After the breakout critical and financial success of 21 Jump Street two years ago, Chris Miller and Phil Lord flex their comedy muscles for the second time this year (after the spectacular Lego Movie) with 22 Jump Street. Sequels come in all shapes and sizes, and, especially in the comedy genre, generally disappoint more often than not (see Hangover and whatever the hell Dumb and Dumber To is supposed to be). Similar plot premises from original to sequel incite diminishing returns, and this was something that concerned me after seeing trailers of Jump Street’s return. It looked like the same movie but bigger and broader, bad news for most film sequels. However, 22 Jump Street plays with audience expectations expertly, and proves itself a pedigree of all sequelkind that is as self-aware as it is spit-take inducing.
Given that the X-Men franchise is now 14 years old, the fans of the film series have certain expectations by now of what they’re going to see. These include, but are not limited to; Hugh Jackman snarling, a slightly more than platonic love between Magneto and Professor X and parallels between the plight of the mutants and the real world plight of the civil rights/sexual equality movements. Days of Future Past (featuring the return of original director Bryan Singer) delivers on all these fronts in a major way (Wolverine is featured throughout, both incarnations of the opposing mutant leaders appear, the 70s occur) as well as boldly charting a new path that separates it from its predecessors, basing its story on a run from the comics involving time travel and mutant near-extinction. Newcomers may feel unwelcome, but the long-term fans should feel rewarded. (more…)
With his 2010 film, Monsters, Gareth Edwards proved that he was adept at crafting a world believably inhabited by both humans and giant beasts, even when on a shoestring budget. With Godzilla, he has achieved largely the same thing, although this time with an enormous amount of studio money. Putting this to good use, Edwards’ Godzilla is a film which sets a high mark for all other effects-based movies, with some of the most jaw-dropping moments that anyone is likely to see this year. Not only that, but the human element, whilst occasionally strained and never quite matching the pure brilliance of the monster sequences, is a lot better than is to usually be expected in stories of this ilk, helped greatly by an impressive cast. (more…)