Godzilla

Gareth Edwards returns to the monster genre to bring us the king.

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In ancient times, giant creatures known as Kaiju roamed the earth, feeding on the radiation. But when the levels began to drop, the monsters went deeper into the earth to continue living. In 1999 a mine is discovered with the remains of one of these monsters, and two eggs. One unbroken and one that has hatched. After a series of devastating earthquakes brought a power-plant in Japan to rubble, 15 years later Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is determined to prove that it was not a natural disaster, and rather something that is alive. An idea that is unfortunately true for Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson who is eager to get back to his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and child in San Francisco, but constantly seems to run into the monsters. After several creatures called M.U.T.Os (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Object) begin to emerge and destroy anything in their path, the military believe there is only one solution to the problem…blowing the s**t out of them. But Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) has another idea, to let nature do what it does best and have a superior creature go on the hunt. The one and only ‘king of the monsters’…Godzilla.

Although we have seen this story line a thousand times before in sci-fi films – not necessarily on the big screen. An unearthed creature that time has forgotten or that has been accidentally created by man runs amok, and the army attempt to shoot what ever they can at it. All the while a crazy scientist is warning them about the dangers. We have seen this before in films such as: Tarantula, Them! or The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. However Gareth Edwards somehow makes it work in away that makes the genre seem so fresh and original, like something we have never seen before.

The way that he does this is by using the audience’s anticipation so well, by revving it up to 11 before we even see the ‘king’. It is about halfway through the film until you get a glimpse of Godzilla in all his glory, and that keeps you gripped and eager. There are a lot of other monsters in the Godzilla franchise, such as: Mothra, Gigan and King Ghidorah. So fights are quite common, this film keeps you so enticed and ready to see the monsters square up against each other that when it finally delivers you aren’t disappointed.

Apart from the incredible picture, what was also a great improvement for a film such as this was the character portrayals; mainly Bryan Cranston’s. After the conclusion of Breaking Bad it would appear that Walter White still wants audiences to know that he can bring it; and he can. With only a short role that sticks in your head throughout the entire film. Another role that stuck out was that of Dr. Serizawa by Ken Watanabe, although he doesn’t exactly steal the show, it’s hard to picture any other Japanese actor in that role, despite the constant crazy expressions he give through the film.

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Let’s face it, the 1998 Roland Emmerich Godzilla reboot didn’t do a lot for the franchise, as it barely resembled Ishiro Honda’s 1954 version at all. However this new instalment takes fans back to the original look of Godzilla, and does the original justice. We get the scarred skin, the stubby legs and that incredible roar which we have been waiting for ever since word came out of Hollywood about this remake. Instead of just being shown as some dinosaur out of time or nuclear experiment gone wrong, Godzilla is shown as a force of nature that is not to be reckoned with. We can’t control nature no matter how much we try, and that is what he represents in this film. Sort of a return to normality, and restoring balance to the Earth from a time long forgotten.

One of the best things about this film was the picture and effects, some of the shots were just magnificent to watch. Even when the monsters – who looked incredible – weren’t on-screen it was just great to sit there and marvel at the eye-pleasing shots.

What Gareth Edwards does so well for the film – in the same way that Anthony and Joe Russo did for Captain America: The Winter Soldier – is to not cram the audience’s face with tons of CGI effects straight away and through most of the film. By doing this it adds realism to the picture, and when we are finally exposed to the CGI monsters we haven’t seen enough to be bored, like we were in Transformers. There were a few criticisms which only people who will have seen the film will understand, concerning the US army and their ridiculous plans, but nothing that would ruin the film. After all you are watching a film about giant monsters fighting, so you have to open up your mind a little bit.

Gareth Edwards has come a long way since his directorial film début of ‘Monsters’ in 2010, and he has done justice to the 1954 Godzilla in this blockbuster that has already announced a sequel.

Here’s hoping for ‘Destroy All Monsters’.

New Avengers Added To Age Of Ultron

At the moment every bit of new information about Avengers: Age of Ultron gets me more excited, and lets me know that the day when I can actually view the film is getting ever closer. Recently the new bits of information are of more avengers being added to the film.

The first new characters – which were actually announced a few weeks ago – are the super-fast Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and his sister, the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who uses hexes to cause explosions, create force fields, burn objects, deflect magic attacks and stop the momentum of bullets or missiles. The Scarlet Witch is a vital part in the story, as she is one of the only Avengers who has a chance against the robotic Ultron. The pair are the children of the master of magnetism, Magneto; and are therefore also being featured in this years X-Men: Days of Future Past film, but with different actors playing them.

quickSome of the best news about the 2015 Avengers sequel to come out recently is also another character being added to the line-up. The Vision (being played by Paul Bettany) is finally going to be seen on the screen; he definitely deserves it as The Vision is one of the most famous Avengers. In the comic books, after Hank Pym (Ant-Man) creates Ultron and he turns against him, Ultron then creates an android with the power to fire beams of radiation and infrared and posses’ the power of flight and super-human strength; called The Vision. However he betrays Ultron and joins The Avengers. Whether this is what Joss Whedon is planning, we don’t know yet; especially with the story line of Ultron’s creation being changed. As most fans will know, the actor playing The Vision is also the voice of Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S artificial intelligence system, so that may factor into the story line.

vision2The anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron has grown even more.

New Godzilla Trailer

Finally, we have waiting and we have wanted. A new Godzilla trailer is now here.

Although I thought that the 1998 Godzilla remake by Roland Emmerich and starring Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno was enjoyable, it seemed that a large amount of audience members did not. So after 6 years we have ourselves a remake, and it’s shaping up to be quite a blockbuster.

godzilla2014_fanart_02Although not much can be seen from the dark trailer yet, apart from Aaron Taylor-Johnson – with his new short haircut – jumping from an aeroplane and Elizabeth Olsen screaming. It does look like this version is going to go back to the original appearance of Godzilla or Gojira from the classic 1954 film.

So far in the trailer Taylor-Johnson appears to be part of the army and is dropping from a Halo helicopter with other soldiers, in to what can be guessed is (because the film is American) an American City, most likely New York City. However no amount of training has prepared them for a mission like this; taking down a 167 ft giant lizard.

It’s hard to say at the moment whether the film is in safe hands with director Gareth Edwards, as his last monster movie ‘Monsters’, wasn’t exactly amazing. But his Godzilla film is looking quite good from the trailer. If all else fails, at least it has Bryan Cranston in it…and possibly Mothra.

Kick-Ass 2

The epic sequel to 2010s Kick-Ass is finally here, and it punches everything up a notch.

Yes, all our favourite characters are back, in the story which has been taken straight from the pages of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s successful comic book series of the same name.movies-kick-ass-2-international-poster

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Chistopher Mintz-Plasse are back, and reprising their roles as Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Chris D’Amico. Mindy Macready (Hit-Girl) is trying to deal with the death of her father, Big-Daddy, and finds that the only way to do this is by fighting crime and training Dave Lezewski (Kick-Ass) during school time. However once Marcus – the cop who is now taking care of her – finds out, he makes her promise to give up being a caped-crusader and live a normal life. With Hit-Girl out of the picture Kick-Ass must roam the streets on his own, until he finds what he has always been looking for, a super-hero team. The team – Justice Forever – consists of Doctor Gravity, Remembering Tommy, Night-Bitch, Insect-Man, Battle-Guy and Colonel Stars and Stripes, along with Kick-Ass they wander the streets fighting crime and helping the poor, and at one point have a group photo taken which is a direct reference to Watchmen.

However this is reality, and revenge is always around the corner, this time shaped into Chris D’Amico’s new super-villain alias ‘The Mother-F***er’. ‘The Mother…’ creates his own team of super-villains and begins to terrorize the city and destroy everything which Kick-Ass holds dear. Can the green wetsuit-wearing hero defeat his nemesis, restore order, and avenge the ones he loves, or will he end up a bloody mess like so many before him.

The lead roles are taken so well by Taylor-Johnson, Moretz and Mintz-Plasse once again, but we had already seen them like this in the first film. The real stand out role in Kick-Ass 2 is given by an unrecognisable Jim Carrey as the ex-mafia, born-again Christian hard man Colonel Stars and Strips, who leads Justice Forever. Although in the comic books they are actually two separate characters – Colonel Stars and Lieutenant Stripes – putting them together to make one character worked really well. Carrey shows that he is not just a simple comedy actor here, as he portrays the ex-goon so flawlessly, and really brings the characteristics of the Colonel from the vibrantly coloured pages to life.

One major thing that Kick-Ass brought to the table in 2010 was the shock-factor, which is not used very widely in superhero films due to them being primarily aimed at families. As Kick-Ass is based in the real world though – in other words, people don’t have super powers – then what occurs must have some realism to it. Therefore people are going to get killed and profanity is going to be spewed left, right and centre. The first film achieved this shock-factor, with blood jumping across the screen and a 11-year-old girl saying c***. So attempting to have the same effect was a difficult challenge for Kick-Ass 2. However they made it work, the gore and effects are largely the same as they were in the first film, which is not a bad thing as they are in-keeping with the comic book theme – comedic violence and not Tarantino-esque. But what makes it slightly more controversial – certainly for the American audience – is the language used, it seems as if they have actually tried to slide a bit of the British crude, sexual comedy into it, with lines like; “I’ll kick you in your snatch” and referring to certain ladies as ‘axe-wounds’.

What is really great about the Kick-Ass films, is that they stick so closely to the source material, which is something that the fans of the comic books will love. Majority of the time, with graphic novels, comic books and with books in general, so much is changed that it is not the story you fell in love with when you first read it. When reading the Kick-Ass graphic novels there were so many scenes to it which were just spectacular on paper, and therefore in your mind would be great to see on the big screen. Although there are a few exceptions, most of the best parts were created in the films and were done so well, literally being shot-for-shot in the film as they were panel-to-panel in the comics.

As Matthew Vaughn did an amazing job with Kick-Ass, Jeff Wadlow has done just as good a job with Kick-Ass 2. Together they have captured the characteristics of the heroes exactly, and have created films which are not just for fans of the comic books to enjoy, but for everyone.

The Kick-Ass 2 graphic novel was much darker than the first, and the film-makers brought that to the big screen very well. Capturing the main sombre themes but still making it an enjoyable, hilarious thrill-ride. What more can comic book fans ask for than a gigantic super-hero fight – like in the incredible ‘Civil War’ novel – and right from the beginning we all knew that it would happen, but who knew it could look so good.