Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Avengers: Infinity War, created by Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Thanos has finally achieved the start to his grand plan…one of the six Infinity Stones.  If things go according to plan, he will be able to find the other five.  And then nothing will stand in the way of his destiny and grand plan- using the stones to create ultimate peace and serenity in the entire universe.

As he and his children move through the universe to acquire stone after stone they run into a variety of different situations. 

The Avengers must group together with many others from the Guardians of the Galaxy to the Black Panther in order to stop Thanos.  If they don’t then the world as we know it may cease to exist.

But when everyone is scattered far and wide across the universe getting back to Earth may be a bit tricky.  Will they make it in time? Or will Thanos be able to enact his plan?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

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

-Length: 149 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

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

-Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthoby Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt

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

Review (contains spoilers):

So many moving parts.  Just so many moving parts.

I honestly don’t know how Stan Lee and Jack Kirby kept everything straight in the YEARS of comics they wrote to get to this point.

And the film captured it so well.

With such a wide variety of characters coming together at different points in the universe all to make everything happen the way it does.  Everything really comes down to choice.

The writers have done and incredible job with this (and with part two) keeping everything straight and making sure that the story isn’t difficult to follow even with so many different bits and pieces going on at all times. 

We see the development of characters, and the choices they make under the stress of the situation.  We see their deepest fears and regrets.  And we see the world changed because of an extremest view on how to bring peace to the universe-not by working together and celebrating our differences and helping each other…but by simply destroying half of all life in the universe.

I mean…I guess it works after you can get past the chaos of losing half of all the people you care about in the world.  And how many more after that to the after-effects.

The amount of thought and discussion that goes into comics just continues to astound.  I think people who enjoy the movies (since they are more mainstream) and teased people who loved the comics for being geeky and nerdy are realizing just how much is going on in the worlds within those pages.

Rating:

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

Captain America: Civil War, created by created by Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on characters created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Nearly a year has passed since The Avengers defeated Ultron in the nation of Sokovia.  Now part of the newest group of Avengers recruits (Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson and Wanda Maximoff) are trying to stop terrorist Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon on Lagos.  When Rumlow blows himself up during the confrontation in an attempt to kill Captain America, Wanda diverts the explosion…miscalculating and destroying part of a nearby building where a group of Wakandan humanitarian workers were helping the less fortunate.

Thaddeus Ross, now the US Secretary of State, uses the incident as a jumping off point to inform the Avengers that the United Nations is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords which will establish a UN panel that will oversee and have complete control over the team.

The Avengers are divided.  Tony Stark (alias Iron Man) is in support of the oversight, particularly in light of the incident with Ultron.  Steve Rogers (alias Captain America) disagrees and has faith that the team, and himself in particular, can make better and quicker decisions that a group of politicians.

As the Accords are ratified another bomb goes off… this time killing King T’Chaka of Wakanda.  The footage shows that the bomber is none other than Roger’s former best-friend turned brainwashed Hydra agent, Bucky Barnes (alias The Winter Soldier).  As Bucky flees, things begin to get complicated.  The Avengers are split on the Accords.  T’Chaka’s son T’Challa has vowed to kill Bucky.  And a strange, masked superhuman appears…wearing a black suit and rivaling the abilities of The Avengers themselves.

What will happen to the team now that a major rift has formed?  Will the Avengers ever be the same?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: created by created by Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on characters created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

-Length: 147 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, moderate 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, Robert Downey Jr. Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Bruhl

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

Review (contains spoilers):

So much goes on in this film, its almost on the same level as The Avengers title films.  There are so many characters and so much information that is given in this movie.

Not to mention the continuation of the discussions of morality that have continued over from Age of Ultron.  This story does come from the comics but I haven’t gotten to reading it yet so I can’t speak to the differences.  But I was a little shocked the first time that I watched the film because I was not expecting who ended up on each side of the issue.

The fights are epic and it was a great introduction to both Black Panther and this version of Spider-man (who is the best version in my opinion).

We get both sides of the issue…which doesn’t often happen in grand discussions like this.  The writers did a great job showing the pros and cons to both the Accords…and to not signing them.  So many times we as humans think that decisions like this are black and white when they are shades of grey.  This film shows that and so much more.

Revenge and grief.  Fear and loathing.  The desire to do good…but that doing good is not always doing “right”.  So many different layers to peel back. 

And when I saw it in theatres it was a great jumping off point for discussions about these things.  That is what art and entertainment media should strive to do.  Of course, there will always (and should always be) art and entertainment for the sake of that…but they should also be able to launch discussions that are deeper than ourselves.  That make us think of those around us. 

This film does that…as do so many comic books.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

The Avengers: Age of Ultron, created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of everything that was discovered by Captain America about HYDRA taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. the Avengers have followed the trail of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker to the tiny Eastern European country of Sokovia.  There they are confronted with two of the experiments that Strucker has been working on, a brother and sister who have been genetically modified to have powers.  Pietro Maximoff has been granted super speed while his twin, Wanda, has both telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

With Strucker dead, Loki’s scepter retrieved and everyone back at Avengers headquarters, Stark and Banner discover that there is some sort of Artificial Intelligence inside of the gem of the scepter.  The pair secretly decide to use it to implement an experimental global defense program, codename “Ultron”.  Its mission is to protect the Earth from threats from within and without.

As JARVIS examines the scepter’s AI…the scepter is doing its own reconossance…bringing to life the otherwise hypothetical Ultron.  When Ultron finally comes to life he wreaks havok in the in lab, eliminating JARVIS and destroying the Avengers headquarters after determining them to be the biggest threat to Earth.  He steals the scepter and leaves the Avengers in shambles to begin his grand scheme.

Rid the Earth of every threat on it…even if that means ridding it of all human life on the planet.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Action/Adventure

-Creator: created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee

-Length: 141 minutes

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

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

-Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Sakarsgard, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson

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

Review (contains spoilers):

I forgot just how deep this movie is.  It isn’t your standard superhero film.  It is a cautionary tale of what happens when you take the idea of defense too far.

I know that many people would love the idea of preemptive strikes on threats both on and off Earth.  But what determines that threat?  Is it someone who has committed a crime already?  How big of a crime?  Someone who is an excellent speaker that can move hundreds if not thousands of people but has never committed an atrocity to date?  Is the fact that they can move people enough?

Or is it the people that do everything they can to save as many people as they can…even if they cause other destruction or issues while doing it?

Ultron and his idea that the whole human race should start over is the extreme of this.  He followed the logical path his programming was given and decided humanity was the biggest threat…so humanity should be wiped away.

Its something to think about.  Our actions have consequences, and those consequences can be damning.

This is why I love comics and superheroes.  There is always the discussions of morality, hope and compassion.  Right and wrong.  The extremes which we will continue to see throughout the MCU.

Some of my favorite characters are introduced in this…Wanda and Vision….and we get to see more of the life behind Hawkeye who is one of my favorite characters of all time.  With every movie we get to see more and more into the characters.  And the Infinity Stones that keep popping up around the galaxy.

Just a great step into the larger world of the Avengers and what is to come.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

REPOST: Iron Man 3, created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Seven months after the battle of New York against Loki and his alien army Tony Stark is suffering from PTSD and major anxiety/panic attacks.  Due to this restlessness he is struggling with insomnia and this is causing issues with his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.

As the world begins to settle from the attack in New York a string of bombings caused by a new terrorist named The Mandarin start to occur.  The attacks are incredibly baffling to law enforcement and other intelligence agencies due to a near total lack of forensic evidence.  Happy Hogan, Stark’s loyal security chief, is injured in one of the attacks.  Due to this, Stark issues a bold threat… his address on international television and a challenge to The Mandarin himself.  Come and get me.

When his home is attacked, he and Pepper are nearly killed, the Iron Man suit saving her life.  Tony manages to escape in one of his prototype suits to hunt down The Mandarin himself.  Little does he know that a scientist from his past is about to resurface…and along with him a myriad of other problems…

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

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

-Length: 131 minutes

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

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

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley

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

Review (contains spoilers):

I think the whole crew did a great job with this movie.

Downing depicted his PTSD and anxiety attacks like a pro.  They are real and visceral and occur at times when it seems illogical or plain bad timing.  Which is exactly what happens in real life when you suffer from these things.  Attacks like that and having your PTSD triggered is really damaging to your life and the relationships you are in.

Mandarin, the terrorist, being a façade is a great little twist too.  When I first saw the movie I hadn’t even though of that as a possibility but it does really make you think about the depth of that “face” you see on the news.  If that is really the person behind what is going on in the world.  And what gives a terrorist true power…the person in charge or the people who follow them

The ending is quite poetic as well.  With him giving up the suits and his ARC Reactor. And finding Tiny…because Tiny is the best.  It doesn’t change that Tony is Iron Man.  It just means that he ready for balance in his life.  Which is what we get to see in later movies with Iron Man in them.

Lots of conflicts and a lot to unpack about Tony’s life and journey along with the morality of what goes on with the Extremis treatment (and how it goes down in the comics is a whole other issue to unpack).  Overall I like this movie a lot of everything that wen into all of that.

Post Credits Scene:

Its great how they formatted the whole film with Tony himself telling the story.  It’s a nice little touch that he was actually telling it all to poor Bruce Banner who was asleep….poor guy.  He’s not that kind of doctor.

Rating:

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

REPOST: 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

REPOST: Iron Man 2, created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Six months after Iron Man was introduced to the world things start to go awry.  It should be an exciting time for Stark Industries with the announcement of their year-long Stark Expo: a scientific and inventions expo that is taking place throughout the world.  But that is tainted by a congressional summons that calls the viability of the Iron Man suit into question.

On top of that Tony Stark’s health is failing as the arc reactor that was and is keeping him alive is slowly poisoning him.  As he falls deeper into his depression as attempt after attempt to find a substitute fails he begins to become more and more reckless while trying to put legacy in place such as placing Pepper Potts in charge of Stark Industries as CEO.

When one of his most reckless decisions to date, driving in a race in Monaco, also pulls a new villain out of the wood work Tony must face up to the fact that his life and the Iron Man program, along with the fate of the world, is once again in his hands…

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Revenge

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

-Length: 124 minutes

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

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

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Gweneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Jon Favreau, Samuel l. Jackson

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

Review (contains spoilers):

Its been a while since I have seen this film despite Iron Man being one of my favorite superheroes.  There are just too many things to watch that Marvel and specifically MARVEL Cinematic Universe has created and with more and more shows and films on the horizon I’m not sure when I will get the chance to really watch these early films again.

But that being said one of the things that I think is so effective in the Iron Man world is that his villains are really just smart and pissed off people…right on Tony’s level.  They aren’t supervillains who have specific powers, or magic, or anything but their intelligence and the fact that they want revenge.  It really makes for an interesting human dynamic that Stan Lee often seemed to push into his stories (even those where other factors are at play).

This film is really interesting to watch this many years later. There is such a level of grief and depression that permeates the whole film that I didn’t really understand when the film came out 11 years ago.  Its in a lot of the little things that Stark does throughout the movie.  Some are big like appointing Pepper as CEO or racing in Monaco… others are small. Subtle. Like making sure that Rhodey has access to the suit. Or drinking too much… its just there throughout everything he does.

The introduction of Black Widow is nice too.  I enjoy the fact that the characters that eventually become essentials to the overarching Avengers timeline are introduced slowly throughout the films.  Natasha (Natalie in the film) adds a level to the film that just helps to enhance the whole feel of the film.  The subtle jealousy of Pepper, how she TKOs Happy in the boxing ring…just nice little additions to the film.

Like I said.  I love these films.  The CGI and other graphics and animations hold up even a decade later.  I love the dynamics of the characters and how fully fleshed out they feel.  And the writing feels well thought out and complete.  Not cheesy like other superhero films.

Great second film for the MARVEL Cinematic Universe.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Iron Man, created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Stark Industries has passed hands from Howard Stark to playboy Tony Stark.  On a trip to Afghanistan with Lieutenant Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes to demonstrate the new “Jericho” missile that his defense contracting company has built Stark’s convoy is ambushed by one of his own company’s missiles.  He is captured after being injured and with the help of a doctor who is also in the hands of the terrorists is saved from his eminent death- shrapnel from the attack is still slowly making its way to his heart.

With the aide of the doctor Tony manages to escape and get back home shocking everyone by attempting to shut down the military contracts that Stark Industries currently holds.  He upgrades the piece of technology that is keeping him alive.  A take on a piece of energy producing equipment that Stark Industries had developed and pushed to the side.  As he takes on the issues with his company Tony becomes more and more aware of all of the dangers his weapons have caused.  And how the people around him may have been helping for their own benefit.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Reluctant Hero

-Creator: Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters by Stan Lee

-Length: 126 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore both real-world and science fiction, mild profanity, mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

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

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shawn Toub, Gweneth Paltrow, Faran Tahir, Paul Bettany, Clark Gregg, Jon Favreau, Samuel L. Jackson

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

Review (contains spoilers):

Iron Man is by far one of my favorite comic book super heroes and it was so amazing to see this come to life on the big screen.  I’ve always loved stories of the rich, naïve, jerk finding out that his money or company or whatever is doing something horrible and he decides to use that fortune to do something good for the world around him.

I love the superheroes who choose to be them…not necessarily those who have the mantle thrust upon them like the mutants or the fact that they are alien…

This movie and Robert Downing Jr. perfectly sum up exactly how Iron Man is in the comics I’ve read.  He is cocky, swagers…is just overall a great character who changes and grows throughout the movie.  I love that in this film the bad guy is more of just a betrayer and not necessarily someone who seeks out to be a super villain.  He falls into it.

It is a great introduction film into the Marvel Cinematic universe.  There is just enough intrigue between Pepper and Tony, the background for his character is set up.  The story line is wrapped up in one film which was great incase it flopped.

Overall, a very solid film with great graphics, cinematography and writing.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Iron Man 3, created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Seven months after the battle of New York against Loki and his alien army Tony Stark is suffering from PTSD and major anxiety/panic attacks.  Due to this restlessness he is struggling with insomnia and this is causing issues with his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.

As the world begins to settle from the attack in New York a string of bombings caused by a new terrorist named The Mandarin start to occur.  The attacks are incredibly baffling to law enforcement and other intelligence agencies due to a near total lack of forensic evidence.  Happy Hogan, Stark’s loyal security chief, is injured in one of the attacks.  Due to this, Stark issues a bold threat… his address on international television and a challenge to The Mandarin himself.  Come and get me.

When his home is attacked, he and Pepper are nearly killed, the Iron Man suit saving her life.  Tony manages to escape in one of his prototype suits to hunt down The Mandarin himself.  Little does he know that a scientist from his past is about to resurface…and along with him a myriad of other problems…

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

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

-Length: 131 minutes

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

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

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley

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

Review (contains spoilers):

I think the whole crew did a great job with this movie.

Downing depicted his PTSD and anxiety attacks like a pro.  They are real and visceral and occur at times when it seems illogical or plain bad timing.  Which is exactly what happens in real life when you suffer from these things.  Attacks like that and having your PTSD triggered is really damaging to your life and the relationships you are in.

Mandarin, the terrorist, being a façade is a great little twist too.  When I first saw the movie I hadn’t even though of that as a possibility but it does really make you think about the depth of that “face” you see on the news.  If that is really the person behind what is going on in the world.  And what gives a terrorist true power…the person in charge or the people who follow them

The ending is quite poetic as well.  With him giving up the suits and his ARC Reactor. And finding Tiny…because Tiny is the best.  It doesn’t change that Tony is Iron Man.  It just means that he ready for balance in his life.  Which is what we get to see in later movies with Iron Man in them.

Lots of conflicts and a lot to unpack about Tony’s life and journey along with the morality of what goes on with the Extremis treatment (and how it goes down in the comics is a whole other issue to unpack).  Overall I like this movie a lot of everything that wen into all of that.

Post Credits Scene:

Its great how they formatted the whole film with Tony himself telling the story.  It’s a nice little touch that he was actually telling it all to poor Bruce Banner who was asleep….poor guy.  He’s not that kind of doctor.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 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

Iron Man 2, created by MARVEL Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Six months after Iron Man was introduced to the world things start to go awry.  It should be an exciting time for Stark Industries with the announcement of their year-long Stark Expo: a scientific and inventions expo that is taking place throughout the world.  But that is tainted by a congressional summons that calls the viability of the Iron Man suit into question.

On top of that Tony Stark’s health is failing as the arc reactor that was and is keeping him alive is slowly poisoning him.  As he falls deeper into his depression as attempt after attempt to find a substitute fails he begins to become more and more reckless while trying to put legacy in place such as placing Pepper Potts in charge of Stark Industries as CEO.

When one of his most reckless decisions to date, driving in a race in Monaco, also pulls a new villain out of the wood work Tony must face up to the fact that his life and the Iron Man program, along with the fate of the world, is once again in his hands…

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Revenge

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

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating:

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

-Main Cast: Robert Downing Jr., Gweneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Jon Favreau, Samuel l. Jackson

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

Review (contains spoilers):

Its been a while since I have seen this film despite Iron Man being one of my favorite superheroes.  There are just too many things to watch that Marvel and specifically MARVEL Cinematic Universe has created and with more and more shows and films on the horizon I’m not sure when I will get the chance to really watch these early films again.

But that being said one of the things that I think is so effective in the Iron Man world is that his villains are really just smart and pissed off people…right on Tony’s level.  They aren’t supervillains who have specific powers, or magic, or anything but their intelligence and the fact that they want revenge.  It really makes for an interesting human dynamic that Stan Lee often seemed to push into his stories (even those where other factors are at play).

This film is really interesting to watch this many years later. There is such a level of grief and depression that permeates the whole film that I didn’t really understand when the film came out 11 years ago.  Its in a lot of the little things that Stark does throughout the movie.  Some are big like appointing Pepper as CEO or racing in Monaco… others are small. Subtle. Like making sure that Rhodey has access to the suit. Or drinking too much… its just there throughout everything he does.

The introduction of Black Widow is nice too.  I enjoy the fact that the characters that eventually become essentials to the overarching Avengers timeline are introduced slowly throughout the films.  Natasha (Natalie in the film) adds a level to the film that just helps to enhance the whole feel of the film.  The subtle jealousy of Pepper, how she TKOs Happy in the boxing ring…just nice little additions to the film.

Like I said.  I love these films.  The CGI and other graphics and animations hold up even a decade later.  I love the dynamics of the characters and how fully fleshed out they feel.  And the writing feels well thought out and complete.  Not cheesy like other superhero films.

Great second film for the MARVEL Cinematic Universe.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.