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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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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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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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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR | Blu-Ray Review

This post was originally published on my other site, NewToComics.com, but has been moved back to fit in with my MCU review series – if you’re a fan of (or want to be a fan of) comic-books, check it out!

Is this my new favourite film? It may just be.

RELEASED: 6th May 2016
DIRECTED BY: Anthony & Joe Russo
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Marcus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Henry Jackman
STARRING: Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Martin Freeman, Frank Grillo, Daniel Brühl and William Hurt

It’s been ten years since the MCU began with Iron Man. In those nine years, super-hero films have become a more common occurrence than ever before. Each film is released to varying success; for many, myself included, BvS was a low point, whilst other films, like The Avengers hit a high.

And then there’s Captain America: Civil War. By the time Civil War had been out for fifteen hours here in the United Kingdom, I’d already seen it twice. That alone should tell you where I stand on the film.

But here’s a little more detail anyway:

After the devastating battles of The Avengers, The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron and the opening scenes of this very film, the governments of the world have had enough. The Sokovia Accords are passed; they decree that the Avengers must answer to the United Nations; they will be regulated, and can only go into action when the U.N. says so.

Team Captain America.jpg

Steve Rogers, obviously sceptical of government oversight after the events of The Winter Soldier, opposes the new law. Meanwhile, Tony Stark, who feels guilt over creating Ultron, backs it. Things are further complicated when Steve’s best friend, Bucky, is implicated in the death of King T’Chakka of Wakanda. Refusing to sign the Sokovia Accords, but desperate to prove his friends innocence, Steve must work outside the law to do what he thinks is right.

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Posted by on March 26, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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AVENGERS ASSEMBLE | DVD Review

We’ve reached the end of ‘Phase One’ in our Marvel Movie marathon, with the film that changed the game forever in terms of superhero movies, and finally saw, as the title will tell you, the Avengers Assemble.

RELEASED: 4th May 2012
DIRECTED BY: Joss Whedon
WRITTEN BY: Zak Penn & Joss Whedon
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Alan Silvestri
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg & Samuel L. Jackson

While we all look back on Avengers Assemble (or just The Avengers if you’re outside of Britain) fondly, the truth is, the film does have some flaws. It’s got a bit of awkward pacing at times, especially during the central act, and sometimes certain characters, dialogue or props seem to be there just to force the plot along, rather than naturally fitting in to the story.

However, much of that can be forgiven due to the extraordinary feat the film pulled off in, well, assembling the Avengers.

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Posted by on February 5, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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IRON MAN 2 | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 7th 2010
DIRECTED BY: Jon Favreau
WRITTEN BY: Justin Theroux
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: John Debney
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke & Samuel L. Jackson

In the same way that Captain America: The First Avenger is somewhat similar to Wonder WomanIron Man 2 also shares similarities to a DC film. Unfortunately, this time it’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

After Tony Stark reveals his costumed identity to the world at the end of Iron Man, his fame and popularity has increased exponentially, as he effectively ends war in the middle east and continues to prove he’s a different type of superhero than anything you’ve ever seen by taking his showboating to new extremes. However, his very presence invites challenge, as rival engineer Ivan Vanko sets out to destroy the Stark legacy for a long-forgotten family feud, and fellow weapons designer Justin Hammer vies for Stark’s weapons contracts and fame. Meanwhile, Rhodey and the government make a move on Stark’s cache of ‘weapons’, while Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. try to mould Stark into something that more resembles Avengers material, as Stark comes to terms with the fact that his arc reactor is killing him.

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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IRON MAN | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 2nd 2008
DIRECTED BY: Jon Favreau
WRITTEN BY: Mark Fergus, Hawk Otsby, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway
PRODUCED BY: Avi Arad & Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Ramin Djawadi
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jon Favreau, Shaun Toub, Clark Gregg & Jeff Bridges

Looking back at the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can see a big change between this and later films like The First Avenger and what came after. While films like The First AvengerGuardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok would fully embrace their comic-book roots, Iron Man was still taking steps to truly establish the superhero genre as its own thing seperate from general science-fiction. As such, it feels more real and serious, not unlike films like The Dark Knight (and to a lesser degree, the leather-bound X-Men). And while there are those signature Tony Stark quips being thrown out every now and then, the film is much more somber, and unlike the films that would follow, pretty dark.

I think this is particularly interesting, as in later years, audiences would complain that the MCU lacked stakes and that everything was too jovial. But if you go back to the beginning, you find a film about a war profiteer who kills terrorists after being held hostage and tortured for the beginning of the film’s run-time.

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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in MARVEL, Marvel Studios

 

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