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Avengers: Infinity War (Movie Review)


With the arrival of Ant-Man and the Wasp, I wanted to finish something I've put off for far too long. Three months ago, Marvel Studios released its nineteenth film, Avengers: Infinity War. I went to see it at the cinema, and wound up seeing it three times - half because of a poster promotion and half to see if the long-awaited film was worth the wait. This review is mainly for those who missed it in cinemas and are waiting for its release on Blu-ray and DVD on September 3rd. I'll keep spoilers to a minimum, but nonetheless beware!


After being teased and discussed in previous films, the Marvel Universe's greatest threat finally appears: The Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin). With his generals, the Black Order, he sets out to gather the six all-powerful Infinity Stones and wipe out half the universe. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) returns to Earth to warn Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), but with the Avengers torn apart after Captain America: Civil War, they are forced to join with two new allies: the Time Stone's guardian Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch); and Stark's young protégé Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Meanwhile, Cap (Chris Evans) and his fugitive band of Avengers come out of hiding to protect Vision (Paul Bettany), who is now a prime target for Thanos due to the Mind Stone powering him. In space, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt et al.) and recruits them to help secure the remaining Stones, and forge a new weapon to kill Thanos. However, the combined might of the Avengers and Guardians may not be enough.


As the culmination of everything we've seen so far in the MCU, Infinity War has a lot to achieve. As well as unleashing its ultimate villain, the film faces the challenge of packing the universe's entire cast into one film. Some, inevitably, didn't make the cut - but the main stars of the previous films are all here (or accounted for, in the case of Ant-Man). The film's main cast includes eighteen characters and, miraculously, they're all given a decent amount of screentime. Directors Tony and Joe Russo achieved this by splitting them up into smaller groups, each with their own mission. Everyone has a part to play however big or small, and they're all kept busy. Better still, the teams change as the film progresses, resulting in members clashing with each other. If you want to know how Iron Man and Doctor Strange would treat each other, or how Spider-Man would behave around Star-Lord, you're in for a treat. The heroes' interactions with each other make for the film's funniest moments, bringing much-needed relief to an otherwise grim story. However, some characters get more attention than others; and with Thanos in the picture, there's no time to catch up with their offscreen exploits. If you want to get the most out of Infinity War, you must watch all the films before it.


Whoever you root for, Infinity War's main star isn't one of the heroes - it's the Mad Titan himself. Josh Brolin portrays Thanos using the same motion-capture tech created by Weta for the Middle-earth and Planet of the Apes films. This not only makes him an impressive CG character, but an incredibly expressive one too. And thanks to Brolin's performance, he's one of the deepest villains the MCU has ever seen. Through the course of the film, you'll get to know his backstory, his mindset, and his reasons for finding the Infinity Stones - and unlike his comic counterparts, he isn't threatening the universe to "court death" in some way or another. There's method in the Titan's madness. He's also the strongest enemy the Avengers have ever faced. If you doubt that a purple alien giant could give Earth's mightiest heroes a tough time, you're in for a shock. He proved me wrong in the first five minutes. The Black Order are just as formidable, but sadly, they're nowhere near as fleshed out as Thanos. In the comics they're Thanos' adopted children and his strongest warriors, but on screen they're Children of Thanos in name only. However, their collective body count makes up for their lack of personality.


From the opening scene, Infinity War is the darkest film yet in the MCU. Like villains out of Game of Thrones, Thanos and the Black Order rack up a huge body count - and everyone they kill is a beloved character. It couldn't be more appropriate for a threat that's been teased for so long, but it may be too much for some people. Some deaths are especially hard to watch, pushing the film's 12-rating to its very limits. I wouldn't show this film to children. The film's tone is much, much darker than any Marvel film before it, and some may find it too tragic after the more light-hearted films we had last year. The Russos are filming a sequel to conclude Thanos' story, but it won't make Infinity War any less upsetting. I strongly recommend tissues whether you think you'll need them or not.


After ten years of waiting, Avengers: Infinity War made good on its promises - but between the huge cast and its dark tone, it may be too much for some fans. If you've seen the film, leave a comment below, or feel free to write to us on our Facebook or Twitter; and tell us if you're buying it on September 3rd!

Underrated Games: Sunset Overdrive


Let me refresh your memory. It's 2013 and Microsoft's brand new flagship console, the Xbox One, was revealed at E3. It would be an understatement to say the whole thing was anything short of an unmitigated disaster. Microsoft's reveal went as follows:

TV.
Must be turned on and connected to the internet at all times.
TV.
Users must use Kinect.
TV.
No borrowing your friend’s games because of DRM.
TV.
Major Nelson acting like a complete tosser.
TV!!!

Gamers were pissed, and longtime Xbox fans deserted the Xbox One in favour of the much more player-friendly PS4 (anyone remember this little zinger?), but the sad truth about the whole situation was that this anger drew our attention away from what really mattered: the games. When they weren't barraging us with information about how the Xbox One could play TV (you know, like a TV already can), the trailers Microsoft did show for Xbox One exclusive games at their press conference went mostly ignored. One of these games was Insomniac's new game, Sunset Overdrive. In all honesty, even with its excess 'tude and cartoony visuals, the trailer felt bland, and by the time it was released in October 2014, gamers were too busy playing their PS4s to care. Those who did own an Xbox One probably just picked it up because they needed an exclusive to make the purchase of their VCR-looking monstrosity worthwhile. Those who probably wished they had The Last of Us Remastered got the total opposite, and probably ended up trading it in. But if there was ever a game that got unjustly swept under the rug, it's Sunset Overdrive.



Let me cut to the chase. I adore Sunset Overdrive. I want to scream it from the rooftops as I grind along them, firing explosive teddy bears at energy drink-addicted zombies: Woooo! Sunset overdrive is fucking awesome! I resent that crappy trailer I saw back at E3 for completely underselling the energy, wit and charm contained within this game. Oh and did I mentioned that the gameplay is like a mix of Tony Hawk meets Jet Set Radio meets InFamous? That, my friends, is what I call an awesome recipe.


After creating a character using a character creation system not dissimilar from that of the Tony Hawk games (I picked the female character, because why not), you are thrown head first into the colour-soaked world of Sunset Overdrive. Your character is busy working, picking up empty cans at a launch event for in-universe drink company Fizzco's new energy drink OverCharge Delirium XT. Suddenly the new drink starts turning the customers drinking it into mutant zombie creatures (known in the game as OverCharge Drinkers, or simply OD). Naturally your in-game avatar runs for their life. This is where the gameplay starts. Sunset Overdrive is a third-person shooter game with extremely ridiculous traversal elements that defy the law of gravity. You make your way around Sunset City by wall running, air-dashing, zip lining, performing parkour, acrobatics, and water traversal, all whilst shooting down ODs in your wake. Controls are smooth, and there's always something to move you to your next destination, whether it be a wire to grind on, or a car to bounce on. This means you can move from one side of the map to the other, chaining moves together Tony Hawk-style, without touching the ground, and nothing stopping your momentum. Movement is always fluid, and stylish as hell, no matter how you want to mix up the route to your next destination. If the traversal in Insomniac's upcoming Spiderman game for PS4 is anything like Sunset Overdrive, then you Spidey fans should prepare yourselves for the best. Spiderman. Game. Ever.



Your character, after making their way to safety, joins up with various friendly characters across Sunset City to become part of the "awesomepocalypse", and fight the OD hordes, enemy factions know as SCABs and even killer Fizzco bots. These friendly characters send you all over Sunset City, running errands, and fixing what is broke, all whilst chattering back and forth with your avatar over radio. All of the non-playable characters in Sunset Overdrive are brilliantly eccentric in their own individual ways, and your main character's interactions with them always find a way to tickle your funny bone. Never once while playing this game did I find myself cringing at a joke that missed the spot — every joke had me smiling or laughing out loud. The sense of humour Insomniac implanted into Sunset Overdrive is an absolute treat to behold. While your character has the same lines regardless of their gender, I do recommend choosing the female character, as there's just something extra special about the sass the voice actress delivers her retorts and one liners with. Your main character is constantly ragging on everyone, and it's hilarious. When they're not doing that, they're also breaking the fourth wall, announcing things during missions like "I didn't even have to check GameFAQs" when the game teaches them a button combination for a new move or commending the fact that the game puts them back where they just were if they fall off a tall building during a mission.


But it's not just the characters that make this game, but the scenarios your avatar finds themself in. Scenarios range from hilariously bizarre (finding a preppy kid's robot dog or tripping on prescription medicine whilst covered in leeches) to epic as fuck (chasing a train armed with missile launchers down the tracks of an elevated railway), or a mix of the two combined (fighting Fizzco's sweary, murderous flying blimp mascot Fizzie in the sky). Even though it is an absolute joy to zoom across the giant sandbox of Sunset City between missions, I was often doing so to get to the next part of the story. Sunset Overdrive has so many creative surprises up its sleeves, and never feels repetitive, mixing in new characters, areas, tasks and enemies. It oozes charm, and it'll have you grinning from ear-to-ear from the beginning of its campaign all the way to the very end. What's more, Sunset Overdrive trades difficulty in favour of enjoyment. Of course, you'll probably still die sometimes when the enemies start to swamp you, but it's no biggie, because even dying is a treat in this game. When your character respawns, they re-enter the action in a number of different ways; such as exiting the DeLorean or Egyptian walking out of a sarcophagus. After getting my ass kicked, these charming respawn animations would never fail to turn my frown upside down. Basically, Insomniac even found a way to make dying fun. Bravo, chaps. 



To aid you in your OD killing spree, you have an arsenal of wacky weapons at your disposal, ranging from a vinyl record gun to the aforementioned gun that shoots explosive teddy bears. You can also unlock traps, that are put to use when you're asked to do tower defence style missions, that involve fighting off huge hordes of OD. Examples of traps include a bounce pad that shoots out flames, and a valiant robot knight that mauls enemies with death-dealing tennis balls.
You can also give your weapons, as well as your character, awesome extra abilities using Amps, which are unlocked by completing certain story missions or by trading in crap you find dotted around the map, such as shoes hanging from telephone lines or Fizzie balloons. You can also unlock Overdrives by performing certain actions numerous times, which upgrade your combat and traversal moves, making them more effective, or so you take less damage from certain enemies, etc. Overall, the more badass your character gets, the more fun the game becomes, and that's saying a lot, considering it was already an absolute blast to begin with.



In my opinion, the biggest thing holding Sunset Overdrive back is its Xbox One exclusivity. Perhaps if it had found its home on the much more popular (and less controversial) PS4, its fate might have been a little different (Insomniac owns the franchise - so a PS4 port isn't out of question). While I don't believe a game alone can sell a system, if you do have plans to buy an Xbox One (or get one donated to you, like I did) with a list of games in mind, add this to your list. It's practically being given away these days - I spent a grand total of £3.50 at CeX for my copy. While it's sad that the game has fallen so deep into obscurity that it's being sold at such a low price, it's great news for any of you lot who might want to give it a try... I mean, what have you got to lose? I gave it a try, and what an absolutely stunning surprise for me it was. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite gaming experiences in recent memory. My only complaint is that it all eventually had to come to an end.


Have you played Sunset Overdrive? Do you, like me, shake your head at the passage of time because this game deserved way more attention that it received? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or by leaving a comment below.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (Game Review)


Before getting into the nitty-gritty of what this game is and why it's such a delight, I need to say this: play it.

Wisth The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit being a 2 hour, free-to-play, single player adventure on PS4, Xbox One and PC, you're basically being gifted a half-evening's worth of a wonderful experience, suitable for anyone that just loves a good story.


*Minor spoilers ahead*

Made by Dontnod Entertainment, the developers of the BAFTA winning game, Life is Strange, Captain Spirit is a spin-off that also preludes to Life is Strange 2. You play as Chris, a 9-year old whose mother recently died, resulting in his father becoming a full time alcoholic. Utilising his unlimited imagination, Chris dons his superhero persona, Captain Spirit, who has the power of making the world a bit more bearable. You play as Captain Spirit in the same view as how Chris sees his heroics in his own imagination, being a vessel of escapism from his depressing home life. 

Heroics

Don't think that means this is like an episode of Riverdale (a dimly bland teen drama show, for those who don't know), because not only is the character of Captain Spirit the product of a child's imagination, it's fully expressed into the game's soul. The studio and Unreal Engine logos building up to the title screen are styled with paper-crinkled crayon colouring, that's replicated by the look of the quick-time commands. The opening sequence greets you with audible waves of the soulfully calm acoustics and vocals of "Death with Dignity" by Sufjan Stevens whilst Chris is acting out a space adventure with his toys. As Chris finally assembles the components of the costume you helped design, you're treated to a delightful Sailor Moon-inspired transformation sequence going on in Chris' mind. Dontnod clearly shows how it's one of the best developers at Square Enix, being able to ready players for two hours of treading the fine line between a child's perfect world and a brutal reality. 


You're given free reign to explore the house and snowy back yard as you please, completing Captain Spirit's heroic objectives and finding bits of lore lying around, rewarding you for your dedication in finding out more about Chris and his family's backstory. Whilst taking on Captain Spirit's missions, you choose how to approach interactions with Chris' dad, if you choose to interact with him at all. This is when Dontnod's emphasis on imagination starts to punch you in the face in the same way Chris' dad would in a drunken rage. You see mundane tasks transformed into the metaphorical adventures Captain Spirit sees them as. There's The Water Eater, a water-heater like monster in the dark boiler room that Chris has to conquer his fear of entering. You see a plumbing appliance as a terrifying spirit monster he must defeat in the name of justice. Or there's Snowmancer, an supervillain snowman whom you need to retrieve your stash of fireworks in order to blow up because reasons. 


The large number of nuggets of lore and easter eggs are slightly overwhelming, with me still missing some even though I was as thorough as felt I could be in a limited time frame. However, this is part of Captain Spirit's aim to to encourage replay, being incentivised with different items and interactions you may have missed out on the first time. For example, you may not figure out the locker combination to retrieve your stash of fire works in time in order to kill the snowy super villain. You may want to have another go at solving the pin combination to unlock in-game daddy's phone in order to play Mustard Party 2, an in-game Flappy Bird recreation with a sentient hot dog. How that alone wouldn't make you want to download this is lost on me. 


Charles

Charles, Chris' dad, is wallowing in grief both at the loss of of his wife and his glory days as a high school basketball star. Infused with a balanced breakfast of beer and a bottle of whiskey, he spends the majority of the game yelling at "inferior" athletes on TV and nourishing Chris with half-empty compliments or subtle portions of verbal abuse.The relationship between the two leads is the driving force of it all but it's elevated by the choices you make as you explore to progress the story. You can cook him some mac and cheese, do chores for him or become a minor annoyance by trying to heroically evaporate his bottle of booze with your mind. 
Chris' relationship with his dad is really what makes me want to play Captain Spirit again. Even though it's clear Charles loves his son, his grief and alcoholism are getting the better of him, being made clearer with an implied incident of physical assault towards Chris. Nevertheless, how you approach your in-game daddy is still up to you. 


For me in particular, I tried to avoid doing anything that would piss Charles off too much and have him give me a bulk pack of child abuse for Christmas. It's an obvious sign of great writing when you quickly care about a young child protagonist that much, seeing a door that was dented by a drunken-fuelled punch made me fear for Chris' safety, making me want to answer a ringing phone as quick as possible before the youngster had a whiskey tumbler thrown at his head.
I ended up partly regretting how I approached my time with in-game daddy as I watched a couple of other playthroughs. In-game Daddy doesn't always act like he wants to tear off your arm in exchange for a can of Budweiser. He can be occasionally sweet, giving you a high five and agreeing that you as his son and him make a team. You'll feel dreadfully torn towards Charles in the same manner as Chris, seeing him as the parent and role model his son has always idolised whilst also hating the fact the father's grief has been turning him into someone the young hero is admittedly becoming afraid of.

Loss

Loss is of course the main theme of The Adventures of Captain Spirit that is seemingly mostly expressed through Charles; with Chris only mentioning in passing at how wonderful his mother was when finding mementos, giving us insights to the type of person she was, be it an empty perfume bottle, an art magazine cover or a soul-wrenching song from her record collection. 


There's one particular scene in the game that will stay with me for a long time. One that's a culmination of everything you'll have been learning about Chris' life up to that point. Among Chris' objectives is to make his way through a maze of his creation, reaching his valued box of treasure at the end. Up to opening the box, I was expecting some toys or pretend weapons that will continue to heighten or support his escapism. Instead, there's a photo. A younger Chris in superhero get-up being held by his beautifully smiling mother. Music begins to play again. For a short while, there's no dialogue. Chris just stares at the picture, the back of his eyes visibly turn red before a single tear trickles down his face, as mine did in tandem. He's immediately dragged back down into reality, being reminded of what he's lost. 


Loss, its ramifications and coping with it are the heart of the game, making you see yourself in Chris. We've all experienced shares of not just loss but general experiences of sadness, fear and anger that we all wish we could escape from, even when we were children, being only able to reflect what the world was based on the adults around us. Unfortunately, they sometimes let us down. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit captures that chest-clenching feeling of grief that comes with losing someone when you're young. However, it doesn't leave you to drown in dread, making sure you also focus on the happiness you shared with those who are now gone and the memories they left behind.  


The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is an interactive reminder that it's okay to escape to imagination when the real world becomes too much to bear, as well as making sure you're there for those beside you who may be having an even rougher time. Though you might be the supporting pillar during a tragedy, it doesn't mean you can't ask for help. If you know where to look, friends and family will be there for you when you need them. 

Captain Spirit will do for you what the persona itself does for the game's protagonist. He'll make you smile. He'll make you cry. He'll make you remember that your only limit is your imagination. 

Rating: 9/10

Deadpool 2 (Movie Review)



Deadpool as an R-rated superhero film franchise is like the cinematic equivalent of what Tinder is to the dating world. The concept was almost unheard of, the vast majority didn't realise they needed it and was initially deemed as too filthy to work. Yet, here we are. In a world where single people have an alternative to the mundane task of flirting with people in person, we're in a wave of alternatives for those tired of going to see a superhero film at the cinema with at least several children being present. I occasionally pinch myself to be sure I'm neither dreaming or have gotten heavily drunk by accident.


Directed by one of the directors of John Wick; David Leitch (he wasn't credited), Deadpool 2 is a sequel made with full confidence of its success from conception. This is unlike the first film, which contagiously caused the development of multi-million dollar signs in the eyes of every Fox film executive. Does that combination create a film-watching experience similar to clubbing to the Lion King soundtrack on ecstasy? It's around 75% there.


Quick synopsis: Deadpool has settled into his life of doing Deadpool things, mostly stabbing and making us all laugh within the first 20 seconds. He's living a happy life with his girlfriend played by Morena Baccarin, one of the sexiest women currently alive. Tragedy strikes. Celine Dion starts singing. The chubby kid from Hunt for the Wilderpeople is now involved, being hunted by Thano- Cable, a part-cyborg man from the future played by Josh Brolin. It's like a comedic Terminator 2 that isn't followed by a couple of horrendous sequels and a reboot no-one saw (yet).


Deadpool 2 is a pure comedy supported by the two Roman marble pillars of decent writing and an irreplaceable performance of its red leather-covered lead. Just like Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine, Robert Downey Jr IS Iron Man and Adam Sandler IS a massive disappointment, Ryan Reynolds IS Deadpool. Just like with the first film, Deadpool 2 is his passion project. A project used to bring one of Marvel's best characters to life in his image. Imagining anyone else at the helm is as impossible as 13 Reasons Why being a good quality series. His skills for comedic writing and delivery are iconic in causing a range of one to five laughs a minute. If it were a roller coaster, it would be one of those at Alton Towers that hasn't actually caused any life-changing injuries.


Not all of the jokes land, though. Depending on your pop culture knowledge, there could be times when you're imagining a cricket noise or a tumble weed rolling by. It's a great parody film of a lot of cinema tropes, though you may feel a bit lost if you haven't seen any superhero films in the last couple of years. There's one part of a scene in the third act that was supposed to be a long-running joke that didn't seem to know how to end. That's only for the minority however, with most of Deadpool 2 being pure "HA HA SO FUNNY I'M GONNA DIE"-level gold that's definitely re-watchable. It's like watching Gemma Collins fall through a BBC stage trap door: it never gets old.


Deadpool 1 was very light on the Michael-Bay scale action scenes due to it's unusually small budget for a super hero film, $58 million. 20th Century Fox were basically the parents from Matilda, giving the Deadpool crew minimal resources to survive, in being sure money wasn't being wasted, before taking as much credit as possible when it became a proven success. Finally being given the budget it deserved in the first place for the sequel, Deadpool 2 is on a much larger scale that feels more aligned with the comic counterpart. Akin to the Deadpool stories in the Marvel Comic universe, it's grander, messier and just as violent as it should be.

Icing on this blood-ridden cake of joy is one of the John Wick directors taking charge, which is oh so delightfully clear when you look for the similarities. Choreography is slick yet brutal where it needs to be. Scenes laden with gun shots and impaling are joyfully rough garnished with gore. These were the type of John Wick scenes that David Leitch's attention was mostly focused, enhancing the action and comedic elements of Deadpool in translation.


The narrative itself could've been a bit more focused which is often an inevitable blunder when a sequel tries to expand on what came before with a much larger scale. On the other hand, there were more personal moments without the Deadpool mask, scoping on the Wade Wilson instead of the Deadpool. He's a bit more vulnerable, a bit more tender and a few more dramatic moments that open up for harder-hitting comedy. Whilst disdain for Jamie Oliver spreads among the Western world (2 for 1 pizzas for life), opening up Deadpool's character spreads his love among our hearts.

Deadpool 1 is a better film. It has a tighter focus that doesn't let up whilst having a simpler, more cohesive narrative. Still, that doesn't matter. This sequel is around 15 minutes too long but Deadpool 2 does what it sets out to do: being a fun comedy that keeps you laughing whilst still keeping that franchise-unique twist on the genre. The end credit scenes (there's two) alone make any ticket or blu-ray purchase worth your money. Similar to your alcoholic family members, Deadpool's a part of our lives now for at least special occasions and we wouldn't have it any other way.


Rating: 7.5/10

A Beginner's Guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe


Ten years ago, Marvel Studios released its first film: the critically-acclaimed Iron Man. Sadly, I was a naïve student at the time who only cared about three superheroes: Batman, Spider-man, and the Hulk. I had no idea what I missed out on until five years later, when I saw Thor: The Dark World on a cinema trip. It was my first step into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most successful film franchise of all time. Spanning nineteen films, the MCU boasts a collection of stories and characters that makes the worlds of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter seem tiny. At the centre of it all are six stones and one villain – the focus of the new film Avengers: Infinity War. Whether you’re new to the films or need to get up to speed, now is the perfect time to catch up. This feature is intended to help you do it in the right order.


There are currently nineteen films in the MCU, and seven more at different stages of production at the time of writing. The events of Infinity War are tied so strongly with the past eighteen films that you need to see them first. Thankfully, they’re divided into groups – or phases – to make watching them easier. Like a TV series, each phase focusses on one major storyline while setting up future ones. Many of them cross over from one superhero’s film to another’s, so you can’t watch one hero’s films in one sitting (for example, you can’t watch Iron Man’s films all at once then move on to Thor’s). It’s best in most cases to watch them in the order they were released – but with later films, you may want to change things up to find an order that works best for you. Each film includes at least one extra scene in the credits to help you find your way.


At this point, I wanted to recap the films leading up to Infinity War for the newcomers out there. I changed my mind because the end result would’ve been too boring to convince you to watch them all. Instead, here’s a list of the films released so far in the order I found best to watch.

Phase One

Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Capt. America: The First Avenger (2011)
The Avengers / Avengers Assemble (2012)

Phase Two

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Capt. America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-man (2015)

Phase Three

Capt. America: Civil War (2016)
Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Avengers: Infinity War (2017)


With phase three, you have some freedom to watch the films in any order you like – but if you want to get the most out of Infinity War, it’s vital you watch them all. There are comics, TV series, and short films that tie-in with the MCU, but you don’t need to check them out as well. As for after Infinity War, there are three more films to come: Ant-man & The Wasp, Captain Marvel, and an Avengers sequel that will conclude Thanos’ story. It’s going to be a long wait for them, but we’ll be writing about the final films in phase three as soon as we can. In the meantime, happy watching!

Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked From Worst To Best


It's been two years since Avengers 2.5, aka Captain America: Civil War and the third Avengers film, Infinity War is here. As we bask in the joy that is Thanos actually doing something more than just sitting in a chair for six years, surely everyone has thought of watching all 19 Marvel cinematic universe films again and ranking them from worst to best? No? Well one (awesome) saddo

We Need To Talk About Doki Doki Literature Club

 

Okay, so where to start? Well, first things first, if you haven't played Doki Doki Literature Club, go away and do it now. You can download it here, or get it on Steam. It's free and available for Windows, Linux and Mac, so if you've got a few hours to spare, why don't you give it a go? If you want to experience it properly, I'd recommend not knowing anything going into it.

You Should Be Playing - Horizon: Zero Dawn


There are two types of players when it comes to single-player games. There's "the casual", being selective with their free time to play, usually jumping between different games. Then there's "the committed", being dedicated towards completing an adventure, refusing to switch discs (or digital downloads) until they've experienced everything it has to offer. PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn

Shin Godzilla (Movie Review)


The first Godzilla film I ever watched is one I’d like to forget: Roland Emmerich’s 1998 film. Although his oversized lizard drew me into monster films, it just wasn’t the King of Monsters people fear and revere in Japan. Thankfully, Toho – Godzilla’s creators – took steps towards introducing me to the real Godzilla in the following years. In 2005 they released the original film in the UK for the first time. In 2014 they endorsed Legendary Pictures’ take on Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards. And two years ago, they finally made a reboot of their own: Shin Godzilla. First released in Japan, it wasn’t available in the West until last summer, when it received a limited run in cinemas. Now it’s out on Blu-ray and DVD thanks to Manga Entertainment. Shin Godzilla is the first film in the series produced by Toho itself since 2004, and it’s made a hell of an impression. Some people enjoy it more than Gareth Edwards’ film (which I enjoyed a great deal). But was it worth the wait?


While most Godzilla films are set after the 1954 film, Shin Godzilla ignores it and re-establishes Godzilla in the 21st century. The film starts in Tokyo Bay, where the cost guard investigates an abandoned yacht. All they find are a set of research notes and an origami crane. Soon after, a creature attacks and floods the Aqua-line Tunnel with its own blood. A team of government officials led by Rando Yaguchi (played by Hiroki Hasegawa) is formed to research the creature, and help the military find a way to stop it. However, the creature makes landfall and tears into Tokyo, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Yaguchi’s team is joined by a US envoy, Kayoko Patterson (Satomi Ishihara), who reveals that the notes found on the abandoned yacht may hold the key to stopping the creature. However, their task is made more complicated when they discover the creature can change form. Each one grows bigger and stronger than the last – and its final form could spell doom not just for Japan, but the entire world.


If it sounds like a plot for an anime series, it’s because Shin Godzilla was written and directed by Hideaki Anno; creator of the Evangelion series. However, I’m not putting him down – Anno is an acclaimed filmmaker, and Shin Godzilla is a true Godzilla film. The title, in fact, means “True Godzilla”. Just as the original film drew on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Shin uses the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster to tell a grim story. Everything from the performances to Godzilla’s attacks is portrayed seriously, and the destruction hits just as hard as it did sixty years ago. The difference is the film uses CGI to portray it instead of traditional suitmation effects. The CGI is the best Japan can offer, but sadly, it doesn’t always pay off. Godzilla itself appears in four different forms, and its first two aren’t quite as convincing as the last. In fact, despite gushing blood from its gills in the first half hour, Godzilla is more comical in its early forms than the towering terror it grows into. The film makes up for it later, however, and when Godzilla is fully grown it looks every bit as impressive, if not better than, its predecessors. I often mistook close-up shots of Godzilla’s face and tail for incredibly built suits. Fans of the series will love the effects in Shin, but if you’re new to Godzilla, you may want to lower your expectations. This version of the King of Monsters is less of a living, breathing creature than a masterful tribute to the beasts of old. It even uses the roars from the 50s’ films.


If you’re expecting to see soldiers shooting recklessly at Godzilla, the humans’ portrayal in Shin will surprise you. The cast is made up entirely of politicians, and unlike most people in monster films, they don’t make mistakes out of blatant stupidity. Nor are they gun-toting action heroes. They are just ordinary people with lives, jobs, and their own agendas. Some are genuinely concerned with protecting the public, while others have their own self-interests at heart. The problem is there are dozens of them in the film, and only three are developed in depth: Yaguchi, Patterson, and the Prime Minister’s aide Hideki Akasaka (Yutaka Takenouchi). Worse, the film’s subtitles list the names of every character – even minor ones – as they appear. This makes it harder to follow the main characters, and can even cause you to lose track of the action. It’s especially hard to keep up with the film if you watch it for the first time subtitled. Thankfully, both the Blu-ray and DVD include an English dub, which I highly recommend to first-time viewers. However, with or without the dub, Shin isn’t for people looking for a simple creature feature. As well as Godzilla, Yaguchi and his colleagues spend most of their time battling red tape as they face a threat no law or procedure prepared them for. Their reactions make sense – after all, giant monsters don’t exist in real life – but they spend so much time wondering what to do that it slows the pace down. Not everyone will enjoy watching politicians puzzling for two hours. Nevertheless, it’s true to the spirit of the old Godzilla films. And if you’re willing to sit through the red tape, it’s a small price to pay for Godzilla’s return.


Like all films, Shin Godzilla has its ups and downs – but it’s undoubtedly a return to form and a very different beast from Gareth Edwards’ film. If you’ve seen it, tell us what you think in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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