Posts Tagged ‘Marvel’

SPOILERS!

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must come to terms with loss, first love and team up with a new superhero to take on new elemental threats while on vacation.

Director Jon Watts delivers one of the best Marvel sequels, more impressively, one of the best Marvel films in my subjective book. This is cemented by Michael Giacchino’s music. Oddly, the characters are so endearing due to Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers’ character writing and one liners that at times it almost doesn’t need the big action setups.

Watts and crew capture much of comics tone and thanks to Tom Holland’s performance that hones Peter Parker’s teenage years perfectly it makes it a joy to watch. Again, not since Nicholas Hammond’s 1970’s stint has an actor echoed Parker in a likeable fashion. For fans (and those of a certain age) Far from Home also goes back not just to the original comics by including Mysterio but brings back memories of the 1960s cartoon.

Although elements of plot feel a little recycled from Iron Man 3 there’s enough comic rapport, teen romance and superhero action for it to have its own legs. This MCU addition hit’s home especially thanks to the top returning cast that offers character development and expanding relationships. Although lacking the vocal gravitas for Quentin Beck a.k.a Mysterio the master of trickery and illusion, Jake Gyllenhaal is a great addition to the cast offering plenty of weight.

It goes out of it way to address the five year ageing issue that Endgame caused. It’s a pity it wasn’t more of a stand-alone film. Hopefully with Fox now under Disney/Marvel Spider-Man can be reunited with the X-Men for the first time.

There’s a mid and post credit scene, the first which reveals Spider-Man’s true identity and (while not bringing into cannon) is a nod of sorts to Sam Raimi’s outings by including J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. The second puts a twist on Far from Homes events and connects the outing to Captain Marvel with a Ben Mendelsohn cameo.

Overall, as with many of the Marvel outings it may not have rewatch longevity, but it certainly is fun, has heart and is more enjoyable than many of its predecessors. A must see for Spidey fans.

Possible spoilers

The remaining Avengers must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies to destroy Thanos.

A finely produced Marvel film, directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo deliver on the mammoth task of concluding this phase of the MCU. End Game is packed with emotion, thrills and a number great action scenes. There’s some interesting ideas – a washed up Thor, a vengeful Hawkeye, Gamora’s ‘return’, Hulk’s Bannerisms, fighting duplicates, revisiting past films, forgotten characters and much more.

The Russo’s instalment is no doubt entertaining but after the credits roll and tears are shed for two of your favourite characters (many more, if you like root for the bad guys) ‘fridge logic’ creeps in.

Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and other writers grapple with time travel concept and shrug it off, wiping their hands of their responsibilities seemingly walking away by throwing in some one-liners and diagrams. Maybe they threw the time kitchen sink in by design so that fans will debate for many years. And that’s the major issue with End Game, it doesn’t work within its own logic with the writers moving their own goal posts. Sadly, even Doctors Strange’s 1 in 14 million outcome is flawed. It’s difficult enough to do films based solely on time travel, like Back to the Future, Timecrimes, Predestination to name a few and End Game just doesn’t wrap it up neatly. You really do have to leave you brain at the door to buy into it.

Overall, a great film, with hard hitting emotional closure moments but unfortunately they’ve left it to 14 million fan theories to tie up the lose ends and as just you make sense of it – annoyingly it throws up another paradox issue or question.

Thor Ragnarok PosterThor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop the ruthless God Hela.

Director Taika Waititi offers more fun than the overlong, padded majority of Marvel films than it should, Thor Ragnarok has plenty of humour (maybe a little too much). From the special effects to costume design and colourful characters including actors Chris Hemsworth, whose Thor goes through a few changes certainly looks wise right up until the end. There’s a welcomed on form return of Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston’s sly Loki, Mark Ruffalo, who gets plenty to do with his dazed Banner and there’s more Hulk action, with Anthony Hopkins’ nonchalant Odin and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange who both cameo.

New comers to the series evil Cate Blanchett, who is not just a ‘end level baddie’, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster and Karl Urban give more than the stereotype unsavoury characters, there’s also a few twists and turns. Tessa Thompson is also noteworthy and excellent Clancy Brown voices Surtur. Waititi also voices the memorable Korg.

There’s the obligatory end credit scene, here two of them. Interestingly where as the Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” is overused Mark Mothersbaugh’s music and the score is fitting to the 80s vibe throughout, sadly Magic Sword’s epic tune “In The Face of Evil” appears to be omitted from the feature, only appearing in the trailer. Still Mothersbaugh’s music has a similar feel.

Overall, Ragnarok’s strength lay in its entertainment value, thanks to some relaxed writing, likeable characters and story beats. Highly recommended.

*** This review may contain Spidey spoilers ***

Peter Parker tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens but is put under threat when he tries to stop a criminal on his own.

Under Jon Watts’ direction Tom Holland capture’s the Peter Parker/Spiderman character nicely, the handfuls of writers inject Homecoming with the humour of source material. Here Parker is not a reporter yet, he’s still really a Spider-boy. Thankfully it’s not another direct origin story but Spidey is coming used to his new powers.

In this Marvel film universe Parker has an intelligent computer Iron Man-like suit, Karen, voice by Jennifer Connelly. The computer and Parker’s relationship makes for some genuine laughs. But it’s never clearly defined what Spidey’s powers actually are without Karen the A.I. suit, aside from strength and practical web-shooters. It’s great that his mask has visors, providing more expressiveness to his appearance like in the comics/cartoons, but we need more Spidey sense.

Watts has a lot of practical and causal suited up Spiderman but there’s still too much obvious CGI as appose to just wire replacement. The on location feel helps sell the environment and you buy into Parker’s world. Holland has the 70’s live action TV show likability of Nicholas Hammond and captures the spirit of Spiderman in the dialogue and action set ups but also the teen angst.

Without drawing too many comparisons, yes, it’s another actor, another Spiderman, while Tobey Maguire was a good actor, arguably Sam Raimi’s offerings struggled to capture the comic or cartoon feel. Although Andrew Garfield was perfectly cast and Marc Webb’s films were closer to the Parker we love, it wasn’t fresh enough coming in the shadow of the previous three. All suffered from a reliance on a CGI Spiderman and overlong paint by numbers story.

What Watts and writers do get right is the bad guy, Michael Keaton does a great job as grounded villain Vulture that offers a curve ball revelation in the last quarter. His character isn’t black and white, with bags of motivation and purpose.

As a nod to fans they also subtly introduce MJ and Flash is updated fittingly. There’s some Avengers jokes and the comedy in general hits the mark. Especially with Holland’s Michael .J .Fox toned quips and Parker’s Teenwolf-like high school insecurities and Superman identity crisis work. His sidekick friend Jacob Batalon’s Ned who offers some good comic relief. Uncle Ben is omitted. Stan Lee has an obligatory cameo.

Jon Favreau’s Hogan and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man do turn up a little too much and feel forced fan service in their extended cameos. Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts briefly appears along with Tyne Daly. Bokeem Woodbine has notable screen presence as Tom Holland’s Shockers replacement. Also stick around for Keaton’s telling mid-end credits segment.

Overall, as a superhero film it’s good, as a Spiderman film it’s probably the best to date but not without it’s faults.