Tag Archives: Avengers

Captain America: Civil War ***1/2

IMDB Synopsis: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.

 

“Captain America: Civil War” marks a new high for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is an epic film in every way. It also shakes up the status quo by dividing the Avengers and pitting them against each other. I have to tell you that the Marvel world needed this because it was starting to get a little stale after “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron”. The film is not without it’s flaws but it is certainly an exciting entry into the series.

 

The major battles in some of the previous films as well as a tragic incident at the beginning of this movie have caused a lot of innocent people to lose their lives. The U.S. Government as well as the United Nations have decided that the Avengers can no longer operate on their own. A new law is enacted that demands that the Avengers either operate under government control or disband. Super heroes area not aloud to operate on their own anymore.

 

Captain America, having watched Shield become infiltrated by Hydra, believes the safest hands are their own. Tony Stark, having been confronted by some of the families of people who lost loved ones during these battles, decides to side with the government. Causing a further rift between the Avengers is the apparent terrorist attack by the Winter Soldier.

 

Everything leads up to a fierce battle at an airport. Team Iron Man includes War Machine, Black Widow, Vision and the newly recruited Black Panther and Spider-Man. Team Captain America consists of Falcon, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, Winter Soldier, and Ant-Man.

 

The directing team of Anthony and Joe Russo, who helmed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” are tasked with telling this epic story and they do a great job. They sets some real stakes and create real tension. The battles between former friends and new foes are fierce. The final revelations really set this whole series in to a new direction as well. The only draw back to the Russo’s is that they seem to be edging towards more shaky cam style of action.

 

Now as I mentioned before, Spider-Man makes his first appearance in this Marvel Universe. Tom Holland portrays Peter Parker. As much as I enjoyed seeing him in action he did turn out to be one of the flaws of the film. I felt that his character was sort of shoe-horned into the plot simply because they could. It did feel very last minute. But he is here so I should just be quiet and enjoy it.


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Ant-Man ***

IMDB Synopsis: 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.

“Ant-Man” is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It introduces to titular Ant-Man, also known as Scott Lang. Ant-Man wears a suit that has the ability to shrink down to the size of a bean as well as giving him control over insects. Lang is played by Paul Rudd, who brings his comedic sensibilities to turn in a fun and exciting performance in a refreshingly original super hero movie.

His nemesis is Darren Cross, aka, Yellowjackets. Cross has created a similar suit with more fire power. This sets the stage for some truly exciting and visually stunning action sequences that involve some very unexpected sets. You will never look at Thomas The Tank Engine the same way after this film.

Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly play Hank Pym and his daughter Hope Van Dyne. Pym was the previous owner of the Ant-Man suit and his daughter has eyes on her own adventures in the future.

The director is Peyton Reid, who makes a pretty solid transition from mostly comedies to a big budget Marvel film and he pulls it off rather well. The film is not without it’s flaws though. It is an origin story which I think people are starting to get bored of and there are a few unnecessary moments where they try to connect to the Avengers that were not needed. But those were small gripes. This is a fun and exciting film.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron ***

  

“Avengers: Age Of Ultron” is the latest in this ever growing canon of Marvel movies. It is technically a sequel to 2012’s “The Avengers”. For those who pay close attention it is actually a sequel to “Iron Man 3”, “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Those three films are kind of required viewing. Anyway so did I enjoy this latest entry? Quite a bit actually. I have seen it twice now and it was better the second time. It does have some glaring flaws though mostly in that it spends too much time create plots for future Marvel films and not enough time developing the characters, esspecially the villain Ultron.

The movie picks up pretty much where Captain America’s latest movie left us. The Avengers have reassembled to take on Hydra forces. The opening scene has the super hero team trying to take down the fortress of Baron Von Strucker. Strucker has been experimenting with Loki’s staff from the first film. His experiments have resulted in the creation of two new characters with superhuman powers. There is Quicksilver who movies at incredible speeds and Scarlet Witch who has the power of mind influence.

The real antagonist of the film is Ultron who is an artificial intelligence created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. It was intended as a peace keeping program that has made the decision that mankind is the ultimate enemy of the planet and must be exterminated. He takes on the voice and persona of James Spader who is given some particularly delicious dialogue for a comic book movie.

His battles with the Avengers involves some large scale carnage created with more CGI than usual which did not really sit too well with me considering the first film made use of as much practical effects as they could. The sequences here are pretty cool but just don’t feel as real as they did in the first film.

Joss Whedon returns to direct this mega sequel and does an admiral job of cramming in as much smaller character moments as well as some great humour as he can. I can’t fault the guy for all the side plots the film introduces so that the characters can launch back into their on franchises. It is these scenes that I felt were not all that necessary or maybe they needed to be a bit more subtle.

Guardians Of The Galaxy ***1/2

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What can I say about what Marvel is up to these days when it comes to their cinematic universe? It has been impressive so far. To see a studio try to do something this fresh and execute it so well is kind of refreshing. Now comes “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, which introduces a new team to their shared vision. It features none of the major characters seen so far. The story takes place on the other side of the galaxy and will probably cross over in to the main story line in the future but for now it is a stand alone movie. I may need to see this a few more times but it might just be my favorite Marvel movie to date.

There is so much to love here. First of all I am a sucker for fantasy films that take place in space. “Star Wars” must of inspired a lot of this film. The only scenes that take place on earth are the first five minutes before the filmmakers leave it behind for a truly cosmic tale.

The story follows Starlord, aka, Peter Quill played by Chris Pratt. He is a lone gun who makes his living smuggling and salvaging artifacts off of baron planets. When the movie opens with Quill on the planet Morag, looking for a powerful orb. When he finds it he is confronted by minions of Ronan the Accuser who is looking for the same thing. When Quill tries to sell the orb on Xandar, he is then attacked by Gamora, a green alien played by Zoe Saldana.

Also joining the chase are Rocket Raccoon and Groot voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Rocket is some sort of experiment resulting in an intelligent Raccoon. He is a wise cracking, gun toting, hilarious character. Groot is basically a living tree with a lot of neat surprises that pop up when the team is in danger.

Then there is Drax the Destroyer played by Dave Bautista. His motivation is to destroy Ronan for the death of his wife and children. Drax takes everything literally and is single minded.

The writer and director is Tim Gunn who really must of loved making every moment in this film as the characters, the action and the visual effects are all outstanding. The story always comes first though and it is a good one. These characters have all existed on the fringe and have come together to defeat an enemy that threatens the entire galaxy.

“Guardians Of The Galaxy” marks a moment when Marvel has decided to go cosmic. This was hinted at in last year’s “Thor: The Dark World”, which took place a lot on Asgard but had it’s big finale on Earth. Here we get to visit many amazing place that can only exist in the farthest reaches of space. Once such location is called Knowhere, which is a remote criminal outpost built inside the head of a long dead Celestial. The interiors are a mash up of different alien beings and their shops. It is a truly original set piece unlike anything we have seen before in a fantasy film. This is where they attempt to sell the orb to the Collector played by Benicio Del Tor, who reveals that the orb is one of the Infinity Stones.

Everything culminates with a massive dog fight over the city planet of Xandar. Ronan is bent on the planets destruction and only the aerial fleet of the Nova Corps lead by the Guardians can defeat them.

“Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a hell of an adventure from start to finish. It is a visual feast as well as a rush for the senses. But none of it would really work without great characters and an engaging story. As an entry in Marvel’s canon it is the best so far.

Iron Man 3 ***1/2

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“Iron Man 3” marks the beginning of what Marvel Studios is referring to as Phase 2 in their cinematic universe. Their first series of films culminated in last year’s “The Avengers”, where some of their most famous super heroes banded together to defend earth from a massive invasion. I will admit that I didn’t fall in love with the first phase of films, including the first two Iron Man films. I thought they were fun movies but not exactly in the same league as say “The Dark Knight”.

“Iron Man 3” is the best of the series so far and has me really psyched for this next phase of films. Writer and director Shane Black wisely has crafted a movie that mostly stands apart from the other Marvel films. One of the issues I had with “Iron Man 2” was that it spent too much time setting up the future. This third movie focuses on putting Tony Stark to the ultimate test by pitting him against a truly diabolical adversary.

Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin, a powerful terrorist who is unleashing havoc on all his targets. When Tony threatens him he reacts by destroying his home which unexpectedly results in Tony stranded in rural Tennessee. Not by accident I might add. The plot is complex and creative, complete with twists that nobody will see coming.

Guy Pearce joins the cast this time as Aldrich Killian, a scientist I cannot say too much about without giving away some of the surprises. Returning cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle as Pepper Potts and James Rhodes, aka, Iron Patriot.

Now as much as I like Jon Favreau, I much prefer what Shane Black has brought to this franchise. He has created a great story and merged it with some truly spectacular action sequences. The best being the moment when Iron Man must save over ten people who are falling from a crashing airplane.