Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Sequel to: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Cast: Taron EgertonMark StrongHanna AlströmJulianne MooreColin FirthMichael GambonChanning TatumHalle BerryElton JohnJeff BridgesPedro PascalBruce Greenwood 
Seen on: 20.9.2017

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has very much settled into being a Kingsman agent, and into dating Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). But just when everything seems to calm down, a devastating attack that strikes at the very heart of the Kingsman HQ leaves Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) the only survivors of the agency. When they follow emergency procedure, they discover that there is another agency in the USA: Statesman. They fly there to look for help in tracking down their attacker.

I very much enjoyed the first Kingsman film and was very much looking forward to this sequel, but unfortunately I was disappointed with it, despite some pretty good ideas.

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Logan (2017)

Director: James Mangold
Writer: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Based on: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven‘s comic series Old Man Logan, which is in turn based on the character Wolverine created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita Sr. and the Marvel Comics X-Men series
Sequel to: the X-Men movies
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse
Seen on: 8.3.2017

Mutants have been practically eradicated. There are only a few left – those who manage to hide very well. One of them is Logan (Hugh Jackman), whose age is starting to show in the decreased tempo of his healing. He takes care of Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whose age is in turn showing in the dementia he developed. They are constantly at risk of being discovered. When Logan is asked to drive the young Laura (Dafne Keen) to Canada, he smells trouble and tries to refuse. But Laura won’t let herself be refused. She is like Logan in many ways and definitely a mutant. And she is pursued by an organization that means her harm. Laura forces Logan to face the world and his place in it.

Logan is probably the most emotionally mature superhero film, at least of recent years. Nevertheless, I’m not quite as taken with it as many other people were.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Cast: Colin FirthTaron Egerton, Mark StrongSophie Cookson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Hanna Alström, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine
Seen on: 20.03.2015

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a specialist for getting in trouble. When he’s arrested and facing actual jail time, he calls a number on his dead father’s medal that Eggsy got from a co-worker of his father, with the instruction to call if he ever needed help. A short while later Eggsy is released and introduced to Harry Hart (Colin Firth). It turns out that Eggsy’s father belonged to a privately run spy organization – the Kingsman and Hart still works there. The Kingsmen have taken some serious hits recently and are recruiting. Hart sees potential in Eggsy and so Eggsy finds himself in an entirely unknown world a short while later – not only the spy world, but also the mostly snooty upper class.

Kingsman was a fun film that proves not only Vaughn’s talent for directing action movies with awesome soundtracks, but also that the spy genre can be made fun of very easily and very lovingly. It is not completely issue-free though, even if the good parts outweigh the issues.

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The Secret Service (Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons)

The Secret Service is a comic, written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.
Finished on 07.03.2015.

Jack London works for the MI6, a very special division. They have recently started to investigate the kidnapping of several celebreties, but their last rescue mission (of Mark Hamill) was a catastrophic failure. And then Jack gets a call from his sister-in-law: her son Gary was arrested and could Jack please help. Jack agrees reluctantly and actually finds that Gary has potential – so he starts to train him for entering the Secret Service, all the while trying to figure out the plans of cellphone tycoon James Arnold.

I’m not much into spy stories, so I’m afraid that I am not much the target audience of The Secret Service – which is a love letter to the genre. But it was rather enjoyable nonetheless, even if it didn’t blow me away.

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Kick-Ass 3 (Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.)

Kick-Ass 3 is the final sequel to Kick-AssHit-Girl and Kick-Ass 2. It was written and drawn by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. [Here are my reviews of all things Kick-Ass.]
Finished on: 25.02.2015

Plot [with SPOILERS for Kick-Ass 2]:
After the events of Kick-Ass 2, things aren’t very good. Mindy is still in jail. Justice Forever is severely reduced. Dave still wants to fight the good fight, but he can’t bring the rest of Justice Forever to break Mindy out of prison, and without Hit-Girl they are all a little aimless. It also doesn’t help that Dave meets a woman, Valerie, who he really likes. But when the Motherfucker’s uncle Don Rocco comes to town to take over the legacy of his brother and to clean the mess up, starting with the masked heroes, they are facing a challenge on a whole new scale.

Kick-Ass 3 is not only on the same level as the other books (warts and all), it provides a very satisfying end to the story that makes it okay that there isn’t any more to this series.

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Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Kick-Ass 2
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Jeff Wadlow
Based on: Mark Millar’s and John Romita Jr.’s comic
Sequel to: Kick-Ass
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lyndsy Fonseca, Morris ChestnutClaudia Lee, Donald Faison, John Leguizamo, Jim Carrey, Iain Glen

After the events in the last film, Hit-Girl aka Mindy (Chloe Moretz) now lives with her father’s best friend Marcus (Morris Chestnut) and pretends to be a normal high school girl. But instead, she’s fighting crime and training Dave aka Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). But Dave is dreaming of a superhero-team-up. And when Chris, formerly know as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), decides to become the world’s first supervillain The Motherfucker, a team-up seems to become absolutely necessary.

I was really looking forward to this film. But I spent most of it in horror at the way they twisted the characters and the story and left the movie quite disappointed. It’s not that bad per se, but it rubbed me the wrong way in so many things.



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Re-Watch: Kick-Ass (2010)

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Lyndsy Fonseca
[Here is my first review.]

Dave (Aaron Johnson) is a normal teenager who likes to read comic books and gets beat up a lot. But then one day he decides that, actually, nothing is keeping him from donning a superhero suit and changing the world for the better. This seems to work fine for about 30 seconds and then Dave is in over his head.

Damn, I had forgotten just how fricking awesome this film is. I still have a couple of issues but I left the film absolutely hyped. It’s fantastic.



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Kick-Ass 2 (Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.)

Kick-Ass 2 is the sequel to Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl. It was written and drawn by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. [Here are my reviews of all things Kick-Ass.]

While Hit-Girl is living in forced retirement and spends her time as Mindy (apart from her training sessions with Kick-Ass), Kick-Ass aka Dave is dreaming of a superhero team-up. Which he is finally able to get with the Justice Forever group. At the same time, Chris Genovese is done with his preparation of becoming a supervillain and really starts with being The Motherfucker. He, too, assembles a team of villains to surround him and does his best to terrorize New York and finally get his revenge on Kick-Ass.

Kick-Ass 2 is way darker than Kick-Ass and it is a darkness that the series really, really needed. Sometimes it is just fucked up, though. But most of the times it finally gives me the consequences that I missed in the first book.


[SPOILERS and Trigger Warning: Rape]

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Hit-Girl (Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.)

Hit-Girl is an interlude in the Kick-Ass series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. It’s set between Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2.

Mindy, formerly known as Hit-Girl, now lives with her mother and her step-father. She promised him that Hit-Girl was a thing of the past and that she’d do everything to be a normal high school student. But that’s not exactly true. While she does struggle with being as normal as possible, she also trains Dave aka Kick-Ass and does everything to break up the Genovese-led Mafia. At the same time Chris Genovese gives up being Red Mist to become the world’s first super-villain.

I enjoyed Hit-Girl. I’m still not a big fan of Romita Jr.’s art, but I like the characters and the story is fun. I did have a couple of issues, but overall I really enjoyed it.


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Re-Read: Kick-Ass (Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.)

Kick-Ass is the first book in a comic series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. [Here’s my first review.]

Dave Lizewski is a huge comic book fan. And one day, he decides to become a superhero himself. Unfortunately, he’s also only a 16-year-old teenager, so things don’t really work out the way he had planned – he gets beaten more than he should probably survive. And then he gets involved with Big Daddy and Hit Girl, two vigilantes par excellence. Which only makes matters worse.

These re-reads always make me question my memory. I could barely remember the graphic novel. (The little I did remember was basically the movie.) But that just meant that I could look at it with a fresh eye. And I think I liked it better for it.


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