Marvel Cinematic Universe

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is living his everyday life as a high school kid and as the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man but after fighting with (and against) the Avengers, Peter wants more than that. When Peter discovers alien weapons are being sold, he comes up against the Vulture (Michael Keaton) a threat bigger than he’s faced before.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a fun film. It very much feels like a teen comedy that just happens to have superheroes and that’s no bad thing. Seeing Peter in school, going to class, having to deal with annoying kids like Flash (Tony Revolori) and having a crush on popular girl Liz (Laura Harrier) was all great and Tom Holland played Peter Parker so well. I loved Peter’s friendship with Ned (Jacob Batalon), they felt like proper besties and it was great having someone knowing Peter’s secret identity from pretty early on in the film.

The story is a lot more small-scale than the threat-to-the-entire-world type plots we’ve seen in superhero films over the past few years. This was a good move as it gave more time for the characters and when there were stakes you felt them. That being said, the villain is an intimidating one and one of the best the MCU has had in a long time. Keaton nails the role, bringing menace and a certain affable charm to a character that could have been a pantomime villain.

I also liked how Spider-Man: Homecoming fitted into the MCU. Yes, there’s appearances from Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) but they don’t overshadow Peter and his story. If anything, Peter conversations with Tony are equal parts funny and sincere.

The humour didn’t always work for me. Peter is a kid who’s a hero so he sometimes makes stupid jokes and doesn’t think things through, and while that’s so perfectly Spider-Man, it just didn’t always hit the mark with me.

I liked Spider-Man: Homecoming but I didn’t love it. Breaking the film down like this there were a lot of elements I liked but for some reason together they didn’t give me the wow factor. Still, Spider-Man: Homecoming is an enjoyable film that will at least make you smile. 3/5.

TRAILER REACTION: Black Panther

The first teaser trailer for Black Panther was released overnight and it was the first thing I watched this morning.

I LOVED IT! It’s a teaser so you don’t get it explicitly explained who each of the many characters you see snapshots of are or what the conflict in this film will be but that’s more than fine. I love seeing so many awesome women fighting, Michael B. Jordan looks cool and kind of hot and scary at the same time and Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa still looks super regal and amazing.

I love the conversation at the start of the trailer between Klaw (Andy Serkis) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), how Klaw says that Wakanda is this all powerful and advanced country and the front they put out to the rest of the world is exactly that, a front. It’s great world building of this fictional country, a country which should (and by the look of this teaser I think it does) be just as much a character to the story of T’Challa and his people as any other character.

Wakanda looks beautiful. It’s an African nation of the future, today. I love the mixture of technology and skyscrapers with the African landscape. It all looks amazing.

This trailer is all about setting up the look and the feel of this movie and I couldn’t be more excited. All the characters with their costumes and weapons look amazing, everything is so bright and colourful and when there is a quick shot of a fight scene featuring Black Panther it’s exciting. The final shot of T’Challa jumping from one flipping car to another was kind of jaw-dropping.

I like the voiceover talking to (I presume) T’Challa, saying how he is a good person but it’s hard for a good person to be a King. I really hope the film explores the political difficulties of a country’s King being its superhero protector, and this line makes me think it will. T’Challa is such a different character compared to the other heroes in the MCU (and in superhero movies in general), he won the mantel of Black Panther and is a king, he isn’t an average guy who got his abilities in an accident like so many of the other heroes we see. Yes, Thor is a prince but he does not have the same level of responsibility that T’Challa has.

I love the feel of this film and everyone involved. The director is brilliant, the entire cast are great in just about everything they’ve ever been in and I’m so excited to see this new chapter of the MCU. I feel like Black Panther along with Thor: Ragnarok are going to bring something unique and vibrant to the MCU and I’m so looking forward to it. Black Panther has been my most anticipated superhero film ever since it was announced a few years ago. Seeing Boseman as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War made me even more excited because he brought the regal gravitas as well as a bit of impulsiveness to the role. Black Panther has been one of my favourite superhero characters ever since I watched the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon (great series, definitely recommend it) and I can’t wait to see him leading his own film.

Only eight months to wait!

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

The Guardians of the Galaxy are back, working for money, and going off on adventures till Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father, Ego (Kurt Russell), comes into his life.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a lot of fun. Drax (Dave Bautista) continues to be a standout as his brutal honesty and lack of understanding of social queues make many a witty moment. There’s a lot of one-liners and the relationship between this characters is charming and brings a lot of the humour.

There’s a great theme of “found family” running through Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (anyone who knows me know that’s my favourite trope ever) and it was done really well. You got to see how the team had grown closer since the previous film and the banter and arguments between them all is a highlight. The five characters who make up the Guardians of the Galaxy are great and you get new dynamics to the team with Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) who have bigger and more interesting roles this time round.

The actual plot isn’t so great – I won’t go into the plot a great deal as the promo stuff for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 really has shown only about the first 20 minutes of the film. (Well done marketing department for not showing a load of spoilers and climatic moments). It often feels like a series of scenes and funny moments stuck together with no real overall arc for a lot of the characters. For instance, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is a character who often feels short-changed. The film is a bit messy and while I enjoyed the film as a whole, it did leave me feeling it was a good example of style over substance.

Because Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a beautiful looking film. It’s colourful and CGI galore but it works pretty well and looks great. The alien creatures and planets are all different which makes this space opera richer and wonderful to look at. Plus, it still has an amazing soundtrack that will have you bopping along in your seat or smiling to yourself.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a bright, fun addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s funny and entertaining but it doesn’t really leave a lasting mark. 3/5.

TRAILER REACTION: Thor: Ragnarok

It has been literally years since I’ve done a trailer reaction post on my blog – probably that’s because I’ve been busy or because there’s not been much more I wanted to say about a trailer that wouldn’t fit in a couple of tweets.

Then today the first Thor: Ragnarok trailer was released and it is the single best trailer I’ve seen in ages.

I love the music choice (I’m not a huge Led Zeppelin fan but I do love Immigrant Song) and while some might say it’s trying to be like Guardians of the Galaxy, I don’t feel that way. Yeah, the trailer has got a great song and some jokes in it but it’s got a different sort of feel to it compare to Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok is still its own thing. Or at least that’s what I took from it.

I love how colourful everything is in this and the character designs – just wow! Cate Blanchett as Hela looks amazing and a suitably scary and formidable villain while Tessa Thompson looks like a badass and I can’t wait to learn more about her character.

Then there’s Heimdall who always looks cool and Loki makes an appearance as well. I’m intrigued to see whose side he’s on and if he’s really been pretending to be Odin for however long. One of my favourite things about Loki is that he can be a bit of a wild card, those are my favourite type of characters and I do love his relationship with Thor.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention the main man himself – I’m loving Thor and he’s short hair! Ever since I saw the new Ghostbusters film, I’ve been waiting for Chris Hemsworth to do more comedy but I never thought it’s be in a Thor film. Yes, he’s had funny lines as Thor in previous MCU films but this whole film feels like another level. Thor’s reaction to seeing the Hulk and the “We know each other, he’s a friend from work!” line is brilliant and Hemsworth’s delivery is just perfection.

I know I shouldn’t really be surprised by the colours, costume design and style of humour Thor: Ragnarok seems to be going for when Taika Waititi is directing it. He’s the man behind films like What We Do in the Shadows, which I liked, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople which I absolutely adored. I can’t wait to see what Thor: Ragnarok ends up being like and after that trailer it’s now my most anticipated MCU film of the year.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Reasons I Love Clint Barton

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. This week it’s a bit of a freebie, basically you can write about anything you love whether it’s a character, a book, an author, a fandom, a movie, ANTHING! So naturally I’m going to give you ten reasons why I love Clint Barton because I do love him a ridiculous amount.

clint barton110. He’s a loser.
OK so I say loser with affection. He’s a bit of a walking disaster and he hasn’t had the best life but he tries his best. Clint Barton loves his arrows, his dog and his friends but he doesn’t function well without coffee and his love for his arrows and their random tricks could possibly be seen as an unhealthy attachment.

 

aemh hawkeye9. His costume is often ridiculous.
So in the MCU it is pretty practical and isn’t ridiculously purple but in the comics and the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon (great show, go watch it) he looks pretty stupid.

8. He downplays his intelligence.
Clint Barton counts on the fact you’ll think of him as just a loser who can shoot well, he is actually super smart but doesn’t like to big up the fact.

7. He is loyal
Clint Barton will stand by anyone of his friends or loved ones, even if that sometimes means he gets hurt in the process.

clint

6. He had a messed up childhood but doesn’t let it define him.
Clint Barton’s childhood was rough. His dad used to beat him, his older brother and his mother before he went and killed himself and his wife in a car accident. After being in an orphanage for a while Clint and his brother literally ran away to join the circus and then his brother abandoned him and Clint was trained and used by some bad men at the circus. It’s a miracle Clint Barton is as kind and caring as he is.

5. He is a dating disaster.
No matter what comics universe you’re reading Clint Barton is usually a dating disaster. That’s especially clear in the Matt Fraction run where he really doesn’t understand any of the women in his life.

4. He believes in people.
In the MCU, he is the reason that the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, is alive and now fighting for the good guys. He can read and understand people more than anyone gives him credit for, he always see’s the good in people. It’s basically cannon in the MCU that he adopts strays, first Natasha and then he practically adopts Wanda Maximoff.

3. He’s got a sarcastic sense of humour.
Clint Barton is sometimes what one might call “a little shit” and he knows it. He can be sarcastic and sassy and kind of rude but he does have a wicked sense of humour.

hawkeye2. He never misses.
The whole thing with Hawkeye is that he is the best and he never misses. He can shoot arrows and hit targets without even looking and if you think he’s missed, it probably means he meant to and he’s distracting you from something else.

1. He’s a hero.
The number one reason I love Clint Barton? He is a squishy, breakable human fighting with a weapon from the Palaeolithic era and he still fights for what is right. He is a hero and a valuable member of any team he’s on whether that’s SHILED, the Avengers or even teaming up with Deadpool. I will fight you if you say Clint Barton is useless!

clint barton

SPOILER REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

I posted my spoiler-free review of Captain America: Civil War a few days ago and you can read that here. This my spoiler review and it’s kind of ended up in any old order where I mostly talk about each character and what I liked about them. Be warned this is a long post – it’s over 1,800 words! Now below is all my spoiler-filled thoughts on the movie so once again you have been warned! I really advise you not to read any further if you haven’t seen the film. (more…)

REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

captain america civil war posterAfter a string of dangerous and deadly missions that put the public at risk, the Avengers are told they must be regulated by the U.N. While Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) agrees with these measures, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) doesn’t trust them. This causes a divide between the team that’s only exasperated when Steve’s best friend and former assassin Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) resurfaces.

Anthony and Joe Russo return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after directing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the way they put together this film is great. The action sequences are well-shot, there’s only a few instances of shaky-cam and most of the time fight scenes are framed in a wide shot so you can see exactly what’s going on. Also the way they manage to film multiple characters fighting but you never lose focus of where each character is and what they are doing is truly commendable.

A big part of the film is obviously this conflict between Steve and Tony and the sides various characters choose. The great thing about Captain America: Civil War is that you understand why these characters disagree and as the viewer you can see it’s not black and white and there’s pros and cons to both sides of the argument. At the beginning of the film there’s a sit down discussion between a lot of the characters and you get why the stakes are so high and what these regulations mean to them all.

The tension builds between all the characters as the film progresses and in many ways it’s similar to a Bourne thriller as characters go on the run and try to figure out the truth. While I won’t go into any depth of the different characters motivations, I can’t not mention Prince T’Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). He is a guy who has the weight of a country on his shoulders but he is still fallible. He isn’t particularly on anyone’s side, he is on his own side and it makes him an interesting third party to this conflict. Civil War gives Black Panther a brilliant introduction and there’s going to be many people excited about his solo film.

There are a lot of characters in this movie but thanks to a great script, they all get their moment in the spotlight though some may have that moment longer than others. Really while Civil War is in a way both a sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, at the heart of it, it is a Captain America movie. It’s the relationship between Steve and Bucky that drives a lot of their character motivations, and the motivations of a lot of the characters around them. the two of them are the heart of the film and it’s a good job Evans and Stan have such a good understanding of their characters and give such great performances because if they didn’t, Captain America: Civil War really wouldn’t be as good as it is.

Captain America: Civil War is a phenomenal film. While there’s all this conflict and amazing action sequences, at the heart of the film is the characters and their relationships. It’s what drives the plot and makes the film so great. 5/5.