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Review: Fantastic Four (2015) — Fantastic Faux Pas: Defying the Odds to Become the Worst Fantastic Four Movie

Fantastic Four is back, and this time it’s serious. Luke Miksa reviews:

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Based on the popular Marvel Comics characters, Fantastic Four is another attempt at a big-screen adaptation for Marvel’s First Family. Directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle), Fantastic Four (Fant4stic if you’re an idiot) is a more serious take at the origin story of the super-team and follows a young Reed Richards (Miles Teller, Whiplash), a hyper-intelligent young man who is recruited into the “Baxter Foundation” and joins a team including Sue Storm (Kate Mara, House of Cards), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station), and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell, RocknRolla). The team develop a transporter capable of inter-dimensional travel, but when the team, including Reed’s childhood friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell, Snowpiercer), encounter problems on “Planet Zero”, they return with their molecules altered, resulting in various powers and abilities which will change them forever.

Fantastic Four is a movie that has been plagued with well documented production problems. I shouldn’t be getting into on-set dramas while reviewing a film, but the squabbles between director Josh Trank and 20th Century Fox have unfortunately manifested into the finished film, which is a jumbled mess of ideas, tone, and plot. What we have with Fantastic Four is two movies. One being the directors vision: a serious scientific exploration into inter-dimensional travel combined with Cronenberg-esque body-horror. The second: an action based movie where the team gets together to stop a cataclysmic event. It’s obvious where the different visions intersect and the resulting mess is the worst-reviewed Marvel-based movie to date.*

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Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) — All The Eye-Popping Spectacle You Want, No Strings Attached

But of course this is a Marvel Studios film, and ALL strings are attached, but does Avengers: Age of Ultron surpass the original? Luke Miksa reviews:

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Avengers: Age of Ultron is a movie that genuinely needs no introduction. If you are not familiar with billionaire philanthropist Tony Stark (aka Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr.), Asgardian prince Thor (Chris Hemsworth), or time-displaced World War II super-soldier Steve Rogers (aka Captain America, Chris Evans), then perhaps you have been in suspended animation the last eight years. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the sequel to the 2012 superhero team-up film The Avengers and the 11th film in the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe. This time, the Avengers must again team up to fight a power of their own creation, the sentient artificial intelligence known as Ultron (James Spader), a being with the intent of cleansing the world of humanity.

The boys are back (plus a girl or two, I guess).

The boys are back (plus a girl or two, I guess).

The movie opens right in the thick of The Avengers raiding the Hydra base of Baron von Strucker to regain the sceptre seen in previous films. Director/screenwriter Joss Whedon doesn’t bother with building up the opening — we have seen this before — so jumping straight into the action from the get-go is the perfect way to establish what this movie is all about: all action, all the time. This opening scene in particular features a wonderful long tracking shot following all the characters battling the Hydra army, with many insta-iconic imagery coming from just this single scene; welcome back, everyone!

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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — Marvel’s Weirdest Team in Marvel’s Strongest Movie

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Space Avengers.

Space Avengers.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it is directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super) and co-written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman. In a departure from the highly interconnected, Earth-bound Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in a galaxy far, far away (hmmm). Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, a massive departure from Parks and Recreation) aka Star-Lord, was abducted as a child by a group of inter-galactic marauders and has since grown up as a thief and rogue. When Quill discovers an ancient orb on a desolate planet, he finds himself in the crosshairs of Kree warrior Ronan (Lee Pace), who is also after the artefact. In his journey Quill encounters Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin who looks to redeem her nefarious past; Drax (former WWE Champion Dave Bautista), looking to avenge the death of his family at the hands of Thanos (that big guy at the end of The Avengers!); Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a genetically engineered raccoon with a penchant for weaponry; and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a hulking, anthropomorphic tree and companion of Rocket. Quill must tag with this renegade group of extraterrestrial fugitives to outrun Ronan and his subordinates who are in pursuit of the orb, which holds one of the powerful Infinity Stones and the capability to destroy the galaxy.

The strong point of this film is the outlandish cast of characters. Each character has different backgrounds and different motivations, and the greatest moments come when they are interacting with each other — both clashing and bonding. The humour is never cheap either; there is never a moment where you are laughing at Rocket just because he’s a raccoon. On the contrary, Rocket is initially established as a no-nonsense, sarcastic badass, and the humour comes from the fact that he actually doesn’t realise he’s a raccoon. That’s great scripting, because the character of Rocket is established without a mention of raccoon, that point comes up naturally in the dialogue. Another great character trait belongs to Drax, as his people do not understanding metaphors, this creates some great comic banter between himself and the sassy Quill. GOTG has a level of entertaining character interactions and dialogue on par with The Avengers.

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