Tag Archives: Jude Law

Captain Marvel

9 Mar

‘Captain Marvel’: Back to the start, and 1990s, to introduce a powerful player in story’s end

 

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After much online debate and conjecture, “Captain Marvel” finally lands in theaters. After seeing the film I can say that all the hubbub is totally undeserved, a totally unnecessary distraction – including the attempts by trolls to sabotage box office through “review bombing.” It’s a fine enough superhero flick that in narrative arc is a lot smarter and more sharply developed than most, and on the emotional front it serves up a fitting and warm embrace of Marvel comics mastermind Stan Lee, who passed away late last year. The opening title sequence is rightfully all about Stan, and gets in a brief cameo that may just be his last. (Though with “Avengers Endgame” on the horizon, who knows?)

The film, the first in the Marvel Comics Universe to feature a female superhero, begins humbly, if not awkwardly, on an intergalactic outpost of the Kree (humanoids with blue blood) where the sets and fabric feel “Logan’s Run” levels of cheesy and ersatz. Vers (Brie Larson, and it’s pronounced “verse”) and her mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), get up in the middle of the night for a round of sparring; it seems Vers has weird dreams that keep her up at night, and she needs to work them out. Vers, we learn, is blessed with photon-charged hands that can blast an opponent across the room; as a result, she’s a big asset as part of an elite force on a mission to battle the evil Skrulls – wrinkly faced green aliens that look like a cross between a Klingon and the foreigners in “Alien Nation” (1988) – that have the ability to disguise themselves as most carbon life forms they encounter.

Blah, blah blah. It’s not until Vers lands on Earth (known as planet C-53, and “a real shithole” to the Kree) that the film starts to build real forward propulsion. It’s a wonderful sight gag when the intergalactic warrior plunges through the ceiling of a Blockbuster video (we’re in L.A., circa 1995) and one of the VHS boxes she peruses happens to be “The Right Stuff.” It’s sly foreshadowing, because in shards we begin to understand that in some form of a former life Vers was an earthling, and something of a Chuck Yeager-fashioned flight maverick. The film jumps to life when agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), just launching S.H.I.E.L.D., arrives on scene, incredulous, boisterous and scene-chewing as only Jackson can be, and it’s the biggest and wisest use of Jackson in any of the Marvel films to date. In terms of timeline, it makes “Captain Marvel” something of a prequel to the whole Avengers series.  Continue reading

Dom Hemingway

11 Apr

‘Dom Hemingway’: 12 years in prison makes Dom due for a very good year

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If you always thought Jude Law was a neat and buttoned-down lad like the square journalist he plays in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” or Watson in the “Sherlock Holmes” films, guess again. As the titular Dom Hemingway he’s something of a Cockney bull akin to Bob Hoskins in “The Long Good Friday” or Michael Caine in “Get Carter,” and even more so the Kemp brothers in “The Krays.” In short, he’s feral, unhinged and lethal, but that’s not to say Law’s daunting effort makes the film worthy of inclusion in that pantheon of great British mob dramas.

041114i Dom HemingwayThe film opens energetically enough, with Law’s Hemingway barking out poetic praise for his “cock.” Where he is and who is worshiping his manhood becomes quickly apparent. Dom’s shortly thereafter released from a 12-year prison stint and sets his sights immediately on the guy who married his ex-wife and cared for her when she became stricken with cancer and died. Dom sees it as the guy stole his wife (even though they were long divorced) and gives the unfortunate bloke the punishment an angry weightlifter would give the cable guy should he find him in bed with his wife.

Dom’s got pretty severe anger issues and likes to hit the bottle hard, which triggers some unhappy and deadly tidings when he pays a visit to the Russian kingpin he took the prison time for. Then there’s his daughter, with whom he wants to make amends but can’t sober up long enough to get the apology off his chest. Not much goes Dom’s way. He’s a yegg but can’t land a decent safecracking gig. He’s a ticking time bomb packed full of hubris. But he does have one loyal friend in Dickie (a wonderfully foppish Richard E. Grant), another petty entry in London’s criminal underworld who’s just as rudderless – and newly missing a hand.  Continue reading