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My Thoughts On: Captain America: Civil War

civilwarheader
The best film of 2016?

I have just seen Civil War and if I had to sum up my thoughts in just one word: WOW.

I went into this film with very high expectations but Captain America: Civil War just blew those expectations out of the water. The Russo Brothers had big shoes to fill, knowing they’d be taking over from Joss Whedon as the MCU’s big directors but they’ve truly delivered a film that was exceptional.

Somehow, even with such a large cast, they managed to give enough screen time to everyone to make them be interesting (or in Hawkeye’s case- as interesting as anyone can make Hawkeye!).

Much like my post on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I’m not going to do a review because quite frankly you can find a million of those online all better than I could write. So, I’m just going to give my thoughts on the film from a fan’s perspective.

Now be warned- there WILL be SPOILERS ahead:

  • Be prepared for your allegiance to one team to be tested throughout. I went into the film 100% #TeamIronMan, then changed to #TeamCap during the film, and back and forth during the movie. By the end I was just #TeamLetsAllStopFightingAndBeFriends.
  • It looks like they are building a romance between Vision and Wanda Maximoff, much like in the comics, which I’m very happy with as they have excellent chemistry.
  • Actually, speaking of chemistry; the entire cast had a crazy amount of chemistry with each other. Tony/Steve, Tony/Peter Parker, Wanda/Vision, Cap/Bucky, Bucky/Falcon, Natasha/Clint, Falcon/Ant-Man, Natasha/T’Challa. It seems like everyone on set had a great connection with one another which really showed on screen.
  • There is a ‘bad guy’ in the film- Helmut Zemo (played by Daniel Bruhl) but at times even I was unsure just how bad he was. I mean, he had done some horrible things, but you can identify with his anger towards The Avengers after his entire family was killed in Sokovia.
  • There is a perfect ratio of action:verbal conflict. The film has a strong emotional undercurrent which makes it very difficult to decide who’s side you’re on because you completely understand the viewpoints of both.
  • Ant-Man became Giant Man which was brilliant. But even more brilliant was the David V Goliath symbolism when he was taken down by Spider-Man. But even more brilliant was that Spidey took him down by using his knowledge of Empire Strikes Back and how the AT-AT Walkers were knocked down.
  • Tom Holland is the perfect Spider-Man. He is the Spider-Man we deserve. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were good, but Tom is exceptional. He totally embodies what Spider-Man is supposed to be: dorky, loveable, annoyingly clever and with a heart of gold. All it took was about 40 minutes of screen time and he became my favourite character in a movie full of amazing characters. I am really, really excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming next year.
  • Marisa Tomei is the most attractive Aunt May we’ve ever had, by the way!
  • On the topic of new characters, T’Challa otherwise known as Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman was incredible. He was legitimately and believably bad ass, but also had his own internal struggle with the idea of vengeance after seeing his father get killed in an explosion set of by Zemo. Moreover, his Wakandan accent felt wholly authentic and natural.
  • Fans of Stucky (the ship of Cap and Bucky) will be pleased because they share some great moments together.
  • I almost died laughing when Cap kissed Sharon Carter and the camera panned to Bucky and Falcon looking on from a car with proud expressions.
  • Also, RIP Peggy Carter. You will be missed and you had a great TV show.
  • Spidey’s in-fight banter is amazing and funny, which I think other interpretations of Peter have struggled to get right in the past. Falcon even tells him that he talks way too much during a fight.
  • In the beginning moments, Black Widow gets a show-stealing action sequence when trying to track down a bad guy- fully proving that she’s the best combat fighter in the MCU.
  • Vision is swiftly becoming one of my favourite characters. He is always so level, he can so easily steal a scene just through his presence. Paul Bettany can play a synthetic character devoid of human traits with remarkably humanity.
  • Wanda Maximoff was played beautifully by Elizabeth Olsen. The expression on her face when her actions accidently led to the deaths of innocent citizens was heart-breaking.
  • There was also an epic scene where Cap was trying to stop a Hydra-infected Winter Soldier from escaping in a helicopter. Bucky is taking off but the chopper is caught by Steve who then grabs onto a nearby rail and uses all of his strength to stop Bucky from getting away. By golly, Captain America (and obviously Chris Evans) is quite the physical specimen.
  • The final showdown between Cap and Iron Man was epic. No more needs to be said about that.
  • Post-credits scene 1: Bucky decides to be cryogenically frozen again until scientists can find a cure to remove any traces of Hydra from his mind. He is in a Wakandan facility with Steve and T’Challa, and with the great minds of Wakanda working on it, I’m hoping it won’t be long until we see more of the Winter Soldier in action.
  • Post-credits scene 2: Peter Parker is playing with a device on his wrist when Aunt May comes in with an ice-pack for his wounded eye. When she asks who hit him, Peter responded with ‘Steve, from Brooklyn.’ Then May leaves and Peter turns on the device which shines a red light onto the roof, which is then shown to be the Spider-Man logo.

In conclusion; this film is absolutely fantastic and by far and away my favourite film of the year so far, and maybe even my favourite MCU movie so far. Would I recommend it? HELL YEAH.

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My Thoughts On: Pearl Mackie as Bill

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The Doctor and Bill

 

So here we have it, after months of speculation, the new Doctor Who companion has been cast. The lucky actress replacing the marvellous Jenna Coleman is newcomer Pearl Mackie.

Now, I’m not going to pretend I know anything substantial about Pearl’s acting career because quite frankly she’s not been in anything I’ve seen. However, the BBC did release a wonderful 2 minute teaser video showing The Doctor and Pearl Mackie’s Bill in action, which tells me all I need to know.

The clip (Which can be seen here) features The Doctor and Bill being pursued by a horde of Daleks. The Doctor and Bill find a corner to hide behind where Bill humorously questions The Doctor about the Daleks. I absolutely loved this part because it felt like a real reaction, if you’ve just seen a Dalek following you, you’d have no idea what they are and what they want- or in Bill’s case, why they have a sucky thing instead of two guns (“Did they run out of guns?”). This makes me think that Bill will be a nice departure from Clara who sometimes appeared to be a bit too knowledgeable which seemed a tad unrealistic.

I’d also just like to say that the style of Bill is just so awesome as well. Bill looks cool. Bill looks like someone I’d want to hang around with, and I totally love that.

One thing that I’m going to need a bit of time warming to is the companion’s name- Bill. I know it’s probably not going to sound especially PC of me, but stereotypically Bill is a boys name, so I think I was just caught a bit off guard. However, this definitely won’t be an issue for long because even as I’m writing this I can feel myself warming to the name and I’m beginning to feel like it actually suits the character that Bill appears to be.

Anyway, I feel like, based off of that clip alone, Bill will be a welcome addition to the TARDIS and that the Doctor Who crew had a tough task finding someone to replace the departing Jenna Coleman, but they appear to have risen to the occasion with the casting of Pearl Mackie.

I’m incredibly excited for the new episodes to air now, with an all-new companion. 2017 cannot come fast enough.

My Thoughts On: FOX’s Grease: Live

 

The cast of Grease: Live in the closing moments of the live-TV musical

Here’s a little known fact about me: I am a rather large fan of musicals. I think it’s hard to find a more well-rounded form of entertainment.

Recently, I’ve found that TV is getting rather stagnant, with unoriginal shows, and sheer lack of diversity in most broadcaster’s line-ups. Therefore, I was grateful when I heard that FOX was to broadcast a live production based off of the 1978 musical, Grease. Clearly I wasn’t the only one clamouring for a change in the content available, as FOX’s Grease: Live was watched by 12.2million viewers, beating NBC’s productions of The Wiz and Peter Pan.

With hope and anticipation I tuned into Grease: Live and I was immediately reeled in by a cute, but cheesy scene between Danny (played by Aaron Tveit) and Sandy (played by Julianne Hough) then leading into the first track performed by Jessie J as she was making her way around the set backstage, running into most of the cast members, including the Pink Ladies. This was a great and energetic way to kick-off the live broadcast and the pace didn’t slow down at all throughout the entire production.

I would love to give major props to Vanessa Hudgens, who performed as Rizzo less than 24 hours after hearing of her father’s death to cancer. She epitomised the saying ‘The show must go on’, and boy it did! Hudgens as Rizzo was a revelation. I must admit that when I first heard this piece of casting, I was unsure, but I could not have been any more wrong. Hudgens may have been born to play this role. Not only were her vocals in ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’ exceptional, but everything she did; her voice, her facial expressions, her mannerisms all encapsulated Rizzo.

However, she isn’t the only member of the cast that deserves high praise. They all do. Grease: Live was one of those rare occasions where I don’t believe there was a single weak link in the cast. It seems to me that everyone understood their characters expertly and played their role to perfection. Julianne Hough’s Sandy was innocent and strong-willed. Aaron Tveit’s Danny Zuko was bad-ass bad-boy with a heart of gold. Keke Palmer’s Marty was wonderfully exuberant, sultry and dramatic. Carlos PenaVega’s Kenickie was naughty and loving with a great set of pipes. Everyone else was superb as well, but this would get very boring, very quickly if I named every member of the cast (which had over 600 people- thanks for that little fact Vince Fontaine- I mean, Mario Lopez). Basically, the casting here was spot-on.

Lets talk about the choreography. Wow. This was astonishingly good. All the dance moves were crisp and brilliantly structured. The dance contest in Rydell High hall, whilst ‘Born To Hand Jive’ was playing, was fantastic. There was dancing going on everywhere. I couldn’t decide who to focus on! This just shows the quality and time the cast and crew put into making this whole production come together- and it all totally pays off.

Another thing that I thoroughly enjoyed about this production was that there was a live studio audience. I’m not too sure why, but this adds to the excitement for me watching at home. I wish I could explore this point further, but I really don’t know how. All I know is that I really loved having a live audience there.

I have just one problem with Grease: Live and that was the song ‘All I Need Is An Angel’, which was performed by Carly Rae Jepsen’s Frenchie. This was a brand new song, created especially for this production. To be perfectly honest, I would’ve preferred this to be left out. The didn’t fit with the rest of the tracks; it didn’t have that 50’s vibe to it. It felt far too modern for a musical set in the 50’s. However, that isn’t my only problem with the song. I felt like the song was too powerful for Jepsen’s vocal range and she just ended up getting drowned out. Don’t get me wrong, she has a wonderful tone to her voice, but she just couldn’t hit some of the harder notes, which made parts of the song sound a tad flat.

My Favourite Performance: I honestly can’t decide. A tie between ‘You’re The One That I Want’ and ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’.

My Least Favourite Performance: ‘All I Need Is An Angel’.

All in all, I would say that Grease: Live was a massive success. I hope and pray that FOX make this an annual thing and we can see more fantastic musicals brought live onto the silver screen!

 

 

 

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