Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters from MARVEL Comics: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Six months have passed since Steve handed off the Shield to Sam Wilson.  As the world readjusts to the snap back to reality he is forced to team up with Bucky Barns on an adventure that has them chasing a rogue group known as the Flag Smashers across the globe.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Buddy Cop, Spy and Espionage

-Creator: Malcolm Spellman for the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters from MARVEL Comics

-Length: 2 episodes, 45-60 minutes each

-Rating: TV-14 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription)

-Main Cast: Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Georges St-Pierre, Adepero Oduye, Don Cheadle, Daniel Bruhl, Emily VanCamp

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Episode 1: New World Order

This is a really fascinating story line.

The idea that a new group has popped up that is something like Anonymous.  It’s the result of the five years between the first snap and everyone coming back.  The chaos of both of those events has caused so many issues in the world from the destruction and the reunification of the world.

I like the idea that Sam really wanted to leave Captain America’s mantel for Steve and that should be that.  Its insane that the government decided to replace Steve with this…guy.  He just doesn’t feel ok to me.  I’m not sure what is up with him.

The costuming for the Flag Smashers did make me a bit uncomfortable.  I understand that the character was created long before what I associate the red handprint on the face with, but it did make me a little irritated that they didn’t decide to modify the symbol.  It could have gone on a breast plate or another article of clothing.  Because what I associate the red handprint on the face with (not in the same place but still) is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement.  The red handprint over the mouth is a huge sign to bring awareness to the women who have been kidnapped, murdered, and are often still missing.  I think the costumer could have done a better job adapting the trademark costume for Flag Smasher into something new and different that didn’t detract from this cause. 

If you would like more information on this issue and how to help with the cause, then please visit: https://mmiwusa.org/ or search for “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women”

Episode 2: The Star-Spangled Man

I just don’t trust this guy…the guy who is the new Captain America.  There is just something about him that feels wrong. Off somehow.  Its just not okay on a few different levels. But I’m not so sure what has me feeling this way.  I don’t know anything about how the comics play out so I’m just going on what I feel.

YES….we now have White Wolf!  So excited.  I love that Bucky has given up the Winter Soldier name and become White Wolf!  I’m super interested to see where this goes.  I’m also loving that Sam is getting to spread his wings as the Falcon.  Some of his maneuvers are just beautifully done.

The more that we get the new Captain America interacting with Sam and Bucky the less and less I like him!

But seriously the “couples counseling” moment in this episode was CLASSIC.  Just wonderful.

I’m glad we are quickly getting to put faces with the Flag Smashers. I’m really interested in where they are going to go and connect to ULTIMATUM in the comics.

Oh yay…Zemo…

Episode 3: Power Broker

I’m liking the new Captain America less and less.

Oh Bucky.  Breaking people out of jail.  You know Zemo is going to stab all of you in the back.

It is interesting the bits and pieces we are getting of the Flag Smashers.  They are Super Soldiers, but their cause is fairly relatable.  The world united was probably extremely helpful during the Blip.  Much easier to keep track of things in a few places instead of over one hundred individual countries.  Its their methods that aren’t exactly commendable.

Who is the Power Broker?… obviously its not Selby.  Though of course Sarah had to call at exactly the wrong moment.

Woohoo Sharon!  I hope she becomes a main character in this mess.  I love Sharon and her attitude.  She is fantastic. 

That is a LOT of Super Serum.  Or at least enough stuff to make a lot of it.  And 20 vials is still a lot.

Of course, Zemo takes off after killing the doctor.  And assumes his other identity.  It wouldn’t be a show if that didn’t happen.  He’s still on their side (at least for now) but he’s not trustworthy.

And as always Sharon is awesome.  The boys need to get their act together.

I don’t want to like Karli but she’s kind of sad in a lot of ways.  And, never mind.  The explosion kind of changed my view.  They have done a great job with the story telling as well as the ups and downs of the situation and what is going on in the world.

Where is Bucky off to? Little bread crumbs.  Where do they lead?

*squeal* YES!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 4: The Whole World is Watching

So a little flash back to get us to where we are today.  The deprogramming that Bucky went through in Wakanda.

What is Zemo up to?

Karli is really easy to relate to.  I am really enjoying the fact that we have a “villain” who is relatable.  It really shows the depth of human struggle.  That sometimes your heart is right, but your methods aren’t.

Oh boy.  I just keep liking the new Captain America less and less.  He’s harsh and brisk and just doesn’t seem to really know what he is supposed to be doing.  He has no trust in the people around him.  I feel like that is how he was as a soldier too.

Finally, we get Sam and Karli to talk.  I wonder what is actually going to happen in that conversation.  Its all about HOW it is being done.  The cause isn’t the issue.  And its great that the “good guys” recognize it.

Damn, Zemo.  I’m not surprised because he is all about ending the Super Soldiers once and for all.  But I actually like Karli.  Its hard to see her shot at.  And of course, our new shiny Captain America is going to hide one and take it. Ugh.  I knew I didn’t like him.

Speak of the devil and he shall appear.

I just…blah.  I’m not sure I’d actually be mad if Karli managed to kill John.

I LOVE the Dora Milaja.  They are such incredible women.  And not afraid to fight.  Ayo is awesome.  Taking off Bucky’s arm. And capturing the shield.  They handed John Walker a LOT to think about.

And Zemo is finally gone?  Maybe…

Karli is good.  Calling Sarah to get Sam to take her seriously.  But how much is John going to mess this up for everyone?

Well John took the serum.  That was a bad decision. And now Lemar is dead.  That is going to change everything about John Walker.  He’s no longer fighting the Flag Smashers for the fact that they are terrorists.  He’s now got a personal vendetta.  That is NOT how Captain America does anything.  He does not deserve to wear that uniform.

Episode 5: Truth

Oh, this isn’t going to go well.  Walker is not in a good place.  And Bucky is always ready for a fight.  He’s been looking for a reason to take back that shield.

This is not good.  Whatever that serum is doing to him it is not good.  I can’t believe he pulled off Falcon’s wings and tried to kill both Bucky and Sam by cutting off their heads.  This is atrocious.  I knew I didn’t like him from the start but this is something else.  I know nothing about the storyline this is based on but this is just insane.

I think Sam is realizing he may not have made the best choice in giving up the shield.  I do like that there was a tiny detail that I’m not sure many people caught.  But that entire fight was done with the Captain’s shield held upside down with the star pointing down.  Had the feel of turning the American flag upside down to show the country is in distress.  Very clear message that Walker wasn’t in a good state of mind.

Oh. My. Gods. Val….Val is in the Universe now?!?  This. Is. NOT. Good.

Karli is something else.  I’m not sure how that is all going to play out.  While Walker killed with passion she kills without emotion.  Its interesting how the serum changes you…or enhances your desires and underlying personality.

Hmmm. Sokovia.  What is Zemo up to?  Time for the Dora Milaje to take him.  It is good that he has decided to not kill Bucky.  The Raft is harder to escape at least.

Poor Sam.  There is a lot for him to process.  I hope Isaiah will help.  I’m glad we are getting his story. 

That was a lot to process.  I’m so glad stories like this are coming to the forefront.  We need these stories told.  We need to see these struggles and history confronted.  Because, for as made up as comics are, the stories are rooted in what is actually going on…what has gone on in our history.  Isaiah’s story isn’t unusual.  His confinement. His service.  Everything that happened to him.  Sadly, it isn’t an unheard-of story.

Ooooh.  New wings for Sam. And a montage scene of everyone helping to fix up the family boat.  Bucky and Sarah are kind of adorable…Sam obviously doesn’t think so. Haha.

What is Sharon up to? And why is she talking to Batrok?  Is Sharon the Power Broker?  I’ve had suspicions….but I’m just not sure.  We will see.

Aw.  I love that they are becoming friends.  Its nice to see the two of them get along.  But not as a team.  Its so adorable.  They keep dancing around each other.  Just be friends.

Batrok is now with the Flag Smashers.  Or maybe not.  They are in NYC with a LOT more people on their side.  This isn’t going to be good at all.

Yeah. This is going to be big trouble.

Are those actually wings for Sam? Or is it something else?

After Credits Scene:  What is John making? His own shield?  Are we finally going to get his reveal…not quite?

Episode 6: One World. One People.

So this is the one episode that I watched completely and then am reviewing after.

This story was so important.  So very important.

I can’t speak to the experiences of anyone who is Black (I have a whole article on Racism and the world of Ready Player One here).  But I can say that as part of another community that is marginalized…the LGBT+ and being neurodivergent I can speak to HOW important representation in media is. 

Telling these stories is so essential.  Its so essential for people to hear their voices.  Their stories.

And this show had so many of them to tell. 

That of refugees.

That of marginalized people fighting for their cause.

That of the oppression of Black Americans by so many others from our government to the people around them in everyday life.

The story of forgiveness and redemption.

The reality of the world around us.

I’m absolutely floored by how much went into this show.  So much depth.  So many feelings.  Just completely and utterly beautifully told.

I’m so glad that Sam took up being Captain America (or Captain Falcon).  I love Bucky’s redemption…though I would have been even happier if the final title had said “Captain America and the White Wolf” as Bucky has finally put the Winter Soldier completely away.

What we get next is anyone’s guess.  We are getting Captain America 4! That was announced today.  But we have so many characters introduced in this show.  Between Lady Hydra, U.S. Agent, The Power Broker/a “new” Agent Carter (that was a great combo), new Captain America/Captain Falcon, Bucky/White Wolf….. there is just so much that could happen from here on out. 

And honestly?

I CANNOT WAIT!

Also…Loki better be good after how incredible this and Wandavision were.

Rating:  

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

The Avengers, created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

After Tony Stark becomes Iron Man and Thor crash lands on Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. decides it is time to pull the Tesseract out of storage (and finding as well as defrosting Captain America).  In doing so they have allowed the item to reach is full potential.  As Dr. Erik Selvig performs experiments on the Tesseract, Phil Coulson notices that is emitting an unusual form of energy.  It is only when a wormhole opens and Loki appears, attacking and destroying the facility, that Director Nick Fury realized how deep they are into the problems with the item.  Both Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) and Dr. Selvig are amongst those compromised by Loki as he leaves the facility.

In response S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury calls in the “Avengers Initiative”, a new group comprised of the best superheros the galaxy has to offer.  Agent Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, goes to recruit Dr. Bruce Banner (Hulk).  Coulson attempts to get Tony Stark to join up. And Fury approaches Steve Rogers to take up his Captain America mantle once more.

In the midst of everything, Loki attacks an event in order to get the iridium that he needs to stabilize the Tesseract’s power.  When he attempts to gain control of the crowd Captain America and Iron Man intervene.  As they, along with Black Widow take Loki in hand, their jet is attacked by Thor. He takes Loki to talk him down from his insane plan of interplanetary conquest.

It is in these moments that they are found by Iron Man and Captain America who do not seem at this point to know they need to work together in order to deal with the problems that are being caused by Loki and the Tesseract…and those that are behind everything.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee

-Length: 143 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild alcohol use and mentions of drugs, mild intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I remember seeing this film in theatres and how much fun that I had.

My best friend and I were able to attend The Avengers Initiative at an AMC theatre.  If you are interested in hearing about that experience you can read about it in the article: The Avengers Initiative: AMC Theatres Exclusive Release of MARVEL’s The Avengers

Because of that I do think this film holds a special place in my heart.  While not perfect by any means, every time I watch it I remember that day with her.  So, I may be a bit biased about how good this film is. 

The characters coming together is the most intriguing part of this film.  They are all so different and are so used to doing things on their own that it is incredible to see them stop being so stubborn and work together to fight the bad guys. 

And Loki is a great villain because all he really wants is power.  But that means he can be easily manipulated.  MARVEL’s cinematic universe really starts to hit their stride here.  It is a fairly common theme in the upcoming joint movies that those who desire power can be manipulated by others to doing what is helpful to them…and not the one who was seeing the power.

The introduction of two of my all-time favorite superheroes in existence also happens in this film. Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye).  While I am very disappointed that they modified Hawkeye so he wasn’t hard of hearing, I do love Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of Clint Barton. However, it has been announced that in the upcoming television show “Hawkeye” we will have a Clint Barton who is deaf or at least hard of hearing.  And we will have other characters introduced that are diverse in the comics (such as Echo who is being portrayed accurately with an actress who is Native American and deaf!)

Overall, this is one of my most watched Avengers movies.  And a lot of it is because of the nostalgia of watching it.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Captain America: The First Avenger, created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters from MARVEL Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

A group of scientists in the Arctic uncover an old frozen aircraft. As they begin to explore the wreck, we flash back to 1942 where Nazi Lieutenant General Johann Schmidt (and his men) steal something known as the Tesseract.  This relic is supposed to possess untold and godly powers.

Meanwhile, Steve Rogers is rejected in his attempts to join the army for the fifth time.  World War Two is raging in Europe and his best friend has signed up to fight.  As Steve and James “Bucky” Barnes take two ladies out to the Stark Enterprises World Exhibition, Steve tries to enlist one last time.  It is only when he is overheard talking to Bucky about representing his country that Dr. Abraham Erskine steps in and vouches for Steve’s enlistment.

As he moves into the Strategic Scientific Reserve, Steve begins his training.  When the group arrives, they are told they are all part of the new “super-soldier” experiment that is being conducted by Erskine, Colonel Chester Phillips and a British Agent, Peggy Carter.  It is only after training and several tests, including tossing a dummy grenade into the crowd, and seeing how the group of soldiers reacts that Steve is chosen for the experiment.

They move forward with the experiment and bring Steve into the facility to begin conducting the first steps of the “super-solider” transformation.  Howard Stark has been brought into the situation to assist.  When the serum works on Steve Rogers the whole group is attacked by a German spy.  Rogers goes after him and it is only when the man is captured that everything begins to unfold.  It seems that Hydra (the Nazi Scientific Division) is determined to steal the serum for themselves.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, WWII War Film

-Creator: Created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters from MARVEL Comics

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (Mild nudity, flirting and kissing, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Stanley Tucci

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This is one of my favorites of the Marvel films.  I love pretty much anything that is a period piece and is done well.  Which this is.  There are so many lovely details which are so wonderfully crafted throughout the movie from the costumes to the makeup to the fact that Steve is an artist.  They really did pay attention to the details and the source materials on this one.

The story line is fascinating and there are so many moments in it that are exquisite. Details that haven’t been figured out until years later.  Like Bucky was actually drafted and didn’t enlist of his own accord.  And other details that are just wonderful touches such as Captain America punching Hitler in the face (this is one of his most well-known illustrations and one of my favorites) to Steve being an artist (in the comics Rogers actually drew the Captain America comic strip as a way to make money).

The romance and comradery that Bucky and Rogers have is unmatched…though Rogers and Peggy Carter are a close second.

The moments on Red Skull before he reveals his true face are just spectacular, but it is all subtle.  From the little bits of red that show through the makeup and the rubber face he wears to the artist’s palette covered in varying shades (and an astonishing amount) of red paint.  The crew did a fantastic job with everything.

Peggy Carter is one of my favorite characters.  I can’t wait to watch just how amazing she is in the show Agent Carter.  I took a shine to her the very first time I ever watched the movie in theatres.  The costumes made for her and the attention to things like her makeup are something that is so different from what is normally created in modern film.  The artists really took the time to research not only the styles that were available and common but how makeup was applied (with green undertones and pale matte coverup).  What fabrics the clothing was made of.  Just overall perfect details unlike many modernly made period pieces.

The decisions made in the level of comic book action versus actual war film was brilliantly done as well.  You can tell that the costumes and designs for Hydra are drawn right from the comic book.  While they have details that are drawn right from the 1940s architecture, vehicle and weapon design, and fashion they are distinctly other.  It is such a nice difference between Hydra and everyone else.

This is just such a brilliant film and anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.