As ever on the site, this review contains hella spoilers.
This Star Wars movie has no tagline, apparently. What is the world coming to.
Directed by Rian Johnson Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
Following more or less directly from The Force Awakens, we begin with the Resistance fleeing from the First Order fleet, whose motto is clearly ‘more shooty, bigger shooty’. Hot-shot pilot Poe Dameron (Isaac) sasses pompous First Order not-quite-head honcho General Hux (Gleeson) then blows up a dreadnought ‘fleet killer’ (Star Destroyers are now largely for support, it seems,) but at the cost of many pilots and the Resistance’s entire bombing fleet.
The first thing that this film makes clear about the Resistance that was less apparent in the previous instalment: It’s really small. Like, there are probably fewer ships and personnel than there were on Hoth.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto
1984’s Blade Runner was and is one of the seminal works of cinematic science fiction. It secured the place of Ridley Scott in the roster of great directors, whatever missteps he might take in the future, and alongside fellow class of 84 alumnus Neuromancer it shaped the genre that became known as cyberpunk.
The Late Sequel
In 2049, Replicants are made by a new company in an even larger and more opulent pyramidal HQ than that of the Tyrell Corporation. Under the guidance of Niander Wallace (Leto), a new line of obedient Replicants has been produced, including K (Gosling), who works under LAPD Lieutenant Joshi (Wright) as a Blade Runner, retiring the remaining Nexus 8 Replicants who survived an unsuccessful rebellion in 2020.
Directed by Ridley Scott Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah and William Sanderson
In 2019 the world is largely abandoned, an industrial slum inhabited primarily by those who for reasons of genetic health can not emigrate to the offworld colonies, where humans live at ease while their needs are met by sophisticated androids known as ‘Replicants.’ Stronger, faster and tougher than humans, Replicants are banned on Earth, and those seeking to return are hunted down by specialist police officers, Blade Runners, who use an emotional response test called Voight-Kampf to identify Replicants, and then ‘retire’ them.
Directed by Matt Reeves Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary and Amiah Miller
Two years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a military force led by a ruthless special forces Colonel (Harrelson) are hunting for the tribe of intelligent apes led by Caesar (Serkis). With the aid of their ‘Donkeys’ – apes formerly loyal to Koba (Toby Kebbell) and now working as weapon carriers and scouts for the humans – a unit of this force attacks an Ape outpost, but is defested. Wanting to avoid all-out war, Caesar spares a number of human captives and determines to set out for a new home scouted by his son, Blue-Eyes (Max Lloyd-Jones), and trusted aide Rocket (Notary). Unfortunately, he is betrayed, and his wife Cornelia (Judy Greer) and Blue-Eyes are killed.
Directed by Patty Jenkins Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya and Lucy Davis
On the isolated, paradisaical island of Themyscira, Diana, daughter of Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons (Nielsen) is the only child on an island of women. Trained in combat by her aunt Antiope (Wright), Diana (who grows up into Gadot) is fascinated by the origin story of her people and their prophesied battle to destroy Ares, last of the Olympians and bringer of all wars.
Directed by Chris McKay Starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes
In crime-ridden Gotham City, the Joker (Galifianakis) launches a devastating attack in concert with a vast assortment of other villains, only to be soundly (and rhythmically) defeated by Batman (Arnett). When Batman declines to acknowledge his greatest foe (because he doesn’t do ‘ships,) however, Joker concocts a plan of breathtaking audacity to take his nemesis down a peg or two.
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker Starring Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk
Moana (Cravalho) is the heir apparent to her father, Chief Tui of Motonui (Morrison). Her people live a life contained on their island, which provides all that they need… until the fish leave the sea around the island and the crops and coconuts begin to die. Always adventurous, Moana suggests fishing in the more dangerous waters beyond the reef, and then follows her grandmother’s (House) stories to take a boat from the long-forgotten voyaging past of the tribe, and seek for the demigod Maui (Johnson).
Directed by Travis Knight Starring Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei, Matthew McConaughey and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Kubo (Parkinson) lives with his mother in a cliff overlooking the sea, using his mystical power over paper to tell stories without endings to the local villagers (including Takei and Tagawa) for an income to support himself and his ailing mother. When his desire for some contact with his late father leads him to stay out late, he draws the attention of his maternal grandfather, the vengeful Moon King (Fiennes), who sends his twin daughters (Mara) to capture Kubo.
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo Starring (deep breath) Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johanssen, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily Van Camp, Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl and William Hurt
After a brief flashback of the Winter Soldier’s (Stan) cold war career, we see the current Avengers taking down former SHIELD/HYDRA agent Brock ‘Crossbones’ Rumlow, in a fight which ends up devastating a Lagos office block. As a result, the UN ratifies the Sokovia Accords, legislation to regulate the Avengers under the control of a UN panel. Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), wracked with guilt over the Ultron affair, is for it, but Steve Rogers (Evans) is agin it, given his experiences operating under oversight.
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni Starring Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, JK Simmons and Bryan Cranston
In the Spirit Realm, Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) encounters an old enemy named Kai (Simmons), who steals Oogway’s chi and uses it to break back into the mortal realm. Intent on annihilating Oogway’s legacy, Kai sets out to capture the chi of every kung fu master in China. Po learns that only a master of chi can defeat Kai, and fortunately his long lost father Li Shan (Cranston) turns up to teach him the ancient secrets of the panda chi masters.