Film Review: They Shall Not Grow Old

I had the privilege to attend the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s newest film, They Shall Not Grow Old, at the British Film Institute in London.

Originally commissioned by 14-18 NOW as a half hour documentary to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, this piece grew and developed into a fully fledged feature-length film, all I can say is, thank God that they agreed to give Peter Jackson a higher budget, because this was one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen.

We all know about the First World War, of course, but all of the footage we have seen of it can easily create a disconnect; it’s all poor black and white, grainy, it just doesn’t seem real to us, it is notably engrained and locked in history, this format is all we have ever known, if someone mentions this war to you, that format is what you will probably picture in your mind.

I am so happy to say, that this is no more, the heroes that fought for us one hundred years ago have been freed from the confines of early 20th-century technology, and they have now been brought to life in this modern age.

Hundreds of hours of archival footage from the Imperial War Museum have been taken by Jackson and his team, and meticulously edited so that the footage looks like something that could have been shot yesterday. (The subject matter of this film mainly focuses on the British Infantry.)

The film begins with the same, grainy footage that we are all used to, in the same aspect ratio. This is what we see for a good 10/15 minutes, not dissimilar to any other World War One documentary that you may have seen on TV over the years. But then, there is a moment, a moment that overwhelmed me with an emotion I still can’t fully describe… The aspect ratio changes, it grows into full screen and suddenly, this grainy footage is reinvigorated with an abundance of sharp, brilliant colour. In an instant, this footage has aged 104 years and we are staring at something that just doesn’t seem real. You would be forgiven if you believed that at this point, the footage we were watching has been filmed specifically for this documentary by actors, but it wasn’t, this was the real thing. You could hear the gasps around the theatre, it was utterly breathtaking.

This is where the film really hits its stride because now, all of these soldiers have become humanized to the audience. They’re no longer indistinguishable pixels on a grainy archival film, they are more noticeable, they’ve been given their individuality again, you really start to notice how young some of these “men” were, some couldn’t have been any older than 15, this isn’t new knowledge at all, but this new technology makes our reaction to it more profound. If that wasn’t enough, Peter Jackson and his team have worked with oral historians and professional lip-readers, to work out exactly what these soldiers are saying in the silent archival footage, and through this process, they have been given a voice once again. (Thanks to a large roster of soldiers in the same regiments as those shown on film, who lent their voices to the film, to help capture the most authentic dialect possible.)

It is a fantastic tool and it is so immersive, not only do these soldiers look more real to us, we are now getting a deeper sense of their personalities… The camaraderie, the banter, you watch these men and you can immediately identify them as someone you’ve known in your life… You’ve got the loudmouth jocks, you’ve got the comedians, the introverts, all are on display here, and suddenly this horrific war is becoming more relatable. It’s powerful stuff watching these men laugh, joke and play together, the film genuinely has amusing, funny moments, which Peter Jackson himself said was very important to highlight, because this film is primarily about the people, not the war. We all know that the war was indescribably horrific, we know that narrative. But here we see a different perspective from those that lived it, and it is moving to see that even in the face of extreme adversity, there are some truly heart-warming moments as well.

There is a moment in the film when one of the narrators (all of these narrations were taken from direct accounts from the soldiers themselves.) says that the man next to you would be your best friend, your brother, but you may never have met him before. These men were all well aware that they could be dead within the next few minutes, they faced their own mortality on a constant basis and the brotherhood between these men, the laughter, the jokes, that’s what kept them sane. The disconnect that many audiences may have experienced is no longer there, these are real men which you can identify with, it was deeply inspiring, but equally, it was hugely emotional.

Everything in this film was authentic, every sound effect of each and every gun, artillery shell etc is a recording of the real tool that would have been used 100 years ago. The attention to detail in this documentary is mindblowing, and it should be commended. This is the closest we will ever get to experience what the First World War was like.

Which made it all the harder to watch, because we become attached to these men we are watching, and then we are exposed to the true horrors of the war. Terrifying, visceral images of corpses and injuries, raw footage of the broken men shell-shocked and inconsolable. A lot of these moments are things that one may have already seen in a school-book, on the internet or on the TV… But when they look like they could have been shot on a state of the art camera yesterday, there’s something disturbing about that, even the familiar comes across as brand new.

This unsettled me, and it also made me feel angry at modern day society. Let’s be honest, we live in an environment where people have tendencies to be offended by menial topics, we are obsessed with political correctness, we see uproar every day on a multitude of topics… After watching this film, I just felt angry, because we honestly do not have a clue, we do not know how lucky we are. Even after watching the most immersive documentary I have ever seen, I can’t even begin to comprehend the terrors that these men faced, and do you know what the most powerful part of all was? When they came home, they didn’t want attention, they didn’t want to be praised, they didn’t want to be vilified, they just wanted to live a normal life. I do wonder how they would feel if they could look upon an attention-seeking society that will quite literally make mountains out of molehills… Because it annoys the hell out of me. We very much seem to live in a bubble these days and I think we too often forget the past that shaped us, and I truly hope that certain people do watch this documentary, because it might give them a bit of perspective.

I believe They Shall Not Grow Old is due to be screened on a BBC channel at some point during November, I urge you to watch this film. It truly is a masterpiece, and as well as that, it’s culturally significant. I do not think I have ever been moved so much by a documentary and it would take something inconceivably special to move me more. Peter Jackson has created something that he hopes will inspire others to do the same thing, bring archival footage into the modern age for the modern audience, let’s free these people from the confines of history, and in a sense, bring them back to life. The benefits of this technology are immense, and I feel it is our duty to recreate these events into a medium that specifically younger generations can appreciate. The film is aptly named, because with this sort of technology, we can ensure that these heroes really will never grow old, they will have a voice again, in fact, they will be more real to us than ever before.

But, of course, as Peter Jackson himself noted in his Q & A after the film, it is important that we do not forget those that will never have their voice brought back, and we must never forget to honour those that gave their lives.

I felt the closest I will ever feel to the First World War, and I left the film with one thing on my mind… After everything that happened, I can’t believe it happened again.

I give They Shall Not Grow Old a 9.5/10.

TV Review: Doctor Who Series 11, Episode 2. “The Ghost Monument.”

This review will contain spoilers.

“The Ghost Monument” continues right where we left off last week, of course, our heroes are not dead and their predicament is instantaneously resolved, which kicks off a sequence of events which takes them to a desolate planet called… Desolation. (Original Chibnall, real original.)

The Doctor and friends are accompanied by a pair of humanoid aliens, Angstrom (Susan Lynch) and Epzo (Shaun Dooley), who are both taking part in “The Rally of the Twelve Galaxies”, essentially a glorified race, with untold riches awaiting the winner. They’re in the final round, and all they need to do is reach the mythical “Ghost Monument”, which, unsurprisingly, is The Doctor’s missing TARDIS.

Tantilising titles.

We begin this episode with our first look at the Series 11 title sequence. A flurry of colours and trippy visuals, you would be forgiven if you believed that this was created by someone who was under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, but it is beautiful, and it embodies Doctor Who perfectly. It’s the perfect blend of the old and the new, both the title sequence and the theme music appear to have been ripped straight from the 70s Pertwee era, and given a 21st-century spruce up. Personally, I’m a big fan of it. If I was going to criticize anything, I would have preferred that they had gone full classic and replaced the actress/actor credits with The Doctor’s face, but this is a minor issue and not one that is going to bug me every week. So, we’re kicking off this review with a positive, well done John Smith VFX and Segun Akinola, you’ve nailed it! (If you haven’t seen the new title sequence, you can watch it here.)

More overcrowding.

This episode, once again, confirmed my fears from last week, which is that the reintroduction of a TARDIS team is leaving stories feeling overcrowded. Not only did we have our regular foursome, we also had the two guest characters, Chibnall very much seems to be focusing again on making Doctor Who more of a character piece, which is fine, but with the sheer quantity of characters, again, some are lost in the shuffle and are unnecessary to this story. Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) are rightfully given their fair share of the screen time, as a follow up to the tragic events in the series opener. We’re even given fairly detailed backstories to Angstrom and Epzo, but yet again, Yasmin is totally pointless. This is nothing against Mandip Gill, from what I’ve seen she’s a talented actress, but once again in this episode, she serves no purpose, she is consistently in the background and she is quite simply, not needed. I can appreciate this is a 10-week series, but it’s already apparent that for one companion to take center stage and have the focus on them, another one is going to have to take a step back.

With a runtime of just 50 minutes, there simply isn’t enough time to give these characters the development they deserve, yet again, I left this episode just not caring about any of them, and I’ll say it now, I miss the dynamic of The Doctor plus one companion, it works in this day and age. I am beginning to question whether or not a “TARDIS Team” will work in the long run, although I am wondering whether or not one of them (probably Graham) will be killed off or will leave by the end of the series, which to me, would be a wise decision, if every episode feels as crowded as the last, eventually, fans are going to lose interest in these characters, and I fear even The Doctor is at risk.

Jodie continues to impress.

She’s great, isn’t she? Admittedly, this energetic, hyperactive incarnation may not be to everyone’s tastes, but for me, Jodie Whittaker is nailing this role, and you can just tell that she is having a blast playing The Doctor.

I would like to see more glimpses of the sterner side of the character going forward, as I do worry that some fans may not take her seriously, but there’s plenty of time for that, and as I said last week, we’ve had plenty of the darker, brooding incarnations. Perhaps it’s about time that we have a Doctor who can be best described as a child in a sweet-shop. I do think the RTD/Moffat eras glossed over the sheer wonder that Doctor Who can bring… You can go anywhere in the universe, anywhere in time, you’re allowed to enjoy it, and why wouldn’t you?! It is so refreshing to see The Doctor just taking everything in, enjoying the adventure. I just know she’s going to be universally loved amongst the younger audiences, because they will be able to relate to her perhaps more than previous incarnations, they’ll be viewing these new worlds with the same enthusiasm as their on-screen hero. When I watch The 13th Doctor, and this might be a weird comparison to some, I’m seeing a live action version of Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. 

I think some people are going to absolutely love her, I think some people are going to hate her. I don’t think she’ll be my favourite Doctor, she might not even get into any Top 5 lists at the moment, but I don’t dislike her by any stretch. The most important thing is that I’m enjoying watching her, she’s just really likeable, and right now, more than anything, she is the factor that is going to keep me watching every week.

Chibnall Doubts.

I’m still not convinced, sorry. I just don’t like Chibnall’s writing style. Again, in this episode, I felt a lot of the dialogue was clunky, too forced, almost pantomime-like. For as much as I like The Doctor, I wasn’t a fan of some of her lines, take the Audrey Hepburn glasses moment, we’ve had moments like this for years on Doctor Who, it’s nothing new. But the way that they are written by Chibnall just feels so tacked on, inserted for the sake of it, rather than being a funny addition or digression.

It’s almost as if Chibnall has a checklist of all the Doctor Who cliches and he desperately needs to make sure he puts them in, just in case the audience forget what they’re watching. Other writers have done this sort of thing fairly well, but Chibnall never has, these moments stick out like a sore thumb and I still don’t know what his “style” is. I could easily point out a RTD episode, I could easily point out a Moffat episode, but Chibnall stories for the most part often come across as jumbled messes that are just trying to parody Doctor Who. He also can’t do humour well, at all, I think I laughed once in the whole episode, everything else fell flat.

Too many times in this episode I felt like he had written himself into a corner and then had to deploy some convenient plot device to get him out of it, especially at the end, the digging sequence with the cigar explosion was awful, it made no sense and it just reeked of desperation and laziness, not to mention that an open wildfire like that would undoubtedly do damage to those beneath it, even if it wasn’t directly touching them.

Adding on to this the fact that he has clearly lied about the “no story arc” business and clearly intends to use his new villains, the Power Ranger villain looking Stenza, as the basis for his new overarching story, we also got a tease of “The Timeless Child”, but whether this is an arc or just a foreshadowing for a future episode remains to be seen.

I want to believe, I want to have faith, but again, I left this episode with little confidence in his ability to show-run a beast like Doctor Who. 

I will be interested to see how next week pans out, as I have a horrible feeling that it will be the episodes that he doesn’t have much involvement in that will steal the show this year.

Visuals continue to wow.

Very quick piece on the visuals, I said last week they would get a lot of getting used to, and I stand by that, I’m still adjusting. But I can’t deny how gorgeous some of the shots are in this new cinematic era, some Lord of the Rings-esque. (Especially one right near the end when The Doctor is walking to her TARDIS, it takes a lot for me to say “Wow” out loud, but I did, it is a level of cinematography never seen before in Doctor Who, and I loved it.)

The higher budget is showing and clearly being utilized in the right places, with some impressive CGI compared to previous seasons and some very good-looking sets. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next, if Series 11 is going to be remembered for anything, as it stands, it will be remembered for the most gorgeous looking rendition of Doctor Who we have ever seen. (Thus far!)

New TARDIS. 

So, as I’m sure you all would have known anyway. The Doctor and friends reach the end of the race, and she is reunited with her beloved ship. But of course, as it is with the modern age, it doesn’t look the same, because you can’t sell as many toys if it doesn’t change every other year.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I loved the previous TARDIS interior and I honestly don’t think it will be topped, but I didn’t completely hate the new design. I like the old-school exterior more than the Moffat era exterior, for one. The interior is intriguing to say the least, it has a very grunge-like motif, a bit like the Christopher Eccleston/David Tennant interior, but with more money thrown at it. The TARDIS is now more natural and analogue, with no sign of computerised equipment anywhere. I don’t think this new crystal theme is ever going to blow me away, but it’s not the worst TARDIS I’ve ever seen, and it has a few little quirky additions that I can appreciate. The Custard Cream dispenser is very Doctor Who and I wonder if this is going to be 13’s “jelly baby” trait. Time will tell!

Conclusion

So, what did I think? It was certainly better than last week. The story was okay, but it was mostly forgettable and was really just filler for the true purpose of this episode, the new TARDIS reveal. Jodie Whittaker continues to steal the show, but there were no signs that my initial problems with the first episode are going to be fixed.

There is still a massive overcrowding problem, and I fear that the characters are all going to eventually suffer as a result if it. I still don’t care for any of the companions and that is a worry going forward.

I like all the aesthetic changes, with an impressive new title sequence and a unique, quirky TARDIS, Jodie Whittaker’s era is going to have no problem being defined and remembered.

The biggest problem still, for me, is Chibnall. I just don’t think he fully grasps Doctor Who. A lot of the dialogue is off the mark and the plots bumble along until they lead to unremarkable, convenient solutions that make no logical sense. I said it when he was hired and he’s still proving me right, he is not show-runner material and I fear he’s going to let Jodie Whittaker and everyone else down with the poor writing, I don’t want Doctor Who to turn in to a parody of itself but I see glimpses of that happening early on and I worry the ship is heading in the wrong direction. Considering the huge amount of money being thrown at the show now and the new cinematic style, this should be Doctor Who in its absolute prime. The stories need to get better, and fast. We’ve got a new writer next week, so we’ll see if that provides any sign of improvement.

I give “The Ghost Monument” a 6.5/10.

Film Review: Johnny English Strikes Again

15 years after he first appeared on our screens, (Man, that makes me feel old.) Johnny English, quite possibly the worst spy ever, returns for his third outing. So, is it any good?

The best way I can describe this is: No, this is not a good film. But, it is amusing.

Sure, the first two films aren’t anything spectacular either, but they at least attempted to tell a cohesive story. You won’t have such luck here, because it seems that the filmmakers have sussed out what exactly makes the Johnny English films successful, our very own national treasure, Rowan Atkinson. So, with Strikes Again, it seemed to me that they decided that they needn’t waste any effort on a sensical story, instead, we are treated to what is essentially a 90 minute montage of Rowan Atkinson quirks and best bits. Oh, and they brought back Ben Miller as Bough, which is a nice bit of nostalgia.

This leaves me in two minds with this film, because I can’t say that it’s any good, but I can’t deny that it is, at times, genuinely hilarious. It’s filled with plenty of gags, Mr. Bean-esque physical comedy and some utterly ridiculous sequences, it’s all pretty terrible stuff, but I laughed, so it did the job it was meant to do, I guess?

I am really, really struggling to go in to much more detail with this review, which I think just highlights how little substance it has, the plot is awful, it doesn’t make much sense, and to be honest I can’t really remember what it was, all focus is on Atkinson, I don’t believe the audience was supposed to focus on much more than that.

I think about as much effort went into this film as I have put in to this particular review… Actually, I take that back, I probably put in more effort, which is pretty depressing.

However, if you’ve got nothing better to do, if you fancy some light-hearted, ridiculous fun, that to it’s credit, will probably make you giggle a few times, then go and see Johnny English Strikes Again. If you’re expecting anything else, stay well away.

I give Johnny English Strikes Again a 4/10. 

Film Review: First Man

Damien Chazelle has been responsible for two of my favourite films of recent times, Whiplash and La La Land. In my opinion, he is quickly establishing himself as one of the generations greatest filmmakers, so I went into First Man with a lot of anticipation. Would Chazelle continue his fine run of form and deliver another instant classic? Or did I expect too much, ultimately leaving me disappointed? Let’s find out.

First Man follows astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), and the years of his life building up to the Apollo 11 moon landing.

For the most part, this film is a character piece, it doesn’t have a sole focus on the technical, space mission side of the story, in fact, the majority of the attention is focused on Neil, his family and his friends. We see the strains that this space race had on the relationships in Neil’s life, notably with his wife, Janet. (Played brilliantly by Claire Foy.)

My biggest gripe with this, is that sadly, the characters are all quite bland and dull throughout, Neil Armstrong included. I don’t know anything about the man, granted, so Ryan Gosling’s performance could well have been spot on. But he is portrayed here as a stoic, introverted, almost robotic man who, on screen, is actually quite unlikeable. This immediately caused problems, because I didn’t care about him, whatsoever. Like I said, it may have been completely accurate, but I would have liked to have seen some semblance of personality of flair, just to get me invested in his character. I’m all for historical accuracy, but sometimes you need to make some changes to improve the on screen experience, Neil Armstrong definitely needed some attention here. I am of course, speculating, but I can’t fathom why the filmmakers would have allowed such a robotic performance for their lead, for any other reason than that it was true to the real man.

I can’t really say much for the other characters, because they were just, there? Like I said, they were all quite bland and forgettable. I won’t delve into spoiler territory too much, but we don’t get enough time with many of them, so as an audience we had little investment in these characters, which meant when certain events came to fruition, we weren’t as affected as we probably should have been, which is an awful shame. Some moments could have held much more emotional weight if we felt a connection with the character, but too many times it felt like a “Meh, we barely saw him anyway.” situation. Claire Foy is the standout, and if anyone in this production gets any kind of award nod, it will be her, but even her performance can’t distract from the fact that everyone else is, well, boring.

Visually, the film is hit and miss, I’ll explain why. When we are grounded on Earth, the entirety of the film is shot with some sort of grainy, 60s filter. I assume this decision was made to try and give the film a more authentic feel, but personally it wasn’t doing anything for me, it didn’t add anything to the experience, and I would have much preferred a standard filter and a sharper picture. However, the space stuff is breathtaking, seriously, I have no idea how they created some of the shots but you could be forgiven for believing that they actually shot this film in space and on the moon. I’m still not quite sure if the grainy filter was used during the space stuff, but if it was, it wasn’t anywhere near as noticeable. (Spoiler alert: they land on the moon, sorry.)

One thing I will give the film praise for is its use of camera work and sound design, especially during the rocket launch sequences. The use of shaky-cam and rapid, violent cuts and close ups really immersed me in the scene, I felt like I was in the rocket with them and I could feel and hear how disorientating the whole ordeal must have been. I know this technique won’t be to everyones tastes, but for me it was one of the biggest strengths in the film. One thing I was thinking during these sequences was how grand they would be on an IMAX screen, I didn’t see this film in IMAX, but I certainly feel it is one that was designed to be seen in that format.

The cinematography also deserves a mention, because there are some utterly breathtaking shots in this film, which have to be seen to be believed. There are genuine “Wow, that’s awesome” shots, one in particular near the end, contrasts a shot we see multiple times throughout the film, and it is epic. (You’ll know it when you see it.)

In conclusion, First Man is undoubtedly a well-made film, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Chazelle. But, as you may notice from this review, I’m really struggling to find more things to write about, and that is because this film is quite dull and boring in large portions. I know I’m not the only person who thinks this, because I went to see it with a group of friends who all shared the same opinion, in fact, they liked it less than me! For all of its grand scale, incredible visuals and sound, there’s no hiding from it, this is primarily a character piece which fails at that level, our lead isn’t likeable, we don’t really care or root for him, and the characters around him aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, diminishing the story as a whole.

Had we not knew this true story, perhaps it would have worked better, but we all know the ending of this film already, we know they reach the moon, so attempts to build tension, no matter how well they are delivered, struggle to land because we already know what’s going to happen.

The side of the story I didn’t know about; the people behind the mission, their family, their friends, the evolution of their relationships, that was the part that should have captivated me, but a lot of us left the cinema saying the same thing… “Well, that was boring.” It’s a massive shame, and I get the impression that general movie-goers will have the same reaction.

I’m glad I saw this film, it’s not awful by any stretch, but I am disappointed, and honestly, if I never saw it again, I would be absolutely fine with that. It’s Chazelle’s weakest entry yet, a film with massive potential, but ultimately falling flat when it mattered.

I give First Man a 6.5/10. 

Film Review: A Star is Born

Warning! Mild spoilers ahead.

I have seen this film twice now, and both times the audience left the cinema in a stunned, somber silence, it’s a strange atmosphere to be a part of, in my experience, it’s also an atmosphere that one rarely comes across. This is a sign of a special film, and I am pleased to say that Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is a triumph.

A Star is Born is the fourth remake of what is now a classic tale, which means, in terms of the narrative, it is admittedly nothing groundbreaking. At it’s core, the film is a standard “rise and fall” story, centered around the two protagonists, Jackson Maine, an established and famous singer, (Bradley Cooper) and Ally, (Lady Gaga) a down on her luck waitress, with a bigger dream, but resigned and accepting of her current situation.

But it really doesn’t matter whether or not you know the tale, or if you can predict what is coming… Because the chemistry between these two characters sucks you in, I have to say, the relationship between these two is one of the most raw and compelling that I have ever seen on screen. The opening act follows the same beat as any cliche Hollywood movie, with Jackson falling for Ally the second he lays eyes on her, yet it doesn’t feel cliche or forced whatsoever, it feels very real and believable, the audience is invested in them early on, which I really liked. Some films get bogged down by delivering an unnecessary build-up towards moments that we already know I going to happen, I appreciated that A Star is Born wastes no time in introducing Jackson and Ally, and also establishing their relationship.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but what follows in the first half of the film sees Ally grasping an opportunity and subsequently rising through the ranks in the music industry, meanwhile, Jackson’s career begins to stagnate, not helped by his growing dependency on alcohol and drugs, we see him on a constant downward spiral as the film progresses, whilst Ally just continues to go from success to success. The juxtaposition of these situations makes for interesting viewing, and it leads to some very tense, awkward moments as both characters go through a vast wave of emotions, bringing the best and the worst out of each other. There is one scene in particular when a drunk Jackson berates Ally while she is having a bath, it made for very uneasy viewing, you really feel for Ally, but equally, you can understand Jackson and his fears/anger that Ally is losing herself to the commercialized music industry, as evil as he is being, you can empathize with him, it’s a very powerful moment.

The second act does drag somewhat, and there are moments where I feel things could have been stream-line and/or cut to reduce the quite lengthy runtime. But the last 20 minutes are some of the most gripping and heart-wrenching I have seen in years. Again, I won’t go into detail, as I would rather people find out for themselves, but I will say I saw/heard a lot of people crying during the final scene, and I don’t blame them one bit.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are both sensational in this film, I was surprised by how well Lady Gaga could act, and I was equally surprised at how well Bradley Cooper can sing. Their performances deserve recognition, and I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them get an Oscar nomination for their work. Bradley Cooper deserves a lot of credit for the amount of work he has done on this film, but ultimately, it’s main success is going to come from the chemistry between the two leads, they both compliment each other in a multitude of ways, and it really is quite hard now to imagine a better pairing for this story.

Although it is not a musical, there are some fantastic tracks in this film, which I have already proudly added to my iTunes. “Shallow”, “Maybe It’s Time” and “Black Eyes” are my personal favorites, but there is something here for everyone. If you don’t get a chance to watch the film, I at least implore you to head over to YouTube and have a listen to some of the music, because it really is fantastic.

A Star is Born will make you feel every emotion. You’ll feel happy, you’ll feel angry, you’ll feel empowered, you’ll feel uneasy, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry… It’s an emotional rollercoaster but it never feels overbearing. The film has a stellar cast with some brilliant performances, but ultimately, you’ll find yourself hooked by the two leads and the journey that they go on together. There are a few pacing issues, and it probably could have been a bit shorter without losing any of its impact, but in the grand scheme of things, this is completely forgiveable and it is a minor issue. In terms of directorial debuts, I don’t think they’ll come much better than this. Bradley Cooper should be immensely proud of this film.

I intentionally have not gone into too much detail, because if I want to send any message to my readers, it’s that you should get to the cinema and experience this for yourself. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year and it is going to resonate with me for a long time to come, and I’m sure it will have a similar impact on you too.

I give A Star is Born an 8.5/10.

TV Review: Doctor Who Series 11, Episode 1. “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.”

After a long absence, Doctor Who returned to our screens last Sunday. With a brand new Doctor, brand new companions, brand new Head Writer, brand new composer, brand new… You get the point, literally everything is brand new. This is the biggest change since the show returned in 2005, some would even argue that this is a bigger change.

Doctor Who has always been about change, it is why it is still going 55 years after it first came on to our screens, it reinvigorates every few years, allowing new audiences to join the fun and ensuring that it doesn’t get stale for current viewers. It truly is unlike anything else on television, that’s why I adore it so much.

Of course, change can be risky, initial reactions to the first episode have been overwhelmingly positive, which is fantastic, as fans we want the show to be successful, we want it to thrive and prosper for many years to come. However, my review is going to be a little bit different to all the others out there, because unfortunately, I am in the minority that did not necessarily love the first outing of this new era of Doctor Who, allow me to explain why.

I think it is important to note here, that I was (and still am) a massive fan of the Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who, I know his tenure as show runner often divided opinion amongst the fans, but overall, I enjoyed it thoroughly. His era gave me some of my favourite episodes of all time, as well as giving me my favourite incarnation of The Doctor, Peter Capaldi. I am mentioning this, because I am fully aware that my love for the previous era may well have impacted my feelings towards this episode, because I will be the first to admit that when Peter Capaldi left last year, I wasn’t ready to let him go, and I do wish that he was still The Doctor. (An opinion that it appears isn’t shared by the BBC, who appear to have recently been determined to throw Peter Capaldi under the bus and undermine his era of The Doctor, which I feel is deplorable.)

Anyway, enough rambling about times gone by, it’s time to focus on the present. Here we go!

New Look

The thing that was immediately noticeable as soon as this episode started was the new, cinematic look. Gone are the times when Doctor Who was quite clearly a TV production, now we have been given something that looks more like a feature length film. The widescreen, the cinematography, there is a visual flair in this episode which we have never seen in Doctor Who before. I have read reports that the BBC forked out on new cameras for this new incarnation of the show, and it most definitely shows.

This isn’t a criticism at all, as I think this fresh new look will undoubtedly compliment Doctor Who and it is absolutely the correct move going forward. But, I do believe it will be difficult to adjust initially and I think it will take me a few episodes to embrace this new look. When the show changed show-runners back in 2010 from Russell T Davies to Steven Moffat, there was a clear distinction between the two eras in term of look, but equally, it was still recognisably Doctor Who. I didn’t get that vibe this time watching the episode, to reaffirm my feelings, I went back and watched parts of the final episode of the Moffat era, Twice Upon A Time, and I then went straight into watching The Woman Who Fell To Earth, to see if I could see any forms of continuity or similarities between the two eras, I couldn’t see any. This new era is unrecognisable compared to its predecessors. That is absolutely fine, and again, not a criticism, it has been made well known that this series is designed to be a natural jumping on point for new viewers, so for many, this will be all they will ever know.

This will be the best looking version of Doctor Who we will ever get, fact. I got serious Broadchurch vibes in some of the vast landscape shots of Sheffield during the episodes conclusion, I adored the shot of The Doctor overlooking Ryan in the episodes climax. It was a grand, impressive shot and it looked stunning, moments like that reaffirmed to me that this is the right way to go, and I can’t wait to see what is in store, visually. I do believe that once I adjust to this new series I may look back on this episode with more admiration, but I did find it difficult, I watched the episode with two of my friends, who shared my thoughts, we all agreed it looked good, but we also agreed it “looked weird”. This is a normal reaction to change, our idea of normality is now being shaken up, and some people will transition slower than others, again, I want to reiterate this is not a criticism, but I think it’s important to highlight as I do feel it may have been a contributing factor as to why I didn’t enjoy it as much as others.

New Doctor

Like everyone else, I couldn’t wait to see Jodie Whittaker play The Doctor ever since she was announced. Did I have doubts about a female Doctor initially? Yes, I did. But these doubts and fears were quickly quashed when I saw interviews with the Jodie Whittaker. Her enthusiasm and her passion was infectious, and it was quite clear early on that she was The Doctor, I was confident that if anyone was going to prove that anyone can play The Doctor, regardless of gender, race, orientation etc, it was going to be her. In the build up towards Series 11, Jodie Whittaker has proven that she is going to be an impeccable ambassador for the show, and I now strongly believed that this is the perfect time for a female incarnation of The Doctor. But, would I feel the same when I saw her first full episode?

For the most part, yes. The Thirteenth Doctor makes quite an entrance, literally crashing through the roof of a train, (that bit annoyed me, but I’ll save that for later.) immediately she hits the ground running with an boundless energy, within seconds, you forget that you are watching “the first female Doctor”, you are just watching The Doctor.

One of my biggest worries was that this new Doctor would get hung up on the fact that she has changed gender, I felt that it was important that it was going to be a “business as usual” scenario, and I’m so glad we got that. I give credit to Chris Chibnall here, in an episode that is breaking down stereotypes, the smartest thing to do is not treat this regeneration as an anomaly, to not beat fans over the head with it and keep pointing out that the new Doctor is a female. For lack of a better phrase, he very much made gender irrelevant, in a world where gender equality issues are rife, I’m glad he has done this. At the end of the day, The Doctor is The Doctor, and it is now clear that anyone can be The Doctor, and that is the way it should be. It is not only a strong message to Doctor Who fans, it is a strong message to modern day society in regards to equality.

I’ve rambled a bit here, but it’s quite fitting really, because that was one of the most prominent traits I noticed from The Thirteenth Doctor. Every Doctor possesses attributes of their predecessors, when I was watching 13, I was sensing a /David Tennant/Matt Smith/Tom Baker hybrid of sorts… The powerful charm of The Tenth Doctor…  Flickers of the silly, discursive Eleventh Doctor… The energy and excitement of The Fourth, yearning for adventure.

It usually takes a new Doctor a few episodes to settle in, before we really begin to notice the elements that make each incarnation unique and different to their predecessors. But my initial feelings towards 13 are positive. If there is one thing I am confident on, it’s that the fans who are always crying out for a “darker Doctor” will probably be disappointed , as I don’t think Whittaker’s incarnation will go down that road, nor do I think she would suit it.

Gone is The Doctor ravaged by war, the warrior with a dark past… This is a clean slate, I feel this Doctor will not be haunted by her past, in an era that is determined to be progressive, I believe we’ll see the RTD/Moffat era left behind us. Now, we’ll have a Doctor who has a newfound sense of purpose, a love for life and chomping at the bit to get out there and see the universe. This is a perfect Doctor for new audiences, whilst also providing a fresh outlook for those who have been there since Eccleston appeared on our screens 13 years ago. I embrace this with open arms.

Welcome, Jodie. You are The Doctor.

New Friends

Yes, “friends” instead of “companions”, they’ve been very clear on that. For the first time in a while, we’re going to have a proper TARDIS team, harkening right back to the Hartnell era in the 60s.

Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh play Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O’Brien respectively, and they’re all… fine?

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike any of them, but equally, I didn’t see enough from any of them to really care that much, either.

Personally, I think the episode was overcrowded. I understand that the new era is intended to be an “ensemble piece” and each of these characters will be fleshed out as the series goes on, but I don’t think they were all needed here, especially not in an episode that really needed to be about the new Doctor.

When you have a new start, it is important for the audience to be invested in the characters, which is why the common “Doctor + Companion” dynamic has worked well in recent years, when Pearl Mackie was introduced last year as the next companion, I was on board as soon as the credits started rolling at the end of her debut, as much as I wanted to feel the same for the current companions by the end of this episode, I simply didn’t. In a cast this size, someone is always going to miss out and lack some development compared to others, but I really don’t feel like they got the balance right at all. I found them all to be quite one dimensional and bland, ultimately, at least in this episode, they were all quite forgettable.

I of course, acknowledge that it is a 10 episode series and character development can (and most likely, will) be stretched out over this period, with an individual taking centre stage in each standalone episode. That’s fine, I’m sure I’ll grow to like them all, but I don’t think it’s a good sign that I just didn’t care about any of them at the end. Personally, I think they could have cut one or two of them and introduced them at a later stage in a series, it was a lot to take in and I felt like we got “new character overload”. Juggling each character and giving them ample time (and purpose) would have been difficult, of course. Sometimes, it worked, but a lot of the time it didn’t, Yasmin in particular felt like an afterthought and upon reflection, I don’t really think she was necessary, at least not in this story.

I would just like to quickly mention dyspraxia representation through the character of Ryan, it was done brilliantly, kudos!

New Writer

I was always skeptical when Chris Chibnall was chosen to become the new lead for the Doctor Who writing team, sure, his work on Broadchurch was commendable, (Season 1, at least…) but when it comes to Who, I have never been a big fan of his work. 2007’s 42 was okay, but apart from that, I think the rest of his work on the series has been poor at best.

Say what you want about Steven Moffat, but when he was appointed the new lead many years ago, it felt like the right decision and few would have argued against it, given the quality of his work. But Chibnall? I didn’t have that same confidence. I wanted to be proven wrong, but, I was proven right by what ultimately was a poor script, reminiscent of his previous work of the show. Clunky, uninspiring dialogue meant that at times, the episode felt more like a parody of Doctor Who, a lot of the lines felt like they belonged in a pantomime and it took me out of the action every time.

It was incredibly lazy, when The Doctor was falling through the sky last Christmas, I wondered how she would get out of it, having her literally crash through a train roof after falling thousands of feet, to then get up as if it was nothing, was utterly ridiculous, it wasn’t even explained. Even a throwaway line to say that recently regenerated Time Lords are clearly tougher than Superman on steroids would have been enough for me. Even in science-fiction, where almost anything can be explained, it felt out of place and comical that someone could fall from such a height, with not even the slightest complications… You’ve got to remember, this is the same Doctor that died after falling off a telescope. Instead of focusing on what should have been an iconic sequence, I was too busy thinking about how stupid that part was.

I also felt that the majority of attempts at humour fell quite flat. The RTD/Moffat eras were cleverly written, and it would be quite rare that an episode wouldn’t make me giggle at some point, but I didn’t laugh at all during this episode, which was worrying when you could tell certain sequences were solely there to be played for laughs. Look at the character of Karl, clearly being used as the comic relief , with his self-help tapes and being the “lad in distress”, there were many moments that I could tell were meant to be funny, but I was just getting really, really annoyed. I could disregard this as a one off, but I’ve never found any of Chibnall’s Who work funny, it usually delves into the silly and ridiculous, and it does come across as “try hard” a lot of the time. I appreciate the tremendous pressure that a job like this brings, but it’s a common trait among Whovians to complain about “writing letting the actor playing The Doctor down”. I am scared to say that the main vibe I got from this episode was that, if anything in this era is to fail, it will be the writing style, which could ultimately cause The Doctor herself to fail.

Please, Mr Chibnall, I want to be proven wrong.

New Monsters

I’ll keep this one short, because the less I say about this, the better. Chibnall has said that there will be no returning monsters this series, if that is the case, I hope they get a lot better than what was on offer here.

The monster looked cool at first, despite being aided by what looked like a flying Pot Noodle. Sadly, it ended up taking off its mask, leaving us with what I can only describe as something that looked like it had been stolen directly from an episode of 90s Power Rangers.

It was bad enough that the episode basically ended up ripping off Predator, but every time I had to see this monstrosity with human teeth sticking out of its face, (an extra point, if this thing conquests multiple planets, then why is every tooth in his face reminiscent of a human tooth? Weird.) I ended up face palming. There have been some weak monsters over the years in Doctor Who, it’s part of the charm in a way, but this is an era which is clearly going upmarket, trying to be more cinematic and high budget… The monsters need to look better than what we got.

I am on board with the “no returning monsters” promise, if it is true. But I don’t want to get halfway through the series wishing I could see something familiar because the new stuff is so underwhelming. Fingers crossed that this is just a blip.

New Sonic

No comment.

New Music

Segun Akinola takes over from the incredible Murray Gold, and his score fit in extremely well, again, it’s early days, but I have no issues with it. It definitely felt more atmospheric and refined than the epic pieces of the Murray Gold era, but I think the greatest compliment I can give here, is that I didn’t come out of the episode missing Murray Gold too much!

We also got a brief glimpse of the new Doctor Who theme, which sounds like it will be the most “classic” version of the famous tune since it returned in 2005. I was getting some proper 70s Doctor Who vibes from it, which was awesome. I look forward to listening to it in its entirety very soon.

Conclusion

This was not the worst Doctor Who episode I’ve ever seen, but it left a lot to be desired.

Jodie Whittaker shone as the new incarnation as The Doctor, she was charismatic, energetic and instantly likeable, she was so comfortable in the role that it felt like she’s been playing The Doctor for years, I can’t wait to see her grow and develop. However, I felt at times she was let down by Chibnall’s clunky, poor dialogue and I do fear that if this continues, she could begin to appear like she is playing a parody of The Doctor, rather than The Doctor herself.

The focus on an ensemble cast, although bold and interesting, didn’t land for me, it felt overcrowded and I think some of the characters suffered as a result. This may not be a big problem in the long run as each character is fleshed out as the series progresses, but this initial introduction it did leave me quite disinterested in them, I felt no connection as I have with previous companions, or “friends”.

Chibnall’s writing left a lot to be desired, and I didn’t see anything to suggest that the quality will improve compared to his previous work on the show, but I am willing to give him a fair chance. I do get the impression he is taking the series in a completely different direction to his predecessor, Steven Moffat, which I know will be welcomed by a large number of fans.

The monster was quite bland and boring, and it looked terrible, but even in a show that revolves around change, some old habits die hard, Doctor Who has, and always will, have bad looking villains from time to time, I just hope that this doesn’t become a consistency in the new era.

The new look, although hard to adjust to initially, is taking the show to a new level, and I can’t wait to see what kind of cinematography and visual spectacles we will be treated to over the next 10 weeks.

I didn’t despise this episode, I didn’t think much of it either. I did however see enough that, for now, will maintain my interest, and I look forward to the future.

I give The Woman Who Fell To Earth a 5.5/10.

See you all next week for Episode 2! 

Film Review: Venom

WARNING. THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Welcome to my new blog, and welcome to my first review! Let’s get straight in to it.

I think it is fair to say that expectations were low amongst audiences when Venom was announced. It’s hard to envision a Venom movie that has no connection whatsoever to his web-crawling nemesis, Spider-Man. It’s even harder to envision a Venom movie with no connection to Spider-Man being done well, especially when it is being delivered by a studio like Sony, who don’t have the best reputation in the world when it comes to comic book movies… It wasn’t so long ago that they butchered The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, which saw the fan favourite finally become a part of the MCU. (A blessing in disguise, perhaps?)

Despite all of this, I was still quite excited for this film, mainly due to the fact that Tom Hardy was playing the title role, I felt it was best to try and go in with an open mind, sure, I could get hung up on the fact that there is no Spidey and that the film isn’t Rated-R, but what’s the point? (Spoiler alert – I get hung up on it) I wanted to give myself the best chance of enjoying this film, so I went in with no prejudices.

So, was it good, and did I like it? Interestingly, the answers are “No” and “Yes”, respectively. Let’s start with the cons:

A poor villain in a Marvel film, surely not?

Venom begins by establishing how and why the Symbiotes are on Earth, sadly, by doing this, it also begins by establishing its biggest weakness; the “villain”. Riz Ahmed plays scientist Carlton Drake/Riot, who is quite comfortably one of the worst Marvel villains ever seen on screen.

This is not an attack on Riz Ahmed, he’s a fantastic actor. To be honest, I don’t think any actor could have played this part well. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the filmmakers decided that they were going to make Carlton Drake your cliché villain, with some vague motivations that involve changing the planet which will inevitably lead to its downfall, sound familiar? I thought so.

After discussing with some friends, it became clear that upon reflection, a lot of them didn’t actually know what his motivations were and why he was doing it, which isn’t very good when you consider this is what is supposed to drive the plot forward.

Marvel has had problems with villains before, and what I’m describing above could be copied and pasted when discussing a multitude of MCU villains. However, as Marvel fans, we have been spoilt in recent times with villains that we can relate to, the strongest villains are the ones we understand, we know what they are doing is wrong, but to a degree, we get why they are doing it. Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Killmonger in Black Panther, Thanos in Infinity War… All excellent villains. This means that, even if they’re not linked to the MCU, poor villains stick out like a sore thumb at the moment.

Carlton Drake wasn’t threatening, he wasn’t menacing, he wasn’t relatable. The audience just didn’t care about him, even when he inevitably becomes Riot, (after a dragged out sub-plot which made no sense anyway) he’s not around long enough for the audience to invest in his character. Pretty much all of his scenes were in the trailer, which is frustrating in itself. There was a lot of wasted potential here, had they fleshed out Carlton a lot earlier in the film, and perhaps bonded him with his Symbiote around the halfway mark, it might have been a much stronger film. This leads me in to my next point…

Shocking Pacing

Venom‘s pacing sucked, massively. I appreciate a film that takes its time to build up characters, it’s a vital component of storytelling, and to its credit, the film does a good job of introducing us to its main characters and taking us on a journey with them during the first half. Especially with Eddie Brock, we see him at his highest and we see him at his lowest, by the time (and it takes a while) we reach the pivotal moment when he finally bonds with Venom, it doesn’t feel forced, it doesn’t feel like a coincidence. This slow build up works well, especially when we see Venom in full form for the first time, it is a genuine epic moment and it was hard not to grin, the pay off felt worth it.

However, this is all well and good if you have a 2 hour + film and you’ve got sufficient time after these epic moments to maintain a strong and compelling story. (The 2002 Spider-Man springs to mind, for me, an excellent example of pacing.) But, for whatever reason, Venom isn’t given this luxury, which leads to a horrifically rushed second half that in hindsight, diminishes the work that was put in to the first act. I’m not exaggerating this when I say, that after we meet Venom, we are given about two or three set pieces crammed into about half an hour, and then the film is over. To me, it almost came across like the filmmakers got lazy:

“Right, we’ve done all the characterisation, all that build up stuff, now lets have a few explosions and send them home happy.”

Once we finally got to see Venom in action, I wanted to see more of Venom in action, instead, it felt like I was watching the film equivalent of an Aldi checkout, having everything thrown at my face at 90 miles an hour in a desperate attempt to get me out of the door as quickly as possible.

For me, this was the biggest disappointment. To see all of this potential early on, just for it to be wasted in a clusterfuck of CGI set pieces, was a real shame.

Tone? What tone?

Venom didn’t really seem to know what kind of film it was trying to be. One moment it gives off some serious drama/horror vibes, the next moment it’s a full blown comedy. To its credit, the film doesn’t necessarily butcher either of these genres, and it delivers them quite successfully at times, the problem is that these two tones do not compliment each other, which consequently makes the film feel disjointed, there are rumours that Tom Hardy and director Ruben Fleischer butted heads over what tone the movie should have, these are of course, just rumours, but after watching the film they are certainly believable, because the contrast between the two tones isn’t subtle at all.

They really needed to stick to one tone and commit to it throughout, because there were times I just wasn’t sure if certain moments were meant to be serious, or if they were being played for laughs. For me, personally, Venom was at its best when focusing on the comedy. The PG-13 restrictions meant that any attempt at genuine horror just left the audience feeling like they were short-changed. Every time Venom bites off a head or there was a more explicit moment of violence, there was always a convenient cutaway which just immediately took me out of the moment.

I’m not saying that every film needs blood, gore and bad words to be a hit, but it’s no secret that this sort of content would have complimented Venom in the same way that Rated-R compliments Deadpool.

I am not surprised that this film was PG-13, and I can understand the reasonings behind it, as no doubt they are working towards the end goal of bringing in Spider-Man in some form. However, I think once it was agreed that the film wouldn’t be R-rated, the focus then should have been on the fun, more comedic side. It felt like the filmmakers were trying way too hard at times to be edgy, to try and blur the lines, when in reality they were always going to be limited in what they could do and what they could achieve.

A lot of people won’t like this, understandably so, but Venom is at its best when it focuses on the Eddie Brock/Venom relationship and the humour and entertainment that it brings. I personally would have preferred the film to focus on this side more often, instead of delivering the disjointed mess that I saw.

A tip for all movie makers out there, if you’re making a PG-13 movie, don’t tease us with implied Rated-R content and then take us away from it, it’s only going to make us think about what could have been, which is only going to make us bitter. (I know I said earlier I wasn’t going to get hung up on it, but come on, when you keep teasing me like that, eventually I’ll crack!)

These were my three biggest gripes with the movie, but lets focus now on the main positive for me:

Eddie + Venom = Fun. 

After reading the above, you would be forgiven if you thought that I hated this movie. But there was one factor which salvaged this film for me, and if you didn’t guess already, it’s our main protagonists.

I didn’t care for any of the other characters, they were all bland, generic, with no substance. Every time we had a scene without Eddie Brock and/or Venom present, I couldn’t wait to get back to Eddie and Venom.

There is no doubt about it, they are just brilliant fun. Eddie on his own is likeable enough, it’s hard to resist Tom Hardy’s charm in virtually any movie, so props to whoever cased him, great choice. But the film really comes in to its own when we get to the point that Venom (also played and voiced by Hardy) has engrained himself in to Eddie’s head, the banter that ensues is at times, hilarious. Watching Eddie trying to maintain a normal conversation with someone, whilst Venom is taunting or mocking Eddie in his own head, was always great fun. Going back to the earlier point about tone, they could have easily gone down the route of Venom torturing Eddie to the point of insanity, because usually, that’s what a voice in your head does. I’m glad that they chose to instead focus on the comedic side of this relationship, because it’s what kept me hooked. I was living for the next quip, the next laugh, I wanted to see what the pair would do next. Once Eddie/Venom were out in full force, I almost forgot that I was watching a terribly made movie, I just sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the ride! At the end of the day, I was having fun every time Eddie and Venom were on the screen, and I came in to this film wanting to have a good time, so at this point the only thing I really could complain about, was that I wasn’t getting enough of them.

Conclusion

Don’t let me fool you at all, I will say it right now, and I will make it clear: Venom is a bad movie.

A bad plot, with bad characters, a tonal mis-match with horrific pacing issues. It does the best it can to try and make a standalone story work, but it’s impossible to deny that the absence of Spider-Man is felt, it’s just not very good.

Yet, I still enjoyed it.

Tom Hardy as Eddie/Venom was just infectious fun, and any moment with them on the screen was a joy to watch. Had the filmmakers sorted the above issues, we probably would have seen a lot more of this relationship and the film could have thrived as a result.

Alas, it wasn’t to be this time. But despite all of its flaws, I am still on board with the proposed sequels. Venom’s most frustrating aspect for me, was that you could see the massive potential, you could see what this film could have been if it wasn’t rushed through, if it wasn’t confined to a ridiculously short runtime.

As of this writing, Venom is doing well at the box office, so a sequel is inevitable at this point. The post-credit scene gave us a glimpse of what is to come, if done well, we will be in for a treat. I just pray that Sony learn from their mistakes, capitalise on the wasted potential from the first film, and give us a film we deserve.

Will we get a Rated-R cut? We will get a Rated-R sequel? Who knows. Again, I know I said I wouldn’t get hung up on it, but there’s no point shying away from the obvious, PG-13 does not suit a character like Venom. Sure, it’s still fun to watch and the action is fine, but  when you keep starving the audience at the last moment, eventually you begin to build fantasies in your head of what could have been, and, let’s be honest, it would have been better. It worked with Deadpool, it worked with Logan, it would have worked with Venom, history also tells us that audiences would have watched it. But what can you do?

A final point from me – just because it’s not in the MCU, doesn’t mean it can’t be MCU quality. Learn from this Sony, before it’s too late and you butcher another franchise.

I give Venom a 5/10.

Thank you for reading my first review, it’s been a long time since I’ve done something of this size, so I know it’s not going to be perfect. Let me get back in to the groove of things, and everything will start to improve!

Until the next time.