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron review

The run away success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would have been difficult to predict back when 2008's Iron Man was released. This is the franchise that single handedly proved that a cohesive cinematic universe could work, a franchise that has made billions at the box office while gathering rave reviews, and a franchise that has entered the pop culture consciousness in a big way - there aren't many people who won't recognise the individual members of The Avengers, which is bizarre and awesome at the same time.

Eleven films and three TV shows in, Avengers: Age of Ultron may be Marvel Studios' most eagerly awaited property to date. We follow The Avengers as they attempt to clean up the remaining Hydra bases left after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In doing so, they run into Baron von Strucker, a Hydra boss who has been experimenting on humans and has successfully used Loki's Sceptre to "enhance" the Maximoff twins, Pietro and Wanda, who manipulate Tony Stark into creating an artificial intelligence hell bent on destroying the Avengers called Ultron.

23 April 2015

Agents of SHIELD S2E15 "One Door Closes" review

Partly set during the day that SHIELD fell (i.e. during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and partly set in the present day, "One Door Closes" has Bobbi infiltrating Coulson's SHIELD in order to steal Fury's toolbox while we learn through flashback how and why the "real SHIELD" came to be. At the same time, Skye meets Gordon, the teleporting Inhuman, who offers her a chance to join a colony of other Inhumans.

17 April 2015

Agents of SHIELD S2E14 "Love in the Time of Hydra" review

We last saw ex-Agent Grant Ward in the mid-season finale of Agents of SHIELD, being helped to his feet by Agent 33, who was in a state of panic following the death of Daniel Whitehall. Their reintroduction to the season is the driving force behind "Love in the Time of Hydra", which has the two of them attempting to fix the mask that is burnt onto Agent 33's face, leaving her resembling a disfigured and scarred Agent May.

Since the start of season 2, which saw Ward transformed into a creepy, Hannibal Lecter like prisoner in SHIELDs basement, Ward has been one of the more captivating characters on the show, and his reappearance in this episode does nothing to stop that from being true. His relationship with Agent 33 downright unhealthy and he seems crazier than ever, despite his protests to the contrary.

15 April 2015

John Wick review

Action films are all about momentum. All the best action films, from classics like Die Hard to more modern films like Dredd rely on a strong sense of direction and a plot created by cause and effect in order to ensure that the audience is as wrapped up in the film as the characters are. There's a reason why action films set over a short period of time always seem to work best - it's because the film never loses that momentum.

John Wick is a film that understands that. We follow ex-hitman John Wick as he fights his way through various members of the underground world that he used to inhabit in order to kill a man who stole his car and killed his dog, the son of his previous employer. 

14 April 2015

Daredevil season one review

If The Dark Knight can be held responsible for anything, it's the sudden pop culture obsession with "grit" as short hand for maturity. Audiences have an in built belief that the more serious something is, the more worthy it must be, which after the success of The Dark Knight has resulted in multiple films and TV shows desperately reaching for grit as an easy way to fool audiences into thinking that their property is intelligent and important. Take Man of Steel, for example - the joyless tone and aesthetic combined with the faux-philosophical dialogue could easily trick you into thinking that it has something important to say, but ultimately Man of Steel is about as deep and meaningful as an episode of Britains Got Talent.

So when Marvel Studios announced that Daredevil would be "gritty", I was worried. Up until now, Marvel Studios had made a name for themselves by proving time after time that a film can be great in every way without relying on a particular aesthetic, and that family friendly doesn't have to mean childish.

After watching Daredevil, it's safe to say that my fears have been put to rest. Yes, Daredevil is significantly "grittier" than anything Marvel Studios has produced before now, but it is also one of the most well written comic book related pieces of entertainment that I've ever seen, one that certainly isn't using its aesthetic to mask (pun intended) deficiencies in other areas.

10 April 2015

Agents of SHIELD S2E13 "One of Us" review

"One of Us" pits Skye's father and various gifted individuals that he located using The Index against Coulson and Bobbi as he attempts to settle his vendetta with SHIELD. At the same time, Skye is introduced to Agent May's ex-husband, a psychologist who is trying to help her come to terms with her new powers, and Hunter is being held captive by Mac after he began to question exactly what Mac and Bobbi are up to behind everyone's backs.

The introduction of May's ex-husband to Agents of SHIELD is interesting, and provides "One of Us" with some small moments of humour that are much appreciated, but doesn't seem to really add any meat to the episode. Instead, it seems that this part of the episode is being used to introduce the character for later on, as his primary use here is to drop some pretty big hints at elements of May's back story that will no doubt be built upon in a later episode, and ultimately his recommendation on what to do with Skye after he has interviewed her is fairly obvious - its certainly the logical next step in Skye's story. 

8 April 2015

Furious 7 review

I'll put my hands up and admit this right now - I am one of the worst people that you could ask to review Furious 7. The film relies a lot on the back story created in previous Fast and Furious films, only one of which I've ever seen and none of which that I can remember, the result of this being that I don't have the pre-existing connection to the characters or the knowledge of previous events that anyone who has seen the previous six films will have. That being said...

Furious 7 sees ex-black ops British badass Deckard Shaw looking for revenge against Dom and his gang after they defeated his brother in London during the events of the last film. In order to stop Deckard from killing them all, they must retrieve a stolen spy program known as Gods Eye that will allow them to find Deckard and fight him on their own terms.

2 April 2015

Agents of SHIELD S2E12 "Who You Really Are" review

"Who You Really Are" marks the return of Lady Sif to Agents Of SHIELD after last seasons "Yes Men", who is suffering from some form of amnesia after a fight with a super-being. Naturally, it's up to Coulson and Co to help her regain her memory and defeat the person that she was fighting when she lost her memory in order to find out why she came back to Midgard in the first place.