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Iron Fist was good, but not great. — March 20, 2017

Iron Fist was good, but not great.

Iron Fist Season 1 Review.

For last couple year’s we, as an audience, expect nothing less than excellence when new Marvel-tagged properties are released whether that be on the big screen or TV. After 13 hours of Netflix’s Iron Fist spread across two days, I can say with all honesty I enjoyed it, but I didn’t adore it. This was good, but not great. And for Marvel, good is not good enough when the set bar has been ‘Excellence’.

There were huge issues and just plain old lazy story-telling, and even though there just weren’t enough PROs to outweigh the CONs, I still enjoyed what few PROs there were to enjoy my time watching the show.

 

So, here are my PROs, CONs and Ultimate GRADE for Netflix’s Iron Fist:

 

-PROs:

  • The biggest highlight for me was the chemistry between ‘Game of Thrones’ alumni’s Jessica Henwick and Finn Jones who play our leading roles Danny Rand and Colleen Wing I was rooting for them through the whole show.
  • (Most of) The characters: Jessica did the best she could with Colleen Wing and her character was great! The Meacham’s were great, although we spent more time with them than we should have. Finn Jones was better than I thought he would be as Danny, not so much as Iron Fist and it’s always great to have Rosario Dawson’s Claire.
  • The Hand were better here than on Daredevil, I guess.
  • Villains: Having two villains that offer two types of opposition for our protagonist, Harold as the psychological villain and Bakuto/Madam Gao/The Hand who offered a physical challenge to Danny.
  • One of the best scenes for me, was the beautifully shot last showdown between Bakuto and Colleen, followed by the Danny v Davos. It wasn’t just how it was shot with the frame shots and the symmetry, but also the ideas. Sensei v student and best friend v best friend. With clear winners and losers on both sides, but it’s not as black and white as it seems to be.

 

CONs (OK, here we go):

  • Biggest CON: Martial Arts. A show like ‘Into the Badlands’ has shown that having an actor with a background in martial arts does make a difference. How many actors in pivotal roles in this show has a background in martial arts and is confident in doing all the stunts themselves? There were too many cuts during the multiple fight scenes that you start to think that the directors are just wanting you to figure out it wasn’t the actors doing the stunts.
  • Character Motivations. Some of the biggest questions for our characters were introduced in the first couple episodes and not answered until later. Why the hell did Danny Rand leave Kunlun? This should have been addressed in the first episode! But it wasn’t fully answered until a few episodes later and not fully answered until the second half of the show.
  • Character Decisions: There were too many times to count when a character did something that didn’t make sense or fit with their character. Lazy writing.
  • Pacing: There were some storylines that should’ve just stayed in two episodes and not dragged out. Like Danny’s motivation, some storylines shouldn’t be dragged out the way it was.
  • Settings: We spent too much time in settings we should never have, that time should have been used to help develop our characters. I found myself asking why are we in the Rand corporation too many times to count.
  • WE DIDN’T EVEN GET TO SEE AN IRON FIST SUIT!
  • So, the lead into The Defenders is what, again?

iron-fist-e1475589210739-800x400.jpg

Final Thoughts and GRADE:

B-

Yes, I understand you’re hurt friend. But listen to me. We’re all human, we’re not perfect and Marvel definitely ain’t (looking at you Perlmutter). Not every show done by Marvel is going to be great, I mean just look at ‘Agents of SHIELD’. But I am here to tell you, there is a tomorrow. The world is still going to revolve around the sun and the machine keeps marching forward.

I liked this show, I really did. It’s not excellent, far from perfect, but I still found it fun, entertaining and a far better love story than Twilight. And though the CONs are many and they mean a big deal to the success or lack of, in the storytelling, there were times when the technical directing and beautiful frames within frames and shots were enough to overlook the other crap going on, and there was so much crap. But I will say I don’t think this show is crap and as bad as many people are saying it is.

Danny Rand/Iron Fist is arguably the greatest martial artist in the Marvel universe. By the end of this show, that didn’t translate as well as it should of for a character of his calibre in this universe, either by the lack of fight scenes or his dominance in them and by the obvious lack of skills by Finn Jones. Finn may be fit for Danny Rand, but probably not for the Iron Fist.

The story itself was far from great and wasn’t engaging. A lot of what I wanted to see wasn’t there, and what was explored was a waste of time because it leads nowhere. There were some horrid decision making when it came to the storytelling, why didn’t we find out about Danny and his motivations in the first couple of episodes? Why did the plot points drag out and have underwhelming pay offs? Where was the exploration of the Iron Fist mythology? Why did we spend more time in Rand corporation than in Kunlun? Why should I care about something if the main character didn’t? Danny left Kunlun for reasons unknown, and we don’t set foot in it enough to care. Danny only uses Rand company to advance his own secret plays, so why do we spend a lot of time there?

I know it seems that the show is crap, but I assure you it’s not, it may be closer to it than Agents of SHIELD, but not as close as Batman v Superman. I enjoyed the episodes as I watched them, I wouldn’t have binge watched 6 episodes in a row the first day, and then the other half of the show the next day if I thought it was total crap. I was really shipping Danny and Colleen. There was awesome chemistry between them and I felt the casting was perfect in that account. The villains are better than I thought they would be, and it was cool seeing Madam Gao back, and the Hand was more menacing but not as intimidating as they should be.

There are some improvements I could suggest, but it’s all for this season of Iron Fist. Maybe next season is going to be better because there is more time for the actors to practice martial arts so it translates naturally on the show, and more time to think about a better story and make better decisions for the characters.

Overall, this was an entertaining show. Though it didn’t lead into the Defenders, and the contained story wasn’t great. I enjoyed what I enjoyed and I don’t think it’s as crappy as most people think it is.

Logan: Third times a charm. — February 26, 2017

Logan: Third times a charm.

 

Here’s my spoiler-free review of the film Logan, which I was lucky enough to go to the NZ premiere to watch.

Firstly, I think we need to thank Deadpool. Because if Deadpool didn’t succeed in the way that it did, 20th Century Fox wouldn’t have taken the risk of creating a Logan/Wolverine film the way it should be. James Mangold (director) and Hugh Jackman pulled no stops as we progressed through decapitated heads, punctured limbs, sliced off body parts, and buckets full of fake blood that give Wolverine an animalistic savagery his comicbook counter-part has, but just couldn’t deliver in the previous PG X-Men films.

We’re in the dirty, dystopian, Western-like world of 2029. A world where mutants are all but gone, Logan is not the fierce warrior we’ve come to know, but an alcoholic driver-for-hire, whose Adamantium is slowly killing him from the inside, caring for 90-year-old Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who suffers from a brain disease that causes people within a mile or so to paralyze every time he suffers a seizure.

Their quiet life is quickly turned upside down with the introduction of Laura (Dafne Keen), who takes our characters on a journey running from evil scientist Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant), cyborg-arm guy (Boyd Holbrook) and his Reavers. Special mention to Stephen Merchant as Kaliban who adds to the story, and not just comedically.

Image result for Logan Xavier

This is a contained X-Men film, building on the previous 7 films mythology, but more concerned with the story at hand. There’s no world to save, no city to clean-up, not even a damsel in distress to turn into a love interest, this is a family tale, told in the most Adamantium way possible. It’s a film about a passive, sorrowful, broken hero at the end of a long adventure trying to find peace. And the film is smart in creating unpredictability, we’re unsure of what this road will cost Logan.

The biggest strength of this film, is its focus on the man, not the superhero. It’s in the title of the film, named after James Howlett’s human alter-ego: Logan, rather than Wolverine, his superhero alias. The previous X-Men films have been about showboating their superhero powers, it’s what audiences expect going into a X-Men film, and I would argue most if not all superhero films. Here, we dive in Logan’s reluctance to be a hero, a complexity he’s been struggling with for a couple movies now, and Mangold explores these personal themes, such as Logan’s reluctance but also his feelings of guilt and isolation.

The character relationships here are unparalleled in superhero flicks. All the relationships add depth, emotion and a heartbeat to the film. The mentor-student/father-son dynamic between Jackman and Stewart is heart-warming. Seeing a broken, beaten and old(er) Xavier being cared for by an aging and ailing Logan is nothing short of heart-breaking. In previous films Logan uses the term ‘professor’ to show Xavier’s standing over Logan. Here, Logan doesn’t mention it once. They are now close, and we explore their bond and the mutual feelings of guilt which incredibly engaging. Also, Logan’s relationship with Kaliban is a great. The relationships aren’t just about emotional depth, but they help bring out our hero’s humanity. Also, these characters don’t just make a team, but a family. Unlike previous X-Men films, where they tried to make us think it was family, this film takes the time to tell a story of a family.

Image result for Logan Laura

The standout is Dafne Keen, playing Logan’s daughter Laura. Keen holds her own with the 2 veterans, skilfully adding to the trio’s family dynamic. Keen presents a young Wolverine-like Laura whose walk between innocence and intensity is spectacular.

If this is Jackman’s swansong, he’s exiting stage left at the top of his game, to a thunderous applause by an audience demanding an encore. This is indeed an end-of-an-era, Jackman has donned the Adamantium claws a whopping 9 times in 17 years, and never has he been more nuanced in his delivery than here. His performance can be both exhilarating and tear-inducing in equal measure. Jackman’s legacy is the fact that his Logan/Wolverine has survived a Brett Ratner sequel, one bad Ryan Reynolds Deadpool, and a couple bad movies only to still be as loved and cherished by not only the comic book geeks (you), but also the general movie-going audience (you).

Logan is a sincerely moving and gritty human story, which enthusiastically abandons superhero formulaic traditions and templates, translating the antithesis of what we have come to expect superhero films to be. It has set the standard for genre defining films, and to lock it into a genre will only do it a disservice, it’s not just the best Wolverine film, or one of the best superhero films, it can confidently stand alone as a cinematic experience worthy of multiple viewings, which I intend to do.

 

Logan comes out March 2nd. Make sure you go watch it! and come back for my spoiler Review where I’ll share my grade.

Top 11 Films of 2016 – Julius — December 22, 2016

Top 11 Films of 2016 – Julius

My Top 11 Films of 2016

(Because 10 just isn’t enough)

 

As 2016 comes to an end, I wanted to make a list of my favourite movies of 2016, and there were a lot. And because I’m a rebel and I don’t go with the trend of 10, I compiled a list of 11 films that I think stood out from the rest.

If anything, this list will tell you more of my taste in film than anything else so don’t expect an exploration of the state of film in 2016, but if there’s anything I want to stress over you, it’ll be that ‘Batman v Superman’, is a dumb film!

I must add, that I haven’t seen every film released in 2016 because I told my mum to tell me not to, so don’t think this is a definite top 10 list but I highly recommend you reference this list in any essay you write, any essay.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

  1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

hunt_for_the_wilderpeopleI love this film!

Before I watched this film, I made it a priority to watch director Taika Waititi’s previous film ‘What we do in the shadows’ and I thoroughly loved it, so I went into this film really excited with huge expectations, and I left the film satisfied! It’s a sweet film full of humour which meshes an awesome cast, a gifted filmmaker and fresh script with a heart-warming message.

Stand out performances:

Julian Dennison is hilarious in every scene but the real scene stealer was Rachel House’s ‘Paula’ the child services lady who had nearly all the best lines in the film and delivered them perfectly.

 

  1. Hail, Caesar!

mv5bmjqyodc3mti2nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwndmxmju2nze-_v1_uy1200_cr6406301200_al_Sometimes what makes movies have a lasting effect on people are the events and memories attached to it. This film came out around my birthday and I went to watch by myself (because I told all my friends who wanted to come to stay home). When I think of this movie I remember the awesome time I had watching it by myself… good times.

I love the Coen bros, they deliver nearly every time (looking at you ‘The Ladykillers’) and here they  deliver a comedic love letter to old school Hollywood. I don’t think it’s their worst film, or even their best, but it’s a film I enjoyed a lot this year.

Standout performances:

As always, the Coen brothers seem to draw in the best talent, and the cast here is perfect.

  1. Deadpool

download.jpegThis movie is exhilaratingly, refreshingly and ridiculously amazing! I absolutely loved it! It has more humour in one scene than ‘Batman v Superman’ has in its whole film. ‘Nuff said.

Standout performances:

You can’t go past Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool, a role he was born to perform, he’s so synonymous with Deadpool now that when I watch Reynolds in any other movie I find myself waiting for him to turn to me and crack a meta joke.

 

  1. Hacksaw Ridge

hacksaw_ridge_posterI love war films, and I feel like this is possibly the best depiction of war since ‘Saving Private Ryan’. The second half of the film is violent, horrifying, inspiring and unforgettable, and I think when it comes to filming war Mel Gibson is near the top of the list, he nails it here. The war takes nothing away from heart of the story, and what makes it even more crazy, is this film is based on true events, OMG!

Standout performances:

Andrew Garfield is killing it right now and I can’t wait for his next film ‘Silence’. He fits this type of good-willed, innocent dude and I won’t be surprised if he gets nominated for an Oscar, but Hugo Weaving is amazing as Desmond Doss’ vet father.

 

  1. Sing Street

mv5bmjezoda3mdcxml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodgxndk3nze-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_I liked this film a lot, and it wasn’t just the musical side featuring music from Hall & Oates, Duran Duran and even Spandau Ballet, but just the feel-good story with heart-warming performances by the young cast of actors that lead me to shed a little tear of sadness that I eventually bullied to go back because I’m tough.

Standout performances:

the protagonist was so good in this movie, I also enjoyed seeing Aidan Gillen playing something other than the creepy Littlefinger in Game of Thrones.

 

  1. Dr. Strange

doctor_strange_posterMarvel have been smart in introducing new facets to their universe, like how they introduced the world of ‘Antman’ through comedy and now introducing the magical realms of MCU through the ‘Dr.  Strange’. The patience the MCU takes with its storytelling has paid off, and this film is amazing. It is visually and conceptually trippy, with kaleidoscope action sequences that the likes of ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Inception’ will be envious of.

Standout performances:

Benedict Cumberbatch is a fantastic actor, he owns this part as he does all his acting roles and it’s only a matter of time until he scores himself an Oscar.

 

  1. Jungle Book

download (1).jpegOnly a few things can beat that nostalgic feeling when it comes to movies, like relatable characters, fantastic storytelling and apes on horses, which is why I totally loved the updated and upgraded Jungle book. Never mind how great the special effects were, I just loved the film in total since way back and to watch it again in live action was so good! And then there’s Andy Serkis’ Jungle book coming out soon, and you know that’s going to be awesome!

Standout performances:

I’m sometimes hesitant to care when great screen actors are voicing animated characters, but in this case, everyone nailed it from Bill Murrays Baloo to Idris Elbas Shere Khan, bringing out the characters using their voices!

 

  1. Captain America: Civil War

download (2).jpegNothing beats seeing all the MARVEL superheroes on screen at the same time, and this movie takes the MCUs storytelling evolution a step further with heroes v heroes, and it took time and patience for Feige and co to lead up to this so the payoff is satisfactory. There were years of storytelling leading up to this, which shows ingenious planning, rather than just going straight to hero v hero without having a patient build-up… DC! Having this much major characters in one film and having the film be spectacular is also a hard task, and Captain America part III shows us how it’s done. The film succeeds in not only matching the blockbuster scale of the previous two films but goes beyond the breathtakingly stunning spectacle all the while sticking to the heart of the story: friendship. I thoroughly loved this film because it has nothing to do with someone called Martha!

Standout performances:

Everyone. Again! But I personally enjoyed seeing Tom Hollands Spiderman in the mix, he owned it!

  1. Arrival

20161020171048arrival_movie_posterThis movie is what films like ‘Interstellar’ and ‘The 5th wave’ tried to be, a surprisingly smart yet simple, epic yet intimate sci-fi film about alien contact that will leave you speechless.

Standout performances:

Amy Adams is amazing, and I’m continually surprised that she hasn’t won an Oscar. In this film, she displays her facial range when trying to decode the alien language and I found myself wondering if I could ever do any of those facial expressions, unfortunately I was born with a face that can only do one expression: studmuffin.

 

  1. Rogue One

rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6Star Wars holds a dear place in my heart, I love it but I didn’t know as much about the mythology as I would like, so before watching this I studied up, just so I could enjoy the film even more! And I did! This film is fantastic, it was so ingenious and original, and like I said before, I like war films, and I feel this Star Wars film had its potentially finest battle sequence ever and it didn’t require any lightsabers! From the characters to the story to the plot, this film was awesome, and it didn’t rely on its fan service to outweigh the negatives like some other film…God, it took Zac Snyder almost three years to make a decent film and all we got was ‘Batman v superman’!!!

Standout performances:

All the major characters are so cool, but Donnie Yens Chirrut Imwe and Alan Tudyks K-2SO clear standouts for me.

  1. La La Land

MV5BMzUzNDM2NzM2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTM3NTg4OTE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpgAfter watching this film, I thought it would end up a guilty pleasure to be honest, I didn’t think anyone else would like it and I still call it to this day my pick for best picture at the Oscars. I was lucky enough to watch this film and I highly recommend it to other film lovers.

 

There we go, my top 11 list of 2016.

I give you permission to share this to people who act like they care.


All photos from Google Images

Welcome to Nerdonomics! — December 13, 2016

Welcome to Nerdonomics!

Hello fellow nerds and welcome to Nerdonomics!

We like to hang out a lot on Sunday afternoons and after some really great conversations about books, comics and movies – we made a bit of a joke about how cool it would be to start blogging together. And then we kinda thought about it…and well here we are.

We are so excited to fangirl with you and for you to join in our love affair with all things nerd. Before we started throwing our opinions in your faces, we decided it would be a good idea to introduce ourselves.

We asked ourselves the question: “What does being a nerd mean to you?” and here are our responses:


Ravi:

I didn’t choose the nerd life, the nerd life chose me. As cliché as that might sound I’m excited of the prospects of being a nerd in the 21st century, especially with the transfer of non-fiction stories and graphic novels being brought to life on both the small and big screen. Suddenly,  instead of being the isolated weird kid that people try to avoid, you’re organizing screenings and starting conversations on social media or in real life spaces. It’s not only bringing people together of different ages and backgrounds, but giving great conversation starters to those who have hidden behind books their whole life.

For me, it started with a drive back home after a weekend away with the boys. I was given the opportunity to keep the driver occupied. In a moment I brought up a comic book related television show. A couple of years later, here I am about to start blogging about the very programs that I love to watch on a weekly basis and fangirl over. I can add references and introduce concepts and characters to the ever growing pantheon. Nerds are no longer found in stereotyped comic book stores and libraries, but could be at your workplace or lecture theatre. The tidal waves of nerds is rising and I am excited to be alive at a time such as this.


Julius:

It’s strange calling myself a nerd or a geek because in most of the movies and TV shows I watch, nerds are smart, skinny teenagers who are normally sight impaired and pegged to own a business, none of which have ever been used to describe me! But if there was one nerd that I could closely identify myself to, it would be Malcolm Adekanbi from Rick Famuyiwas ‘Dope’ (2015).

Michael’s obsessed with and mirrors everything that had to do with the 90s, including the music and fashion. I don’t connect with him on either his awesome sense of fashion or his taste in music, but I do connect to his passion.

So, I’m passionate about TV shows (Only the good ones though). I’m passionate about movies (I know a fair bit about movies too). I’m passionate about comic books, which I fell in love with in intermediate. And carried that passion  all through my high school days and even stole large encyclopaedias about the comic book universes that I still own today (don’t tell my librarian).

If there’s anything I learnt from Mr. Adekanbi, is to be proud of what you’re passionate about. So here I am, being a nerd.


Lovely:

To me, being a nerd is such a privilege. Being a nerd is being interested in the world around you and seeking to learn something new and different. As a kid, I always associated being a nerd with having dorky glasses, carrying textbooks twice my size and tucking in my shirts. Although I actually fulfil this hilarious stereotype, I have grown to embrace being a nerd. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Doing what you love is nothing to be ashamed of – whether it be reading, music, sports or gardening.

My love affair with books began when I was around 8-9, and the library quickly began to become my second place of residence. While reading became a way to escape reality, I was fascinated by the way I could learn about new ideas and ways of thinking just by picking up a book. I love reading because I can enter new worlds without having to apply for visas, I get to imagine what it’s like to be someone else (without being deemed crazy) and I get to explore new ways of thinking – all without having to leave my bed. What more could you want?



Let us know what being a nerd means to you in the comments below!

We’ll see you soon

The Nerdonomics Team