Archive for adaptation

Review: Deadpool

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2016 by Tom Austin-Morgan

Deadpool Poster

First off: I thought I’d posted this over a month ago. Secondly: I’m a massive Deadpool fan, so this review could be heavily biased. (Aside: It will be.)

What is there to say about this film that either hasn’t already been said or could possibly spoil it. For once we’ve been given a film where the trailer gave away quite a lot of the plot and the set-pieces, but it didn’t matter.

Deadpool isn’t a traditional super hero film and it has managed something Fox, Sony, Warner Brothers and even Marvel have failed to do; appeal broadly to an audience that wouldn’t otherwise go. The Warner Bros. films might be seen as too earnest, the Marvel films might seem too unwieldy what with all those characters and interlinking stories, The Fox films have messed about with time-travel and the Sony films have re-invented Spider-Man for the umpteenth time. Deadpool stars heart-throb Ryan Reynolds, it looks funny, and it’s not taking itself seriously at all.

This is why Deadpool has given Fox its highest opening weekend ever, even more than Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and the highest opening weekend for a 15 (R-Rated) movie ever. It’s different from anything people have seen in a super hero film. And this should worry you.

I could go on to describe how I started laughing about five seconds into the film and didn’t stop throughout, or the fact that Reynolds was born to play this role. I could also go into the two-dimensional supporting cast and how this isn’t necessarily a problem. I could even go on to explaining all the in-jokes and how much this is a film for the fans that, somehow, appeals to many more than the core Deadpool-reading audience. But there’s no reason as everyone is saying he same thing and by now you really should have seen it.

What I will say is that Hollywood regurgitates successes ad nauseam until it gets old, so expect to see a lot more gore and close-to-the-knuckle comedy in superhero films going forward. Already Warner Bros. have said there will be an R-Rated version of Batman v Superman;Dawn of Justice for the DVD/Blu-Ray release and Fox have stated their final Wolverine movie will be R-Rated too. The problem with this is that the gore and some of the language suits Deadpool, it may work for Wolverine, but it doesn’t really suit Batman and really isn’t needed in a Superman film.

Not everything needs to follow a successful formula to be a hit. Deadpool didn’t and look what happened there… oh, wait…

If you’ve not seen this film it’s too late, but it is well worth a watch. Could be a little annoying for those not familiar with ‘the Merc with the Mouth’, but that’s who he is and this film is unashamed of that, as it should be.

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Review: Thor

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by Tom Austin-Morgan

Thor is the latest in the slew of Marvel films leading up to ‘The Avengers’, coming out next year, and the first of the massive budget blockbusters of the Summer.

This is a slightly different beast than its superhero predecessors in that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) isn’t actually a superhero; he is the eponymous Norse God with the magic hammer, Mjöllnir. Though rather than Conan-style loin cloths or Hagar the Horrible furs and horned hats, these Norse Gods wear futuristic fantasy armour and chainmail. Thor even manages to get away with wearing a cape.

The premise is that Thor is banished to Earth from Asgard after invoking the wrath of a race of Ice Giants from another realm, Jotunheim,  by his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Upon his arrival he is hit by a car carrying a group of scientists who have been studying strange weather patterns in the desert near the U.S./Mexican border. Now lost and hospitalised Thor has to redeem himself to regain his powers, which have also been stripped from him.

Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents find Mjöllnir in the desert and begin to confiscate the work of the scientists who ran him over. This team is led by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman, who is having a very busy year), or possibly Erik Selvig (Stellen Skarsgård) and accompanied by, for no obvious reason, Darcey Lewis (Kat Dennings). Portman becomes the love interest in a tender scene on top of the building she works and lives in where Thor explains where he comes from.

So Thor helps them to get their work back just as the rest of his pals (whose names I didn’t catch and weren’t repeated enough for you to remember them, which was a shame) from Asgard beam down to Earth to warn him of foul play back home involving his mischievous brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleson). Loki has sent a behemoth down to smite them all and the obligatory ridiculous giant robot fight scene starts with Thor eventually regaining his powers after seemingly giving his life for the fate of the world…or the shit-splat desert town he has found himself stranded in.

The Gods and Goddesses beam back to Asgard to face-off against Loki who has taken the throne, and whose motivations become slightly blurred at this point. But after a fist-fight and destroying the Rainbow Bridge, which connects Asgard to the other realms, and therefore from Jane, the film ends with both of them trying to find a way back to each other (Jane having been recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D.) which will obviously happen as it is stated in the credits that “Thor will return in The Avengers”.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film’s visual style is breathtaking. The quality of the landscapes of Asgard and the Ice Giant’s world of Jotunheim are incredibly well detailed and textured. The costumes are worthy of note as well, though if the acting wasn’t as good as it is they could have run the risk of looking camper than Christmas.

The acting isn’t so serious that the film loses sight of the fact it’s a comic book adaptation; there are some genuinely funny moments of slapstick where Thor is hit by a car, tasered and sedated by a large group of doctors while trying to escape a hospital. The scene-stealer though is Anthony Hopkins as Odin: he is a larger-than-life actor who clearly relishes hamming it up to play the king of the Gods unlike Stellen Skarsgård, who barely manages to conceal his bewilderment with the storyline. But top marks to Hemsworth who resembles and acts like a more muscular Brad Pitt circa ‘Troy’ with a real knack at comedic acting like later career Pitt.

This is a big, big blockbuster where everyone involved in the film is having a lot of fun and this genuinely rubs off on the audience. After a slow start, with a lot of back story explanation, you find yourself getting more involved as the story kicks off and unfolds. By the end you realise you’re having a brilliant time as is everyone else. Instead of feeling like a prequel to ‘The Avengers’ I feel this film stands up well on its own alongside the likes of its Marvel counterparts.