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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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THE ULTIMATES, Vol. 1 | ‘New to Comics’ Review

This post was originally published on my now defunct site, New to Comics.

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic-books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is an reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

This week, we’re looking at the modern retelling of the Avengers’ origin, and the first appearance of ‘Samuel L. Jackson’ Nick Fury.

the-ultimates1.jpg

Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Mark Millar
Art by: Bryan Hitch
Year: 2002
Pages: 160

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

HulkTHE HULK

Real Name: Robert Bruce Banner
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962)

Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was one of the world’s foremost experts on nuclear physics, with his vast knowledge and prowess in his field taking him into the employ of the United States military, in the hopes he would gain funding for his other, more humanitarian projects, in turn. There, Banner was stationed under Airforce General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, who had him work on an experimental Gamma Bomb. During this time, Bruce met and fell in love with Ross’ daughter, Betty Ross, starting a relationship that would endure despite Bruce’s dark future.
When the day came about to test his new bomb, Banner was horrified to see a young man, Rick Jones, had broken onto the testing grounds. Sacrificing himself to save Rick, Banner rushed onto the grounds and pushed Rick into cover, but was caught in the explosion. His cells irradiated by the Gamma radiation, Bruce was cursed with a monstrous, dim-witted alter-ego with God-like strength; becoming an anti-hero of sorts, ‘the strongest one there is’… the ‘Incredible’ Hulk!

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Posted by on September 5, 2018 in Comic Books, What's Going On?

 

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER | DVD Review

Avengers Assemble may have been the movie that changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but now we’re moving on to the film that really shook things up; Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

RELEASED: April 4th 2014
DIRECTED BY: The Russo Brothers
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
STARRING: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell & Robert Redford

As I said up top, Avengers Assemble changed the Marvel Universe and the landscape of cinema forever. However, it was Captain America: The Winter Soldier that really shook things up. First up, it took one of what was considered to be the less interesting Avengers, Captain America, and made him awesome. Second, it changed the dynamics of the way the fictional world saw and interacted with their heroes. Third, and most importantly, it really dove into its own unique genre, laying the groundwork for later films to go off and explore different branches of superhero storytelling. Sure, Iron Man was a techno-thriller, The Incredible Hulk a monster movie and Thor a cosmic fantasy, but at the end of the day, they were all still superhero films to some extent. Conversely, The Winter Soldier is a full-on action thriller that just so happens to feature a costumed hero as one of the central players.

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Posted by on February 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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