Monthly Archives: July 2016

ComicCon Highlights (by D.Calvert)

We were approached by Dom, a friend of SDGS, offering to share his thoughts on ComicCon 2016 and we are delighted to share the article that was written by him and has been edited by us. 
Comic-Con Highlights – Please note this contains spoilers! 

Comic-Con has been and gone and has, once again, got me excited about the coming year for the films and TV shows we all know and love. I spent the whole weekend watching any trailer and reading any report that came out from the convention and boy did it get me excited about what’s to come! Here are the top three exciting projects that gained my attention the most, although there are plenty more that I just didn’t have time to write a report on (such as Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur, which looks pretty good).

 

The Flash

I don’t think there was a more talked about series finale this year than Flash season 2 with the setup of adapting the ‘Flashpoint’ storyline from the comics. Prior to the trailer that was shown at Comic-Con, all we really knew was that Barry (Grant Gustin) had radically changed the past to save his mother and Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) – or at least a version of Wally, who was adopting the ‘Kid Flash’ identity. This trailer offered some clues, but raised so many more questions and overall excitement about where season 3 might be heading.

 

What most excited me was the revelation that we are going to see the return of the Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher), as we have only seen this version of the character appear in a couple of episodes so far. We see him celebrating at the chaos Barry has caused despite now being Barry’s prisoner, and coining the term ‘Flashpoint’. It reminded me of what the villainous Zoom (Teddy Sears) said to Barry after he (SPOILER) killed Barry’s Dad: ‘Now, we are the same’. Reverse Flash taunts Barry and shouts ‘Who’s the villain now?’. Seeing Barry lock up rival speedsters and manipulate the speed force (similar to Zoom last year) may suggest that they are partially right, and Barry is on the line between hero and villain. He may need to do plenty to convince many that he is still the do-gooding hero. Overall, I am incredibly excited by the teaser and I’m glad it hasn’t given away every secret, e.g. Harrison Wells and Tom Felton’s mysterious character.

 Justice League


 

Sadly for me, I did not have a positive experience of ‘Batman Vs Superman’ earlier this year. I felt it lacked coherency, was over-stuffed and had a number of decisions that were misjudged and badly handled (Martha, Doomsday, Superman not saying a word, etc, take your pick). However, I have to say the trailer for Justice League looks like the DC extended universe will take a massive step in the right direction. It has retained the best bits of its predecessor (BATFLECK!) and realised that the series needs some humour and fun; a memorable moment is Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) remarking to Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) that he understands that he talks to fish. This suggests that perhaps we will move away from the religious comparisons and droning on about their God-like status and just admit that superheroes are simply fun, ridiculous characters that help us escape from real life.

 

Well done to whoever chose White Stripes’ ‘Icky Thump’ to soundtrack the trailer. I was impressed as I watched it, because I never once thought about the Avengers or the Marvel cinematic universe, unlike the previous two DC efforts. It just felt cool and distinctive, which should be good news to anyone. The new Barry Allen/Flash (Ezra Miller) never made me think about how much I love the TV Flash and compare him negatively which I thought was bound to happen. He’s socially awkward and watches ‘Rick and Morty’, I instantly loved this guy and it looks like he will offer some much-needed humanity to the DC universe. The only negative is that we have already got our first glimpse despite being a year and a half from release and that may mean that we will get too much content shown before the release. However, I am now incredibly excited by the film and, who knows, maybe we have got a classic in the superhero genre on our hands.

 Doctor Strange


 
One of the most exciting films to be released this year is Marvel’s Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. The film looks like it will successfully open up the mystical elements of the MCU and the Inception-esque effects look impressive to the point where 3D may actually be appropriate, rather than just a gimmick. The score, along with the effects, helps to create a strong sense of intrigue and excitement, which is needed to gauge audience interest about a largely unknown character. The film promised to be trippy and has clearly followed up on this promise by doing something distinctive in the genre. To me, it looks as if we may well have another success for the MCU and a successful follow-up to Civil War. The film gives little away including Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous role. Seeing two acting titans in Cumberbatch and Mikkelsen going up against each other will be worth the price of admission on its own. Any fear that the film looked too dark and serious has been swept away with a nice one-liner, reminding the audience that we are still in the ‘fun’ Marvel universe.

 

On the subject of Marvel, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel should prove to be great casting and the reports from Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnorok, suggest that the good form may well continue for the MCU.

Star Trek Beyond (reviewed by D.Calvert)


 

We were approached by Dom, a friend of SDGS, offering to review Star Trek Beyond and we are delighted to share the article written by him and edited by us. 

‘Star Trek Beyond’ is the third instalment in this rebooted series and follows up on the very impressive series opener and the divisive sequel. The main changes to the previous two instalments is the director, with JJ Abrams moving to the Star Wars franchise and being replaced by Justin Lin of ‘Fast and Furious’ fame. Personally, I was more excited by the fact that Doug Jung and Simon Pegg have moved into screenwriter duties, as I am a huge fan of the latter. The cast has remained largely the same albeit with the addition of Sofia Boutella as the mysterious Jaylah, and Idris Elba as the villainous Krall.

 The film follows up on ‘Into Darkness’ with the Enterprise halfway through the five-year mission on which it embarked at the close of the last film. The crew find themselves attacked by a mysterious and sinister force, and have to abandon ship. Stranded on an unknown planet with seemingly an impossible task of survival, the crew find themselves on their hardest mission yet.


As a massive Star Wars fan, Trek has, to me, always played second fiddle, but I still have huge admiration for what the series has done in popular culture. The original series was well ahead of its time with ideas of diversity; for instance, it showed the desire for a world where Americans, Russians, Asians and even Vulcans stood side by side. In today’s world we need reminders of those core principles of diplomacy, rather than aggression, and the need to create a multi-cultural world built on unity and diversity in place of division and mistrust. This is the reason why I will always be glad when there is a new Star Trek project in the works and why, essentially, we need Star Trek.

 

The positive of the film is that it maintains this message of the need for unity and pursuit of peace even with those who seem to be our enemies. Without wanting to give too much away on Idris Elba’s Krall character, he is an individual out of time and disillusioned with Starfleet’s unity mission. The character spends the majority of the film preaching about how conflict and struggle are what makes the universe and the individuals within it a stronger and better place.

 

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” (G K Chesterton)

 

This quote, in my mind, shows the key lesson to be learnt from the film. Krall is defined by his hatred of others; this is his flaw and can ultimately be compared to many modern-day figures who are driven by a mistrust or hatred of others. Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise on the other hand, want to protect the ideologies of diplomacy and peace and this ideal is something the film wants the audience to strive for.

 

What I perhaps enjoyed the most from the film is how both Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are going through a mid-life crisis. Kirk feels like he has passed his peak and there is little more for him to do after seeing almost everything in deep space, whilst Spock has a very personal reminder of his own mortality. Both of these characters are struggling to find any more purpose within Starfleet and seem keen for drastic change in their lives. This brought out great performances from Pine and Quinto, as they both get to show real character development from the first two films, though the conclusion to Spock’s arc in the movie and his relationship with Uhura did feel a little rushed.

 

This goes for the rest of the cast as well. Karl Urban is a particular highlight as Bones and always raises a smile while he is on screen; the decision to pair him with Quinto’s Spock was a wise one. There are also some great spectacles to be had during the film, including the attack on the Enterprise standing out during the early stages. However, it did feel as if the film sometimes played a bit safe and might struggle to stand out too much in a crowded marketplace. I wanted the film to show more innovation and do something more than it did at times, rather than simply to replicate the look and feel of classic Star Trek. Without wanting to give any spoilers, there are also a few moments that, although they are reminiscent of the recent Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy films,it doesn’t quite match them. For instance, retro music plays a key part in the film’s final act, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy, but this has been done before in a far funnier and more effective way than here.

 

In addition, much of the film feels heavily signposted. For instance, we are introduced early on to ‘Yorktown’ – effectively a second Earth in a snow globe in deep space, containing some of the crew’s loved ones – and its quite clear what purpose this will play later on in the film.

 

Overall, I would recommend the film as solid popcorn entertainment. If you enjoyed the previous two instalments, then you will find that the cast is still on great form and these characters are developed to a very satisfactory extent. Furthermore, it does contain a strong message of the need to embrace unity, which I will always welcome in modern cinema. Nevertheless, I don’t think that this film will be remembered for very long, due to a lack of innovation and I did feel that it struggled at times to maintain the excitement and awe that was the previous two films projected.

 

RATING-3.6/5

 

2016 LEADERBOARD

 

1-Captain America Civil War 4.6/5

2-High Rise 4.5/5

3-The Nice Guys 4.1/5

4-Deadpool 3.9/5

5-Star Trek Beyond 3.6/5

6-The Hateful Eight 3.5/5

7-Hail Caesar 2.9/5

8-Central Intelligence 2.7/5

9-Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice 2.4/5

10-Warcraft 2.2/5

11-Dad’s Army 2/5

 

Fan Art Friday

This Friday’s fan art is a trip back to the ’80s. I figured that as Netflix has shown us the great new series ‘Stranger Things’, which is set in that decade, I would gather fan art for some of the movies from that era. If you have a suggestion for a subject you would like us to cover, or if you are an artist with something to share, please contact us on our social media pages or email at Southdevongeeks@gmail.com

SDCC 2016 (4)


The greatest gathering of nerds and geeks on the planet is happening this weekend in California – the world famous Comic-Con International. It will see everyone, from comic book and movie fans to cosplayers from all corners of the globe come together to see what’s new with their favourite shows and movies. 
Convention-goers can also meet the cast, writers and directors of movie and TV; talk to artists and comic book writers; take part in interactive features and Q&A panels: anything a true geek or nerd could ever wish for. 
Below is a round-up of pictures from SDCC so far…