Mulan (1998)

Related image

I had never seen Mulan.  When it was in theaters, I was not interested.  However, I know that there is a live action version coming from Disney soon, so I had put it on my list to see.

Plus, one of my favorite actresses, Ming-Na Wen, who I just love as Agent Melinda May on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, voiced Mulan in the animated version.  I did not originally know that.  Ming-Na Wen is being included in the 2019 Class of Disney Legends.  Congrats to Ming-Na Wen.

I found Mulan on Netflix today and I figured that I should watch it before Disney pulls the film from the streaming service to put on their own Disney Plus later this year.

Mulan is the story of a young girl who, in an attempt to save the life of her father, impersonates a man and trains as a Chinese warrior to help stop the marauding Huns.

We have seen this type of story before, but Mulan resonates today more than ever.  With the emergence of powerful female characters such as Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, Mulan stands out as a leader of the female hero.

In fact, Mulan is the hero of this story from the beginning right through to the conclusion.  The third act really shows her ability to think her way through the problem and to put herself on the line for China.

There is a great voice cast to go along with Ming-Na Wen.  Eddie Murphy is Mushu, the talking dragon whose job was to be the guardian of Mulan and make sure that her family’s honor was not tarnished.  The late, great Miguel Ferrer played Shan-Yu, the villainous Hun looking to take over China, S.D. Wong voiced Shang, the newly appointed captain responsible for Mulan’s training. Harvey Feinstein is one of Mulan’s fellow soldiers named Yao (though this was a strange voice choice).  Pat Morita was the Chinese Emperor.  Donny Osmond and Lea Salonga were the singing voices for Mulan and Shang.

Of the songs, the only real memorable one to me was Donny Osmond’s I’ll Make a Man out of You, which takes place during the training montage.

The film goes very fast, and it does feel as if there is a scene or two that should have been included.  Perhaps another encounter with the Huns before the special snow fight.  Still, the flow of Mulan felt tight and maybe another scene would have messed with the timing.

It really was a great film with a great message.  It was long overdue to have seen the classic.

vintage

Related image

Ant Man and the Wasp (2018)

Image result for ant man and the wasp

We are down to the final movie in the EYG MCU Rewatch, Ant man and the Wasp.  I am not including Captain Marvel as it is still in the theaters and it does not look like I will have the chance to get to it again before Thursday night and my viewing of Avengers: Endgame.  So this is the final rewatch.

Paul Rudd is excellent as Scott Lang, the somewhat bumbling hero who is under house arrest for his adventures during Civil War.  Evangeline Lilly is Hope Van Dyne, playing the Wasp.  Michael Douglas resumes his role as Hank Pym, Hope’s father and the original Ant Man.  These three actors really work brilliantly together and they are the biggest reason why this movie is as effective as it is.

The villain Ghost is one of the better villains around.  She is actually more than a villain as she is just trying to save herself from dying from her Quantum exposure.  Ghost may have a future in the MCU as a hero (Thunderbolts, anyone?)

This film was taking place prior to and during the events of Avengers: Infinity War.  Of course, there are some important things that happen here for Endgame, mostly in the post credit scenes.

The humor here works well and Paul Rudd never fails to deliver his lines in a funny way.  Paul Rudd’s imitation of Michelle Pfeiffer is a highlight of the film.   We also get more goodness with Michael Pena’s Luis and his way of telling the stories.

Pant Man and the Wasp was hurt by its placement in the year.  Marvel already had released Black Panther and Infinty War in 2018 and this film was smaller and more personal.  These characters are worth the time.

 

funtime

Image result for ant man and the wasp

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Image result for infinity war poster

Here is the big one.

Avengers: Infinity War, what Marvel Studios has been building toward for 19 movies.  Everything led to this point and it surely did not disappoint.  It was my number one movie of last year.

I did not expect that the film would go where it went, leaving us all wondering what is going to happen when Avengers: Endgame premieres this week.  So many questions brought up by this movie and so much emotion.

I’ve heard people claim that you cannot watch Infinity War without seeing the previous movies in the franchise.  I am not sure I totally agree with that, but, if you have seen these other movies, your experiences is considerably deeper than it would be without.  That is 100% for sure.

Avengers: Infinity War expects you to know who most of these characters are and to know why they do things, because there are so many things that are happening, they do not have time to recap it all.  It feels very much like the old giant events that would happen in comics such as The Infinity Gauntlet or Secret Wars.  They are telling you a story with characters that you already care about.  Just because this is unprecedented in Hollywood does not mean it is a bad thing. I expect the same type of situation for Endgame.

I also get tired of the “no stakes” and “fake deaths” cries.  Characters come back from the dead all the time in comics.  That is part of the genre.  I hear one online personality in particular complain about Marvel always pulling the fake deaths and I get so tired of hearing him run his mouth.  Especially when he does not complain when the same thing happens in other comic book movies.  Coming back from the dead is a staple of the genre and will happen.  Having said that, who knows what Endgame is going to do with the dusted characters.

Infinity War is so great.  Every character has his/her moment.  I’ve seen people complain about a lack of Captain America and some of the other original Avengers, but it is clear that they are getting their due in Endgame.  Even still, we get some awesome moments from them.  Cap catching Thanos’s hand is just a boss move.

Thanos is unbelievable.  I literally did not think of him as a CGI character until late in the film.  The CGI on Thanos is so amazing that I am very insulted that Marvel Studios did not win an Oscar for it.  Josh Brolin brought that character to life and he is truly the main character of Infinity War.

The whole Hulk/Bruce Banner story arc is fascinating too.  I am anxious to see where this goes from here.

Avengers: Infinity War is epic.  It spans the universe and takes us on a trip that gives us remarkable emotional stakes and pays off 19 movies in 10 years with shocks and surprises.  Anyone who tells you they know how this is going to end is just lying or a d-bag.

This is my favorite Marvel Studios movie… for at least another three days .

 

paragon

Image result for infinity war poster

Black Panther (2018)

Image result for black panther poster

Director Ryan Coogler’s three time Oscar winning film, Black Panther, the first Marvel Studio movie to be win an Academy Award, is the next movie in the EYG MCU Rewatch.  Black Panther was a culturally significant release that became more than just a movie for a group of people who had been underutilized in super hero films, finally providing representation for an entire race.

Black Panther made over 700 million dollars domestic at the box office, surpassing even the domestic haul of Avengers: Infinity War, and reaching 1.3 billion worldwide forever shattering the myth that a cast, mostly black, could not be a money making blockbuster.

Black Panther was not solely about the titular hero, played with a royal flair by Chadwick Boseman, but also about the land, history and culture of  Wakanda, fictional home of our hero.  The movie, as well, brought a serious feminine power to the screen as Black Panther introduced Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s sister, the Dora Milaje, the female royal guard led by Okaye (Danai Gurira), a Wakandan spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and the Queen of Wakanda (Angela Bassett).

The film is one of exclusion, but it does not rest on that.  It is a film about lineage and what it means to be king, and the challenges that face such a position.  It questions even its innermost theme as it progresses.

One of the most significant ways Black Panther questions itself is through the plight of the film’s main villain, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).  Although his methods are clearly villainous, the audience can understand and relate with Killmonger.  There is a natural tragedy to the character that almost has you rooting for him.  Add to the story the amazing performance of Michael B. Jordan and you have one of the best villains in the MCU.

While the cinematography and the look of Wakanda is absolutely gorgeous, some of the action and fight CGI leaves something to be desired.  In particular, the third act fight between T’Challa and Killmonger was visually disappointing.

It was about the only flaw in an otherwise outstanding movie.  It sets up Wakanda as a location vital to the future of the MCU for years to come.

paragon

Image result for black panther poster

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Image result for thor ragnarok poster

“Come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.  Hammer of the Gods.”  – Led Zepplyn, “The Immigrant Song”

Ah aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah aah

The third Thor in his series is the next film in the EYG MCU Rewatch.  Thor: Ragnarok takes a distinctly different look at the characters in the Thor world.  This is mainly thanks to the direction of director Taika Waititi.  His blend of humor and cleverness fit perfectly with Thor.

Waititi brought Odin’s banished daughter Hela the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) back to Asgard, and she went about killing everyone.  She is really built up by basically dispatching and murdering the Warrior a Three with almost no trouble.

Meanwhile, Thor and Loki wound up on the planet Sakaar.  Thor winds up the prisoner of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldbloom) and ends in a coliseum as a gladiator facing the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in the Contest of Champions.

The Thor-Hulk dynamic is one of the best parts of the movie as it turns into a bit of a buddy movie.  Ruffalo and Hemsworth work well together and have great chemistry and humor together.  Of course, after several movies together, Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Loki are comfortable and wonderful every time they share a scene.

Tessa Thompson is introduced here as Valkryie.  She is an epic addition to the cast as the tragic heroine who has succumb to drink and scavenging on Sakaar.

There are people who hated the fact that the storyline of Ragnarok, which is the legend of the destruction of Asgard,  was treated as an afterthought in comedy movie but that did not bother me at all.  Some claimed that Thor did not show emotions over the loss of his father and eventually Asgard.  This also did not bother me because it was clear he was bottling up his feelings to get through.  We see a scene with this idea during Avengers: Infinity War.

Thor: Ragnarok is weird and original and different than any other MCU movie.  It is fun and full of energy.  Hopefully there will be future installments with Taika Waititi at the helm because this was fabulous.

paragon

Image result for thor ragnarok poster

Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)

Image result for spiderman homecoming poster

Underoos!!!!

The line was originally from Civil War, but it appears in the opening video diary in Spider-Man: Homecoming which is a very funny and sweet way to start this film off. It immediately establishes our hero, Peter Parker, is a young kid, and that is the key to the latest variation of Peter Parker.  He is a young kid.

Previous Peters were played by men in their upper 20s and early 30s, but Tom Holland is like 21, but looks younger.  Peter is in high school and he looks it.  Marvel was going for the vibe of a John Hughes movie with Homecoming and it definitely feels as such.

I loved this version of Spider-Man.  It is the first real version of how Spidey should be.  With Marvel Studios making a deal with Sony to use Spider-Man in the MCU films, we have Spidey as he should be.

The film benefitted from the exceptional work Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes, the Vulture.  Keaton not only was menacing, but he was able to create a character who was relatable to the audience because understand why he did what he did.  And he acted the heck out of the scene in the car with Peter in the backseat.

Marvel uses Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark as a mentor for Peter and a way to show that Spider-Man exists in the same universe.  They do not overuse Downey Jr.  It never once feels like Iron Man’s movie, which some people thought it would be.

I’m a bit torn by all the spider suit tech in the movie.  It feels a bit overused, as if he is just a junior Iron Man instead of Spider-Man but it is a minor gripe.

Zendaya is an interesting prescience on screen and I like her as a possible love interest for Peter.  Jon Favreau is a fun addition as Happy Hogan, and Marisa Tomei makes a much hipper and cool Aunt May.  Jacob Batalon’s Ned gives Peter a friend and a confidant and he gives the audience a voice in the story.

Homecoming is either better than or even with the best Spider-Man movie ever, Spider-man 2.  Hopefully, the upcoming Far From Home will be as good as this.

paragon

Image result for spiderman homecoming poster

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

image

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the next film in the EYG MCU Rewatch and the second film written and directed by James Gunn in the series.

Gunn took some wild trips in this sequel including the introduction of Ego, the Living Planet (Kurt Russell).  If five years ago, someone told me that Ego the Living Planet would be a main character in a feature film, I would have laughed in your face.  Not only is he here, but he is played by the one and only Kurt Russell.  Absolutely insane.

In the sequel, it feels as if the team has taken a step back from the family they were in the first film and become a group of bickering and mean spirited jerks.  Deep down they care for one another but their past hurt overpowers those feelings.  Their struggles and arguing filled the first act of the film and was a bit much.  This is especially obvious with Rocket.

The biggest problem with Vol. 2 is the excessive amount of jokes.  I am not opposed to humor in the film.  Heck, Vol 1 had its share of jokes, but in Vol. 2, it just seemed as if there were too many jokes cracked by everyone and it messed with the tone of the film.  There are too many situations that are made silly by the jokes.  Plus, there are too many poop,fart, penis jokes for my taste.

Having said that, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has plenty of other moments that are filled with emotion and life.  The relationships between Peter and Ego, Peter and a Rocket, Rocket and Yondu, Drax and Mantis all get time and they all have beautiful moments.

of course, there is nothing better than the finale of Vol. 2.  The connection of Peter and Yondu is investigated and the ending with Yindu and the Ravagers is arguably the most beautiful and touching scene in the MCU franchise. I cry every time.

Baby Groot.  What else needs to be said?

Though the soundtrack isn’t quite as important as the soundtrack from Vol. 1, the songs are great and work during the film.

The fact that James Gunn gets to complete his trilogy is a great thing.  He knows these characters better than anybody and he should be able to deliver an amazing conclusion.  I hope he pulls back on the jokes just a bit, but it is obvious that Gunn knows how to provide an emotional and invigorating story with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Oh… And the Stan Lee as a Watcher cameo is one of the best cameos of all of them!

vintage

 

image

Doctor Strange (2016)

image

The EYG MCU Rewatch rolls along with a 2016 origin story featuring Stephen Strange, the eventual Sorcerer Supreme.  Magic comes into the MCU in a big way with Dr. Strange.

With Civil War, we have reached films that have reviews listed on this website.  (Reviews prior to 2016 were lost when we moved to the new web site).

Benedict Cumberbatch took the role as Dr. Strange, the narcissist surgeon who had a devastating car wreck, damaging his hands.  Strange obsessively searched for a way to fix his hands which led him to the doorstep of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who introduced him to a new way of thinking.

The special effects of Doctor Strange went to a different level than any Marvel movie prior to it.  The creation of the different dimensions and magical realms is beautiful and very impressive.

Some of the ideas here should not work, but they somehow do.  Doctor Strange shares some basic surface-level principles with Iron Man, but the themes are considerably different.

Pone of my favorite parts of the film is the finale vs, the dread Dormammu.  Instead of the typical third act slugfest with the major villain, Doctor Strange has an intellectual conflict that traps Dormammu in an unsinkable situation.  Sure the film does have the fight prior to the coming of Dormammu, but that does not take away from the originality of the final battle.

Wong is played by Benedict Wong and takes the character, which in the comic books was little more than a servant, and becomes a master and more of an ally of Strange instead of a valet.

Baron Mordo is introduced as well, and the movie really serves as an origin story for him too.  Chiwetel Ejiofor is great as the master who loses his path via his disappointment in the choices of the Ancient One.

Doctor Strange is one of the initial steps to take the MCU in New direction and Dr. Strange plays a big part in the upcoming Infinity War.  While some of the timing of the movie feels odd, the arrival of magic was very mystical.

 

vintage

 

image

 

 

 

 

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

image

I never liked the comic version of Civil War because it felt as if they made characters do things that went against who they were.  Unlike the comic, the movie version of Civil War, the next in line for the EYG MCU Rewatch, never felt as if the characters were doing what they should do.

That does not mean that the sides were easy.  On the contrary, there were plenty of times where, although I was squarely on Team Cap, I could understand and even relate to Team Iron Man.

This film was almost a training exercise for the Russo Brothers, the directors, to show that they could manage a large cast and not let characters fall to the side.  Because although this was a Captain America solo flick, it was perceived as Avengers 2.5 and featured a huge chunk of the team.  From this, the Russos wound up with Infinity War.

Despite the number of characters, Steve Rogers was the focus of the film and his relationships with both Bucky Barnes and Tony Stark were examined in depth.

But we also got the introduction to the MCU of Black Panther and Spider-Man.  Having Black Panther debut in Civil War was one of several factors for why his solo movie became such a massive financial and creative successes.

Many people criticize Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) as being a poor villain but I push back on that.  Zemo was great as the manipulative and Machiavellian antagonist who brought the Avengers to a splitting point and won in the end.  I hope we will see Zemo again some day.

I can’t write about Captain America: Civil War without talking about the airport scene, which is one of, if not the, greatest action scenes in the MCU, if not movies in general.  All of the heroes of the film, divided up between our two leaders, battling one another over ethical considerations.  There were so many amazing moments contained within that twenty minutes that it is hard to pick just a few.  And the entire scene was based in character.  It was a monumental accomplishment by all involved.

Civil War has sprinkled storylines that are still being paid off today and will be paid off at the end of this coming week in Endgame.  It is a triumph of planning and creativity.

paragon

image

 

 

 

 

 

Ant Man (2015)

image

 

Michael Douglas is yet another huge movie star to join the MCU, this time as Hank Pym.  Douglas joined Glenn Close, Robert Redford, Jeff Bridges and eventually Cate Blanchett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton and a bunch of other big time actors with roles in MCU films.

Ant Man falls into the genre of heist films and was initially being developed for Marvel by Edgar Wright.  Wright and Marvel famously had a falling/disagreement on the movie and they parted ways.  Replaced as director by Peyton Reed, Edgar Wright’s shadow was cast over the production.  There were many critics who held that against Ant Man.  I saw several reviews that stated lines such as “what would Wright gave done?”  I always thought that was unfair to criticize what could have been.

Pant Man has some awesomely creative special effects, especially of the shrinking process.  Ant Man looks tremendous and brings a lot of fun.

It also has one of the best, most creative final battles in the third act of any Marvel movie.  The fight with Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) is small and very personal, even though the stakes are enormous for the characters.  It is a nice change of pace when we get a comic book movie that does not have to try and “save the world” and just have to save family.

The Ant Man vs. Falcon (Anthony Mackie) surprise fight scene, which was rumored to be one of the creative differences between Wright and Marvel, came out of nowhere and was unbelievably fun.  It is another example of how the Marvel movies use their characters to create the feeling of one universe.

Another original part of Ant Man is Louis (Michael Pena) and his penchant for telling stories.  The way the characters in Louis’s stories mouth what Louis is saying, but with his voice is funny and never fails.

The introduction of the Quantum Realm occurs here and it is expected that the Quantum Realm will play a major role in Endgame.

Although he is a minor character, Ant Man is a great addition to the MCU and Paul Rudd’s portrayal of Scott Lang provides a new and unique character in the universe.

vintage

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Image result for age of ultron movie poster

The EYG MCU Rewatch rolls on with the second official Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Many people found this movie not up to the standards of the previous Avengers movie and some were disappointed with Ultron as a villain.  I do not fall into either of those camps.  Sure, I may like The Avengers better than Age of Ultron, but to say that there is a significant downgrade is incorrect.

I love James Spader. I was a fan of his from The Practice and Boston Legal, so when I heard he was cast as the voice of Ultron, I was giddy.  Spader’s voice was distinctive and creepy and worked very well for Ultron.  I can see where some people may not have been fond of the way the dialogue for Ultron was written, and I understand that point of view.  He is originally written as if he were Tony Stark, much like the comic version was much like Hank Pym (who created Ultron in the comics).  I would agree that the Stark banter did not fit as well for Ultron and could have been minimized.

I also thought Ultron was taken out too easily, although to say what we saw was easy is a bit of disservice.  I loved the fact that the Avengers were there saving people.  That is something that is. many times, ignored in the big final scene battles and seeing our heroes being heroic is great.

Wanda(Elizabeth Olson) and Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) were nice additions, but their accents were not good.  It is a shame that they had them speak as they do.  By Infinity War, Wanda’s accent is fully gone, and that is a good thing.

The Bruce Banner/Black Widow relationship was fine.  It came out of nowhere at the beginning and was difficult to believe at times, but it did not feel as forced as Banner and Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk or Thor and Jane Foster from the Thor movies.

The party scenes at Stark Tower were some of the best of the movie.  Seeing each member of the Avengers give it a shot to pick up Mjolnir was awesome.  Seeing Thor’s face when Cap near moved the hammer a bit was perfect.

You can see the seeds for the future Civil War being planted among the team as the group of characters were constantly conflicted with one another.  Tony Stark, who could be considered the real villain of phase one through three of the MCU, is the antagonist behind every conflict it seemed.  Stark’s failures consistently fueled the character to try something else which blows up in his face, some times figuratively, some times literally.

The arrival of the Vision (Paul Bettany) is another standout moment of Age of Ultron.  They took the character who should have had all kinds of questions about his motives and found a way to immediately wash those away.

While I admit there are some messy bits in the film, Age of Ultron is another emotional journey for the Avengers and provides us with another breathless battle.

classic

Image result for age of ultron movie poster

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Poster

It never should have worked.

Marvel Studios took yet another risk by introducing their next film in our EYG MCU Rewatch… Guardians of the Galaxy to a public that had no idea who or what they were.  There was a talking raccoon.  A walking tree.  Really?  This was surely going to be Marvel’s first flop.

Instead, it was one of the best Marvel movies of all time.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera featuring five lonely losers who band together for all the wrong reasons only to come out as heroes.

Marvel cosmic is introduced here and we see Ronan the Accuser, the Nova Corp, Knowhere (the floating head of a Celestial), the Collector, Cosmo the dog, Yondu and the Ravagers, Howard the Duck… so much to see in bright colors… it never should have worked.

The film starts off by showing us the death of young Peter Quill’s mother, and the young actor who played Pete Quill (Wyatt Oleff) delivered one of the immediately heartbreaking moments of the entire film.  It provided us with an emotional core at the beginning, which gave us something to anchor onto while all the weirdness continued around.

But that was hardly the only moment of emotion here.  I get tears and goosebumps every time I see the conclusion of this movie.  It is so beautifully done that I can’t help it.  The Guardians of the Galaxy become more than just a group hanging out together.  They become family.

There was more character development of Rocket(Bradley Cooper) than there is in most films.  You connect to Groot (Vin Diesel), despite the character being a CGI tree and only being able to say “I am Groot.”  You see the seeds of a connection between Gamora(Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) that will pay off later in the franchise.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) holds them all together several times throughout the film and his humanity shines through.

Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) is both dangerous and very funny.  The whole metaphor thing is a great character trait for Drax’s race, and yet you can always see the hint of tragedy in his eyes.

All the Guardians had pain and tragedy in their pasts, but they found a way to make it through another day.

The look of both Rocket and Groot are perfect and never once feel fake.  For two characters that play such huge roles in the movie, the feat is certainly remarkable.

The soundtrack of this movie is one of the best in movie history and is blended into the story better than just about any.  Connecting the music to Peter’s mom is a stroke of genius.

James Gunn directed and wrote the film and he brings so much of himself into the story without losing the feel that it is a Marvel film.  He does a tremendous job and I am extremely pleased that he gets to finish his trilogy.

paragon

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Image result for winter soldier movie poster

Things really start to pick up in the EYG MCU Rewatch as we get the second Captain America solo movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

This is a perfect example of why Marvel Studios has been very successful with many of their film franchises.  The Winter Soldier is really not just a super hero movie.  It is a political thriller told with super heroes.  That allowed Marvel to tell all kinds of different stories within the genre of a super hero movie.  Heck, this even had Robert Redford in it.

This was also a major paradigm shift for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the organization of SHIELD is shown to have been compromised by Hydra.  Since Iron Man, SHIELD had been shown to be on the side of the good, but now, after eight movies, we get a new reality.

We also get a new way to have solo hero movies.  This is a Captain America story, but within that story we get Black Widow, an introduction of Falcon, re-introduction of Bucky, and Nick Fury.  The Winter Soldier is really the first of the stand alone movies that takes advantage of the one universe to use characters.  Yet, the film never loses sight of the fact that this is a Steve Rogers story, as he deals with his disillusionment with the government of the modern day United States and the grayness of SHIELD’s operation.

We begin with a fantastic introduction of Sam Wilson (AnthonyMackie) as he and Steve bond and then we get an opening action scene aboard the ship is so bad ass that is establishes Captain America as a massive brute immediately.  Watching Cap dismantle that crew on the ship was so entertaining that one could watch that the entire time.

However, Marvel movies are never just about the action and always deal with character and we get tons of character development of Steve Rogers.  The scene with Steve and Peggy is heart breaking and can bring tears to your eyes.  Steve’s uncertainty of what he wants to do in this new world is a great use of the fish out of water trope.

We live in a crazy world that has Robert Redford in a comic book movie.  Anything can happen now.  Redford is fantastic as Alexander Pierce and brings a gravitas to the film.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the best films in the entire MCU and really started a trend of excellence that would run right through to today.

paragon

Image result for winter soldier movie poster

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Image result for thor the dark world poster

Next up in the EYG MCU Rewatch is the movie that most place at the bottom of the list when compiling the MCU films.  The sequel is called Thor: The Dark World.

Although the movie is not that terrible compared to many other comic book movies, there are more weaknesses om this one than other MCU films.  Still, it still can entertain if you allow it to.

The biggest problem with the film is the reliance on Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).  This character is vastly underwritten and no where near as engaging as the movie wants her to be.  And she is at the center of the film’s biggest storyline, the discovery of the Aether, a powerful element that can cause mass destruction.

The second problem is the use of the villain Malekith (Christopher Eccleston).  Malekith is a great villain in the comics, one of the main forces behind the current War of the Realms series in Marvel Comics.  However, the film completely undervalues him and wastes the character by turning him into a one note villain just after power.  In the MCU, Malekith is, arguably, the worst of the major villains used in the entire franchise.

Easily, the best part of this movie is the relationship between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Loki and Frigga (Rene Russo).  These two relationships are everything the the film has going for it.  The constant struggle between Loki and Thor, between brothers who love one another and gods who want to see the other gone. is the core component for each character.  We see deeper into Loki here than we have yet.  Always before, we saw how important Loki was to Thor, but Loki always betrayed him.  Yet, here, we see the tender side of Loki and how important his Asgardian family truly was to him, despite his efforts to ignore them or push them away or let his anger over what he perceived to be his birthright get in the way.

Most of the film’s side characters are wastes of time and bring little to the table.

However, the end credit scene does introduce The Collector (Benicio del Toro) to the MCU and we learn that the Aether is, in reality, one of the Infinity Stones.

Thor: The Dark World is one of the weakest installments of the MCU, but it is still a decent time.

Underwhelming

Image result for thor the dark world poster

Iron Man 3 (2013)

image

 

Now, in the EYG MCU Rewatched, we come to, easily, the most divisive film in the MCU library.  Iron Man 3 has people who love it and people who hate it.  Shane Black created a film that took chances and felt different than other Marvel films.

The biggest issue that the haters have with Shane Black’s vision was the handling of the Mandarin.  The film introduces the beloved and iconic Iron Man villain as a terrorist played by Sir Ben Kingsley.  However, in a move that showed how many guts Marvel Studios have, they took Kingsley and made him NOT the Mandarin but an actor playing a facade of the Mandarin.

If you like or did not mind that twist, then you probably enjoyed Iron Man 3.  However, if you did not like this twist, then you did not like the movie.  And if you hated it… well, you get the idea.

I will admit that my first impression was negative.  Then upon second viewing, it did not bother me at all.

The film takes the events of The Avengers and builds on it.  Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is dealing with PTSD from his trip into the wormhole and that is a fascinating topic to look at in a super hero movie.

Black also spent way more time with Tony Stark outside of the armor than in.  That was another risky venture that should be admired.

Unfortunately, the film’s third act fall apart, and I don’t mean with the Mandarin twist.  The story becomes convoluted and the whole battle with Killian is disappointing.

There are a lot of great things with the third installment of Iron Man, both highs and lows.  Either way, it does not deserve the amount of vitriol that it sometimes receives.

funtime

image