Star Trek Beyond – review

The latest instalment in the new Star Trek franchise goes beyond, directed by Justin Lin as the crew of the enterprise, now 2 years into their mission go through the motions and carry on in their endeavour as they investigate a mysterious incident which leads to the enterprise being attacked and the crew taken, the film stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Karl Urban, Sofia Boutella, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin.

There’s a notably different feeling to Beyond, with more of a focus on individual characters I feel, even though the overall story is still important, space faring is again and exploration a key element as it was in the previous films with the plot exploring the affect on the characters of prolonged co-habitation and exploring in space. From what it makes characters like Kirk feel and think about their long term goals to how the crew feel about each other having been together so long, this made for some interesting character exploration in a film that has its fair share of action and spectacle.

The cast is again on their A-game and a lot of the fun of watching Beyond comes from their interactions, you can see the cast genuinely get along and enjoy each others companies, with Urban as Bones and Quinto especially relishing in their respective roles and with the crew split up and spread out, you get to see pairings of characters you haven’t seen before, which was interesting. While new characters in the villainous Krall (Idris Elba) and the warrior Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) made for some interesting additions, while it was great to see Yelchin as Chekov one last time in a role he seemed to truly enjoy. Plot wise, the film isn’t all that great to be honest, with a pretty by the numbers story that which would have felt at home in one of the older TV shows but it’s not a huge let down, though having saying this, the plot does go in interesting directions but in comparison to Trek ‘o9 and Into Darkness, the story doesn’t quite match up in quality.

There’s a familiarity of tropes, themes and visuals here in relation to the other two films with a nice mix of humour derived from the well written characters, good action and some great spectacle and believe me, seeing the USS Enterprise never gets old, though seeing it destroyed is always a shame! There are some pretty spectacular set pieces present with some creative ways of executing them and you can tell Simon Peggs influence with the writing was definitely there in a few scenes and I think he did a pretty good job, not hamming up the film with too many clichés but still making things feel familiar and bringing fans what they enjoyed about the previous two Trek films with some added new aspects. Overall Star Trek Beyond is a fun roller coaster ride with some good action, great spectacle and great character interactions, the films have a great formula now and it’s genuinely fun to watch the crew of the Enterprise do just about anything, things here and there may feel a bit generic but the sum of its part is a good blockbuster and a great film to sit back and watch in summer.

7/10

. Great character interaction, cast revels in their roles

. Has some great set pieces, spectacle

. Plot is a bit by the numbers

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Doctor Strange trailer #2 – comic con

Doctor Strange comic con trailer

Comic con aka the gift that keeps on giving has given us some more Marvel news overall as you may be aware but also some publicly released trailers, one for Luke CageIron fist but also for the upcoming and anticipated Dotor Strange which is looking pretty great.

We get a continuation of the narrative thread the first trailer brought to us, showing Stevens Stranges’ origin story, with him being a renowned surgeon who loses use of his hands after a car accident and turns to mysticism to find a form of release. We see Strange being essentially coached by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who teaches him about different realities and shows him the abilities that her order is capable of, Steven is understandably curious and confused but seems fully on board in learning more as he’s travelled to south-east Asia and essentially given up his old life.

Mads Mikkelsens’ character seems to be the leader of a certain type of movement that seems to want to disrupt order and presumably, Strange and his friend Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) will be combating them, we also see some mroe mind bending, trippy visuals with dimension and reality bending magic as well as teleportation. And importantly, Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme, cape and all, doing what Sorcerer Supremes’ do of course and looking the part. Overall I’m looking forward to Dr Strange and I’m fully onboard with Marvel going into the fantastical and magical realm with the film as it may open avenues for interesting new plot lines and characters.

There are still questions a-plenty about the plot, will Mordo and Strange turn on each other at some point as they’re enemies in the comic, what exactly is the antagonists plan (if it is Mads Mikkelsens character), does the Ancient One have any nefarious intentions or motive for Strange? Well we’ll find out the answers one way or another when the film comes out but I’m impressed Marvel – as I usually am, the film’s looks solid. Dr Strange is out on the 4th of November.

King Arthur: Legend of the sword comic con trailer

King Arthur Legend of the sword trailer

We have our first look at the upcoming King Arthur film from WB, directed by Guy Ritchie, a… different looking take on the legend of King Arthur as I’m sure you already know of, with Arthur (Charlie Hunam) this time seeming very much the reluctant hero and not wanting to fight at all or get involved in trouble.

We see the sword in the stone – Excalibur, get drawn by Arthur and some similar looking tropes from Arthurian legend films with knights in armour, castles etc and the like but I’m pretty sure we see giant elephants and some magic being showcased, so this looks to be a mix of fantasy elements (magic was always part of the legend to be fair) alongside the re-telling of the legend. Mixed in with guy Ritchies distinct directorial style with a very much more grounded and streetwise seeming Arthur this time around, for a film I’ve heard next to nothing about I’m intrigued though and I’m always down for a guy Ritchie film so yeah.

King Arthur is out in 2017.

Kong Skull island comic con trailer

Kong Skull island comic con trailer

You’ve got to love Comic con, trailers galore… and here’s another for the upcoming Kong Skull Island, out in March 2017, a sort of origin story for the famous ape in film history and a grittier looking depiction at that. We see an expedition to skull island in search of Kong which goes wrong after it seems some of the crew gets attacked (by Kong presumably) and things seem to take a turn for the worst afterwards. And going by the premise of the film, this will come to explain how Kong becomes ‘King Kong’ and how he becomes known to the Western world in the context of the films universe, leading to people trying to capture him in future films (if they don’t do it in this one).

There seems to be a bit of misleading having gone in between the expedition itself as John Goodmans character seems to know more details than Samuel L Jacksons’ character and it seems like he’s lead people there in search of Kong, whose existence and size may come as a complete surprise to them. There are also indigenous natives to the island who probably are aware of Kong but probably revere him as opposed to the foreigners who have come out of curiosity (and also with guns). We still don’t really know much about the plot and this is guess work from me but I am wondering why they came so heavily armed and if the expedition was aware of Kong, were they always going to the island intended to catch him or just to see him? Did they not know about his size?

There are many questions to be answered but Skull Island looks interesting, a film not on that many peoples radars but it could be turn out to be pretty decent, I get a 2014 Godzilla vibe from it with the grittier look and the whole not really seeing Kong in the trailer, though I hope we do see a lot more of Kong in Skull Island than we saw of Godzilla in Godzilla ’14.

Kong Skull Island is out in March 2017.

Justice League comic con footage

Alrighty, so this was expected but to actually see footage of this long, long awaited film is still amazing, the culmination of years of planning from Warner Bros and Zack Snyder, the first trailer for Justice League starts off where Batman V Superman left off, with Bruce and Diana tracking down and trying to recruit meta-humans to form a team following the death of you know who. Bruce is trying to track down Aquaman initially from the looks of things but will also presumably go in search of Cyborg and The Flash (all characters who already have their powers and have been transformed), with Diana helping him as Bruce warns against an incoming danger that necessitates the existence of the Justice league – presumably Darkseid.

This is very much an introductory look to show everyone how the film’s coming along and to give us all a feel of what’s to come but so far I’m intrigued.

There’s a different type of tone to the film, distinct from Batman V Superman and I believe reports that the studio execs wanted things to be a bit lighter and have more levity as we can see with pretty much every scene with Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) who looks like a great fit so far. And generally, I think the league is well cast and Affleck seems to revelling in the role of an older, snarkier Bruce and even quips with his sardonic sense of humour with other characters which is great to see.

And while this isn’t a tonne to go off of, I’d say it’s so far so good honestly, the tone looks lighter which is something a lot of people seemed to have wanted, the costumes look good and everyone seems to be fitting well into their roles – seeing more of Cyborg would be nice though, I’m hooked – I was going to see the film no matter what but it’s great to get a first proper look at things, DC seems to be listening to audience feedback and changing things accordingly which can be a good thing. Have you watched the trailer, do you like it or loathe it? Feel free to sound off.