Tag Archives: Marvel

Cinema Dispatch: Thor: Ragnarok

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Thor: Ragnarok and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Taika Waititi

After the rather disappointing Thor: The Dark World (HOW DO YOU WASTE THE BEST DOCTOR WHO IN SUCH A BLAND VILLAIN ROLE!?) I wasn’t really looking forward to what they’d do with this character in his solo films and was more interested to see if he’d show up in a bunch of the other movies instead.  Once those initial trailers hit with the heavy emphasis on fantastical Jack Kirby inspired designs and the rocking Led Zeppelin soundtrack, there seemed to be hope in this franchise digging itself out of the pit the sequel left it in.  At the very least, it LOOKED a lot pretty with much more vibrant colors, and it even manages to drag Jeff Goldblum into the MCU which in and of itself would make this movie worthy of existing even if everything else ends up being awful.  Does Thor’s third chance at the plate end up being one of the best films in the entire MCU, or did they just throw a lot of flash and money at a franchise that is just unable to find its place after telling the origin story?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) trying to find out what the heck Ragnarok is which was hinted at ALL the way back in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Remember when he left the team to take a bath and saw some visions?  Yeah, apparently it was all foreshadowing of the destruction of Asgard in a calamity known as Ragnarok, so Thor is basically trying to find a way to stop it… whatever it may be.  In the meantime though, he manages to find out that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has taken the place of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) who is actually alright as Loki basically stuck his ass in a retirement home on Earth, but when Thor goes down there to bring him back to the throne it turns out that he’s all out of time and disappears in a cloud of energy or something.  If that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that one of the things he was doing when he was alive was keeping a hereto unknown daughter of his named Hela (Cate Blanchett) in some sort of magic prison which breaks as soon as he’s dead and so she’s come back for revenge against her family and all of Asgard.  Both Loki and Thor are dealt with rather quickly with the latter losing his famed hammer Mjolnir and landing on some mystery planet where he is captured by a mysterious woman (Tessa Thompson) and dragged to the planet’s ruler known as THE GRANDMASTER (Jeff Goldblum).  The once mighty God of Thunder and son of Odin is now put in chains and is forced to fight in gladiatorial matches in order to somehow earn his freedom and eventually find his way back home before Hela puts it inextricably under her vengeful thumb.  Can Thor find a way to escape the barbaric society run by the most fabulous of dictators?  What familiar faces will he find on this planet that can hopefully help him on his journey home?  How the heck is Thor gonna get around now that he doesn’t have his magic propeller hammer!?

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“THE GOD OF THUNDER DOESN’T NEED A HAMMER!  I JUST NEED TO FLAP MY ARMS REALLY FAST!!”     “Okay… well good luck with that!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Spider-Man: Homecoming and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures

Directed by Jon Watts

So after a decade of crappy reboots and custody battles, Spider-Man is finally gonna start living with BOTH his parents; sticking with Sony but being able to visit Disney on the weekends.  To celebrate these two studios begrudgingly working together to make a lot of money, we have the third reboot of the Spider-Man franchise getting a whole move all its own with a little from column Sony and a little from column MCU.  Considering how bad things had gotten for the character with the two Amazing Spider-Man movies and how reliable the MCU is when it comes to making above average blockbusters, it’s unlikely that this will end up a disappointment for anyone who’s been hoping to see a Spider-Man movie with the official Marvel stamp of approval, but if it can ONLY manage to be better than the previous iteration… well I can hardly think of a more textbook definition of Damning with Faint Praise.  Does this manage to stand on its own as a great film, or has Marvel finally met its match by having to work with another studio for once!?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up right after Civil War where Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is spending his day doing his Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man thing, but is getting antsy over the fact that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) won’t return his calls.  Neither will Happy (Jon Favreau) who’s supposed to be keeping an eye on him and is clearly doing a poor job of it since even a LITTLE bit of attention might have kept him from doing something stupid!  Said stupid thing is when he starts tracking down a group of alien gun smuggles head up by Adrian Toomes who played by Michael Keaton (Oh hey!  I guess he DID live long enough to become the villain!) and soon finds himself in over his head.  Not only does he have to deal with REAL tough guys instead of street thugs, he also has to deal with the problems of being a teenager such as having a crush on a senior named Liz (Laura Harrier) trying to sneak around Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and having to deal with his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) who accidently found out his secret identity.  Can Spider-Man stop the bad guys AND get his math homework done?  Will Tony Stark eventually notice him once he takes down such a dangerous criminal, or will that only make things worse between them?  Oh I’m sure he can handle all this!  He’s a super hero, right!?

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SYMBOLISM!!

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Cinema Dispatch: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by James Gunn

Sequels are not an easy thing to pull off in the world of Hollywood tent poles, at least critically.  Financially they’re almost certain to get as much if not more money than the film that came before it just off of buzz and familiarity alone, but rarely do we get sequels that areas critically beloved as the original film, provided of course the original was great to begin with.  For every Dark Knight we get, there’s a Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Terminator Genisys, Batman v Superman, and The Dark Knight Rises.  As great as Marvel is at churning out success after success from their cinematic universe, they aren’t immune to this either with Iron Man 2 and Thor 2, while both very watchable films, being low points for the company… at least until Iron Fist, but I’m ready to forget that ever happened if everyone else is too.  Can they manage to avoid those pitfalls with the sequel to the riskiest movie the studio has made date, or was the goofy and offbeat success of the first one truly a case of catching lightening in a bottle?  Let’s find out!!

After the events of the first movie where these five misfits managed to save the Galaxy through the power of Friendship (I hear it’s magic!), the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy began taking odd jobs around said galaxy in order to cash in on their reputation.  The job that movie starts out on is a bit different though as the payment they are after is not money but Gamora’s sister Nebula (Zoe Saldana as the former and Karen Gillian as the latter) who was left for dead after the Xander incident, and Gamora plans on taking her to the Nova Corp to face justice.  Of course with five screw ups in the team, one of them is bound to do SOMETHING wrong and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) inexplicably robs their employers who are quick to find out and start hunting the Guardians down.  Fortunately, The Most Interesting Man in the Universe, though you can call him Ego (Kurt Russell), manages to save them all and reveals that he is in fact the long lost father of Star-Lord (Chirs Pratt)!  Well isn’t THAT convenient!?  He offers to take them to his home planet while the ship is being repaired, so Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) go with dear old dad while Rocket and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) stay behind to fix the ship and watch over Nebula.  Of course, things are never as simple as they seem, what with Ego’s assistant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) who appears to be hiding something or the fact that the planet the Guardians burned go ahead and hire Yondu (Michael Rooker) to hunt them down.  Can the Guardians escape their own demise once again and somehow find a way to smooth all this over?  Will Star-Lord accept the father who was never there for him his entire life, and how will that affect the life he’s built without him?  How awesome is it that this is the SECOND movie this year that Kurt Russell is in, alongside a wrestler, which will CLEARLY make a billion dollars!?

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Are we sure this guy isn’t REALLY a celestial being walking among mere mortals?

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Cinema Dispatch: Logan

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Logan and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by James Mangold

Dude has been playing this character since the turn of the millennium.  It’s no wonder he looks so damn tired in this!  For many people, the first X-Men (as well as Blade in 1998) can be pointed to as the start of the modern superhero genre as a mainstream endeavor instead of the one off success stories like Batman and Superman.  Sure, Superheroes have ALWAYS been a part of the film industry (There only maybe a dozen or so fewer superhero movies made in the nineties as in the decade that followed) but with X-Men it proved that more modern and varied superheroes had a shot at connecting with a wider audience; especially with powerhouse actors like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman on hand to sell it to them.  I mean say what you will for the X-Men film franchise in general, it’s managed to have a decent amount of staying power with a solid decade lead on the MCU.  For all its ups and downs, it’s stayed pretty popular to this day and that’s double true for Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine.  However, all good things inevitably come to an end, and this movie is here to remind us all of that fact as Hugh Jackman swears this is the last time we will see him in this role.  So is it a proper send off for the role that started a global phenomenon, or has all semblances of life and effort left his franchise a long time ago like it has to the main character in this movie?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Old Man Logan (Hugh Jackman) barely scraping by as a limo driver who ALWAYS seems to run into assholes wherever he goes.  Maybe those Adamantium claws of his are magnetized to attract douche bags or maybe it’s because he parks his fancy ass car in gang territory.  Either way, he’s living the Max Payne dream of self-loathing, self-medication, and self-assurance that nothing is going to get better no matter what.  At the very least, he IS managing to take care of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who’s stuck with him after some incident about a year ago that no one is too keen to bring up and to make matters worse he seems to have a degenerative brain disease that is making his powers unstable as well as his memories.  With a stable job and the responsibilities of taking care of Charles, somewhat helped by a new friend of theirs named Caliban (Stephen Merchant), he’s at least managing to put off putting an Adamantium bullet in his head from the time being, though I’m pretty sure the OTHER X-Men movie confirmed it WOULDN’T kill him if he did that.  However, if everyone else is still okay with pretending that one didn’t exist, then so am I.  Of course, things can’t stay that way for long as a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) enters the mix and throws all their lives into chaos.  See, apparently mutants stopped being born a few decades ago, and most of the ones who are still alive have died off for one reason or another.  Laura though is herself a mutant, and not just any mutant to boot.  Her powers are almost exactly that of Logan’s and there are a lot of people that want her dead.  And so the chase is on with Logan reluctantly dragging both Laura and Xavier (Caliban isn’t so lucky) through the United States to find some sort of refuge in Canada from the evil organization hunting them down and to possibly find some shred of redemption for the life that he led.  Can Logan complete this one last mission before finally finding the peace that has eluded him for so long?  Where exactly did this girl come from, and how is she a mutant in a world where they are effectively extinct?  Seriously, does every Dad FigureTM nowadays have to have those beards!?

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It’s not even like he needs to find a razor to shave it!  Even if he cuts himself with his Adamantium claws, it’s not like he wouldn’t heal right away!

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Jumping the Soapbox: 10 characters that should be in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

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Marvel vs Capcom Infinite and all the images you see in this editorial are owned by Disney, Marvel, and Capcom

So with the announcement of a new fighting game, particularly one that has as much fan service potential as this one, the number one question on everyone’s mind is who they’ll be adding to the roster.  Well, since I have my own little platform to scream from, here’s my list of the ten characters they should add to the new game!  Oh, and if you notice a lack of Capcom characters on this list, well you should probably read what I wrote about the game’s reveal trailer.

Honorable Mention: Agents of Shield Stage

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Look, I love Coulson too, but the characters in this show don’t have enough going for them to take up a spot in this game.  All together though, there’s definitely enough there for a really cool stage on the Globemaster where you could have Coulson and Melinda cheering on the action while Leo and Jemma are doing science stuff or whatever.  That’d be pretty cool to see, and they’d be able to fit all sorts of Easter Eggs in the background for the big Agents of Shield fans out there!  You’re not gonna be able to fit everyone from the MCU in here as playable characters, nor should you, but there are still plenty of ways for them to be a part of this game otherwise.

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Jumping the Soapbox: Marvel vs Capcom Infinite – Reveal Trailer

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Marvel vs Capcom Infinite and all the images you see in this editorial are owned by Disney, Marvel, and Capcom

So earlier this month and without much warning, Capcom revealed to the world that they are working on the latest entry in their massively popular Marvel vs Capcom series with the release of a cinematic trailer and a short gameplay video.  Now that we’ve had a bit of time to come down from the hype, what can we learn from the two clips released so far?  Well first, let’s look at the history.

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Back to a time long forgotten!  All the way back in 2011!

We’re not gonna try to dissect this series going back to the first one because frankly I don’t know nearly enough to speak on the matter, but also because the last game came out at a very interesting time.  A time that many of us have already forgotten existed!  See, in 2011 the MCU was still in its early stages when all these films were more of an ambitious experiment than the omnipresent multimedia giant it is now (starting more or less with The Avengers in 2012), and when Marvel vs Capcom 3 came out we only had the first two Iron Man movies and the more or less non-canonical Incredible Hulk.  Hell, the game began development ALL the way back in 2008 which was prior to Disney buying up Marvel!  Basically, that game was released right before Marvel became the biggest thing in entertainment; begging the question of how that monumental shift is going to affect Infinite.  Well it’s still fairly early but we can tell already that they’re going for the MCU costuming with Captain America looking much more like his counterpart in the movie than he did last time around (albeit still with completely cartoony proportions), and Captain Marvel looking very much like Brie Larson.  Now whether or not the resemblance is due to Capcom (or Marvel or Disney) wanting to make Captain Marvel in this game look like the film actor or if Brie Larson was casted because of her resemblance to her, the larger point still stands that the MCU interpretation of the Marvel universe is already having an influence on this game.  Remember what Thor looked like in Marvel vs Capcom 3, or Hawkeye?  Maybe I’m inferring too much from these trailers, but to me it seems like a given that we’re gonna be seeing some serious redesigns as we learn more in the coming months.

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Cinema Dispatch: Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Scott Derrickson

So on the one hand, I don’t’ really have any love for Doctor Strange as a character, and I’m still a bit salty that they didn’t cast Hugh Laurie in the role which I have been fan casting since the film first got announced all the way back in what, the beginning of phase two?   On the other hand I’ve been a fan of C Robert Cargill as a film critic all the way back in the good ol’ days of Spill, so there is a part of me that wants this to succeed just because I like that ONE GUY.  Then again it’s a Marvel movie, so it’s going to succeed anyway.  LOOK!  It’s complicated, alright!?  I don’t put myself is some sort of cryogenic fridge between movies so my “precious objectivity” is working at peak efficiency!  Actually, I should probably look into that and see if I can skip most of the next four years…  ANYWAY!  Does Doctor Strange deliver on all the weird fun that the trailers are promising, or is this another cookie cutter entry in the ever expanding Marvel canon?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is a world renounce Neurosurgeon with an ego the size of Hulk’s biceps and ends up smashing the hell out of his car while texting.  Fortunately, the only part of his body that was harmed was his hands, but unfortunately he can’t be neurosurgeon if he can’t even pick up a pencil.  Now instead of starting a diagnostics department and act super snarky to his subordinates, he instead blows his fortune trying to get his hands fixed to no avail while also pushing away his only real friend Christine (Rachel McAdams) due to his increasingly bitter outlook on life.  His last resort is this temple in Kathmandu Nepal which healed someone else with even worse debilitating injuries and finds someone to take pity on him in the form of Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who takes him to see THE ANCIENT ONE (Tilda Swinton).  She blows the puny human’s mind away with what can only be described as a drug trip, but I think the implication is that she just gave him a small taste of what the universe has to offer, and she begrudgingly takes him on as a disciple despite his arrogance and penchant for being whiney.  Of course, there might be ANOTHER reason why she wants at least one more meat shield training at their monastery.  You see, the LAST prized pupil of The Ancient One was some jerk named Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) who’s now trying to do some bad stuff and will probably be coming for her bald ass soon enough, so the more bodies on hand to absorb energy blasts, the better.  Will Stephen Strange find what he is looking for in the teachings of the ancient one?  What is Kaecilius after and why is he so pissed about everything?  Seriously, what the hell were they smoking when they were making this?

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“Far out, bro!”     “We REALLY need to keep moving.  THEY’RE SHOOTING MAGIC BEAMS AT US!”

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