The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.

*Minor spoilers*

In the not too distant future, things are looking bad for the kids. The ones that aren’t dying mysteriously have powers that fall into a series of categories, ranging from manageable to highly dangerous. These powers – including telekinesis, hyper intelligence and the ability to channel and control electricity – render the government terrified.

In response, all kids under 18 are torn from the bosoms of their families and shepherded off to internment camps where they’re filed according to colour (and therefore risk to society). They’re also given menial tasks to keep them useful and presumably out of trouble.

Our heroine, Ruby is one of the rarest of children. An Orange to be specific and considered the most dangerous. Among her skills is the ability to manipulate people into doing her will (think Jedi Mind Trick). It’s the Rolls Royce of the superpower if we’re honest and the one I would choose for myself.

During routine registration, Ruby is able to convince her doctor that she is not a threat and she is miscategorised as a Green. Nobody but her knows the level of her power and honestly, she still doesn’t really have a clue what she’s capable of.

Years later, grown up Ruby’s (Amandla Stenberg) secret is uncovered (duh). But when she meets Cate (Mandy Moore), part of an organisation called The Children’s League, she is able to escape the camp. Confused and not sure who to trust, Ruby separates herself from Cate and her husband – and finds herself on the run with Zu, Charles and Liam.

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“Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bac’y”

All Ruby wants is to go home to her parents but there’s an issue there which will soon become clear. Can she ever go back? And when the gang eventually find “Slip Kid”, a fellow Orange who runs a safe and secret utopia of his own, will they finally be safe?

The Darkest Minds is very much the first in a series of films and feels like it. While Ruby is very likable, thanks to Stenberg – it’s quite fast-moving with a lot crammed in. In addition to the rebellion and The Children’s League (and their own motives, which aren’t that clear yet), there are also freelance bounty hunters hot on the heels of our group (and all children kicking against the system).

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The Scary Spicy biopic revealed a very fantastic back story for Mel B

My girl Gwendoline Christie plays a bounty hunter called Lady Jane – and is just not very good. The role is not very meaty admittedly but it is very hammy (lol) and I don’t like seeing her like this. The romantic element, while sweet, also grows a little tiresome – maybe, just maybe I’m too old for this shit. I think anyone with a penchant for YA adaptations, such as The Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight, will be in their element but I can take or leave most of them and this is why it didn’t work for me.

All in all the concept is good, the performances are mostly good (including Beach Rats pretty boy Harris Dickinson) and it looks nice. I like the idea of these very different children finding acceptance among their peers and the friendship element is strong here.

Some of the lighting and the cinematography is really heavenly to look at and the whole idea of being forgotten by the ones you love is heart-wrenching but it’s just not really my jam. I allowed myself to be seduced by the “From the producers of Stranger Things” tagline and, while I don’t regret going out of my way to see this, I’m not sure I’ll be in line for part 2.

Who am I kidding though, of course I will.

My Rating

3/5.

 

 

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.

I went into DP2 with the worry that it would be too smug for its own good and therefore, would get on my nerves. It is smug but it also throws in a few surprises and manages to be poignant in places too. It’s also hilarious with so many machine-gun fire jokes that it would be impossible to catch them all in your first sitting.

This sequel introduces several new characters who look set to stick around in future films (hopefully), including time-travelling super soldier Cable (fit AF Josh Brolin), seriously misunderstood orphan Firefist (Julian Dennison) and the lovely Domino (Zazie Beetz), the latter of whom is a member of X Force, Deadpool’s very own X Men tribute band. 

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Up against the wrath of Cable who is after Firefist for future crimes (phew), Deadpool must protect the damaged boy, who is on his own mission of vengeance. All the while coming to terms with his own losses in life.

It’s a rip-roaring adventure and the X Force recruitment/first mission segment is perfection. Special shout out to Rob Delaney‘s every man Peter, who pretty much steals the entire gig. 

My Rating

4/5.

 

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and many more

IMDB Synopsis

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Where: Odeon Brighton
When: Saturday 28th April
Snacks: Popcorn and drink combo

*Spoilers*

My Review

Well this one is going to be a doozy to recap but I’ll do my best. Not all heroes wear spandex and hang out with Thor, you know?

In two words I think I could sum up Infinity War – “My heart” – but since this is a supposed film blog, more words are required. Here goes…

This film blew my tiny mind, made me feel excited once more to be immersed in the MCU (though to be fair this had already started with the first Guardians movies and from Homecoming to Black Panther) – something I never saw coming. Marvel Fatigue is an actual thing, a new sickness sweeping the nation but the fever’s broken and all is well again – that’s how I see it.

I want to be part of the action again and have strong feelings for so many of our protagonists – so you can imagine that this was a hard one to stomach given the way it leaves things.

Yes, yes – so many theories about the future of our favourites, I know but let’s just grieve for a little while.

Infinity War has so much going on that I won’t got through the plot bit by bit as I might normally, instead I think I’ll pick out the bits I super loved and scratch away at the tiny bits that didn’t work for me (there’s not much).

Best Bits

  • Literally everything and everyone in Wakanda, obvs. From Okoye (Danai Gurira) to BP himself (Chadwick Boseman) by way of Shuri (Letitia Wright) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) and his crew – it’s spot on. Wakanda forever indeed!
  • All the Guardians (not you Quill, see below) – particularly Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper).
  • Special shout out to teen Groot (Vin Diesel) who dominated his scenes in the most subtle way – and the teenager stereotype wasn’t overdone here, even though it is so accurate (step mum of a 13-year-old, yo).
  • Thanos (Josh Brolin) the super villain with an actual heart and an almost understandable agenda, even though it’s evil and obviously hugely misguided. As with Killmonger’s raison d’être in Black Panther, there’s a social commentary being made and it’s refreshing that these motivations are a grey area. It also allows us to feel something for our antagonists, if not total understanding – and I like that feeling, frankly.
  • Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), surprisingly. He featured way more than I expected and I like him, I really like him.
  • Spiderman’s (Tom Holland) scenes were all top-notch but I really enjoyed his film references and particularly replicating a scene from Aliens to save the day (temporarily). It would also be remiss to not mention his final scene which broke my heart cleanly in two.
  • Rocket and Groot teaming up with Thor (Hemsworth), the “Pirate Angel” – this new dynamic kept things fresh and really showcased Rocket’s comic timing. See also Rocket on the battle field with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Groot’s initial meeting with Cap (Chris Evans): “I am Steve Rogers”. PERFECTION.
  • Cap’s beard – also perfection.
  • Peter Dinklage as Eitri. I loved the whole forging of the axe segment on Nidavellir. Glorious and funny as Hell.
  • Girl power on the front line – when Okoye and Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) rock up to fight alongside Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), I cheered and then got a lump in my throat. Female unity hasn’t exactly been a thing like this before (or before BP, that is) and I’m here for all of it – more please Marvel. Also, the line: “She’s not alone”, pass the fucking tissues.
  • Hulk in hiding is a new exploration of PTSD and I liked this too – plus we get more Ruffalo screen time and the contrast between Bruce Banner and Hulk is really interesting – I look forward to seeing the jolly green giant again but for now: oh hai, Mark!
  • Also the awkward reunion of Romanoff and Bruce – so many emotions in one simple, brief exchange.
  • We got more from Scarlet Witch and her skills which I’m here for, as well as more Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) – although I don’t think Gamora can come back, I’m hopeful they’ll find a groove for Nebula somewhere and evolve her character more.
  • Dat post-credit scene, man. “Motherfu…”
  • And so many other scenes and little details that I’ve probably forgotten to mention.

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The Not So Best Bits

  • Could take or leave the Scarlet Witch/Vision (Paul Bettany) love-in. Wishy-washy as fuck. Also, how does he get into human form, is this a thing now?
  • Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) at the best of times but in this his petulance really came through and irritated me, not least because he fucks things up for the others. I get he’s got some grieving to do but look at the bigger picture, dude.
  • Not enough Wong (Benedict Wong) – where did he go, off to make a cuppa while the universe imploded? (Actually, fair play, that’s where I’d be).
  • It did seem just a teeny bit easy for Thanos to get all those Infinity Stones one by one (sacrificing his daughter aside).
  • No Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) or Korg (Taika Waititi)? Criminal!

So all in all, I am one happy fan-bunny (and I’m seeing it again tomorrow). While I had initial reservations about keeping up with so much, I think it was handled perfectly with little splinter groups mixing things up. Introducing new dynamics and building new relationships was a stroke of inspiration and one of my favourite elements. I can’t wait for Avengers 4 now.

All that build up over a decade and we get this: if not a masterpiece, then pretty blimmin’ close.

My Rating

5/5.

Black Panther

Black Panther (2018)

Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Letitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Daniel Kaluuya, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke

IMDB Synopsis

T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

*Minor spoilers*

First off, I have no clue how I’m supposed to get all my thoughts about this film down coherently. I loved it. I loved it more than any other Marvel movie I’ve seen, that’s for sure.

While I watched, I had similar feelings to those I had while finally seeing Wonder Woman for the first time – it just blew me away.

So T’Challa (Boseman) finds himself freshly crowned King of Wakanda following the death of his father in Captain America: Civil War (at the hands of brain-washed super soldier Bucky Barnes). He’s a fine replacement with his feet firmly on the ground, which is surprising given all the adventures he’s been on recently with his new buddies.

The various friendly (and not so) factions of Wakanda are for the most part happy with this new appointment and they all plan to get on peacefully with life in the technologically advanced (and aesthetically mind-blowing) Wakanda.

Well, that would make for a very short and cheerful Marvel vehicle if that was that, so you’ll be relieved to note that there is a bad guy lurking on the outskirts, the mercenary Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis: 100% would bang). Klaue (CLAW!) has got hold of some cheeky Vibranium, the precious metal used to power the whole of Wakanda – and he’s looking to weaponise that shit. Backed by a small crew, Klaue is wreaking havoc much to the dismay of T’Challa and his council.

Pushed to do something about Klaue, particularly by buddy W’Kabi (Kaluuya) whose father was killed by this maniac, the new King rounds up his own team: the mighty General Okoye (Gurira) and spy/crush Nakia (Nyong’o). Teched up to the nines by T’Challa’s precocious sister Shiri (Black Museum‘s Letitia Wright) how can they fail? But there are obstacles along the way, guys – massive, stressful obstacles.

Will the rightful King overcome them, protect the throne, get the girl and above all, do the right thing by his people? I’d say get up THIS SECOND, go to your local picture house and find out for yourselves.

Black Panther is beautiful to look at obviously. The insanely advanced Wakanda is stunning, something to truly marvel at (lol) but it’s not just about the scale, it’s about the colours, the framing, the COSTUMING – the costuming is wonderful, authentic looking and practical. Once again I am reminded of the incredible achievements of the Wonder Woman costume department and it’s very moving to witness practical and attractive (yet not hyper-sexualised) armor worn by the women in battle.

Obviously I have to mention how female this film is, how equal rights and awesome it is that King T’Challa has his back covered by a bunch of women. How the General of his army is a woman and how the whole of Wakanda is powered by his genius younger sister. T’Challa is influenced by the ideals of his true love, a female spy and warrior, who’s first concern is to help those with less than they have themselves – even as he is offering her the world to stay by his side.

The cast in an unbelievable collection of talent, from Angela Fucking Basset to my favourite, Daniel ‘Tealeaf’ Kaluuya. I love the holy trinity of women too, they’re everything.

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And while Black Panther is not the first black superhero we’ve ever seen (uh hello? Blade?), on this scale with this cast it is awe-inspiring to witness. Though it shouldn’t be a big deal in 2018 that we’re finally getting a main-stream film with a predominantly black cast rooted in black culture and the black experience – it fucking is.

My Rating

5/5.