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Category Archives: Marvel Studios

AVENGERS: ENDGAME | Film Review

“Whatever it takes”

RELEASED: April 25th 2019
DIRECTED BY: Joe & Anthony Russo
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Alan Silvestri
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow & Josh Brolin

When I walked out of the screening of Avengers: Endgame on Tuesday night, I was conflicted. I knew what I had watched was good, and I enjoyed a lot of it, but something didn’t sit right with me. I’ll probably have to watch the movie again (at which point I’ll amend anything in here that’s off) and I may even do a spoiler review at that point, but here are my initial thoughts…

Avengers: Endgame sees a world where the bad guys won. After snapping his fingers and wiping out half the life in the universe, Thanos has retreated to a distant planet to live out his days, while the Avengers are left on Earth to pick up the pieces. But after discovering Thanos’ location, the Avengers reunite and decide to take one last shot at retrieving the Infinity Stones and bringing the fallen back to life.

I had a fairly decent sense of how this movie was going to play out. Between set photos I’d seen a year or two ago, and the trailers (which show even less of the movie than you’d think) I had a reasonably good idea of what the various beats of this film would be.

And while I wasn’t wrong, I think for most this film will hold a lot of surprises. The first ten minutes quickly let you know that things aren’t going to go the way you think, before the movie proceeds to do a hard right turn into ‘bonkers’ territory. The tone is a lot more upbeat and goofy than what the trailers promised, and at times, that can be a bit jarring when compared to the expectations you enter the cinema with (that’s not the fault of the film-makers of course, so much as it is the audience and marketing). There’s a lot of humour, and from some characters, in particular, it can seem like a little much.

But there’s also a lot of heart. This film is a very emotional journey, but unfortunately, for me, on first viewing – not all of it resonated. There are some pretty hits, and I was watching them knowing I was meant to be feeling more than I was (or at least something) and coming up short. Maybe that was down to the offbeat tone. Or maybe I’m just soulless. We’ll see after I’ve watched the film again.

However, in spite of both that and the fact we all know Spider-Man: Far From Home is coming out in a few short months, and the MCU will continue, this very much does feel like the end of the story, regardless of whether or not all these ends resonate with you. Marvel Studios could just stop here, and the series, as a whole, would work. There’s not a lot in the way of set-up for the future, just a focus on making sure what’s on the table now is taken to the wholesome destination it needs to go.

In this regard, praise should be heaped upon screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Here, they’ve managed to write a three-hour movie, full of fan-service and pay-off, and yet at no point does it feel like a drag, nor overly rushed. The character work is generally quite strong, with every character getting their time in the spotlight. Along with the directors, they’ve managed to make a movie that’s both breezy and epic, yet without being as action-packed as it’s predecessor. Instead, it’s filled with love for these characters and a desire to tell a very different sort of story to what’s come before.

But when the action does come around, it’s great. Although I felt a bit conflicted about the film as a whole, one thing that I am 100% certain on is that the action is fantastic. In particular, there’s one particular one-on-one fight that continues to display the excellent choreography on the Russo brothers’ previous films, and there’s one particular sequence later in the film that’s even more spectacular than ‘the airport scene’. I’ve seen someone describe it as something like ‘the most epic superhero battle of all time’. They’re not wrong.

Overall, this isn’t the best Marvel film of the lot. In my opinion, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Winter Soldier, Civil War or Infinity War. But maybe that’s not the point. It’s like watching a TV series. The penultimate episode is usually the most exciting – the one where the stakes are the highest. The final episode, in contrast, is more about closing things out in a satisfying way. And in that respect, I’d say Endgame succeeds.

All-in-all, for now, I give it:

As some of the negatives about this film, minor though they are, can only be discussed with spoilers.

I also feel like this is a similar feeling to how I felt about The Last Jedi. At first, there was a sense of melancholy (maybe I’m just depressed about the fates of some characters and I haven’t realised?), but as I continued to think about all the various factors in the film, the more I grew to love it. This is a very dense film, and I’m still processing it the next day, and for every **** bothered me a bit, there are five more instances of but I loved it when ***** did *****. But I’m confident with each subsequent rewatch I’ll grow to love it even more.

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Posted by on April 25, 2019 in Marvel Studios

 

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CAPTAIN MARVEL | Film Review

Well, here we are. Marvel Cinematic Universe movie number 21. The last film before Endgame and the penultimate film of Phase Three, and the first MCU film to follow a solo female superhero. But how does it do?

RELEASED: March 8th 2019
DIRECTED BY: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
WRITTEN BY: Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Geneva Robertson-Dworeet, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Pinar Toprak
STARRING:
Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg & Annette Benning

Up top, I just want to say that this film starts with a great little tribute to Stan Lee. Fun and very touching.

Set in the 1990s,Captain Marvel follows Vers, a soldier and member of the Kree – a race of noble warrior heroes. As part of ‘Starforce’, Vers is tasked with combating the shape-shifting Skrull terrorists to keep their homeworld of Hala safe. However, after a mission to stop the Skrulls goes awry, Vers finds herself stranded on the planet Earth, where along with S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury, she must save the planet from an alien incursion.

For the first act of the movie, Captain Marvel boasts your standard mid-level science-fiction fare. Notorious Star Trek-looking baddies and slick, capable heroes bark words that will sound like nonsense to non-comic book fans, amidst gleaming metal cities and bleak ruins on deserted planets alike. While the cast is strong, it plays out like something you’ve seen a million times before. Furthermore, that’s blended with your classic Marvel humour that can be quite hit and miss and makes you wonder if this movie is going to lean more The Dark World than it is Infinity War.

Fortunately, the action then transitions to Earth, and ‘Captain Marvel’ (although I’m not sure she’s ever actually called that in the movie) gets to really prove herself. In Brie Larson, the hero finds a capable actress to fill out the role of our feisty new heroine. She revels in her immense power*, making a change from a lot of the male heroes who are weighed down by their past failures and responsibilities.

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Posted by on March 6, 2019 in Marvel Studios

 

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ANT-MAN AND THE WASP | Film Review

RELEASED: July 6th 2018
DIRECTED BY: Peyton Reed
WRITTEN BY: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari & Paul Rudd
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige & Stephen Broussard
MUSIC BY: Christophe Beck
STARRING:
Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortsen, Randall Park, Laurence Fishburne & Michelle Pfieffer

Hilarious. Innovative. Exciting. These are words I would expect to be using to describe an Ant-Man sequel free of the constraints laid upon it by a change of director a long way into the development process, and an Ant-Man sequel coming eight films later in the monumental Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Unfortunately, the reality is that a lot of this film is flat, disjointed and oft times only mildly amusing.

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Posted by on August 13, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR | Film Review

I haven’t quite finished reviewing all the older Marvel films yet, although I did finish watching them, so that’s half a victory. But having seen Infinity War, I’m not sure I can hold back my thoughts and feelings, so it’s review time! [Spoiler-free]

RELEASED: April 26th 2017
DIRECTED BY: The Russo Brothers
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Don Cheadle, Zoe Saldana, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Benecio del Toro, Tom Hiddleston, Karen Gillen, Idris Elba, Benedict Wong, Sebastian Stan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Letitia Wainwright, William Hurt & Josh Brolin

Wow, just wow.

Back in 2012, the world watched in awe as Joss Whedon assembled the six Avengers. In 2016, the Russo Brothers brought together twelve heroes to throw down over the Sokovia Accords, and it was even more exciting. Two years on, and the Russo Brothers now have nineteen heroes under their command (and that’s not even including the various other side-characters like Wong, Okoye and so on) and would you believe, they’ve somehow managed to pull it off again. But this time, it’s even better.

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After his various lackeys fail to claim the Infinity Stones in Avengers Assemble and Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos leads his children on a cosmic rampage towards Earth to finally complete his spiritual journey to gain ultimate power. With the Avengers shattered after the events of Captain America: Civil War, what hope do the remaining heroes have against this threat of unspeakable proportions, even with the help of Star-Lord and his Guardians of the Galaxy?

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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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BLACK PANTHER | Film Review

I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I actually saw Black Panther, and I could do with giving it a rewatch. However, I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, and have kept my ‘notes’ in the back of my mind; plus, my job gives me the benefit of being able to catch little snippets of the film when I’m at work.

So with that in mind, here’s my review of Marvel’s most recent movie, Black Panther.

RELEASED: February 16th 2018
DIRECTED BY: Ryan Coogler
WRITTEN BY: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Ludwig Göransson
STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman & Andy Serkis

Black Panther is a pretty awesome film. And being the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to star a black superhero, I feel like we (both black people and society as a whole), really lucked out. And in that regard, I can see why people are so fond of this film.

However, while it is very good, I don’t believe it’s as good as everyone else seems to think.

Black Panther starts mere days after the events of Captain America: Civil War, and see’s T’Challa return home to his hidden African nation of Wakanda in light of his father, the king’s, death. However, as T’Challa ascends to the throne, he’s beset on all sides by enemies of the state, forgotten heirs and treasonous subordinates, all of whom threaten to make his rule an extremely short one.

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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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THOR: RAGNAROK | Film Review

This post was originally published on 26/10/2017, but has been moved back to fit in with my MCU review series.

This is it. The end of the line. With one week left to go before Avengers: Infinity War hits, I’ve made it to the last Marvel Movie of the series (chronologically). Well, sort of; I already wrote this review a while ago, but the overall watching experience has been fun. Anyway, here we go; it’s Thor: Ragnarok!

RELEASED: October 27th 2017
DIRECTED BY: Taika Waititi
WRITTEN BY: Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson & Christopher Yost
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Mark Mothersbaugh
STARRING: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Karl Urban & Anthony Hopkins

When I first heard that Taika Waititi had been brought on to lighten the tone of what was, at the time, a very dark script, I was worried. Not because I didn’t have faith in Waititi; What We Do In The Shadows is hilarious, and Hunt For The Wilderpeople has since become one of my favourite films. The problem was that with a title like ‘Ragnarok’, the usual, light-hearted, quippy Marvel style didn’t seem appropriate.

And when you start watching the film, you may think that Waititi has indeed sacrificed the true themes of the story in favour of directing yet another bubbly Marvel movie. The majority of elements from Thor‘s mythology are quickly sidelined and supporting characters are killed off with abandon, so that Thor and Loki can be carted off to Sakaar, where they can have a colourful Guardians of the Galaxy-esque adventure.

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My fears started to subside when it came to humour. While Thor: Ragnarok definitely has it’s fair share of jokes, the humour is done in a way that it actually fits the moment. The jokes are more sporadic than other Marvel movies, but when they come about, they’re better crafted than, say, hammering down the fact that ‘Taserface’ is stupid name over and over (looking at you Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2).

But that’s just one piece of the puzzle, and serves as one of many factors that make you realise that by the time you reach the film’s climax, Waititi was definitely the right man for the job.

The result is the best Thor movie so far, the best Hulk movie so far, and probably one of the best Marvel movies in the seventeen-film strong series.

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The film follows Thor as he seeks to hold off Ragnarok, the ‘end of all things’. During this quest, a string of encounters with Surtur, Doctor Strange, his brother Loki and his long-lost sister Hela sends the God of Thunder on a journey of self-discovery that leads him to the planet Sakaar. There, Thor is forced to become a gladiator, but finds unlikely allies in the form of a forgotten Valkyrie and the incredible Hulk.

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Posted by on April 16, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING | Film Review

This post was originally published on 14/07/2017, but has been moved back to fit in with my MCU review series.

Continuing to bring back some of my old reviews here, today looks at Sony’s third attempt at making the perfect movie Spider-Man, this time in collaboration with Marvel Studios; it’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.

RELEASED: 7th July 2016
DIRECTED BY: Jon Watts
WRITTEN BY: John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Jonathan Goldstein, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers & Jon Watts
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige & Amy Pascal
STARRING: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Logan Marshall-Green, Bokeem Woodbine, Michael Chernus, Donald Glover & Robert Downey Jr.

The main problem with Spider-Man: Homecoming is that the casual viewer may falsely believe that Sony was wholly responsible for making this film, what with their company names being plastered all over the opening and closing credits. Which, frankly, is a shame, because this film was made by Marvel Studios, and financed by Sony; and it would truly be a terrible thing if Sony got the credit for what is, to date, one of Marvel Studios’ best films.

In terms of story, the film is surprising on several levels. Firstly, it’s generally understood that the more writers you pump into a film, the messier it gets. That, paired with the fact that the whole storyline is seemingly stuffed into the above trailer, could give cause for concern. But I can assure you that you don’t need to worry about either of those factors.

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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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