Currently browsing the "superhero" tag.

Review: Shazam!

With Marvel’s highly-anticipated Avengers: Endgame still a few weeks out, DC Comics’ Shazam! swoops in like a tasty appetizer – just enough to satisfy, without spoiling your appetite for the main course. Shazam! is not as LOL funny and lighthearted as the trailer might suggest, but it’s still far lighter and easier to process than most DC Comic movies of recent memory (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.), and it’s certainly much shorter and simpler than the forthcoming Avengers finale. Bottom line: Shazam! is a solid coming-of-age superhero flick that’s suitable for family viewing, assuming the kids are at least approaching teendom. The film is PG-13 and does have the occasional blast of violence (though relatively bloodless), sadness (family dysfunction and abandonment issues) and scary moments (don’t get lost at the fairgrounds or walk through strange doors!). But overall, it’s about personal strength (finding the superhero within), making the right choices, and learning what defines a family.

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.

Captain America: Civil War

I’ve always considered myself an Iron Man gal in the Avengers universe, but man oh man, Captain America is growing on me! So while I understand the marketing appeal of a #TeamCap v. #TeamIronMan rivalry, I am hereby declaring myself Switzerland in this Civil War! I refuse to choose. And as any Avengers fan is sure to guess, you don’t really have to. The marketing gimmick – like the movie itself – is all in good fun. That’s not to say there isn’t a decent story at the heart of this latest entry in Marvel’s Avengers franchise. There is. And that’s why this movie deserves to crush DC Comics’ Batman vs. Superman at the box office. It’s full of action, drama, Stark snark, superhero banter, a few unexpected twists, and good old-fashioned themes about friendship, conscience, and moral ambiguity. Can you tell I kinda liked it?

Deadpool

Deadpool is a dark, funny, twisted, wince-inducing, sarcastic, anti-superhero movie that breaks all sorts of rules – including an invitation/permission for critics to review it several days in advance of its wide release. From the hysterical opening credits, all the way through to the so-so post-credit bonus clip, the movie celebrates, embraces, rejects and mocks the very genre it is part of… the Marvel comic universe. It’s entertaining in a ‘what-did-I-just-see and why-am-I-reluctant-to-dismiss-it-even though-it-was-such-a-strange-ride?’ sort of way. It truly defies description. But here’s the gist:

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a good, entertaining summer flick filled with humor, sarcasm, sci-fi superhero angst, and action. But don’t make the same mistake I did… which was to expect something close(r) to the brilliance of the classic Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest. Guardians is good, but it’s not THAT good. Chris Pratt (aka Andy on Parks and Rec) proves he is definitely leading-man material, playing Peter Quill, a half-human, half-alien who likes to refer to himself as ‘Star-Lord’ and wants others to do the same.

Man of Steel

The new “Superman” movie is getting some mixed reviews, but here’s the real deal on the Man of Steel: It’s definitely worth seeing – just keep your expectations in check and don’t over-think it. It’s not a perfect movie. It’s probably not the best action-hero movie you’ll see this year. But it is an interesting and entertaining re-imagining of the Superman mythology. He’s still the guy who can leap tall buildings in a single bound (once he realizes he can fly) and fight the good fight for truth, justice and the American/Earthly way. He just goes at it from a slightly different angle.

Iron Man 3

The plot of Iron Man 3 is wonky. But when you’ve got Robert Downey Jr. donning the suit, it doesn’t really matter. You’re in for a fun ride – especially if you’ve seen the previous two Iron Man movies and The Avengers, one of my favorite flicks of 2012.

This time around, wealthy industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey) finds his Malibu complex reduced to rubble and his loved ones (most notably, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts) threatened by a menacing terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).

Marvel’s The Avengers

I’m no comic book aficionado (far from it), but I really liked The Avengers. And that’s mostly because I really like watching Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. You’ve got to love a superhero who’s cynical, sarcastic, witty and walks around in tight jeans and a “Black Sabbath” tee-shirt when he’s not suited up for battle.

The movie also features a host of other reluctant heroes from the Marvel Comic Universe, including the Shakespearean thunder god Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the recently defrosted World War Two soldier-extraordinaire, Captain America (Chris Evans), the mild-mannered doctor-turned-green-monster-when-he’s-angry The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), the brooding guy who’s good with arrows, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and the psychologically damaged superspy chick in a form-fitting bodysuit, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

Captain America: The First Avenger

Holy androstenedione, Batman! Or whatever else it is that’s in the experimental serum that transforms a scrawny kid from Brooklyn into the ultra-buff Super-Soldier known as “Captain America.” He’s really hot, but the movie’s just luke-warm.