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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: The Hunger Games (2012) and Avengers Assemble (2012)
The Hunger Games (2012). Directed by Gary Ross, and based on the book by Suzanne Collins. The story takes place in a dystopian future after a war which nearly destroyed humanity. To satisfy humanity's need for some form of war an annual game has been established, where a boy and girl are picked from twelve different districts around the world. The story centres around District 12, where Primrose Everdeen is randomly picked to be in the games. Her older sister, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), can't stand to see her picked so volunteers to replace her, much to Primrose's upset. The Hunger Games feels like a mish mash of other films and stories e.g. The Running Man, Lord of the Flies, and of course Battle Royale. It still just about manages to carve its own niche, but ultimately fell short of greatness for me. At its worst there's a fair bit of poor characterisation and stereotyping, and predictable story. I really need something more original with more interesting characters to really enjoy it. Also Hollywood... when are you going to stop casting baddies with British accents? That's a tired cliché, and was disappointing to see. I haven't read the book, but understand that it's more introspective, and said introspection is perhaps inevitably lost in a film transfer. Those who enjoy predictable action with a somewhat teenage feel should get a kick out of it. 4/5 (Good)

Avengers Assemble (2012). Directed and co-written by Joss Whedon, and based on the Marvel comics. The story follows on from Thor (2011), after which Loki has been banished. Loki strikes a deal with an alien race called the Chitauri. They will conquer the Earth for him if he gives them the Tesseract, a small cube that contains unlimited power. Superheroes such as Thor, Captain America, Ironman, and the Hulk must pull together to save the Earth. Avengers Assemble is a lot of fun, inevitably perhaps. It brings together a mostly interesting group of superhero characters, and plays them for both laughs and action. The story weakens towards the end, as the Chitauri are a fairly dull enemy. Unlike Thor (2011), they manage to make Loki a more believable and interesting villain, but he still feels a bit dull, again more so towards the end of the film. The Hulk (mostly in his CG incarnation) and Ironman (mostly in his Robert Downey Jr. incarnation) mostly stole the show for me. Of course recommended for those who enjoy both superhero and action films. 4/5 (Good)