Tag Archives: Movies

Sluggish Reaction: Tomb Raider (movie)

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So I’ve been catching up on my video game adaptations recently!! I’ve had this on my Netflix watchlist for a while and finally got around to watching it. It was a fun ride and I was glad to hear from Movie News Net that a sequel is in the works.

Plot

Richard Croft

After her father goes missing Lara abandons her life as an heiress and makes a living as a courier while keeping up her martial arts and agility as well as her keen mind and ability to solve puzzles. The latter comes into effect when she is compelled to declare her father dead in-absentia  and uncovers a puzzle that leads her to an ancient tomb where an ancient Japanese Empress with the power to kill with merely a touch is said to be buried.

I thought the plot opened up well and built up to the final confrontation as well as setting up for a larger conflict, which again I’m relieved to hear is going ahead.

Lara Croft

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I liked Lara’s portrayal in the film by Alicia Vikander. She struck a good balance between posh and relatable with her character having seen how the other half lived. Also, reflecting the change in direction for the game franchise Lara is tough but certainly not invincible, she is agile but not superhuman and she is skilled but not infallible and when she took up her bow it was refreshing to see her miss some shots rather than turn into Hawkeye with no context.

All her skills were set up by either flashbacks to her life at Croft Manor or by her street-smart life as a young adult. She looked scared when things were scary and acted out of necessity. The more down to earth approach worked well for the film.

Action

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For the most part the action was fine. As I said Lara didn’t abruptly become some sort of superhero and the fighting felt realistic for what you’d expect from an inexperienced yet very capable and determined young hero. The one downside for me was the set-piece with the broken plane which just went on for far too long – in fact I shouted “Oh, come on!” at the exact same time as Lara, which just took me out of the movie.

Verdict

The movie was good…not great, but good. Unlike Assassin’s Creed I couldn’t put my finger on any major flaws and I perfectly enjoyed it. It didn’t blow me away, but then I wasn’t asking it to. I enjoy the games but I’m not a diehard fan so I don’t have any attachment to them for this film to fulfil or disappoint. What I was expecting was an engaging action film with a strong female lead and on that score it absolutely delivered.

Species of the week: Outriders

Designation: Non-sentient

Homeworld: Unknown

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame

The Outriders are a mindless race who serve and obey Thanos and his black order. They don’t use weaponry but their four arms, sharp teeth and superhuman strength combined with their large numbers make them a formidable threat. Thanos used them to overwhelm the defenses of the planets he wished to conquer, including Earth.

I’m going to avoid Endgame spoilers so I won’t say much other than I thought this race was well used as a threat that could challenge the Avengers even if purely by numbers. Plus they look great!! I don’t know much about the comics but they seem like a pretty faithful interpretation of this image I saw.

Sluggish Reaction: Assassin’s Creed (movie)

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I recently(ish) watched the Assassin’s Creed movie on Netflix. As a big fan of the video games I was eager to see how it worked on-screen and the result was…ok. I’ve read a lot of very negative reviews and I don’t think it deserves all the flack it got but despite a lot of positive elements and strong performances it just didn’t quite resonate as it should have.

Basic Plot

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The story starts with Callum Lynch, a death row inmate who is subjected to lethal injection and wakes up in an Abstergo Industries facility. He is greeted by scientist Sofia Rikkin and put into the Animus, a machine which allows him to live the memories of his ancestor Aguilar.

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Aguilar is sent on a mission, during the Spanish Inquisition, to protect a Prince. The Prince’s father has hidden the Apple and artifact of value to the Templars, the mortal enemies of the Assassins. Slowly as he is put into the Animus Callum gains not only the memories but also the abilities of his ancestor and begins to question his loyalties.

What’s good then?

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The action scenes are phenomenal and I would recommend watching the movie just to see Aguilar and his partner Maria in action. The fluid movement is like an amped up version of the game and made me ashamed of the bumbling idiot I turned Ezio into so often. The action is also very true to the game with the characters performing hidden-blade assassinations, acrobatic combat and leaps of faith which looked incredible and  more importantly fit into the action of the movie without feeling like fan service.

How does it connect to the games? (Skip to next section to avoid SPOILERS)

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Simple answer – it doesn’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the film should stand on it’s own feet. However I was hoping that the inclusion of Alan Rikkin, the elusive chairman of Abstergo, would make some clear connections to the games, but the movie gradually makes it clear that it belongs in it’s own timeline.

 I’ll try to break down the two key differences that separate the film and the games. First is the Animus, which instead of being a bed involves a mechanical arm suspended from the ceiling making the use replicate the movements of his ancestor exactly. Sofia states that this is the only model and was designed by her so no grumpy Warren Vidic!!

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Next is the Apple. There is a possibility the Templars could be lying but they strongly suggest they don’t know the origins of the Apple and there’s certainly no mention of Those Who Came Before or any other Pieces of Eden. Understandably bringing in a human precursor race might have been a bit much for a movie-going audience but the lack of origin for the device felt a bit odd when we know so much in the games.

Other than that it does follow a broad brush stroke similarities with the Templars warring against the Assassins for centuries and the Assassins having experienced a recent purge, leaving their influence diminished.

So what went wrong then? (SPOILERS END)

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Often with films it’s hard to nail down quite what’s missing but here’s what I think could have improved the movie.

Firstly more Aguilar. As I said the action sequences were phenomenal and his journey was really interesting but towards the end it just felt rushed so they could trigger a final sequence in the modern day world.

The ending itself seemed confused, with the Templar’s overall plot unclear, Sofia’s motivations kept changing and the open ending felt too abrupt. It’s hard to say more without spoiling the film but I would say the final act felt rushed in lots of ways and that was they key letdown of the movie who’s first two acts were solid.

That said the film definitely feels like Assassin’s Creed so if you’re prepared for a bit of a bump at the end I’d say still strap in and enjoy the ride!

Species of the week: Drabatan

Homeworld: Pipada

Designation: Sentient

Notable members: Pao

Fandom: Star Wars

Appearances: Rogue One

The Drabatans were an amphibious species. Their world was harvested for resources by the Empire, displacing many and causing them to sympathise with the Rebellion.

Been watching Rogue One this weekend. So many great background species but Pao really stood out for me. I was glad to see at least one alien on the Rogue One team and you couldn’t help but feel elated at his battle cry along with all the main cast and supporting human fighters.

Sluggish Reaction: Edge of Tomorrow

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I watched Edge of Tomorrow on TV recently and wanted to throw up a quick reaction and share my thoughts on the movie. In short I expected a generic alien invasion action movie, which is basically what it is but the ‘Live.Die.Repeat’ time travel plotline gave the film a fresh feel and meant you didn’t spend the whole movie on a beachhead or fighting through a devastated city.

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Tom Cruise plays a military PR official forced into front line combat. He dies within minutes of entering the battlefield but finds himself repeating the same day and same battle over and over.

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Eventually he meets Emily Blunt’s character, a hero of humanity who has had a similar experience and trains him by repeatedly killing him. Eventually their knowledge of the battle becomes so great they can navigate with ease.

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The aliens, known as ‘mimics’, were suitably alien and threatening but the plot wisely didn’t focus too much on them, instead focusing on the dynamic between Blunt and Cruise as they fought their way towards an endgame.

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The use of death as a reboot was used well to keep the story fresh and was often hilarious with Cruise dying unexpectedly at any given moment then catching up to where the story left off. It also led for surprises as we as the audience could never be quite sure if we were witnessing the characters do something for the first time.

The story has everything you’d expect from a Tom Cruise action/SF flick but it’s unique storytelling style plus great performances and action sequences make this one stand out as well worth a watch.

Sluggish Reaction: Avengers Endgame trailer

 

I really liked this trailer. It showed very little, but just enough to get me seriously hyped for this film!!

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Recaps of the heroes and their journeys was a smart play but it did remind us that this is the journey we’ve been building to since 2008

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I didn’t recognize the voiceover during Cap’s segment, is this a new character or am I missing something?Avengers 3

This isn’t going to end well!! I’m imagining Barton turning around to pick something up and then finding his daughter gone. Interesting to see her training with her Dad as I know Clint’s daughter takes up the mantle of Hawkeye in the comics,Avengers 4

I liked the black and white sequence reminding us of what has been lost.Avengers 5

Some pretty cool action sequences not giving much away. This one of Nebula stood out to me, I’m wondering if she’d the one to end her father’s life and avenge her sister.Avengers 6

Aaaaand here comes the money shot!!! These new white suits took me back to being a teenager geeking out about comics. It’s amazing the impact a change of outfit can have and they just look so slick. I’m wondering if time travel will be involved which requires specialised armour? Oh and Tony’s back, guess he gets off the spaceship then!Avengers 7

I liked this little scene between Thor and Captain Marvel. I don’t recognize the woman on the left. I’m wondering if she’s the same person who did the earlier voiceover.

Honestly I didn’t need a trailer but I’m really excited to conclude this story now!!

Species of the week: Mimics

Designation: Sentient (hive mind)

Homeworld: Unknown

Appearances: Edge of Tomorrow

Mimics are a race of unknown origin who landed on Earth and quickly conquered much of Europe. They unerringly anticipated their enemies strategy – earning them the name mimics but truthfully they were able to achieve this by manipulating time to repeat a battle until they won it

I just love a properly weird alien design. The knotted black tangles of the Mimics conveyed immediate threat and also varied the ways they attacked, making the Edge of Tomorrow antagonists truly alien.

Sluggish Reaction: Avengers Endgame trailer

This has been seen and over-analysed by millions so I’m going to keep my thoughts brief.

Yeah Tony’s stranded in space – but we’ve recently seen a trailer for a Superhero who can fly around in space, so I’m just gonna join up those dots and assume him (and presumably Nebula) will be fine!

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At first I thought this was a giant monument to Thanos, but I’ve read that in the comics it’s a scarecrow made from his armour as he lives a life of peace. good luck with that Thanos!!

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Hawkeye’s return was what got me the most excited, even in his new identity as Ronin. He obviously looks like he’s in a dark place post-finger snap but I can’t wait to see him reunited with the gang.

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Ant-Man’s return was your typical Marvel tension-relief but I do wish they’d kept him out of it and kept the suspense after the end-credits scene of Ant Man and the Wasp. Especially as they showed him on the presumed missing screen – way to spoil your own trailer Marvel!!!

Otherwise they’ve done a good job of keeping the plan secret and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds!!

Captain Marvel Trailer: Sluggish Reaction

It feels like forever since we’ve had a decent Marvel trailer. This film is a bit of a mystery and with out of nowhere hits like Guardians of the Galaxy it’s easy to lapse into the attitude of “I have no idea what’s going on…but it’s Marvel so I’ll probably enjoy it!”

With that said I do find the trailers don’t grip me like they used to. Perhaps it’s saturation after nearly 20 comic book films or acceptance of the fact that I will always be outclassed as a Marvel nerd and Marvel now has to take second place to a growing Star Wars franchise but I find I’m no longer obsessively combing through these trailers like I used to.

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We get extended footage of Brie Larsen punching an old woman in the face, this time revealing her true nature as a Skrull. I like the fact that the Skrulls are called out early on in the trailer and we get a look at Ben Mendelssohn’s character briefly both in disguise (as himself!) and as a Skrull.

Skrull

I think the potential for a shapeshifter-invasion plot is really fun, and I know there have been some epic storylines in the comics telling the story of the Kree-Skrull war. The space battle stuff looks insane!

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Two things I’m not so keen on: Firstly her powers. I hope we get a good explanation for her powers (and yes, I’m aware there probably is a veyr good one in the comics!). It just seems very similar to the Inhumans but it’s clear that none of them are on the same playing field as her in terms of power. Also, and again there may be an explanation for this, but do the Kree ever take this power for themselves or just give it to humans?!

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Secondly them helmet. Yes I know it’s from the comics and I can see the way they’ve filmed it to be epic, but honestly the whole thing just looks dorky to me. I think she looks far more epic without it and I hope the times she wears it in space are kept to a minimum.

Quinjet

OK enough negativity. I thought the interaction between her and Fury was great. I like the younger Fury looking in admiration to her. Even with the Avengers he always holds himself on an equal or superior footing despite his lack of powers but with her there’s a clear respect. I also loved this scene and the very 90s looking Quinjet!

So yeah, it’s a Marvel movie and I have no doubt I’ll enjoy it to the full. While this is essentially a stepping stone to Avengers I think what we’ve seen shows that this character deserves an origin story before coming to help dethrone Thanos later next year.

Well the rumour mill says the Avengers trailer is out soon, so look out for a sluggish reaction to that too!