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Posts Tagged ‘Avengers’

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) — movie review
Today’s review is for the Marvel Studio comic book adaptation of the Thor character story: Ragnarok.  The movie came out last year, but because I rarely go to the theater any more and because I’m too cheap to pay full price for a movie, this review is from my first viewing of the movie which is now on Netflix.  For those not familiar with Norse mythology, “Ragnarok” is supposed to be the end of the universe and the death of the Norse gods.
Thor’s (Thor, the god of thunder, is played by Chris Hemsworth) father Odin (played by Anthony Hopkins) dies and his death frees Thor’s older sister Hela, the goddess of death (played by Cate Blanchett) who seeks to claim the throne of Asgard (the place where the Norse gods live).  Thor and his adopted brother Loki, the god of mischief (played by Tom Hiddleston) are defeated in initial combat with Hela, but manage to escape with their lives.
Thor is captured on a foreign planet by a former Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson) and meets and fights the Hulk / Bruce Banner (played by Mark Ruffalo).  Meanwhile, Hela goes to Asgard seeking the throne and her revenge.  Blah, blah, blah.  Most everyone dies fighting the goddess of death (makes sense), but a few escape, led by Heimdall (played by Idris Elba).
Blah, blah, blah.  Thor convinces Hulk and the Valkyrie to join him in fighting Hela.  They escape from where they are imprisoned and go back to Asgard to defeat Hela.  And then we all live happily ever after (kinda / sorta).
In my review of the first Thor movie, (this is the third in the series), I said it was a bit schizophrenic and needed to decide if they were going to have the movie in Asgard or on Earth.  This one is almost exclusively off-Earth – and it is much better for it.
This movie is fun AND funny.  It has the requisite fights and special effects.  The movie runs about two hours, but felt shorter to me.  That’s a good sign.  The movie seems to be an almost immediate lead in to the Avengers: Infinity War movie, and that’s okay.  It’s okay, because (like in Infinity War) almost everyone in Asgard dies and so, whatever happens to bring back everyone in Infinity War II, probably also brings back Asgard and all of the folks who get killed in this one.  I guess we’ll have to see, next year.
The movie tries to inject a bit of philosophy by repeatedly stating it is the people who make the place and not the place which makes the people.  It kind of works, but not really because the vast majority of the Asgardians are slain by Hela and the rest appear to face capture / doom at the closing credits.  Like I said, we’ll see…
Anyway, final recommendation: highly recommended!!  As stated earlier, this movie is both fun and funny, with action, lots of humor and great fights / battles / special effects.  I would say this ranks right up with Iron Man and the Black Panther as among the very best of the Marvel Studio’s comic book / movie adaptations.  It is rated PG-13, so it might be a little too intense for very young (pre-7 years) children.  As for 7 – 13, it’s probably not too intense, but it may get them too excited and have them running around acting crazy trying to imitate the movie.  Just sayin’…
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On This Day In:
2017 For Some
2016 Fragile And Explosive, Provocation And Privacy
2015 Bound Up
2014 Economic Engines
2013 Weren’t You Supposed To Be Reading?
Absent Friends
Where I Stand
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
Help Save
2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

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Spider-Man: Homecoming”  –  movie review
On last Wednesday, my son (James) and I went to see the recently released “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017) staring Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man and Michael Keaton as a surprisingly good villain: the “Vulture”.  Ok.  Let’s just say it…  This is THE BEST Spider-Man movie EVER!  No, it’s not particularly true to the comics from the 1960’s – they play fast and loose with some of the characters, but trust me…   This is a GREAT movie!  Of course I mean comic-book movie and not Oscar-worthy drama, but even then, it’s still pretty good.
Robert Downing Jr. has some significant cameo time as Tony Stark / Iron-Man.  Maybe a little too much…  But, I found it made up for leaving out the traditional “origin story” which should have happened in this – with it being a series re-boot and all.  Filling out the main roles: Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds (Peter’s best friend and fellow nerd), and Zendaya as Michelle (“M.J.” – Spider-Man’s future “luv” interest).  And, of course, Stan Lee has his token “minute-of-fame” / cameo.
Does the movie work?  Yes!  Holland is a better Parker than Toby Maguire and a better Spider-Man than Andrew Garfield.  For one thing, Holland actually looks like he could go to high school.  Prior versions of Parker did not.  (There, we can finally admit it.)  Junior College definitely, but not high-school.  Plus, Holland plays both Spider-Man and Peter as a kind-of goofy teenager.  So, the main actor was a good match to the role.
How about the special effects?  Okay, not so great.  The costume was blurry against the green-screen “most” of the time.  Did it hurt the movie?  No.  At least I didn’t mind it (too much).  Action?  Got it in spades!  History?  The building lift scene is almost exactly the way I remember it from the comic book 40+ years ago…  Awesome!
Final recommendation and what’s next?  This is a great summer action movie!  Highly recommended!  Bring on Civil War II, Thor, the Black Panther and the next Avengers movie…  I can hardly wait.
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On This Day In:
2016 The Responsibility Of Freedom
2015 Face It
Birdfight
2014 Honoring Firefighters
2013 And Never Will
2012 The Human Adventure Continues
2011 Almost Never

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Ant-Man  —  movie review
Today’s review is for another super-hero movie: Ant-Man (2015) which stars Paul Rudd in the title role (Scott Lang), Evangeline Lilly as the love interest (Hope Van Dyne) and Michael Douglas as Henry Pym – the original Ant-Man.  Ant-Man’s power is the ability to shrink to insect size and to “command” ants.  Pym invented a particle which can reduce the relative space between atoms in any molecule.  He uses the suit to fight plots to conquer the world.  When the government tries to get him to turn over his invention, he quits being Ant-Man and goes into private enterprise, where he becomes wealthy – as demonstrated by his owning an Addams Family house in San Francisco.  Blah, blah, blah, Pym convinces Lang he (Lang) has to become the new Ant-Man to save the world and protect his (Lang’s) little daughter.  Pym does and, ultimately, Lang does.
Is this move any good?  Heck yes!!!  This is both a very good comic-book adaptation and a very good movie.  It has good special effects, a believable villain (Yellowjacket, played by Corey Stoll), a tie-in / love interest – Lilly as the Wasp, a good story with lots of humor (lines and scenes) thrown in, and the (required) tie-in to the Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I hate to admit this but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Rudd in anything else.  I recognize his face, but I reviewed his filmography and I don’t believe I’ve seen a single one of them.  I kind of recognized Lilly from somewhere, but again I had to look her up.  I only watched the first season of “Lost“, so I guess that’s why she seemed familiar (but older).  Michael Douglas is, of course, “Michael Douglas” and he is pretty good in the role of the aging, scientific, father figure (even if a bit long-of-tooth for this role).
The interesting thing to me is that Marvel continues to make better than average (expected) movies about their second and third tier comic book heroes.  In fact, it makes me wonder why “The Fantastic Four”, “Spider-Man” and the “X-men” haven’t been better movies.  I know the answer is they are not Disney / Marvel.  But it begs the question why Marvel isn’t able to insert more creative / editorial control to improve the movies about their biggest comics.
Final recommendation:  highly recommended movie!  I wish I had seen this at the theater on original release.  I didn’t, but having the DVD on loan from my son is almost as good.  As a matter of fact, having enjoyed it so much, I can see myself picking up my own copy.  If you are into comic-book movie adaptations, you’ll almost certainly want to add this to your library, too.
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On This Day In:
2015 Seeking Cultured Leadership
2014 Examining Failure
2013 Driving Passion
2012 Cannibal, n.
2011 Moments Of Truth

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Captain America: Civil War (2016) – movie review
Okay!  Last night I finally got around to seeing the latest Marvel Comics movie: Captain America (3): Civil War.  Actually, this is more accurately titled Avengers 3 (Lite).  “Lite” in the sense there are no sightings of Thor or the Hulk.
So, the premise is: what happens in the real world when aliens attack the Earth and we’re protected by “super-heroes” and “meta-humans”.  The argument is that the “normal” humans (via their politicians) will try to control (regulate) the actions of the super-heroes to “sanction” their efforts to protect humanity.  Team Iron Man believes there should be some regulations.  Team Captain America believes you can’t trust politicians or governments and super-heroes have to be able to act on their own personal beliefs on what constitutes the best interest of humanity.
This is an old argument which does not need a great deal of exposition here.  My personal bias is Team CA, but that’s just me.  So much for plot, is the movie any good.  Yes!  This is probably the best “team” movie I’ve seen.  The only one which comes close is The Guardians Of The Galaxy.  All of the “new” Avengers are present, plus a couple of “new” heroes: Spider-Man, Ant Man / Giant Man, and the Black Panther.  A whole bunch of heroes!  But they all get their individual moments and nobody gets out-and-out lost.  This is mostly because it’s such a LONG movie – almost 3 hours.  But the thing is, if the movie had had an intermission, I would not have minded it being longer.  There was a ton of action and a whole lot of story.  And it all worked together beautifully.
If there is one problem with the movie, the bar is now set very high.  My prediction: get ready for some troughs.  Which will be too bad, because I’m looking forward to new singles (Spider-Man, Ant Man (2), the Black Panther, and, probably most of all, Doctor Strange.  If they are even close to this movie, they’ll be pretty good.  Only time will tell…
Final recommendation: a must see movie if you are a comic book, sci-fi, action / adventure, super-hero movie genre movie-goer (obviously I AM)!   This is a must see on the big screen movie!!
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On This Day In:
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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Strictly speaking, this is not a movie review blog site.  I do, however, from time to time, post brief reviews of movies I’ve watched.  Lately, I’ve been too lazy to do that, so for the next few posts, I’ll be trying to catch up.  This may take a few weeks, so I’ll understand if you’re not really interested and decide to come back next month…  (Now that you’ve been warned…)
This review for the latest in the “Jason Bourne” sagas: “The Bourne Legacy” and stars Jeremy Renner – the superhero formerly known as Hawkeye in the Avengers movie.  The romantic interest is played by Rachel Weisz.
If you are a follower of this blog, you know I’m quite the Matt Damon fan and Matt played Jason Bourne in the first three movies of this series.  I gather there was a financial dispute, because an actor is rarely too busy to re-star in their signature role.  I know there is always talk about schedule conflict and fear of type-casting, but trust me, it’s always about the money.
Anyway, this movie isn’t a normal sequel, nor is it the typical Hollywood re-boot of the series.  Rather, this movie is a tangent.  It has just enough scenes and characters borrowed from the prior movies to explain the existence of the latest super-spy and then it goes directly to the tried and true “Bourne” format.  In case you’re not familiar: memories, hand to hand fighting, blow something up, chase, repeat until end of two hours or most of the bad guys are dead.  There are always some left over for the next sequel…
Does it work?  Yeah, pretty much.  Lots of action, shooting, blowing stuff up, chases, fighting, blood, etc.  It’s workable as a science-fiction and as a spy-shoot ’em up.  It lacks the originality of the original movie, but heck, so did the first two sequels, and I like them too.
Final recommendation: not highly recommended, but still a very entertaining action / spy / thriller movie.  Worth viewing.  Moderate recommendation.
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On This Day In:
2013 God’s Protection
2012 Happy Easter!!
Edge, Class, Clash, And Flight
The Value Of Bureaucracies
2011 Logic Cuts

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Well, that’s my excuse anyway.  And I think it’s a good one…
Seriously, I finally got around to seeing the new Thor movie: “Thor: The Dark World“, and I enjoyed it.  Like most comic book movie adaptations it is not great cinema, but it is an enjoyable action flic to keep us interested until the next Avengers movie comes out.  (Actually, the next movie out will be the second Captain America film.)
When reading the Thor comics (as a kid) there were a number of years where they started off just on Earth and then they made a transition to Thor in Asgard which allowed for more epic-heroic story lines.  Thor was almost never a believable character on Earth.  Hello!  How many Earth villains can stand up to a “god”?  But, in Asgard, his character blossomed in my imagination.
The problem in the comics is (was) there weren’t enough known god characters to go around fighting with (let alone against), so a whole slew had to be invented.  This is extended in both Thor movies where not only are there characters which don’t exist in Norse mythology, there are also multiple races (racial in “human” terms that is, not alien) among the Asgardians.  However, once you get past this “politically correct” quirk in the movies it quickly comes down to can they act and carry their roles.  They do, certainly as well as any of the anglo/white “Norse” characters do anyway.
Another “problem” I had with the movie was that the bad guys had power weapons (guns) while the Asgardian’s fight with swords, knives, shields, and, of course, a hammer.  Well, that is, most of the time.  When Asgard is actually invaded, the Asgardians break out the power weapons – in this case multi-barrel anti-aircraft cannons.  All of which looked pretty cool, but left me thinking: “Huh?”
My reaction to the first Thor movie was that it was two movies in one: one on Earth and one in Asgard, and neither was done as well as if they had just done one or the other.  This sequel is a bit of the same, but for some reason it made more sense the in way it was handled in this one, so it wasn’t a negative for me.  I would say it was about 30% Earth and 70% Asgard, which seemed better.
At this point, I’m really starting to tell too much about what happens in the movie and not enough about whether it was any good.  It was.  I enjoyed it.  No, it’s not great cinema (although the special effects are pretty awesome and starting to really look believable), but it is a good, old fashioned, heroes fight bad guys movie.  There is also just enough comedy in the movie to make it “fun”, which is also a big plus to me.  If that is your pleasure (and it certainly is mine), then you’ll enjoy this movie too.  Just don’t wast energy trying to think about it and make too much sense of it.  It’s just a movie…
Highly recommended!
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On This Day In:
2012 Never, Never, Never
2011 Testing 1, 2, 3

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