Category Archives: Marvel Movies

Countdown to INFINITY… Black Panther


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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 Seventeen (BONUS!): Black Panther

panther

Marvel might be running out of “WOW! We didn’t see that coming” moments. We did not see the success of Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man or Doctor Strange coming. Those were surprises. After Black Panther, where can Marvel possibly go?

Black Panther is, as I write this blog, the third highest grossing movie of all time. Nobody saw that coming.

It is also a simply wonderful film. It is powerful. It is humorous. It is exciting. It is engaging. Black Panther ought to be nominated as a Best Picture possibility next spring, that is how good this movie is. And, somehow, it does not hinge on all that has come before it. Somehow it manages to be almost entirely its own thing while existing within the framework of the larger Marvel universe. It is clearly a Marvel movie, to be sure, but it is also something else.

Something important.

I loved this movie and I cannot wait for more from the character. I will be thrilled to see him in Avengers: Infinity War and will look forward to Black Panther 2.

Black Panther may well be the best of all the Marvel movies. It has made more money than all the rest and it is already iconic. It received FIVE ARMORED RHINOS out of a possible FIVE when I reviewed it earlier this year. It deserves more…


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Nakia
  • Okoye
  • Erik Killmonger
  • Shuri
  • Romanda
  • M’Baku
  • N’Jobu
  • Zuri

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Black Panther paints the kingdom of Wakanda as a fully realized world and we know that some of Avengers: Infinity War is set there.
  • Wakanda is now known to the world. How that affects the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general and Infinity War in particular is of great interest.
  • It is clear that Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, has successfully deprogrammed Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. Perhaps he has recovered himself just in time to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America?
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Countdown to INFINITY… Thor | Ragnarok


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 Seventeen: Thor | Ragnarok

Thor Rag

It is said of Thor | Ragnarok that director Taika Waititi allowed his cast to improvise wildly on set. Re-watching the movie, it is obvious this is true. The film is almost as fun as the Guardians of the Galaxy installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has a villain in Cate Blanchett’s Hela that is far superior to any adversary the Guardians faced. Add to the mix a truly wonderful character in Valkyrie and you have all the ingredients of a superior superhero film if…

… you ignore the fact that the deus ex machina at end of the movie and the salvation of the Asgardian people is, essentially, the exact same one utilized at the conclusion of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

This movie is a significant set up for Infinity War, far more a lead in than Black Panther, which immediately precedes it. It also is significant fun in its own right. Far superior to Thor: The Dark WorldRagnarok is more confident and knows what it wants to accomplish. It closes a number of plot lines while advancing others. Great movie. Great performances. Great fun.

(But it does have THE WORST soundtrack – bracketing Immigrant Song – of all the Marvel movies – it is really bad)

Thor | Ragnarok is a terrifically fun movie and, when it opened last fall, I gave it FOUR and a HALF AIR CRAZY CAMEOS out of a possible FIVE. 


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Scourge
  • Hela, Goddess of Death, sister of Thor and Loki
  • Valkyrie
  • The Grandmaster
  • Korg
  • Thor’s new “Thunder” power

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Thor starts the film by informing the audience what he has been doing since we last saw him: he has been searching for the Infinity Stones and he has not found any.
  • Thor has an extended (albeit utterly unnecessary) conversation with Doctor Strange.
  • “Fake” Infinity Gauntlet – apparently the gauntlet that Odin has (along with some other trinkets in his trophy room) are fake. When Hela gives Scourge a tour, they also pass the Tesseract – the Space Stone – one of the Infinity Stones Thanos will pursue in Infinity War. Did Loki steal it before the destruction of Asgard, by-the-way?
  • Oh, so this is where the Hulk has been!
  • Clearly the Asgardian refugees encounter Thanos’ ship and, well, given that Thor ends up flying through space until he slams into the Milano, the ship of the Guardians of the Galaxy, things do not seem to go well.

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Countdown to INFINITY… Spider-Man | Homecoming


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 Sixteen: Spider-Man | Homecoming

SpiderMan

Tom Holland is perfect as Spider-Man. Perfect. Marvel directors seem to have unerring instincts in casting and their choice for Spider-Man (who debuted in Captain America: Civil War – a film creatively revisited in this one) in Tom Holland is spot-on. This is a very fun film and does a massive amount of world building while telling a compelling Spider-Man story, too. The filmmakers based their take on the high school movies of John Hughes, and they do a great job generating that vibe.

Spider-Man | Homecoming is absolutely jam-packed with delightful easter eggs… Bruce Banner’s picture on a classroom wall display of famous scientists, the principal of Peter’s school is the grandson of a solider who fought with Captain America in World War II, Captain America’s educational videos, the Sokovia Accords, Donald Glover (soon to explode as Lando Calrissian is on hand), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is on screen, and Jennifer Connelly – the wife of Paul Bettany who provides the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. and is the Vision – is the voice of Peter’s suit, which he names Karen. There are many more and, somehow, they do not overwhelm the movie.

Spider-Man | Homecoming also features one of the best Marvel villains in Michael Keaton’s Vulture. Fun, breezy and suitably Marvel, this is the second best of all Spider-Man movies (it does trail Spider-Man 2 by a pretty wide margin). It is also the most multi-cultural of all the Marvel movies (prior to Black Panther) and that casting serves it very well. There are a series of great set pieces here and the interplay between Spider-Man and Iron Man is fun to watch. It is so pervasive, however, that it does lead one to question whether Spider-Man will be able to carry his own movie.

Oh, and the twist ending is very, very well handled.

When Spider-Man | Homecoming opened last summer, I gave it FOUR AND A HALF (because Holland is just SO good) FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOODS out of a possible FIVE.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Adrian Toomes, The Vulture
  • Damage Control
  • MJ (Mary Jane, perhaps?)
  • The Shocker (two, in fact!)
  • Aaron Davis (the Prowler)
    • Miles Morales is referenced… he will become a Spider-Man, too!
  • Phineas Mason, The Thinker

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • For a movie that almost immediately precedes Infinity War, there are surprisingly few lead ins to the movie, however…
  • The so-called Iron Spider armor is introduced at the end of the film when Peter turns down Avengers membership.
  • Tony Stark’s relationship with Pepper Potts seems very much back on after the “break” the two were on in Civil War… perhaps setting up for tragedy in Infinity War.
  • The new Avengers upstate New York headquarters features prominently in the last act. It is also remodeled just in time for Thanos to, likely, destroy it.

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Filed under Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movies, Spider-Man

Countdown to INFINITY… Doctor Strange


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 Fifteen: Doctor Strange

Strange

 

Okay, to be fair, Doctor Strange is, almost beat-for-beat, Iron Man. Rich, arrogant, watch loving scientist learns a lesson in humility when he almost loses his life. He had treated those close to him poorly. He is something of a rogue, but lovable. He is the smartest guy in the room. He is a cad.

One might imagine that, if Robert Downey, jr were not otherwise engaged, he would have been an excellent choice for the title role in this film. As it turns out, Benedict Cumberbatch does a great job with Doctor Strange. He continues Marvel’s terrific casting choices. And he promises to be a lot of fun in Infinity War. Rachel McAdams is great, too, but a bit wasted. I would like to see more of her. And the movie cannot be forgiven for wasting the terrific Michael Stuhlbarg. It also has one of the most lame Stan Lee cameos.

The plot is limited, the villain (this is an old Marvel story) boring and the conclusion typically “the whole world is at stake-y.” But it has some very trippy visuals, for sure. In any ranking of the Marvel films, Doctor Strange would likely chart in the lower third but, hey, the Marvel movies are pretty good.

Doctor Strange is unlike other Marvel films in one very important way: it opens up an entire multiverse of magic and it helps prove that superhero movies can be sued to tell all kinds of different stories.

 

I gave Doctor Strange FOUR EYES OF AGAMOTTO out of a possible FIVE when it came out. Though it is a bit reductive, it is also a lot of fun.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Stephen Strange; Doctor Strange (though he was name dropped in Winter Soldier)
  • Kaecilius
  • Then Ancient One
  • Christine Palmer
  • Baron Mordo
  • Wong
  • Dormammu

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • The Eye of Agamotto is, itself, an Infinity Stone, the Time Stone to be precise. As Doctor Strange wears it around his neck, Thanos may be as interested in the character as the character is interested in protecting it.
  • According to Wong, word of the Ancient One’s death will spread through the multiverse and folks, like Thanos perhaps, will know that the Earth has no one to defend it.
  • The idea of a multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is first introduced here. There are many concepts laid out in Doctor Strange that likely will be important to Infinity War.
  • The mid-credit sequence sets up Thor | Ragnarok in that it is a scene from that movie and that movie directly leads into the more cosmic portions of Infinity War.

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

Countdown to INFINITY… Captain America | Civil War


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 Fourteen: Captain America | Civil War

 

Civil War Mondo

If you can get over the fact (and I think I have – it has taken me four years) that the plot of this movie hinges on the heroes acting exactly as the villain intends and that a two-decade old VHS tape must play in order for the movie to work, it is almost perfect.

Civil War transcends the typical trappings of “make heroes fight each other” and pits the Avengers against each other with stakes that seem real. While the team disintegrates, the movie, somehow, manages to perfectly introduce two major new characters: Black Panther and Spider-Man, both of whom who have since headlined movies of their own.

Add to the proceedings humor, brilliantly staged action and pathos, and you have an excellent movie and one of the best Marvel films. To paraphrase the title character: “I could watch this all day.”

By-the-way, though I think his plan would never have worked, the villain won in this one. The Avengers are, for all intents and purposes, no more at the end of this film.

 

I gave Captain America: Civil War  FIVE VHS TAPES out of a possible FIVE when it came out. It deserved all five.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • T’Chaka; king of Wakanda
  • T’Challa; The Black Panther
  • Everett Ross
  • Baron Helmut Zemo
  • Spider-Man
  • Aunt May

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Of all the films preceding it, Captain America | Civil War prepares for Infinity War in the most clear fashion. It leaves the Avengers broken and scattered. It leaves them ultra-vulnerable to an attack, like the attack Thanos will mount.
  • The Vision has a conversation with the Scarlet Witch about the Mind Stone embedded in his head which came from Loki’s staff and also created the Scarlet Witch’s powers.
  • The Winter Soldier is left in Wakanda at the end of the film. He will be there in both Black Panther and, according to the previews, Infinity War.
  • “That shield doesn’t belong to you…” I do not know that the filmmakers knew what a key line that would be when they wrote it, but watch for Black Panther to supply Cap with the soldier’s most emblematic weapon in Infinity War.

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Countdown to INFINITY… Ant-Man


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 Thirteen: Ant-Man

ant man

Take a few minutes to remember the flavor of Ant-Man:

In recent years, Marvel has mined its back catalog and made movies of characters with far less name recognition than Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor. The trend started with the smash Guardians of the Galaxy and continues with Ant-Man. What they have done is proven that superheroes sell if they are handled correctly.

Ant-Man is handled correctly from start-to-finish. Part caper, part family drama, part high-concept heist movie, Ant-Man has a terrific cast (Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas are all terrific) and propellant plot and a just the right touch of irreverent absurdity to make it a real delight.

This was a “creative tension” movie with original writer/director Edgar Wright bowing out and star Paul Rudd and new director Peyton Reed stepping in to finish the project. Rumor has it that Wright did not want to play in the Marvel sandbox and participate in the universe building that is now incumbent in these films. Frankly, it is hard to imagine Ant-Man without the Marvel Universe connections. They are part of what makes the movie such fun.

I gave Ant-Man  FOUR AND A HALF SUGAR CUBES out of a possible FIVE when I reviewed it upon its initial release.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man and SHIELD operative
  • Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp
  • Scott Lang, the new Ant-Man
  • Hope Van Dyne
  • Pym Particles
  • Luis, Scott’s good friend
  • Kurt and Dave, Luis’ associates
  • Ant-tony, Scott’s flying ant

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • There are no overt, infinity stone connections, though the Quantum Realm may get some play in the upcoming movie
  • If we understand that Infinity War finds a fractured Avengers team following the events of Captain America: Civil War, we have to note that Scott Lang faces off and gains measured respect from the Falcon who, in both the end of the movie and the post credit sequence (lifted directly from Civil War) is looking for Scott to assist the Avengers generally and, later, Cap’s off shoot team specifically.
  • SHIELD and Hydra also get shout outs and Hank Pym references Sokovia which also ties to Civil War which ties to the war of the Infinity variety.

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Filed under Ant-Man, Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War, Comic Book Movies, Comic Books, Marvel Comics, Marvel Movies, Movies

Countdown to INFINITY… Avengers | Age of Ultron


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 Twelve: Avengers | Age of Ultron

age of ultron mondo

There is a lot to like in Avengers: Age of Ultron from James Spader’s quirky line readings as the titular villain of the age, to Captain America’s problem with cursing to Hawkeye’s secret family. Throw in Tony Stark doing mad-scientist Tony Stark things, Black Widow and the Hulk’s star-crossed romance and not one, not two but three new Avengers in Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch and Vision and you have a very, very good Marvel movie.

If you only have time to watch one scene in Age of Ultron, please make it the post-party scene where the male Avengers, one-by-one, attempt to life Thor’s hammer. It is a great sequence in-and-of-itself, and it sets up a huge payoff at the end of the film.

Age of Ultron also continues laying the foundations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and does so with intentionality and with deft storytelling. Anyone seeing Infinity War will have to remember this movie and its plot points in detail to have any clue what the Infinity War is actually over.

Sure, there are a few misfires here. Women are not handled particularly well and there is an entire Thor sequence that, really, makes little sense. But, on the whole, it is a solid successor to Avengers. Not better, not far worse. Solid.

When I reviewed Avengers: Age of Ultron a few years back, I gave it FOUR AND A HALF “I BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMINGS” out of a possible FIVE.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Quicksilver
  • Scarlet Witch
  • The Vision
  • The Mind Stone (the yellow stone in Vision’s head)
  • Ulysses Klaue (who will appear in Black Panther)
  • Wakanda as the home of Vibranium
  • Hawkeye’s family
  • Avengers Training Facility in Upstate New York

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Thanos dons the Infinity Gauntlet which has no stones in it during the post credit sequence.
  • “Fine, I’ll do it myself” Thanos says as he sets out to secure the stones.
  • The conflict between Iron Man and Captain America is boiling here. It will be a very big deal in Captain America: Civil War which has major repercussions for Infinity War.
  • Clearly, Thanos is coming after the Mind Stone. Hope Vision does not need it to live!

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Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Comic Book Movies, Marvel Movies, Movies