Category Archives: Marvel
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors
This is the most recent animated project from Marvel which have been very hit or miss and mainly focused on TV series lately. This almost seems like a response to DC’s Super Hero Girls only instead of making a team of super hero girls and market it directly to girls, this seems like just a generally diverse group of heroes that happen to be made up of more than half women. And while I haven’t seen much of the marketing for it, I get the impression that it is geared slightly more towards girls, but also generally gender neutral. This is my first experience with the majority of the heroes presented in here, though I have heard about several of them in passing and I was familiar with Chloe Bennet’s Quake from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. though I stopped watching shortly after she first got her powers. It also is an odd release strategy as this is basically the pilot movie that aired on TV and is now available on Marvel’s YouTube channel Marvel HQ. But the next two releases are 30 minutes followed by 44 minutes and are considered “TV specials”. It’s not a series, it’s not movies, the lengths are all over the place so far, but I’m curious where it’s going to go.
This is still just the second to last theatrical release I have to catch up on from last year. After this, there’s just Aquaman left for me which is currently out on digital so I hope to get around to it soon. When this came out, I heard a lot of mixed things about it, even those who didn’t enjoy it gave at least some credit to Tom Hardy for his performance. I generally like Venom as a concept, but I haven’t really gotten much of a feel for him past Spider-Man 3. This movie tried to take that concept and mix in a few too many genres. It feels like they wanted to go much more of a horror route, but the horror elements were very minor overall, there’s honestly more of a character drama with a really weird buddy cop comedy mixed in only it’s very much on the dark side of things where the humor is concerned. Overall, I did enjoy it, but I thought they could have taken it a bit further and made it great. Instead, it was just ok.
Captain Marvel 2019
So here we are with the first MCU release of the year to kick things off into spring even though it’s still pretty damn cold here in the Midwest. Also, after 11 years and 18 movies, Marvel finally gives a woman center stage and on International Women’s Day no less. Captain Marvel is someone that I know very little about, I’m not overly familiar with the Kree or the Skrulls, so I was coming into this movie pretty fresh. And for the first time in my life, I actually went to see this movie on opening Thursday as the Friday release date keeps getting pushed back further and further. All things considered, this ended up being a fairly standard MCU movie that hits all the same beats along with some fun twists and a female empowerment message. Of course, fairly standard MCU is still an above average superhero movie it just doesn’t do anything to break new ground with the gold standard. And as I always do in my reviews, I will be discussing the movie in full so here’s your spoiler warning.
Ant-Man and the Wasp 2018
It’s taken me a little while, but with the next MCU movie coming out next week I thought I’d finally catch up with the only Disney Marvel movie that I missed last year. I actually quite enjoyed the first Ant-Man and I was looking forward to this one but for whatever reason I just never got around to it until now. It followed up with the fun of the first movie without going quite as far into the comedy realm as Thor: Ragnarok though it is a little heavier on the comedy than most MCU movies. But what this film really has going for it is the positivity between the characters. There are villains including one who’s the prototypical bad businessman jerk like Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 or even Darren Cross from the first movie, but there’s no unnecessary negativity outside of the antagonist/protagonist conflict which is actually refreshing. Especially with Scott Lang’s family issues with being a divorced father. It’s a fun movie that expands what is possible with the Ant-Man tech and it’s always nice to have a mostly stand-alone story with only post-credits connections to the other movies.
Deadpool 2 2018
Generally, the two most difficult types of reviews to write for this site are comedies and films that I enjoy. To put it mildly, Deadpool 2 is both of these things. When the first movie came out, it was a surprise hit and quite possibly rejuvenated the R rated superhero movie despite Watchmen’s mild success back in 2008. Deadpool’s comedy was something that hit in just the right way for audiences that were nostalgic for 80’s music but also current internet memes and Ryan Reynolds has the right kind of passion to get the film into the right people’s hands to make it something that does justice to the character that it previously lacked. The sequel ups the ante with a better story, better characters, a bigger budget, and keeps the humor intact for a ride that’s more enjoyable than the first movie as long as the humor hits you in the right way.
Avengers: Infinity War 2018
While I’m a bit late in writing this as I did actually watch it on opening weekend and even recorded a Lambcast on the movie, and even though I wrote most of this first paragraph back when I saw it the first time, it took me quite a while to revisit it as I am catching up on the films I missed reviewing over the course of 2018. The movie bills itself (or at least many others have billed it this way) as a movie ten years in the making since the introduction of the MCU proper with the first Iron Man movie. This brings together nearly all of the heroes that we’ve seen in the previous movies to come together to fight their greatest foe yet with the power to destroy the universe with the snap of a finger. It’s difficult to fault this movie much as it follows a similar arc as the first Avengers movie only on a much larger scale. There’s higher stakes, more characters, more action and death, but it balances them all just as well as the first team-up movie and much better than the second. And while most anyone interested in seeing the movie at all has already seen it, there will be spoilers from here on out.
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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2018
It’s been a long year and while I have been to the movie theaters a few times to see movies that I would have normally reviewed for this site, only the first couple actually worked out that way. But I had heard such great things about this movie that I just had to see it. And everything I heard was true and more. The visual style of this film is gorgeous and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen before. The sheer amount of Easter Eggs and references that only a major comic book nerd could fully catch was astounding, and the way it opened up the Spider-Verse to someone only knowledgeable via movies and TV series was fantastic. And to top it all off, it had a great story, great action, hilarious comedy, and fully formed characters with interesting and believable choices. Just a great way to round out 2018. And since this is a very recent movie, I always discuss the movie in full so this is your spoiler warning.
Thor: Ragnarok 2017
Surprisingly, as much as I enjoy the MCU, over the past year and a half I hadn’t been keeping up with every release like I might have expected to despite all the rave reviews I had heard for this one as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp. The MCU has always been about making action comedies, though most of them have been heavy on the action and light on the comedy. This time director Taika Waititi turns things on its head and gives practically a full blown comedy with some action elements. It might initially seem like an odd choice for Thor to be the property to transition from a more Shakespearean action/fantasy to an action comedy, but it really works. Especially with Chris Hemsworth’s charisma and the addition of Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. The more dramatic stuff still works, but through and through it’s a comedy with plenty of laugh out loud moments.
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2017
Still finding it difficult to get back into the swing of watching superhero movies and writing on this site, but this past weekend I managed to watch one of the MCU movies that I missed last year even though it took me nearly a week having it from the library before actually watching it. Which is a little odd since I’ve heard almost nothing but good things about the latest Spider-Man even though it’s been such a quick reboot since the last iteration. I did quite enjoy Tom Holland’s full-fledged entry into the MCU but there were a couple things that I noticed while watching the film. First is how often the film side-steps many of the traditional superhero movie tropes. But on the other side of things, while it isn’t an origin story, it actually still manages to hit a lot of the origin story beats that we’re used to, just with a slight adjustment to them.
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Black Panther 2018
I’m still working on getting back into the swing of things here but I did manage to get out to the theaters to see the latest Marvel movie even though I missed the last two. Luckily, this falls in line with the end of the previous phase where Ant-Man came out just before Avengers: Age of Ultron and also had little to do with the overall phase’s arc, instead it’s a mostly stand-alone film with just a few ties to the rest of the movies. Notably Civil War where T’Challa made his debut. Honestly, the movie this reminds me the most of is Wonder Woman as it is very important for its cultural impact in the realm of superhero movies as this does for the Black community what Wonder Woman did for women. The main difference is that where Wonder Woman was weakest in the third act, Black Panther’s weakness lies in its overall lack of strong action set pieces. But what it lacks in action, it more than makes up for with strong characters, themes, and gorgeous visuals. And just for full disclosure, I am a middle aged white guy from the suburbs and I will get into spoilers.
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