Dr Doom Movie in the Works – Legion Producer at the Helm

It was a bittersweet moment when the Legion producer and screenwriter, Noah Hawley (also known for his spectacular work on the critically acclaimed drama Fargo and his recent novel Before the Fall), announced that his next project would be a Doctor Doom individual film. A sweet and inticing sensation came at the thought, as a writer as talented as Hawley even thinking of constructing such a character of mystery and depth really tickles any tastebud for it to happen. Though, there seems to be very little significance here when the Fantastic Four still feel as though they are heavily lacking in terms of depth or identity within the cinematic universe. This film added to the work of Legion suggests, however, that Fox are seeking the opportunity to have the very talented Hawley work very closely within their superhero ecosystem. Now that’s a thought worth thinking.

For those of you who have experienced any of his recent work – whether that be Fargo, Legion, Before the Fall, The Good Father or anything else – you’ll know why the prospect of him being an influential figure in this field is very exciting for comic fans and movie-goers alike. He has a very clear understanding of what he wants to say and where he wants to say it, but with a cinematic finesse that touches upon directional beauty and astonishment. His characters have usually always provided a large amount of depth and individuality that differentiates them from the norm. In short, he’s one of the writers of the decade that should be cherished for both his innovation and creative expression within many forms of art mediums.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t make mistakes or that his judgements are completely infallible, but it does give some hope that the future may be bright for both the X Men and Fantastic Four franchises and this film may provide the stepping stone needed to (finally) make it a reality. 

The biggest question currently has to be surrounding his choice of character. Doctor Doom has featured in all the Fantastic Four films – a highly used, somewhat misunderstood character – and hasn’t really shown any interest to the general viewer. It was an unexpected reveal, something most people never thought of predicting. Hawley may be able to reinnovate the character and give the viewers an actual reason to sympathise with him, not just dislike him because the narrative has a clearly transparent bias against him. This could set the stage for Hawley’s masterplan, but it’s too early to say for certain just what he is planning.

Here’s hoping that it doesn’t disappoint.


Daredevil Season 1 Review 

This review contains mild spoilers.
Twelve years since the original adaptation of Daredevil, this Netflix original season provides a gritty, violent and realistic aesthetic to the character. Telling the story of Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer with superhuman senses, this television drama focus heavily on his life both professionally as a lawyer and personally as the vigilante ‘Daredevil’, also known as the ‘Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’. If you’re looking for an action-packed, character driven, thrilling ten episode series, this season is definitely for you. Whether it be the sheer depth of the primary antagonist Wilson Fisk or the excellent direction and cinematography of the hallway tracking shot, this show is pure quality in nearly every aspect and is a true love letter to all those who enjoy the source material. This is one of the most refreshing, unique, original and incredible pieces of television in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever to have been created. 

Set in New York’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, Daredevil has all the great conventions of a crime drama: a dark, gritty tone, adult themes, an anti-heroic and insightful protagonist and a thrilling antagonist with a strong motivation for what they are doing. This drama brilliantly executes the balance between action and character development, showing Matt Murdock as a man of intelligence, wit and a slight thirst for violence and releasing his inner demons. It’s a compelling narrative – despite its tendancy to sometimes have a ‘crime of the episode’ style – and really goes deeper and deeper into the enigma that both Matt Murdock and the villain, Wilson Fisk, provide. Fisk is a troubled man, who believes in trying to make the city ‘a better place’. As a viewer, it is difficult not to sympathise with his dark past and relationship with Vanessa. Even despite all the horrific things he does, his character is one that provides a great deal of balance and intrigue, unlike the typical Marvel villain archetype of being solely evil. Where this show blossoms is in its brilliant characters, that make this drama feel as alive as any other show with quality material.

Not only thus, but the cinematography and overall choreography for the fight scenes are pure genius. Take, for example, the excellently thrilling and gut wrenching tracking shot, that mesmerised viewers with over three minutes of beautifully shot hallway action. It felt realistic, like we were feeling every blow dealt to Matt and feeling his sympathy towards the kidnapped young child. First starting with silence and the gradual anticipation and build up through Matt’s senses soon lead to punches, manoeuvres and bodies sprawled across the floor. Every hit felt natural, and every enemy appeared to act and behave in a manner that most cinematic archetypes would not: they actually fought back. While tracking shots have been done many times before – from No Country for Old Men to True Detective – but something about this particular scene is so appealing and attractive aesthetically to the eye. It’s safe to say that this really set the precedence for the season and for the Netflix Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. 

The biggest issue with this season was the thirteen episode format, which created a vacuum for small crime, somewhat filler episodes. While it was refreshing to see a variety of different, compelling antagonists, sometimes this detracted from the overall focus of the plot with Wilson Fisk and made it feel ever so slightly repetitive in parts. It severely hindered the progress of the plot and sacrificed what could have been a very coherent and well structured story. Not that it’s a terrible thing to boast the excellent direction and action, but sometimes it would have been appreciated if more focus on the highlight of the show would have been acknowledged and considered. 

Another detracting feature was the somewhat anti-climatic conclusion to such a dramatic, highly anticipated series. Fisk had been a dominant hand in the city, both through influential and physical power. He had shown signs of weakness – which ultimately made him all the more likeable – with his relationship and light-hearted nature alongside Vanessa, but for the majority of the season he had developed a broad group of associates and had repressed those seeking to fight against him. He even went as far as murdering a particular character in order to keep the news outlets completely oblivious to his crimes, not to mention him paying off many forms of law enforcement to keep his secrets safe. Yet, despite all this power and influence, his closure is found in a futile battle against Daredevil – who had taken severe injuries after their last confrontation. This ending felt too scripted, too coincidental and just too simple. While Fisk’s story was one of the most compelling and intriguing throughout the season, his ending made him appear as a criminal out of his depth. 

This, however, is almost a side thought that sweeps alongside the positives because this show does so many things right that these criticisms are very difficult to remember when watching. With characters as compelling and thoroughly fleshed as these and choreographical sequences that baffle both the eye and the mind, this show is definitely onto a winner. It’s a very positive, confident approach that changes the perceptions of Marvel and the genre. Essentially, it’s a superhero show that is inhabited and absorbed by a particularly rich mystery and crime. While it may lack a strong conclusion, it still warrants a second season – which is also available to watch – and more than justifies a binging session. 

Daredevil Season 1 scores:

Spiderman: Homecoming Review – A Fun, Light-hearted, Web-Slinging Film

This review contains mild plot spoilers.

Ever since the initial appearance of Tom Holland’s humorous and refreshing Spiderman in Captain America: Civil War, the prospect of a solitary film was always an appealing and attractive one. Despite the many depictions of Peter Parker over the years cinematically, from Tobey Maguire’s original Spiderman to Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spiderman, the web-slinging hero in this film felt particularly different and original from the predecessors. Homecoming blossomed in the aspect of Peter Parker’s school life and his growing relationship with school friend, Ned, not to mention the aspirational aspect of him idoling Tony Stark. While this movie sometimes relied heavily on Downey Jr’s Stark and his influence towards igniting the fuel in the main villain’s motivational fire, it did add a nice connection to the Marvel Universe. As a debut for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this was a particularly strong and enjoyable contender that warrants a second viewing. 

A particular speciality and brilliance with this film was how it managed to balance the humour, both for younger and older audiences, the action sequences and character development elements. It truly felt like the Spiderman from the comics! They were able to execute the perspective of Peter Parker to a great standard, showing his life at school and his longing for identity as Spiderman. His growing friendship with Ned and his interest in Liz Allen made this film a really different and unique take on what we have come to know of the cinematic web-slinger. It emphasises the perspective of youth and how, at this current time, Peter is in a state of inexperience and blindness towards the wider world and society. He wants to be the hero and wants to prove himself, but this is in the face of youth and premature decisions. This was a particularly refreshing perspective and gave Spiderman a great connection to the cinematic universe. 

Michael Keaton’s depiction of Vulture was very compelling and respectable. Not only did he depict a family man with a daughter and wife – once again making for a sympathetic narrative – that he had to support, but also a lower to middle class citizen that had worked in labour and industry for a large part of his life. His motivation of the movie, that being to seek revenge on those of higher affluence and influence within New York (most notably Tony Stark), once again reinforced the connection to the Marvel Universe. However, the biggest issue with this was that it felt as though Stark was taking a little too much limelight away from the focus of the movie that it detracted from the experience ever so slightly. We’ve seen more than enough of Stark in various other films, so this felt like a cameo appearance that went a little too far. That being said, the Vulture did have a few surprises that won’t be mentioned here for the sake of spoilers. If you’re expecting a very climatic concluding battle, don’t get overly excited because it wasn’t all that present but there were still times where he proved to be a tough for to defeat.

This leads onto my next point: the sense of danger and threat. It appeared to be limited in this movie, to say the least. Only until you get to the finale do you actually believe something may actually happen to Peter, but none of his friends are put in drastic danger to a point where you think they’re going to lose their lives. It all felt rather inconsequential, mainly because this film was trying so hard to nail the character development and relationships early. Whilst I thought the general message of Peter having to find who he truly is in order to become the Spiderman, it would have been quite a nice addition if he was actually having to save someone he cared for (similarly to how all the previous films have). This once again reinforces just how different a film it is from its counter parts, both for better and for worse. 

Something very unestimated and almost unanticipated was the humour in this film. Not only did it broaden the audience and make it a very enjoyable watch for adults and children alike, but it also gave the film a sense that it wasn’t taking itself too seriously. It knew exactly what it wanted to be and executed it almost perfectly. For example, the moment Spiderman tries to sling a web and can’t because of a building not being in sight. It was simple, comedic humour that servd the purpose well of trying to lighten the mood a light and not get weighed down in self-seriousness, especially when mixed with the dramatic and action sequences towards the second act. 

In conclusion, this films a very unique and creative perspective while keeping refreshing and humorous. It’s a great relief to finally have a Spiderman that feels, behaves and looks like he should. If you’re looking for a fun, exciting, character driven, family friendly film, this one is most certainly for you. Whilst it could have had some more consequential sequences and some greater significance with its reveals, this film really does blossom with individuality and character. The action sequences were entertaining, although could have been improved upon, and the overall plot of the film was solid. It’s going to be interesting to see how significant a role Spiderman plays in Infinity War and what will come in the near future.

Spiderman: Homecoming scores: