Film Review: Aquaman (2018)

If you like fantasy, then this is the most fantastical film you will see this year. A sweeping statement to make in only the second month of the year, but as this was released at the end of last year we’re just going to go with it. Visually, I don’t think I have seen a better film. It’s vibrant, exciting, it will have your eyes darting around the screen looking at water droplets like they’re a new type of rare diamond you’ve never seen before. I give this a well deserved 10 out of 10 for it’s visual effects. It’s absolutely brilliant.

The film begins with a quick run through of how Arthur’s (Aquaman) parents met. Washed up mermaid looking being on the shore, man in a lighthouse, a rescue scene plus a whole lot of falling in love. Having fled an arranged marriage in Atlantis, Atlanna is rescued by Arthur’s dad and ends up staying with him in the lighthouse for a number of years. Until one day, her people come back for her and demand her to come home. She defeats them all but realises that she has to return. Promising that one day, she will return to the end of the pier at sunrise, she dives back into the ocean never to be seen again. 
It’s a dramatic start to the film and not one that I entirely believed. But that’s the point of fantasy, it’s unbelievable. Plus, considering they give birth to something as beautiful as Jason Momoa you can’t really complain, can you? I really didn’t think it was possible for me to find him attractive. He couldn’t be less my type if he tried. Yet somehow, I have been converted and I join the rest of the female population in fantasising over his beautifully tanned skin, huge muscles and long hair. Life is surprising kids, never say never. 
Arthur’s relationship with his dad is really sweet and I think it’s something I would have liked to see more of. Apart from them glugging pints together at the local and taking pictures with fans who have heard about the aquaman on the news, there isn’t much we get to see of him. His dad remains detached from the world of Atlantis and logically this makes sense, because he is human. There’s no way he would be able to survive underwater and the majority of the film and it’s action inevitably takes place here. It’s just a shame because being human has never really stopped anyone from getting involved in all this superhero madness before. I’d like to see more of him in any upcoming films. We can’t forget that he is half the reason Aquaman exists in the first place. 
In terms of plot, there was just too much going on. First we have this origin story. Then we have some captured sailors that need rescuing, so Aquaman dives in (pun intended) and rescues them. During which, he manages to piss off Black Manta (the main captor of the sailors) by injuring his father and leaving him in the submarine to die. This results in a grudge and Black Manta becomes this senseless being that exists only to find Aquaman and avenge his father’s death. Boring, can you just get over it please? Honestly. You signed up for this hun. Then we find out that Black Manta is working with Orm, Arthur’s half brother from Atlantis. But it just doesn’t make sense because where did these two even meet each other? I hate when you just have to shrug about plot lines and move on. I need answers. How did this human meet all of these Atlanteans and impress them enough to start working for them? 
The whole Black Manta story is kind of just a sub-plot though, because the real issue is that Orm is causing a war in dividing the Atleanteas from the surface world. There’s nothing original about this. It’s how all superhero movies go and then some good superhero comes in wanting to save humanity. What gives this plot a unique edge is the mention of how humanity pollutes the seas. This is very current. There is so much talk these days about how we are ruining our world’s oceans and this is something that a lot of people are invested in or are beginning to engage with. This makes the plot interesting. It connects the audience with the fantasy world. The only problem is that it remains a mention. It’s not developed any more than that, which is such a shame. 
More sub-plots to add to the mix of stories whirling together. Mera is engaged to Orm but is busy falling in love with Aquaman. Is Atlanna dead? Orm refuses to stop his quest for a war unless Aquaman defeats him in a battle in the ring of fire, so we have the whole feuding brothers plot as usual. Back on surface level, humans are beginning to whisper more and more about the possibility of Atlantis existing. I think, given the proper writing and opportunity to develop, these are all very interesting plot lines. They just didn’t all need to be included in one film. Sometimes it’s fine to focus in on one plot and let that develop. The rest can come later. 
Black Manta – is he human? He manages to get up from several very violent attacks, which is both annoying and confusing. If something smacks you in the head, you should be concussed and knocked clean out. But no, Black Manta just keeps on going relentlessly. This has got to be down to more than just human adrenaline. There’s also a scene in Italy where a random civilian is stuck underneath some kind of broken building. Aquaman lifts it up and the man stands up and walks away with his kids like nothing ever happened. That’s so unrealistic. I hate to be picky but it was very noticeable. His limbs were crushed, he shouldn’t have been walking. 
Nevertheless, the fight scenes are really good. Accompanied by a good score, they really do get you going. You feel invested, excited, you want to see more. And then you do see more. And more. And more again. Oh no. You’ve now forgotten why people are fighting and so you’re no longer emotionally invested in anybody’s life and you therefore don’t care who wins or loses. Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that this is what we watch superhero films for. We want to see exaggerated fight scenes and we want lots of them. But I also want there to be something at stake when I’m watching them. Although I am completely aware that not everyone will feel this way.
The plot takes Aquaman and his love interest Mera on this whole roundabout goose chase all over the world for the trident that possesses all the power to command the seas. They’re in America, then Atlantis, then in the Saharan dessert, then Italy, then somewhere in the Indian Ocean and then back to Atlantis again. There’s just so much going on and I think the plot was unnecessarily dragged out. Condensed, it would have made for a much more enjoyable watch. I was bored by the point when Aquaman had to go and face the monster in The Hidden Sea to get the trident. Yet, this was probably the most important quest in the film. I should have been on the edge of my seat in anticipation. Instead I was thinking, another fight scene really?
And then there was another fight scene! The big fight scene wasn’t even that impressive. I just realised that there were a lot of things getting blown up underwater. It’s somewhat difficult to have a fight scene underwater because your movement is restricted to drifting; and on the whole, watching people drift about is really not that exciting. The best fight scenes were the ones above water, which is why I’m not totally convinced by this whole Atlantis setting. As I say it looked beautiful. Aesthetically, it was very captivating. But when you compare it to somewhere like Wakanda in Black Panther, you sort of wonder what the point of Atlantis is. I couldn’t see anything interesting going on, it was just pretty. Nice to swim about in. And I hate to have to say it, but the whole bridge you enter Atlantis through? Yeah it’s basically another version of the Azgardian Bi-frost. 
On the whole, I really enjoyed the film. When I watch a superhero film, I want to be in awe of what I’m seeing and I definitely was throughout. I just wish that the plot had been a little more refined. There was so much going on that it seemed as if this film could have been split in to two or even three parts. And even still, the storyline wasn’t that interesting. I’m hoping that in the consequent films, I get to feel more of a connection to the characters and their quests. DC have some of the most interesting characters out there, definitely more interesting than Marvel in my opinion; and so, I would like to see them making their plots more complex. Putting more at stake than just the usual superhero problems, developing their characters and thinking outside the box. 

Marvel’s Venom Review

Marvel’s Venom isn’t the best they’ve ever created – but it’s good fun, with an enjoyable storyline and Deadpool-esque scenes that are sure to make you at least giggle.
Venom follows the story of a mad doctor, Drake, who is trying to merge humans with symbiotes that he found somewhere in space. When one of his space crafts crashes, one of the symbiotes gets lost in Asia and begins its process of jumping from human host to human host and causing mass chaos. Meanwhile, back in America, Drake is testing his remaining symbiotes on the least privileged members of the population to see how a relationship can form between human and symbiote. 
This is the relationship that gives us Venom. Reporter Eddie, who is to become Venom’s human host, ventures into Drake’s testing facility under the lead of one of his workers, who is outraged at the fact that he’s testing on humans. She wants Eddie to run a report on this and expose Drake for the maniac he truly is. It is as he’s venturing in to the lab that Venom jumps from one of Drake’s hosts into Eddie and the two begin a tumultuous relationship for the rest of the film. 
Here’s the thing, I like the premise. The whole symbiote idea is pretty interesting and there are a lot of humorous ways in which the director makes it work. I did struggle at first however. I mean it’s just a bit samey. The whole mad scientist trying to improve a population of humans so that we become accelerated, skilled and dangerous beings has been battered to death in pretty much every fantasy film or novel ever. I was expecting something more complex to get my head around and I was disappointed when I realised that there was nothing complex about this. 
Reading a review written by Rolling Stone, the symbiote has been described as “a slithering mass of defanged, digitalised slop”, which is a fairly accurate description of what it is. It sort of looks like something you’d give a child to play with in nursery – only there’s more of it, it talks and it’s supposed to be deadly. I know this sounds stupid but bare with me here, it gets better. 
Again from Rolling Stone, the film is described as a “puddle of simplistic, sanitised PG-13 drivel that Marvel has released instead of the scary, dark-night-of-the-soul thunderbolt fans had the right to expect.” I mean, I think this is very harsh. It’s simplistic but it’s not PG-13 drivel and I can’t speak on behalf of the die hard Marvel fans out there, but it definitely didn’t disappoint me visually in terms of what I was expecting. I loved the transition between Eddie and Venom. It had a sort of Jekyll and Hyde aesthetic to it and that’s one of my favourite novels to have ever been written. Going off the point slightly here but if you haven’t read it you simply must. 
Yet again, this has been criticised. The Verge claim that this constant battle between Eddie and Venom “makes Eddie a ride-along passenger in his own chase scene”. But he sort of has to be doesn’t he? This is a direct criticism of one of the first fight scenes there is, where we see Venom using Eddie as its host. So I would argue that he has to be a passenger in this scene. Eddie hasn’t learned anything about Venom yet, he barely knows what’s inside him and most importantly, in this scene, he is being overpowered. That’s the point – for us to see Venom in full smash mode because Eddie wasn’t just going to willingly sit back and let him destroy everything was he now?
The Guardian describe Venom’s fighting as “clumsy, monolithic and fantastically boring superhero movie-slash-entertainment-franchise-iteration”.  Let’s take this word by word, shall we? Clumsy, yes. It’s clumsy because of everything I’ve just explained – their relationship isn’t yet fully symbiotic, not in any fight scene in the film. The whole film seemed to me to be a journey to symbiosis. Duh? Monolithic? I don’t know what context they mean this in. If we’re talking about Venom then yes, I suppose he is monolithic. Why is that a bad thing? We need more big, indivisible guys. We can’t only have The Hulk. Sadly this film is separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the whole time I was watching Venom I was wishing I could see a fight scene between Venom and Thanos. Fantastically boring suggests to me that whoever wrote this review secretly enjoyed it and was told to criticise it. And finally, I do agree that it strikes up a repetition of superhero and entertainment scenes but then it’s doing exactly what’s advertised on the tin, no? So if you know you don’t like that then why did you watch?!
I personally really enjoyed the fight scenes. Fantastical action is really the only kind of action I can stomach watching. Gun violence, physical human assault, huge explosions are just not for me. I don’t like it. Stuff like this where there are superhero villains and smash fighting, I’m really all there for. There’s so much more you can do with this. Although I would have liked to see more scope with the fighting, I was pleased with the sequences I did see. Throwing multiple daggers, winding itself around human bodies. The only thing I didn’t like was the whole biting of people’s heads off. So amateur. 
In all honesty, there are minor issues with the storyline. The main symbiote, Riot, getting out isn’t even a problem really until it gets in to Drake. But before this, all we’d see is Drake striding around his lab demanding that somebody find out where it is. It’s freely wreaking havoc in Asia and nobody really cares until it gets to the US and finds Drake. Rolling Stones note that “since this movie takes all the terror out of those implications, Ahmed never looks more than mildly annoyed.” If this was The Avengers for example, the whole squad would have been over there capturing and imprisoning the symbiote. I know that Drake wanted the symbiotes to merge with humans, but at this point he hadn’t even began human testing yet. There needed to be more at stake. We needed everything on a larger scale, which is what I expect from a Marvel movie anyway. I feel that it just didn’t quite work as well being on such a personal level. 
Then again, rightly said by Rolling Stone mag, Drake is simply “a billionaire entrepreneur who’s obsessed with melding aliens and humans”. Nothing more, nothing less. And once you see the symbiotes at work you realise that apart from their appearance, which is horrifyingly gruesome in my opinion, they aren’t really that scary. I mean, Venom is constantly mocking Eddie and his repeated grumbles for food are pretty amusing. But this is where the film starts to exist in Deadpool’s shadow. A sort of watered down, try-hard, slightly humorous but not quite Deadpool. You’ve got Venom saying that he’s a bit of a loser on his planet, which makes you laugh. Then he likens his loser status to Eddie’s loser status here on earth which makes you laugh too. You’ve also got him trying to bring Eddie and Anne back together all throughout the movie. Even saying that “we” will get Anne back, not just Eddie!
Deadpool works because it’s so explicitly funny and because Wade is such a likeable character. For starters, I hate Eddie’s character. He’s repulsive to look at even in human form, let alone as his symbiote counterpart Venom. Unlike Wade and Vanessa, I just don’t buy Eddie and Anne’s relationship. I think the actors lacked chemistry and their acting was unconvincing. I also don’t think Eddie has much motivation for logging in to Anne’s laptop and looking through her case notes to find out about the Life Foundation. Even if he was that desperate as a reporter, he’s supposed to love this woman. That’s a massive breach of trust and it results in her losing her job and splitting up with him. Rightly so, but I didn’t even find myself feeling sorry for either of them about the break up. 
So there are no implications of the symbiotes really. None at all. Once they merge with a human host, if they can form a positive relationship like Eddie and Venom sort of do at the end of the film, then they aren’t a threat. So they’re not very interesting. Which is why the film’s ending leans toward bringing in a new comic book villain, Carnage. Who I really know nothing about, so can’t really speak on. But I think it does show that the film, as it is, didn’t really leave anywhere for a part two to go without a completely new and separate villain to amp up the pressure.  
Despite these criticisms, I really did enjoy the film. I thought it was a lot of fun, amusing and had a good amount of action to keep you engaged. It’s not really a serious Marvel movie, but if you’re looking for some good, wholesome entertainment, then this is a good go-to!

Avengers Infinity War: A Breakdown

So Infinity War has been out for over a week now, which means that Thanos demanding my silence can be broken, right? Because I’ve been silent for far too long already now and Thanos has caused a hell of a lot of drama to still be out here making demands. Just saying. If you’ve watched it, you’re either crying, frozen in shock or somehow managing to do both at the same time. Have you booked in for a therapy session yet? If not, I recommend you do so asap, as this movie did not come to play.


I’ve seen it twice. The first time I saw it I was horrified, pained, ruined. The second time I saw it I was all of the above but I tried to hold myself together a little more. This is not to say that I wasn’t sat next to my sister sobbing as pretty much everybody started disappearing. Let’s not beat around the bush here, I personally recorded 14 deaths in this film.

  1. Loki
  2. Heimdall
  3. Gamora
  4. Bucky
  5. Vision
  6. Wanda
  7. Groot
  8. Spider-Man
  9. Drax
  10. Mantis
  11. Doctor Strange
  12. Black Panther
  13. Falcon
  14. Star Lord
Loki is dead guys. Loki, my favourite character in the whole MCU, died within the first 10 minutes. The one thing I was hoping didn’t happen. Thanos picked him up, strangled him to death and then said “No resurrections this time.” Ha, good one right? He must be joking. He has got to be joking because I refuse to believe that this is the end of Loki. He can shapeshift and clone himself so that you think you’re talking to the real him, but really it’s just another projection of himself. So please, I know it doesn’t seem possible right now as we literally saw his body being strangled to death, but I am just hoping that he used some kind of power to trick Thanos into thinking he had killed him. He’s the God of Mischief he has to have done something. I just hope.
Then Heimdall was stabbed, meaning that after losing Asgard in Thor Ragnarok, Thor is now left with nothing. Poor Thor, guess he’s got to join the long list of people who have suffered repeated loss throughout the MCU. Oh, but he doesn’t die before he sends Hulk through the bifrost to New York, where he shows up in Strange’s quarters. Stark is then summoned by Strange whilst on a run in the park with Pepper. All three of them are then together talking about Thanos when they notice that Ebony Maw has arrived to take the time stone and they have to fight him. Spider-Man, on a school bus, sees the huge doughnut shaped ship thing moving throughout the city, gets Ned to create a distraction and then jumps through the window of the school bus and shows up to help too.
Later on in the film, we see Thanos taking Gamora with him after Star Lord failed to kill her as she had requested. She specifically told Peter that because there’s something she knows that Thanos doesn’t, if he ever got her, Peter would have to kill her to stop him from finding out. Only he couldn’t do it, which is understandable considering he loves her and is a very nice person on the whole. However, it meant that Thanos took her. By showing Gamora one of Nebula’s memories (who he had been torturing in order to use her as ransom in exchange for Gamora’s knowledge) Thanos revealed that he knew Gamora knew where the soul stone was. It was in Vormir, guarded by Red Skull who explained that if Thanos wanted the stone, he would have to trade the soul of someone he loved for it.
Obviously he traded Gamora, by very violently flinging her off the cliff wall. I have absolutely no idea how this even worked. Thanos loves no one. Gamora said it herself in case it wasn’t abundantly clear. Yet somehow, in sacrificing her, he was able to obtain the soul stone and put it on his gauntlet. 
So by this point in the film, Thanos had collected:
  • Power Stone (the orb) – last seen when it was handed over to the Nova Corps in Xander in Guardians of the Galaxy, we find out at the beginning of Infinity War that Thanos destroyed Xander and took it
  • Space Stone (the tesseract) – obtained from Loki, who handed it over to him before he died in order to save Thor’s life
  • Reality Stone (the aether) – taken from The Collecter in Knowhere right before Thanos seizes Gamora 
  • Soul Stone (in Vormir) – traded Gamora’s life for it
He only has two more stones to go. But we think we don’t have to worry too much because Star Lord, Drax, Mantis and Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Iron Man have all found each other in Titan and come up with a great plan to weaken Thanos and pull the Infinity Gauntlet off his arm. I have to say that I think this is one of the best scenes in the movie. It had me on the edge of my seat both times. Everybody was working together to subdue Thanos and get this gauntlet off. You’ve got Mantis working her little mind tricks, Spider-Man spinning his webs round and round to pin Thanos to the ground, Strange opening up portals here and there to allow everyone and himself to zip around and disorient Thanos and Star Lord, Drax and Iron Man all attacking him. Oh and Nebula is in the scene, which I almost forgot. 
It’s only when Mantis, whilst reading his emotions, tells everyone that he is mourning. Nebula puts two and two together and figures out that he has killed Gamora. Meanwhile, Star Lord is suddenly filling with rage. But Spider-Man and Iron Man almost have the gauntlet off. In fact, Spider-Man basically had it off!!!! Thanos’s fingers were free of the gauntlet, one more second and it would have been theirs. But then Star Lord blew, punched Thanos in the face which knocked him out of the trance Mantis had put him in. And boom, he had the gauntlet back on and then he was stabbing Iron Man. 
This is the moment where I drew in the sharpest intake of air, leaned forward in my seat and froze. Blood pouring out of Stark’s mouth. This couldn’t be. Now let’s not forget that just before this whole fight scene erupted, Strange had seen 14 million outcomes for the war and told us that there was only a single outcome in which we won. So what he does next, possibly the most shocking moment of the film, has to make sense. There’s no way it can’t.
Strange gives up the time stone in exchange for Stark’s life. Everybody in the scene looks shocked as he hands over the real stone guys. This is not an illusion. He hands over the real time stone. Once Thanos is gone, Stark asks him why and he says something like it had to be this way. Which we just have to trust, because he’s seen 14 million outcomes. 
Now I did think to myself that if he had seen all of these outcomes and known that the only way to win involved surrendering the time stone to Thanos, then why did he even bother letting them all fight him. But we’re working with time here. For that outcome to come to fruition, everything needs to fall exactly in its place. Which means that we have to trust that all of those events, even Star Lord becoming overcome with grief and vengeance and punching Thanos in that last moment before the gauntlet was off (grr!), had to happen in order for this all to work. 
So we approach the final scenes of the film and Thanos now has 5/6 of the infinity stones. Captain America, Black Widow, Vision, Wanda, Bucky, Black Panther, Shuri, the Dora Milaje and the Jabari have all come together to fight on Wakanda against Thanos’s army the Black Order. Also, Thor has arrived back from Nidavellir after taking on the full force of a freaking star to help Eitri forge him a new hammer. Hammer acquired, he shows up in Wakanda with Groot and Rocket to help fight in the war. Oh and Bruce is in his hulk buster gear because the real Hulk won’t come out the whole movie due to being terrified of Thanos – ridiculous. 
Proxima Midnight and Ebony Maw are the two most prominent figures of the Black Order, although they both die. Ebony Maw is flung to his death earlier in the film and Proxima is killed by girl squad Black Widow, Okoye and Wanda who uses her powers to blast her while she’s in the air coming for Black Widow.
During this battle, Shuri is with Vision trying to extract the mind stone and basically isolate it from the rest of him so that they can destroy it without having to destroy him too. She is working up there for some time guys and we can clearly see her doing something – this is important. Nevertheless, the Black Order finds them and launches an attack upstairs in Shuri’s little work quarters. Which means that Wanda and Vision have to go and join the fight. Everything gets a bit messy, everybody is separated, Wanda kills Proxima and then finally finds Vision.
This is where it all gets even more upsetting. Vision tells Wanda that she has to destroy the stone now, as Thanos is coming. He felt it. Bearing in mind that Shuri has not been successful in fully isolating the stone from him, so destroying it will still mean destroying him. Wanda doesn’t want to do it but she knows that she has to and mirroring her lines to him earlier on in the film, he assures her “I only feel you.” I am already sobbing at this point FYI. She begins to work on destroying the stone. Meanwhile, Thanos has arrived and is being attacked by the avengers.
Only not really, as he quite effortlessly uses the gauntlet to fling each of them aside in turn – Captain America, Black Panther, Bucky, Thor, Black Widow, some others I can’t remember now. He then gets to Wanda, who uses her full strength to ward him off with one hand and continue destroying the stone with the other. She is amazing to be able to hold him off and do that at the same time if you think about it. She is successful in destroying the stone, which we know because it’s shattering pieces reverberate throughout Wakanda.
So, Thanos is already way more powerful than any other being in the universe because he is harnessing the power of 5 infinity stones. Wanda has destroyed the sixth, well done to her. She’s crying, he then very patronisingly cradles her head and tells her he understands her pain. And after allowing her to destroy the stone, kill the man (or artificial intelligence really) that she loves and completely exhaust her powers, Thanos just uses the time stone to reverse time, bring Vision back to life and take the mind stone for himself. Of course, this kills Vision again.
Thanos has now obtained the final two stones:
  • Time Stone (eye of Agamotto) – surrendered by Strange in Titan in exchange for Stark’s life
  • Mind Stone (Chitauri sceptre/Vision) – taken in Wakanda when Thanos used the time stone to reverse Wanda destroying it
A very angry Thor then strikes Thanos in the chest with Stormbreaker (his new hammer) which remains wedged there. Thanos staggers, Thor patronisingly strokes his head now which I love and think is quite key. Mirroring his actions seems to sort of set him up as one of the only ones with the potential to defeat him. However, Thanos tells him he should have gone for his hand, snaps his fingers and suddenly everything begins to change.
Nobody can tell what’s going on until a few moments later. Thor bellows at Thanos asking him what he’s done, but all becomes clear when Bucky whispers “Steve,” and begins to disintegrate into tiny particles of himself and drift away. Heartbroken. Bucky is my second favourite character, has been through so much in life and barely had any chance to enjoy it and now this. It’s just not fair.
Then all of the other people listed in my deaths list above start to go. The worst one of them all being Spider-Man, who genuinely broke my heart. Staggering towards Stark in panic he says “Mr Stark, what’s happening? I don’t know what’s happening. Mr Stark! I don’t want to go! Please Mr Stark, I don’t want to go!” or something along those lines, as he falls into Stark’s arms and then disappears too.  

And Black Panther, who comes over to pick Okoye up from the ground, telling her that she will not die here. But then disintegrates himself before he can even help her. 
It’s all just too much to re-live. 
In the closing shot, we have Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor and Iron Man as far as I can remember. In the post-credits scene, we also lose Maria Hill and Nick Fury. But not before Fury is able to send a message, some sort of code red, to Captain Marvel. This is the symbol we see on the screen at the end. 
The Captain Marvel film is due to be released in March 2019, just one month before the sequel to Infinity War is set to be released. She will be played by Brie Larson and Kevin Feige has said that she will be the most powerful character to ever be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

So after all of this, what are my thoughts?
  • Loki can’t be dead
  • Thanos should not have been able to obtain the Soul stone because he does not love Gamora
  • Nebula has always wanted to kill Thanos, even more now that he has killed Gamora
  • Vision must be able to come back somehow. Shuri did not fully isolate the mind stone from him, but she must have successfully isolated some parts of him from it, which means that some parts of him can come back in some way
  • Iron Man is going to be integral to defeating Thanos otherwise Strange would not have saved him
  • They are going to need Thor to defeat Thanos, he demonstrated his strength when he used his hammer and wounded him
  • Wanda has to come back as she was strong enough to hold Thanos off and destroy an infinity stone at the same time
  • Eitri created the infinity gauntlet – is there something he can do to help destroy it?
  • After being overpowered by Thanos in the opening fight scene, Hulk refusing to come out the whole movie is very strange and needs to be explored and explained! He isn’t the first to ever be defeated in a fight by him, so why is he so scared?
  • We’re going to have to rely on Captain Marvel helping to sort out all of this mess, which I sort of don’t like as we know nothing about her really 
There are pain-staking deaths all over the place in this film, so if you were ever worried about losing your favourite characters, then this is not the film for you. People you don’t want to die, die and then even more people die afterwards at a very alarming rate. It never ends.

I never used to think that comic books, superheroes and all of this stuff would be my thing. I liked watching the films but I never really properly followed the storylines. Now? All I can say is that I can’t wait for the next films to come out because I can’t bloody get enough!

Black Panther – An Afrocentric Phenomenon

The film of a lifetime, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther brings everything you’ve been waiting to see in a superhero film explosively to the screen at once. Its cast of incredible black actors and actresses (Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira) celebrates the representation we have been craving to see on the big screen for years. And this is what’s key. It’s not just about representing the masses, it’s about celebrating us in our natural light and bringing our differences to the forefront, instead of sprinkling us in here and there to fill a quota of “diversity”.

There is no doubt that Black Panther‘s incredible box office sales are hugely due to the race of its cast and behind the scenes crew. Much anticipated, it completely smashed box office sales in making $282 million in its opening. It also currently sits at $704 million. Its opening sales are now the biggest of any Marvel movie ever and the biggest for any black director ever.
The film roots itself unapologetically in the incredible nation of Wakanda, as opposed to the American settings we are so used to seeing. Nestled in Africa, Wakanda is the richest and most technologically advanced nation in the entire world. Rich in colour, with its vibrant greens and paradise blue skies, along with the vibrancy of its people’s traditional dress, it’s a real fantasy in every single scene. Everybody speaks Xhosa, the Dora Milaje all fight with spears, the head pieces and accessories, the array of skin tones, the natural hairstyles. The costumes worn are absolutely beautiful, particularly those of the Dora Milaje who are just my favourite people ever. The dancing, the ceremonies and rituals and the music really just excite something in you as you watch. If you were bored of Hollywood being Eurocentric, then that’s definitely not something you’ll have to worry about with this film, as it saturates itself with some of the most impressive parts of black history and culture.
Yet, at the same time as spotlighting the traditional, the nation refuses to limit itself. Its futuristic and technological character works alongside the richness of heritage that we see throughout. Huge high-rise buildings, zooming trains and other hovering and flying modes of transportation, weapons more advanced than anywhere else in the world. Everything rolled into one is what makes it such a desirable and Eden-like setting. The idea is certainly not just to open narrow eyes and say hey, this is what Africa could have been if their resources weren’t stolen. I think it’s even more so to shed light on the fact that this is a whole nation of strong, empowered and intelligent people too. It’s not just about what they had and what they lost, it’s about who they actually are.
One of the main things I respect about this film is the emphasis it places on character identity. All of them have their own distinctions, their own ambitions, their own plans for how they are going to execute their goals. The Dora Milaje for example are a hugely inspiring group of women who fight alongside T’Challa as his protectors. These are women holding their own, being portrayed as fierce not just physically but mentally too and powerful in their own right. In an iconic moment towards the end of the final battle, we see W’Kabi kneel down to Okoye in respect. The women in this film are so strong. We see it also in Nakia, who refuses to come home to Wakanda with T’Challa because she wants to aid and assist the rest of her people outside their hidden nation. Then there’s Shuri, whose skill and intelligence is behind pretty much all of the impressive technology we see in the film. There is just a real sense of solidarity throughout. Women are respected, men are respected, elders are respected. In an interview I watched, Lupita was questioned about the significance of women fighting not just for themselves, but also for men in the film. Really, this shouldn’t be surprising as feminism in particular is not about women rising above men, but simply being seen as their equals.  
Pretty much everybody in the film is fighting because they have a love for their people. Even in the film’s true villain Killmonger, there is little sense of exclusion. What Killmonger wants is essentially what Nakia pronounced she wanted from the film’s opening scene. They both want Wakanda to use its standing and resources to help the rest of their people outside its walls. The difference lies in the motives behind each of them. Whilst Nakia has a genuine empathy for those suffering, Killmonger is driven by his hatred of what white people did to his ancestors in the past. As with most villains in any narrative you write, Killmoger wants world domination for his people and he wants to achieve it through violence.  Killmonger’s desire to empower through violence and overthrow is both bitterly destructive and admirable at the same time. I read a review that likened the Killmonger and T’Challa dispute to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Really, both sides want the same thing, there is just huge disparity between their ideas on the right way to achieve that harmony.

And how refreshing it was to see a film where there wasn’t just space for one or two prominent black figures. There was space for everybody and copious amounts of it too. I think that with the way things are today, many black people have just become used to settling for that handful of faces like ours that we see in mainstream media. But to have so many faces that you can identify with, not just at the forefront of one film but truly brought into the spotlight internationally and as part of such a massively successful franchise like Marvel is tremendous. Just something as small as seeing an abundance of deep skin tones and natural hair is honestly a huge breath of fresh air. We’re starting to see more of our people represented naturally in the media. It’s something that still needs a lot of work in terms of how we are portrayed, particularly in terms of hair and make-up for me. I’m starting to see a lot of natural hair, but it’s always shown in one way – either out in an afro or out in natural curls. This is great don’t get me wrong, but we now need to steer away from the idea that the natural black woman only has one look. There are actual hairstyles that you can do with natural hair, just like with European hair or Asian hair and this is something I was so proud to see in Black Panther. There’s such a variety of incredible things about black people that they glorify.

As with many Marvel films, there is of course, that one powerful substance that everybody wants – Vibranium. It’s what the Wakandans have built their whole nation on. It fuels their city, it’s developed their weapons, it’s what Black Panther’s suit is made out of. His suit is seriously impressive too, with great features like being able to absorb impact, store the kinetic energy from it and then release it again. Our story begins when T’Challa’s father confronts his brother about having helped Klaue to steal large amounts of Vibranium from Wakanda. This is the kind of storyline you expect and it is satisfying.   

I think what makes this film’s narrative really successful is the way that it then steers you away from the satisfying and the obvious. It’s clearly not just about ticking boxes of what to include. We start out thinking that this is a story about the white man stealing from the black people and for a while you’re just sort of complacent with that. But when Klaue is removed from the picture pretty early on into the film and you realise that the battle is not all about Klaue vs the Wakandans, you can take a deep breath and feel relieved. I really didn’t want this to be a film about black vs white at all. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with that, but it’s not the take I was craving for either. As I said earlier, it’s about collectivism, identity and fighting for what is actually right. Which is why the tensions were so high in this film. Having Killmonger as the real villain meant that for once, the motives behind the friction were rooted in my history. It’s usually very easy to decide who you stand with in superhero films as the villain is very clearly the villain. Yet, neither Killmonger or T’Challa were inherently wrong in this film. As I’ve said before, both sides did want the same thing. They were, at once, different and the same.
Black Panther‘s engagement with history adds a dimension that sets it apart from the rest of the Marvel films I have watched. The recognition of those horrifying events in black history really adds emotional weight to the narrative as well as a commendably executed humorous layer too! With all the little quips here and there, such as Shuri calling Ross a “coloniser” and making a comment about how he’s another white boy she has to fix were hilarious. But most poignant for me was when, after the final defeat, Killmonger said “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships because they knew death was better than bondage.” That really got me. 
I absolutely loved this film, I thought it was truly phenomenal. I really have nothing to fault it on and I just honestly feel so proud. If you want to see some interesting behind the scenes footage of some of the scenes in the film then you can watch here

Insidious: The Last Key Review

When I saw the trailer for this film on Facebook, I was so excited about it. I’ve watched every single Insidious film there is without fail. The first film had me terrified – I still get a little bit freaked out thinking about that demon with the red face sometimes… And that’s exactly why I watch horror films, because I want to feel scared. Yet with this one, I just felt underwhelmed.

James Wan takes us back into Elise’s past, which is a nice idea because she is such an integral part of every Insidious film there’s been. Just as we expect, Elise’s abilities have been present since she was a young child. She would see ghosts around the house and she would be very vocal about it when she did. Inevitably, this would really scare her younger brother and surprisingly, it made her father extremely angry. An anger that turned volatile when he used to punish her for saying she had seen ghosts by beating her and then locking her in the basement. It was in this basement that she was enticed by a demon to unlock a door. 
When the door opened, Elise let out a very evil entity. Hearing her screams, her mother ran down to the basement to find her but ended up being hanged by the demon. Something that added fuel to her father’s fury, who now also blamed her for killing her mother. When Elise reached her teenage years she saw a woman in the laundry room. She told her brother, her father overheard and when he started shouting at her, Elise finally reached breaking point and ran away. But what she didn’t do, is close the door that she unlocked. 
The film centres itself around Elise’s journey to close this door. Well partially, as it seems to have a sub-plot running alongside it of men locking women in basements and beating them until they die. Elise’s dad did this, which she later realises when she finds out that the woman she saw in the laundry room all those years ago wasn’t actually dead, but was alive and trying to escape her father’s wrath. And then we see history repeating itself with the new owner of the house. With the help of the spirit of the woman Elise’s father kidnapped all those years back, Elise is able to uncover the secret that there is another young woman being trapped there by the new owner. Thankfully, she manages to save this one. 
I just struggle to understand how this actually links to the point of the film? Which is supposed to be that Elise opened the door all those years back and now needs to close it. Throughout the film we get the usual jump scares. There’s a demon that pops up behind the police officer when Elise is being questioned and this is almost identical to the scene in the first film, when the demon appears behind Josh in the dining room and terrifies his mother Lorraine. There are a couple of decent scares, but they definitely weren’t good enough to make me jump or scream. There’s always too much going on beforehand in the music and the camera angles, forcing you to expect that it’s coming soon. 
I also wasn’t a fan of the quirky scripting for Elise’s two sidekicks Specs and Tucker. They just weren’t very funny and I don’t really watch a horror film for it’s comedic elements. In fact I expect there to be none. The only film it works for is It, which struck up a healthy balance between being funny and scary at the same time.
What’s worse is the fact that nothing really happens. Elise’s nieces are employed pathetically as pretty screaming girls. Even when one of them goes into the other side to try and save Elise, she doesn’t do very much apart from walk around to find her. When she does find her and consequently the demon finds them both, she is of absolutely no help! Elise has to whistle for her mother, who I assume is resting happily in peace, because she is able to force the demon away from her daughter with a few simple words. Slightly touching, but also slightly random as I thought that it would have to be Elise herself who got rid of the demon considering that she was the one who let it out. 
The demon looked terrifying, I will say that. With it’s keys for hands and it’s extremely sinister face and distorted movements. I really did find the way that it locks your voice box with it’s fingers when you scream, quite chilling. However, the way it locks your heart seemed too gentle of a way for a demon to behave. Or did it? I can’t quite decide on this one. In any case, once I’d seen the demon once, it didn’t do anything terrifying or surprising and so the scare factor wore off pretty soon. 
Sometimes I think that Insidious compensates for its lack of fear factor with it’s incredibly loud sound effects. We always know when a demon is on it’s way, this is unquestionable. The only question we find ourselves asking is how long we’re going to focus on this one scene before it pops up for a few seconds and disappears. Or before we cut abruptly to another scene. The horror films that have the jump scares nailed are the ones that weave them into normal, everyday tasks. If we’re focused on a dark colour palette in a small enclosed space and a character is alone, we know that a demon is coming. I challenge you to find me one scene in any of the Insidious films that invites demons into a brightly lit kitchen or a backyard during the day. If it did, I would be sufficiently terrified. We all know we’re not as safe in the dark as we are in the light – Insidious just overplays this.
Besides, once you’ve been adequately disconcerted and you actually consider what happened to cause this, you realise that it’s doing nothing different or extraordinary. Take the claps in The Conjuring for example. They strip everything back to complete silence, yet the sound of these claps really is truly terrifying. And we never see the demons for long enough either. They don’t stick around, they just go out of their way to lead you on long paths to the truth so that they can pop up and disappear again. We never hear from them what they actually want and the demons themselves never have a backstory. Are you bored? Are you bitter? Do you think this is fun? What exactly is your problem?
And lastly, we must not forget that this is a prequel. At the end of the film, we circle back to Elise receiving a worried call from Lorraine about her grandson Dalton. So what was the point of this whole film? It’s called the last key, but it wasn’t really the last key because nothing that Elise did even worked!! After this film, Dalton is still being terrorised by a demon and Josh is still facing his childhood fears when his own demon returns.
Don’t get me wrong, I love these films and I always keep coming back for more. But the storylines just aren’t that great and they do not weave well together. You would think this prequel would have filled in any narrative gaps between the different films, yet it has me asking questions I had never even thought of asking before. 

Film Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

This film was exhilarating. So before I even get into the review, you need to know that it’s definitely a must see film. You have to make the time to see it, otherwise you’re missing out on one of the most exciting films you will have seen this year.

Now I don’t generally like watching action films. That’s not because I’m a “typical girl” who gets offended by action and shies away from watching violence. It’s really just because I don’t enjoy watching violence unless it’s set within a fantasy realm. Other action films that show normal people fighting are simply not engaging for me, so I prefer not to watch them.

I saw the trailer for this film when I went to watch Beauty and the Beast a few weeks ago and immediately I knew I had to see it. It sounds quite silly, but as a woman, there is just something really empowering about watching other women in lead, action roles. That was a major pulling factor for me. Plus the fact that it was a superhero action film, which is the kind of fighting I actually quite enjoy watching!

I didn’t know much (if anything) about Wonder Woman before watching this film – which would make my sister absolutely horrified to read, so I hope she doesn’t read this post. Diana is actually princess of the Amazons, which I found out as we followed her childhood at the beginning of the film. Because I studied Classical Mythology during my first year at university, I was really intrigued by that side of her character. Although I struggled to remember all of the many, many versions of each myth during my studies, I really did find the topic as a whole very engaging. So when I was hearing names like Zeus and Ares and Hippolyta, I found myself even more drawn into the film.

So I feel like we’re all here because we love a bit of superhero action. Which means that you’ll probably be pleased to hear that all of the action sequences were so well put together, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I loved the way Diana would put her arms together in a cross, making her two arm bands clash and create this enormous wave of power. She also had an illuminating lasso of truth, which she would wind around anyone she wanted in order to force them to tell the truth – as the name suggests. Furthermore, the shield and her gorgeous costume really made her look the part. She is beautiful.

Hearing that I loved the film’s focus on women and that Diana was such a strong woman herself, you might be slightly flummoxed by the fact that a woman who is so empowered by the strength of her identity as a woman, ends up in what is basically a world dominated by men for the majority of the film. But she doesn’t just fade into the background. Diana doesn’t take direction from any of the men in the film and she not once is she made out to be inferior to them. For the majority of the film, it is Diana who leads the men into dangerous territory. More than this, we also see her reacting to instances of threat before the men are even able to respond themselves. So there is no woman who is in desperate need of being rescued, only equals fighting in the same war. What I saw in this film, was a very strong woman proving that she could be just as badass as all of the male soldiers fighting in the war. Granted, she did have the assistance of being an Amazonian but still…

In terms of story line, what we follow is Diana’s quest to defeat Ares. In the film, as in mythology, Zeus created mankind. But his jealous son Ares corrupted them and caused all of the wars and fighting that is so well known to us now. Zeus then created the Amazons, a tribe of warrior women, to help restore purity to mankind. Therefore, Diana’s purpose in a sense, is to defeat Ares and therefore stop all the war and fighting.

This would be simple if we were rooted within Diana’s mythological world. However, this seemingly straightforward plot is complicated by the intertwining of history and myth through the event of World War I. Diana rescues an American spy/soldier played by Chris Pine, who leads her into the world as we know it and entices her into the task of helping him defeat the Germans by telling her he will help her find Ares. So what we essentially have throughout the film, is Diana’s mythological explanation for war as the explanation for why World War I is taking place. Which means that she is either delusional or that our German villain is actually a mythological villain in the dress of World War I. So there’s this at first slightly unsettling waiver of time. But it actually all works out really well and proves to be quite easy to follow! Which seems strange for me to say as I usually hate any type of fiction associated with wars, but I was really impressed by the plot of this film and I loved the fusion of myth and history.

As with all films these days, there is a love story, which I am a complete sucker for. I really have to commend this film on the way it portrayed the romance – it was so natural, not overdone at all. There was one scene in particular where I was expecting to see a lot more than I did and I was actually disappointed for a moment or two that it had been done so subtly. But then I sort of realised that there was no need to show anymore than what they did. After all, this was not a Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation, it was a DC comic adaptation. And what I came for, was the action.

Everything in this film felt so seamless to me. I’m no expert on comics, as previously disclaimed, however I found this film very easy to follow and understand. It even had it’s fair share of humour, which I’ve learnt is actually quite important to the telling of any story – even serious ones.

The only criticism I have (and it’s very small!) is that Gal Gadot who plays Wonder Woman in the film, really should have had a more muscular frame. I get that it’s not easy for everybody to tone up and gain weight if they are naturally very slim. But for the point of the role, with her being a female warrior who has undertaken years of what looked like very intense training, it would have been more realistic to see some more muscle definition in her arms and thighs. Particularly as her costume is very skimpy and reveals much of her body! Which I am not bashing at all because quite frankly I would wear her outfit to the supermarket if I could.

But overall, I honestly don’t think I have enjoyed a superhero film this much in a while. It was absolutely thrilling to watch. So it’s definitely one that I would highly recommend you make the time to go and see.

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I’ve never been really into Disney or fairytales. I like them, but I don’t remember the ins and outs of the stories that well and I certainly don’t have a favourite princess or Disney movie to ramble on about. Beauty and the Beast was always my sister’s thing when we were younger. If we had to dress up as princesses, she was Belle and I was always Aurora. I wasn’t that keen on going to the cinema to see this film either, as I felt like I could just wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it then. Usually I get bored halfway through watching films in the cinema, but this was honestly incredible and I’m not joking when I say I barely took my eyes off the screen.

The visuals of the film are undeniably arresting and although some have stated that it is over-saturated with decadence and magic, to the point where it seems to be begging us to acknowledge it as a fairytale, I completely disagree. I expected nothing less than what I was given on screen. You don’t go and watch a Disney film for it’s subtlety, you’re drawn to it by it’s magical magnetism, beautiful costumes and enchanting characters.

Having Emma Watson cast as Belle was a major pulling factor for me. I absolutely adore Emma Watson – she’s so classy and naturally beautiful and many of you will agree with me when I say that I feel like I’ve grown up watching her. She was always my favourite character in the Harry Potter films and I just feel like there’s nothing to dislike about her. In the film, as expected, she did not disappoint. I think she has a beautiful singing voice and for those of you that might feel like highlighting the auto-tune, I feel like all singing in films is auto-tuned so just be quiet. You could hear that it was Emma singing and I think she did a brilliant job.

I really loved all of the songs in this film, especially the one about Gaston. The theatrical elements of the film were enthralling. I loved the actual musical score of the film too and it’s something I would die to go and watch being performed by a live orchestra. As the music was playing, I could just imagine all the instruments playing together and I think it would just be such an amazing experience to watch that translated into a live musical performance.

Character wise, Luke Evans as Gaston was incredibly gorgeous. I wasn’t too keen on the appearance of the beast when he became human again, but that’s just personal preference. Emma Watson was stunning, I thought Josh Gad as LeFou was perfect and seeing such a racially diverse cast was very refreshing. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (you may remember her from the 2013 film Belle) and Ray Fearon (who voiced Firenze the centaur in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone) are just two. The inclusion of interracial couples and a multi-racial cast has definitely sent out some very important messages about diversity to audiences.

I’ve read a few reviews that slate Disney’s presentation of LeFou as gay for the fact that his sexuality is supposedly adapted to screen as a tool of humour, rather than as a serious aspect of his identity. To some extent, I do agree that part of LeFou’s humorous appeal in the film is centred around his sexuality, however I don’t feel that there is anything sinister in this. For me, the humour was in the fact that Gaston was too self-absorbed to even take notice of LeFou’s over the top adoration of him. It’s all light hearted and he would have been a humorous character even if he was straight. His humour has more to do with his bubbly personality than it has to do with his sexuality. I think the reviews that imply his being gay is essentially what makes him funny in the film, is actually what plants the prejudice rather than the script itself.

Aside from this, there were lots of little humorous moments woven into the script and they really made for a more enjoyable watching experience. There was one moment when the enchanted household items were trying to convince the beast to smile at Belle and his attempt at a smile was this really funny, beastly grimace instead. The beast’s guzzling of his soup at the very grand dining table was another note worthy point of humour. Another moment was when the piano was asked to play during Belle’s dinner and he mentioned that he had cavities that were impacting his ability to properly play. Standout characters were definitely Lumier and Chip. Lumier was just fabulous the whole way through the film – he was so lively and enchanting – and as soon as I heard Chip’s voice, my heart melted – he was so cute!

The pace of the film felt just right. Nothing was unnecessarily prolonged and the romance was given just enough time to develop into something very believable. Belle and the beast’s interactions adapted perceptibly on screen from immediate distaste, to forcibly suffering one another’s company, to realising that they have quite a bit in common and then actually growing to enjoy spending time with one another.

I can’t stress enough how perfect this film was. For what feels like the first time ever on this blog, I literally don’t have one bad word to say about it. I loved all the songs, I loved all the magical elements and I loved the timeline of events and general piecing together of the fairytale. If you haven’t seen this yet, then you definitely have to go and see it in the cinema. It’s so worth the time and the money and I guarantee you will love it.

Film Review: Me Before You (2016)

One evening last week I took a bowl of Ben and Jerrys ice cream to bed with me and decided that I was in the mood to watch a romantic film. When Me Before You popped up on Netflix, it felt like the right time to give it a chance. I wasn’t keen on the book. Having said that, I didn’t really give it a fair chance. I started Me Before You maybe a year ago now, got about two chapters in and gave up. Maybe I was tired or stressed but it seems obvious that I made a mistake, because I absolutely loved the film.

Being a huge Game of Thrones fan (honestly really is one of the best TV series ever made!) I was interested in seeing how Emilia Clarke settled into a very different role. Daenerys Targaryen is very stoic and statuesque, whereas Louisa Clark is a bit of a scatter brain, dresses in all colours of the rainbow and has a very vibrant and chatty personality. It was really strange to see Emilia Clarke acting as what seemed more like a young girl than an actual woman and although at first I wasn’t entirely convinced, I did manage to build a strong likeability for Louisa’s character.

For those like me who haven’t read the book, the film follows the story of two characters – Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. When the film begins, Louisa is working happily in a café. Until she gets made redundant that is and is forced to find a new job elsewhere. Louisa’s quirkiness makes it difficult for her to fit into a bog standard office or professional career, so she ends up going for an interview to be a carer instead. Her client is Will – who has been left paralysed from a motorbike accident. As I’m sure you can imagine, we then follow their journey to falling in love with one another as they grapple to consider how a relationship like theirs could work.

There was nothing overly special about the casting choice of Sam Claflin as Will Traynor, apart from the fact that he is very obviously quite beautiful. There didn’t seem to be any real chemistry between himself and Emilia Clarke, but they portrayed the chemistry between Louisa and Will exceptionally, regardless. The romance of the film was established perfectly. As was the issue of physical intimacy – which was neither overplayed nor underplayed. Visually, everything really did feel as if it was slotting into place.

Overall, the film was oddly quite a joy to watch. Although there are some notable sad parts to it and it will make you weep uncontrollably as it approaches its end, it is an enjoyable experience overall. Most of you have probably seen it by now but for those of you who haven’t, I really don’t want to give too much away. But it will be going in my box of romantic films to watch on a rainy day, with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for sure!

Film Review: The Girl on The Train (2016)

Considering that I am the most critical person ever, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually really enjoyed this film. It went above and beyond my expectations and it’s definitely one that I would say is worth seeing – maybe even buying on DVD too!

For those who don’t know, this is the film version of the Paula Hawkins novel with the same title. We follow the story of Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who has lost her job but still rides the commuter train into the city everyday regardless. Whilst riding the train, she forms a distant attachment to a couple that she watches repeatedly from the window of the train. They live on the same street she used to live on with her ex-husband, before he had an affair, moved in with the other woman and had her baby. Shocking, I know. Rachel envies the fact that they have the life she lost. The seemingly perfect, love filled marriage and a beautiful home to go with it. So when she notices the woman, Megan, kissing another man out in her back garden and then Megan goes missing, Rachel finds herself entangled in a story that she shouldn’t even be a part of.

If you’ve read my review of the book (and if you haven’t, then you can do so here), you’ll know that I really detested it. If I remember correctly, I actually completely battered Paula Hawkins writing of the story. I didn’t feel that it was emotional enough and although the plot was a very interesting one, it just didn’t properly come together for me. The movie however, cemented everything that I wish the novel had.

However, I do just have to mention that the film (unlike the book) is set in America. For me, that did take away a chunk of the authenticity. The train was completely different, as were the houses and the streets that Rachel was peering into. It’s not a major deal, as I still loved the film. But I think that one of the huge appeals of this novel was that British readers could firmly root themselves in where everything was taking place. With the film, it was very different. There was one scene where the train was going by a clear, beautiful lake or river and it was just the complete opposite to what I had pictured. I pictured a train full of business men and women slouching against velour seats, chugging mini bottles of wine and rubbing aggressively at their eyes as they tried to stay awake on the journey home. I pictured a row of terraced houses on one side and a wall of graffiti on the other. Instead I got a beautiful, detached suburban house on one side and a pretty expanse of water on the other.

Having said that, Emily Blunt was absolutely amazing in her portrayal of Rachel. Ten minutes into the film and I was tearing up, saturated with pity for Rachel’s character. This is the complete opposite response to what I had from reading about her in the actual book. I didn’t feel sorry for Rachel at all when I read the novel, I just thought she was an annoying, drunken mess. In the film, she was a broken woman in a lot of pain. The acting was just faultless. Justin Theroux (Tom) also did a really great job. As soon as he appeared on screen, I felt like there was something very sinister about him. Which from the plot of the film we know there was. There really is so much going on with the story and I’m actually tempted to read the book again and give it another chance as a result. It really is a great plot.
I do have to rant just a little bit about the doctor. Megan is supposed to be seeing a therapist called Dr. Kamal Abdic, who in the book is Asian. But in the film, he is actually played by a Venezuelan actor and instead of changing his name, it was somehow decided that this Venezuelan actor with his Venezuelan accent and appearance should play Dr. Kamal Abdic. I honestly don’t mind if the race of characters are changed, because I’m all for diversity. It would have worked fine if they just replaced Dr. Kamal Abdic with a different name that wasn’t still distinctly Asian. However, to cast an actor who is not Asian, yet still attach him to the identity of the Asian character from the novel is just slightly ridiculous. I think this is an example of the repeated assumption that all ethnicities are the same. That if someone is going to be ethnically diverse, then it doesn’t matter which ethnicity they choose, as long as they have one in there. But that’s not the case at all, because we should be acknowledging and representing individual ethnic identities and not blurring them all into one.
Other than the two above points about the setting and the therapist, I have no major faults with the film. I’m no expert on filming techniques and stuff like that, but the way that this film was shot was just incredible. All the little cut scenes and the voiceover at the beginning. Whoever directed this really did a fabulous job and I would be surprised to read a negative review of it. So if, like me, you were unsure about watching the film because the book just didn’t cut it for you, I would highly recommend reserving judgement and coming at this with an open mind. I’m almost certain that it will surprise you as much as it did me.

8 Things I Need To See in Season Two of Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’

I might be a few months late with this series, but after binge watching it in the space of 24 hours because I was absolutely hooked from the first episode, I’m granting myself rights to writing this blog post. So if you haven’t seen Stranger Things yet, then I don’t know what you’re waiting for. It is absolutely brilliant and I don’t have a single bad word to say about it. There wasn’t one boring episode or scene in the whole first season. Unlike many other programmes I’ve watched, this one had me hooked minute-by-minute. I’m not the type of person who will draw the curtains and binge watch Netflix for an entire week, yet that’s exactly what I did with this. I am eagerly awaiting season two. So eagerly in fact, that I had to blog about it asap. So here are 8 things I need to see in season two!

1. More Will

When Will went missing, I completely forgot what he looked like. When he was found, I had a sort of ohhhhh moment and recognised that that’s who Will is. I need more Will so that I can put more of his face to his name.
2. Bring back Barb! 😢

I adore Barb! The fact that she was never rescued and that nobody really seemed to care about her disappearance really makes my heart ache. Her mother never bothered asking after her. As far as I can remember, she just told Nancy to tell Barb to give her a call when she found her… And as great as Nancy was in battling the demogorgon and everything, I feel like she kind of gave up on Barb in the end. Granted Elle did pronounce Barb “Gone. Gone. Gone.” but if someone pronounced my best friend gone and then found the boy who had been taken to the same place she was, I would be fighting to get in there and look for her myself. So, we need Barb to come back somehow. We just need it.

3. Chief Hopper’s backstory

Jim had a family, once. Something happened to his daughter and his wife and when the season starts, he’s all alone – washing pills down with beer and smoking in his bathroom between brushes of his teeth. He drug abuses to combat the grief of his daughter’s death, who to me, it seems like died of cancer. However, I feel like there could be more to this. Could his daughter be in the Upside-Down like Will and Barbara were?

4. Terry Ives.

So we know that Terry is Eleven’s mother. When Terry was younger, she was involved in paid government investigations without knowing that she was pregnant. These investigations effected her daughter, Eleven, making her into the extraordinary being she is now. Eleven was taken from Terry by Dr. Brenner and it was all covered up as a miscarriage, even though Terry tried to sue Dr. Brenner for it. I want to see more of this. We get glimpses but I want to see the whole thing played out on screen.

5. Nancy and Jonathan – please!

There is something going on here. This is not just friendship – or it could be, but I’d rather it wasn’t. Jonathan and Nancy have a cute, special little connection. They click. More so than Nancy and Steve do. I mean just think about that Christmas present Nancy bought Jonathan – a camera! I’m weeping! This is the romance that needs to happen. Forget Steve – he’s cute, but lets face it he’s just not cut out for this world.

6. Parenting Tips from Joyce

When Karen (Mike and Nancy’s mum) comes over to Joyce’s house with her little casserole and her perfect little blonde daughter Holly, Joyce looks dishevelled and slightly crazy. She has holiday house lights up all around her house, that she’s been using to communicate with her son Will. Meanwhile, Karen has beautiful bouncing curls, time to make casseroles and the audacity to parade her beautiful little girl around in front of a woman whose son is missing. The Wheeler’s are almost as bad as poor Barb’s mother is! Karen never knows where her children are or what they’re up to and she constantly overlooks everything. It might be a matter of time (it was the 80s then and 2017 now) but still! I think she could learn a thing or two from Joyce, who never gives up on her son throughout the whole season.

7. Eleven and the others

Elle is short for ‘Eleven’ because Elle is number 11. Literally, as you can see in the picture above, she is marked as number 11. So where are all the others that were marked before her?

8. The Demogorgon

So we know that during Dr. Banner’s experiments, Eleven unexpectedly made contact with the monster – later named the Demogorgon by Mike and his friends – and opened up the gate to the Upside Down, which is the parallel dimension that the monster came from. The monster is now… gone? Elle killed it in the classroom, but is it the only one? Is the gate now closed? It seems unlikely, because the series ends with Will throwing up a slug-like thing that Hopper was supposed to have pulled fully out of his mouth when he found him in the Upside Down world. So what happens next – with the experiments and the Demogorgon?