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Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo Starring: Everybody. Running Time: 149 minutes


Ten years ago now, there was an idea. To bring together a group of remarkable characters and see if they could become something more. There was a time, unbelievable as it is now, that having a ‘shared universe’ of various franchises seemed like a massive risk rather than the movie studio holy grail. A time when people wondered how the first Avengers film was possibly going to manage a story with six superheroes. Infinity War has twenty. Plus sidekicks and supporting cast members, absentee Avengers, love interests, a few surprise appearances, the army of an entire country, and a new mass of villains. And Stan Lee. The Universe has grown and grown, developing an enormous, enamoured audience along with it. Marvel know they have most every blockbuster-loving film fan in the palm of their hands at this point, so to keep them captivated, what’s the best thing they can do at this point? Make a fist. Or snap their fingers.

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Director: Ryan Coogler  Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker  Running Time: 134 minutes


Get ready to fall in love with Wakanda – the fictional African nation of the Marvel Universe, a hidden technological utopia that serves as the backdrop for much of Black Panther. While not technically alive, it is perhaps the films single biggest star. Wakanda, as presented on screen, is a fully realized and lived-in world, with a sense of awe and wonder waiting around every corner. It is a place whose cultural significance is undeniable – expertly crafted and wonderfully depicted through every costume, character, and setting; a place that helps Black Panther look and feel completely fresh.

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Director: Jon Watts Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr Running Time: 133 minutes


In recent years, the behind the scenes efforts of non-Marvel studios attempts to make films with Marvel characters could make compelling movie material all on its own. Specifically, comedy-of-errors movies. The chaos reportedly caused during the awful 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four by director Josh Trank (and his little dogs too) is one example. The leaked e-mail fiasco showing out-of-touch exec’s attempts to make an EDM-loving, humble-bragging hero that’s down with the kids for the ill-fated, ever spin-off proposing Amazing Spider-Man series is another. The lack of financial success made by the Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone-starring Spidey movies led to an “if you can’t beat them, join them” rethink and Sony drafted in Marvel Studios to help produce a reboot, with Sony retaining film distribution rights and Marvel masters Disney controlling merchandising rights. After a popular cameo in last year’s Captain America Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming sees Marvel’s most beloved comics character take centre-stage once again. From the orchestral arrangement of the classic 60’s Spider-Man cartoon theme that opens this film onwards, the effort to bring the character (or more cynically, the IP) back to its roots is clear. This is a younger, more innocent Spider-Man, and the film is refreshing for that, even while the creative constraints of being part of the MCU never go away.

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Director: Chris McKay Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Ralph Fiennes Running Time: 104 minutes


If there’s one thing the last decade of films by Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder have made abundantly clear, it’s that Batman can be rather a miserable fellow. You might not have heard, but his parents were murdered by a criminal and he processed this tragedy via a lot of punching, gutteral yelling and, with the deftness that only Visionary Director Zack Snyder could muster, by branding deviant criminals with a bat-branding iron so that they can actually be murdered in prison. One of the brightest spots in the surprise hit The Lego Movie in 2014 was its willingness to lighten up the Dark Knight a bit, playing up his serious streak into something over the top, egotistical and adolescent for big laughs. Lego Batman was such a treat that he’s been given a spin-off movie of his very own, a fun kid-pleaser that also shows a pretty good understanding of how Lego Batman’s Lego mind works.

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As you may already know from your various social media platforms blowing up this morning, or from having watched the teaser to the trailer in the matryoshka doll that is modern movie marketing, the first glimpse of Spider-Man: Homecoming was shown last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Your favourite part of Captain America: Civil War is swinging back into cinemas next year as the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer promises an injection of young radioactive blood into the Marvel Universe. The trailer features quips, thwips, Tony Stark and a bit of action. For Marvel fans, what better start could there be to a Friday morning?

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Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams Directed by: Scott Derrickson Run time: 115mins


Doctor Strange, Marvel’s latest entry in their superhero mega-franchise, is pretty crazy and a whole lot of fun. The film fully embraces its comic book heritage, perhaps more so than any Marvel movie to date. It would be tough to claim this is Marvel’s best effort; the film suffers from many of the usual problems: bland villains, underdeveloped love interests, and an overly familiar origin story structure. What sets this film apart though is that it is filled with some of the most insane and inventive superhero action sequences ever put on screen. Doctor Strange is ridiculous in the best possible way, and many scenes are likely to have fans grinning from ear to ear.

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Way back in the long, long ago of the year 2000, a schedule over-run in the shooting of Mission Impossible II meant that Dougray Scott would have to be replaced as Wolverine in the then-upcoming X-Men. A young, mostly unknown Australian named Hugh Jackman took his place. Jackman has appeared as Wolverine in every X-Men film ever since, surviving a trilogy, solo spin-off and reboot, thanks to his healing factor. Or because Hugh Jackman is pretty good at playing Wolverine. Longer than Sean Connery played James Bond, longer than the wait between either set of Star Wars trilogies, long enough to possibly (hopefully) see one Clinton out of the White House and another back in, Hugh Jackman has been the best in the world at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice, bub.

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