Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Cinema Review)

12A – 137mins – 2017 – 3D


 

TEMPORAL SPACE AGENT

Based on Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières’ pulp comic book series Valérian and Laureline which lasted a monumental 44 years from 1966-2010, it is clear that acclaimed director Luc Besson sees this epic science fiction adaptation as his grandiose Avatar moment. Intricately designed and packed full of more CGI than all three Star Wars prequels combined, sadly this is less a return to his The Fifth Element success and more a John Carter-sized flop.

… Keep Scuttling!

Wonder Woman (Cinema Review)

12A – 141mins – 2017 – 3D


 

AMAZON PRIME

After being introduced with a supporting role (but no title credit) in last year’s bloated super-smash melee Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (which I reviewed HERE), DC Comic’s immortal warrior princess is granted her own solo mission, incorporating her 5000-year-old origin story into a prequel adventure set during World War I.

… Keep Scuttling!

IRON FIST, 1.1 – “Snow Gives Way” (Netflix Review)

Netflix – Season One streaming from 17th March 2017

Based on characters created by: Roy Thomas and Gil Kane

Created and Written by: Scott Buck

Directed by: John Dahl


 

CIRQUE DU PSYCHOPATH

Ant-Man aside, I have invariably been on the ball with watching all of Marvel Studio’s blockbuster comic book adaptations during their cinematic runs. Inversely, the television spin-offs have somehow evaded by attention. I’m not against seeing them, but I don’t consider them essential to the MCU. Plus, once I fell behind on Daredevil, I felt inclined to hold off on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage until I could watch them in production order.

… Keep Scuttling!

The LEGO Batman Movie (Cinema Review)

Image result for the lego batman movie

U – 104mins – 2017 – 3D


 

BUILDING UP THE BRAND

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller constructed franchise brick-starting gold in 2014 with the riotously hilarious Lego Movie, ably balancing razor-sharp humour, resonating heart, zippy action and a rainbow colour palette to make one of the funniest and most heat-warming cinema experiences I have had in a long time.

… Keep Scuttling!

MARVEL Iron Man: The Gauntlet (Book Review)

Written by: Eoin Colfer

Published in the UK by: Egmont, 27th October 2016

Pages: 273


AN INSTRUMENT OF PEACE

From page to screen and back to page again, award-winning Artemis Fowl author – and Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature – Eoin Colfer brings Marvel’s smart aleck comic book superhero to the North shores of his home country in this slick and snappy YA adventure which substitutes the colourful panel art we normally associate with the Iron Man property for zinging dialogue, explosive descriptions and profuse Irish stereotypes (“top of the morning,” leprechauns, Guinness, Riverdancing, “…, so” and U2 are all brought up – seriously).

… Keep Scuttling!

Doctor Strange (Cinema Review)

Image result for doctor strange 2016

12A – 115mins – 2016 – 3D


 

THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION

“Leave behind everything you thought you knew…”

A career-ending car accident sees astonishing-but-arrogant New York neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Black Mass Cumberbatch) traverse the globe in search of revolutionary and non-traditional healing techniques to cure his damaged hands. In Kathmandu, Nepal he is introduced to The Ancient One (Tilda Trainwreck Swinton), a master of the mystic arts who harnesses the desperate doctor’s spiritual powers to unleash his full potential.

… Keep Scuttling!

Suicide Squad (Cinema Review)

15 – 123mins – 2016 – 3D 


 

INJUSTICE LEAGUE

Following the far from unanimous critical response to DC’s universe-kickstarter Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in March, the Marvel comic book rivals were arrogantly confident that this anti-hero team-up would return favour to their flimsy filmic franchise. The promotion was typically bombastic and all the signs were promising, and then – on August 1st – the film was finally released…

*cue evil cackle*

Much like Suicide Squad’s psychopathic power couple, The Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn (Margot The Legend of Tarzan Robbie), David Training Day Ayer’s big screen adaptation is deluded into thinking that star names, good looks, colourful clothing and an iPod-shuffle mixtape is enough to get you through. But too much ghoulish make-up, too many tattoos and too many frightful fashion faux pas and you soon realise that these beautiful bad guys, much like this big budget blockbuster, is a schizophrenic, ugly mess.

Following the shocking conclusion to BvS (too spoilerific to reveal), a secret government agency led by intelligence operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) believes it has the answer: recruit incarcerated supervillains to undertake black ops missions in exchange for leaner prison sentences – just in time to take down supernatural terrorist The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), her resurrected brother, Incubus (Alain Chanoine), and a horde of monstrous minions. Surely nothing can go wrong…

With a raft of new characters – hitman Deadshot (Will Independence Day Smith), special forces officer Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Aussie thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), pyrokinetic El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), reptilian cannibal Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), mercenary Slipknot (Adam Beach), martial artist Katana (Karen Fukuhara) – all requiring origin story-esque introductions, the opening half of Suicide Squad is a flitting, flighty, mis-edited jumble of all-too-swift on-screen character bios, out-of-sequence Batffleck -cameoing flashbacks and random jukebox compilations.

Foregoing any “middle” to the single sentence plot, following the unsettling formation of this anti-Justice League, the film piles straight into an extended end sequence, with the unreliable rebels crossing the besieged Midway City to tackle the supernaturally-empowered witch-goddess – who has possessed the body of Flag’s girlfriend, Dr. June Moone.

There are promising aspects trapped beneath the quagmire (Will Smith is always engaging, while Harley gets the lion’s share of quirky quips), but there is simply too much going on for any of it to be given enough room to breathe. The much-hyped Joker is little more than a bit-part player intent on releasing his missus from her noble responsibilities, Killer Croc perhaps utters all of three gruff lines, while El Diablo lingers in the background for the first two action set-pieces – and these are main characters!

It’s been much-speculated that the film received an eleventh hour re-edit, so it’s hard to ascertain whether this staccato remix of Suicide Squad is David Ayer’s ultimate vision or a too-many-chefs conglomerate of audience-pandering turned sour. Either way, it’s the version we have to judge, and I’m afraid to say that on this evidence I’d be sending this reprobate back to the slammer and throwing away the key. A DC disaster which only makes me appreciate the less-than-perfect BvS more.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 2 stars