MARVEL

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Director:

Anthony Russo

Joe Russo

Writers:

Christopher Markus

Stephen McFeely

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr.

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Evans

Chris Pratt

Mark Ruffalo

Don Cheadle

Benedict Cumberbatch

Tom Holland

Chadwick Boseman

Tom Hiddleston

Anthony Mackie

Sebastian Stan

Bradley Cooper

Paul Bettany

Vin Diesel

Scarlett Johansson

Zoe Saldana

Karen Gillan

Elizabeth Olsen

Danai Gurira

Pom Klementieff

Letita Wright

Gwyneth Paltrow

Plot:

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Review:

Thor, Chris Hemsworth, and the Asgardians that escaped from Hela have been decimated by Thanos, Josh Brolin. Well, half of them, I’m going to assume Valkyrie got away with the other half because she’s not seen in the movie. Thanos beats the shit out of The Hulk, Mark Ruffalo, and for what might be the first time The Hulk gets scared and for the rest of the movie refuses to come out which puts our heroes at a disadvantage. Bruce may be smart, but they needed brawn more than another brain.

Tony, Robert Downey Jr., is settling into life, still not really facing his fears, but wanting to make a commitment to Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow, and become a family man. I feel like I think he’s got certain issues, but he believes he has other ones entirely, and that’s why I never get to see any movement on his PTSD and anxiety. Seeing him and Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch, interact was one of the highlights of the movie. I also really enjoyed how each group or individual still had their own style. It was very clear when you were with Strange or the Guardians or the others, which I appreciated.

Star Lord, Chris Pratt, is the real fuck up of this movie. Everyone else is heroic, but he decided to lean more toward his roguish nature. He reacted entirely in character, which is annoying, cause everyone else rose to new heights with this challenge, but he was an ass and ruined everything.

Is Thor the mightiest Avenger now? I think there’s got to be a strong case for him. The Hulk is hiding inside Banner and Thor withstood the power of a dying star, after surviving floating in space for an undetermined amount of time. He’s grieving but still did what was necessary, plus he’s a cross between an angel and a pirate, I’d read that romance novel.

The final battle takes place in Wakanda, but Black Panther and his crew probably have the least amount of screen time, with maybe Cap and his people coming in next. There are a TON of people in this movie so it’s not entirely unexpected but I’m hoping that they all have more of a part to play in Endgame.

So many people are “dead” but you don’t see a lot of them actually disappear on screen so who exactly is gone isn’t quite clear. I believe the directors may have confirmed a few people, but I refuse to believe that Loki, Tom Hiddleston, is actually dead. He’s died too many times and he had to know what Thanos was going to do, he’s alive somewhere in the universe.

This movie felt more inspired by the older movies, so some of the things I’ve loved in the last few movies weren’t here. Thor was still awesome, but apart from Gamora, Zoe Saldana, and Scarlett Witch, Elizabeth Olsen, the female representation was light. Scarlett Witch and Vision, Paul Bettany, and their relationship felt really weird, in my opinion. I’m assuming it was something in the comics. I guess it was teased in Civil War, but it came off as more Vision being kind of creepy and Scarlett Witch being polite about it in that movie. I don’t know, they’re probably my least favorite characters, so while their story plays a key part to the movie it’s my least favorite. It doesn’t help that this is the most we’ve ever really spent with them so there hasn’t been as much buildup.

The end credit scene is nothing but hype for me, especially after watching Captain Marvel. Seeing Fury, Samuel L. Jackson, and Maria Hill, Cobie Smulders, again was just so exciting!

Infinity War is technically a complete story, but not really. We all know there is no way all of those heroes are staying dead and that Thanos is going to win. It just can’t/won’t happen. It is basically a two part story with an excellent first part, but what happens in Endgame is going to make a huge impact on it and could completely change my opinion of Infinity War. We’ll just have to see what happens.

Original Review

4/5

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther

Black Panther (2018)

Director:

Ryan Coogler

Writers:

Ryan Coogler

Joe Robert Cole

Starring:

Chadwick Boseman

Michael B. Jordan

Lupita Nyong’o

Danai Gurira

Letitia Wright

Winston Duke

Plot:

T’Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country’s past.

Review:

T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman, has come home to be crowned the new King of Wakanda after the death of his father in the events of Civil War. His ex is a spy for Wakanda and he can’t face his coronation without her because there is clearly love still there. Everything goes swimmingly with the coronation, though, there is a challenger that makes T’Challa work for it.

Still, things seem to finally be calming down for T’Challa. He’s mourning the loss of his father, but death appears to be a positive thing for Wakandans. He’s thinking about the future of his kingdom and whether to reveal their true nature to the rest of the world, when suddenly a notorious criminal responsible for the deaths of many of his people, shows up. Naturally, he must go after him. It ends up snowballing when Killmonger, Michael B. Jordan, shows up and takes the crown.

Here’s the thing, what makes Black Panther so incredible is the cast and the development given to their characters. This is easily one of the most creative Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, if not the most creative. It wasn’t just Black Panther’s costume that was created and imagined it was an entire country. It was incredible the amount of detail that was included. I would watch a TV show or read a book that had nothing to do with Black Panther set in Wakanda.

Women appear to be treated equally, Okoye, Danai Gurira, is their best fighter. Shuri, Letitia Wright, is the smartest person in the country and possibly the world. She certainly puts Tony and Bruce in their places in Infinity War. Even Nakia, Lupita Nyong’o, pushes T’Challa to be better and he listens to her. Each of the women here have personality and character and history. They aren’t just there to support the lead, though there is that, they are their own people.

Okoye is a general and stands by her oath to the very end, even when it goes against her wishes. Shuri doesn’t appear to back down from anyone, facing everything head on with her brain leading the way. Nakia loves T’Challa but refuses to compromise her career for that love because she believes what she’s accomplishing with it is more important and T’Challa knows that. He is able to find a compromise for them at the end. They are all strong, capable women, but with their own strengths and weaknesses, and they aren’t just props to further along T’Challa’s story.

This movie means so much to me because of those women. We’ve had Black Widow, Scarlett Witch, to a lesser extent Valkyrie, and a few others, but these women are the first time that I feel like we’ve gotten some fleshed out female superheroes and it’s just been one movie. They make me so excited for what’s to come for the MCU future.

Original Review

5/5

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director:

Taika Waititi

Writers:

Eric Pearson

Craig Kyle

Christopher L. Yost

Starring:

Chris Hemsworth

Tom Hiddleston

Cate Blanchett

Tessa Thompson

Mark Ruffalo

Anthony Hopkins

Jeff Goldblum

Plot:

Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela.

Review:

Thor, Chris Hemsworth, is having nightmares. Asgard ending nightmares. So he searches for the cause, ends up adding a new item to the Asgard collection, and then finally learns that his brother isn’t dead, but his father is missing, and oh yeah he’s got a sister that’s the goddess of death. Oh the life of a Norse god.

When confronted with impossible odds Loki, Tom Hiddleston, runs away calling a bridge, which allows their sister access to Asgard. Thor and Loki are both kicked off the bridge and wind up on Sakaar, where time is funky. Then the real fun begins.

Actually, the movie is fun from the minute it starts with Thor in a cage talking to some bones, it just gets better from there. The 80s feel, the humor, the story this movie takes all the previous Marvel movies and perfects them. It’s got the great music, excellent humor, shirtless SHORT HAIRED Thor, and two amazing female characters.

Some more female representation! Valkyrie, Tessa Thompson, is, well she deserves to have at least her own TV show where she bums through the galaxy trying to move on with her life after finally getting out of her drunken stupor. Her rapport with Thor and Hulk, Mark Ruffalo, are great. She’s much more serious than Thor, but doesn’t go too hard into it like Black Widow. She does have a tragic backstory, but that just means she deserves to find her own happily ever after.

Hela, Cate Blanchet, is terrifyingly beautiful as the Goddess of Death. She is pure evil but I don’t feel like they pushed her over the top into comic book villain (lol). She’s crazy, but not deranged, she is pissed the fuck off more than anything. She’s been locked up, erased from history by her father, and she’s back to finish the job he wouldn’t let her.

The buddy comedy feel of Hulk and Thor is something I desperately hope we get more of. Hulk and Iron Man has nothing on a Hulk and Thor team up. We also seem to be back at Bruce Banner changing into the Hulk when he’s stressed, not just angry. There’s also the added element of Hulk sticking around for two years instead of receding and letting Banner take over. The two personalities seem to be becoming more separate.

I’m honestly having a hard time thinking of anything negative to say about Thor: Ragnarok. It’s a nice balance between serious and funny, it has representation from women and POC though it could use more, the story is interesting, and it ties into the overarching plot but is still complete on its own. It is easily one of my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, if not my favorite.

Original Review

5/5

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

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