Category Archives: 10’s movies

American Hero

American Hero 2015

This post came about in part from my Patreon where each month patrons can vote on a movie (or movies) that I review here each month. This has been sitting on my list for a while, it’s an indie film from 2015 starring Stephen Dorff and Eddie Griffin. It is currently available to watch free with ads on Vudu. There’s a bit of a documentary feel to it, but that mostly feels like an excuse for the overall low budget nature of the film. It reminds me quite a bit of Sleight, though there’s a touch more of a superhero narrative in this film, enough for it to cross the line into actually being a superhero movie. Unfortunately most of the characters aren’t all that likable and they all end the film more or less where they started without much real growth.

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Wonder Woman: Bloodlines

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 2019

It’s time to check out the latest movie from DC Animation. This one takes a slight curveball as it doesn’t really continue the previous continuity though there’s a couple references so that it could still be a part of the major continuity despite being a stand-alone story. It’s also notable for nearly having the entire voice cast be female characters outside of Steve Trevor and a Minotaur. For the most part it follows pretty well in line with the rest of the DC animated movies. It’s a lot of fun to watch with some good action sequences and some nice character beats mixed in here and there. It’s also worth noting that the DC Showcase short packaged with this home video release: Death, is quite excellent as well.

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Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix 2019

This is apparently the swan song for the Fox version of the X-Men that really started the modern era of superhero movies and re-started with 2010’s First Class, and is now lumped into the Disney conglomerate so future cinematic X-Men will likely be tied into the MCU. It’s also one of the few 2019 releases that I wasn’t able to make it out to see in theaters even though this was a generally lighter year for superhero and comic book movies, or at least the year was heavily front loaded with several releases in the early months of the year. In general, I’ve been a fan of nearly all of the X-Men movies aside from the ones everyone hates. But I’ve also generally enjoyed the more recent ones that have been pretty middling to most audiences. I don’t think they handled every character very well, but they did do a few things right in this movie and I enjoyed more than I disliked. And while this is still a relatively new release, I will be discussing the plot in its entirety so there may be spoilers.

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LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters

LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters 2019

It’s time for yet another LEGO DC animated feature and it pretty much follows the same overall formula with the typical LEGO style humor focused on the different DC characters. This also loosely follows a variation on the Bat family plot involving many different Bat-family characters including three of the four main Robins (Tim Drake always seems to get left in the cold in these animated movies). And for a change of pace it actually takes a bit of a look at not just the exploits of Batman, but also the importance of Bruce Wayne and his position of wealth and power within the context of Gotham City. Not exactly something that you would expect in a LEGO movie though it definitely keeps the irreverence to keep things light and not overly deep.

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Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans 2019

At my latest trip to the local library, I picked up the latest DC Animated movie with the Teen Titans. I probably said this before when I reviewed the theatrical Teen Titans Go! movie but I’m generally a fan of Go! It makes me laugh, I like the meta humor that comes with it, and there’s plenty of other superhero properties so in general the humor that exists in Go! is different than pretty much anything else in DC. I’ve also more recently been able to go through some of the old episodes of Teen Titans and actually noticed that it was generally a lot less serious than I thought it was going to be. It’s much more serious than Go! but it has plenty of humor to go around. I also love alternate universe stuff and this takes things to an utterly chaotic and ridiculous level that I absolutely loved and I had so much fun watching this. And while there’s not really much of a surprise twist, this is a recent movie so here is your spoiler warning.

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Joker

Joker 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the theaters for this site, not since July for the latest Spider-Man movie. Now DC has had all sorts of different continuities through their animated movies, their TV series, and their live action movies. Honestly, that’s one thing that I’ve really appreciated about DC vs Marvel is that they actually don’t stick to a single shared universe. Instead, they go the much broader and more interesting multiverse route. This is an entirely different continuity version of the Joker’s origin story even though it does have some ties to other stories and it’s presented much more like akin to a drama and a strong homage to Taxi Driver. There was a bit of controversy due to some of the ways mental health was presented, but taken just as a movie I thought it was well written, well performed, and completely entertaining if still disturbing at times. And as this is a current movie, there will be spoilers so here’s your warning.

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Mutafukaz

Mutafukaz aka M*F*K*Z 2018

Every once in a while a movie catches my eye for whatever reason, either at a store or at the library. I don’t really know anything about it except for what it says on the back of the box. And every once in a while, I just happen to see those magic words “based on the comic” which is what happened with this movie. I have vague memories of seeing posters of this movie when it made the rounds last year, but for whatever reason I didn’t pay too much attention to it. And that’s despite the fact that it was distributed by GKIDS who have handled some of my favorite animated films that I’ve covered on this site. This is from a very popular French comic that was produced by a Japanese animation studio, released with an English dub (which was the version I watched), and takes place in a city with a primarily Hispanic population so it’s oddly multicultural. There are plenty of adult themes, violence, humor, and all sorts of different genres mashed up in a generally pleasing manner.

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Avengers Grimm: Time Wars

Avengers Grimm: Time Wars 2018

One of the biggest challenges with a niche site like this is that with such a big movie marketplace, it’s easy to overlook smaller titles because they don’t have the marketing behind them. I’m always keeping my eye out for new titles, but I don’t always catch them until a year or more later. That’s the case with the latest superhero-esque mockbuster from the Asylum. I had previously watched and reviewed the first Avengers Grimm and the spin-off/sequel Sinister Squad, but I completely missed the fact that they made a third movie in this loosely connected series of movies last year to coincide with Avengers: Infinity War. They have long since passed using any sort of celebrity but did bring back the actress who played Snow White in Avengers Grimm as well as the actors who played Alice and Hatter from Sinister Squad. It did feel like it had a slightly more coherent plot, but all sense of campiness was lost and what was left was just a mediocre movie.

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Almost Super: Fast Color

Almost Super: Fast Color 2019

This is another instance that reminds me a little bit of Sleight and Darkest Minds, three movies that have a Black protagonist and super powers (of sorts), but only one of them did I actually decide to put it on my list of superhero movies. While this movie does have super powers, the big thing that it lacks is heroism. That’s not to say it’s not a good movie. I actually enjoyed the hell out of it. And similar to Sleight, there is enough set up here that it the world of the movie continues either in sequels or a TV series and amps up the heroic aspect of the characters I would rethink my decision. But as it stands with this single movie, it falls just over the line as a sci-fi movie with super powers rather than a full fledged superhero movie. Though there’s enough here that I wouldn’t argue against anyone else who would consider it the other way.

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BlokeBusting The Essentials #43: Captain America: The First Avenger

#43: Captain America: The First Avenger

Or

Ice, Ice, Nazi!

A film by Marvel featuring an actor who previously played a Marvel character in a totally different role? That’s so crazy it just might work…

First Impressions

So this film was originally one that I didn’t enjoy much. Now I liked the comedy, I found the premise fun but it just didn’t stick with me and didn’t grip me the same way the other MCU films of the time did. And now, having seen Endgame and seen the ultimate arc of all the characters involved, it’s time to revisit and re-review. Let’s see how it holds up…

The Characters

For the sake of all our sanity, I will be focusing on who I feel are really worth mentioning from the film.

  • Steve Rogers/Captain AmericaChris Evans

    In case you all forgot, Mr Evans originally starred in the two Fantastic Four films from the mid 2000’s. And he wasn’t bad. He didn’t come off as great, but that might have had more to do with the script (more on that down the line). So when Marvel announced that they’d picked him to play The First Avenger, we all gave a collective “NANI!!!” in response. And in this film, he’s good. You can see the rough edges to his character and he does a great job of being the boy who just wants to help fight the war, even when the government just says “Put on a suit and look pretty!”. And with hindsight, this portrayal clearly had notes from a company that really could see the big picture. There’s moments that seemed so throw away but end up being the seeds of a big moment down the line. And the fact that there wasn’t a lantern hanging on them was a big feather in his “Cap”! So yeah, “Flame On” Steve, because you were very rightly cast.
  • Peggy Carter – Hayley Atwell

    Just more of this. More and more please. The fact that Agent Carter got cancelled so early (yes, I consider 2 seasons early) is still astonishing to me. If my daughter grows up to be even remotely like Hayley’s portrayal of Peggy in these films/shows, I will be a very happy father. She’s got style, class, a fiery temper and is more capable than pretty much anyone else at what she does. So yeah. Moving on.
  • Bucky Barnes – Sebastian Stan

    This character felt a little forced for me back then. And, with hindsight and foresight, it’s still a little ham fisted seeing him in this film. I know we accept that him and Steve have been friends forever and that he still only sees Cap as his buddy, but his character really does only seem to exist for Cap to have somebody to lose at the end. Which is kinda odd since he also loses Peggy (technically she loses him, but semantics…), so I still felt like his character needed a little more fleshing out. Now, down the line we see him get WAY more to do, and so this was probably the best way to do it at the time since a longer runtime might have scared people off back then. But still, a bit more Bucky story would be a big improvement for me.
  • Col. Chester Phillips – Tommy Lee Jones

    This guy is funny. It’s like they walked up to Tommy Lee Jones and simply said “You know that role in MIB you had? We want you to do that again but this time even more grumpy and straight-faced!”. Leslie Nielson said that the funniest moments come from acting totally straight in a comedy, and TLJ proves that here. “He’s still skinny.”, “I’m not kissing you”, “If you have something to say, right now’s a perfect time to keep it to yourselves.”. The man can deliver the lines flawlessly. I’m totally serious when I say that he is the funniest character in the film. And I am really glad they got TLJ to play him!

The Setting

If you aren’t aware by now, which would be rather impressive, this film is an alternate WW2 scenario. Steve Rogers is made in a super soldier and then good ‘ol USA kicks some Nazi butt. Except there’s sooooooo much more than that waiting here. There’s so much detail that they squeeze in and so much groundwork set. It really is only on a re-watching after the fact that you can appreciate what they did with this film. And despite the war setting, it really doesn’t feel too much like a full-on war film. So yeah, well done Marvel!

Context Is Key

This film was obviously judged as a mostly stand-alone film when it came out. There were very, VERY few people who knew the scope of what Marvel had in store back then. And obviously we couldn’t see what had been put in front of our eyes until we started getting callbacks. So here’s my suggestion to you:

If you are going to watch these, watch them in order once. Then watch them in order again. After the second viewing, make your decision about the film.

There’s many people I know who don’t enjoy this film when it came out. There’s many I know who LOVED this film, and still do!. I fell into the camp of “Meh” when I first saw it, but I think you can feel where I stand on it by now. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that context matters with this film, as with many of the MCU entries. We can’t judge it by itself because it very much does not stand by itself. And I know that will be a recurring theme in the months to come, so I shall try not to repeat myself too much. “Dormammu!”

Right, let’s see what Bubba has to say before we pass sentence on this film!

I don’t think I had actually seen this since I watched it during the first couple months of this site shortly after going through the all the Superman movies. At the time, I thought it was decent but had a few cliche moments and felt that the Tesseract weapons were a poor excuse for PG-13 violence. This time around I really appreciated it a lot more and loved how much they called back to this original movie as time has gone on and Captain America has appeared in many more films. The friendship with Bucky, the “I can do this all day”, to the relationship with Peggy Carter. Captain America was really fully formed by the end of this movie. He’s evolved through the later movies, but they really hit the core of his character right off the bat. There were still some rough around the edges moments and Red Skull looked great but was lacking as a real threat.

This is the origin of the top tier Phase one character next to Iron Man. Chris Evans has really made the role his own and this is where it all started. It’s the lowest grossing MCU movie aside from the Incredible Hulk with $176M/$370M worldwide and it was the last Phase one movie to come out before the first Avengers. It helped make the Avengers into the cinematic juggernaut, it gave Peggy Carter a spin off series a few years later. It’s a great film with a retro feel to it as director Joe Johnston had cut his teeth on the Rocketeer in the 90’s. And as a hero, Captain America is someone who gets chosen because of his character and made into the hero that he always should have been. Plus, it has Cap punching Hitler in the face.

Nicely done Mr Wheat. And so, with all the subtlety of Cap’s stage punches, let us move to the 3 big questions:

  1. Would I recommend this film to others?
  2. Does this film deserve to be on the list?
  3. If so, where does it appear on the list?

Ok, in short order…

1) Yep. A great origin story, a fun romp and some fantastic ground work for the series. Next question!

2) Yep. See above!

3) Well, I’m sure you can assume roughly where this is going. So here’s the updated rankings!

  1. Hellboy
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. The Crow
  4. Dr Strange
  5. Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  6. Batman: The Killing Joke
  7. Superman 3
  8. The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
  9. Supergirl
  10. The Fantastic Four (1994)
  11. The Punisher
  12. Batman & Robin
  13. The Amazing Spider-Man
  14. BvS: Dawn Of Justice

Yep, bet that surprised you! Despite all the good about this film, the fact that it does require some outside context to fully appreciate it means that I just can’t give it the top spot. It’s still a lot of fun though!

So stay true to your ideals, keep your friends close and (until next time) always watch out for that little sneaky Hitler creeping up behind you!