Currently browsing the "Marvel" tag.

Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

I’m suffering a bit from early-summer superhero fatigue, so I fully acknowledge that my ailment could account for my less than enthusiastic endorsement of Spider-Man: Far From Home. It’s still an endorsement though. Because no matter my personal angst and anguish over the final moments of Avengers: Endgame, this latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe does a solid job picking up the pieces from Endgame and moving the MCU forward. Spider-Man: Far From Home is an entertaining, somewhat bittersweet sequel that wears two hats: it’s a follow-up to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming reboot (with a youthful Tom Holland swinging into the role full-throttle), as well as to Endgame, which must be seen first to fully appreciate and understand what’s going on in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the 23rd film in the MCU. In Far From Home, our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man from Queens, Peter Parker, is growing weary of the awesome responsibilities that come with global superhero status and is itching to be just a regular teenager again, at least for the summer. But a school trip abroad doesn’t exactly go as planned, and Peter is called upon to step-up, fill the void left by the Avengers shake-up, and help save his classmates – and the world – from a new, monstrous threat.

Spoiler-Free Review: Avengers: Endgame

And so it ends… in a suitably epic and satisfying way. Avengers: Endgame is a superhero chick flick – part drama, part action, part tearjerker. It’s also part comedy, in that witty yet poignant style that has come to define the Avengers whenever they are called upon to assemble. Three hours of non-stop efforts to turn back the hands of time without sacrificing the future. Avengers: Endgame is a gift to the Marvel Cinematic Universe fanbase that has seen most if not all of the 20+ movies that began with the debut of Iron Man in 2008. If you don’t care for Marvel movies to begin with, then move along; Endgame is not for you. If you are a fan, and haven’t been able to get the image of superheroes turned to dust out of your head since the final scenes of Avengers: Infinity War in 2018, then it doesn’t matter what I write, or say, about Endgame. You have to go. Sooner rather than later to avoid any spoilers or buzzkill.

Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

As a sequel to a lightweight Marvel movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp does its job. It’s entertaining and finds a way to work in the necessary connections to the Avengers franchise and the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you skipped the first Ant-Man, or expect to see Ant-Man courting a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or couldn’t care less about the Avengers, then move along. This movie isn’t for you. If, however, you enjoyed the first Ant-Man flick, wonder why Ant-Man was a no-show in Infinity War, or simply like Paul Rudd (I mean, really, who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?), then take no shame in embracing the family-friendly buzz around Ant-Man and the Wasp. It is summer, after all.

Review: Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 has a lot in common with Deadpool 1: it’s irreverent, self-deprecating, cynical and sarcastic; incessantly mocking the superhero genre, while leveraging the very plot devices and character quirks that have come to define superhero movies in general and Marvel movies in particular; and, it’s weird, gross, and generally entertaining. But yes – there’s a ‘but’ coming… the R-rating could easily stand for ‘Redundant’ (in addition to, um, other stuff that makes Deadpool 2, like its predecessor, an anti-superhero flick for older teens and adults only). The shock value humor that made Deadpool such a ‘WTF’ hit in 2016 simply can’t be replicated in a sequel. Instead, we get more of the same. More of Ryan Reynolds breaking the fourth wall as Wade Wilson aka Deadpool whose superpower is, as he describes it, “unbridled cancer”; More overt and covert pop culture references; More melodramatic 80s music; More opening credit gags and CGI extravaganzas.

Even the storyline provided by the studio is, intentionally, a load of bull:

Spoiler-Free Review: Avengers: Infinity War

I don’t know what to say. Really. There’s little to say, without giving too much away. So here’s the spoiler-free gist: The Avengers – and their superhero allies from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe – engage in what may be their deadliest showdown of all time. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Spider-man, Captain America, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and others too, join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord, Gemora, Groot, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, etc.) to defeat a mighty alien named Thanos who aims to eliminate half the universe. Thanos’s misguided plan for population control rests on his ability to collect all six brightly-colored “Infinity Stones” that can manipulate elements of time, space, reality, power, the mind, and the soul. If Thanos (Josh Brolin) succeeds – all hell breaks loose, and a lot of people die. In other words, the stakes are higher than high for this epic action adventure sci-fi fantasy flick.

Avengers, assemble! And bring reinforcements! Victory is not guaranteed.

Review: Black Panther

Yes, it is very good. It’s even better if you happen to like the genre – at least to some degree. Black Panther works as both a standalone action drama sci-fi superhero movie, and as a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m a big fan of Marvel Studios’ Avengers franchise (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, etc.) so I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of T’Challa/Black Panther in the near and distant future. He’s one cool dude surrounded and protected by a bunch of kickass cool women.

Review of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Ever wonder what a ‘Generation Z’ Peter Parker would be like? If so, look no further than Spider-Man: Homecoming, the latest (reboot? reimagining? prequel? pseudo-origin story?) of your friendly neighborhood superhero (and Avenger in training). As introduced briefly in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, English actor Tom Holland is the newest, and youngest Spidey to don the suit in what is, in essence, Smallville: the Spider-Man edition (i.e. instead of Tom Welling as a young Clark Kent navigating the challenges of both High School and superheroism on TV, you get Tom Holland as a young Peter Parker navigating the challenges of both High School and superheroism on the big screen). The film certainly provides a fresh and interesting take on the iconic character and his place in the Marvel franchise; I just don’t feel like we needed it. But since we’ve got it anyway, here’s the bottom line: Spider-Man: Homecoming is perfectly entertaining for what it is (a superhero coming-of-age comedy drama action flick) and sets the stage for a Spider-Man for a new generation. Only time will tell if Holland has more web-slinging staying power than his predecessors Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3) and Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Young Spidey’s integration into the Avengers franchise could give him a solid advantage.

Spoiler-free Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman – all the world is waiting for you – and the power you possess [at the box office]. So go kick some butt!

The greatest female superhero of all time finally gets her due in this big-budget, action-packed chick flick directed by Patty Jenkins, the first woman to helm a major DC Comic or Marvel movie. Golden-lasso-of-truth be told, Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie, but it is far better than the most recent DC Comic flicks (i.e. Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad) and it delivers a compelling combination of action, romance, backstory, plot, and inspirational message for our times. All packed into a solid two hours and 20 minutes.

Logan

Logan could be one of the most divisive Marvel movies of all time. Hardcore fans of the Wolverine mythology may appreciate this dark, R-rated send-off to the most iconic and sardonic of the X-Men superheroes. But I was not prepared for, and did not enjoy, the grim final farewell (or so it appears) to Logan/Wolverine, portrayed for nearly 20 years by the multi-talented and seemingly ageless Hugh Jackman. I’m not a huge X-Men fan (I prefer the Avengers), but I’ve always had a soft spot for the bitter, sexy, ripped, self-healing Wolverine who was blessed and cursed with immortality and killer claws. This Wolverine is different. He’s bitter, aging, self-loathing, and just no fun at all. Apparently, that’s what the filmmakers were going for. And that’s what some film critics and fanboys are raving about. But I don’t like hyper-violent, bloody, raw, and depressing. Especially in my Marvel movies. Deadpool earned its R-rating with unexpectedly entertaining raunchiness and wit. Logan gets its R-rating from a string of curse words and a very high body count. Heads will roll… literally.

Doctor Strange

Fanboys and Fangirls will certainly make an appointment to see Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and they won’t be disappointed. The superhero movie du jour features a character I was completely unfamiliar with, but it turns out he’s a rather engaging bloke, in an ‘Avengers meets the mystical world’ sort of way. I still love my Avengers more (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor…), but Doctor Strange is a solid, entertaining action-adventure sci-fi fantasy, especially for fans of the Marvel universe, where bad stuff happens and the heroes win out, without all the intense violence, darkness, and brooding that has come to characterize the DC Comics’ caped crusaders (Superman, Batman, etc.).