gotham-review

#27 – Gotham S01E10 “Lovecraft ” Review [Podcast]

Written by and found in Podcasts, Reviews, TV.

BOOM! I’m back with another review of everyone’s favourite non-Batman-Batman-show Gotham. And this week I’m joined by the mystery man, the returning legend – Keyf!

That’s right folks, Gotham’s mid-season finale is upon us and it brings with it some defining moments, including the revelation that Alfred is a hard-ass, that Oswald games the game and continues to surpass everyone’s expectation by playing ‘the families’ and a turning point for our young Master Bruce Wayne.

The first half of Gotham is over and it looks like it’s here to stay. With solid performances all round, Gotham closes this mid-season season on top form.

--> BOOM! I’m back with another review of everyone’s favourite non-Batman-Batman-show Gotham. And this week I’m joined by the mystery man, the returning legend – Keyf! That’s right folks, Gotham’s mid-season finale is upon us and... Read article
Captain Britain volume one

THE GREATEST SUPERHERO OF ALL! The Early Life and Times of Captain Britain esq.

Written by and found in Comics, Opinions.

On October 13th 1976, Marvel UK launched a comic with its first UK commissioned work- the titular Captain Britain! Until this moment, Marvel UK had existed solely as a reprint house, repackaging Marvel USA comics in the standard UK weekly format- black and white, roughly A4 size, anthologies featuring 3 or 4 strips per comic per week. The new comic continued some of this tradition- A4, anthological (initially Steranko’s Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD and the Fantastic Four), but with two major differences.

First, two of the strips were in colour. Secondly, one of those strips, Captain Britain, was original work only published in the UK.

Captain Britain was created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe- who are on record as saying they got the job because Chris had been born in the UK and Herb had visited London on occasion. The fact that both were based in the US meant of course that they saw the UK very much through visitors’ eyes and would create some amusing mismatches between Captain Britain’s Britain and real life Britain! Before we discuss these though, let’s start by explaining who Captain Britain is.

Captain Britain starts life as Brian Braddock, a brilliant physics student from the University of London. We know he is both English and a brilliant young scientist because he smokes a pipe- despite being only 20 or so years old. After being selected to be part of a research team at a top secret nuclear centre in Darkmoor (yes, DarKmoor- either a mistake for Dartmoor or an attempt to suggest the magical goings on that were to follow- you decide!), Brian is caught up in an attack by hi-tech thieves (so not so secret a base then) and in the confusion escapes on a motorcycle. In the ensuing chase, he crashes and finds himself in a circle of stones and confronted by Merlin and Roma, Merlin’s daughter.

They give him a choice between the Amulet of Right or the Sword of Might. Considering himself to be a scholar and not a warrior and unsuited for the challenge, he rejects the Sword and chooses the amulet and becomes Captain Britain. His pursuer grabs the sword and becomes the Reaver. Both adversaries are supernaturally powered, with enhanced fighting skills part of the spell but Brian triumphs and takes on the role of this Britain’s champion.

I say THIS Britain because years later we will learn that there is a multiverse and ALL Britain’s have a Captain Britain whose job it is to uphold the laws of the Britain of that world. Merlin and Roma are part of the Omniversal Guardians. But I am reaching ahead of myself.

Over the next 39 issues we discover much more about Brian. Born and raised in the small town of Maldon, Essex and educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh, Brian was a shy and studious youth, living a relatively quiet life and spending a lot of time with his parents and siblings (older brother Jamie and fraternal twin Elizabeth, who would eventually go on to become Psylocke!). The family were an aristocratic one who were no longer rich enough to fraternise with their peers, leaving Brian (too proud to fraternise with lower classes) a lonely child who immersed himself in the study of physics. He takes the fellowship at Darkmoor after the death of his parents (Sir James and Lady Elizabeth) in what seemed to be a laboratory accident.

It is only much later that it is revealed that Braddock is only one member of a much larger, inter-dimensional corps of mystical protectors, long after the original Captain Britain weekly was cancelled.

So, as his career as a superhero begins, Brian fights as the champion of Great Britain, often clashing with S.T.R.I.K.E, the UK version of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Welsh anti-superhero police officer Dai Thomas, as well as the usual assortment of mad scientists and slighted villains who become super creative to get revenge on those who had slighted them (see Hurricane). We are also introduced to the assassin Slaymaster and the crime matriarch Vixen. As with other Marvel heroes, Brian was viewed as a coward by others because he always vanished whenever trouble started. However Betsy and Jamie become aware of his secret identity when he saves them from Dr Synne, a villain terrorising the land around Braddock Manor. We also discover that Synne is in fact controlled by the sentient computer Mastermind, a device Brian’s father had created. During this particular battle Brian also learns that his parents did not die in an accident but had been deliberately killed by the computer. In the middle of this story arc, Chris Claremont left as writer, citing creative differences between him and the editor (this would not be the last time that the good Captain would be involved in creative disputes). Gary Friedrich took over the reins and continued the Americanised view of British life.

Shortly after this Captain Britain thwarts a neo-Nazi takeover of the country with the aid of Captain America, Nick Fury, and S.T.R.I.K.E. and is responsible for both saving Prime Minister Jim Callaghan from the Red Skull and from stopping the Skull’s germ bomb from killing everyone in London.

During this story however the format of Captain Britain as a comic changed dramatically- out went the colour in issue 24, with art duties taken on by one of the hottest artists at Marvel at the time- Mr John Buscema and later by Ron Wilson with Pablos Marcos. I think it would be bad form for me not to mention the fact that I think Herb Trimpe produced some of the best artwork of his distinguished career on Captain Britain weekly- the first couple of story arcs are captured in the 1978 Captain Britain annual on high grade paper, and you can really see the art at its best.

But for the Captain, his early career was coming to an end. Issue 39 of Captain Britain weekly was the final issue, as the title was merged (by popular demand no doubt!) with Super Spiderman weekly with issue 231. Following more revelations from Merlin about the true mystical nature of his powers and heritage (plus the transformation of his Quarterstaff into the Star Sceptre bringing flight to the Captain’s powers) Brian begins fighting more supernatural enemies rather than regular supervillains, all retroactively revealed to be part of Merlin’s overall plan to mentally prepare him for the much later Jasper’s Warp.

After limping on in Super Spiderman until issue 253 at least he went out on a high- Chris Claremont and John Byrne teamed the Captain up with Spiderman for a greatly entertaining showdown with Arcade and his Murderworld (basically reprinting Marvel Team Up 65 and 66), as Brian joins a student exchange programme in the US of A. This was December 1977, just 18 months from the launch of “the greatest superhero of all.”

After this he was not seen again until he played a supporting role in the excellent British creative team produced Black Knight strip in Hulk Comic which began in March 1979, where we are once more drawn into the dark magicks at the heart of the Captain Britain saga. This story arc also laid the groundwork for the complete relaunch that was to follow in Marvel Superheroes Monthly 377 in 1981. But all this is a story for another time.

So what are we to make of the Captain from his first appearance as discussed here? Well, let’s be honest, the strips are not going to win an award, and they provide a source of unintentional fun with their depiction of how our American cousins pictured life in the UK in the late 70s. Everywhere is smog and fog, our police officers wear rain capes, carry pistols and ride horses. Everyone says “cor blimey” and “mate” and even “chum”. I swear reading those early issues again I half expected Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke’s cheerful cockney chimney sweep to pop up dancing through the streets of London going “cor blimey guv’nor!”. Of course at the age of 12 when I first read Captain Britain weekly, I didn’t really know that coppers in London didn’t ride horses and carry guns either (by the way, this concept was continued on in the Marvel Two In One Thing-Spiderwoman-Modred story arc also published in 1977), nor that not everyone in London called everyone guv’nor or mate. So I just enjoyed the fun innocently at the time.

But to call simply decide that the comic was “quaint” and “of its time”, doesn’t really do the title justice. True Brian was the caricature of the English upper class son, living in a mansion with acres and acres of land and no other houses nearby. True all the non-upper class people wear caps and braces, and also true that every village has a ring of stones contained within it. Brian also follows the Peter Parker/Rich Rider formula of doubting his abilities, his suitability to be hero, and has a tragic family history. But even in these early stories, we see both his undoubted bravery and the roots of the mental frailty that would see him psychically over-whelmed between the end of the team up with Spider-man and his amnesic broken drifter return in the Black Knight strip.

Furthermore, the stories are just great fun. They move on at a cracking pace and had an innocent appeal that is a cheerful antidote to a lot of the angst ridden anti-hero strips that would follow in the 1980s. Brian, for all his self-doubts, displays an intelligence that would be sadly lost once he joined the mainstream Marvel US universe- the “Brian smash!” run in Excalibur and beyond- always trying to think and strategize his way out of trouble. And his costume was superb, especially visual with the staff weapon that he originally had (sadly the star sceptre that replaced the staff looked like a prom queen award). Just look at the covers for the weekly too and tell me that Herb Trimpe didn’t do some of his best ever work on the good Captain!

All in all, it is well worth checking out those early editions of Captain Britain, either in the original weeklies (which remember had the 70s Fantastic Four and Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD), the 1978 annual which reprints his origin and early battle with Hurricane on high quality paper, or the recent Captain Britain Birth of a Legend Vol 1 omnibus produced by Marvel USA (printed of course on high grade glossy paper). Yes you will laugh at the innocence of it all, and yes you will shake your head at the skewed depiction of life in Great Britain. But I also bet you have fun and get lost in this slice of comic book history from yesteryear. As a joke The Guardian newspaper suggested that Marvel should do a Captain Britain movie in their third wave. If they do (after all everyone laughed at the Ant Man film notion too), I really want them to do THIS Captain Britain first, before he becomes all Hulk-like. Just imagine, Merlin, a costumed pipe smoking student superhero with a staff, secret nuclear research centres surrounded by mystical stone rings and fog…

Well, okay, maybe not.

--> On October 13th 1976, Marvel UK launched a comic with its first UK commissioned work- the titular Captain Britain! Until this moment, Marvel UK had existed solely as a reprint house, repackaging Marvel USA comics... Read article
Batman-and-Robin

Calling all Fans – We’re 1! A Thank You & A Change

Written by and found in News.

Hello you, dear loyal Two Shots to the Head constant reader, myself and Garry want to thank you for your support through our first year!

It’s been a roller coaster year and we’ve had some amazing fun, and you guys have been there right from the start. On December 11th 2013 Garry and I set a target: produce at least one piece of good content every single day.

Why?

To show you guys that we’re serious about Two Shots to the Head and also, to show the rest of the world that the site is here to stay.

Well, that worked out really well and thanks to your support, the site has gone from strength to strength – with traffic increasing monthly and some amazing guest writers on board who have been simply fantastic.

What’s Next?

In November Garry and I had a good old heart to heart over a Daredevil Director’s Cut & Smallville marathon and realised that the challenge we’d set ourselves, to create content every day, worked out great but we want to instead bring you the BEST content, not the MOST content.

We also took stock of what really works for the site and what doesn’t work for you guys out there. You’ll notice that we’ve pulled our content cycle right down on the written front, don’t worry this is for a reason – to make sure we’re focussing on what works and so, we’ve been experimenting by not publishing something every single day, instead focussing on what you want from us.

Here’s what’s coming over the next few months following a rebrand that’s ALMOST done:

  • Superb quality written content from Garry and I, plus our amazing network of guest writers. This will focus on delivering the highest quality written content and not simply reporting the same old guff that other sites report.

Ok you’d expect that, but would you expect THREE (yep, 3) BRAND NEW PODCASTS every single week:

  • “Two Shots Talk” – our regular talk show where we mix things up, have a generally awesome time and talk all things geek.
  • “Two Shots on Screen” – a show dedicated to EVERYTHING geeky on screen: DC on TV, Marvel on TV, movies and retro content featuring some of our favourite on screen content.
  • “Two Shots Comics Cast” – a show dedicated entirely to the funny book: featuring retro reviews, retrospective reflections on story arcs & characters that we love and opinions / reviews on current books as they grab our attention.

It’s with deep sincerity that I write this note and both Garry & I look forward to the next year with you.

M & G

--> Hello you, dear loyal Two Shots to the Head constant reader, myself and Garry want to thank you for your support through our first year! It’s been a roller coaster year and we’ve had some... Read article
Star Wars EPVII Teaser Breakdown

#26 – Star Wars EPVII The Force Awakens – Teaser Breakdown

Written by and found in Podcasts.

The teaser launched two days ago for The Force Awakens and after watching it many times lets dive in and check out the details. Join me for Podcast #26 – Star Wars EPVII The Force Awakens – Teaser Breakdown.

This is a play-a-long podcast so grab the trailer here and let’s go!

This is the first official footage that we’ve seen so far from Lucasfilm and man what am awesome ride it is. At 88 seconds it appears to offer a brief overview but if we dig a little deeper there’s many cool little factoids and tidbits to uncover.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one and also if you’ve noticed anything please let me know. Jump onto the comments below and we’ll geek out some more!

The Force will be with you… always

--> The teaser launched two days ago for The Force Awakens and after watching it many times lets dive in and check out the details. Join me for Podcast #26 – Star Wars EPVII The Force... Read article
Batman Eternal 34

Batman Eternal #34 Review

Written by and found in Comics, Reviews.

Just when things we’re looking up for Bats, another big spanner gets thrown into the works. Will the chain of evil command ever end?

Eternal has always been an elevator story for me, every couple of issues when you think the team have overcome the worst or you think you’ve reached the top of the chain of villain hierarchy, it goes and throws all that out the window and surprises you, taking the story up to the next level. That’s what happened to me when I got to the end of this issue.

It was inevitable that Julia would be hurt in some way by Hush. The confrontation cliffhanger at the end of issue 33 was bound to end in tears and without disappointment Eternal serves up the low blow and Julia’s out the game. Much to the distress of Alfred who wants her to be out of the game as soon as possible. If you’ve read or watched stories in the past of Alfred’s worry about Bruce or Tim/Dick you’ll know he’s serious about Julia. That same face of wisdom and despair that always permeates true.

Another Team Batman member is down and out at the hands of Hush and my feeling was that of genuine sadness. Julia has been vital in Batman’s success over the last ten or so issues with her guidance from the cave proving invaluable. To see her almost die is, as I mentioned earlier, something that Eternal does very well, snatching victory and success away very quickly.

Batman Eternal 34

There were a couple of tasty fight scenes to get into with this issue too. Hush and Julia at the beginning both trade serious wounds and the all out fist fight later with Batman and Hush where Bat’s delivers a couple of awesome head buts was very well done. Artist Alvaro Martinez simulating motion and impact beautifully. I would have liked the end fight to fill another couple of pages and last a little longer but it was still good to revel in.

And what of Hush and his master plan? It turns out that while he’s been causing trouble all over Gotham and having us all think he was masterminding the whole thing, he’s not the top of the chain. Big twist for me that. I thought with him taking down Gotham, blackmailing the new Commissioner Bard and almost taking down Batman that he would be behind it all. The note Batman finds in his pocket is merely an invite for him to take part in “the devastation of Gotham”. Back in a previous issue we did hear Bard talking to someone on the phone known as “Mother” which I thought was odd but now this could be the key. Is there a female foe out there we don’t yet know about? I’m thinking so.

A great issue if you’re into Batman going back to basics with some cool moves and victorious (albeit short lived) statements. I would have liked a bit more substance in the Batman and Hush fight scene with more blows being traded and some more insight into Tommy’s motives but we can’t have it all in a single issue. The next one looks to be very important so don’t miss it.

--> Just when things we’re looking up for Bats, another big spanner gets thrown into the works. Will the chain of evil command ever end? Eternal has always been an elevator story for me, every couple... Read article
gotham-review

#25 – Gotham S01E09 “Harvey Dent ” Review [Podcast]

Written by and found in Podcasts.

This week’s Gotham is an important episode for the show and the entire mythology thanks to the introduction of the future white knight of Gotham, Councillor Harvey Dent…

In addition to giving us our first look at a pre-Two Face Dent in action, we’re teased the future chemistry between Bruce Wayne & Selina Kyle and Master Bruce himself begins his journey towards the Dark Knight mantle thanks to Alfred and some sage advice about brutality from the Cat.

Also in this episode, Mooney begins to make her move whilst Cobblepot begins to set up a dangerous game…

--> This week’s Gotham is an important episode for the show and the entire mythology thanks to the introduction of the future white knight of Gotham, Councillor Harvey Dent… In addition to giving us our first... Read article
Batman Eternal 33

Batman Eternal #33 Review

Written by and found in Comics, Reviews.

Batman Eternal #33 is a race against time for Batman and Julia as they race across Gotham to secure the secret weapons caches but are they fast enough?

The opening line of this review pretty much sums up the story for this issue. In previous weeks we’ve had plenty of story lines and at times inter-connecting-confusing issues with lots going on but this issue is to the contrary. It’s a simple game of how many sites Batman and “Penny-Two” can get deactivated before Hush can get to them first.

It sounds like an over-simplification but that really is it. There’s no big fight scene between Batman and Hush this week but we are treated to a nice show-down between Batman and an over-enthusiastic cop. Trying to make a name for himself, said GCPD cop starts off well and the panel showing Batman being knocked through the roof is cool but, as we know, this is Gotham. Which Batman has great delight in pointing out before shortly flooring the keen as mustard swat cop.

This issue was more about taking a breather and getting some stock on the story and the situation we’re in. The big palette of characters, both heroes and villains, has tailed off and it’s all about Batman, Julia and Hush. There’s a couple of nice conversations between Batman and Julia but it’s fairly short and straight forward. You’ll find no deep meaningful insights here, other than Julia proving her worth as a decent security hacker.

Batman Eternal 33

Also made very clear this issue was how much Bard is being controlled by Hush. There are times when little upstarts argue with the big guy and soon get put in their place, as is the case with Bard. Pretty pissed, and rightly so, that Hush essentially killed and/or injured a lot of his men after detonating one of Batman’s weapon caches, he tries to have a little word with Hush but soon gets his answer: a broken bottle close to going through his face.

That is essence is what makes Hush a decent villain. He’s ruthless and hard but not in a crazy deformed “costume” villain such as The Joker, The Riddler of The Penguin. There’s been no messing around with him and for the most part he’s provided enough trouble for Batman and his team, something that makes a great Batman story. It can’t be all one sided and heroic all the time.

With Julia now trapped and confronted by Hush could this be the first proper murder of one of Batman’s friends? We had Alfred only moments before this encounter at the end saying how he doesn’t want Julia to be sucked into the shit life that Gotham has shoved into the faces of so many people. I can’t wait for issue #34 to see what happens and if Batman gets to her in time.

--> Batman Eternal #33 is a race against time for Batman and Julia as they race across Gotham to secure the secret weapons caches but are they fast enough? The opening line of this review pretty... Read article
Batman Eternal #32

Batman Eternal #32 Review

Written by and found in Comics, Reviews.

This was a real treat of an episode this week. Hush shows how in charge he is and how far he’s willing to go which puts a downer on a happy-ish issue. For a while.

Issue 32 of Eternal was one of those mixed bags of emotions within the roughly 20 pages writers get to play with and that’s exactly what Kyle Higgins has done. If you’ve pondered the prospect of Snyder or Tynion IV jumping in to write a detailed issue there’s no need with writers like Higgins putting in great stints such as this. He manages to get in a couple of mini-arc’s to conclusion (at least for now) while at the same time blowing the Hush story line wide open.

Batman Eternal #32

So we pick up where #31 left off with Spoiler about to go one-on-one with Hush. And as you expected, yeah, that was never goign to end well. She’s a brave little thing, Stephanie, and as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews with her present, I like this origin type story they’re giving her. While Batman does come to her aid, she still manages to evade death and get a good escape without even Batman knowing where she’s gone. While I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her how they’ve handled her so far throughout Eternal has been well done.

Before we get onto Hush’s next phase of his plan, we are treated to some good news for once. Luke aka Batwing is finally rescued by Bat’s and is at home having a well earned break (if you’ve been following Eternal since the beginning you’ll know he’s not had the easiest of times under Arkham Asylum battling ghouls and being trapped for ages). We also get Alfred home to the delight of Julia. Ahhh.

It’s short lived however which is what I liked a lot about this issue and to point out the good writing from Higgins. Hush is understandably pissed about the big plan thus far and so puts something else into action that could potentially turn all of Gotham on Batman. As we know, Lt. Bard is in Hush’s pocket and is taking full advantage of that, giving Hush access to all of Gotham to position people as he needs, like pawns in a chess game. Unfortunately for Bats he appears to be winning for now.

The reveal in the Batcave with Bruce realising that the “McGregor Database” has been compromised is great, thrilling reading, with artwork by Jason Fabok portraying the fear in Bruce’s eyes perfectly. I was glad with the outcome of this scenario too as the only time I’ve heard anything to do with McGregor in the past is the illness Alfred has in the God awful Schumacher fail Batman & Robin. Fortunately for us it turns out to be a much better plot device, essentially a database of all of Batman’s safe houses and weapons caches which Hush now has access to. Yeah: uh-oh.

In no time at all Hush is on the case, enters one by way of Alfred’s DNA (there was a reason he broke into Wayne Manor to get to Alfred you know) and blows a very large hole in a part of Gotham. The closing frame with a lone Batarang in the rubble is enough to setup the next issue – things are about to get a lot worse for the Bat family. I’m still a tad unsure as to what Bard is going to get out of all this destruction at the hands of Hush but right now he’s being written very well that it’s easy to hate him, something that can be difficult to do in comics.

This was a good issue that had a clear divide with it’s emotion and action. The opening fight scene between Hush, Spoiler and Batman was, while short, a great opener. The “feel good” moments when Batwing and Alfred return home. The instant switching of emotion to dread when we find out Hush has the McGregor Database and finally him putting that knowledge to good use. Another great issue worth picking up.

--> This was a real treat of an episode this week. Hush shows how in charge he is and how far he’s willing to go which puts a downer on a happy-ish issue. For a while.... Read article
gotham-review

#24 – Gotham Episode 8 Review – “The Mask”

Written by and found in Podcasts, Reviews, TV.

Gotham continues to mine the Batman mythology as we come face to face with a lineage set to cause Caped Crusader some serious problems in the future, and Gordon once more proves he’s not one to be toyed with whilst Bullock shows his true allegiance…

--> Gotham continues to mine the Batman mythology as we come face to face with a lineage set to cause Caped Crusader some serious problems in the future, and Gordon once more proves he’s not one... Read article
interstellar_poster_0

Interstellar Review

Written by and found in Movies, Reviews.

Interstellar is a film as divisive but undeniably remarkable as any of Christopher Nolan’s previous outings. There’s undoubtedly a lot to love, but also a few elements that are likely to leave some audience members as cold as the uncaring vacuum of deep space. Which is pretty cold, right?

It’s fitting that we’d start this review with a bit of head-scratching, as there’s more than most films’ share of befuddling moments crammed into Nolan’s lavishly long running time this time around. Surprisingly, these instances are generally not due to dodgy science. The theories and writings of genius scientist Kip Thorne, who inspired Interstellar and helped consult during the making of the film, are actually explained remarkably well by the core cast.

The problems, instead, come from a few questionable creative decisions. The score, for one, is far from Hans Zimmer’s best as he alternates between unnecessarily loud parps of church organ to distractingly simple plonking around on a synth. Sci-fi scores are often a cause for much adoration, but this one aggravatingly distracts from the amazing visual world(s) on display.

Indeed, it’s no spoiler at this stage that Interstellar sees Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper jetting off through a wormhole to search for a new home for the human race, with the help of Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi and the criminally-underused Wes Bentley. This mission is made a necessity by Earth’s dire lack of crops, brought about by the slow withering of our home planet.

This process of the Earth’s death is left mostly to our imaginations, with the niggling feeling remaining that later emotional beats could have hit home harder if either Nolan involved spent a little longer trying to establish their version of Earth, rather than racing to move the action elsewhere as soon as possible. It’s rare that a film over two and a half hours feels like it needed a few more scenes, but the pre-lift-off stage of Interstellar could certainly have benefited from a longer exploration.

However, let it not be said that there’s nothing to enjoy here. There is, in fact, countless excellent facets to Interstellar. It’s been dubbed in certain circles as 2001: A Space Odyssey with an added heart, and it definitely lives up to that promise, even if the directly comparable moments detract from Interstellar’s originality.

Interstellar

This heart comes mostly from the rarely-explored dynamics of a father/daughter relationship, which are beautifully delved-into here, with Mackenzie Foy’s performance as Murph, and her interplay with on-screen dad McConaughey, offering a blend of heart-warming and heart-wrenching moments.

Once we’re out in space, the film really hits its stride. We’re not going to divulge spoilers here, but our central astronauts’ quest to secure the human race’s future brings us countless jaw-dropping visuals, some ‘timey-wimey’ narrative trickery and a truly mind-bending final third. The film isn’t bereft of tension either, with this space-travel stage offering plenty of action sequences, a sense of real danger, and one of the oddest fight scenes we’ve seen in a while.

It becomes apparent as we go along that things aren’t going to be as simple as our astronauts had hoped for (it would be a very boring film otherwise). This, resultantly, leads McConaughey and Hathaway into some interesting moral quandaries. What’s more important to them, seeing their families again or saving the human race? Are certain risks, those with unknowable consequences, worth taking? Does love have a place in a world so short of hope? While answers aren’t necessarily forthcoming in every instance, there’s some very interesting exploration here, not just of deep space, but of the human condition.

As you’re whisked off into the tightly-directed and action-packed finale, it’s likely that you’ll forget the qualms of Interstellar’s rushed opening, especially since the performances continue to hit all the right marks. McConaughey reminds us how worthily he picked up that Oscar with a winning turn as conflicted everyman Coop, while Hathaway offers an uncharacteristically cold enigma in Brand.

Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck – a triumvirate of interlinked characters left on Earth – also turn in a lot of strong material in their respective side-plots. Coop’s wise-cracking robot companion TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) is the show-stealer here, though.

The Nolans, as ever, have plenty of tricks and twists up their sleeves this time around, but that doesn’t mean they neglect the all-important cornerstone of character development. In fact, it’s arguably more important than the brain-aching science on display.

While Interstellar isn’t the perfect 10 many had hoped for, it’s a solid entry in the list of much-loved space operas. Although Nolan may not have invented (or even reinvented) the genre, he certainly left a decent mark.

--> Interstellar is a film as divisive but undeniably remarkable as any of Christopher Nolan’s previous outings. There’s undoubtedly a lot to love, but also a few elements that are likely to leave some audience members... Read article