Tag Archives: Phase 2

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.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier ***1/2


“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” continues expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as continuing the adventures of Steve Rogers aka Captain America. The directors this time are Anthony and Joe Russo, the creative team behind such movies as “You, Me & Dupree” and “Welcome To Collinwood” as well as the TV show “Community”. Hardly the resume you would want to read from the directors of a major studio blockbuster but these guys pull this movie off as if they are seasoned veterans. This is one hell of a thrill ride both in terms of action and story.

The plot follows Steve Rogers about two years after the events of “The Avengers”. He is now working for S.H.I.E.L.D. full time. The film opens as he is sent on a mission to resolve a hostage crisis on a freighter in the middle of the ocean. This leads in to a plot where the Captain finds himself on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D as he tries to uncover a sinister group of people who are trying to bring down Nick Fury.

The most mysterious figure that Rogers is The Winter Soldier, who is a deadly assassin with a bionic arm and is particularly linked to Captain America’s past life in the 1940’s. The Winter Soldier himself is a cool character who can match Roger’s strength and agility.

Joining Rogers is Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. Mackie almost steals every scene he is in, especially when he straps on the wings and flies through the air while battling aerial crafts. I liked his character a lot and hope to see more of him other Marvel movies.

Also new to the series is Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow, who eventually becomes the villain Crossbones, probably in a future installment. Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson are the returning characters as Black Widow and Nick Fury.

Fans of this Marvel series of films will know what to expect at this point and they will not be disappointed. What really floored me was just how compelling the story was this time. I would recommend this to people who simply like a good conspiracy thriller as well as comic book fans. The directors and writers have really crafted an engaging movie that truly sets the stage for hopefully bigger and better developments in this franchise. Most of the action is pretty awesome as well. I did get a little annoyed at some of the shaky camera moments but at this point I don’t see this style going away any time soon.

Iron Man 3 ***1/2


“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.