MARVEL

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Peggy Shoots Steve

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Director:

Joe Johnston

Starring:

Chris Evans

Hugo Weaving

Hayley Atwell

Tommy Lee Jones

Sebastian Stan

Plot:

Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a “Super-Soldier serum”. But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization.

Review:

It’s WWII and Steve Rogers, Chris Evans, wants nothing more than to fight for his country. He knows that if just given a chance he could, despite the fact that he’s seriously underweight and has serious health issues, help the brave men fighting the war. While on a double date with his best friend Bucky, Sebastian Stan, he tries one more time to enlist, and he finally gets his wish.

Time and time again Steve proves that he may have been physically less than the average person, morally he was worlds above. He is a good, pure person. Even when he talks about no women wanting to date him he does not once lash out at them, he accepts his own faults and never places the blame on others doors. It’s yet another way in which he is perfect.

Captain America is a lawful good character, my favorite kind, and I feel like the story did a good job showing the difficulties faced by those characters. He knew the right thing to do and even when it put his life in danger he didn’t hesitate. Even when it meant that he was going to miss out on being with the woman he loves, he didn’t whine or complain or think poor me, he accepted the responsibility and went down with the ship. They weren’t easy decisions, but it was clear what the right one was, and he did them.

I love Captain America. He has a strong moral compass and doesn’t let anyone compromise it. There is not much growth with the character, but then there doesn’t need to be. He is himself in a dark world and he tries to make it better.

Captain America: The First Avenger is one of my favorite Marvel movies for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones is the introduction of the character Peggy Carter, Hayley Atwell. She is a strong female character in a time when that was incredibly difficult. She is smart and capable and helps Steve while still doing her own thing. She is one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. though it doesn’t go into that here, and that is probably my only complaint. There was a fair amount of S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement in Thor and allusions to what was to come, but apart from the end credits scene there is no mention. The work that was done here plays more into what comes in phase 2 and while I can appreciate the long game, I wish they’d alluded to what Peggy ends up doing and becoming.

4.5/5

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Thor (2011)

 

Thor (2011)

Director:

Kenneth Branagh

Starring:

Chris Hemsworth

Anthony Hopkins

Natalie Portman

Tom Hiddleston

Stellan Skarsgård

Kat Dennings

Idris Elba

Clark Gregg

Plot:

The powerful, but arrogant god Thor, is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

Review:

Thor, Chris Hemsworth, is a Norse god that’s hot headed and young, though, actually he’s not young in the grand scheme of things. Basically, he’s lived the life of privilege and hasn’t had to live through what it took to get there. He instigates a war because he can’t see the bigger picture and is punished for it.

Jane, Natalie Portman, is a scientist that believes she’s on the verge of discovering something amazing to do with wormholes. She ends up hitting Thor with her van twice and they end up having a connection. I hesitate to say a romantic connection because there was very little romance here, just one scene where he explains to her about the rainbow bridge. It’s more like an animalistic lust that I can completely understand.

Loki, Tom Hiddleston, has experienced that same privilege but when faced with the opportunity to change he doubles down on the entitlement. He has always felt the competition between himself and Thor more (shit parenting there Oden, Anthony Hopkins) and when he finds out he was “adopted” it doesn’t help matters.

The brothers react in different ways to conflict. Thor is able to learn and see that there is more to life than the glory of battle, that there is collateral damage in conflict, and sometimes beating shit up isn’t the answer. Loki learns that Thor is still a better person than he is and it fucking sucks so he’s going to do all he can to hurt his brother.

I enjoyed this movie more than the previous ones for the gif reasons I posted above. It’s shallow, I know, I don’t care. Thor is a character I like because he does show growth, especially in this movie. He learns his lesson, he was hot headed before, but it came from a good place. He learned, he inspires loyalty in his friends, he cares, and he’s fucking hot.

My main complaint with the film actually came with the end credit scene. Why was Erik Selvig, Stellan Skarsgård, chosen instead of Jane? When Fury, Samuel L. Jackson, says that they’ve been impressed with his recent work, Erik replies that he’s just working with Jane’s theory. Why wasn’t she brought in then? It was her theory, she was a genius too. The fact that Loki was controlling Erik would have worked even better with Jane since he told Thor he was going to mess with her. Googling I found that Portman had a child in 2012 so they would have had to work around her pregnancy, but they do that shit all the time, and it’s not like the role was filled with action. It just feels like a missed opportunity and a slight to the character.

4/5

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director:

Jon Favreau

Starring:

Robert Downy Jr.

Mickey Rourke

Gwyneth Paltrow

Don Cheadle

Scarlett Johansson

Sam Rockwell

Samuel L. Jackson

Clark Gregg

Plot:

With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.

Review:

Iron Man 2 starts with a giant celebration of Tony’s, Robert Downey Jr.’s, awesomeness. There are Iron Man Rockettes dancing, a massive adoring crowd, followed by him giving a speech about how truly amazing he is. The whole thing is outside because no building could hold his ego and that is ultimately why I don’t like Tony. He desperately needs therapy, he’s gone through some hugely traumatic shit at this point, on top of daddy issues, and yet he doesn’t seek help because who could possibly help him? His diagnosis of narcissism is not a surprise later in the film.

One of my least favorite tropes is conflict due to lack of communication, which drives most of this movie. Tony talks a LOT but it’s mostly without substance and refuses to open up to the people that love and support him. Eventually, Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson, forces his help upon him and Tony is finally able to solve the issues he’s facing. If there’s a lesson to be learned here it’s that you should talk to the people in your life, share your troubles, and maybe they’ll be able to help you. At the very least they could point you in the right direction.

There are a lot more hints at what’s to come in the Marcel Cinematic Universe. We’ve got allusions to Captain America and Thor in one scene alone. S.H.I.E.L.D. is also more of a presence with Phil Coulson, Clark Gregg, and Natasha Romanoff aka. Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson, having more prominent roles. We’ve seen Coulson before, but Black Widow’s addition honestly shows just how far we’ve come. She is eye candy, Happy, Jon Favreau, is constantly making stereotypical assumptions about her, being demeaning and treating her as nothing more than a pretty face. Time and time again she proves that she’s a badass and each time he’s in shock, and yet he keeps doing it. Happy was really a creep in this, more so than the first movie.

I’m not a fan of Black Widow, mainly because of her action scenes. This movie probably had her best one, or at least one of them, but for the most part they’re always filled with lots of cuts and shaky cam because a stuntwoman does Johansson’s stunts. At least in this movie her hair is long so as long as it was in her face they were able to show more.

Anyway, Iron Man was a return to the Marvel superhero movie feel I’m used to, and it set the stage for everything that’s to come in a very solid way, but I believe it was a small dip in quality from the first movie.

3/5

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Director:

Louis Leterrier

Starring:

Edward Norton

Liv Tyler

Tim Roth

William Hurt

Tim Black Nelson

Plot:

Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he turns into, whenever he loses his temper.

Review:

The second movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly different from the first. I understand why they made The Incredible Hulk, of the original Avengers movies The Hulk, probably, had the most name recognition. However, I think this movie took too much inspiration from the Ang Lee Hulk film.

Norton plays a more broody and dark version of Bruce Banner than Mark Ruffalo. His focus is on keeping his heart rate down because that is what he believes sets him off. His entire existence is finding a cure so that he can get rid of The Hulk and is living in Brazil working in a bottling company while he talks on an encrypted channel to Mr. Blue, Tim Blake Nelson. Eventually he has to come to NY, because everything always happens there, so that he can finally be cured.

During all of this you discover that General Ross, William Hurt, has been trying to find him so that he can recreate The Hulk. He’s desperate for that ability and ends up giving power to someone who is clearly too attracted to violence.

Great big violent battle, lots of destruction, and Bruce Banner/The Hulks situation doesn’t change.

This movie isn’t shot like what I’ve come to expect from superhero movies. It is much more of an action thriller and has probably the best shot action scenes in the entire MCU. There’s no shaky cam and very few quick cuts, even with the large amounts of CG that was used. It was impressive.

Story wise, the movie only makes a passing reference to S.H.I.E.L.D. and doesn’t mention Iron Man at all until the credits scene (which is not at the end) when Tony appears. Bruce believes he changes because of his heartrate and not just because of rage, which I don’t believe is brought up again. Betty, Liv Tyler, makes no future appearances even though they act like she’s the love of his life. Blonsky, Tim Roth, is captured, but not killed, and Mr. Blue is exposed to Bruce’s blood and starts to change. To my memory none of this is referenced in further movies.

The Incredible Hulk is like the relative that people prefer not to talk about at family reunions. It seems to be largely ignored in the greater story and, thankfully, is not used as a style inspiration for future movies. Though, maybe Thor: Dark World could be explained that way…

Clearly, you don’t have to watch The Incredible Hulk to enjoy the MCU, but it is interesting to see what could have been. What if, instead of bombing financially, making less than half what Iron Man did, the roles had been reversed? How would that have changed the franchises future?

3/5

Iron Man (2008)

iron-man.jpg

Iron Man (2008)

Director:

Jon Favreau

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Terrance Howard

Plot:

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Review:

It’s been a few years since I’ve watched the movie that started it all. I’ve seen it more than a few times, but rewatching movies is not something I have much time for right now. However, with Endgame coming up SyFyfangrrls decided to rewatch everything and I decided to try as well. So here goes!

Iron Man has aged surprisingly well. It is kind of crazy to think that when this movie came out Bush was still in office and the housing market hadn’t quiet yet crashed so the Great Recession hadn’t happened. All of that really explains the opening scene. The world was a different place.

I’m not normally a fan of showing something super exciting and then flashing back for setup, but in this case it sets the mood well and there’s still a lot of even more exciting stuff to come.

The stripper flight attendants, Tony sleeping with the reporter, the Trans joke Tony makes to Rhodes are all things I feel like haven’t aged well, but the CG looks great.

Tony, Robert Downey Jr., needs someone to push him to be better. He’s very much an entitled male billionaire. He could have very well died in that cave if it wasn’t for Yinsen, Shaun Toub. After making his dramatic declaration he would have forgotten all about it if Obadiah, Jeff Bridges, hadn’t challenged him. He’s not a bad person, he’s just a dick.

I honestly wondered if I would even like the movie anymore since I’m not a big fan of Iron Man and pretty much hate him now, but I still do. I think enough time has passed that there is a tiny smidge of nostalgia, but mostly it’s just a damn good movie, and a great start to one of my favorite franchises.

4/5

Side Note:

The only inconsistency that I really found was that S.H.I.E.L.D. was often referred to with it’s full name and not just Shield and we learned in Captain Marvel that’s not accurate. Other than that everything else seems to hold up, which is kind of amazing.