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Non-Review Review: The Kingsman

The creators of The Kingsman either really love or really hate the classic Roger Moore Bond films. Probably both.

Another creative collaboration between Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Mark Millar, The Kingsman is just as juvenile, crass and ultimately charming as Kick-Ass. There is a sense of mischievous and cheeky fun to this classic spy film homage. It is effectively an update of those seventies and eighties spy films with a more cynical and self-aware attitude. There is a sense that The Kingsman is simply more transparent than its inspirations in its infectiously juvenile and borderline offensive sensibilities.

Sound and Firthy...

Sound and Firthy…

It is hard to tell how much of this homage is genuine nostalgic affection, and how much is witty subversion. The Kingsman is a spy film that not only uses outdated (and occasionally insensitive) spy movie tropes, it practically revels in them. Although the third act occasionally feels a little too mean-spirited in its riff on classic Bond sensibilities, The Kingsman has enough boundless energy and raw enthusiasm to keep the audience watching. The script is well-observed and the direction is tight. A superb central cast helps to anchor the film.

The Kingsman is an odd beast. It is that rare homage that seems quite likely to shock and offend many fans that otherwise share its nostalgic inclinations. However, those willing to be a bit more adventurous will find much to love in this updated spy caper.

Matthew Vaughn's fingerprints are all over this...

Matthew Vaughn’s fingerprints are all over this…

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Non-Review Review: Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass was a rare treat, a movie that managed to perfectly balance wry cynicism with an almost surreal optimism. It was the story of a kid with a crazy and reckless idea that somehow managed to do some genuine good. It was also arguably a movie that benefited from the fact that it wasn’t a franchise or a brand – it was cheekier and freer than most superhero films. While still an enjoyable ride, Kick-Ass 2 loses a lot of that edge.

"Right, so everybody has watched the Avengers, right?"

“Right, so everybody has watched the Avengers, right?”

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Win! Kick-Ass 2 Goodies!

Thanks to the wonderful people over at Universal Pictures Ireland and Kick-Ass 2 we have two (2!) Kick-Ass 2 goodie packs to give away.

Kick-Ass 2 is the sequel to Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Mark Millar’s 2010 hit Kick-Ass, one of our favourite superhero films of the past few years. Most of the cast is returning, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Kick-Ass, Chloé Grace Moretz as Hit Girl and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the Mother-f&%!#?. There are also several new additions, including Jim Carrey as “Colonel Stars ‘n’ Stripes”, but also Donald Faison and John Leguizamo.

It’s released here in Ireland next Wednesday, 14th August. You can check out the trailer below and get a glimpse of what’s in the packs below.

Simply fill out the form below to enter.

Each pack includes:

  • 7″ Action Figure
  • Character Pin Set
  • Kick-Ass Keyring
  • Hit Girl Keyring and Heroclix Mini Figure

It’s quite an impressive haul, as you can see below.

Kick-Ass-2---Packshot---High-res

To be in with a chance to win, fill out the form below:

The competition is now closed. Winners will be notified shortly.

Your contact details will only be used to inform the winners. You must be a resident of Ireland or Northern Ireland to enter. Good luck!

Check out more details on the Kick-Ass 2 facebook page.

Non-Review Review: Super

Super is pretty much one joke, extended over a movie runtime. It’s a funny joke, and it’s told well by a great cast and a witty director, but it feels a little stretched, even at under a hundred minutes. It also suffered a bit from being released in the same year as Kick-Ass, a movie that dealt with similar themes in a much more compelling manner, but Super remains an interesting examination of geek power fantasy, and some of the more sinister undertones of the conventional superhero narrative.

Not so super, hero…

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Does Whatever a Spider Can: Do Chronicle and Kick-Ass Render The Amazing Spider-Man Moot?

We still have a few months to wait before Marc Webb reboots Sony’s Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man. Despite some tonal worries, I’ll admit Webb has quite a talented crew assembled – Andrew Garfield is on the cusp of stardom, and Emma Stone is a bit ahead of him. However, I can’t help but wonder if Webb’s film might be a few months too late. After all, haven’t Kick-Ass and Chronicle offered a fairly solid deconstruction of the iconic web-slinging superhero? Is there really enough left to be said in the Spider-Man origin story when we’ve already seen it picked apart and subverted so often and skilfully?

Webb's Spider...

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Grant Morrison and Mark Millar’s Run on the Flash – Emergency Stop & the Human Race

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, but – in the spirit of the character – we’re going to have a marathon run through Flash stories before we get there. Check back daily this week for more Flash-ified goodness… We’ll start with a tie-in to last month’s theme, with the time Grant Morrison wrote The Flash.

Wally, you are definitely spending too much time around Scottish people!

– Linda bends the fourth wall. Quite frankly (or should that be “Frank Quitely”, referencing Morrison’s long-term collaborator?), I’m surprised it’s still standing by the end of the run.

If you believe everything you read, it was actually Mark Waid’s landmark run on The Flash that inspired Grant Morrison to write Justice League in the first place, a run currently being collected in nice deluxe hardbacks. So, when Mark Waid took a year off from the title to pursue his own interests – including the graphic novel The Life Story of the Flash and JLA: Year One – perhaps comics’ most mind-bending Scotsman would make a logical choice to replace him on a character who has always had a bit of a surrealist bent. And Grant Morrison brought a friend with him – Mark Millar, now better known as the writer of Kick-Ass and The Ultimates, but who originally started out with a string of partnerships with Morrison through the nineties involving a prologue to Justice League and Aztek, along with many others. Their collaborations aren’t exactly looked back upon as comic book gold – despite the fact that the two of them, working separately, have redefined the superhero genre – but their year-long fill-in gap on The Flash is irrelevant and charmingly fun. Nothing more (unless you’re a continuity nut – in which case the pair tease several essential Flash concepts) and certainly nothing less (unless your comic book tastes don’t run towards the “wacky” end of the spectrum).

Chased by a shadow...

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Mark Millar’s Run on Ultimate Fantastic Four – Vol. 3 (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fantastic Four, I’m taking a look at some of the stories featuring the characters over the past half-century.

Mark Millar isn’t quite the tough guy he makes himself out to be. Asked a few years ago about whether the birth of his child might tame some of his more sensationalist tendencies, Millar replied that – if anything – he would be even more motivated to push the envelope in order to demonstrate he hadn’t mellowed. And, in fairness, the years since have seen ideas like Kick-Ass or Wanted or Nemesis, all excessively and ridiculously cynical, graphic and violent. However, I maintain that Millar is a stronger writer when he channels his inner softer romantic – for example, demonstrating the respect he showed Superman in Red Son. Taking over Ultimate Fantastic Four for a year (perhaps on a trial run before writing for regular Fantastic Four), you get a sense that Millar has a genuine affection for these characters and their world – too much to try to make them “darker and edgier”, for example. While his run on Ultimate Fantastic Four isn’t the best thing he’s written, it is sharp and entertaining – and delivered with enough energy that it can’t help but warm the reader’s heart.

Never a drag...

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