Marvel and DC News

San Diego Comic Con, one of the World’s biggest and renowned conventions, has dropped some major news this week, particularly in the world of Superheroes. Let’s sum up:

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Practically every single Marvel actor was at the comic con (with the exception of Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans) and it was a beautiful sight. They’re keeping most of Avengers: Infinity War under wraps for the moment but they released their new poster for it which look incredible! And there are rumours that teenage Groot appears a lot and will steal the show.

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Thor: Ragnarok‘s new trailer was dropped! Hulk is talking properly and it seems Bruce and Thor’s relationship is a true bromance. Even bigger news is that tiny clip we see in the trailer of Thor facing a new villain Surtur, the Fire Demon, voiced by Clancy Brown. And look at the beautiful poster for Ragnarok! This movie is potentially looking like one of Marvel’s greats!

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And on the subject of awesome new posters, check out Black Panther’s too!

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Ant-Man and the Wasp is coming to us in 2018. Paul Rudd has featured in two of the Marvel films so far, one his own title movie and the second in Civil War, where, let’s face it, he stole the show in that fight scene. We knew the moment we saw her and the suit in Ant-Man’s after credit clip that Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) will be the Wasp. But what about others? Michael Douglas as Hank Pym is back, but joining the team are Michelle Pfeiffer and, jumping ship from DC (or, ya know, playing for both sides), is Laurence Fishburne. Pfeiffer will be playing Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp and wife to Hank and mother to Hope. It’s unclear whether she’ll appear in flashback form or if she’ll be finding her way back from the subatomic realm to present day. Fishburne is coming in as Bill Foster who is a scientist who works alongside Pym and becomes Giant-Man. Also revealed was that they’re will be a character called Ghost in it, who originally is an Iron Man villain.

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Don’t forget that The Defenders is released on Netflix on the 18th August! Having seen all of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, I can safely say I’m extremely excited for this! Especially as Sigourney Weaver is the villain in this one, and we all know TV Marvel brings some excellent villains: Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Killgrave (David Tennant) were incredible, and even Cottonmouth and the Meachum’s were pretty strong too.

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DC

Justice League is coming in November 2017 and here’s hoping they can stay on track this year after the brilliance of Wonder Woman. I’m incredibly excited but word on the street is that Ben Affleck doesn’t want to play Batman any more. Ben, what are you doing? And even worse is the rumour how they plan to replace him: Apparently Flash goes back in time and changes it so that Bruce and his mother die and stops the death of Bruce Wayne’s father. He then, in turn, becomes Batman… So it’ll be Robert Wayne, not Bruce Wayne. Huh?? Though, at San Diego Comic Con, Ben Affleck was defending himself “I love this character.” So maybe he’s regretting the comment now?

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A first look at Star Trek: Discovery was revealed, plus Marvel’s Inhumans! And don’t forget Star Wars Episode VIII at the end of the year too! Let’s just say, we can’t wait!

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Mad To Be Normal (2017)

In a time where electroconvulsive therapy for mental illness was acceptable and old men were still stuck in their ways, Mad To Be Normal tells the story of controversial world-renowned Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing (David Tennant) and his unique community at Kingsley Hall, East London, during the 1960’s. But, with growing liberalism and equality, “The Sixties” fought against close mindedness, which was exactly what Laing set out to do also.

From the opening scene, it’s very clear what time period we are in: patient Maria (Olivia Poulet) dances, hands in the air, in a gloomy room. It’s close on her, blurry and psychedelic. Director Robert Mullan sets this tone early on, that Mad To Be Normal is on the verge of experimental, so I thought I was in for an interesting watch.

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Told in a series of moments, Mullan shows us life in Kingsley Hall, where Laing and his patients simply “live together as people.” The action is often limited to Kingsley Hall, which is decorated with period appropriate props and music. With these series of moments, there are some wonderful ones, but the narrative felt a little lost at times, and the patients psychological studies are under-developed and under-explained. I felt Mad To Be Normal couldn’t decide on what it was; an experimental film about Laing’s controversial treatments, or a straight forward biopic about Laing’s life? Falling somewhere in the middle of these two meant it lost all intimacy and was a little disjointed.

I’m a big fan of David Tennant, especially his TV work (Doctor Who, Jessica Jones etc), and here he turns in an engaging and charismatic performance as Dr. Laing. We can appreciate Dr. Laing for what he was – a broken man who wanted to fix others around him. But this film doesn’t set out to paint Laing as a saint. His genuine life pressures and responsibilities outside Kingsley Hall, including a very ill daughter, are forgotten about. Instead, he focuses solely on his experiments and the film hints that maybe Laing was out to fix himself, not just his patients.

But it’s the older supporting cast who are truly the memorable ones here, namely Gabriel Byrne (Usual Suspects) and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter). Playing patient Sydney, Gambon is a breath of fresh air and often stole every scene he featured in. Unfortunately, though, there weren’t many scenes and I felt he was often side-lined. Byrne is brilliant as patient Jim, and manages to be sweet yet unpredictable all at once. Jim is a character overlooked on purpose by Laing, but his growing estrangement doesn’t go unnoticed by Angie and us. Elizabeth Moss, as Laing’s partner Angie, gives a strong performance also, but I felt her development to be a bit stunted, instead, only used as an emotional tool the audience could touch base with.

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Although slow and breezy,  not dissimilar to the hippie-ish time period, it’s also not for the faint-hearted. It does not shy away from the use of electric shock treatment (ECT), self harm scenes and bouts of violence, and that’s something to be celebrated. Mullan doesn’t sugar coat mental illness or people’s perceptions of it during “The Sixties.”

Although Mad To Be Normal had it’s problems, it did convey a convincing message, that it’s a story about love, respect and acceptance for one another. These messages translate to our modern society today, in a time where we seem to be divided by the acts of politicians and their views. Mad To Be Normal is one I’m not sure I would revisit, but a fascinating watch all the same.

 

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