The Greatest Showman

Year: 2017
Directed By: Michael Gracey
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Written by Fiona Underhill

Perhaps it is fitting to conclude 2017 with a film simultaneously both awful and fantastic. Truly dreadful wigs, bizarre CGI, catchy songs, Zac & Zendaya – ‘The Greatest Showman’ really does have it all. A passion project of Hugh Jackman’s; this movie has been in gestation for at least a decade, to the extent that I’m surprised he didn’t take the directorial reins himself. Instead, we have the inexperienced Michael Gracey – whose IMDb credits are mostly visual effects and art department – which is….intriguing once you’ve seen ‘The Greatest Showman’. There are rumours that ‘Logan’s’ James Mangold had to come to the rescue on ‘The Greatest Showman’ and this certainly makes sense of the tonal and editing inconsistencies. Hugh Jackman has certainly had quite the year: starting with an Oscar-worthy turn in Logan and ending with this.

I sound as if I’m being really negative about this film and while it is a trashy mess, I will say that I immediately wanted to watch the whole thing again once it was over. For those going to the cinema expecting an historically accurate biopic of PT Barnum will be sorely disappointed. This being a glitzy, feel-good musical, it certainly glosses over the fact that Barnum was not the ‘saviour of the down-trodden and oppressed’ as portrayed here. In fact, his real-life treatment of the disabled people, people of colour and animals who populated his ‘freak shows’ left much to be desired. He certainly exploited them (even after their deaths) and presented them as exotic curiosities, simply for being ‘foreign’ or outside of the Victorian norm. Barnum’s exaggeration and manipulation of certain characteristics is touched on in the film, but much more could have been made of one man constructing a reality to fit the bigoted viewpoint of the audience. The parallels with another purveyor of fake news and the invention of show business and celebrity could have been an interesting exploration, but instead we have a paper-thin musical.

IF you can choose to view ‘The Greatest Showman’ simply as a fictional fantasy, there is something to enjoy here. I am not above being excited by the sight of Zac Efron in a ringmaster’s costume and delighting in seeing him singing and dancing again. His duet with Hugh Jackman, when they make a business deal in a bar, punctuated by the rhythmic downing of shots is a thrilling spectacle. Zendaya is magnificent as a pink-haired flying trapeze artist, who shares another delightful duet with Zac. The casting of Michelle Williams, however, is so glaringly erroneous it lept out, even in the trailer. We are supposed to accept that Williams and Jackman (who have a 12 year age-gap) are the same age (they are portrayed as childhood sweethearts), she is donned in a long blonde wig and given a thankless task of a role. A total waste of Williams’ acting talents.

The songs are cheesy but catchy and I have sought them out since seeing the film. Some of the choices made in this film are so bizarre though; like the casting of Hugh Jackman as his own boss for no apparent reason in a short scene. Rebecca Ferguson is cast (in another terrible wig) as a singer who Barnum inexplicably takes on tour across the country, getting into yet more debt. Another dubious casting choice, when apparently she did not do her own singing.

Frankly, thinking back on this film is giving me a headache. It is a frustrating mess, with much to mock. However, I do admit to being swept along with some of the musical numbers and circus scenes. Keala Settle’s barn-storming performance as Lettie Lutz – The Bearded Lady, leading her troop in a rousing number did stir something inside me. So, ultimately I have to accept that a large part of me enjoyed ‘The Greatest Showman’, because after all THIS IS ME.

Fiona’s Rating: 6.0/10

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Hugh Jackman Prepares To Put On A Show In New ‘The Greatest Showman’ Trailer

“Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.”

Directed By: Michael Gracey

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson

Release Date: 1st January 2018

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Year: 2017
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya

Written by Tom Sheffield

To say there were high expectations for this film from it’s waiting audience would be a understatement. For the third time in 15 years we were about to witness a new actor take on the role of Spider-Man, but this time would be different because he now exists in the same universe as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and all the heroes we’ve seen so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities that weren’t possible with the webhead’s previous live-action incarnations. Having already been introduced to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker briefly in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, I was eager to see how he would hold his own in his first film. I’m relieved to say he did not disappoint, and neither did the film as a whole.  

Following his participation in the epic airport battle against Captain America and his team, Peter Parker (Holland) returns home feeling that his day-to-day heroics helping average citizens is a huge step down from what he just took part in. Eager to participate in more Avengers missions, Peter wants to impress Stark (Downey Jr.) and show him he’d be a valuable member of the team. When Peter starts interfering in Adrian Toomes’ (Keaton) plans, Toomes sees no other option than to put an end to the Spider-Man.

Tom Holland may just be my favourite portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man to date. He completely embodied Peter’s awkwardness, his eagerness to do more to help people, and his struggle to please everyone. Both in and out of the suit, Holland is a joy to watch on screen and I’m excited for what’s to come for Peter following certain revelations in the film, and the fact we get to watch him progress through High School, juggling school, a social life, and his evening heroics. Michael Keaton was menacingly brilliant as Toomes / Vulture. There’s one scene in particular where he is face to face with Holland and his delivery is enough to send shivers down your spine. Vulture has quickly become one of my favourite villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because whilst a lot of villains we’ve met so far see themselves as Gods or are willing to cause havoc and mayhem to gain power, Toomes is just a guy who thinks he’s doing the right thing to provide for his family. It’s this protective behaviour that spurs him on to don his Vulture wings and do what he deems necessary.

Despite appearing heavily in the trailers and posters, Iron Man’s involvement in the film isn’t as big as many had feared, with people often dubbing it ‘Iron Man 4’ due to how much he was in the trailers. Stark’s protectiveness over Peter and his heroics provides one of the best exchanges of dialogue between two heroes in the MCU, which I won’t spoil here, but if you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I mean. It truly shows how much Tony has changed from his arrogant, selfish, playboy ways when we first met him in ‘Iron Man’  and how what he’s experienced since then has changed him.

Michael Giacchino’s opening score had me excited from the get go. Incorporating the classic Spider-Man theme tune was always going to be a winner in my eyes, and after hearing it in the little teaser video he released on Twitter, I couldn’t wait to hear it blasting from the cinema speakers. What a treat that was! Sadly, Giacchino’s score throughout the rest of the film is pretty forgettable, which regrettably seems to be a recurring thing in Marvel movies.

Overall, ‘Homecoming’ is one of the strongest first entries in the MCU and I feel that Marvel/Sony taking the risk and not making it an origin story was definitely a huge factor. With this being the third reboot in the last 15 years, the audience for this film know how Peter gets his powers, they know his parents history and Uncle Ben’s fate. Skipping all that allowed them to focus on Peter’s struggle as a kid to balance school, friends, and keeping this huge secret from those closest to him. 

Tom’s rating: 8.7 out of 10

New ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Trailer Shows Off Spidey’s Suit

Two brand new ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ trailers hit the web this morning, with the international trailer offering a better look at Michael Keaton’s Vulture, and the domestic showing off Spidey’s new suit, courtesy of Tony Stark.  

After the last trailer left some fans feeling it had showed a little too much of the film, it’s likely some may avoid these final trailers and wait until the films release on July 5th. 

We also have two brand new posters! You can find HQ versions of them both over on our Twitter – @JumpCut_Tweets

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“A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.”

Zendaya Cast In Spider-Man Reboot

So, Spider-Man is getting ANOTHER reboot. Personally, we were rather happy with Andrew Garfield and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ franchise and wanted a third film from that particular incarnation. But, with Spider-Man joining up with the Avengers, young actor Tom Holland has taken the up the mantle and is set for his solo Spider-Man movie next year after being introduced in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ later this year.

News broke recently that actress and singer Zendaya (pictured) has been cast alongside Holland for the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man reboot in a role which is being kept kinda secret right now. Official sources claim that Zendaya is not playing a love interest for Peter Parker, nor is she taking on a lead role, but that she may well play a big part in the franchise’s future. 

What do you think of the whole Spider-Man reboot? And are you happy to see Zendaya join the cast? Let us know your thoughts.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes