Category Archives: Marvel Movies

Black Panther – A Movie Review


Related Content from And There Came A Day


Black Panther

I will restrain myself from pronouncing Black Panther the best of the Marvel Studios movies. 

For now.

However, you can certainly believe the hype: Black Panther is a wonderful movie – thought provoking, beautiful, exciting, uplifting – and it deserves each accolade it is receiving. On its way to a massive and record opening, Black Panther will, like Wonder Woman last summer, likely serve as a touchstone that will change the way people think about superhero movies.

Actually, it is likely to change the way people think about movies in general. More on that later.

Black Panther does many amazing things, primary among them is passing itself off as a comic book movie. It simply is not or, rather, it is much more than that. Sure, there are the trappings of the superhero story: a young man receives special gifts and powers upon the death of this father and, after fighting through self-doubt and challengers, assumes the mantle of hero. Each-and-every box of that trope is fully checked. Black Panther (played by a very engaging and well cast Chadwick Boseman who premiered in the role in Captain America: Civil War) has a super suit, super powers and is super clear in his mission. He is also a wonderful hero. But he does not act alone.

Of the many surprises Black Panther has in store for its audience, one of the most delightful is that it is actually an ensemble movie. Perhaps even more delightful – and important – is that the ensemble is comprised almost exclusively of women. On hand and in roles which are just as prominent as Boseman’s are Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Leticia Wright as Shuri. Nakia is a secret agent just as competent as the Panther, Okoye is a member of the Panther’s royal guard who is clearly a superior fighter to him and Shuri is the most brilliant character on screen. I wanted to see more of these women that the movie (even at 2 hours and 14 minutes) had time to showcase. Each performance was wonderful and nuanced. Each was full of surprises. Factor in Forrest Whittaker and Angela Bassett in supporting roles as well and you have put together an amazing cast. Each of them, like the movie overall, exceeds expectation.

Michael B. Jordan is remarkable as Eric Killmonger, the protagonist in the film. He embodies Killmonger with complexity and pathos and overcomes some of the typical, villain must be connected to the hero plot devices that plague these movies. His rage is as believable as him being an equal to Black Panther and, when the final showdown comes, Boseman and Jordan are well suited for it and well matched.

The movie itself is unlike any of the others which have proceeded it. There is precious little world building or fan service here and Black Panther is the better for the absence. One part James Bond movie, one part mediation on race, one part celebration of all cultures and one part action movie, Black Panther is simply a terrific and captivating experience that will resonate far beyond the manner in which other comic book movies do. Black Panther wants to be what it is, yes: a Marvel Superhero Movie. But it wants to be – and IS – much more than that. It will have to be counted on any “best of” list of Marvel films and I wonder, way in the back of my head, if we will be talking about it when Academy Award nominations for 2018 are announced early next year. 

We should be.

It will continue to smash box office records and reasons it has struck such a note with the general public will be considered, written about and debated. And that is a good thing. The movie gives lie to the idea that a film starring a black cast, featuring black creators and discussing themes of race cannot be a hit with a broad audience.

And thank God for that.

I am looking forward to Boseman and many of the rest of the cast appearing this summer in Avengers: Infinity War and I cannot wait for Black Panther 2

BLACK PANTHER receives FIVE ARMORED RHINOS out of a possible FIVE.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Black Panther, Comic Book Movies, Marvel Movies, Movie Review, Movies

Countdown to INFINITY… Iron Man 3


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy \ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange |            Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Seven: IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Did you forget it takes place over the holiday? It is also smart and fun and directly deals with fallout from Avengers. Though there are many for whom the big reveal of the identity of the Mandarin did not land, it absolutely worked overtime for me. Almost every choice made in Iron Man 3 works. It is a much superior sequel to Iron Man 2. 

It is surprisingly funny and it might be Robert Downey jr’s best performance in the role of Tony Stark which is surely saying something. The movie’s main antagonist, Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian, is a slight improvement over the typical villain. And the chemistry between Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow along with the dynamic between Downey and Don Cheadle is terrific, too.

Iron Man 3 is a very much self contained affair. There is very little world building here and the majority of the plot threads it introduces are not really revisited again. It also takes on some of the most “grown up” themes of any of the Marvel films.

And the initial segment of the closing credits – the Hart to Hart homage, the driving and super-duper theme song by Brian Tyler and the images from all 3 Iron Many movies – is too much fun.

Iron Man 3 plays like the final installment in Iron Man’s solo adventures, and so it has been.

 

Iron Man 3 premiered before I was blogging reviews, but it receives FOUR AND A HALF DORA THE EXPLORER WATCHES out of a possible FIVE.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • The Mandarin
  • Tony’s army of Iron Man suits (which are, of course, destroyed in the context of the movie)

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • The kind of artificial intelligence that is seen in the new suits sets up a plot point of Avengers: Age of Ultron which will lead to Captain America: Civil War which will… you get the point.
  • Stay for the post credit scene which continues the development of the so-called “science bros” rapport between Tony and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner.
  • We know that Tony puts his armor back on before Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the audience is never actually told why or how.

Leave a comment

Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Iron Man, Marvel Movies, Movie Review, Movies, Robert Downey jr.

Link’n’Blogs – 2.16.18: Everything You Need to Know about Black Panther


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

If the hype machine is to be trusted (it isn’t typically, but I hope it is in this case), Black Panther is the best of the Marvel movies to date. That would be very cool as he is also one of the least known of the Marvel characters to receive a film. Get ready for the movie with Cosmopolitan’s all you need to know about the Black Panther by clicking T’Challa (do you know what that is?) below…

Black Panther Kirby

Leave a comment

Filed under Black Panther, Link'n'Blog, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios

Countdown to INFINITY… The Avengers


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy \ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange |            Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Five: AVENGERS

the-avengers-mondo-poster

This is the grandaddy of them all: Avengers is the one that made the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe come together. Loud, audacious, bombastic, over-the-top and incredibly fun, Avengers made put together the Marvel heroes in a movie where the sum is better than its parts (and its parts are pretty damned good). Before the Joss Whedon blacklash of recent years, he was regarded as something of a genius, a nerds’ geek and a pop culture hero. Watching Avengers, it is easy to see why. Almost every choice he makes pays off in this undeniably entertaining superhero team up.

Avengers remains one of the best of the Marvel movies and perhaps the most enjoyable on repeat viewings. The chemistry among the characters is easy and fun. The stakes are appropriately high. The set pieces are thrilling.

The only quibble (and it is a minor one) is the final battle. It literally plays out over the final forty minutes of the film. That is a long time. And, by-the-way, as a fan of the DC movies and a critic of the critiques, I note that the wanton destruction and willful loss of life in Avengers rivals anything in Man of Steel but that is a different post. One final point: it is sad to hear Chris Connell’s vocals on Live to Rise, the rock and roll theme of the movie…

Avengers premiered before I was blogging reviews, but it receives FIVE MEWLING QUIMS out of a possible FIVE.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Maria Hill
  • Thanos
  • The World Council
  • The Battle of New York

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Thanos is, obviously, the big bad of Avengers: Infinity War. His introduction in the mid-credit sequence, however, is underwhelming. Only the geekiest of geeks would know him.
  • The World Council played a significant role in Captain America: Civil War, a movie that put many of the Avengers on the wrong side of the law were they remain until Avengers: Infinity War.
  • The movie establishes heroes, villains, aliens and gods in the world and people just seem to accept it. I guess it will not seem that crazy when Thanos comes calling in Infinity War.
  • The Other, the minion of Thanos with whom Loki deals, is going to show up in Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Tony Stark’s heroic deposit of the nuclear bomb into Chitari space has major repercussions for the character, repercussions that will, likely, influence Infinity War.

Leave a comment

Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Movies, Movie Review, Movies

Countdown to INFINITY… Thor


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II THOR | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy \ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange |            Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Five: THOR

Thor Variant

 

Thor is an almost completely delightful movie. Director Kenneth Branagh does a remarkable job weaving together the story of a boastful man-child, petulant heir to a throne whose father realizes (and way too late as Thor’s recklessness costs many, many lives) that his son needs a comeuppance and banishes him from the magical realm of Asgard to the also magical realm of Earth. On Earth, much fun is had as Chris Hemsworth (in a ridiculously winning performance) perfectly embodies a fish-out-of-water with much to learn. Though there are few surprises and we know that Thor will get his hammer and his powers and his life back, the journey is so much fun we do not complain.

But Thor has its weaknesses. While Natalie Portman is very good as Jane Foster, she is also given little more to do than react to things around her and she is forced to play some very painful, eye-batting scenes with Hemsworth. There is, as becomes a Marvel trope, a little too much shoe-horned world building. I love me some Agent Coulson (Son-of-Coul Thor hilariously calls him), but he, too, is window dressing (and do not ask yourself how the Hawkeye scene plays into the plot of this film…).

Come for the fun, stay for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki! Thor is a delightful surprise and far better than it has a right to be.

You can read my full review but the end run is that Thor received FOUR BROKEN COFFEE CUPS out of a possible FIVE.

Entertainment Weekly is also counting down to Avengers: Infinity War. Here is their take on Thor.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Thor
  • Loki
  • Odin
  • Jane Foster
  • Dr. Erik Selvig
  • Heimdal
  • Lady Sif
  • The Warriors Three
  • Clint Barton/Hawkeye
  • Jasper Sitwell (SHIELD agent who will have a number of appearances in Marvel movies)
  • Asgard

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • The Tesseract is back in the post credit stinger and Loki is there to see it.
  • The stinger sets up Avengers as that movie begins almost immediately where the stinger leaves off.
  • Dr. Selvig (almost) name drops Bruce Banner – “a colleague who worked with gamma radiation.”
  • Hawkeye, in his silly cameo, is an Avenger and, while Hawkeye may not show up in Infinity War, Clint Barton will.
  • The Destroyer, which, well, destroys much SHIELD property and a few SHIELD agents, will be referenced in Avengers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Thor

Countdown to INFINITY… Iron Man II


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| IRON MAN II |Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy \ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange |            Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Four: IRON MAN II

 

Iron Man 2

Excessive. Of all the adjectives one can apply to Iron Man 2, “excessive” might be the most accurate. On re-watching it this week, I was stunned by just how much is going on in this movie. Quicker! Faster! More!

Unfortunately, none of those things make Iron Man 2 better. It is not a bad movie and I happen to really groove on Sam Rockwell’s performance as Justin Hammer. It is just that there is far too much happening: too many plot lines, to much fan service, too many drones. And I was very surprised to see what a complete jerk Tony Stark is in this movie – like a repulsive, dangerous jerk. That this character has become the bulwark of the Marvel movie universe is really something else. This Tony is dismissive, mean and drunk – not the lovable rogue we have come to enjoy. The movie, while it has some good moments, is also mean. It is that snarky teenager who thinks he is smarter than everyone: he can be clever, but a little of him goes a long way.

A little of Iron Man 2 goes a long way. Your memory of the movie is, likely, enough.

You can read my full review but the end run is that Iron Man 2 received TWO AND A HALF exploding watermelons out of a possible FIVE.

Entertainment Weekly is also counting down to Avengers: Infinity War. Here is their take on Iron Man 2.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Natasha Romanov/The Black Widow
  • Captain America’s shield
  • Howard Stark as Tony’s father (we saw him in Captain America, but he is so much more important here)
  • Don Cheadle as War Machine
  • Thor’s hammer (post credit stinger)

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Don Cheadle assumes the role of Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes and dons the “War Machine” armor. War Machine is a major player in Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War
  • Tony and Nick Fury further discuss the Avengers Initiative.
  • Iron Man is deemed suitable for the Avengers team, Tony Stark is not. Somehow, between this movie and The Avengers, that caveat is conveniently forgotten.
  • There is a (retroactive) Spider-Man connection: it is, apparently, canon that the young man that Iron Man saves at the Stark Expo by destroying a drone is Peter Parker, who becomes Spider-Man.
  • The Stark Expo is, clearly, on the site of the World’s Fair at which Steve Rogers met Doctor Erskine which began the events that led to the former becoming the super soldier in Captain America: The First Avenger.

Avengers Infinity War is coming…

Leave a comment

Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War, Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movies

Countdown to INFINITY… The Incredible Hulk


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | THE INCREDIBLE HULK | Iron Man 2 |Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy \ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange |            Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Three: THE INCREDIBLE HULK

Hulk

I really liked Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. He fit the part incredibly (pun intended) well and he makes both the character’s angst and heroism believable. He is, however, no Mark Ruffalo and it is a bit disappointing to not have Ruffalo in the film as he has so completely come to inhabit the character.

Disappointing is, in fact, the right word here. The Incredible Hulk is not a great Marvel Movie (when you’re approaching 20 movies, you get to be your own genre right?) and, as a follow up to Iron Man, it misses the mark and squanders a bunch of good will. Perhaps this is why there are SO MANY plot lines from the movie that remain unresolved: Samuel Sterns’ gamma dosing, whatever happened to the Abomination or Betty Ross or Leonard Sampson and how did General Ross recover from this disaster to become Secretary of Defense? We will, likely, never know…

This is a sub-par film with some good performances (does anyone remember that Ty Burrell of Modern Family is in a major role here?). It pushes the Marvel narrative forward a bit but it is mostly a misfire. And the CGI is remarkably poor.

As it came out before I began blogging, I do not have a full review, but The Incredible Hulk receives THREE BOTTLES OF BRAZILIAN SODA out of a possible FIVE. 

Entertainment Weekly is also counting down to Avengers: Infinity War. Here is their take on The Incredible Hulk.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Bruce Banner/Hulk
  • Betty Ross
  • Leonard Sampson
  • General “Thunderbolt” Ross
  • Gamma Radiation

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Most of the movie is forgotten by Marvel (see above comments on dangling plot threads), but General Ross goes on to become the Secretary of Defense in Captain America: Civil War, which is this movie’s most critical connection to the Marvel Movie Universe.
  • In Civil War, Ross mentions the Hulk and the destruction of Harlem.
  • The idea that Bruce Banner is trying to be free of the Hulk is as important here as it is in the Avengers movies.
  • When Betty and Bruce think about engaging in romantic activities, Bruce stops them because “I can’t get too excited.” Thematically, this foreshadows the problems he will see with an engagement with The Black Widow.
  • Tony Stark discusses putting together “a team” with a broken and defeated General Ross in what should have been the traditional stinger scene, but one that actually takes place before the credits. This is the ONLY movie on this list without at least one mid or post-credit scene.

Avengers Infinity War is coming…

Leave a comment

Filed under Avengers: Infinity War, Comic Book Movies, Hulk, Marvel Movies, Movies, Uncategorized