Still Growing, Never Stopping

Time for a new update to the constant growth of our Funko Pop collection!

Here we have that high flying kicker from Capcom, Chun-LiFrank Castle aka The Punisher always is on the hunt.

She’s not bad, she’s just drawn that way. Taking the stage is Jessica RabbitThe Hyborian Age comes alive with Red Sonja and Conan the Barbarian

Spider-Man’s ultimate nemesis flies in. The Green Goblin“Get away from here you B–ch!” Ellen Ripley plays no games with the Alien Queen.Last we have one of the original Legends of Tomorrow, Hawkgirl. 

Film Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train is a mystery thriller film based on the novel of the same name. The film stars Emily Blunt as Rachel. She is an alcoholic divorcée who spends her time on the train passing by her old home. During her travels, she always takes time to look at a young couple from the train, Scott and Megan Hipwell (Luke Evans and Haley Bennett). When Megan goes missing, Rachel inserts herself into the case which has her crossing paths with the police, her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson).

The Girl on the Train has a few things working for it. The biggest is Emily Blunt’s performance as Rachel. Rachel is a self-destructive alcoholic and we see it on full display. There actually were moments where I would tur my eyes away for a brief second simply because it felt awkward to see what she was doing. This was highly effective acting in my book. The supporting cast was admirable as well, including Ferguson who continues to impress me after I saw her for the first time in 2015’s Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. There was a steely determination I could see in the face of the woman who had her own role to play in the end of Rachel’s relationship. There is one other cast kudos I want to give, but if I do I’m afraid it would be a spoiler.

However, where this film falls short is that is a simple mystery thriller that isn’t as lofty as it makes it out to be. This film is not a repeat of David Fincher’s Gone Girl which this seems to want to be. That does not mean that it isn’t at all entertaining. I found myself enjoying the mystery even though I had an idea of how it ends. It’s engaging and taut. It doesn’t waste time and every character serves a purpose. It’s breezy entertainment for a Saturday afternoon and that’s perfectly fine. The film just has aspirations that it could never meet. Yet it is compentenly made and technically sound so those can not be held against it. The Girl on the Train is a fine mystery and that’s totally okay.

Final Rating (3/5) A well made mystery thriller, The Girl on the Train is good entertainment. It’s just not that highbrow film it aspires to be. 

Film Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is Marvel Studios 2nd film release of 2016 and the 14th Marvel Cinematic Universe entry. It’s based on the Marvel Comics character of Doctor Strange who was created by Steve Ditko back in 1963. The film was directed by Scott Derrickson who is best know for horror films such as Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil.

The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, a renowned and neurosurgeon who after getting into a car accident loses the use of his hands. He spends time and money having all sorts of procedures done to regain his hands and resume his surgical career. This leads him to an audience with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who then shows him a world and power beyond himself.

That’s the story in a nutshell. It’s actually very similar to Iron Man. As far as story goes, Doctor Strange is more of what we expect from Marvel Studios in terms of origin stories. It does standout however in some of its own unique ways, but for me lack of character development really hurts the final product.

Doctor Strange is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that showcases the mystical side of things. As I watched the film I couldn’t help but continually be intrigued by the lessons the Ancient One taught Strange and the amount of world building that it set up. Because of this, any moment the film got to showcase magic, it was truly magical. The biggest strength of Doctor Strange from a technical perspective is its visuals. Inspired by Ditko’s art, yet with a modern perspective that we have seen in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the visuals suck you in. It felt like a living piece of Escher art.  I did not see this in 3D, but I think it would have been worth the money to do so. Especially shots like this.

The film’s shortcomings come in its story which is standard end of the world stuff, and it’s use of its characters. Doctors Strange actually has a pretty fantastic cast that sadly isn’t given enough time to shine. 

Cumberbatch as Strange certainly gives the character the weight of a man who goes from unbeliever to believer. It feels right from a storytelling perspective. It’s the rest of the cast that seems to have gotten the short end of development. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo actually interested me as a character far more than even Strange. Sadly, it appears we have to wait for the sequel to get that. The same goes for Rachel McAdams Christine Palmer. We get fed a sample of her relationship with Strange but she’s cut out of the film for a significant amount of time and then reappears and then is gone again.

Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One gets shortchanged on story as well. We discover a mystery about the character and eventually we get what she did, but not why she did, at least in a way that was pleasing to me. 

Last there is Mads Mikkelsen’s villain Kaecilius who according to most reviews continues a trend of underwhelming Marvel antagonists. I believe that to be partially correct as he certainly is not as fleshed out as could be, yet his role is fundamentally different as his motivations do not lie with the main character. So while he is not the best comic book movie villain, doing something a tad different with the character motivations is a step in the right direction.

I did enjoy Doctor Strange. I enjoyed the new elements of mysticism that have been added to the Marvel Universe as a whole. It felt thematically like its own film and not just a piece to lead to the next crossover film. It reminded me most of the Phase One films which are the MCU films I enjoy the most. It’s a visual treat, but left me wanting more from a story perspective.

Final Rating (3.5/5) Doctor Strange looks good, with some really good world building. Yet it’s standard story and lacking character development keeps this sorcerer from reigning supreme.