The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King review

The Lord of The Rings trilogy draws to its end with The Return of The King as Frodo and Sam near Mount Doom and the end of their journey, while Sauron mounts his forces for a final attack on Gondor in order to destroy it, the film stars Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Jonathan Rhys-Davies, Ian Mckellan, Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett.

Return Of The King is quite the epic in every sense of the word, a very natural feeling crescendo to the LOTR trilogy I feel, as we follow the main characters from the films (the fellowship mostly) go along their separate journeys, now even more separated in different stories, though off together in pairs aside from the trio of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, it’s great to see some characters together even though they’re separated as a group as a whole, all working towards the same goal of fighting against Sauron/evil essentially. The stakes just feel a bit higher this time around with all of Gondor being the centre piece for battle and the focus for a lot of the film as we really get a scale of the power of Sauron and the armies that he commands, dwarfing the already massive army that Isengard brought out at Helms Deep in The Two Towers.

Like I mentioned in a previous preview, I like how the series shows war as it is, gritty, indiscriminate and brutal – even with the fantastical elements of this story and we see this in the chaos that takes place during the battle of Minas Tirith and Pelennor fields later in the film, with some great editing and use music in particular to emphasize the tone of certain scenes – a loss of hope, fear against evil while Minas Tirith was besieged which slightly turned to hope when Gandalf marshalled the cities forces and rallied them. I feel like small details like this are great, showing the complexity of the characters in the situations they’re in, the characters are just like people – even Gandalf, sometimes hopeful, fearful, happy and sad but importantly for the story with the main characters, they never give up.

The set pieces in Return Of The King dials things to 11 in terms of action and set pieces as well, in massive open fields, tens of thousands of soldiers in armies and of course, the ever memorable Rohirrim charge, the challenge to adapt such ambitious battles on screen must have been a huge undertaking but they’re done well, showing the action clearly and again, emphasizing the mayhem and ruthlessness of war when it all comes down to man to man combat. And for a film in the early 2000s, the visuals still hold up and look decent due to prosthetics and more ‘real’ looking Orcs that aren’t all CGI, though even the CG looks okay. The film isn’t all action – though there is a fair amount of it, with some great, downplayed emotional moments between characters, Faramir wanting his father (Denethors) love and respect, even to the point of endangering himself, Sam and Frodos ongoing journey and tumultuous friendship due to Gollum which almost breaks them apart as well as other side stories that are ongoing that are all important to the main over arching plot. And again the stories are balanced well, leading to a satisfying and emotional conclusion.

I’m not going to lie, I kinda love Return Of The King as I feel it’s a perfect conclusion to one of the best stories on film, with great set pieces, great character arcs/developments and some fantastic individual moments that remind you why you probably like or love the series as a whole, excellently well done fantasy with a compelling world and engaging story.

10/10

. Brilliant conclusion to the overall story. Good character development and arcs, characters grow and change

. Fantastic, poignant set pieces with some good visuals even up to today

. Consistently strong performances

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a funny old year hasn’t it…. a year of ups and downs… and downs, quite a lot of downs but we put it all behind us as we look forward to a new year and spend Christmas with our family/loved ones close to us, merry Christmas to all my followers, to everyone who reads this and to everyone celebrating it today and I hope you’re all having a great, joy filled day whether that be with Christmas films, mulled wine, other types of wine, christmas crackers and of course, pigs in blankets.

Have a great one guys.

From the Doc

My top 5 most anticipated 2017 films

So as 2016 winds down to an end with just over a week left in the year, what better time to look ahead to the films to come for the next year and at a glance, I think 2017 has a few potential gems in store, here is my top 5 and you know what, it was actually kinda difficult to pick a top 5 with some great films vying for my top spots but here they are:

1. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 – released in May 2017

My number one choice sort of goes without saying if you’ve followed my blog for a decent amount of time and know I’m a big comic book film and MCU fan but yeah we’ve seen a recent full teaser trailer and Guardians Vol 2 looks like a lot of fun, in a similar vein to the first film but with more characters, great visuals and well, the Guardians we now all know and love. Guardians snuck up on audiences from obscurity and took them on a great, thrill ride with arguably hard sell characters that worked like a charm, especially Groot – who is quite literally a talking tree, a tree that everyone loves of course, Marvel knows how to take far out ideas and sell them to audiences and the sequel should be no different, I’m expecting great things from Vol 2.

 

2. Alien: Covenant  – released on the 19th of May 2017

I am so looking forward to this film, with not that much publicity or promotion for it to be honest apart from stories here and there and a poster (I guess we’ll get a trailer in the coming weeks) but even with next to nothing but speculation, I can’t wait for the sequel to Prometheus, to see how that story gets followed up on and how it all links to the beloved albeit horrifying Alien, sci-fi horror is touched on here and there but never really to any good quality and I feel Alien has an iconic position in that sub-genre. I love mysteries in film, I always get kicks out of trying to figure them out along with others and it’s always a joy to see a director return to their first love (Ridley Scott back to Alien) in this case, a world very uniquely his and pretty fascinating in my opinion, so seeing David and Elizabeth Shaw again should be interesting, with added Xenomorphs perhaps?

 

3. Star Wars Episode 8 (VIII) – released in December 2017

Star Wars, seriously, enough said… but of course no top 5 list for 2017 can be complete without the upcoming episode 8 as we all wait for the next film in the new trilogy and as we wait for answers to the big question, why has Luke been on a random island in the middle of nowhere for so long? I’m curious to see where the story goes and what becomes of Finn and the scarred but hardened Kylo Ren, in what’s been said to be a darker sequel, the Empire Strikes Back of the new films perhaps, though I’d like to see some deviation from the original trilogy in terms of story, plus the Knights of Ren, the revelation of supreme leader Snoke and what Luke had to say to just as he sees Rey and about everything that’s happened in the past 20 years or so, can’t wait to see it!

 

4. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – released on 6th of October 2017

I adore Kingsman: Secret Service, with great action and an irreverent sense of humour to itself, it’s just a pretty fantastic spy/action film and I’m expecting bigger and better things for the sequel and if that’s managed, it will be one hell of a film. After watching Kingsman I left clamoring for more and with an expanded and actually pretty great cast, with some hopefully good execution and the returning Taron Egerton, Mark Strong and apparently Colin Firth as well… we should be in for a treat.

 

5. Justice League – released in December 2017

I almost felt compelled to put Justice League on my list, the superhero team up film that fans have been wanting for years, decades even is almost here, I grew up watching the cartoons on Cartoon network, I’m familiar with the characters so I’m so in, we’ll see if DC can pull it off but I have pretty high hopes with the direction it seems to be going in and this could well be the turning point for DC one way or the other, then again it’s only been bad for them so far (reviews wise at least) so I’m hoping it’s good.

As I said before, tough list to narrow down with some pretty great looking films being left off and just not quite making it into my top 5 which include, Kong Skull IslandLoganSpiderman: HomecomingBladerunner 2049Ghost In The Shell, to name a few but overall 2017 is shaping up really nicely, have any thoughts, opinions? What would be in your top 5? Feel free to comment.

Dunkirk official trailer 1

So a little known film called Dunkirk is on the way next year and yes, it’s Christopher Nolans’ latest film, a project you may not have been aware of but something I’ve been keen to see something from as I’m a fairly big Nolan fan, anyway Nolan makes his trip into the WWII drama sphere with the film, based on real events after allied British, Canadian and French forces were evacuated from northern French shores after being surrounded by German forces.

Dunkirk is an interesting choice for Nolan and definitely a departure from his previous films with it being a war film of course, it’s something he’s not touched on as yet and also with the film being non-fiction and a period drama, there’s quite a sombre tone to the film as is to be expected and once again, this will help with that key emotional core to a Nolan film, hitting you right in the heart strings. Overall I’m interested, we do get a decent amount of films based on WWII every now and then but Dunkirk is an event I haven’t seen on the big screen before, so it should be something different. Also worth pointing out is Tom Hardy collaborating with Nolan once again, making this their 3rd film together after Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, Harry Styles from ex One Direction is also in this so yeah…

 Dunkirk is out in July 2017.

Ranking 2016s’ comic book films

2016 has been another year for the ever flourishing comic book sub-genre, with 6 films out this year alone, one of the highest amounts in a single year since the MCU took the world by storm in 2008 and 2017 isn’t about to buck the trend but that’s for another discussion entirely, anyway this year has had some of the biggest films in the sub-genre to date with both Marvel and DC brining out their big guns, to…. varying degrees of success. So I thought I’d rank the films I’ve seen from best to worst in what has been a fairly strong year for comic book films I feel.

Captain America: Civil War – 8.5/10

First choice is no real surprise, Marvel at its best’, a great ensemble cast based on one of the most popular Marvel comic book stories, Black Panther and Spiderman? And even if you put aside the stellar action, with some of the best action sequences in the entire MCU, you still get some surprisingly deep drama and well done emotional highs and lows, loss and real stakes for the characters in Marvels darkest film yet, where you finally see and feel the impact of the Avengers world saving adventure and how the world reacts to them, an intriguing concept for a superhero film. The cast does a great job and we get to really delve into what drives the Avengers as they align to one side or the other and of course, Spiderman, Tom Holland makes a great debut and showcase for his upcoming films and while he doesn’t steal the show per se, he’s a big highlight, as is Chadwick Bosemans’ Black Panther.

 

Doctor Strange – 7.5/10

The actual 4th film this year based on a Marvel property/character but second MCU film is of course, Doctor Strange, the origin story of the sorcerer supreme and how he became that, with some great casting choices and a great pick for Strange in Cumberbatch, who really captures his arrogance and intellect. Marvel brings it home with the origin story and tells an engaging, fun story with some trippy, fantastic visuals and with the introduction of a whole new element to the MCU in the form of magic. Magic or the mystical arts make for some mind bending action sequences, unlike anything we’ve seen in the MCU (though Thor and Thor The Dark World come sort of close) and it’s a breath of fresh air in all honesty, while there’s a great peppering of humour through the story to keep things fun and tempered in what is otherwise a somewhat dark story.

There’s no surprise with how good the performances are though with the calibre of actors present and Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton are brilliant, bringing gravitas and a grounded approach to one of Marvels stronger origin stories on film.

 

Deadpool – 7.5/10

Love him or hate him, Deadpool is kind of a character you can’t really ignore, he’s hilarious, self referential/aware and perfectly cast with Ryan Reynolds in the role, who’s basically kinda Deadpool in real life anyway, the film was a triumph on so many levels and a huge 180 from the abomination from the X-Men Origins: Wolverine character, with some genuinely well done humour, great comedic timing and a basic but engaging love story essentially. The action’s also quite well done and it’s great to see some X-Men cameo with Colossus and Nega Sonic Teenage Warhead who only add to the humour and make things more interesting, Reynolds nails Deadpools’ persona, which makes the film a joy to watch.

 

Suicide Squad – 7/10

Possibly the most divisive film on the list and honestly it’s a toss up between this and BvS, I’ll say it again – I enjoyed Suicide Squad, despite the critics evisceration of it and the hoo-hah around that, it’s just a fun, crazy film that knows how silly it is but still relishes in it, it’s got a great cast, with the stand outs being Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto of course, who are all great in their roles but there’s surprising depth to characters, which makes for some interesting interactions and moments. The action’s great with some well done set pieces but honestly the interaction between the squad is what really made the film fun for me, they’re so different and incompatible that it makes their journey enjoyable, that and the fact that they’re criminals or mercenaries and not by any means good, makes for an interesting set up.

Understandably, Joker didn’t get enough screen time which was a shame and the final third falls into generic action film territory but there’s surprising heart to the story and it’s a film I’d happily re-watch.

 

X-Men: Apocalypse – 7/10

One of the lesser liked comic book films of the year is also one of my most liked ones, I don’t love Apocalypse by any means but it’s still a fun ride, the X-Men are such a great bunch of characters that I was ready and willing to go back into that universe, with re-introduced, younger characters of course and the behemoth that is Apocalypse, the result is admittedly pretty by the numbers plot wise but I enjoyed it, the returning cast from First Class and Days of Future Past also contribute in making the film fun. The younger X-Men are great fits for their roles and are fairly promising in my opinion and while we didn’t get much of them interacting with themselves, seeing them come together to face Apocalypse was cool, as were the Four Horsemen, especially a troubled Magneto played fantastically by Michael Fassbender, Apocalypse himself is passable, such a larger than life character isn’t easy to portray but Oscar Isaac does a decent job.

While the film isn’t mind blowing, not the best drama or action film, it’s still enjoyable and a decent entry in the X-Men franchise, an interesting way to start off a potential new cycle of films.

 

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – 6.5/10

BVS is a film I’ve actually liked more upon re-watching it but of course it’s easily one of the most divisive films of the year, with many critics tearing it to shreds for its scattered plot which crammed a few to many things into it for some, lack of focus on the two titular characters actually fighting and with the film being too much of a set up/prelude to upcoming films – all fair criticisms but I feel people were a bit too harsh on Snyders’ latest comic book film. While not perfect, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had to see Batman and Superman on screen together in live action, finally, the casting is generally pretty solid and Gal Gadot, for the little she’s in, makes for a great Wonder Woman, throw in some great visuals and stellar set pieces – particularly involving Batman, e.g. the Warehouse fight and you have an overall decent film.

And while there’s a lot to unpack with the film but to summarise, I don’t think the film is terrible and it’s actually a good watch, despite the rather dark themes and tones presented.

Honestly it’s been a pretty OK film for comic book films in my opinion, in a generally disappointing year for films, we’ve had some great films out, some okay-decent ones but nothing truly terrible to the level that some critics would have most people believe, or so I think, do you have any strong thoughts and or opinions on the films present? Hate BVS with a passion? Feel free to comment.