Tag Archives: Marvel Movies

Countdown to ENDGAME… Thor


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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 | Avengers: Infinity War | Ant-Man and the Wasp 

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.


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 returns for Avengers | Endgame.
  • The Destroyer, which, well, destroys much SHIELD property and a few SHIELD agents, will be referenced in Avengers.

Avengers | Endgame is coming…

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Countdown to ENDGAME | Iron Man II


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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 | Avengers: Infinity War | Ant-Man and the Wasp 

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.


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 ENDGAME:

  • 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 | Endgame is coming…

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Countdown to ENDGAME | The Incredible Hulk


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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 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 | Avengers: Infinity War | Ant-Man and the Wasp 

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. 


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 Endgame is coming…

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Link’n’Blogs – 9.21.18: Marvelous


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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 fun or thought provoking as I have.

Sometimes something comes along that speaks for itself.

Welcome Marvel’s newest (greatest?) hero:

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Avengers | Infinity War – A SPOILER FREE Movie Review


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Infinity War PosterEpic, engaging and emotional, building from moment to moment with intensity and a surprising amount of touching humor, Avengers|Infinity War is an astonishing achievement. Going into the movie, the question of how filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo were going to give each of the member of the sprawling cast a moment in the spotlight was paramount.

Somehow, they manage to do it.

Another concern was would the movie feel like a proper culmination of 10 years of Marvel films.

Check that one off, too.

Finally, there were worries that about the stakes of the movie: would they and their outcome justify all the strum und drang of the proceedings? Yes. They absolutely do.

This is a difficult movie to review while avoiding spoilers. A spoiler filled discussion of Avengers|Infinity War is justified and will follow after another viewing or two but, of this movie, suffice it to say, that the conclusion of the movie will likely leave audiences breathless and wondering what, exactly, comes next. And this is, perhaps, the greatest strength of the movie. For all of our collective familiarity with the characters and this Marvel Cinematic Universe, we are somehow uncomfortable and on the edge of our seats wondering about the fate of the heroes, their friends, families and world and how they will ever defeat the seemingly unstoppable Thanos.

Most superhero movies – and Marvel movies are no different – suffer from antagonist problems. That is to say, the antagonists are rarely as interesting as the heroes they oppose. They are often one note. And they usually are derivative of the hero himself (cannot write “herself” for Marvel movies yet).

In Thanos, Avengers|Infinity War presents a villain who rises above all this. He might be the most fascinating character in the movie. Josh Brolin has been appearing in stingers and brief cameos in Marvel movies for years to little effect. Sure, we have known Thanos was coming but what did we really see him do? Put on a glove? Here, he completely embodies the unthinkable, unstoppable force that is the character. Let us hand it to Marvel, again, on its casting. Brolin is wonderful and Thanos is no simple role to play.

Avengers|Infinity War has something for everyone. Fans of Iron Man get plenty of Tony Stark. Fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy will spend time with Star Lord and the gang. Fans of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther… well, you get the picture. Somehow, each member of the massive Marvel cast is given time to shine. Captain America? Check. The Black Widow? Yes. The Hulk and Thor? Without question. Does that mean every question about every character is answered? It does not. Are there some dangling plot threads that are left to dangle? There are. But it is both amazing and gratifying to see how many of our heroes are featured, and featured well.

Frankly, the only film of which I can think that does half as good a job of this is the Academy Award winning Return of the King and it took that movie about 13 different epilogues to handle its cast. Run to a theater right now and you can probably still catch the last one. Avengers|Infinity War juggles over 50 different characters and is a somehow brisk affair at an almost 3 hour running time.

One of the joys of the movie is the team ups. Want to see Iron Man and Doctor Strange (the Beard Bros) working together? How about Black Panther and Bucky? Rocket and Thor? It seems to have been a blast to write these scenes because they crackle with energy and the cast is clearly having much fun.  The entire film is surprisingly fun especially when one considers the stakes at hand and the carnage that is wrought… no spoiler there, I hope!

There are moments that will fly over the heads (catch the Drax reference there?) of many movie goers. There are some that will even challenge the most Marvel Maniacs in the audience. There may be a little too much fan service. Additionally, in the context of such a massive affair, something had to receive short shrift that here, and that is the Black Order, the villainous collection of super-powered beings Thanos sends out to confront the Avengers. They are, primarily, amazing creations of which the audience gets to know very little. That is too bad.

But this is a minor quibble. Avengers | Infinity War is a monumental achievement. Marvel has, once again, raised the bar for what a superhero movie can be in terms of scope and complexity and also in terms of themes and consequences. This one may leave audiences thinking long after the final reel. That is something most superhero movies do not do. Avengers|Infinity War leaves a mark.

And not just on the Avengers.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR receives SIX INFINITY STONES out of a possible FIVE.

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The Final Countdown – Avengers: Infinity War

What does it mean that I re-watched or, in the case of Black Panther, watched for the first time ALL of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films in preparation for Avengers: Infinity War which The Cinnamon Girl and I will see tonight?

Marvel-Studios-10th-Anniversary-Shirt-

The More Than A Fan shirt I’ll wear to AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR this evening!

Nothing at all… but it was a lot of fun!

In case you missed one or want to review before you see the movie yourself, here you go!

 


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Countdown to INFINITY… Doctor Strange


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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 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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