Ant Man – A Review

ant man

Marvel have reached the point, now, where they can basically do anything and it’s presumed it will be a hit. This ability to print gold is a fairly recent development, likely stemming from the surprise hit that was Guardians of the Galaxy.

Part of it is the formula that Marvel (Read: Disney -Ed) have hit upon, combining quirky characters, a script which doesn’t take itself too seriously, and an ever changing cast of actors and actresses you know from that thing. This time we get the bloke from Basic Instinct, Phoebe’s husband from Friends, and the woman from Lost. Oh, and the alcoholic from the first season of House of Cards.

Ant-Man, I suspect, alongside the expected Doctor Strange film of next year, is Marvel reaching the stage of trolling DC that it can make the lesser known, frankly more absurd, properties into successful films before DC can get a Justice League film together.

So the pertinent question is, can they?

Read on…

08 “Valediction” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]

agent carter

For some reason, Agent Carter‘s first series is criminally short. Only eight episodes. I presume that’s some sort of precaution against it being awful and getting cancelled straight away.

Because, of course, that’s what Marvel products are known for.

But regardless, here we are at the final episode. I’ve enjoyed the previous seven episodes; giving the supporting cast of the first Captain America film room to run was a good decision on paper. On screen it has worked even better.

The story is well penned, setting an early-Cold War mood of suspicion and adding a Marvel twist, and giving its characters good story arcs to work with.

As with any series, though, all of that could be undone with a misstep at a critical juncture.

Why hello, critical juncture!

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

06 “A Sin to Err” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]

agent carter

There’s something bothering me about Agent Carter. I think it’s the accents.

The story, the acting, even the soundtrack has — so far — been everything that I’d want from a Marvel series set in the 1940s. But the accents are winding me up something awful.

Two of the lead characters are British, and are played by British actors. And yet somehow their accents still feel like forced Hollywood stereotypes. It’s an established fact that as far as the Yanks are concerned the only British accents are posh and cockney, which is one reason both why Game of Thrones so revolutionary and why I dearly hope that Constantine is saved from oblivion.

Hayley Atwell and James Darcy do both seem to be forcing the posh-factor a little, and it has been suggested to me that it’s period-related rather than being Brits in a US show — a suggestion which would mean that regional accents only came into existence around the 1960s. Which, as a northern lad, I find condescending.

It’s a minor niggle, I guess, but it’s like watching it with the audio out of sync. I’ll try to review the show, rather than the accents…

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

05 “The Iron Ceiling” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]

agent carter

It might just be me, but so far Agent Carter hasn’t managed to feel properly Marvel-y yet.

It’s had the interweb of references, jokes, and we even got a Stan Lee cameo last week, which is close enough to proof positive. But so far it has lacked the feel of being a small piece of a far bigger picture.

I like the characters. I like the premise. I really like the freedom that the setting allows the story to develop. If it can nail this last part, then it will have earned its place in the tapestry.

Which isn’t to say it’s necessarily good. That hinges on something else entirely.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

04 “The Blitzkreig Button” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]

agent carter

I have no idea why US TV shows insist on taking random weeks off. The “mid-season break” is bizarre enough, but I can see no reason why Agent Carter was not broadcast last week.

Well, perhaps absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

And Marvel’s newest TV show is back this week, so I guess we can pick up where we left off, in 1950s America racing to beat proto-Hydra to various Stark-flavoured McGuffins.

The first three episodes have felt on the verge of breaking into something bigger and better, story-wise, but still held back rather than advanced by the trappings of its setting and its heritage in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Fourth time’s the charm?

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

03 “Time and Tide” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]

agent carter

It’s at this point that I start to wish I had seen more of Agents of SHIELD. It would be nice to have another Marvel TV series to make a comparison to.

Lacking such a comparison, I must examine Agent Carter on its own merits. The first episode had promise, but was a bit rough around the edges. The second one tightened the plot arcs up, but still left room for improvement. It falls, then, to episode three to get things running along a track which can sustain an action/SF show for at least one series.

From what I’ve seen so far, it does deserve that sort of success. It’s taking a side character from one of their tentpole films, and putting up a world of interest around her whilst at the same time giving colour to some of the in-universe history and filling the between-film blanks.

Yeah, I desperately want Marvel to work its magic and make a success of this.

Read on… (and mind the spoilers)

02 “Bridge and Tunnel” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]

agent carter

The pilot episode of Agent Carter had its ups and downs, as you’d expect of any new TV show. It has the advantage, apparently, of its trail being blazed not only by two Captain America films and the Marvel juggernaut in general, but by a short film. I haven’t seen it, but that goes for a quite a bit of stuff I find.

Anyway, the 1940s setting is clearly something which Marvel are looking to make the most of. No complaints there, as I said about the pilot the first Captain America was for a long time my favourite Marvel film.

Like many pilots, “This is Not the End” was a bit fast paced, like it was in a hurry to get there. The rest of the basics were mostly there, though, so it falls to the second episode to put a harness on the whole thing and bring it to heel.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

01 “Now is Not the End” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]

agent carter

I am only just getting into Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, having missed the boat when it started. I’m informed it gets better about midway through.

But Agent Carter is one that I am able to get into on the ground floor. So why the hell not, eh?

In the growing pantheon of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Captain America: The First Avenger was probably my favourite until Guardians of the Galaxy came along. And Peggy Carter was a big part of that. So if Marvel want to give her a show, I’m on board with that.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

Heresy of the Week – Not everything needs to be a “mega-franchise”

dracula untold

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

“In a sea of stupid film studio ideas, Universal’s plan to build a franchise of monster movies, to ape Marvel’s success with a mega-franchise is the blue whale of unnecessary idiocy.”

Read on…

Guardians of the Galaxy – A Review

guardians of the galaxy

A lot has already been said about Guardians of the Galaxy, and I myself have already declared it as Marvel’s lifting-the-trophy-aloft, we-can-do-whatever-we-want-now moment.

That was intended as a look at the near-unassailable position Marvel has achieved to be able to make a financial success of such an obscure property as Guardians of the Galaxy, but I think my opinion of the film snuck through nonetheless. Yep, I enjoyed this film. Actually, I loved it. It was, from start to finish, a fun, funny romp.

So rather than this being is the film good, it’s going to be why the film is good.

Read on…