Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 superhero comedy film directed by Taika Waititi and starring Chris Hemsworth. It is a very problematic, but still highly entertaining film.

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I’ve been falling… for 30 minutes!

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Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

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This is not one film but two films stacked together. Even I can realize that and I have not read these comics. They put two storylines together – one about Hela and another set in Sakaar. That is why the film felt rushed even with a long runtime and it felt hastily put together and not as well connected. I do think that two movies instead of one would have been better.

But I did really like both of these stories. The Hela one is very dark and brutal which I did not expect and it was very entertaining and Marvel raised the stakes somewhat successfully there (I will talk about that later). And the whole Sakaar story was even more entertaining as it gave us a bunch of new memorable characters, fun action and good humor.

Thor is changed here and although I love seeing Chris Hemsworth be funny and more jokey and energetic for a change, they still changed him too much to the point of almost becoming a different character. Loki was honestly unnecessary in this film. It is sad to say that but he lost his edge entirely and he became very predictable and boring. Hiddleston’s performance is also lacking. They should have killed him honestly as he was very stale here, especially put up against other new and fresh characters.

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Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

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Let’s talk about Hela. I absolutely adored her. Finally we get a great Marvel villain. Cate Blanchett excelled in the role as she obviously had a lot of fun playing her and it translated to the character herself who is very entertaining. She looks amazing with her fun goth look and she posed serious threat and never made a single mistake. I loved how they had to bring Ragnarok to basically destroy the entire planet and that was the only way to kill her. And she is also very much evil and she was never humanized which was so refreshing.

Heimdall is forgettable here and Skurge’s story is typical and he took too much of the screen time. Valkyrie is problematic in my opinion. She is meant too much to be cool and to me an alcoholic is not cool. She was overly cold and aggressive as this typically feminist character.

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Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

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Grandmaster is awesome. He is simply hilarious with his over-the-top theatrics and various funny facial expressions and lines. Jeff Goldblum absolutely killed it in this role. Hulk is great and I loved seeing Mark Ruffalo again. He did a really good job as this torn man with a split personality and both Hulk and Bruce Banner are very well developed here. Odin should have been utilized more. Others are not all that important and I did not understand why they included Stephen Strange for just one scene. A total waste of a great character from my favorite superhero movie.

Thor: Ragnarok honestly has some pretty weak special effects, especially for this day and age. The imagery was fine, but the effects were lacking. The film is rushed, but entertaining from beginning to end and so well acted and also directed by talented Taika Waititi. It most certainly is a giant improvement over the previous film and even the original, but it is still far from the best MCU films because it has one inescapable problem.

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Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

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And that problem is the film’s humor. It was forced at times in the vein of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ and even though some scenes and lines and facial expressions were hilarious, I did not laugh as much as I should have.

But the major problem is that the tone is all over the place. In this film we get to see Thor lose his hammer and his eye and we get to see Asgard totally destroyed. Those are some of the darkest scenes from any MCU film so far and I respected that they took those risks, but they only paid off to a certain extent because they were undone by jokes.

I do not understand how they could joke about something so horrible and serious and those darkest moments were thus mostly ruined. The film is still quite good and hugely entertaining, but not great as it was seriously hurt by its comedic approach and especially by that very unappealing first act. But at least the other two acts were great.

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Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

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Thor: Ragnarok is a very good, but also very problematic movie and thus far from the best when it comes to the MCU. The first act is mostly quite unappealing and the film’s humor is good, but it can be forced at times. This movie should not have been a total comedy as it has some of the darkest scenes of any Marvel movie and those scenes that should have raised stakes and should have felt horrible were seriously offset by the obligatory upcoming jokes. Still, there is a lot to love here from the action which is a lot of fun to its two stories which are clumsily put together but are both excellent. Thor is funnier and more interesting here, Hulk is great, Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is frequently hilarious and Hela is the best thing about the entire film. Cate Blanchett obviously had a lot of fun playing the role, she looks great, she is powerful and never made a single mistake and she is refreshingly purely evil and never humanized leading to Marvel’s very best villain so far.

My Rating – 4

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a 2017 superhero film which is Marvel’s sixteenth film and the second Spider-Man reboot. It is the best Spider-Man film so far.

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I’m nothing without the suit!

If you’re nothing without the suit,

then you shouldn’t have it

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

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Marvel was always the right place for this character and the Sony-Marvel co-production really led to a stellar film here. What I loved about it is how it is different. It is so original for a reboot, especially a second one, and the plot and even the characters are different than usual.

We did not get an origin story here and I was thankful again. Twice was enough, thank you very much. We were also spared from the family drama which was also great. The overall storyline isn’t great, but is pretty competent and the film flies by how fun it is.

The only problem is the high-school stuff. I was promised a movie in the vein of John Hughes teen flicks of the eighties and I never really got that and that bothered me. Surely some of its moments were good and the teenagers mostly felt more realistic than your usual movie teenagers, but mostly the film relied too little on that aspect and certainly not as much as I expected it would.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

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Tom Holland kills it in this role which was expected from his caliber as he was amazing in ‘The Impossible’. He truly became both Spider-Man and Peter Parker and is undoubtedly the best incarnation of this superhero yet. But what I did not expect is the greatness of Vulture who turned out amazing. Finally we got a truly great, awesome MCU villain and I absolutely loved how creepy he was and his suit was also very interesting and creepy. The scene in the car where he interrogates Peter and realizes his identity is just absolutely brilliant in its intensity.

Happy is funny at times and MJ is interesting but sorely underutilized. Aunt May is a lot of fun and very charming whereas Tony Stark was used in the best way possible. He is quite restrained and not overused yet expectedly funny and arrogant. I loved the Pepper scene and I want her to return to the MCU soon. Flash is somewhat typical as Peter’s rival, but Ned is a solid comic relief, typical but solid and his nerdy lines were funny.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

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Spider-Man: Homecoming has another fatal flaw apart from the high school stuff and that is the entire action finale. I really disliked it. I do get that Vulture flies and it was suitable that they fought in midair but it was weakly executed in action and in effects and it was just not at all exciting. But the rest of the movie thankfully featured very good, though not great, action scenes.

Which brings me to my next point – this Spider-Man is not cool. That was the decision that paid off with me as I sympathized and connected with him and he proved relatable to me but I do not know how others would like that. But he should be unprepared and clumsy as he’s a teenager who is just learning and beginning his superheroics. He was so clumsy, whiny and even incapable of anything that it was really a shock to see. He even did not beat the villain in the end and he never really succeeded in anything, but he kept trying and that was wonderful to witness.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

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I also liked that he refused to join the Avengers even though he had a blast with them in ‘Civil War’. This movie features good dialogue, solid humor and pretty good score. It is fun and funny throughout and is in my opinion the best ever Spider-Man film. It is a proof that 2017 is the best ever year for superhero films. ‘Logan’ gave us emotion and realism, ‘Wonder Woman’ gave us the humanity and classical approach and Homecoming gives us the relatability. All three are such good movies and I loved each one of them. This one is also going to end up pretty high on my Marvel ranking list.

Spider-Man Homecoming is the best Spider-Man movie yet and it features the best incarnation yet with Tom Holland killing it in the role and basically becoming both Spidey and Peter Parker. The movie is not great as the last action scene was disappointing in my opinion and the film never really gave me the John Hughes teenage drama that I was promised, but it still features a pretty strong plot thankfully devoid of an origin story, different and interesting characters, a relatable hero, fun action and humor and the first truly great MCU villain in Vulture who is so incredible (the car sequence is brilliant in its intensity). It is another very strong superhero film in the best year ever for the genre.

My Rating – 4

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Ranking the MCU Films

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Ranking the MCU Films

Marvel Cinematic Universe has turned out to be incredibly influential for turning movie franchises into universes for better and for worse. Their films are definitely not as well connected, but the connections are still there and for the most part they succeed pretty well in telling this one giant, connected story. But I am a fan of the MCU mostly because they haven’t yet made a bad film as even their worst films are passable, but not truly bad. So here is my ranking of Marvel’s entire canon so far.

 

17. The Incredible Hulk

I really didn’t care for this movie. It is definitely not bad as it is well acted and it is overall pretty harmless with nothing in it being horrible, but nothing in here is also particularly memorable and inspired leading to one of the most forgettable Marvel films and one of their dullest. And it isn’t even an important entry in this universe as Edward Norton was later replaced by Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and that rendered this movie totally useless.

 

16. Iron Man 2

Being such an unfortunate dark spot in an otherwise stellar trilogy, Iron Man 2 is inarguably one of Marvel’s weakest outings as almost everyone agrees that it is mediocre. The only good thing here is of course the banter between Tony and Pepper as they have always been such a great pair. But that’s it. Everything else is so weak from the mediocre villain to the action to the story which is overstuffed with too many uninspired plot points and characters.

 

15. Thor: The Dark World

The last mediocre entry on this list, the second Thor movie is just much inferior to the first one and another movie which is universally proclaimed to be at least problematic, if not downright bad. To me it isn’t bad as Loki is definitely fun here plus the humor is solid, but the film is certainly overly cheesy and filled with dull action sequences and a ridiculously convoluted storyline that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

 

 

 

14. Captain America: The First Avenger

The first Cap movie is definitely solid and actually quite pleasant as a whole. I liked its plot and I liked its 40s time period and it was quite charming and fun to watch. However, it still remains an awfully typical origin story filled with quite weak action scenes. But its biggest offender is that it is so incredibly forgettable to the point of being entirely overshadowed by its two successors which is understandable as both are infinitely better movies.

 

13. The Avengers

I know this is a controversial choice, but it is my opinion and I am sticking with it. There is no denying that this film is fun and filled with pretty solid character interactions and good humor, but the plot is quite poor and the film is filled with overwhelming action. I think they did the best they could do with such an annoying blockbuster premise, but it still ended up being overstuffed with too many characters and action leading to Marvel’s most overrated film.

 

12. Avengers: Age of Ultron

I guess this is another controversial choice, but I have to admit that I liked the second Avengers movie a bit more than the first one. Yes, all of the trappings and faults of the first movie are there and Ultron himself definitely disappointed a lot in the end, but the plot is ultimately a bit better here and the characters are quite good with Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision being memorable new additions to the team.

 

11. Thor

I like the first Thor movie. It is a lot of fun and Kenneth Branagh was a great, fitting choice to direct it. Loki is excellent here and the other characters are also quite good plus the world building is solid. But it still has its problems such as weaker action and a very clichéd and predictable story. It is a solid film, but there is no denying that this Marvel franchise is definitely the weakest.

 

 

10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Image result for guardians of the galaxy vol 2 planet

This is an infinitely inferior sequel to one of Marvel’s best films as it is filled with such an awfully emotional approach that felt ridiculous by the end, but it is still a hugely entertaining sequel featuring once again good performances and character interactions, fun humor and improved effects with its planet being so wonderfully explored. As sequels go, it is not the greatest, but perfectly solid nonetheless.

 

 

9. Iron Man 3

The action is again weak here and the villains are expectedly very bad, but Iron Man 3 is otherwise a pretty good and definitely underrated film as a lot of people hate it for its Mandarin twist, but to me that was one of the highlights as it was unique and interesting. I also really liked the overall story, the emotional emphasis on Tony’s journey and it is a satisfyingly darker and more mature Iron Man film which ultimately worked.

 

8. Thor: RagnarokImage result for thor ragnarok gif

I really liked this movie as it can be pretty funny and the characters are great from Thor who is much more interesting than usual here to Hulk who is quite complex to Grandmaster who is frequently hilarious to Hela who is the best MCU villain so far as she is kickass, purely evil and very powerful. Its two stories are also really good. But the film is overly comedic in its approach which robbed those unbelievably dark moments form hitting harder emotionally and that also robbed it of a higher spot on my list.

 

 

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Winter Soldier is a slightly overrated film as Bucky continues to be underutilized and the entire third act is overly bombastic. But it is still a pretty strong superhero film with good mystery and spy elements to it and a surprising amount of truly exceptional, unforgettable sequences. The action is some of the best in the MCU and the character development is superb with everyone getting their moment to shine.

 

 

 

6. Captain America: Civil War

I didn’t like that the third Cap movie basically ended up being an Avengers film. But even though it had too much action and way too many characters, it is still a movie that The Avengers should have been – both entertaining and sophisticated. Its political themes are interesting, some action set pieces are superb, the humor is quite good and most of the characters were so well utilized. A stellar and in terms of the plot quite important film.

 

 

Image result for spiderman homecoming gif5. Spider-Man: Homecoming

This movie is a collaboration with Sony but it still counts as a Marvel film. The third act is pretty disappointing, but this is otherwise a very strong, fun and at times even intense film with a particularly strong villain who is one of Marvel’s best. This Spidey incarnation is the best so far; the movie works so well in its humor and especially characterization leading to what is the best Spider-Man film so far in my opinion. And that is highly commendable for what is the sixth film in the franchise.

 

 

4. Ant-Man

This is such an underappreciated gem of a film and it takes the high fourth spot on my list as I love it so much. The cast is excellent, the new characters are so likable, Paul Rudd is funny and charismatic in the role and the action is pretty solid. The villain is still so weak, but the overall plot is good and its concept is a lot of fun. But Ant-Man succeeds mostly because it found a perfect mix of humor and emotional pathos in telling this charming story.

 

3. Iron Man

This is where it all started. It was once my favorite movie, but even though it is now downgraded to the third place, it still remains such a good film. The first Iron Man showed us for the first time the signature humor and charisma from Robert Downey Jr. in this great role, but it also contains an origin story that is surprisingly very good and done right. And other than the weak villain, it is a pretty stellar, commendable effort all around.

 

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

Great in its humor filled with many quotable lines and awesome in its team filled with outstanding, highly memorable and funny characters, Guardians of the Galaxy is a full package of unforgettable popcorn entertainment that has all of the ingredients of a timeless blockbuster classic. It has its weaknesses, but it is such a fun and funny movie that is an absolute joy to watch that it deservedly takes the second spot on my list.

 

1. Doctor Strange

Yes, I am in the vast minority here, but Doctor Strange just has to be my number one MCU pick. It is a funny film with a couple of hilarious moments, but it is above all such a well told, genuinely intriguing story filled with memorable and so well developed characters, excellent world building, amazing special effects, stupendous action scenes and such fascinating mythology that it is without any doubt not just my favorite Marvel movie, but my favorite superhero film of all time.

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World Review

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Thor: The Dark World Movie Review

Thor: The Dark World is a 2013 superhero film starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston. It is one of Marvel’s weakest movies.

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Your brother isn’t coming, is he?

Loki is dead. Thank God… I’m so sorry

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Thor: The Dark World Review

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The major problem with this movie is that it is just way too silly to be taken seriously. The first half was okay, but the second half with all of that crazy action felt just ridiculous and sometimes it felt like watching some made-up nonsense. That was certainly disappointing having in mind that the first Thor movie was at least somewhat serious and well crafted in plot.

I liked Jane and Thor’s relationship. She was solid here and the two were good together. But Loki was the best here, albeit his conclusion felt ridiculous and not explained well at all. But Loki and Thor have a great relationship and their scenes together are very good. The villains are once again weak. The death of Frigga was tragic and well handled. As for the sidekicks, Darcy is as funny as usual, but Erik was a bit too goofy in my opinion. Way over-the-top.

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Thor: The Dark World Review

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Of course the film is well acted, but to me Chris Hemsworth was much weaker in comparison to Natalie Portman and especially Tom Hiddleston, both really good here. As for its other technicalities, they are weak. The direction is quite weak as is expected from a small director. The editing is also problematic and the film’s special effects are not particularly memorable.

Let’s talk about the action. Thor: The Dark World has some good action sequences, but most of it felt uninspired and typical. And certainly forgettable as it the entire film. Its fantasy elements disappointed me the most. Asgard is as good looking and as inviting as it was before, but everything with its villains and the physics in this movie was not only weakly explained and sort of thrown into the mix with no thought whatsoever, but some of it also felt ridiculous and genuinely laughable. Especially Jane’s role and that last fight on Earth was just too silly. It ruined the movie the most, that sequence in particular.

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Thor: The Dark World Review

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But the humor is solid and it is without any doubt the movie’s biggest strength. Darcy made me laugh and even Thor managed to bring a couple of memorable lines himself. Loki’s imitation of Captain America was surely hilarious, if out of place in this movie. The film is the kind of light, silly and comedic blockbuster that definitely will satisfy most of the masses, but to me it felt just overly ridiculous and so stupid and underdeveloped with a lack of focus, a hard to follow plot and an odd ending that it ended up being one of the weakest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It certainly isn’t ‘Iron Man 2’, but it also isn’t ‘Thor’ as that original movie was just so much better in almost every way.

Thor: The Dark World is funny at times, Loki is very good here and some scenes were memorable, but this was for the most part an overly ridiculous affair with such a silly third act that was just stupid in my opinion, a hard to follow plot that made no sense whatsoever and forgettable action sequences leading to what is inarguably one of the weakest MCU films.

My Rating – 3

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The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers Movie Review…………………………………………………

The Avengers Movie Review

The Avengers is a 2012 Marvel superhero film directed by Joss Whedon and starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johansson and Tom Hiddleston. It is a solid and entertaining, yet frankly overrated movie.

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Big man in a suit of armor.

Take that off, what are you?

Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist

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The Avengers Movie Review…………………………………………………

The team must stop Loki from subjugating Earth. The plot is so clichéd that it prevented me from enjoying this movie more. It is the main reason why I find the film to be immensely overrated along with the overabundance of action. Not only is it typical, but entirely predictable from beginning to end too. At first they don’t get along, but when Agent Coulson die, that gives them the motivation to work as a team. Then they fight Loki and beat him together. Such a predictable and standard plot.

But what I liked here and respected actually is the dialogue which is so memorable and brisk. There is a lot of unforgettable one-liners here with the one from Tony Stark being a millionaire being the highlight. I loved how they quarreled and how each one of them felt like a member of the team, but also a singular person. Yes, the film benefits from having a number of singular entries preceding it, but the character development is very good here as well.

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The Avengers Movie Review…………………………………………………

The testament to that is the Hulk. He is basically the new character as the MCU decided to forget about Edward Norton’s version in ‘The Incredible Hulk’. But this new one is very good, very well developed and again a proof that he works well in small doses. He was quite comedic too. I liked Captain America, but he wasn’t as memorable here. Thor did have a couple of great moments and Tony Stark is excellent, but never as great as he is in his own movies.

Black Widow definitely has a couple of terrific action sequences and this movie finds her at one of her best, but she is still not my cup of tea and us too cocky and posing. Hawkeye is pretty likable and the two are memorable together. Coulson’s death was okay, but overly sentimental. Loki has a couple of absolutely terrific, funny scenes and was dangerous at first, but he disappointed me later on. Nick Fury is as solid as ever.

The acting is top-notch. Everyone did a really good job with the highlights being Robert Downey Jr. and of course Mark Ruffalo. Both are phenomenal and I liked the scenes that they shared together. Tom Hiddleston is expectedly great in Loki’s role and Jeremy Renner is solid, but the two Chrises definitely were inferior to the rest of the crew.

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The Avengers Movie Review…………………………………………………

The Avengers is solidly directed and the film mostly flows well before that third act. The special effects are pretty good and some of the imagery and set pieces were terrific. But, as I said above, I really disliked the action here. The action itself is great, don’t get me wrong. Some scenes were exciting and phenomenally well executed and entertaining. But the film is filled with too much action and basically the final fight lasted for half an hour or so which was just too much. It ruined what could have been a much better movie and it became overloud and bombastic and a typical brainless blockbuster.

But the humor drives The Avengers along with the chemistry between the actors. I loved how each and every one of them interacted with the rest of the team and the scenes where they just talked were some of the highlights. Tony Stark has his moments, but is never as funny as he was before. The Hulk has a couple of hilarious moments such as the moment where he punched Thor. I also really liked the jokes about Cap’s being old and out of time as well as Thor’s stupidity. All really well done and surely both the humor and the dialogue propel this movie to much greater heights.

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Because the action is overwhelming and the script is weak, the film is never great, but its jokes, its characters and its dialogue really made it worth a watch and entertaining. But I still find it to be very overrated and actually one of the weaker Marvel entries. Yes, many call it the greatest MCU film, but to me only a couple of them are weaker than this one and I still prefer Age of Ultron.

The Avengers is a solid, but immensely overrated movie that is one of Marvel’s weakest. The humor is fantastic, the dialogue is great, the performances are all top-notch and the characterization is remarkable with everyone interacting well with one another and getting their proper due, but the script is so clichéd and predictable and the action is overwhelming to the point of being exhausting and seriously impacting the movie which could have been very good, but is ultimately just solid and never as great as everyone says it is.

My Rating – 3.5

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

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Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War is a 2016 superhero film that concludes the Captain America trilogy and is the thirteenth entry in the MCU. It is such a good film that is one of Marvel’s finest.

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Our very strenth incites challenge.

Challenge incites conflict. And conflict… breeds catastrophe

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Captain America: Civil War Movie Review__________________________

The disagreement over international oversight of the Avengers splits the team into two fractions – one led by Rogers and the other by Stark. That is the plot of this movie and it is admittedly pretty good. Let’s talk about the story in two different areas as the two halves here differentiate a lot. The first half of the film is very political, almost too political. But even though I usually dislike the serious tone in these superhero films, I have to say that I liked it here as the politics is really well handled, in a sophisticated, but thankfully not pretentious manner. I liked that the film went global, even though some obvious nations were still vilified. But I really liked that global feel to it and I found the conflict at the center of the story to be really well explored and powerful.

The second half of the movie is quite the opposite as it suddenly shifts the tone from serious to very light and comedic and I absolutely loved that. Spider-Man himself brought some necessary humor into the picture, but the entire team brought some laughs. I loved the fact that, even though they fought, it was obvious that they are still friends so they didn’t fight seriously. The comic exchange was great there and those scenes were wonderfully energetic and just fun to watch.

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Captain America: Civil War Movie Review__________________________

Let’s talk about the characters. Captain America: Civil War is stuffed with way too many characters and that is one of its obvious big problems. Yes, they fleshed most of them out pretty well for such a short time, but there are still too many of them and not everyone got their moment to shine. Captain America himself is somewhat disappointing here as, contrary to the title, this isn’t exactly his movie, but rather the third Avengers flick. But he still had his more emotional and dramatic scenes. Iron Man is really good, if not particularly humorous this time around. But the problem with their relationship is that it isn’t that well realized and a bigger emotional punch was definitely needed given the magnitude of the conflict.

Black Widow continues to annoy me with her overly cocky attitude and they again did not fix that. Bucky Barnes is once again emphasized a lot, but his character still remains somewhat empty and boring. Falcon is used much better this time around, but he is still not relevant in the bigger picture. Rhodey was good and the emotion was felt between him and Iron Man, but his tragedy still did not feel as heartbreaking because his character was underutilized. Hawkeye is okay, but like Falcon, not needed.  Black Panther is the addition to the team and I really liked him as he is obviously such a different character, both in appearance and in personality. His scenes were some of the best in this movie.

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Captain America: Civil War Movie Review______________________________

Vision was quite good, but he didn’t get too many scenes. But Scarlet Witch continues to be one of my favorite members of the team as she is so relatable and so likable. As for Ant-Man, I have to say that I found his character to be very disappointing here. He is used in so few scenes that he is basically redundant and the decision to have this many characters in a movie hurt his character most. Sharon Carter is solid and I really liked the blooming relationship between her and Cap. And Helmut Zemo is typical villain character.

And as for Peter Parker himself, I have to admit that he is very good. It is early to say that he is the best incarnation of the character yet, but he is true to his original self as he is very energetic and quite funny. I particularly liked his interactions with the rest of the team, particularly Tony. And I loved how realistic it was from them to have him not rise to the challenge in the battle as he is too young and inexperienced. That was great, but what wasn’t great is that they failed to bring up the subject of whether or not it was okay to bring a minor to a battlefield. That was such a missed opportunity.

Captain America: Civil War has some amazing action sequences. Really, the action here is so well executed that I was riveted by it during some scenes. The camera angles were also really good and the only problem is that the movements were too fast sometimes. But it was so exhilarating to watch and this is easily one of the most entertaining MCU movies to date. And I really liked that most of the characters delivered in terms of the action.

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Captain America: Civil War Movie Review____________________________

As I said before, the humor is great and there were some hilarious scenes here. The shift in tone is a bit jarring, but I overall liked its two tones here. The cinematography is good and the score is stupendous. Yes, we finally have a well scored Marvel movie which is so refreshing. The pacing, on the other hand, is problematic because the movie is just way too long and sometimes in the third act a bit too prolonged and quite frankly boring. The dialogue is quite solid and the film is overall well crafted. It lacks emotion, but it isn’t cold either. Overall, even though it has its problems, Civil War is definitely one of the better Marvel movies thus far and the best entry in the trilogy, beating ‘The Winter Soldier’ for me.

Captain America: Civil War is one of the better MCU films so far thanks to a really well crafted and sophisticated storyline, a great political first half and an entertaining and comedic second one, really good humor and absolutely terrific action sequences. It does lack a bigger emotional punch, it is way too long and it is stuffed with way too many characters, thus seriously reducing the impact of some of them, but most of the characters are memorable and well used here, the team dynamic is great and it is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining Marvel movies.

My Rating – 4

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Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 Review

Iron Man 2 is a 2010 Marvel superhero film and the second part of the trilogy. It starts Robert Downy Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson and is directed once again by Jon Favreau. It is easily the worst entry in the franchise.

This time, Stark’s rival is Ivan Vanko, a Russian scientist who developed the same suit technology and is after him as a personal vengeance against his family. And you also have the assembling of the Avengers and the introduction of Black Widow. Yes, it is an incredibly convoluted and needlessly complicated plot, but also the one that does not resolve many of its plot points. It is quite probably the worst Marvel movie to date and a textbook example of what is wrong with most of their movies. They just relied on setting up The Avengers’ here without ever giving us a proper story. And although it has its moments, mainly the love relationship at the center of it is once again very sweet, it is still way too complicated, shallow, rushed and with too many plot holes and an overabundance of typical villains and typical action sequences that ruined it for me.

Tony Stark is once again the highlight of the film and Robert Downy Jr. is of course very funny this time around as well. But even he does not get the proper treatment. Pepper Potts is again really cool and such a strong and likable character. Their relationship is incredibly well done and the sole reason to see Iron Man 2 in my honest opinion. Rhodes is boring as he can be and the Shield operatives are shoehorn too much here with Black Widow not really belonging in this movie and Nick Fury never giving enough details to Tony to justify his inclusion. It was a terrible idea to have them in this film as just the post-credits sequence was enough, a scene done right for the first time. As for the villains, Justin Hammer is too typical, but Sam Rockwell did a really good job as always. And Ivan Vanko is an incredibly obvious character, never properly explored and never posing any real threat whatsoever. Once again, Marvel fails at creating real, awesome villains. And memorable as these are so forgettable as is the entire flick.

Yes, it is incredibly forgettable. The action is also boring and the whole third act is so-so. Yes, the first act is pretty good and the relationship is great as are the actors, but the overall story is lacking momentum and it has too many details that somehow do not mash well together into a proper whole. The effects are okay, but nothing too remarkable and the score is once again forgettable. The tone is problematic as there is never much humor here, I wanted more. The dialogue is solid but the pacing is not and Jon Favreau unfortunately failed as a director here. And it is never as important as the rest of their films because it does not tie that well into other films and the use of Black Widow here is not that good, she was much better utilized in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’. Comparing it to other Marvel movies, it is certainly the worst in the franchise and such a big let down from excellent Iron Man. It is also overall the worst in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe along with The Incredible Hulk and it definitely is the most forgettable of the bunch.

Iron Man 2 has a really nice relationship between Pepper Potts and Tony Stark at the center of the movie and the cast did a nice job, it also starts well and has its moments, but it is still lacking in terms of plot and characters with too forgettable and convoluted storyline, not well used characters, too much tying into other Marvel films and the villains and action are mediocre. It is undoubtedly the worst and most forgettable film in the MCU.

My Rating – 3

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Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man

Iron Man Review

Iron Man is a 2008 superhero film and the official first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is not only the best in the trilogy, but also the finest Marvel movie to this date.

The plot is a regular origin story. But it succeeds at it is done with great detail, emotion, humor and it is overall very entertaining and engaging to watch. All of the sequences with the creation of Iron Man in the first half are solidly done and intense, albeit the terrorist angle is a bit annoying. But it quickly gets better in the second half with terrific romance and human drama as well which I always appreciate the most in these blockbusters. The fight at the end is the weakest plot point as it is just way too clichéd and overly aggressive. However, the conclusion afterwards is so refreshing not only because the two don’t end up together with their relationship hinted upon, but also because this is one of the rare films to not have a superhero in hiding as Tony Stark reveals himself as Iron Man in the end. That is all so refreshing for comic-book flicks and a very nice change in pace.

The characters are the highlights, so well developed and interesting. Tony Stark is magnificent and different than the usual protagonist which is so great. He is arrogant, not annoyingly but rather amusingly cocky. But I like how he also has a heart and a moral standing which was necessary for his superhero role. And the filmmakers balanced perfectly his emotional roles and the role of a hero with an arrogant, rich and self-centered prick he is. That is all due to some strong character development at play here. Pepper Potts is wonderful and such a great and thankfully more likable than usual love interest. She has both a brain and heart and is capable and greatly helped him in this film which is great. The two are such a great couple and their romance is absolutely magnificent and in my opinion one of the biggest reasons to see this film.

Unfortunately, the supporting characters pale in comparison to the lead ones. Rhodes is forgettable and Obadiah Stane is just mediocre. Yes, he posed more threat to our hero than most of Marvel villains up to date, but he is still way too cartoony, comic-booky, typical and over-the-top even. I disliked him and although he was quite a threat in some sequences, he was still annoying to me.

The acting is phenomenal. Terrance Howard and Jeff Bridges are solid in their roles, but it is Gwyneth Paltrow who surprised me the most as she was so incredibly sympathetic, so charming even and gave such a wonderful performance that is easily one of her best. And the chemistry between her and Robert Downey Jr. is evident. Speaking of whom, he is naturally the finest link here in probably his most defining role. He played the part with excellent comic timing, great charisma while also carrying the more emotional scenes quite well. He became his character which is so rare and so respectable.

The humor is excellent. Really good and providing a lot of smart, witty moments. The play between the two love interests is very amusing and realistic and of course the lead carries the film on his shoulders when comedy is concerned, providing us a lot of giggles.

The action sequences are okay, nothing too remarkable and not too interesting. The fight at the end is typical as is the villain and the action should have been better realized. But the direction from Jon Favreau is very good and the film is solidly paced. The special effects are very good as well having in mind that it is Marvel’s first film. The score is very forgettable as usual for Marvel movies, but the sound effects are great. The tone is excellent, being mostly comedy, but shifting to dramatic and emotional moments as well. Now, the dialogue is stupendous without a doubt. It is one of the reasons why I enjoy this franchise so much. It is so sophisticated and so playful that you instantly like both its humor and its characters. The script is predictable, but involving. And the film does have a heart and it is smart and refreshing in many ways. It is also one of the best superhero films I’ve seen and undoubtedly the finest Marvel movie to date. Rarely have their movies come close to this level of quality.

Iron Man is one of the best superhero flicks I’ve seen. The action is forgettable and the villain is an over-the-top mediocrity, but the characters are absolutely superb with excellent performances as well, the humor is terrific with many funny moments, the romance is so charming and wonderful and the story is overall engaging and nicely crafted. It is one of the most entertaining MCU films that also has some emotional moments as well and it is undoubtedly the best Marvel movie to date.

My Rating – 4

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Antman (2015)

Antman

Ant-Man is a 2015 superhero film directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas. It is the twelfth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and in my opinion one of their best.

The story is not the highlight here. I like how they explain everything in the beginning, they introduce you to the world and its characters in a great way. And I especially loved the slow pace in the first half of the movie and its emotional investment. The movie definitely has a heart. The troubled relationship between Hank and Hope and their father-daughter bonding is so well done and very moving. I also like the relationship between the protagonist Scott and Hank as well as Hope. Yes, all of the relationships in Ant-Man work and they drive the movie. I also like how it incorporates the father-daughter aspect in the protagonist’s relationship with his daughter as well. This is definitely the warmest movie for Marvel yet.

I am constantly talking about how the first half is so good for a good reason because the second half is much weaker. The action sequences are nothing to write home about and they needed inventiveness due to the film’s nature. I also disliked the villain and the conflict. And the action and humor are overwhelming and not that good later on. But I like how it wrapped up with such a nice ending. This is a story that is so familiar in its science and heist, but it is still good because it incorporates human drama and emotion into it which I found really refreshing.

Now, the characters. They are mostly really well realized. Especially the aforementioned trio, they all are very good, even excellent. I like Scott Lang as the protagonist here, he is not as funny as he should have been, but that is also not a bad thing as it lead to some character development and drama for him. He is more grounded than other Marvel heroes while also not being boring like Captain America is. He is the perfect middle ground and I really appreciated that. Hank Pym is terrific as a troubled old man and a genius scientist. He also has an emotional development and a genuinely tragic and perfectly explored backstory. Hope van Dyne is also wonderful and a very strong female character. Her story, her relationship with father as well as the main character are all extremely well done. I think she is my favorite female character in the MCU as I am not that big a fan of Black Widow.

Yellowjacket is of course a bad villain, like all Marvel villains usually are. He definitely posed more threat than many of them did, but he is still an overly theatrical and cartoony villain with a typical behavior and goal. He is one of the main problems of this movie. And I have to be honest and say that I was not a fan of Luis, I know that I am in the minority here, but to me he was mostly annoying, not all the time, but still for the most part. His humor gets so repetitive near the end and his constant smile made me irritated. I really disliked all of Lang’s friends, they are the typical sidekicks, too over-the-top and rarely genuinely funny.

Speaking of the humor, that is where Ant-Man fails the most. I really expected more from it, but I did not get it. Yes, the central character has a charisma and he does have some nice lines, but even he is not that funny and some of his jokes fall flat. And as I said before, his friends and especially Luis are all really annoying instead of hilarious. They really missed the mark when comedy is concerned.

The acting on the other hand is superb across the board. Paul Rudd did a stupendous job and he really is likable in his role. Evangeline Lilly also did a great job and Michael Douglas surprised me as he was really sympathetic here whereas he mostly isn’t. I am usually not a fan of his, but here I really liked both him and his character. Corey Stroll is too over-the-top as is his character and Bobby Cannavale plays an overly typical role for him. But Michael Pena is quite good and although his character is not, he did a good job with what he got.

Now, technically this movie is not particularly good and I am mostly referring to the action and special effects, as I found the direction and especially pacing really good. But the action is so mediocre and rarely making you excited. It definitely felt subpar when compared to the rest of the picture which is a shame as it had the potential to be both inventive and riveting. The visual effects are quite weak in my opinion and that is mostly due to those ants which I found awful. They are so plastic, mediocre and so polished that they do not look realistic at all. They used way too much CGI. But bad CGI, because it doesn’t look at all like the real ants which is a huge problem as the movie is surrounded by them. That is one of the biggest problems Ant-Man never overcame and I am getting sick and tired of this conventional, shiny and artificial look of the blockbusters these days. It really sucked the enjoyment out of it for me.

But whereas the ants are simply bad, the costumes are mostly good as are the interiors. But there is one scene that surprised me and that is naturally the sequence in the subatomic world as it is so beautiful to behold visually and such an imaginative scene, though it made no sense whatsoever in the storytelling department and the 3D should have been better utilized. The score is okay, but nothing too remarkable. And the movie is not a bit original in its script, but because it incorporated some family drama and humor, it got away with it. The dialogue is also mostly solid.

The movie does not have a brain at all as it is too silly at times, but it does have heart which I once again found refreshing. But what takes it to the next level is how those emotional scenes are incorporated and executed. They did it in a natural way that doesn’t seem forced as it did in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. And comparing it to that movie, it is much better, there is no doubt about it. In fact, I would say that Ant-Man is one of the very best Marvel movies, the best after ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Iron Man‘. However, when the universe is concerned, I strongly disliked the incorporation of the Avengers and other Marvel stories. It just felt really forced and it just did not belong there. And Falcon was really stupid and again a proof that he is a weak character. They should have made this movie free of the MCU references and it would have been much better that way.

Antman is a surprisingly good movie thanks to its very good character development with really likable characters and excellent relationships between them, it is refreshingly emotionally and warm, but naturally so unlike the forced emotion in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ and overall I found the performances great and the story charming and fun. The humor is unfortunately hit-or-miss, the villain is bad, the action is very disappointing and the effects are mostly mediocre with the ants being just awful and too CGI, but Antman is still a very heartwarming and likable film that is easily one of the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, probably the best after ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ and ‘Iron Man.

My Rating – 4

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a 2015 superhero film directed by Joss Whedon, it is a sequel to ‘The Avengers’ and it is the eleventh feature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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The city is flying and we’re fighting an army of robots.

And I have a bow and arrow. Nothing makes sense

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The story concerns their quest to defeat Ultron, the robotic artificial intelligence created accidentally by Tony Stark. The story is problematic, as is most of the things in this movie. It is fairly simple, but also filled with too many characters so it all feels rushed and jumbled. It also reminisces the first ‘Avengers’ a bit too much with their inspirational speeches and cheesy one-liners.

The characters are very well developed for better and for worse. It is of course wonderful to have all these characters fleshed out, but because there are too many of them, their development sometimes feels very forced and interrupts the flow of the movie. Iron Man is good here, he still has his humor and I would say that he was way funnier here than in the first film. Also, his relationship with science and Bruce Banner is nicely realized. As for Thor and Captain America, both of these had their moments and jokes, but they are still those stoic, super heroic, God-like creatures that need a lot of development and that do not feel human as the rest of the team. Black Widow is properly developed, but she is too aggressive and pushy at times, whereas the Hulk still feels too much out of the comic-book because this character is very hard to pull off in a live-action environment and I think that he still needs work. Their relationship is very interesting to say the least, but, as everything in this movie, is incredibly rushed. However, their talk about children and family as well as the ending are pretty good.

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Hawkeye got his time finally with this film and his moments with his family are all emotional and properly realized, but he still feels like he doesn’t belong on the team and that’s why his joke at the end about his uselessness was spot-on and one of the best and most clever humorous moments here. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the new characters introduced and they are both pretty good. Their accent was interesting and their sibling relationship was sweet. His finale was brave and her struggle with her new responsibilities and a shift to the good side are all very well done and she is quite a good character and a welcome addition to the team.

As for Ultron, he is troublesome. Yes, he is the best Marvel villain to date, but that doesn’t mean much because their villains are awful. He is at times funny, is well developed and he is a presence, but he does not prove to be a threat at all in the end and his origin story was extremely rushed and contrived. On the other hand, Vision is simply great. His behavior, inception as well as personality are all excellent whereas his dialogue in the end with Ultron is superb and pinpoints some of the movie’s themes of humanity and technology thus proving that this is not that dumb a blockbuster. The acting is also quite competent, each and every performance is quite good, but not that great. But that is okay for such a film and even stupendous given how great and professional this cast is.

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The action is problematic, it is at times exhilarating and fun, but it is mostly filled with awful camera shots and angles thus reducing the impact overall. The cinematography is very weak here. And the effects are good, but nothing to write home about.

The direction from Joss Whedon is bad and incredibly weak as is the editing of course. The movie literally consists of one big endless action sequence and then the prolonged dialogues that try to flesh out the characters and they achieve that but those scenes are also very forced at times with some of the lines clearly intended to cause emotion from the audience. The character development and emotional plot points and revelations for the characters are definitely forced and the movie is badly edited and directed. But it is not easy to direct such a long list of characters and that is why Joss Whedon failed at this.

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The humor is surprisingly good with a couple of truly funny moments and it is definitely funnier than its predecessor, but it is also filled with too much humor and many lines here are incredibly cheesy and simply ridiculous and cartoony owing to problematic screenplay and dialogue. But what is worth is that the characters have and show personality and most importantly a lot of chemistry and they work as a team thus bringing some heart and characterization to the film.

With entertaining story, great cast, solid character development and evident chemistry between the team, Avengers: Age of Ultron is perfectly solid as blockbusters go with fine humor and excellent characters, but it still is incredibly flawed due to problematic action sequences with bad camera movement, rushed story and very mediocre direction and editing with a bunch of forced sequences. But as superhero films go, it is solid and it is slightly better than its predecessor.

My Rating – 3.5

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