The long-awaited Marvel adventure Black Panther has finally pounced on cinemas, with the Oscar-nominated The Shape of Water also on the big screen this weekend. 

Black Panther ****
It may be named Black Panther, but the film is very much an ensemble piece - Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan (interviewed below), Lupita Nyong'o - with enough action and social commentary to carve out a place as one of Marvel's better standalone offerings.

It looks great and there are some brilliant action set pieces and car chases to really get the adrenaline going, without it ever veering too far into the CGI-fatigue zone.

The script, and the way it weaves in issues like slavery, racism and colonialism, is also excellent, with writer-director Ryan Coogler showing that he is a force to be reckoned with. And the soundtrack is just phenomenal - if only Kendrick Lamar could curate everything. Read our full review here.

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The Shape of Water *****
Guillermo del Toro's wildly imaginative adult fairytale is an opulently entertaining monster fable that is spectacularly stylised and perversely enchanting.

Best Actress Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins delivers an utterly captivating tour de force performance as a cleaner who falls in love with a fish-man (Doug Jones) in a covert U.S. research laboratory during the height of the Cold War. On paper it may sound stuffy, but visionary filmmaker del Toro (interviewed below), who co-wrote the script with Vanessa Taylor, manages to create a richly exuberant and poetic romance. 

The Shape of Water is a voyage into the depths of humanity and idealism. Make no mistake, the Amazon aqua-monster isn't the enemy here. Read our full review here.

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The 15:17 to Paris ***
There is something of Paul Greengrass's United 93 in this compact and faithful retelling of the dramatic events on board an intercity train from Amsterdam to Paris in August 2015 when three young American men foiled a terrorist attack on 500 passengers. However, unlike Greengrass's unbearably tense 9/11 drama, the outcome here is a far happier one.

Clint Eastwood has taken the brave and novel approach of casting the three heroes - Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos - as themselves and it really pays off in what is a naturalistic real-life story. After the bravado of the Sully-starring Tom Hanks, this tale of derring-do seems the obvious choice for Eastwood. Read our full review here.

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The Mercy **1/2
Based on the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst, The Mercy is a study of humanity, pride and man's need for validation with Colin Firth in the lead role.

Crowhurst was known for taking part in a single-handed, round-the-world yacht race in 1968 in a bid to win a cash prize that could help him to save his business.

Despite solid performances from Firth and Rachel Weisz, it's hard to actually care about the characters and become invested in their story. The pace of the film is quite slow, almost to the point of being boring in parts. The beautiful seascapes and pretty shots only do so much. Read our full review here.

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