The Green Lantern

“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power…
Green Lantern’s light!”

The moment when Ryan Reynolds goes all milky-eyed and recites the oath was one of the best-dealt-with scenes in the film. For modern, cynical audiences weaned on a feast of Iron Man and Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, the story of a man who receives super powers via a magical ring and the swearing of said oath may seem a little hard to buy into. A descent into fondue-set levels of cheesiness that ward off all but the very young and the die-hard fans of the comic books.

The Green Lantern manages, through a skillful handling of material and well-pitched performances by all the cast, to continually skirt the edges of becoming cringe-worthy and delivers a fun superhero romp that might not break any new ground but nevertheless is still mightily entertaining. Don’t go in expecting another Iron Man, leave your cynicism at the popcorn stand and be prepared to enjoy yourself. An Easter-egg mid-way through the credits hints at a possible sequel, and I would certainly be up for more of this superhero and the Lantern Corps as a whole should one be put in the pipeline.

X-Men: First Class

Another brilliant film from Matthew Vaughn – the man just may be a god! For me X-Men: First Class was a success on pretty much every level. The characters were very well written, displaying the seeds of what they are to be become by the time we join them for the first X-Men film. Magneto’s back story had already been hinted at, and I was dubious as to what more they could add but First Class showed beautifully the relationship between him and Professor X, and how two friends can become enemies without losing the close ties between themselves. As an aside, I can completely see why Michael Fassbender’s name was thrown around for Bond before Daniel Craig was announced; before he joins up with Xavier, his Magneto is particularly Bond-like.

Perhaps the  only quibble I had was that, with the exception of Beast and Mystique – who we know from the previous films – the other fledgling X-Men; Havok, Banshee, Darwin and Angel seemed to not get much development. Obviously there’s a limit to how much can be fit into a film, but as previously unencountered mutants they were interesting – particularly Havok as the brother of Cyclops.

This installment was perhaps more talky than other X-Men films, but given the amount of character development and back story that it had to fit in that was to be expected, and it didn’t drag at all. I loved the big fight sequences – Magneto destroying the ship with its anchor chain, and the flying submarine! Also Xavier’s first use of the prototype cerebro was lovely.

An excellent film that flowed naturally and provided a believable “origins” story for both the X-Men themselves and the world they inhabit. Oh and the cameo by a certain clawed mutant was brilliant!

What would aliens think?

Ok, not my usual preoccupation, but i just passed a sign on the motorway “you are in Rotherham. Why not visit Specsavers next to Morrisons…” the coach went past before i saw the rest but seriously? What would aliens – surreptitously scanning our world to find out what manner of creatures humans are – gather about our culture from that? That we place such importance on our vision that opticians are hailed as similar to tourist attractions – that people travel many miles to visit choice ones?

Food for the Soul…

Had a brilliant evening last night at Waterstones in Nottingham. Mark Chadbourn came to launch his latest novel in the Swords of Albion cycle – The Scar-Crow Men.

A genuinely nice guy, Mark treated all who were there to an interesting talk, a short reading from the new book and a generous Q&A session, followed by a signing. He was good enough to sign all 11 (!) books I brought with me, as well as the 2 I brought whilst there – none of which will be lent out ever again! Buy your own people!

A Swyfte drink in Pit and Pendulum, some new friends and a person to put behind the words I’ve read and enjoyed for so long – a pretty much perfect night.

A lament…

Oh xbox,
Once already called back from the gates
Of that great scrapheap in the sky.
Why do you choose now,
Two-thirds of the way through the amazingness that is Fable II,
To shroud yourself in scarlet,
And fall silent,
Dark and non-responsive.

Oh xbox,
I mourn your passing.