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Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
2016 | Action, Sci-Fi
Mini Avengers, Assemble
Is anyone else getting bored of superhero films? Nope? Just me then. We’re not even halfway through 2016 and there have been three of them. In February, there was Deadpool, a film that despite all the odds, turned out to be smashing – despite its generic finale.

Then, DC tried to compete with Marvel in March with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It was fine, if far too long and lacking in any real drama. Now, Marvel is back with Captain America: Civil War. But can it break the superhero tedium that has started to settle in?

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is back and he is not happy. The titular hero, and the rest of our beloved Avengers clan, are asked to sign up to a UN treaty, designed to reign in their unsupervised power after a dramatic and deadly battle against terrorists in Nigeria. It turns out the Avengers lost the PR war and countries across the globe want blood – well them to back off a little at least.

Most of the fan favourites return in Civil War, with Robert Downey Jr proving once again why he was cast as Tony Stark/Iron Man all those years ago. He is a commanding presence and brings to the table some of the best one-liners outside a fully-fledged Iron Man film.

Elsewhere, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision) all return and despite the increasing number of characters all make their presence felt throughout the course of the film – something Avengers: Age of Ultron failed to do.

However, the film belongs to the characters that join the film and the Marvel Universe. Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man makes a truly exceptional appearance and features in Civil War’s most memorable scene – a brilliantly choreographed battle between two sides in a deserted airport.

And, the long-awaited “homecoming” of Spider-Man to the MCU is thankfully worth the wait. He’s been teased in the trailers and I’m pleased to say his screen-time is far greater than anyone could have imagined. Young Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker may need some time to settle in, we have a Spider-Man reboot to look forward to in 2018, but he makes a cracking first impression.

So, with all those characters it’s fair to say that Civil War should be renamed “Mini Avengers Assemble” as there’s far more at stake here than a simple Captain America movie. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have created the film that Age of Ultron should have been and it’s a slight disservice to their incredible work that the film isn’t labelled as a full Avengers feature, despite the lack of Thor and Hulk.

The action is beautifully filmed and the locations are fabulous. From Africa to America and from Germany to London, nearly every inch of the world is touched upon in some way – yet it doesn’t feel disjointed.

But what makes Civil War stand out from all the rest is its human side. This isn’t a superhero movie that ends in a climactic battle against a faceless army, it explores the human impact of our characters’ actions and the emotion radiates from its heart.

Yes, it’s 20 minutes too long but apart from that, I can’t think of a bad word to say. It has reinvigorated a genre that was starting to turn a little stale. Bringing together a set of characters that against all the odds gel together so well makes it feel as fresh as Iron Man did way back in 2008.

If this is the magic the Russo brothers can work at Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War should be something truly special indeed. X-Men: Apocalypse, you have your work cut out.

Oh, and wait right up until the end credits for something very special indeed.

Gareth von Kallenbach (826 KP) rated the PC version of Marvel's Avengers in Video Games

Sep 7, 2020  
Marvel's Avengers
Marvel's Avengers
2020 | Action/Adventure
Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have combined to create one of the most enjoyable Super Hero games ever and one of the more enjoyable gaming experiences of 2020. In Marvel’s Avengers; players are introduced to Kamala Khan; a huge Avengers fan who is invited to be a Fan Fiction finalist and VIP at the massive A Day convention in San Francisco.

What starts as a celebration for the famed heroes soon turns tragic and the game picks up five years late in a world where the Avengers and Heroes are no more. A corporation known as AIM has acquired Stark Industries and maintains their version of law and order through specialized forces as robotic Synths. It is revealed that a reactor powered by a new source was to blame for the A Day disaster and it has created Inhumans as a result.

Kamala finds herself able to stretch her body and upon learning that things on A Day were not as the world has been set to believe sets off with AIM hot on her heels to unlock the clues and save the Avengers.

Along the way players will play as several of the iconic characters and will encounter group missions where players may be matched online or assigned A.I. companions.

Each characters has their own unique skills and timed special abilities which recharge after use and can be a game-changer as enemies become more numerous and difficult.

Each character also has their own combat moves and abilities ranging from ranged attacks to close quarters combat. While The Hulk can throw objects; he is better suited to get in close and mix things up. Iron Man while capable of delivering punches is better used flying and hovering and blasting everything he encounters.

Part of the joy of the game aside from the engaging story is learning new ways to defeat enemies including some team based body slams and other enjoyable moves.

Players are based on a Helicarrier and there are plenty of things to explore and naturally numerous cosmetics, upgrades, and such which players can obtain via looting or at many of the vendors they encounter.

Missions are assigned via a War Table and players have the option to select campaign specific missions or to mix in some side missions as well. Upon completion of the main game; players will have the opportunity to play more side and extra missions and can use a Quick Match open to play with other players as well.

There were a few glitches along the way on my PC build but while a bit annoying a first they became less frequent as the game went along. Some people may have issues with the look of the characters as Tony Stark for example looked to me more like a young Ben Affleck than Robert Downey Jr. but with so many interpretations of the characters over the years this is a minor issue as I was enveloped by the gameplay quickly.

Missions are enjoyable and the timed jump sequences are not unreasonable and players looking for a challenge will be able to adjust the game difficulty to a setting that best suits their style of play.

I first played the game at an invite only meeting during PAX West 2019 and after getting some gameplay time; the developers outlined to us some of the long-term plans for the game from new characters and cosmetics and so on. The game sets up further adventures well and I found myself enjoying the game and characters from starts to finish. The game does a great job establishing Kamala and building her character while giving players plenty of time as the classic Avengers and has more than a few nice surprises along the way.

4 stars out of 5
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
2010 | Action, Sci-Fi
Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

Performances – Robert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

Story – The story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi – The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

Settings – The film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special Effects – The special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.

Scene of the Movie – Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There is a small pacing issue.

Final Thoughts – This is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.


Overall: Fun sequel.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
2018 | Action, Sci-Fi
An Exhausting Thrill Ride
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been delighting fans of the comics and thrilling moviegoers since 2008 when Iron Man steamrolled itself onto the big screen in an epic fashion. From the special effects to the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, it was the complete package.

The culmination of all those films through Phase One, Phase Two and Three has come to a head in this, Avengers: Infinity War. It promises to be the biggest, baddest and most epic Marvel movie to date, but is it actually any good? Read on to find out.

Directed by Antony and Joe Russo, the masterminds behind the fantastic Captain America sequels, Infinity War picks up just after the end of Thor: Ragnarok. This starting place seems fitting and not jumping too far ahead of the finale of that film is perfect to reintroduce our beloved heroes.

The cast form one of the best ensembles ever put to screen, though from each of their solo outings, this is really no surprise. Seeing Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America et al come back together is frankly, a joy and the film works best when there are as many heroes on screen together as possible.

A highlight in this instance is Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange – prepare to jump on the Steven Strange bandwagon. After a relatively lacklustre solo outing, his character pops on the screen and really benefits from the Russo brothers zingy direction.

As is the case with many films involving such a large cast, much of the 149 minute runtime is spent following a few of them at once, each going about their own mission in relation to stopping Thanos and his possession of the Infinity stones. If I count correctly, there are 3 quests going on at once, but only two are really successful.

Special effects wise, this is a $400million movie, so you know what to expect. For the most part, the CGI from Industrial Light & Magic is seamless and really rather beautiful. The motion capture work done on Josh Brolin to turn him into Thanos is exquisite and the end result is a truly menacing villain. Elsewhere however, there are a few corners cut if you look closely enough, but I’ll leave it down to you to try and spot them.

Focussing on Thanos himself, he proves to be a fitting villain for a film this gargantuan in scale. His towering presence and almost demonic sense of entitlement completely does away with the stereotypical Marvel bad-guy problem that the MCU has been suffering with. Obviously helped massively by Brolin’s incredible performance, Thanos is up there with Loki in terms of sheer entertainment value.

Nevertheless, Avengers: Infinity War is not a perfect film and it would be wrong of me to pretend it was. Despite its massive length, elements do feel rushed from time-to-time and cramming 20+ characters into a film was never going to be a slam dunk. Some moments that should have deep resonance really don’t reach the emotion they were clearly intended to do, and that’s because of the film’s need to tie up as much of the plot as possible. Thankfully, from a tonal perspective, the Russo brothers manage to keep the balance almost perfect and it’s a vast improvement over Joss Whedon’s disjointed Age of Ultron.

My biggest issue with the film however, is the ending. Avengers: Infinity War is not a film you come to the end of and applaud. In fact, the main response from the entire screening of the film I was watching was a collective groan as the end credits begin to roll. Despite the promise that Infinity War would work as a standalone movie; it just doesn’t. It’s very much a starting chapter for what comes next in Avengers 4. But we need to wait just over a year for the concluding chapter to arrive in UK cinemas, and that is incredibly infuriating.

Overall, Avengers: Infinity War is a culmination of everything Marvel has been working towards for a decade. In its favour are an incredible cast, that trademark MCU humour and some stunning action sequences but these are offset by an infuriating ending and a lack of emotional heft to the film’s inevitable darker moments.

This may definitely be the biggest movie in the MCU and it’s definitely the 2nd best Avengers movie, but it’s not quite up there with the very best.
The Avengers (2012)
The Avengers (2012)
2012 | Action, Sci-Fi
Contains spoilers, click to show
First of all I will not be referring to this film by the crap UK name of Avengers Assembled. The film is The Avengers and that all it needs to be called.

This is biggest and most anticipated film from the last few years. It is a sequel to the Marvel films Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America (2011) and The Incredible Hulk (2008). But is it possible to make one film starring them all? Would it work with all of them in lead roles? The film brings together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) & The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) along with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). They join forces against Thor's Brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who has unleashed an alien race upon the Earth so he can conquer it.

As many of you will know by now, I am a huge action movie and comic adaption fan, so this film exactly what I was looking for. I kept away from many reviews and possible spoilers. However I had to see the trailers. After seeing them and being blown away I got a little worried for the film. Many trailers use so much of the action and plot that they show most of the good parts of the film. I really hoped that this wouldn't happen with this one. I wanted this film to be good.

After the first 5 minutes I was worried. The film started out well but there was a really really bad camera cut/edit. For a film fan it stood out and slapped me in the face. I started to worry that it was a sign of things to come. However my fears were soon dispelled as the film sucked me in with outstanding direction, visuals and 3D effects like I have never seen before. The way the film was prepared starting out with Iron Man in 2008 and then tying in all the following films together are a big lead up to this one. A huge gamble but it really paid off. The outstanding cast work so well together. With all these larger than life characters already having their own individual stories told, all what was left was to bring them together. But first they start out against each other. Their individual egos explode as they battle each other with explosive devastation. Soon they all share a common goal and start to band together. Then the film really lets to. Up until this point it was amazing. When they finally start working together that's when an amazing movie exceeds all expectations and takes the superhero genre to a level never before seen. This is also the point then the 3D effects take on a whole new level. Prior to this they were used for depth and clarity of the film very well, but now it bring you in to the film and doesn't let go. The greatest effect is an alien ship appearing from over your head. It actually startled me as it appeared above my head before it was on the screen. Never before outside of a theme park has a 3D film managed this.

Fortunately it didn't just meet my expectations, it exceeded them more than I ever thought possible. I really can't find the right words to convey how good this film really is. It has moments where you laugh so hard you cry, amazingly the best of these involve The Hulk! There are moments where you find yourself holding your breath at the sheer scope of what you are seeing. The action raises the bar for the genre to maybe unattainable heights. This film is so very good.

I usually rate films on a scale of 1-10 but 10 feels inadequate for this. So for this one I am using 1-100. This film scores a 99. Only losing out on 100 due to the single bad edit at the start of the film. Joss Whedon has managed the impossible with this film and pulled of a film no one expected to be so good. For this reason and for the first time my stand out performance is the director Joss Whedon, for creating a perfect superhero movie.

You have to see this on the biggest screen you can find and in 3D
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
2019 | Sci-Fi, Thriller
The MCU will never be the same again
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Avengers: Endgame is the best movie of the MCU, because frankly; it isn’t. It’s not even in my top three. However, as a culmination of everything Marvel has been working up to since 2008, it has to be applauded.

From a technical standpoint, Endgame is like nothing else we’ve ever seen come to the big screen, with a cast that pushes the film to breaking point, characters we remember from movies past and some we had perhaps forgotten about hit the screen in epic fashion. But how good is the finished product?

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers – Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner – must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos – the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who have by this point, helmed four MCU movies including the brilliant Captain America: Civil War are a safe pair of hands for this incredible feat of film-making, even if the movie feels overstuffed from time to time.

The film starts off exceptionally, with beautiful cinematography lending itself to some intriguing character development. Let’s not forget that we’ve been growing with some of these characters for 10 years and yet Endgame still manages to surprise and delight with new facets of their personalities.

This is helped of course by the tightly written script, but is mainly down to the actors who portray these icons of cinema. Robert Downey Jr is the best he’s been since the solo Iron Man movies and both Chris Evans and Hemsworth are immensely likeable as Captain America and Thor respectively. Unfortunately, Thor’s character arc here is a little disappointing as the Russo’s turn him into the butt of too many jokes – he is the god of thunder after all.

Where the film does suffer is with some of the newer characters. Brie Larson’s irritating Carol Danvers gets far too much screen time for someone so new to the franchise, and this sometimes feels at the expense of better, more established fan favourites. There’s nothing particularly wrong with her Captain Marvel, but she’s wooden and remains unlikeable, as she did in her solo outing earlier this year.

One individual that does standout however is Karen Gillan’s, Nebula. Always a secondary character up to this point, it’s fantastic to see her blossom and fully embody the personality of the troubled cyborg. In fact, she’s probably the best character across the entire running time.

Moments that should have more poignancy don’t get the respect they deserve
Josh Brolin’s Thanos is as intimidating as ever, though perhaps not as much as he was in last year’s Infinity War. And while the script-writing and humour are as spot on as you can imagine for a movie baring the MCU badge of honour, the Russo brothers are forced to re-write some of the franchise’s own rules – for plot reasons of course.

For fans of the entire universe, this proves unnerving but as with any series that’s lasted this long, some artistic license needs to be taken to keep it feeling fresh.

One thing that can’t be criticised however is the pacing. For a film a little over three hours long, Endgame never feels dull. Sure, there are moments that could have been trimmed down, but from thrilling set piece to thrilling set piece, the film steamrolls itself into a final hour that will have your jaw hitting the floor numerous times.

From a special effects standpoint, Endgame deserves praise. It would be easy to criticise the film for overflowing with CGI rather than the practical effects that the Star Wars and Jurassic franchises rely on, but this would be doing a disservice to the wonderful work the effects teams have done on this film. At no point are you under the illusion that this is all real, but it’s the best the MCU has been, especially towards the finale.

Nevertheless, the sheer scope of the film proves to be its undoing at times. Moments that should have more poignancy don’t get the respect they deserve and the number of characters vying for screen time naturally means some sacrifices needed to be made here and there.

Overall, Avengers: Endgame is a fitting tribute to the 21 films that came before it and acts as a cathartic exercise, putting to rest over a decade of thrilling, emotional and exciting movies. It’s action packed to the point of being exhausting and is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a technical marvel, but it just doesn’t quite hit the same heights as Infinity War and dare I say it, Thor: Ragnarok. As I stated at the beginning of this review, it would be easy for me to say Endgame is the best film in the franchise, but that would be doing a disservice to you the readers and the incredible films that truly deserve that title.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
2016 | Action, Sci-Fi
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/ Captain America RDJ as Tony Stark/Iron man Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-man Chadwick Boseman as Black panther/Tchalla (1 more)
The Airport fight scene The climatic three-way battle Zemo is a fantastic villian brilliantly played by Daniel Bruhl Feels like a Captain America movie Giant-Man is awesome,so is Paul Rudd
Zemo's plan was a bit too convenient (0 more)
Mission Report, December 16, 1991
"Captain America: Civil War" is not only the best "Captain America" movie yet, but it may just be at the very top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to it's emotionally satisfying themes. That may seem like extremely high praise, so I will explain why I believe that to be true, as well as why I think this is the most mature Marvel film to this point. Loosely following the events of both "Captain America: The Winter Solider" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron," while still harking back to previous films from this universe, this 13th installment in the ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe, follows the team on different paths as they are once again pulled together.

Opening the film in the past, audiences will be given a look into the life of the Winter Soldier, as his character will later have the biggest impact on the story at hand. Flash forward to the Avengers. The team is realizing that the events from the past have killed many innocent lives in the process and they must decide whether or not they want to sign the "Sokovia Accords" and be restrained by the government, and only released when called upon. This divides the team stronger than ever before, creating friction as to what the right move truly is. Then arrives the Winter Soldier. Still brainwashed, Bucky causes Steve to go after him (a fugitive), thus sparking the war of family and friendship within the team. This is just the basis. There are many levels to this picture, including the addition of Zemo as the side villain.

This character served a very pivotal role in my opinion and definitely does not deserve the flack he is receiving. Daniel Bruhl is terrific in everything he is in and he only justified that more with this character. Without giving anything away, his character is involved with the heart of the story and is the reason for many actions/motivations. This review has been very dour so far and that is due to the fact that the entire first act of this film is extremely sad, but enjoyably so. Unlike certain unnamed films, this has a very light tone which elevates enough of the somber moments, making for a very balanced film throughout.

The central dynamic/conflict of Steve Rodgers (Captain America), Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier) and Tony Stark ( Iron man) is what elevates the film for me. These are my three favourite characters and you follow their stories as they weave together and by the end you don't know who's side you are on as they beat each other down in what i'd call the most brutal fight in the mcu. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr are fantastic in this film both of them once again improve their performances over the other films but Sebastian Stan steals the movie for me, Bucky Barnes is a tragic character and sebastian sells you on that tragedy and also makes Bucky likeable again whilst not being the winter soldier persona but also not the same Bucky from the first avenger. You sympathize with him even after all of the bad things he did, he was amazing and his arc was my favourite in the movie.

Speaking of the light tone, the addition of "Ant-Man" and "Spider-Man" was absolutely fantastic and needed for this depressing story. It is hard to watch the character having to fight each other, especially when you have come to love them over the last eight years, so it was necessary to include some fun. Paul Rudd is great once again, "fanboying" out just like audiences, and his action sequences are nothing short of crowd-pleasing. That being said, "Spider-Man" is still the standout here. Tom Holland get's a very solid introduction as to who he is, where he has been, and how he got his spider abilities. The chemistry between Peter and Tony was masterful and I could not get enough of it. "Spider-Man" nearly steals the show with his contribution.

Within two scenes of meeting "Black Panther," they are able to establish his past, why he is present, and what his motives are, as far as siding with "Iron Man" goes. No, he does not have a clear side, but that is for specifics that can not be discussed here. Chadwick Boseman is great and his action sequences are terrific. It may seem like this review is overly character-driven, but that is exactly what this film is all about. Developing character in characters you thought you had already known from front to back. The excessive amount of layers in this film work in many more ways than one.

Joe and Anthony Russo have proven why they are the best thing that could have ever been added to this universe, directing this film with ease. Bringing on the directors of "John Wick" (Chad Stahelski and David Leitch) was an incredible idea, as the action sequences throughout this entire film are some of the best you will ever lay eyes on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If for some reason you walked out of this film disappointed, I can confidently say that you are crazy to not have been blown away by the action throughout this picture, especially the incredible airport sequence.

"Captain America: Civil War" is first and foremost a Captain America sequel, while simultaneously being a great Avengers sequel. Directed brilliantly, terrifically performed all around, with jaw-dropping action set pieces and a very raw emotional core. "Captain America: Civil War" is a triumph in every sense of the word. Absolutely amazing.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
1971 | Crime, Sci-Fi
Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) is your average eighteen year old boy...if by average, you mean he fully embraces the old ultraviolence and wanders the streets with his three droogs causing havoc and doing whatever he likes; skipping school, breaking and entering, rape, and assault is just another average day in Alex's life. However, when a planned rape turns into an "accidental" murder, things start to turn fowl for Alex. His droogs turn on him and he winds up being caught by the police. He is then taken to a correctional facility where he spends the next few years, puts on the front that he's fully embraced the bible and that he's now a changed man. But when word makes round of the experimental Ludovico treatment, Alex realizes his chance at freedom and jumps through the proper hoops to get out of the penitentiary he finds himself in and get into the experimental facility where he can be "cured."

Alex is promised that he'll be a free man within a fortnight. The treatment consists of a drug known as Serum 114 being injected into the patient before making them sit through short films such as a man being beaten to a pulp, a woman being the sexual victim of several men, and a Nazi concentration camp film set to the soundtrack of Beethoven's ninth symphony. Alex begins to feel sick during the films and the doctors insist that it's part of the cure. Alex's love for music and Beethoven in general become one of the adverse effects of the treatment as the ninth symphony has the same effect on Alex as the urge to beat or rape someone would. Alex soon comes to realize that you can never go home again and that being a free man isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially after a treatment such as this.

It took 37 years after its initial theatrical release and 24 years of being alive on this planet (the original viewing of this film was in 2008) to finally get around to seeing A Clockwork Orange. The film starts and it makes the viewer feel like they've missed something entirely that everyone else already knows about, but as the film unravels it snowballs into a unique vision of cinema. There are shades of Altered States in A Clockwork Orange, but A Clockwork Orange feels much more polarizing in its presentation in comparison. Stanley Kubrick tries to shine this spotlight of beauty onto the most heinous of actions as the film’s classical score becomes the soundtrack to ferocious and almost inhuman desires. This is Kubrick’s adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name written by Anthony Burgess and it’s incredible how the film is able to remain captivating over a two hour period.

The film has a stunning restoration on the two-disc Blu-ray anniversary edition. Kubrick always had a brilliant eye when it came to perspective and camera placement; the majority of that could be contributed to Kubrick’s frequent collaborations with cinematographer John Alcott. The long hallway shots and close-ups on memorably haunting facial expressions are some of the most significant scenes in the film. A Clockwork Orange is loaded with vibrant colors that make every frame jump off the screen despite the film nearing half a century in age. This was the first film to take advantage of Dolby Digital surround sound, which contributes to the film sounding as good as it does.

Even with Stanley Kubrick as director, A Clockwork Orange wouldn’t be the same without Malcolm McDowell. McDowell fits the Alex DeLarge role as perfectly as Robert Downey Jr fits Tony Stark; these actors are these characters. The speeches McDowell gives in the film along with how traumatized he is after the treatment process are two of the biggest takeaways after viewing the film. This was one of McDowell’s first on-screen roles, which is surprising given how enthralling he is. You will never think of, “Singin’ in the Rain,” the same way again after viewing A Clockwork Orange.

A Clockwork Orange is a unique expedition into insanity no matter how you look at it. The dialogue is unusual and the characters are this fantastic blend of bizarre and diabolical, but the film is consistently engrossing and never seems to lag. Prior to 1986, the A Clockwork Orange novel was published in the US without its final chapter and that’s the version of the film Kubrick adapted. Anthony Burgess praised Kubrick’s version of the film despite this, which is more than what Stephen King did with Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. Every shot in A Clockwork Orange grabs your attention largely in part to how it’s presented or the colors that leap off the screen. The novel is written in a way that’s difficult to read and that often translates on-screen. Like most of Kubrick’s work, A Clockwork Orange is for a specific audience. It is perhaps what Malcolm McDowell is known best for and probably shouldn’t be recommended to just anyone since it would likely soar over a modern day moviegoer. This isn’t the type of film to have on in the background while you text or play games on your phone. Ultraviolence is something you have to embrace and give your undivided attention to.

This is viewed by some as one of the greatest sci-fi films ever by some, but it isn’t any less pretentious than the rest of Stanley Kubrick’s work. A Clockwork Orange is mesmerizing with a performance from Malcolm McDowell that leaves a long lasting impact, but its affinity to utilize difficult to decipher jargon, nonstop innuendo being slammed into your face, and overuse of animalistic violence shackles the film from being more appealing to a wider audience. From a personal standpoint, A Clockwork Orange is one of Kubrick's best but it's easy to understand why it wouldn't be for everyone.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
2019 | Sci-Fi, Thriller
It has "all the feels"
***There will be NO SPOILERS in this review***

AVENGERS: ENDGAME is an emotionally and artistically satisfying conclusion to 11 years and 22 films of the MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE.

Closing out "Phase III" in the MCU, the concluding chapter for most of the "original" MCU characters/actors, ENDGAME picks up the Avengers story right after the conclusion of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR - a film which saw our heroes lose the battle to Thanos, who snapped his fingers and half the living beings in the Universe vanished.

Instead of downplaying the grief that a survivor would feel, Directors Joe and Anthony Russo (veterans of many MCU films) wisely decide to "lean into" this grief which gives this film something that is surprising for a SuperHero film - emotional resonance. You grieve with these characters that you have come to know - and love - and share their pain and sorrow.

It's a wise choice for it adds a layer to this film that many Superhero films fail to achieve. Along with action, fun characters that you want to root for, interesting visuals and (are you listening DC?) - HUMOR, this film has "all the feels" (to steal a phrase) and will leave the MCU fan (both hardcore and casual) satisfied with the experience.

Also...interestingly enough...this film stands on it's own quite well. The guy next to me in the theater was a "newbie" to the MCU, dragged to the theater with his friends to be "part of the crowd" in this experience. Over the first 5 minutes he was asking his buddy a million questions about who is who and what is what...but after that he just settled into his chair and enjoyed the ride for what it is - even jumping up and cheering at a spot late in the film where EVERYONE in the sold out IMAX showing I was in was tempted to jump out of their chair and cheer (yes - there is THAT kind of moment in this film).

There is also I said..."all the feels". I don't usually tear up at movies, but I felt some glistening in the corners of my eyes and a lump in my throat on more than 1 occasion - sometimes with sadness, but, sometimes, with joy and exuberance. Yes! I had tears of JOY jumping out of my eyes at a few moments in this film.

But, if it is Special Effects spectacle you are looking for - no worries. There are PLENTY including a finale that is worthy of being the Final Battle in the Final Film for this Phase of the series.

And...the humor...this film has a surprisingly large amount of light, happy moments as well. I give the Russo Brothers - and the MCU - credit for realizing that humor is a good counterbalance to sorrow, action and suspense. I also give them credit for what character they decided to use as the "comic relief" in this film. It's a good choice - and the performer tapped to play the humor is equal to the task.

But, of course, none of this matters if the characters aren't interesting enough to root for - and this film has it in spades. We've watched these characters grow, develop, bond and tear apart over the course of these past 11 years, so there is quite a bit of emotional investment in the characters - and this investment pays of handsomely (again...if you are a "casual" fan or a "newbie", you'll be fine). But...if you are like me and are "into" the MCU then there is payoff after payoff in this film that is extremely satisfying.

The actors in ENDGAME are, of course, at the top of their game. They know they are capping a special moment in their careers and they "bring it". Starting, of course, with Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. His character goes through a wide variety of emotions through the course of this film and - if this is his last MCU film - he's going out in style. As is Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. These two are at the heart of this film - and at the heart of the MCU - and they take center stage with aplomb, tweaking their characters while respecting all that came before. To be honest, I never really bought into the Iron Man vs. Captain America "Civil War" storyline, but they tie that up nicely.

Of course the other 4 "Original 6 Avengers" - Chris Hemsworth's THOR, Scarlett Johansson's BLACK WIDOW, Mark Ruffalo's BRUCE BANNER and Jeremy Renner's CLINT/HAWKEYE/RONIN - are on hand and they all have their moments and take their bows as appropriate throughout. I also have to give some "props" to Don Cheadle's James "Rhodey" Rhodes/WAR MACHINE - kind of an unsung performer in these films and is a welcome sight who would have been missed had he not been there.

The other "survivors of the snap" - Bradley Cooper's ROCKET RACOON, Karen Gillan's NEBULA and Paul Rudd's SCOTT LANG/ANT MAN - fit in with the "original" Avengers quite well. This group of 10 is fun to watch. Add to them Brie Larson's CAPTAIN MARVEL to mix the drink and the concoction was intoxicating to me. A small "quibble" and I do mean a "quibble" - Danai Gurira and her character OKOYE is underutlized/underused for my tastes, but...that is just a "quibble".

Oh...and James Brolin is back as "big bad" Thanos - a worthy adversary, both emotionally, intellectually and physically for this group of SuperHero's to outwit/outlast/outplay.

Finally...without giving away any plot points...this story figured out a way to reflect on/pay homage to previous films in this Universe. It was a clever way to bring back stories/characters/moments from the past and to give some of these performers and moments a nice "cameo" curtain call.

I better stop now before I give away plot points - needless to say I LOVED THIS FILM - it was a very satisfying way to say "thank you and goodbye" to 11 years (and 22 films) of marvelous film making.

I'm looking forward to what the next 11 years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer - the bar has been set at the highest level.

Letter Grade: A+

10 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
2019 | Sci-Fi, Thriller
Robert Downey JR, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner....some to think of it, everything (0 more)
I'll let you know! (0 more)
Ending The Game
Contains spoilers, click to show
Avengers: Endgame - the concluding installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's 'Infinity Saga', has made box office history, breaking a number of records on its' journey (thus far) of becoming the second highest grossing movie ever in a short period of time. Bringing together the story threads of 21 films before it 'Endgame' had a number of hurdles to overcome - not only did the Russo Brothers have to find a satisfying way to reverse the effects of 'The Decimation' (if you have to ask then you're probably reading the wrong review!) but they had to do so in a way that did not lessen the impact of 'Infinity War', whilst bringing to a close a number of character arcs for many well respected and founding members of Marvel's flagship superhero team and setting the course and direction for whatever comes next.

The question is, did it succeed?

At the time of writing 'Endgame' has been in cinemas for over two weeks and all embargoes pertaining to spoilers have since been rescinded. It is on that note that I will make the following SPOILER ALERT and advise anyone yet to see the movie (is there actually anyone out there daring to call themselves a fan who hasn't seen it?!) to leave now.....

Endgame picks up a few short weeks after the events of 'Infinity War' and depicts the surviving heroes of Thanos's snap coming up again him once again. The encounter is very short lived but doesn't go as planned/hoped effectively destroying all hope for returning the vanished. Que a five year time-jump..

Steve Rogers heads up a support group for the survivors, Natasha Romanoff directs the remaining Avengers refusing to move on, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are living a quiet life raising their daughter, Thor has spiraled into despair at New Asgard effectively leaving Valkyrie in charge, Clint Barton has become the blood-thirsty vigilante Ronin - tracking down and eliminating those criminals who escaped the decimation when his family didn't, and Bruce Banner has found a way to merge personalities with the Hulk allowing both to co-exist as one (Professor Hulk).

Things look pretty grim until AntMan (Scott Lang) returns - quite accidentally, from the Quantum Realm bringing with him the key to bringing everyone back and reversing Thanos's decimation. And that's where time travel appears...

The Avengers must travel back to key moments in their history to remove the Infinity Stones and bring them to the present where Stark and Banner create their own Gauntlet to house them. This involves the second act of the movie displaying some time travel shenanigans as our heroes interact with events - and themselves, of previously seen movies. Such encounters include revisiting the events of Avengers Assemble, Thor:The Dark World, and Guardians Of The Galaxy. Don't expect a retread of the 'Back To The Future' franchise however, as Avengers: Endgame creates its' own rules for time travel. Basically, going back in time and interfering with established events does not alter the future - instead it creates a branched reality (think parallel timeline), however traversing the Quantum Realm will still return you to the original timeline you came from. In other words, go back in time kill Thanos, return to the future and you've changed nothing.... Simple, right?!

That's the basic gist, and all I'll give you for now.

Whilst this does follow on from 'Infinity War', 'Endgame' is stylistically and tonally a different movie. Whereas the former threw us straight into the thick of the action and never let up until the devastating conclusion, throwing a cavalcade of heroes at us in a relentless fashion, 'Endgame' scales it all back (for two thirds of the running time at least) focusing on the original six core Avengers (with strong support from Don Cheadle's War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Paul Rudd (returning as AntMan), and of course, Rocket Raccoon! With the preceding movie been Captain Marvel you would be forgiven for thinking Brie Larson would play a strong role in this movie, however - with a throwaway line earlier on justifying her absence, Carol Danvers features for all of around fifteen minutes! That's not to say she doesn't make an impact when she does I might add! Given the downbeat tone to 'Endgame' there is a lot of humour from start to finish - Chris Hemsworth, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, I'm looking at you most here!, which in no way detracts from the weight of what's at sake here.

Josh Brolin is back as Thanos, and Thanos...that's right, two versions of the mad Titan appear. The one whom our heroes go up against during the final third act is a past version who travels forward in time to present after seeing into his own future and witnessing the efforts of Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the lengths they are prepared to go to in order to 'decimate' his plans. This is a Thanos whom I would deem more ruthless that 'Infinity War's' protagonist, a Thanos now determined to erase ALL life in the Universe.

I imagine the biggest question - well, one biggie amongst many, fans going into this movie blind had concerned who would return after the shocking climax to 'Infinity War' (along with whether those who died in that movie stayed that way). There was never any doubt - was there, that the vanished would return? It isn't that much of a spoiler then to reveal that the final thirty minutes or so of 'Endgame' features every MCU hero on screen together embroiled in the biggest fight of their lives. And what a visual delight it is. The visuals in this film are fantastic and the final battle rivals anything Peter Jackson gave us.

I was fortunate enough to see 'Endgame' at the first screening (pre-midnight) at a local cinema and what an experience it was - a mini comic con. The atmosphere was electric and it was a highly memorable experience.

Everyone involved in this movie deserves kudos, for this lifelong superhero fanboy Avengers: Endgame is the best movie....ever.

If I may digress somewhat, there has been much confusion reported concerning the movie's ending, namely the resolution to Steve Rogers' story. Having returned the Infinity Stones to their rightful place in the MCU timeline Cap chooses to remain in the past (circa 1940-ish) and to live out his life with Peggy Carter (the final shot shows the two having that well overdue dance). Whilst the perfect sendoff this has left many conflicted as to the implications with some reviewers claiming this goes against the rules established earlier in the movie relating to the use of time travel. It really isn't that complicated. Essentially there are two theories at play that can explain the climax.
The first is that Steve simply lived out a life in secrecy within the established continuity, choosing not to involve himself in major events. This does not contradict what we've seen so far - back in 'The Winter Soldier' we see archive footage of Peggy from the nineteen fifties in which she talks about Captain America saving her (un-named) husband during the war. It isn't really a reach of the imagination to suspect that Cap and this man are one and the same. In the same movie, present day Steve visits a dying Peggy - clearly suffering the effects of dementia, who apologises to him for the life he didn't have. Could this be a reference to the man she married having to live a life of secrecy, choosing to stay out of the fight for fear of creating a divergent reality? Given that the movie establishes that actions in the past will not change the future (within the main timeline) Steve's interference would not change anything in 'our' reality anyhow.
The second theory is that Steve created a branched reality by reuniting with Peggy and lived a fulfilling life in that alternate timeline, only returning to the main timeline an old man when the time was right to handover the shield to Sam Wilson/Falcon (as seen at the end of the movie). Sure, this raises questions as to how Steve was able to cross realities but to be honest - that's a story for another time and the answer isn't important (for now).
Further confusing things is the fact that the Writers and Directors cannot seemingly agree, with Marcus and McFeely disputing the alternate reality theory that the Russo brothers subscribe to. You could argue that surely it is the Writer's view that counts, as..after all, they wrote it! Well, yes and no. The directors translate their understanding of the written word onto the screen and it has been reported that additional material was filmed after test audiences struggled with the time travel aspects of the film. Therefore it's not that hard to believe that the film - and that ending, were shot in a way that supported the film-makers understanding. I subscribe to the former - the romantic in me and all that, with Steve's story coming full circle with the revelation that he was always there with Peggy. Either way, both theories work and preserve the integrity of what has come before.
In any regard it's the perfect ending for Captain America!

So, to conclude....did it succeed? OH YES!!