Mad Max: Fury Road

mad_max_fury_road_ver13_xlgThe Mad Max franchise isn’t necessarily as much of a household name as other properties like Star Wars or Jurassic Park, but the latest entry, Mad Max: Fury Road, has remarkably had just as much buzz and hype as any other hollywood franchise being released this year. What’s even more surprising is just how much everyone and their mother LOVES this movie. Some are even declaring it as the best film of 2015 already, and the year’s not even half-over! (Settle down guys, We still have Jurassic World, Spectre, Inside Out and a little movie called The Force Awakens to see before I could ever make that claim) So what has audience and critics alike so united by their love for this film? Let’s take a look at it and find out.

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First and foremost; Fury Road is visual Storytelling at it’s finest. There’s minimal dialogue in the film, but the story is conveyed by the characters actions rather than their words. I thought this was incredibly refreshing and effective for an action movie in this day and age to take this route. Speaking of action films, while I can’t officially call this movie the best of 2015, I can say that it is without a doubt the best straight-up action film of the decade so far. (So long as I don’t include Super-hero, films, which have kinda become a genre of their own.) I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the entire movie is a chase across the desert, and it’s incredibly exhilarating. The film rarely slows down, but you’ll probably be too busy having fun to even care about that. (Almost all the effects are practical too, which will undoubtably  be refreshing for many film fans) When it does briefly (and I do stress the term “Briefly”) Put on the brakes to settle down, you realize that it’s not just a mindless action movie either. There’s a story that matters, and you care about these characters and you want to see them succeed, which makes the action all the more thrilling.

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I can understand how some people, as well as hardcore mad max fans, may be upset to hear that Max himself comes off as more of a secondary character in the grand scheme of things. He’s still a cooll character and all, but he’s not the in the spotlight quite as much as some would’ve hoped.  This would bother me too…if all the other characters weren’t so interesting. And yet, I’d be hard pressed to name a character in this movie that  didn’t care about, although I can pick out three of my favourites. One of the main protagonists, Furiosa, is an engaging lead and the one that really gets this whole chase started in the first place. She’s a complete badass that also genuinely cares about the people she’s protecting, which makes it easy to root for her. (plus her robo-arm is just the coolest thing ever) The main antagonist, Immortan Joe, is quite the terrifying  character. The more you learn about him and his plans, the more you realize what a creep he is. His appearance echoes the likes of other iconic movie villains such as Darth Vader and Bane. My favourite character would have to be Nux, a member of Joe’s army. He starts off as an antagonist and/or the comic relief, but as the film progresses, he becomes much more complex and I grew to really like him as the film went on.

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Mad Max is one of those few films where the hype is truly justified.  There’s plenty ore I want to talk about, but it’s more satisfying to experience some of the moments for yourself without being spoiled. (trust me, you’ll know which moments i’m talking about when you see the movie) Complaining about this film is useless because it does what it sets out to do perfectly. It delivers what the fans wanted and manages to be accessible enough for new audiences to also have fun as well. I’m hesitant to call it a perfect movie, but for what it is, it’s an incredible action movie and one of the must sees of the summer.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

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For many people, Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t just a movie, It’s an event. And why shouldn’t it be? The first Avengers film was somewhat of a movie miracle. There were many ways that film could’ve failed, but the finished product ended up being one of the greatest superhero films of all time. So as you can imagine, there’s alot of expectations for Age of Ultron to not only live up to it’s predecessor, but to surpass it. As huge fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, me and a few friends arrived at theatre on opening day with dozens of other fans to see the long awaited sequel. Now if you’re anything like me, I’m sure only one question matters to you. Did Age of Ultron achieve the impossible? In other words; Did it live up to the hype?

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In many respects, Age of Ultron delivers exactly what it promises. Tons of action, wonderful chemistry from the mane cast and a memorable villain. The fact that writer and director Joss Whedon, as well as the entire creative team at Marvel studios, were able to pull off a movie of this scale again is quite impressive.  However if I’m being honest, I do have a few problems with it that I’d like to get out of the way first. My biggest problem with the movie is the editing. The best way I can describe the editing is that it just feels a little loose, particularly whenever one scene would transition to another, at times it felt jarring, and I’m not sure why. However It’s not distracting enough for the average moviegoer to complain, and I have a suspicion some of this may’ve been intentional to emphasize just how insane and crazy some of the events that take place in the film are. One of the film’s key characters even gives the Avengers hallucinations, resulting in some pretty effective nightmare sequences. I grew to really enjoy the soundtrack for the first Avengers, but the sequel’s soundtrack is a little bland by comparison. That’s about all I have for the complaints, now onto the good, the great and the exceptional.

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As far as the characters are concerned, it’s a safe bet that you won’t find a more entertaining group than the Avengers. The team is just a joy to watch, thanks to their great chemistry. Each Avenger has a moment to shine, and I can almost guarantee that no two people will have the same favourite character (My personal favourites were The Vision and Ultron) Each of the recurring Avengers, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk and Hawkeye all play important roles in the story. I’d say the two most prominent members this time around are Iron Man and Hulk, since they’re the ones that really get the plot started. Despite that, It’s Hawkeye who really steals the show here. (Yes, you read that right) Without giving too much away, Hawkeye becomes the heart of the movie, and his character is much more compelling here then he was in the first Avengers. There’s even a few moments where the film pokes fun at his minimal role in the first movie, which should please skeptics and also make fans happy, considering that Hawkeye is a fan favourite in the comics. The new characters are also handled very well. Two new Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Whitch, make for welcome new additions to the team, even if they are a little underdeveloped by comparison to some of the other characters. Having said that, they still offer interesting arcs and their relationship with the heroes and villains is very interesting to watch. Joss Weadon is a very talented writer, and one of the areas he excels at is his comedy. Despite the darker tone, this movie can be no less then hysterical when it wants to be

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The one character I was most interested in seeing was Ultron himself. Ultron makes for a fantastic villain, and is so far the best that 2015 has to offer. He’s scary, smart, charming, and even humorous and manipulative. Just about everything you want in a villain, (much like Loki from the first film). You just can’t take your eyes off him when he’s on screen, and I’d definitely rank him as the second best villain featured in this franchise so far, right after Loki. And then there’s The Vision. The less I say about him the better, but trust me when I say he’s one of the film’s highlights, and Paul Bettany does a tremendous job with the role. (I’m also happy to report that the character is not entirely CGI, but is rather achieved with the actor wearing an extensive costume makeup. Some might not care either way, but I thought it was nice to have such a fantastical character be portrayed in a very old-school way.) There’s alot of cameos from the series that show up here, like War Machine and Falcon, and while the film doesn’t include every single character from the franchise, they were pretty close. The action featured is very good, and while it may not be as memorable as in the first film, there are still some stand out sequences that’ll thrill audiences, most notably the opening sequence where the Avengers storm a Hydra base on a snowy mountain and the Hulk vs Hulkbuster showdown around the middle of the film. Much like the first film, the action is well choreographed and exciting. There is a moment where the movie takes a break from all the fighting (When the Avengers go to their “Safe-house”) and becomes more quiet, allowing for some great character development as well. I’d say that’s where Age of Ultron improves upon it’s predecessor. It’s character development is much more engaging this time around, and I really cared for all the characters.

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Age of Ultron is probably Marvel’s most ambitious film to date. I laughed, I cheered and I had a great time watching the long awaited sequel. There were more than a few times where me and my friends (along with the rest of the audience) laughed and applauded throughout the movie. Does it have flaws? Yes. Is it better than the first Avengers? It doesn’t QUITE reach those heights. (in my opinion of course). But are any of the problems big enough to distract from the fun? Certainly not. Age of Ultron is a tremendously great time at the cinema and a satisfying new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic universe. This film gets a high recommendation from me and I’m already looking forward to seeing it again.

(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: And one last thing; if you stick around through the credits, there is a mid credits scene that features a certain mad Titan that fans won’t want to miss. but there is no post credit scene.)

My top ten most anticipated films of 2015: Part 2

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Welcome back to part 2 of my most anticipated movies of the year. if you haven’t read part 1, you can check it out here. Let’s move on to number 5!!

Number 5: Ant-Man

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I was pretty disappointed when edger wright left Ant-Man. So much so that after I heard the news I didn’t have nearly as much interest in the movie. It also didn’t help that Ant-Man isn’t particularly high on my favourite Marvel Characters list. But I’d be lying if I said that the last few trailers we’ve gotten for this movie didn’t rock my socks off. This movie looks like it could potentially end up being one of my favourite Marvel films thanks to a great sense of humour, a terrific suit for the hero, and some inventive action sequences. One of which taking place on a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine train set….it must be seen to be believed.

Number 4: Goosebumps

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If one were to ask me what some of my favourite childhood books are, chances are quite a few of them would be Goosebumps books. While I’m not as big a fan of the series as I was when I was younger, I still think R.L Stine is a great writer and I have many fond memories of reading the books and watching the Goosebumps TV show. So Naturally, i’m very excited to see how this feature length adaptation of the series turns out. (I’m still having a hard time picturing Jack Black as R.L Stine though…I’m sure a good trailer will convince me otherwise.) One aspect that has me very intrigued is that they are bringing back nearly every ghoul and monster from the books and TV show into this movie, including The Scarecrow that walks at midnight, The haunted mask, and of course, Slappy the Dummy.

Number 3: Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Numbers 3 through 1 on this list could easily be interchangeable. I’m looking forward to all three of these movies on a pretty equal level, but here’s the order I managed to come up with in any case. I’ve really been loving what Marvel has done since 2008’s Iron Man, and the first Avengers became one of my favourite films . I become more excited each new trailer, clip and tv spot. Ultron himself looks like he could end up being one of the years best villains. Make mine a Marvel.

Number 2: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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After a decade long absence, Star Wars finally returns to the big screen. (if one doesn’t count The Clone Wars or when The Phantom Menace was re-released in theatres in 2012. ) The footage released promises fans that this is the film they’ve been waiting for, keeping true to the essence of what made the original trilogy so endearing. What else can I say? It’s Star Wars. A new Star Wars movie. Coming out THIS year. If that’s not enough to excite you, then I don’t know what is.

Number 1: Jurassic World

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Out of all the films being released this year, jurassic World is one of the most personal for me. The original Jurassic Park is probably my favourite movie of all time, and I’ve spent so many years wishing and hoping for Jurassic Park 4 to be released. I’ve heard all the rumours, the false release dates and plots, and for a short period of time, I thought the film would never come out. Yet here we are, at long last, just one month away from the finished product, and I’m so thrilled that the much fabled Jurassic Park 4 (Now titled “Jurassic World”) Is a reality.

What movies are you guys looking forward to the most? Tell me your lists in the comments! Here’s to a great year in cinema!