Fantastic Four Trailer: Watch It Here

Like a lot of people I’m not trying to get my hopes up too much about the new Fantastic Four movie being released in August. That said, the trailer just released does give me some hope that it’s going to be a decent version and definitely a step up from previous attempts to capture the team:

What do you think?

New Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer – Watch It Here

The latest trailer is out and it provides the usual minimal pieces of new footage to keep up drooling. Love the Hulk stuff at the end:

Give us your thoughts below!

Ant-Man Trailer Released – Watch It Here

The hype in the lead-up to this trailer has been incredible – there was even an ant-sized version of the teaser, which itself was just touting the trailer that’s premiering on Marvel’s new TV show Agent Carter. .

Here we go:

Not surprisingly, there’s not a huge amount to see but I don’t doubt it’s achieved the aim of building interest in the widening Marvel movie franchise.

Over to you: do you like what you see?



Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

hr_Captain_America-_The_Winter_Soldier_138I waited months to see Captain America: The First Avenger. I was worried that they would take one of Marvel’s great characters, and make a film that took his title literally and create something that ultimately boiled down to US propaganda, rather than really explore what Steve Rogers is about. The first time around, I wanted to hate it. I mocked everything – laughed at the dialogue, joked about how one scene in particular was awfully reminiscent of Return of the Jedi, rolled my eyes at Hugo Weaving’s scenery chewing – but at the end I turned to my husband and said that was awesome, let’s watch it again.

I feel bad about my lack of faith in Marvel Studios now. While I still try to go in to MCU films with no hope other than to be entertained, they consistently and effectively deliver exactly what the audience is wanting. What does the audience want? A film that shows us superheroes that exist here in the real world. A universe that is so close to ours, that sometimes it’s easy to suspend your disbelief, and imagine that these events are really happening, while we’re sitting in the comfort of our living rooms watching the destruction on the news.

To say Winter Soldier is a game changer is a bit of an understatement really, but it’s difficult to elaborate on that idea without offering up some pretty huge spoilers for the end of the film. What I will say, however, is that it cements the concept of these characters existing around us. From Sam Wilson’s uncannily plausible flight suit, through to Frank Grillo’s likeable but sinister portrayal of Brock Rumlow (the name Crossbones is never mentioned outside of a bit of symbolism for comics fans), and Robert Redford’s brilliant turn as Alexander Pierce – someone you can really see heading up an intelligence agency. They’re written well, they’re acted well, and most importantly, they talk like real people, which are key elements missing from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – the Marvel property with the closest ties to Winter Soldier.

Chris-EVans-vai-gostarHow can a film that contains such a ridiculous character as Batroc the Leaper do this so well though? Through brave interpretations of characters whom we have seen as jokes, caricatures, and ridiculously implausible technological developments. Just wait until you see how they brought Arnim Zola into the modern day – it’s genius, and not at all what I was expecting.

While the peripheral characters are the icing on a rather large cake, the main characters have plenty of time to shine. With a running time of over two hours, there’s never any doubt that everyone gets their share of the limelight. Nick Fury gets his own action sequence, Maria Hill has a key role to play in the final act and somehow there’s still time to explore how the events of the Battle of New York have affected Cap and Black Widow’s – both personally and publicly. There’s a glaring lack of Black Widow backstory, but Johansson’s character actually gets to be a person here, rather than a means to an end, or a Whedon Woman trope, which gives me hope that those Black Widow movie rumours may come to fruition after all. Chris Evans handles bringing the role of Steve into the modern world very well, he plays him with just the right combination of righteousness and sass, and that’s exactly what I think Cap is all about.

The real stars of this show, however, are Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, as Sam Wilson, and Bucky Barnes respectively. Mackie’s clear excitement at being able to play in the sandbox carries over to his portrayal of Wilson, who has a kind of fanboy excitement about being included in Cap and Widow’s team. Stan does an impressive job of a role that, for most of the film, involves a lot of empty, angry, or irritated gazes, and the delivery of one particular choice line lifted from the comic. Both actors fit their roles perfectly, yet another example of Marvel choosing the right actors, and developing the right characters.

bwposter2From a technical standpoint, this is probably Marvel’s most ambitious project to date. If you think The Avengers was a large project CG wise, forget it. Winter Soldier has not one, but three helicarriers, more action sequences than I can remember, and while it may not have Iron Man 3 scale supersuits, the work on Falcon’s wings, and The Winter Soldier’s arm, is pretty impressive. There are certainly a few missteps in the larger scale shots that are more visible when viewing the film in 2D, but overall the CG is great.

The score is adequate, with moments of greatness when building tension, but there are points where it could have done with dropping out completely. Over all, Winter Soldier has a post-Cold War action thriller vibe to it, and sometimes the score doesn’t quite fit, particularly during a lot of Cap’s dialogue. I found myself wanting a bit less soaring patriotism, and a bit more understated disillusionment.

On paper, it’s hard to believe this film would work. The guys who made You, Me and Dupree direct an espionage thriller based off a comic book, where half of the long standing characters either aren’t cast in the film, or are only just being introduced, and the only way you won’t know what the big reveal will be is if you live under a rock. Forget about it. Wry humour, innovative use of characters, and a big reveal that has so much more large scale fallout than what you’re thinking of, make this film quite possibly the best that we’ve seen from Marvel Studios yet.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier makes excellent use of one of Brubaker’s great storylines, but never once feels like the core concept came from a comic. Anthony and Joe Russo may be mostly known for directing such classics of modern cult television comedy as Arrested Development, Happy Endings, and Community, but don’t let that make you think they can’t handle a big budget action epic.

Equal parts tense dialogue, thrilling action, and character development, Captain America: The Winter Soldier pushes the Marvel Cinematic Universe one step closer to the audience, and continues to reinforce the idea that superhero movies don’t need to exist in their own genre.

Review – Thor: The Dark World

thor-the-dark-world-posterThis probably won’t come as a great shock, considering my propensity for the more human side of the Marvel Universe than the cosmic, but Thor: The Dark World is the ‘phase 2’ film I have been looking forward to the least. While I enjoyed the first instalment, it doesn’t go on my all time favourites list with Iron Man, The Avengers, and Captain America. I’ve never been particularly interested in Asgardians – I prefer technology over magic – so I guess I wasn’t really expecting The Dark World to be my ‘thing’.

So, while I saw Iron Man 3 on opening day, I waited until I had a day off work to see Thor. I didn’t show up at the theatre until the trailers were nearly over, and almost missed the opening scene. That’s not to say I was completely blasé – I was still bouncing in my seat with excitement by the time the Marvel logo appeared. I think my husband was struggling not to groan at my predictable enthusiasm and excited chatter which, I’ll be honest, was mostly due to seeing Sif, and Darcy Lewis back on screen.

Spending as much time on the internet as I do, it’s hard to avoid being spoiled for huge releases such as this, but I managed to stay almost entirely in the dark over the few days between release, and my trip to the cinema. I had seen a few mentions of events, but without context, had no idea of their impact. This lack of spoilers, combined with the mostly middling to negative responses I’d seen glimpses of from critics, meant I had limited expectations. If anything, I guess I kind of expected it to be a bit crap, which is why I’m so pleased to be able to give The Dark World heavy praise.

What this movie is, is fun. It’s filled with great battle sequences, clever dialogue, and some seriously unexpected moments of hilarity. Actually, over all, the entire film is really, genuinely funny. I laughed all the way through, sometimes on my own thanks to my warped sense of humour, and sometimes with the rest of the audience when the more overt jokes dropped.

While the scenes on Asgard, Vanaheim, and Svartalfheim are pretty spectacular, it was the Earth based sequences that really had me hooked. The entirety of these take place in London – a refreshing change from events continually returning to the US – and mostly involve Jane, Darcy and Darcy’s ‘intern’ (his name’s Ian, okay?) running around London doing science. Eric Selvig is back as well, and has some of the funniest moments in the film, despite (or thanks to) the fact he’s still a bit messed up after the Battle of New York. The Earth based scenes having a real potential to be dull and tedious, but they actually contain a more exciting, wonder-filled tone than those off-world. Add to this, Kat Dennings’ (Darcy Lewis) excellent comic timing, and Stellan Skarsgård’s manic and bewildered portrayal of Dr. Selvig, and I found myself wanting to rewind and watch some scenes over and over.

The plot itself isn’t anything special, but it’s serviceable, and does its job in helping bring together a film that’s more about the characters than the actual storyline. It really boils down to bad guy wants the thing, good guy doesn’t want the bad guy to get the thing, good guy gets other bad guy to help, humans save the day while good guy and bad guy beat the crap out of each other, which isn’t a bad road to go down. In fact, the simplicity of the core plot actually helps offer more expansion for asides throughout the movie, to offer more insight into the characters, and what could be coming next in this universe.

Malekith and his dark elves aren’t particularly dastardly villains, and are really just an allegory for modern-day religious warfare. Doing what you believe is right because of an antiquated or skewed view of the universe. Christopher Eccleston struggles to act beneath the layers of makeup, and comes across as reasonably uninteresting, but then I don’t believe he was ever really supposed to be the centrepiece of this film. He’s really more of a plot device than a character, and I’m completely okay with that.

The return of Loki will be welcome to most, and Tom Hiddleston is really at his best here. I’m not one of the legions of Loki fans who are ready to kneel for him, but I can give credit where it’s due. Hiddleston feels like he’s toned down some of his over-the-top, borderline scenery chewing antics, which made me enjoy his performance a lot more this time around. I was disappointed by the sparing use of Sif and the Warriors Three (or Warriors Two – Hogun is glimpsed twice, on his home realm), but with a film as brief and packed full as this was, I can see why they weren’t featured more prominently. One good thing came from this though, and that’s the omission of a love triangle between Sif, Thor, and Jane, which would have been a heavy weight around Dark World’s neck.

The strength of The Dark World’s secondary characters, is what made me go from pleased to thrilled, though. Between the science crew of Selvig, Darcy, and Ian, the quiet and menacing strength of Frigga, and a couple of moments of perfection from The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd as Jane’s date Richard, there’s plenty to keep the viewer interested between fight sequences and Loki’s smarmy one liners. I also appreciated the strength displayed by all the women in this film, and the focus placed on them, even though it’s supposed to be a movie about Thor. There’s also a brilliant (sort of) cameo that was so unexpected, the entire audience dissolved into excited exclamations and almost uncontrollable laughter.

On the technical side of things, the film succeeds on almost every front. It looks stunning, the visual effects are great, and the score fits nicely with the overall tone. The costuming is almost flawless, although at some points Odin and Thor’s armour looks a little like it was on sale for $99 at The Warehouse after Halloween. The only real downer for me was the 3D, which did little to add to the depth of the scenes, and at times was a bit fuzzy in places. As it was a post-production conversion, this wasn’t really surprising, and I don’t think it was necessary.

As a whole, Dark World is a very successful film, that proves a movie doesn’t need to have a strong villain or revolutionary plot to be thoroughly entertaining. The action sequences are spectacular – particularly the final battle, which starts to make your head spin after a couple of minutes, the characters are interesting and multi-faceted, and there’s a sub-plot that you could be forgiven for forgetting about until the very end. Stay right to the end of the credits to catch the very last from the science crew – there’s two credit scenes, so you could easily think the teaser for Guardians is the final word.

Thor: The Dark World is yet another example of Marvel doing its version of the comic book superhero genre right, by not making superhero films. Just as the Iron Man films are action comedies, Captain America: The First Avenger a war movie, and the first instalment of Thor a fish out of water story, The Dark World sits firmly in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy, never once feeling like it needs to be defined by the word superhero.

Rating: 8/10

Mary Doe: Let’s Get It Kickstarted

Thanks to a tip-off from an Aussie comics colleague, we’re flagging a pretty damn cool movie project being conceived locally.

It’s sort of comics-related in that some of the team have comics pedigree, but the project itself is about making a promo trailer for a movie called Mary Doe.

Check out the promo vid asking you to fund the actual promo trailer:

The team are looking for 75 thousand dollars and they have a long way to go, so if you like what you see, why not chip in? I wish I had $2500 to pledge so I could be professionally made up as a zombie that appears in the promo trailer itself – that would have to be a ball.

Good luck to the team raising the funds.

Five Cameos You Won’t See In Avengers: Age of Ultron

ROM___The_space_knight_by_OtimagLike most people I’m pretty excited for seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron, which got me thinking to some great characters I’d like to see (from either a comedic or sentimental viewpoint) make a cameo, that won’t appear in the movie unless Joss Whedon has his mind hijacked. Here they are anyway:


She’s teamed up with the Avengers before, she has roller skates and can generate a great lightshow – surely the 3D version of Age of Ultron needs such an addition!

2. Cloak and Dagger

These guys have a potential movie in their future, so why not introduce them here? If Spiderman can’t be in the movies, then why not use some key supporting characters?

3. ROM Spaceknight

Ok, this is batshit insane but a guy can dream can’t he? I know ROM was a licensed property, but gee he deserves a huge comeback and where better than this movie?  Plus – there’ll be wall to wall silver-coloured CGI for Ultron so why not throw ROM in there?

4. Howard The Duck

Even I think this is beyond silly but had to put it out there. Maybe Whedon could finally redeem the character from a movie viewpoint though?

5. Machine Man

Hmm, I seem to have a thing about silver metal characters, but how cool could those telescoping arms and legs look?

Your turn: what cameos would you like to see that’ll probably never happen?

[pic via Otimag at deviantART]

Why Ben Affleck is Good for Batman (and Superman)


Silver Linings Superhero is a regular column from Sean Robinson, which tries to show the more positive aspects of current comic events, and remind you that things aren’t all that bad. If you would like to suggest something for a future column, drop us a line!

I think I am one of the few who actually quite enjoyed Man of Steel. No, it was not a good Superman film, and yes, the film certainly had its problems with script and directing, but I thought it was a stylistic and exciting science-fiction film. So when Batman/Superman (or whatever they decide to call it) was announced, I got interested. Maybe the gang over at Warner Brothers and DC could turn the ship from brooding, post Dark Knight Superman, by contrasting him with the only one who could conceivably be actually darker, Batman himself.

Then Ben Affleck was announced, and I became more excited than I thought I could be. No, he’s not John Hamm or Karl Urban, two of the more inspired choices for the role.

He’s something better:


Let me begin by dealing with the elephant in the room. Affleck’s last superhero film, 2003’s Daredevil, was not good. In fact, it was bad. But that’s just it – it was ten years ago. The films being thrown around for the argument against the man are all from around the same point in time when Affleck was a gossip magazine hot-topic – and he has most definitely moved past that to become a decent actor and one hell of a director. It’d be the same if we judged Joss Whedon on his writing in Alien: Resurrection – it’s just not fair.

Now, I did use the word “decent” when I described Ben Affleck as an actor, because its an apt description of where he stands right now. To echo Matt Damon in regard to the role, it’s not some kind of Oscar-worthy performance – it’s Batman. Affleck has enough range that he can portray the billionaire-playboy Bruce Wayne, and also the dark and broken Batman, and he has done a similar role in Hollywoodland as Superman actor George Reeves. In that film he dances between depression and acting the complete opposite to an audience. Sounds like someone else we know, doesn’t it?

Returning to his directorial abilities, back around this time last year rumors circulated that Affleck was offered the Justice League film to direct – but he would only accept it if he could star in a main role. Fast forward a year, and we now we have Affleck cast as Batman, and no one set for the Justice League director’s chair. Could this mean that he has changed his mind? Is an Affleck directed Justice League around the corner? I sure hope so.

In regards to the Man of Steel universe, and this new darker and edgier version of Superman, we get an older Batman who “bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter”. We are already aware of Batman and his back-story – his last outing only finished last year – so the audiences don’t really need a retread of the story of Bruce Wayne. Does this mean that we see a Batman who has already mostly worked through the problems surrounding his parents’ deaths, and could in fact bring the levity back to what we want to see from Superman? If anyone could pull off a slightly lighter, and older Batman than we are used to, then it would be Affleck.

This could change up the relationship between the two – Batman is there to remind Superman about his humanity – Superman could be molded by Batman to the man he always wanted to be, but never could. It would be a fresh take on the mythos, without pulling too much away from what we already know, and it could act as damage control from the problems people had with Man of Steel’s script, returning us to the Superman we know and love.

I am not saying that Batman/Superman won’t have problems. David S. Goyer is back writing the script, and while he is a great writer,  he never quite grasped the character of Superman in Man of Steel. Snyder is also a point of worry for some people, with his eclectic directing style a polarizing aspect. But in regard to Affleck – give the man a chance. He may just surprise you.

Want to tell Sean he’s right or wrong? Flick him a tweet, or leave a comment! He loves talking about the things he likes.

Film and Comic Comparisons – An Exercise in Futility and Frustration

I-Have-An-Issue-Banner‘I Have An Issue’ is a regular opinion column from Kimberley Griffiths, with no fear or favour shown. If you’d like to suggest something for a future column, drop us a line. Also, check out Kimberley’s blog!

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear if it wasn’t already. I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not exactly a secret – I blather on about the movies all the time, I started MediAvengers, and I participate an awful lot in the fan community on Tumblr. I love the idea of a new, fresh outlook on these incredible stories that have been a part of so many people’s lives. I also – rather stupidly to be honest – follow the MCU fan page on Facebook.

While the page is useful for catching up on things I miss on my Tumblr dash, sometimes it’s really hard to subscribe to the old never read the comments adage. Many are reasonably well thought out and articulate, but there’s also a large quantity of replies like Screw Black Widow n Hawkeye, YO! Black Widow wants the D from Captain A! lol, and How survive that stab from the back by lokie [sic]. Sadly, it’s often difficult to look away from the complete and utter tripe you see posted by the various idiots, misogynists, bigots, and generally misguided individuals.

Comments like the above are easy to pass over without the desire to respond, though. It’s not until you come across thoughts like the below that your brain slowly begins to leak out of your ears…


Here’s the thing.

It’s called the Marvel Multiverse for a reason. We have two main universe continuities in Marvel comics, and don’t have any trouble distinguishing these from one another, so why do so many insist on directly comparing story arcs and plot points when it comes to the MCU? Why do fans get up on their high horses and complain about differences between 616 and the MCU when they aren’t even remotely in the same universe?

There’s always been resistance to the interpretation of these characters, events, and plot lines. I’m not just talking about the current crop of Marvel Studios produced films, but I am going to focus this post on the debate I see raging on various MCU specific forums, websites, and pages. While the lines are certainly being blurred between these universes – an observation I’ve expressed discomfort with in the past – the fact still remains that the comics are the comics, and the movies are the movies.

The distinction we as fans should perhaps be more aware of, is  that what we’ve seen in print is merely a starting off point for what will eventually be presented on screen. The argument that X won’t happen in the films because of Y is old, invalid, and continuing to use it makes a fan appear to lack a fundamental understanding of the Marvel Multiverse.

Apart from the obvious reality that creating shot for panel recreations of comics is unrealistic and possibly unfilmable in most cases, do we really want these stories interpreted in such a way that offers nothing new?

You know what, that’s a stupid question, because yes, that is what some fans want. The same unenlightened readers whose comments are mentioned above. These fans are the ones who get on their high horses and say I’ve been reading the comics since I was a kid and [insert vitriol here], immediately attempting to invalidate anyone else’s argument because they’re the genuine fan. A real fan. A fan who’s been reading the comics since before they could actually read and my opinion is better than yours goddamnit!

But no, the Real Fan’s, opinion isn’t better than anyone else’s. As people who are asserting their knowledge, isn’t it rather ironic that they fail to understand the concept of different planes of existence? An idea that Marvel has reinforced in its readers over decades of printing these stories they claim to know so much better than everyone else.

What all this boils down to, is that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not Earth-616 (primary continuity). Nor is it 1610 (Ultimates). The Marvel Cinematic Universe is its own little corner of the Marvel Multiverse – unofficial designation 199999 – and this is an important distinction to be aware of when conversing on pages and sites where the focus is the MCU.

Let’s take a look at comics for a moment. Considering the length of time Marvel has been spinning these tales, you can’t ignore the racism, homophobia, misogyny, generalisations and stereotyping that have been displayed on the pages. This is just the reality of the world we live in, and a part of humanity’s history. These are issues society has learned and still is learning from. It’s important for Marvel to adapt and change to remain contemporary.

Perhaps we need to not think of the movies as an interpretation of the comics, but as a version of events that is relevant to our modern society – the real world. A world where an environment of fear is just as powerful as a physical threat, where characters don’t need prosthetics, as we’re cool with them looking like human beings, not a Rob Liefeld drawing, and social awareness and conscience is at an all time high. Movies are made for the general public, not for a small selection of cranky, territorial fans.

Fans of the films don’t have to be fans of the comics, and vice versa. Just because a person has never read a comic book, doesn’t mean they have less of a right to enjoy and discuss the material that has been presented on screen. I’ve been witness to many interactions where a comics fan has suggested that someone who exclusively enjoys the films has less right to an opinion, but this is like saying you can’t be a real fan of cheese unless you like Stilton as well as cheddar.

Fraction knows what's what.

Fraction knows what’s what.

Marvel is doing a great job of bringing more people into the fan community. The films have been the catalyst for many new people to pick up comics, often for the first time ever. We should be celebrating the newer members of the community, not deriding them. Welcome these people with open arms, shove books at them and tell them to read all the things go forth and experience joy and wonderfulness and oh god this storyline is just the best you need to read it first before anything else oh em gee.

On a more personal note, I really don’t feel the desire to see word for word remakes of material I’ve already read. Nothing is more exciting to me than going along to a movie unspoiled, and thrilled at the idea that what I think is going to happen might not. That I’ll get to see something completely new, or a really clever mash-up of Ultimates and the primary continuity. Hey, we might even see an entirely new character that turns out to be so awesome, that the fans start a campaign that causes Marvel to resurrect him and give him his own TV show called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Criticising films for not adhering to comics canon is an inherently pointless exercise, that wastes the time of everyone involved.  Criticising the films for their own problems, is not. Viewers may disagree with the handling of certain changes because they turn something that was well handled in the comics, into something problematic in the films. They may feel that the interpretation of the basic concept creates needless plotholes, badly handled characters, or marginalise areas that were important to focus on. Comparing in this way is perfectly valid, and it would be silly to say otherwise. but saying The movie sucked because in the comics Y happened, not X is redundant.

Then we have the very extreme end of the spectrum. The fans who take every adaptation’s changes to comics canon as a personal affront. Flying spittle in the face of their years of loyal fan servitude. A rude kick in the balls to someone who thinks their status as a Real Fan gives them some sort of ownership over these characters. Fans who have the gall to presume they speak for everyone. Fans who write comments like this:


I don’t know about you, but these fans certainly don’t speak for me.

These people have no more of a right to these characters than the next person. These characters belong to Marvel, who may do with them what they choose. Self proclaimed Real Fans can bitch and moan and groan until they’re blue in the face, but that’s not going to change the fact that their self-entitled, idiotic remarks are serving to contribute precisely nothing even remotely worthwhile to the discussion.

So what conclusion is there to draw from this? Is this simply just a post where I go on a rant because my views are different to others, or is there a serious underlying issue that I’m getting at?

There is a very real issue that’s the crux of this whole subject: inclusiveness, tolerance, and the importance of stamping out elitism. While a majority of the comments you see that fail to recognise the significance of the difference between Marvel universes are reasonably trivial, the fact remains that many use discussions on the MCU as a place to demonstrate their supposed encyclopaedic knowledge of the comics. If anyone wants to talk about these, and – the vastly varying and continually retconned, I might say – comics canon then might I suggest they go discuss it somewhere relevant.

Fans who wade in to a discussion about the MCU with a purist, elitist attitude are doing nothing but drive new fans away, frustrating people who recognise the difference between universes, and making themselves look like rude, judgemental imbeciles, who just happen to know how to use the Marvel Wiki. Let new fans discover the multiverse in their own way, and let old fans experience a new version of their favourite characters and story arcs.

Being a fan is about enjoying something, criticising it for its flaws, lauding it for its successes, not comparing it to something it’s not trying to be.


Film Review: Pacific Rim

pacific-rimPacific Rim feels like a breath of fresh air. Not that you’d notice from the trailers, which depict the robots vs monsters pitch more akin to a Transformers film than that of the final product. In fact, Guillmero Del Toro’s latest effort feels less like the modern, Western blockbuster than it does a live action love letter to Japanese anime, something sorely missed in Hollywood today. While it certainly draws on the best parts of the large scale kaiju-inspired films, providing some awe-inspiring action set pieces, it manages to also find itself beholden to some of the more negative aspects of the genre in as well.

Pacific Rim is set in the far future, where through a portal in the ocean known as “the Rift”, a race of giant creatures known (not so subtly) as kaiju have begun to assault our shores. In response, humanity creates a legion of massive piloted robots known as Jaegers to counter this threat. The Jaeger’s only caveat – they require two pilots to sync their minds together to work, because the mental strain is too much for one mind. One such pilot Raleigh Becket (Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam) finds himself grounded after a tragic loss, only to be brought back in by his old superior officer Stacker Pentecost  (Idris Elba) and the mysterious Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) to make one last effort to destroy the kaiju threat once and for all.

This is where Pacific Rim both stumbles and succeeds. On the one hand, Del Toro has crafted a narrative that doesn’t worry itself with the same trappings of a post Christopher Nolan blockbuster space – no hero brooding on his loss, no dark and gritty take on a genre, just a good old fashioned tale of humanity overcoming the odds to succeed – instead it’s interested on how the film can put the characters through the paces against an army of monstrous kaiju. On the other hand, the story just feels like that is all it’s doing: moving pieces around the board so they can show us many ways of punching monsters, rather than any extended period focused on the main cast of characters out of their robotic suits.

The film also has no unique characterisations to speak of – both Hunman and Kikuchi’s characters feel very one note and the rest of the cast seem more intent on fulfilling a stereotype than making them feel unique. Charlie Day and Ron Perlman both seem to be having fun in their sub-story (which I won’t spoil here), and Idris Elba serves well as the inspiring leader, but aside from that the characters and their dialogue remain very stilted and dull. One can not help but feel like that may very well be the point – why bother making these characters anything more than the basics, when what you’re really paying to see are beautiful action set pieces with stunning special effects. However, the interactions between cast members are prominent, so it becomes hard to ignore.

Where the story falters, the action soars, as film makes the most of both its size and scope for the fight scenes. Aside from a brief disappointment with the beginning of a set-piece in the film’s second act, Pacific Rim boasts some of the most beautiful and exciting fight scenes in recent memory. The film seems to top itself with how much more amazing it can be with each consecutive scene, all the while remaining both colourful and easy to follow.

The Jaeger and Kaiju designs are fantastic and fun to watch – as is expected by any film by Del Toro these days. Taking cues from famous anime like Gundam and a number of Japanese monster movies, the designs are bold, colourful and easy to distinguish. Were I a ten-year-old again, Pacific Rim would remain my go-to toy franchise for years to come.

Speaking on the use of 3D, it holds up remarkably well. In fact, I recommend watching this film on the biggest possible screen, with the best possible sound and in 3D. Despite a lot of water and rain effects obscuring the scene at times, the special effects look stunning, and the 3D adds to the experience rather than detract. This is a film made to be watched in a cinema.

Pacific Rim is something unique in the film space so far this year – a new film wanting to instil a sense of awe and excitement without being dragged down by the dark aesthetic of the modern blockbuster. Guillmero Del Toro has begun a franchise that reminds the viewer that they don’t need a dark hero or a twisted story. It reminds them to have fun.