The Guardians are back!

Oh how I’ve waited for news of the sequel to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘. Finding the trailer online this morning was a great start to the day and had me laughing out loud in seconds. Baby Groot! Baby Groot!

Drax still doesn’t get subtlety and Star Lord remains an adorable sleaze-bag. The sociopathic genetically altered raccoon called Rocket is still looking after Groot. Add to this Gamora’s intensity, propensity for violence and Daddy issues and you’ve got the perfect team. 

And look at that cameo of Mantis – hope she’s joining the team for good. 

God I can’t wait to see this. I might even watch the original again this afternoon. It’s just the kind of antidote to 2016 that my brain needs. Some good quality comedy Sci-fi featuring comic characters I love. A shame it’s not coming out until next May. 

MacPsych at the Movies: Doctor Strange

I’ll fully admit that I went to see this film out of a sense of obligation. I’m a massive Marvel Comics fan and have enjoyed nearly all of the movie adaptations they’ve made in the past few years. But I was worried about Doctor Strange, as it represents such a change in tone from it predecessors.

Let’s recap. Whereas Captain America is a war hero, Stephen Strange is an arrogant and selfish neurosurgeon. Whereas Captain American makes the ultimate sacrifice (spoilers?), Stephen Strange turns away needy patients if he doesn’t think he’ll attain a successful outcome – and get the glory that follows.

So he’s not instantly likeable.

And whereas Tony Stark is also arrogant, he lives the millionaire playboy lifestyle and uses incredible technology to battle his enemies. Stephen Strange is cerebral, intelligent, a professional, doesn’t use gadgets and actually wears a cloak. Yes, a cloak.

However…

This step into the world of magic and the mystic arts is handled so well, it really feels like a continuation of the Marvel Universe story – we’re just seeing another chapter unfolding. Yes, he’s a pretty awful person, but as always in these situations, he experiences a disaster, comes out the other side and is a (slightly) better person for it.

I’m not a Harry Potter fan nor do I enjoy fantasy stories. That said, this film had me hooked from the outset. I was very familiar with the Doctor Strange story from the comics, so I was keen to see how they’d adapt it for the screen and a 2016 audience.

In short, very successfully. Benedict Cumberbatch was BORN to play Strange, just as Robert Downey Jr was born to play Tony Stark / Iron Man. The resemblance is uncanny. And while there are some interesting changes to the profiles of other characters (e.g. “The Ancient One”, now played by Tilda Swinton) the characters work.

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There’s an excellent mix of exposition and back-story, combined with humour, action and some resolution. It’s basically the origin of Doctor Strange, but immediately makes him part of the shared Marvel Universe that also contains Captain America, Thor and the Hulk. It does this really skilfully and no prior knowledge of the Doctor Strange mythos is required.

(Also, you have to stay for two excellent post-credits scenes that set up future films. Honestly, if you’re a Marvel fan, you’ll love them.)

I can really recommend this to any fans of fun, action and adventure. You need not be a comics fan or a fan of magic (I’m not, I’m really not!). In fact, there were moments in “Doctor Strange” where I was transported back to my first screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. It’s that fun and that full of adventure.  And the special effects are very impressive – and quite psychedelic!

I can’t wait to see more of Doctor Strange in future Marvel movies.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the character, check out this wikipedia page or some recent comics. And now, a bonus recent comic appearance of Tony Stark and Doctor Strange – I love how disdainful Strange is of everything Stark represents.

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The Doctor Strange trailer has landed!

What a way to wake up this morning – seeing Twitter ablaze with links to the trailer for the Dr. Strange film! I’ve been looking forward to this since it was a announced as I’ve always been a fan of these slightly offbeat comics, where the focus is on other realities, rather than heroes knocking six bells out of each other (though I’m obviously a fan of that too!).

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon whose hubris lands him with useless hands and a need to find a cure, wherever that takes him. He ends up a student of an ancient mystic ‘in the East’ and eventually becomes Earth’s ‘Sorcerer Supreme’. As I’ve said before, Cumberbatch seems like the ideal actor for this role – he does haughty disdain so well, which is really all Stephen Strange had to work with before his car accident.

In this trailer, we get the briefest of glimpses into the origin story: the car wreck, his travels to the Asia and his meeting with ‘The Ancient One‘, played by Tilda Swinton. Cue lots of mystic arts and mind-bending travels through other realities and we have the makings of an excellent Marvel flick.

The very final scene is what set my heart aflutter – mere seconds of Strange, wearing his red cape, walking up the steps towards the iconic window that looks out from his Sanctum Santorum.

This is (hopefully) going to be a welcome change of tone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Somewhere between the Avengers and the Netflix-based dark violence of Daredevil. And boy does Benedict Cumberbatch look like he was born to play this role.

Review: Ant-Man

So, Ant-Man was excellent. Like a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers. Fun, action-packed and exciting.

Deep and meaningful cinema it is not. But do you go to see a Marvel flick to explore the meaning of life, or to watch the characters you grew up reading about, up on a big screen, smacking seven shade of crap out of each other?

Yes, exactly.

Despite my earlier misgivings, Michael Douglas was excellent as Hank Pym. I’m glad they hinted at his darker side (oh yes, he’s got quite the back-story) and at least mentioned his wife. Lots of dangling plot threads and not one, but two post-credits scenes the dedicated Marvel fans will have to watch. (That and some excellent, though short, Avengers content. No spoilers!)

Me? I thought they were well worth the wait. @FrankDJS was much less impressed.

I’m looking forward to seeing Scott Lang return as Ant-Man in any of Marvel’s upcoming films. Paul Rudd is excellent and just spot-on for this not quite heroic hero. In case you’ve missed it, here’s the trailer.

“Agent Carter” sneak peak

Oooh. Marvel have released a sneak peek of the new Agent Carter show that starts January. The same Agent Carter as featured in the Captain America films, who helped to found S.H.I.E.L.D. All set in the post-war era, this looks sweet.

Just a few weeks until it airs in the US. Hope it doesn’t take too long to make it over to the UK.

Inhumans coming to S.H.I.E.L.D.?

I really quite like this theory/rumour/potential spoiler. If you haven’t seen the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., look away now.

Could they be about to introduce some Inhumans into the story? I hope so. I had Skye marked as either a) Jessica Drew, b) Bobbie Morse or c) Carol Danvers from the end of the last series. Obviously, I was wrong. I think.

But if the blue body in the tank is a Kree, then Skye (and her father, played by Kyle MacLachlan) could be Inhumans. Marvel have already announced there’s going to be an Inhumans film in 2018.

Could they possibly introduce them on TV four years earlier? Maybe to build up a fan base?

Either way, this season of S.H.I.E.L.D. is hotting up for a big reveal in the coming weeks. Will we get to see Skye and her father share some quality time? Will be get to see more Kree bodies in tanks?

Marvel have really hit their stride with this series. It’s no longer something I watch because I’m a geek who’s addicted to comics and still thrilled to see Agent Coulson on TV, but because it’s entertaining, fun and engaging.

And because they’ve introduced Mockingbird.

Yes.

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

The TLDR version of this review can be summed up as follows: OMG AMAZEBALLS.

For those of you with a longer attention span, read on for more detail…

@FrankDJS and I took my nephew to the cinema on Saturday while his parents looked after his newborn sister. It was a blatant distraction technique, and by God, it worked. It distracted us too – for a solid two hours, I was transported to a fun, fast-paced and technicolour world of Marvel comics heroes and villains.

I loved every minute.  Continue reading “Review: Guardians of the Galaxy”

Things we want to see in The Defenders TV shows…

http://www.newsarama.com/19531-10-things-we-want-to-see-in-the-defenders-set-of-marvel-netflix-series.html

Seems I’m not alone in my excitement for these new Marvel Comics TV shows – despite the lead time. Newsarama has a nice little list too…

I want cameos and more cameos. Plus a smattering of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Defenders coming to TV?

Most excellent news this morning, shared with me by the ever entertaining @MadTante – looks like we’re going to see a lot more Marvel content on TV in the coming years.

Netflix is going to launch four – yes, FOUR – separate TV series featuring heroes from the Marvel Universe:

Marvel will develop four original series for Netflix in a deal that gives the streaming service one of its most high-profile content partnerships.

The companies announced Thursday that the four live-action, 13-episode series will begin streaming in 2015. Marvel Entertainment President Alan Fine says the shows will be “a serialized epic” that begins with Marvel’s “Daredevil” and is followed by “Jessica Jones,” ”Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage.” It will conclude with a miniseries of “The Defenders.”

file_181617_0_defenders4658I have to wonder which incarnation of the Defenders it will be. Like the Avengers, it’s a team that has seen many different rosters. I’m hoping (please!) that it will have Dr. Strange. He’s *made* for TV.

Or will this mini-series just bring together the series in the afore-mentioned series, like an Avengers-lite group?

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage are traditionally “street level” heroes, used to tackling organised crime, ninjas and sometimes super villains. In other words, perfect for TV-sizeed budget. No need for too manny crazy special effects – but a definite need for good writing and excellent casting.

One thought has popped into my mind: how about Damian Lewis for Iron Fist? Casting rumours are such fun…

It’s also interesting to note that in the last few years, each of these characters has featured on the Avengers roster at one point or another.

Anyway, this has definitely piqued my interest.

Bring. It. On.