Peacemaker: Best Friends, For Never

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Peacemaker, played by John Cena, tidies up after a wild night before and finds kinship in his old friend Vigilante, played by Freddie Stroma.

I think the show really finds its footing in this episode. I thought everything was firing on all cylinders the comedy was strong, the characters were strong, Cena carried on a great performance my only issue with it was that the side characters continue to go unexplored. Yes, there are little nuggets given to us here and there that give us a peak behind the curtain of the underdeveloped side characters, but I wish the show would commit more to this.

For example I thought the show did a good job introducing us to Vigilante, without actually telling us all that much about him. I thought the sequence of him and Peacemaker hanging out and bonding was funny as well as providing us with a nice amount of insight into their friendship. I also liked that this episode gave Harcourt, played by Jennifer Holland, more time to show off and her bar room brawl provided us with a well-executed action scene.  

I also like the White Dragon set up with Robert Patrick and hope that it gets furthered in the coming episodes.

Overall, a strong second episode in what is proving to be a very good DC series.

Pros.

The comedy

Cena

Vigilante

The set up for White Dragon

Cons.

The team could do with more development  

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Peacemaker: A Whole New Whirled

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Peacemaker, played by John Cena, has somehow survived his seeming death in The Suicide Squad and is now back again working for the government this time being brought in to wipe out butterflies.

I understand a lot of people don’t like James Gunn’s tone or sense of humour but I do. Though I didn’t find this episode as funny as the second, review coming soon, I still found that it had me laughing more than I thought it would.

Cena handles the comedy well and makes Peacemaker a layered character. Despite his grovelling to the Chinese Government Cena has such an affability to him that makes him hard to root against, as such you can’t help but like his Peacemaker and want him to succeed. The supporting cast is rounded out by some new faces and some returning, most of whom are fairly bland though Jennifer Holland’s Harcourt is a nice romantic foil for Peacemaker and the two have great banter together.

My issues with this first episode would be that it is still quite rough in places and is obviously finding its footing. Likewise I would prefer to not see Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis, again as I feel she is in danger of being overexposed in the DCEU, however I suppose she was necessary for set up.

Overall, a solid start for the series made so by Cena, a funny script and a nice odd ball sensibility.

Pros.

The tone

The comedy

Cena

Eagly

Cons.

A bit rough in places

Bringing back Waller

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Ghost In The Shell: Is Scarlett Johansson A Believable Action Star?

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The popular anime series of the same name is brought to life with Major, played by Scarlett Johansson, a part human part cyborg investigating her past.

I understand many people didn’t like this film because they perceived it as whitewashing the source material and I respect that, however for the purpose of this review I aim to look beyond that.

I actually enjoyed this film when I saw it in cinemas and then when I rewatched it again recently. I thought Johansson was good in the role and brought a lot to it, she was good in both the action set pieces as well as the more emotional and philosophical scenes. Her performance can’t be faulted.

Furthermore, I thought the world of the film was dripping with potential for interesting storytelling. Honestly, I think if this film had been better received we would have gotten numerous spin offs and sequels which would have given us a better look into the world which could have been really interesting, alas such a thing was not meant to be.

My main issue with the film was that it tried to do too much. It crammed a lot of story in a relatively short runtime and as such a lot came off as underdeveloped or even confusing. Even upon rewatching it there are still moments in the films narrative that don’t make any sense to me at all.

Furthermore, Michael Pitt as the film’s villain was deeply miscast.

Overall, a film that is better than a lot make it out to be, but one that still has some major issues.

Pros.

Johannsson

The world

The visual style and the composition

Cons.

Michael Pitt

It needed further expanding   

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Pirates Of The Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: It Is Sad To See The Series Go Out Like This

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jack, played by Johnny Depp, takes seemingly one last jaunt around the Caribbean for no real reason at all.

It now seems like this is the last film in the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, yes there is talk of doing some kind of spin-off with Margot Robbie but no one wants that, and if it ever does come out no doubt it will kill the series off for good, or at least until they reboot it. With that it is sad to reflect that it has come to this.

Depp seems like he is going through the motions here, not really able to tap back into the Captain Jack we all knew and loved, instead becoming an imitator of his former self. I think in many ways here Jack is upstaged by those around him, particularly by Kaya Scodelario’s Carina who is most likely the shining star of the film, Scodelario is doing her best to save this mess.

Moreover, whoever thought that audiences wanted to see a de-aged Johnny Depp looking every bit as well done as a videogame cut scene from a decade ago was sorely mistaken. Another baffling decision comes in the form of the film’s villains which are a rather blatant copy of the first film’s ghost pirates which further show the desperation on display here.

Overall, it is sad to see a once great franchise go out like this.

PS. Don’t stay for the end credits scene, it is just desperate.

Pros.

Scodelario

It is watchable

Cons.

The villains

The de-aged Jack Sparrow

Depp   

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The Book Of Boba Fett: The Streets Of Mos Espa

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, hangs out with some poorly designed cosplayers, gets beat up whilst in his underwear and the Pikes invade.

My, my just when I thought the series was heading in the right direction we get this.

So the Tusken Raider plot line ends very abruptly and with no real closure…. What was the point of building it up so much over the last few episodes if you were just going to have them massacred off screen? I suppose it is leading to some kind of showdown between Boba and their killers but honestly it just feels like it took a moment that could have been really emotionally important for the show and chose to cut it out.

Moreover, everything about the new rainbow vespa gang that Boba Fett befriends this episode is embarrassing. Their design is awful, they don’t look like they fit in the universe, they don’t advance the plot, the CGI used for them isn’t up to snuff, I could go on. It just seems like these characters were forced in so Boba could have underlings and as an incredibly cynical and cheap attempt to boost the shows diversity.

I have written at length about how this show is far too family friendly and is seemingly scared to have Boba Fett actually behave like himself and fight back or even kill, he is only allowed to kill monsters by this show’s rules, and this episode proves that to a tee. Not only is Boba depowered here, we watch this master of hand to hand combat get whooped in his underpants needing to be saved by his new cyber punk friends and honestly it makes the character some what of a joke.

Don’t get me started on the emotional support rancor.

The only reason this episode isn’t getting lower is because I am interested in the Pike war to come and I like the tease of that.

Overall, this show is really starting to show its cracks.

Pros.

The Pikes both in the past and present

The tease for what is to come

Cons.

It almost character assassinates Boba Fett

It wastes the build up of the Tusken storyline

The cyberpunk cosplay biker gang

It has pacing issues and is again too short

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The Book Of Boba Fett: Tribes Of Tatooine

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, faces challenges to his rule and plans a Tusken Raiders upgrade.

So this episode was better than episode one in that it felt properly paced and had stakes, two very basic asks I known. However, that is not to say it was a strong episode rather that it advanced the show in an uphill direction, hopefully next week can continue this.

I enjoyed Fett’s tense standoff with the Hutt Twins, I thought it was nice to see the coming conflict and the whole scene felt suitably tense, they did a good job with the effects as well here which was nice. However, I would say that the present timeline could have done with a little more, because from here the rest of the episode continues on with the Tusken flashbacks, which are fine but maybe starting to run out of steam at this point.

I also liked the feel of this episode as it felt more grimy and underworld esque, which is how the show should always have been. I still feel like Boba is pulling his punches and the lack of blood is still dampening the action sequences for me though, this needs to change in the next episode.

Overall, better but still not what you would want from a show about the Star Wars criminal underworld.

Pros.

The Hutt standoff

A nice pace

A sense of coming conflict

Cons.

The Tusken flashbacks are getting a bit much

It still feels too family friendly  

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The 355: Men Are Bad And Simon Kinberg Is A Hack

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of female spies must come together to get a McGuffin and beat up some men folk.

Until the final ten minutes this film is below average but passably watchable if you have nothing better to do, and then the lecture starts and the film drops down even further. When I say a lecture I am referring to Jessica Chastain’s Mace going on a long ambling  rant to the camera about how men use woman, but how times are changing and how they are going to fight back, a message that feels both overtly hostile to a large portion of the target audience for this film as well as one that feels far too late. However, this isn’t the only questionable thing this film does in regard to gender as it also has all of the villains in the film be men, and those that aren’t get killed off, once again a not so subtle message and one that won’t score this film any points at all.

If all that isn’t enough to make you dislike this film it then also sneaks in a bit of sucking up to the Chinese regime, in order to open in China of course. There is a scene in the film when this all powerful McGuffin needs to be handed over to someone who will keep it safe and out of nefarious hands, so Mace gives it to a Chinese agent…….. Really? Was this some sort of meta joke?…….. Really?

I also think Jessica Chastain is deeply miscast here. Unlike the rest of the ensemble who actually do a good job Chastain sticks out for all the wrong reasons. In many ways her character reads like how America sees itself around the world dominant and in charge, but to everyone else entitled, self-involved and driven more by their own ego than what they should find right and wrong. Chastain’s character was honestly charmless and is probably the thing that sinks this film.

The other minor issues with this film are that it is terribly paced and becomes boring somewhere around the end of act I, furthermore the plot about scary internet hacking devices screams of being written by someone who doesn’t understand the internet or know anything about it.

Overall, this film is trash and you should avoid it at all costs.

Pros.

Cruz, Nyong’o, Kruger

Cons.

Evil men/ forcing its agenda down your throats

Pandering to China

Chastain

The pacing/ fear of the internet   

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Fantastic Four: The Bad Reboot

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

For some reason even though we had an origin story for the Fantastic Four barely a decade prior we are forced to witness another.

Why are people still trying to make Miles Teller a thing? He was good in Whiplash and then promptly nothing else, yet for a few years every big franchise seemed to want Teller, and if the on set fighting is to be believed he was probably best avoided. Hopefully those days are behind us, oh wait he’s in Top Gun the sequel.

The cast isn’t a total misfire Kate Mara as Sue Storm does her best and Jamie Bell has his moments as the Thing, but Miles teller and an entirely forgettable Michael B. Jordan do let down the foursome tremendously. That is not even to mention Dr Doom, played by Toby Kebbell, who is a monstrosity for all the wrong reasons.

I honestly think the worst thing about this film is the CGI, never in recent memory have I seen such appalling effects in a big budget studio film. How the film got released with the final third in that condition is baffling, it makes the CGI mess finales of the MCU and DCEU look appealing.

Overall, people should have been fired over this, and most likely they did.

Pros.

Mara

Bell

Cons.

Dr Doom

Teller

The third act

Jordan

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The King’s Man: France As A Country Just Doesn’t Exist I Guess

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A prequel to the Kingsman films set during the First World War.

Going into this I had heard mixed things, and after seeing it I come to you with mixed tidings. The film does somethings right it is by no means a bad film, but it also has several major issues that stop it from truly excelling.

Firstly the good. I liked the films anti-war stance showing the needlessness of the slaughter and how to die for one’s country is not noble or heroic but rather tragic and needless. I thought as far as social messages go it was very well delivered and important.

Moreover, the new characters here all work well, Colin Firth and the rest of the gang don’t make any sort of time travel like cameos here so we are given a fresh cast, of which Ralph Fiennes is the standout as a grieving and over protective father who has turned to outward passivism to protect his family from the world.

I also thought the comedy mostly worked, the jokes often made me chuckle, there was nothing side splittingly funny but I enjoyed it for the most part. However, the one noticeable exception to that rules comes with Rhys Ifans Rasputin who relies mostly on physical and gross out comedy for his comedic moments, these come across as unpleasant to watch and if anything succeed too well in grossing you out.

Continuing with the negative, the Rasputin sequence is far too dragged out and lasts for a good half of the film, you will be surprised to learn he is not the big bad of the film despite how prominently the film features him. As you might assume the film suffers from a terrible pace and long outstays its welcome.

Finally, two smaller nit picks that bothered me about the film. France is never mentioned in the film despite having a large role in World War I, which if I were French I might find insulting, why they decide to leave the French out is beyond me. Furthermore, I also dislike how the sequence is done after the death of Fiennes’ characters son, played by Harris Dickson, he moves on far too quickly for the scene to mean anything and it quickly loses any emotional impact it could have had.

Overall, better than some have made out but not quite good either.

Pros.

Fiennes

The anti-war stance

The comedy for the most part

Cons.

The pacing

The gross out humour

Leaving out France and not giving the character adequate time to morn.  

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The Book Of Boba Fett: Stranger In A Strange Land

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Temuera Morrison returns as Boba Fett, with Fett now becoming a Tatooine crime lord.

For a show supposedly about the gritty underworld of the Star Wars universe this was disappointing. I understand it is a Disney property so we were never going to get anything too hardcore, but the toned down bloodless violence really hit me here and put me off. The violence does not feel real or impressive as it is so clearly forced into a family friendly lens that it is afraid to show anything.

Furthermore, as many people have commented the pacing in this episode is not good, for two very different reasons. Firstly, not a lot happens there are some flashbacks and a few minor events here and there yet this is stretched out for just over half an hour, the pace moves so slowly it feels like they are trying to kill time. Secondly, and somewhat contradictory the episode needs to be longer, though as I say nothing really happens something could have, had the flashback sequences been given proper time to explain Fett’s backstory rather than no doubt splitting it between episodes to fill time, then this episode could have been better.

Finally and perhaps worst of all the look of some of the alien races herein look like cosplayers trying there best to win a convention competition rather than makeup effects, prosthetics and design  that properly reflect the budget of the show.

Overall, a deeply underwhelming start to the series.

Pros.

Morrison is trying

The western feel is well done

Cons.

The pacing

The alien design in live action

It is too short  

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