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Daredevil – The Path of the Righteous (Review)

To celebrate the launch of Marvel’s Daredevil and the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we are reviewing all thirteen episodes of the first season of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil. Check back daily for the latest review.

With The Path of the Righteous, the first season of Daredevil properly enters its end game.

After a lot of soul-searching and contemplating, Matt Murdock is spurred back to action – albeit in a somewhat limited capacity. Matt spends most of the hour searching out Melvin Potter to help design a new costume. This is perhaps the most obvious indication that the end of the season is fast approaching; Matt is beginning to transition away from the costume inspired by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.’s The Man Without Fear and more towards something approaching his iconic comic book outfit.

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At the same time, Wilson Fisk finds himself desperately losing ground. Vanessa Marianna is in a coma, poisoned during an event hosted and organised by Fisk. Karen Page and Ben Urich have found Marlene Vistain, and begun piecing together a past that Fisk worked very hard to bury. On top of that, The Path of the Righteous ends with Fisk suffering a fairly dramatic personal loss, when Karen Page repeatedly shoots James Wesley. It seems fair to suggest that the ground is shrinking from under him.

However, it is interesting that The Path of the Righteous sidelines Matt and Fisk so thoroughly. Fisk spends the entire episode in a hospital, while Matt is running errands that feel disconnected from the immediate threat. As such, The Path of the Righteous allows for some focus on the supporting cast and the wider ensemble. The biggest dramatic beat of the episode is carried by two supporting players, as Karen Page and James Wesley square off against one another.

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Annihilators (Review/Retrospective)

It’s a bit of a shame that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s run on Marvel’s “cosmic” comics ended up ending like this – whimpering away rather than finishing with a bang. The pair have been responsible for one of the most cohesive and entertaining aspects of Marvel’s publishing line over the past half-decade, producing some of the best events in recent years, and even providing the Guardians of the Galaxy run that will (apparently) inspire the upcoming blockbuster. I sincerely hope to see an omnibus collection of that run. However, Lanning and Abnett seem to fade from the scene, following up the climax to their cosmic events, The Thanos Imperative, with two Annihilators miniseries, the second of which didn’t sell well enough to merit a hardcover collection.

It’s a bit of a shame because, despite some admittedly serious flaws, their Annihilators four-issue miniseries actually has a lot of promise, and is something I wouldn’t have objected to seeing extended past the two miniseries.

Talk about an Ikon-oclast…

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Non-Review Review: Master and Commander – The Far Side of the World

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a movie that, like Gladiator before it, finds a lot of appeal in resurrecting a genre that was pretty much dead in cinema. As such, despite being well-produced and well-acted, the core of the movie is one of nostalgia – we’ve all seen those classic tales of men at war on the oceans, what might be termed swashbuckling sea-faring adventures. However, unlike Russell Crowe’s earlier film, Peter Weir’s attempt to revive the men-at-sea adventure movie never quite landed with the public – to the point that the genre hasn’t really seen a resurgence, nor has a sequel been produced. Which, to be honest, is a bit of shame. Master and Commander isn’t quite as powerful an experience as it could be, but it is – like the ship on which it is set – well built and sturdy.

It's long and hard and filled with... never mind...

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Non-Review Review: Gladiator

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

– Maximus sums up the plot in case you were sleeping for the first hour and a half

The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story!

– Commodus also reiterates the plot in case you weren’t paying attention

I think a lot of the appeal of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator rested on the fact we hadn’t seen a film quite like this in over a generation. In the years since we’ve witnessed a rejuvenated genre, with historical epics becoming more and more common. It’s easy to forget the impact of the Ridley Scott’s swords-and-sandals epic in the wake of films like King Arthur, Robin Hood or even Kingdom of Heaven – let alone 300 or shows like Spartacus: Blood & Sand. And yet, even after all these big all-action historical endeavours, there’s still something special about Gladiator.

It's the eye of the tiger...

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Non-Review Review: Robin Hood

The second of the blockbusters arrives, celebrating the true arrival of summer. Chosen to open Cannes and featuring a return of the powerhouse pairing of maestro Ridley Scott and love-‘im-or-hate-‘im matinee icon Russell Crowe in a historic setting brimming with action potential and historic appeal, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of pressure on the iconic outlaw, Robin Hood. So does he carry it off as confidently as he carries off that bow-and-arrow?

Boy in da Hood...

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My Top 50 Movies of the Decade…

Alright here it is, my top fifty films of the decade. I’ve decided to stop complaining about Donal Clarke’s list in the Irish Times and just let rip myself. There’s more than a few crazy choices down there, but – after a week in the works – I’m happy with it. I doubt that a lot of other people will be.

Like the Oscars, but... you know, better...

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