John Boyega: King of Sci-Fi
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John Boyega is the unchallenged king of sci-fi, dominating the genre and bringing his signature British charm to his alien-encountering adventures. With the home release of Pacific Rim: Uprising, now’s the perfect time to take a look at the jewels in his sci-fi crown.
1. Attack the Block (2011)
Playing the perception-shattering Moses in this brilliant, grounded cult classic, Boyega’s on-screen career started with a bang. The film follows a South London gang of troublemaking teens, who must protect their block (of flats) from an alien invasion. Brilliantly terrifying and almost intangible creature design makes the aliens ripe for metaphor - “I reckon the Feds sent them anyway,” says Moses. “Government probably bred those things to kill black boys. First they sent in drugs, then they sent guns and now they're sending monsters in to kill us. They don't care man. We ain't killing each other fast enough. So they decided to speed up the process.” The social commentary is effortlessly woven into what remains a humorous, moving story of survival, complete with great chase and fight scenes. Boyega stars alongside Jodie Whittaker, who’s recently been crowned queen of sci-fi in her role as the first female Doctor in Doctor Who, so the power of this film shouldn’t be underestimated!
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
After gracefully handling the massive amounts of racist abuse directed at him, Boyega smashed onto the world stage to huge acclaim as Finn, the undeniable heart of the new Star Wars sequels. His instant likability as the Stormtrooper-with-a-conscience added a much-needed fresh dimension to the franchise, which suffers somewhat from it’s obsession with bloodline and destiny ensuring the same plots play out over and over. Finn’s warm chemistry with the rest of the new trio (Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron and Daisy Ridley’s Rey) again is refreshing, since both the original and prequel trilogies rely a lot on bickering (however friendly or romantically charged) between the trios. The friendship and trust that Finn forms with Poe and Rey cements him as the emotional core. The Last Jedi doesn’t get a spot in this list, because the treatment of Finn in that film is horrendous. Fingers crossed for JJ Abrams to get us back on track with Episode IX!
3. Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
Somehow, in amongst his busy schedule, Boyega managed to lead yet another huge franchise. Guillermo del Toro’s iconic 2013 standalone got an unexpected sequel this year, and gifted us Boyega as the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost. We’ve still got our fingers crossed for the two of them to actually share screen-time in something soon, but Boyega is perfect as the party-boy Jake who’s reluctant to follow in the footsteps of his larger-than-life father. World-ending circumstances force his hand though, and Boyega shines in his role as reluctant hero. He plays comedy fantastically, bouncing off co-stars Scott Eastwood and Caily Spaeny, as well as touching our hearts with emotional scenes between Jake and adopted sister Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Let’s not forget how much he kicks ass in a Jaeger either! Boyega carries the weighty torch from the first film with ease and style, adding his own flair and undoubtedly making his mark. We can’t wait for the third film that was hinted at in the after-credits!
Pacific Rim: Uprising, available on Digital July 16, 2018 and 4K ULTRA HD, 3D Blu-Ray™, Blu-Ray™, DVD and Steelbook July 30, 2018.