MARVEL

Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man.jpg

Ant-Man (2015)

Director:

Peyton Reed

Starring:

Paul Rudd

Michael Douglas

Evangeline Lily

Corey Stoll

Michael Peña

Plot:

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Review:

Scott Lang, Paul Rudd, is a real life Robin Hood. He stole from a rich ISP and gave the money back to the consumers. He is the hero we deserve. Sadly, much like the real world, he was put in jail and is only now getting out. Optimistic that he’ll be able to find a new job fast, he’s shocked to learn that even as a really smart white man being an ex-convict closes a lot of doors, especially the Baskin Robins door. Broke and desperate to see his daughter he returns to a life of crime.

In perhaps one of the most realistic parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Dr. Hank Pym, Michael Douglas, is yet another white man with a galactic size ego. He picks Scott out to carry on the mantel of Ant-Man, though, conveniently leaves out the damage the suit has done to him that makes it so he’s unable to continue using it. He also is adamant that the Avengers not be contacted even though the world is in danger.

Alright, we’re like eleven movies into this re-watch and it’s clearly starting to get to me. I love the movies, I really do, but watching them back to back like this is really, really, highlighting their flaws. Namely, the fact that almost everyone is a freaking white man; they’ve got their little things that make them different from each other, but still… Also, most of the female characters are bad asses with a large portion of them having a tragic past.

Wasp, badass with a tragic past, mother died and her father was a dick.

Black Widow, badass with a tragic past, raised to be an assassin from a very young age.

Scarlett Witch, badass with a tragic past, though, personally badass is kind of a stretch her powers are impressive.

Maria Hill, badass.

Peggy Carter, resourceful, intelligent, badass.

Pepper Potts, rich secretary who is briefly a badass, past unknown.

Betty Ross, scientist, not a badass, father’s a dick, only in the universe one movie before never really brought up again.

Jane Foster, science badass, but mainly science. Backstory unknown and disappears after two movies.

Lady Sif, badass, past unknown, disappears after two movies is in a couple episodes of SHIELD.

Gamora, badass with a tragic backstory.

Nebula, badass with a tragic backstory.

Valkyrie, badass with a tragic backstory.

It’s not until we get to Black Panther that we get a character that’s a bit more with Shuri and she’s been in two movies so far, so hopefully she’s not disappeared. Also, I could be forgetting someone and I didn’t include Captain Marvel because she’s got her own movie, and I don’t consider her backstory tragic, it’s a pretty normal backstory for a woman of her age.

It’s just…it’s really obvious and it really shows how much the series has changed, but I hope it continues to grow. I want more. They’re superhero movies so every main character or supporting character is going to be some level of badass, for the most part, but I want some diversity in their backgrounds. I’d like them to not just be forgotten or never mentioned again. I love the universe, I hope it continues to do better, and be like the heroes they’re telling stories about.

Here is my original review of Ant-Man, after further consideration I think I’ll actually bump it up rating wise. Ant-Man is a good character, but the movie is fun because of Michael Peña.

3.75/5

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Director:

James Gunn

Starring:

Chris Pratt

Vin Diesel

Bradley Cooper

Zoe Saldana

Dave Bautista

Lee Pace

Karen Gillan

Plot:

A group of intergalactic criminals must pull together to stop a fanatical warrior with plans to purge the universe.

Review:

Peter Quill aka Star Lord, Chris Pratt, has a mother that loves him and apparently inspires a lot of love in those around her. When she dies, leaving behind a young, scared boy, he runs out of the hospital and is promptly abducted by aliens. Twenty years pass and we find Peter dancing and singing with a Sony Walkman that has somehow survived two decades while scavenging for a orb to sell.

Meanwhile, Gamora, Zoe Saldana, finally sees a chance to escape from the man that killed her parents and raised her to be a deadly assassin. The two meet while also running into bounty hunters Rocket, Bradley Cooper, and Groot, Vin Diesel. A somewhat unlikely crew is formed and further cemented when they are joined by Drax the Destroyer.

The group wind up learning exactly where their line is. They’re thieves, killers, not exactly the best of the universe, but even they won’t stand by and let someone destroy a planet.

Marvel movies have always had a shade of humor in them, but Guardians of the Galaxy adds more than usual. There are quips and one liners as well as gags and it makes what could easily be a dark movie significantly lighter. Which, again, is common with Marvel movies, but they take it a step further without taking away from the seriousness of the story.

The music in Marvel movies is mostly forgettable, in my opinion. You’ve got what Tony decides to blare, but the background music, besides the theme, is generally unobtrusive and forgettable. It sets the tone well, so does it’s job, but that’s about it. With Guardians of the Galaxy music played a much bigger role. Peter’s mixtape is filled with classic hits and is basically another character. This sets the stage for how music is used in the following movies, especially Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but also Captain Marvel.

Gamora and Nebula, Karen Gillan, were some of the most interesting characters of the movie, though, they contributed very little to the comedy side of things. Both were abducted and raised my Thanos so they have not had the best life experiences. Like Thor and Loki, though, they’ve reacted in different ways. Nebula seems to blame Gamora for the fact that her father prefers her. Gamora just wants to be free.

Drax with his inability to understand sarcasm and metaphor is freaking hilarious and a character you don’t see often. Rocket and Groot are wonderful together and alone and easily two of my favorite Marvel characters.

If I had to live anywhere in the Marvel universe I’d pick Xandar, though, I think Thanos ends up destroying it, so…bummer.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a nice change of pace from the mainline Marvel movies. It is still connected, but it’s so different that it shakes things up nicely and provides a needed break from the usual superhero movies.

4/5

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Director:

Anthony Russo

Joe Russo

Starring:

Chris Evans

Scarlett Johansson

Samuel L. Jackson

Cobie Smulders

Robert Redford

Anthony Mackie

Sebastian Stan

Plot:

As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.

Review:

Steve Rogers aka Captain America, Chris Evans, is no longer fighting aliens bent on taking over the world, so now he is a man out of time trying to figure out his place in the world. He buries himself in work and ignores Black Widow’s, Scarlett Johansson, attempts to set him up on a date.

When Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson, shares with him the next phase for S.H.I.E.L.D. he feels even more lost because it goes against everything he believes in. Cap is doubting himself, wondering if he’ll ever fit in, when things return to something he’s much more familiar with. Poorly shot action scenes, Hydra, and intrigue.

Winter Soldier marks the point in the MCU when I realized I was never going to get well shot action scenes. I’m a bit bitter about that considering I feel like the amount of work the actors put in and the skill of the stunt people involved means their work should be clearly showcased. Instead, we get shaky cam, quick cuts, and extreme close-ups. According to the Wikipedia for this movie”

“In contrast to the quick editing and moving cameras of modern action films, The Winter Soldier aimed to feature longer action scenes that felt more visceral and dangerous.”

I did not get those feelings from these scenes. Time and time again we’d be put in a situation where Cap was about to kick ass, he had great quips, and then boom, you couldn’t see shit. It was beyond frustrating.

Anyway…We got to see more of Cobie Smulders in this movie, which had me excited. She once again is ridiculously capable and acts as Fury’s right hand needing almost no communication from him to know exactly what to do. She takes care of business coolly and calmly and she was barely in the movie.

This might have my favorite Black Widow scenes. She is actually, sort of, human here, though, I have a hard time trusting it and wondered throughout if she was just giving Cap what he wanted to see. She had to come to terms with the fact that Fury doesn’t or didn’t full trust her, and that actually seemed to hit her hard.

Bucky, Sebastian Stan, and Cap’s scenes were easily the best. The flash back to before the super soldier program was emotionally impactful even with the bad scrawny Steve CG. So much emotion between the two and for the first time since he came back Steve seemed to realize he wasn’t alone.

Poor Falcon, Anthony Mackie, didn’t get to beat his bad guy in the end and had to watch his new best friend chase after another. At least he got to fly like a bird till his wings were destroyed.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier didn’t really set up much for future movies. It brought up a lot of history for Cap and did bring us Bucky, and eventually Scarlett Witch, but Hydra doesn’t play a huge role in future movies. You’ve got the little bit in Avengers: Age of Ultron at the beginning but the dismantling of Hydra is mostly handled by Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ultron could have used someone else to do what he did. Cap did seem to get a purpose at the end of the movie, but it’s another short term one, find and help Bucky. Clearly, it’s not one of my favorites, but I know I’m in the minority with that opinion.

Original Review

3/5

Iron Man 3 (2013)

IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Director:

Shane Black

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Don Cheadle

Guy Pearce

Jon Favreau

Ben Kingsley

Rebecca Hall

Plot:

When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Review:

Tony, Robert Downey Jr., is suffering some serious PTSD after the events of The Avengers. He was already in a bad place, but all that went down was just too much and he’s starting to have bad anxiety attacks. He can’t sleep, he’s just burying himself in his work building multiple Iron Man suits. Showing some really healthy growth Tony actually reaches out to Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow, and tells her what he’s going through. Her response, to have sex with him in the shower, and then get mad when one of his suits comes into their bedroom and pulls her off of him.

Wtf woman?!?

Your man is finally reaching out for help and that’s how you react? Opinion of Pepper is at an all-time low after that.

Being Tony he makes some supremely bad decisions by giving out his home address to a terrorist. Happy, Jon Favreau, ends up getting blown up, which is nothing less than he deserves. Dude is so creepy and gross. Anyway, Tony’s house is destroyed, Pepper is kidnapped, and Tony takes a road trip.

Best part of the movie was Iron Patriot, Don Cheadle, saving the president. It was a great action scene and gave him a chance to shine. The rest of the action was supremely disappointing. You had forty some Iron Man suits fighting but you could hardly make out what the hell was going on because of the editing.

The first half of the movie was on par with the rest of the series. It showed some growth on Tony’s part, it was as good as the other Iron Man movies, but they completely shit the bed with the last third.

Pepper is injected with a substance that allows her to heal wounds that shouldn’t be healed, up to and including re-growing a limb, but it has the nasty side effect of making you get really hot and potentially blow up. Because of this new drug she’s able to survive a fall that should have killed her and when she comes back from the dead she flips in the air, kicks something, and eventually punches a hole in Guy Pearce’s chest or something. It was so out of character it actually had her saying she had no idea why she just did that. All of the women in the Marvel universe are kickass, as much as I dislike Pepper’s character, it’s fine for her not to be an ass kicker and giving her that moment felt insulting to the character.

For Tony’s Christmas present to Pepper he blows up his remaining Iron Man suits, but he’s not giving up being Iron Man, he’s just stepping back. The end credits scene has him talking to Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo, like he’s a therapist and Bruce telling him he doesn’t have the temperament for this kind of work.

I feel like it was a lost opportunity to show a male superhero seeking professional help with a serious condition by not showing him taking the whole thing seriously. Throughout the movie he talks about how much he’s grown, and he did take that step and reach out to Pepper, but for the most part he has not changed at all. Seeing him speaking to an actual doctor that could help him could have helped the perception of mental health in the country and would have been a blow to toxic masculinity.

Iron Man 3 left a lot to be desired. It didn’t do the characters justice and felt like a sour note to end his solo arc on. Tony may not be my favorite character, but he deserved better.

2/5

The Avengers (2012)

Hulk Smash Loki

The Avengers (2012)

Director:

Joss Whedon

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr.

Chris Evans

Scarlett Johansson

Mark Ruffalo

Chris Hemsworth

Jeremy Renner

Samuel L. Jackson

Clark Gregg

Cobie Smulders

Stellan Skarsgård

Tom Hiddleston

Gwyneth Paltrow

Plot:

Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Review:

After forever in the ice Captain America, Chris Evans, has been found. Which works out beautifully because Loki, Tom Hiddleston, has come to Earth to exact his revenge against Thor, Chris Hemsworth. Naturally, Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., is pulled into things because he’s super smart and they need his help. To round things out a bit we get Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson, and Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, who both work for S.H.I.E.L.D. to join because they know the system the best, plus, you know, they’re super good at what they do.

It was truly incredible that they were able to get all of these characters in one movie and not once did I feel like someone was slighted with screen time. They each had their moment to shine, they each had their own thing, and it all came together seamlessly. The fact that they did that with the first Avengers movie speaks to the quality of writers working on this film.

Iron Man still very much has his issues, he’s got his attitude, he desperately needs to speak to a professional, and yet he doesn’t because he’s good. For some reason Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow, is wearing cut off blue jean shorts the first time she appears on screen which is not like anything she’s ever worn before and is kind of weird, but apparently they didn’t want her to be taller than Tony and…yeah it was stupid, but whatever.

Captain America is very much a man out of his time and is very easily pulled into saving the Earth because it’s the one thing he’s familiar with. His skill set transfers well and even though he clashes with Tony I don’t think he feels that they’re too serious clashes. While Tony reacts to him in a very juvenile way that really shows his short comings.

Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, Mark Ruffalo, is a harder sell. He doesn’t want to hulk out because he’s finally figured out how to control the monster inside, however, he’s a good man and does want to help save the world. When he’s assured they don’t want his green alter ego he joins them. His interactions with Tony are fun, they’re both super geeks, though, he is worlds more mature than Tony. I feel like if they’d done a movie together they would have worked fine together until Tony pushed him too far and The Hulk beat the ever living shit out of him.

Black Widow and Hawkeye are honestly just there because they’re the best S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. They’re really good at their jobs but I wouldn’t really call them superheroes. This movie really started the poor Black Widow fight scenes, there are so many quick cuts and close ups you honestly have no idea what’s going on and it’s disappointing to watch. Hawkeye is…well he’s a great shot, clearly smart, but I don’t really have anything else to add regarding him.

What I find interesting about the movie is you can pinpoint the exact moment when the general public’s opinion of The Hulk completely changed. He went from a character that people were bored with and didn’t really care about anymore to treating Loki like a rag doll and calling him a puny god. All of sudden people were again talking about another standalone movie for him, which thankfully Marvel has not done. In my opinion, The Hulk works as a great supporting character, but doesn’t work as well on his own.

We were introduced to another female character, Maria Hill, Cobie Smulders, that kicks a lot of ass, is basically S.H.I.E.L.D.S. second in command, and is promptly shoved aside and mostly forgotten. That makes how many characters now? Sure Black Widow has been in a lot of movies, but she is almost always a side character and about as interesting as a pile of rocks. What about Lady Sif? Agent Maria Hill? Jane Foster, Natalie Portman’s character in the Thor movies? Thank goodness Agent Carter, Hayley Atwell, got her own TV show, as short lived as it was.

The Avengers struck the perfect tone, there was just enough comedy to lighten up the potentially Earth ending consequences. The characters were each given their moment to shine, Tony proved that he can rise to the occasion and make the hard decisions without whining about it, he also proved that he can set his ego aside and acknowledge when someone else knows more than he does. It was really a great moment of growth for him, I just wish it lasted. Cap was, as always, incredibly amazing even while clearly struggling with his new surroundings. Thor needed a haircut and wash, it was too long and stringy. Mark Ruffalo was a much different Hulk than Edward Norton, but he filled the role well and worked better with everyone else than Norton could have done. It was a great movie and set the bar high for the following movies.

4.5/5