Movie

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

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

spider-man-homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director:

Jon Watts

Writers:

Jonathan Goldstein

John Francis Daley

Jon Watts

Christopher Ford

Chris McKenna

Erik Sommers

Starring:

Tom Holland

Michael Keaton

Jon Favreau

Marisa Tomei

Zendaya

Jacob Batalon

Laura Harrier

Plot:

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Review:

Peter Parker, Tom Holland, is not technically an Avenger, but maybe. If Tony Stark would just give him a chance he knows he could succeed. It’s not like he hasn’t already proven himself in battle against Earth’s mightiest superheroes. Of course, Tony couldn’t even give him that telling him that Cap would have beat him if he wanted too. I’m really glad that Peter has Aunt May, Marisa Tomei, she is a much better parental figure than Tony.

Using his new suit Peter fights crime, discovers weapons being made with alien tech, and tracks down the people responsible. When he botches a sting operation put in place to take the bad guys down Tony takes his suit away. Probably the best and most hypocritical move that Tony could have done since it’s easy to forget that Peter is only 15.

Without his suit, but desperate to do good with his abilities, Peter finds himself in a dangerous position, he calls all the people he can, is ignored, and so does what heroes do. He pushes himself, learns his limits, and pushes himself past them to save people. He is a hero, but by not taking Tony up on his offer he proves that he’s also very self-aware. Honestly, having never enjoyed Spider-Man, this movie made me excited for the character. It is easily the second best Spider-Man movie (Into the Spiderverse is first).

As much as I enjoyed the Spider-Man character, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as good without his villain The Vulture, Michael Keaton. Awarded a huge clean up job by the city of NY Keaton takes out loans, hires people, and is looking at a bright professional future, when Tony Stark swoops in and takes it all away. Honestly, it’s kind of disheartening that in a universe with superheroes the politicians still manage to fuck shit up. Who in their right mind awards a clean-up project to the very person that made the mess? Did he give them an amazing deal? Should it have mattered? He better be doing it for free, but I doubt it.

I would be right on board with The Vulture if he’d just not had to go and kill people. That one little step is my step too far. I could have probably forgiven killing his flunky, but trying to kill a teenager? A teenager that you know saved your daughter from death? Nope, can’t root for you. I was happy that he didn’t give Peter up at the end though, it showed that he wasn’t completely evil, maybe.

As to the impact on the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peter gets a new fancy suit, but I think that’s pretty much it. It’s a nice suit…

Spider-Man: Homecoming was a great superhero movie, but it was lacking in a couple areas. First, and the one that impacts my rating the least, it’s ties to the overarching plot. It builds the character and relationships, but, so far, it doesn’t seem to mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Second, and actually impacting my rating, the lack of female characters and representation, both in front of and behind the screen. Aunt May was awesome, what little Zendaya was in the movie she was great, the only other significant female character was Liz, Laura Harrier, and she was really just there as a romantic interest for Peter and didn’t even speak in a lot of her time on screen. Everyone was a dude and I’ve just watched, how many movies, where it’s the same way, and it’s really starting to weigh me down. It’s one thing when it’s spread out a couple times a year, it’s another thing when it’s every day. I’m just a bit…tired.

Side note: sorry for the little break in reviews, I moved and that is time consuming.

Original Review

4/5

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Director:

James Gunn

Writer:

James Gunn

Dan Abnett

Starring:

Chris Pratt

Zoe Saldana

Dave Bautista

Vin Diesel

Bradley Cooper

Michael Rooker

Karen Gillan

Pom Klementieff

Kurt Russell

Plot:

The Guardians struggle to keep together as a team while dealing with their personal family issues, notably Star-Lord’s encounter with his father the ambitious celestial being Ego.

Review:

We find the Guardians of the Galaxy fighting a giant alien as hired mercenaries for a race of snooty gold people. Rocket, Bradley Cooper, steals something he shouldn’t because he’s seemingly testing the boundaries and strength of his new relationships. Things don’t go well for the Guardians, but it’s okay Star Lord’s, Chris Pratt, father shows up and saves the day.

Yeah, so apparently Star Lord’s father, Kurt Russell, is an immortal planet, or something. He has spread his seed far and wide in the hopes of creating a prodigy that can help him destroy the universe, well create it in his own image.

Each of his children have failed, but when he learns Star Lord has held an infinity stone and lived he has hope. Unfortunately for him, being a being alive for millennia, he doesn’t understand that killing your child’s loving mother is like the worst thing you can do.

This movie was about Star Lord and Rocket’s stories. There were some dashes of Gamora, Zoe Saldana, and Nebula, Karen Gillan, they started to work out their issues, but probably not. We also got little doses of the odd relationship between Drax, Dave Bautista, and Mantis, Pom Klementieff. For the most part, though, it was Star Lord. We saw more of his backstory, more of his family, and the ending was mostly about him as well. The movie is called Guardians of the Galaxy, it would have been nice if it had more of an ensemble feel, like Avengers. Star Lord had 11 more minutes of screen time than the next person, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but even when he was not on the screen a fair amount of the story revolved around him.

Part of why I enjoyed the first movie was the other characters and by far my favorite parts of this movie had almost nothing to do with Star Lord. Basically, anything with Groot and Rocket was awesome. I really liked Gamora and Nebula working on their shit too. The weakest part of the story, in my opinion, was Star Lord’s.

Overall, I’m not sure what impact this movie had on the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. We now have Mantis, who plays her part with trying to distract Thanos in Infinity War. There are some allusions to a future Guardians plot, but no idea if that will impact anyone else.

The movie was a step down from the original. Oddly enough, I loved it on my first viewing. So what’s changed? Is it because I watched it so closely to the first? Is it because this is the first time I’ve watched it since Black Panther, Thor Ragnarok, and Captain Marvel? I don’t know. I still enjoyed the humor at least.

Original Review

3/5

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange (2016)

Director:

Scott Derrickson

Starring:

Benedict Cumberbatch

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Rachel McAdams

Benedict Wong

Mads Mikkelsen

Tilda Swinton

Plot:

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Review:

Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch, is a world renowned neurosurgeon. He is the best at what he does, he makes a ton of money, and has a massive ego to go with it. One night, on his way to a benefit, he’s driving his expensive car at unsafe speeds on windy wet roads and takes his eyes off the road. For possibly the first time in the man’s life, the worst case scenario happens to him and he’s not able to fix it. He careens off the side of the mountain and his hands are damaged beyond full repair. His entire life is now over.

Dr. Christine Palmer, Rachel McAdams, is a good doctor in her own right, and considers herself his friend, and tries to help him. He lashes out at her, after months of her helping, and he says some truly heinous things. She walks away and then he’s free to wallow in his miserableness. Except, he does continue to try and find a way to fix his hands. Using his last dime he travels to Nepal and searches for the Ancient One.

Doctor Strange continues the white male egomaniac tropes with the superheroes, but unlike Tony Strange actually grows by the end of the movie. We don’t know yet if that growth will stay or if he’ll backslide into thinking he’s the most amazing thing ever created, but I have high hopes. He actually gives Dr. Palmer a legitimate and good apology.

Dr. Palmer is one of only two women with significant speaking parts in the movie, that I remember. She at one point dated Strange, but apart from trying to help him get better and being a doctor is given no kind of backstory.

The other woman in the movie is The Ancient One, Tilda Swinton, she is ancient and powerful, and steals her long life from the dark one, Dormammu. She trains Strange and puts him in his place in several instances, which is very fun to watch. She pushes him. She recognizes that there is more than just a light and dark side, which ultimately is what creates what I guess will be the next Strange villain, Mordo, Chiwetel Ejiofor.

I liked Doctor Strange more than I remember, but clearly there are some troubling issues with it, though, that probably has a lot to do with the source material too. My hope is that there will be more female characters in the next one, because at this point it’s a glaringly obvious problem with the franchise.

Original Review

4/5

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain American Civil War

Oh they fuckin

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Director:

Anthony Russo

Joe Russo

Starring:

Chris Evans

Sebastian Stan

Robert Downy Jr.

Scarlett Johansson

Anthony Mackie

Don Cheadle

Jeremy Renner

Chadwick Boseman

Paul Bettany

Elizabeth Olsen

Paul Rudd

Tom Holland

Emily VanCamp

Plot:

Political involvement in the Avengers’ affairs causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

Review:

S.H.I.E.L.D. is no more, technically, but that doesn’t stop the Avengers from fighting crime. Captain America, Chris Evans, has a team together and they’re trying to stop a biological weapon from being stolen. They’re in the middle of a bustling city and the bad guys don’t care about collateral damage, the Avengers aren’t as good on that front as they should be either, one thing leads to another and the side of building is destroyed. In the end the Avengers stopped the biological weapon from being stolen, but civilians died, namely Wakandan citizens died.

Cue General Ross, William Hurt, who has managed to fail upward and become the Secretary of State. He convinces a struggling Tony, Robert Downey Jr., that the best form of oversight for the Avengers is the United Nations. Tony is desperate for someone to take away the responsibility so he jumps right on it. Cap, on the other hand, is used to this side of war and has seen enough of the world’s government to know he doesn’t want to dance to their tune.

Thus the Avengers Civil War is born.

The team is fairly evenly split. War Machine, Don Cheadle, and Vision, Paul Bettany, side with Tony. While Falcon, Anthony Mackie, and Scarlett Witch, Elizabeth Olsen, are with Cap. Though Scarlett Witch had some doubts and was ultimately swayed because Tony basically put her under house arrest.

On top of all of this a new bad guy is in town and he’s decided to destroy the Avengers. He knows the great lengths that Cap will go to save Bucky, Sebastian Stan, and uses that knowledge. He plays the Avengers like a fiddle and it’s truly remarkable what he’s able to accomplish. He rips them apart and even though he’s caught in the end the damage is done.

Cap and Bucky are able to escape, but the others that chose his side are all put in the Raft, a floating prison. Tony knows that’s where they are, he goes and visits them and Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, calls him out, but Tony just leaves them. Cap is the one that breaks them out. Tony has come backs for everything everyone says to him, but they’re so weak. He knows it, but he never acknowledges it. He knows that Bucky wasn’t in control when he killed Tony’s parents, but he loses control and doesn’t care.

This movie birthed my absolute hatred of Iron Man. I had almost forgotten exactly why I hated him, but I was very clearly reminded. I felt like the movie did a poor job backing why Cap was clearly in the right. They didn’t want Iron Man to become a bad guy so they went too weak.

The fight scenes weren’t as poorly shot as Winter Soldier, so that was nice. They’re still not good, but they weren’t nearly as bad.

There were a couple big reveals in this movie, two of them being the amazing introductions to Spider-Man, Tom Holland, and Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman. Even though this was the first introduction to these characters in the middle of an ensemble movie, they didn’t get lost. They got just enough exposure leaving you wanting more, which is exactly what they needed.

It was also revealed that Sharon, Emily VanCamp, is Peggy Carter’s niece. I hated that reveal. I was never a fan of her, but she was sort of just there so it didn’t really matter, but making her related to Peggy felt cheap. It’s like she’s a conciliation prize for Cap and I hate that. It takes an already weak character and weakens her, in my opinion. They don’t bother giving her, her own backstory, they just tac her on to someone else. Frustrating.

Captain America: Civil War is a poor title for a great movie, maybe Captain America vs. Iron Man: Poor Bucky.

4.5/5