The Protégé [AKA The Asset] (2021, dir. Martin Campbell)

An assassin tracks those who killed her mentor. While the script gets bogged down in backstory and complications, there’s a sense of unfussy confidence in the direction, action choreography, editing, and stuntwork that makes this a worthwhile watch. A decent – if to-type – cast helps. Some corners cut in production design don’t help.

Here’s the trailer.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021, dir. Darren Lynn Bousman)

A detective is assigned a new partner in the aftermath of a Jigsaw copycat beginning to target dirty cops. Okay series reinvention: the procedural approach is a neat shift, and Rock is having fun, but the predictable villain and unlikable victims mean that we tend to side with the antagonist, if we invest at all.

Here’s the trailer.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019, dir. Jon Watts)

Peter Parker, on a European school trip with his classmates, comes into contact with both elemental monsters and a new superhero, Mysterio. Upbeat if overlong blend of teen road trip comedy and standard heroic action thrills, acting as a coda to Avengers: Endgame. Well-played and likeable, if episodic on several levels.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, dir. Matthew Vaughn)

A cockney youth is inducted into an elite British secret agency. Confident spy comedy from the graphic novel series, both spoofing and celebrating Bond and The Avengers in equal measure. Stylised and violent; not for everyone in its laddish glee. A sequel, expanding the universe, soon followed.

Captain Marvel (2019, dir. Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck)

An alien warrior works to prevent a rival species from gaining a foothold on 1995 Earth. Slow-starting but generally entertaining superhero origin flick, wisely not overdoing its nostalgic comedy; the film’s hampered somewhat by the low-stakes storyline.

Shaft (2019, dir. Tim Story)

A preppy junior FBI agent teams up with his estranged and unreconstructed PI father. Shaft 2019 is a scattershot culture-clash comedy, with action beats, a predictable plot, and a late nod to the 70s original trilogy. Tries to do everything, and ends up not meaning anything.

Incredibles 2 (2018, dir. Brad Bird)

Elastigirl works to redeem public perception of superheroes, while Mr Incredible wrestles with baby Jack-Jack’s burgeoning powers. Perhaps overlong and overly-similar to the first film, this is nevertheless expertly-designed and executed family entertainment.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017, dir. Patrick Hughes)

A down-on-his-luck bodyguard has to escort his former nemesis to a court hearing. Passable road movie / action comedy with a game cast doing its best with average material. Some fun bickering and fighting though, and a weird sense of UK geography.

Django Unchained (2012, dir. Quentin Tarantino)

A slave and a dentist team up to claim bounties and to mount a rescue. Episodic and sprawling, Django Unchained is nevertheless funny, thrilling, horrific, informative and a great-looking quest. Something for everyone, and there’s Franco Nero too.