The Good Showman

The Greatest Showman (2017) may have earned a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes (Branding the film as ROTTEN) however it has struck a chord with audiences grossing over $237 million worldwide (against an $84 million production budget). The majority of people I know who have seen the film absolutely love it and have seen it multiple times; it’s great to see how the film has had such an impact and brought joy to people.

The reason for this blog post is because I’ve heard people raving about The Greatest Showman and some have even compared it to the Oscar winning La La Land (2016) by saying it’s a stronger musical. To set the record straight I did like The Greatest Showman but if people suggest that it is a better musical than La La Land...then I don’t know what else to say than in my opinion it’s not. First of all they are different films but if I had to compare La La Land is my favourite of the two.

I’ll start by saying what I enjoyed about The Greatest Showman: the soundtrack is a solid effort from Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul delivering some standout original songs. I love the Golden Globe winning/Oscar nominated song “This Is Me”, “The Greatest Show”, “The Other Side”, “Never Enough” and “Rewrite the Stars”. The positive thing about this film is that it is assured in its identity as a musical that is meant to inject joy into audiences, it doesn’t try to be anything else and is clear in what its meant to be.


Secondly, Hugh Jackman (who was nominated a Golden Globe for his role as P.T. Barnum) carried the film effortlessly on his shoulders. You can understand why because he was passionate about the role even to the point where he was involved in getting the project made for seven years! Hugh is no stranger to musicals on screen (he was nominated an Oscar for his performance in Les Miserables – 2012) and he relishes in bringing P.T. Barnum to the screen to bring audiences together for a fun ride.

Lastly it’s great how the film explores the themes of acceptance and embracing everyone from all different walks of life (which is encapsulated so well in the song “This Is Me”). Whilst it may have been done in a sugary affair, it’s still an important theme and a one that I believe has resonated with audiences, especially in such a divided world.


However, the difference between La La Land and The Greatest Showman is that the former is stronger in every area of the film whereas the latter may be strong in its identity as a musical but as a story and character development it’s lacking. I understand you can’t approach The Greatest Showman as a full on biopic otherwise it may be a more morbid affair but in being brash in its musicality it does suffer from there being any grounded nature to the film and in turn it feels more lightweight. The film is definitely more about the songs than anything else. Also to compare numbers: La La Land grossed over $446 million worldwide (against a $30 million budget) and scored 92% on Rotten Tomatoes (Branding the film as FRESH). On top of wowing audiences AND critics the film had a clean sweep at the Golden Globes winning seven awards (the most won by a single film) and won six Academy Awards last year.

Now with La La Land it’s more intimate as it follows mainly two characters: Mia (Oscar winner Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling) in their relationship and their journey of trying to follow their dreams. The film starts off strong in embracing its identity as a musical with big songs such as “Another Day of Sun” and “Someone In The Crowd” however it doesn’t shy away from having tonal shifts to embrace the more real elements of life without it feeling jarring.


I love how it is a full on musical but also an more focused film in terms of pacing and character study. The film evolves at its own pacing which doesn’t feel forced or rushed and then it becomes more about the decisions the characters have to make about their futures and reviewing their hopes and desires. One of my favourite scenes is when Sebastian surprises Mia with a meal when he comes home from tour, it’s a conversational scene where everything is explored (regarding where they’ve come from and where they hope to be in the future) that becomes an argument in a very mature and organic way. The dialogue doesn’t feel overtly sentimental or emotional, the tone is just right. The film can be strong in its musical scenes as well as its character scenes.

Also I love how throwback La La Land is, it has a strong Singin’ in the Rain (1952) vibe and the jazz infused soundtrack is classic and beautiful. Even the instrumental tracks are soothing and exciting, especially the “Epilogue” score. The Oscar winning cinematography is stunning with the vibrant colours and and striking settings (most notably when Mia and Sebastian first dance together after the party they’ve been to and when inside the Planetarium).  Not to mention the incredible Epilogue scene which was very bittersweet, giving the audiences what could have been whilst being bold by saying life doesn’t always go as planned.


At the end of the day it’s all subjective and down to personal taste. For me The Greatest Showman was a good musical, but nothing more. Where as La La Land for me has so many layers, classic songs and visuals and Oscar winning acting/direction/cinematography. They are both different films in what they are representing and to both of their credit they are original musicals which is always welcome. By all means say how much you enjoyed The Greatest Showman but personally I don’t think it’s the masterpiece audiences have made it out to be.

Feel free to share your opinions!


3 Standout Blockbusters Of 2017

2017 has so far led me to become a blockbuster cynic who can only enjoy art house films, however there have been a few blockbusters that may save me from that fate. I truly believe that a great film can be delivered in the form of a high budget product because at the end of the day as long as the story and characters are engaging then that’s all that matters. Blockbusters can have depth or they are designed to switch off your brain and just enjoy them for what they are.

Here are three blockbusters that stood out for me this year for various reasons:

The Film X-Men Origins Should Have Been


Now I’m going to say something controversial: I actually enjoyed X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). It’s a fun, standard blockbuster. However unfortunately it is highly regarded as an embarrassment of the X-Men franchise; so that’s why I say Logan is the film that I’m sure people feel best portrayed Wolverine. So we’ve had the false start, the better but still not perfect Wolverine (2013) so in 2017 we see Hugh Jackman let go and embrace the character of Wolverine completely.

When I heard that Logan was going to be stripped back, showing “Old Man Logan” and that it was going to intentionally stand apart from the typical comic book film, I was excited. Finally a comic book film was going to take a risk and show how much can be achieved within the genre.

Logan was a solid effort which not only proved that a superhero film can have depth and be complex, but it also was a credible film in its own right. It was refreshing. That’s why I’m including Logan in this blog post about how it was a standout blockbuster, yet there was something in me from raving about it. This is not a criticism, but it by being very purposeful in being something else it almost felt calculated. Not to mention that the film could have shaved some time off because towards the end the heavy tone started to take a toll.

Overall, I still respect that director James Mangold and leading start Hugh Jackman stood out and were bold and took a risk with this film. I can’t fault them on that and that’s why I like the film. Hopefully it’ll inspire other comic book films to show the scope that you can cover within that “genre”. It certainly has worked as Logan has grossed over $612 worldwide and has received a 93% Rotten Tomato rating, what a great way to see Hugh Jackman wave goodbye to a role of a lifetime.

Fast and Furious 8


I didn’t even come up with a witty subheading, that’s how easy going and fun Fast and Furious 8 is. I’ve always been cynical of the Fast and Furious franchise for being hollow and brainless (and this is coming from the guy who enjoyed the Michael Bay directed Transformers films), so I stayed away from the film series with no plan to watch them. However, after viewing the eighth instalment with a friend I was happy to be proven wrong. It was fun, brash, crazy, exciting and even though the characters weren’t exactly fleshed out they were formed in a way that allowed us as an audience to care for them and invest in them.

Up until that point no blockbuster this year allowed me to completely let go and suspend my disbelief to enjoy the ride. Does the franchise deserve to gross over $1 billion worldwide? maybe not. That being said, the reason why fans have responded to these films are because these films are the essence of what a blockbuster should be: crazy action and a true form of escapism. I have to give credit to Vin Diesel to producing a film series that has connected with audiences all across the world, not taking things too seriously and just having fun with these characters and crazy adventures.

Winning Wonder Woman


76 years later after the world was introduced to Wonder Woman and she FINALLY has graced the big screen with her first solo film. After stealing the show from last years Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), fans were eager to see her lead her own film and it’s safe to say DC have a winner film on their hands. Already the film is breaking box office records and holds a 93% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Wonder Woman has grossed over $100 million at the US box office which was the biggest weekend opener for a female director (Patty Jenkins), hopefully this will be a step in the right direction for equality of female representation in film and behind the camera.

Without a doubt Wonder Woman is not only the best blockbuster of 2017 but one of the best superhero films in over 5 years. It was refreshing to see a standalone superhero film which allowed the leading character carry the film solo and completely smash it in the process, I think the last time there was a true standalone superhero film was probably The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Gal Gadot is beyond perfect as Diana, showcasing her amazing acting talent portraying Diana’s incredible character arc with conviction and depth. Diana stands for love, justice and peace and I loved key moments where she didn’t take things lying down but stood up for what she believed in and didn’t think twice about helping others. The action scenes were slick, empowering and epic.

Fast and Furious 8 may be the blockbuster where you switch your brain off and have fun, but Wonder Woman is a blockbuster with heart, depth, emotion AND epic fight sequences and is a true spectacle. It is possible to make a blockbuster with thrills audiences but is also thought provoking and empowering for all. I’m enjoying this moment seeing a superhero film with just one superhero at front and centre before Justice League and co. take over (I am looking forward to Justice League but it’s a sad thought not knowing when the next standalone superhero film will be released).


The exciting thing to note is that we still have the second half of 2017 to go in order to see what kind of blockbusters will be released. Even if it becomes a rubbish year for blockbusters overall (I doubt it) then at least 2017 gave us Wonder Woman.