Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Rating 12
Length 2h16
Release 26.3.2014
Director Anthony and Joe Russo
About As Steve Rogers adapts to the complexities of a contemporary world, he joins Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson in his mission to uncover the secret behind a deadly, mysterious assassin.
Moon: Full Moon at the start of the mission on the ship.
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:


The Good

  • This is one of the films that feels a lot different to everything that’s gone before. This is a Marvel Movie with a genre aesthetic. There’s more espionage in this film than 2021’s Black Widow: a film about Nat’s espionage background. Go figure.
  • The action in this instalment is incredible. Case in point, is the elevator scene. Such an iconic sequence now, but even at the time it was a highlight of the film.
  • All the costumes have had a upgrade, even if it was only temporary. Not only are our hero’s suits fitting for the film’s tone, the civilian clothing choices are spot on for the time and some items are still desirable. I personally still want Black Widow’s trainers.
  • The introduction of Sam is joyous. I love how Cap and Sam interact and how much chemistry they have. It’s only through that chemistry that anything that follows is believable.
  • Talking about relationships, at the heart of this instalment is Steve’s long standing relationship with Bucky Barnes. You can feel the heartbreak of Steve when he has to go toe to toe with the revealed Winter Soldier.

The Bad

  • Hill is wasted in this film. She so could , and should, have been used more. It felt too much like lip service, when really she deserves to be much more involved.
  • Some of the action is hard to watch. The camera pans in the opposite direction of the action. While this, as memory serves, works well on a cinematic screen, it here it gives me motion sickness.
  • In 2021, I really did find the attack on Fury by the police very hard to watch. Not the fault of the film, but in the context of the current climate; it will have an impact on viewers.

The Ugly

  • Black Widow’s hair. I know this is probably a stupid gripe, but if you intend to have your main gal have poker straight hair throughout the film, don’t have her wash her hair. I am so irrationally angry that she is seen drying her wavy soggy locks with a towel, only to be seen in the next scene with a salon-worthy blowout.
    This lives rent-free in my head. I think it always will.
  • The ongoing “casual conversation” with Nat trying to set up Cap. Nope, just nope. Don’t need it. Don’t need the set up of Cap and Sharon (which, btw, is ten times worse now the audience have the knowledge of Endgame). In a film that is probably my favourite of the franchise; this one thing sticks out as forced.
  • To quote Fury himself; “this shit is why I have trust issues.” Yet another fake death. Yes, I am impressed that it was revealed to be a fake in this film. However, it’s just once too often and it means that as a viewer I start to lose that feeling of jeopardy. I certainly don’t feel anyone’s loss.

Final Thoughts

Of the nine films of the MCU, this is my favourite. It is a good choice for a one off viewing from the phases and it’s not too long.

Thor: The Dark World (2013) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 1h52
Release 30.10.2013
Director Alan Taylor
About Thor sets out on a journey to defeat Malekith, the leader of the Dark Elves when he returns to Asgard to retrieve a dangerous weapon and fulfill his desire of destroying the Nine Realms.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney+
Trailer:

First Thoughts

I wish I’d been reviewing films around this time because of late, I was of the opinion that I absolutely hated this instalment, even when watching it that first time. However, upon watching it this time, I’m not so sure it was the case.

The Good

  • It is still a clunky start, however you don’t feel it so much because you know the characters.
  • This film keeps London looking grim. I love that. It would have been too easy to give the rest of the world this sunshine and glamour tint to the UK’s capital, however the clouds, the rain… that’s much more real and strangely makes me happy.
  • Darcy and Selvig are back and give the audience the biggest laughs. You know who needs to meet in this universe? Darcy and Luis! Seriously, their banter would be the best.
    Anyway, Darcy brings the one liners and kills it with the commentary. Stellan Skarsgard is a joy to watch playing Selvig as a man who has truly lost him mind because of Loki.
  • Loki, Loki, Loki. What a performance. We get everything in this film. We get playful Loki, charming Loki, angry Lo… you get the picture. Loki is such a complicated, layered, character. One which is perhaps going through an identity crisis. I’m not sure I could imagine anyone other than Tom Hiddleston playing him better.

The Bad

  • Watching the films so close together does point out some recycled plotlines. The method of destruction used by the dark elves is way too similar to the bad guys in Iron Man 3. It’s a shame, because it might not have seemed so obvious had they not followed each other directly.
  • Christopher Eccleston. Now, Christopher Eccleston is MY Doctor. I will watch anything and everything he is in (I’m talking Gone in 60 Seconds, G I Joe and even The Others, despite not liking other people in the cast.). However, he should never have taken this part. You can tell he’s phoning it in. With a role like this, if anyone it not committed the audience can tell, never mind when its Christopher Eccleston uncommitted. It’s truly heart breaking, because when he’s on form, he kills it.
  • Still not a fan of Natalie Portman as Jane. Cannot put my finger on it, because I do quite like Portman. I guess it’s that I don’t see someone who is so invested in her work would become so loopy over a guy she’s known for 72 hours, 2 years previous?! Feels very Disney fairy-tale to me and Jane Foster deserves better.

The Ugly

  • Gratuitous topless shot of Thor. Hey, I love it and I appreciate it as much as the next person who finds Hemsworth attractive. However, in the philosophy of equality, I have to call out all gratuity when I see it. There’s literally is no point to it other than showing the audience those beautiful rock hard abs.
  • Shipping Lady Sif and Thor. Why though? Lady Sif is this badass that the film decides to soften with the longing looks and unrequited pining.

Final Thoughts

Much better than I remembered it. Loved how the film gave the audience a non-shiny London and brought back all our favourites.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Rating 15
Length 2h12
Release 30.7.2021
Director James Gunn
About The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world — Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.
Moon: We get a waxing crescent moon right at the beginning.
Where to Watch: Most cinemas
Trailer:


The Good

  • How does James Gunn curate the perfect soundtrack?! The Suicide Squad is no exception. From the legendary Johnny Cash to the earworm indie rock band The Fratellis; on paper they stand at odds with each other. However, on the screen, they enhance the story and become the album I must have on my phone.
  • The dialogue is to die for. The quick witted humour is perfect for those who love the work of Kevin Smith and Dan Harmon. It’s still on brand for James Gunn, but the Disney reigns have been removed. There will be times when you’d laugh in that ‘I cannot believe they got away with this’ way. It is joyous.
  • Idris Elba and Viola Davis being in the movie astounds me from the get go. Seeing them in a scene together and going toe to toe made me so very fucking happy. These are two actors that I will forever make time for. They’re powerhouses and our generation of Actors. Yet, here they are, having the time of their lives and playing cops and robbers. It takes a certain calibre of talent that can do that.
  • There’s some stunning cinematography in this outing. It’s not something that Franqois Truffant is going to cream himself over because it’s not ‘high brow’ enough, but it certainly got my attention. There’s a scene in which we watch a bulk of it via a reflection and it is made this film geek happy. Now, it might not age well and in 20 years it might look cheap as fuck, however right now it is just beautiful.
  • My two MVPs are King Shark and Sebastian. Both have this conceit of being absolutely adorable and murderous bastards. King Shark provides this childlike joy and humour and I love that he’s voiced by Stallone.
    Sebastian, on the other hand, gave me so much cute. Yup, I ‘awwww’d’ about 4 or 5 times at that god-damn rat. That rat, that mute, expressive and charming rat stole my heart and might have even had me choke up. Fucking James Gunn man. First a tree and a trash panda, now a anthropomophic shark and a rat. Genius! Mad, evil, genius.

The Bad

  • It’s a little on the long side. About 30 minutes too long for me. It does try to keep the pace, but there’s a clunky, choppy flow to the narrative that I don’t think will allow this film to hold up to repeated viewings.

The Ugly

  • The violence is hardcore. It’s a blend of surreal and real which I personally love, however it may be too much for some viewers and I would certainly argue that this film’s violence warrants and 18 rating.

Final Thoughts

A DC film using the Marvel playbook. Its a good watch for someone uninvested, so I’d imagine someone who is loving the DCMU (I’m a DC TVU girl) will be very happy with the outcome.

Iron Man 3 (2013) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 2h10
Release 18.4.2013
Director Shane Black
About Tony Stark encounters a formidable foe called the Mandarin. After failing to defeat his enemy, Tony embarks on a journey of self-discovery as he fights against the powerful Mandarin.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney+
Trailer:


First Thoughts

I’ve actually only seen this instalment once. I went with one of my best friends at the time, we went to the new cinema in Leeds and I remember getting told that I couldn’t have a packet of sweets in the screen. I could have them, but they had to be in their special boxes. Something that caused more noise than had I just been able to eat them out of the packet. Sigh.
I remember more about going with the friend than I did about the film itself. I remember really liking it and I remember we talked for ages after about what it meant for the franchise. Man, I miss him and our mate dates.


The Good

  • I love the framing of the film. Tony Stark’s voiceover is awesome. It pulls you in and makes you feel like he is addressing you. Which is made all the better if you hang out to the end of the credits. It’s not the audience he’s addressing, but one of his new Super friends.
  • The script is on point. From the subtly of “I had created demons and I didn’t even know it.” to the snigger inducing “I’m not trying to be a dick-” pause to allow the camera to pan to children within ear shot “-tator”.
  • The story, at first, seems to be struggling with a balancing act of bad guys. Almost in the same way as Spiderman 3. However, as it unravels its much more nuanced than that. How they all connect is a stroke of genius.
  • As for the Mandarin. I had major issues with both the fact that the Mandarin was a fake and that he was played by Brit Ben Kingsley. However, on this repeat I truly do like how it plays out and how Kingsley performs. While not being able to express my dislike at the time, it boiled down to appropriation and negative implications of this representation of terrorism. Now, appropriation is something that has come up before with Kingsley. He actually is of English and Indian decent and it does appear that his ethnicity does give him a chameleon quality that when you stop to think about, makes the casting choice so much deeper.
  • I love Harley and the relationship between him and Tony. Perhaps the films first foray at establishing the New Avengers. I guess that remains to be seen, but even from an isolated film point of view its a beautiful touch. Harley is able to ask questions and offer insights that no one else could. It also showed us that Stark really is a good mentor.
  • The best part of this film? How it addresses PTSD. Here we have a rich man who has escaped death many times. He’s Iron Man. Yet his own body is reacting to the trauma of New York. Okay, he’s not a God but he’s certainly privileged. Yet this is something he can’t throw money at, he can’t engineer a fix. He has to experience it, just like everyone else. I can only imagine how much this will have meant to fans. To boys, to men, who struggle to talk about these sort of experiences?! I absolutely love this exploration of mental health.

The Bad

  • I’m not sure how much I buy the history between Pepper and Aldrich. Not enough to believe that Aldrich has resentment towards Tony over her. The bit that perhaps is missing, is her involvement in the 1999 flashback.
  • Pepper screaming “Tonaaay!” got very old, very quickly.

The Ugly

  • The glossing over Pepper’s powers really saddens me. I think it was owing to the fact that there was not going to be another Iron Man movie in which to explore that story. However, it was too neat, to easy a fix and it was done off screen.
    She deserved much more. Both Pepper and Paltrow.
  • In fact, the end for me was a little too rushed and we didn’t get enough of a polished ending that did justice to many of the secondary characters; Happy and Rhodey included.

Final Thoughts

Quite possibly my new favourite of my rewatch. Watching it today has actually made sad that there isn’t another solo outing for us. I will also be adding this film to my Christmas watch list.

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Rating 12
Length 2h23
Release 26.4.2012
Director Joss Whedon
About Nick Fury is compelled to launch the Avengers Initiative when Loki poses a threat to planet Earth. His squad of superheroes
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:


First Thoughts

This was the film in the franchise that truly got me into Marvel. The second Joss Whedon was signed on, my fan-girl self was propped up like a meerkat waiting for any and all scraps made available in the run up to the release. Back then his shitty side was still a cloaked rumour and this outing was a hit.
Then Ultron wasn’t so good and as Whedon left, he made sure he wouldn’t be asked back. Now we know he’s truly a douchebag and slime ball. I think I’ve been stalling my rewatch of this, thinking the film would be tainted.

The Good

  • This has one of the smoothest opening to a Marvel movie to date. Which is even more impressive when you consider the sheer character count involved. It helps that the dialogue helps with those transitions. It’s all rather clever as it also drip feeds the information regarding the Tesseract to the audience too.
  • Agent Coulson is the MVP for me in this film. He’s the heart, the comedy and the geek in all of us. Clark Gregg plays it perfectly and you really feel the weight of his loss after his intermittent appearances so far.
  • The film has the DNA of Whedon; his pop culture references, smart and quick dialogue and wicked action sequences. This film works so well because it gives the audience what it wants: the answer to the ultimate question “who would win in a fight between x & y?”
    The best signature scene would have to be right after Nat has worked out Banner is Loki’s play. The group’s in-fighting had been perfected by Whedon on Buffy and this scene works like a charm.
  • I love that we finally have a Bruce Banner that works. Mark Ruffalo gives us the ideal Banner that blends the intellect, temperament and regret into a believable character.
    We also have to give credit to Ruffalo for The Hulk too. Through motion capture, we’re able to get the balance, or rather imbalance, between the two egos. If we are ever going to see Avengers fight with each other, you need to have The Hulk in the mix.
  • I absolutely love the film score and the introduction of the Avengers theme music. Alan Silvestri has composed many iconic themes, but this has to be my favourite. Not only is it well used here, it is something that has appeared in many other MCU films.

The Bad

  • I do not like the scene in which Rogers hands Fury money. Mainly because it’s clear Rogers has been debriefed by Fury, so knows who he is. So other than it being a racist stab at the ‘man out of time’ aspect of Cap, I can’t see it’s purpose.

The Ugly

  • Coulson is the reason I have trust issues. Obviously this is not so much about this film, but things that came out after the fact. I cried when Coulson died. I saw Assemble in the cinema at least 6 times over the summer of 2012, and I cried every time.
    Then Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D came along and resurrected my favourite MCU character. Yes, on one hand, I was happy. However, it has implications. It makes any death in the MCU reversible. It takes away the importance of his death in this film upon a rewatch. It’s actually so problematic that there are debates about whether Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D is cannon.
    It also means I always second guess any other death that occurs in the universe. Loki’s timeline (even pre-tv show) further cements this emotional detachment. There’s a character much further down the line that I know I would have sobbed at their demise. However, I don’t trust that they’re really gone.

Final Thoughts

Still as enjoyable as the first day I watched it. There’s enough other people involved to be able to see it as a brilliant film without the skank of Whedon.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 2h04
Release 29.7.2011
Director Joe Johnson
About During World War II, Steve Rogers decides to volunteer in an experiment that transforms his weak body. He must now battle a secret Nazi organisation headed by Johann Schmidt to defend his nation.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix (until 14th August)
Trailer:


The Good

  • This film has a dream cast; Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell and Stanley Tucci to name but a few of the heavy hitters in this origin story.
  • At the heart of this film is the relationships. From the mentor, mentee to the best friends and the romantic. This is a film that strikes just the right balance.
  • The wonderful Neal McDonough always makes a film that little bit better. Add with him a team of soldiers that include Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes and you have an incredible middle act.

The Bad

  • I’m not a fan of Red Skull and the face. I think I perhaps would have preferred a later reveal. I often think this way when films have prominent actors hidden behind masks like this.

The Ugly

  • It’s has a very clunky first half as we’re introduced to all of the characters. Part of the issue is the back and forth between characters until the audience know who is involved.

Final Thoughts

One of the best origin stories out there on film and part of that is due to Chris Evans’ performance.

Thor (2011) Review

Rating 12
Length 1h55
Release 27.4.2011
Director Kenneth Branagh
About Thor is exiled by his father, Odin, the King of Asgard, to the Earth to live among mortals. When he lands on Earth, his trusted weapon Mjolnir is discovered and captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Moon: Full moon behind clouds as Jane and Thor talk outside.
Where to Watch: Disney+
Trailer:


The Good

  • The wonderful thing about this outing, or origin, of Thor is the Shakespearian richness of it all. There’s just something about Kings and heirs, betrayal and madness that lends itself to the tone of The Bard. If there was ever going to be a director that could accomplish this, it’s Kenneth Branagh. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and perhaps it hasn’t aged as well for how it stands out from the others, but I still have a soft spot for what Branagh brought to the MCU.
  • As with most of the Marvel projects, this is well cast. Doubly so when you consider your protagonist and antagonist. Both up and coming actors and relative risks. Both hold their own and make this film the joy that it is to watch. We know both are now capable of the humour too, from their long standing returns to the universe, however I’m glad we didn’t get their full range here. The story would not have fit the journey both Thor and Loki needed to go on.
  • This film’s strength is the emotional scenes. In particular those that contain whatever combination of Thor, Odin and Loki Branagh chooses to give us. Without the gravitas and the weight behind those words, this film could have been ridiculous.
  • Two of my favourite Marvel characters appear in this film: Agent Coulson and Erik Selvig. Both very much human, thrown into all of this and handling it all very well. The thanks obviously need to go to the men behind those characters, Clark Gregg and Stellan Skarsgard respectively. Their interaction together when Selvig goes to collect Thor is genius.

The Bad

  • Some of the camera angles made me a little motion sick this time. The asymmetry works on a big screen, but my eyes didn’t like it so much when at home.
  • I’m not sure I liked how the film opened. The sort of cold open is usually saved for episodes of tv shows once characters are established, so meeting Jane, Selvig and Darcy briefly to almost flash back. It didn’t work for me the first time I saw it and it never gets any better the more times I watch.

The Unworthy

  • I am not so happy with how Clint Barton aka Hawkeye is introduced. Yes, I’m sure comic book loyalists would have got it straight away. However, you have to play to your whole audience. I’m not talking about adding much, but I don’t even recall his name even being mentioned.
  • Why are Lady Sif and Darcy so unworthy?! Darcy needs her show with ya man from Ant-Man and give Sif everything! It was amazing seeing her in Loki, but we need MORE. I don’t know what it was about Phase 1, but our female characters get built up so we want more. But then nothing happens.

Final Thoughts

A comic book origin story of Shakespearean magnitude. Must admit this was the film in my marathon two years ago that stopped me watching any more. I really didn’t enjoy it and found it a slog. This time though, I found it charming and rich with Easter eggs.

Flora & Ulysses (2021)

Rating PG
Length 1h 35
Release 19.2.2021
Director Lena Khan
About Flora, a 10-year-old girl with an imaginative mind, rescues a squirrel and names him Ulysses. She soon discovers that Ulysses is blessed with superpowers which help them embark on various adventures.


The Good

  • This is a heart-warming story about family and superheroes. It takes on an origin story, of sorts, but provides the viewer with enough charm that even those fighting the superhero fatigue will be won over.
  • Danny Purdi is excellent as the “villainous” squirrel catcher. Community fans will love that he gets to provide some excellent physical movies references throughout the film.
  • The film made the absolutely right choice when not giving Ulysses a voice. It kept him cute and Grogu-like.
  • It has a belter soundtrack. Almost GotG-lite.
  • Allyson Hannigan and Ben. Schwartz were adorable together and apart. The fact that they both reduced me to tears is a testament to them, their ability to demonstrate the hardships of a relationship, individuality and creative blocks.
  • Matilda Lawler is one to watch. She 10 year old Flora a delight to watch and her narration was perfect. She’ll bring any kid watching onboard straight away.

The Bad

  • The CGI of both Ulysses and Mr Klaus is a little disappointing. While all the actors work well with the furballs, I just found them reminiscent of the early 2000 CGI; almost too glossy and separate from the rest of the visuals.

The Ugly

  • I did not like the development of the character William. The actor did a fine job with what he had to work with, but I just really didn’t like the gimmick of him being blind. I most certainly didn’t like the usage of the outdated term “hysterical blindness”. With a film that has the charm that this does, the jokes feel forced and painfully gross.

Final Thoughts

Its definitely a film for families and one those young at heart will enjoy too. There’s some nice Easter Eggs for comic book and film fans alike. Its certainly on my list to watch again.

Marvelous Movie Reviews: Iron Man 2 (2010)

“The suit and I are one.”
Tony Stark

Release: 30 April 2010
Rating: 12
Length: 2Hr 4min
About: With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy.

The Good

  • The biggest highlight for me is the casting; both Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell are amazing as this installment’s bag guys. I’ll admit, I still struggled to hear everything Rourke was saying but I didn’t mind once the subtitles were on.
  • Tony is even more Howard Hughes than ever and I love the entrance to the Expo. Its a brilliant way of showing his approach to his superhero life.
  • The humour in the court hearing is rather pitch perfect. It’s on the right side of tongue in cheek; from the comment that nods to the casting change of Rhodey to the responses given to Senator Trump Stern.
  • I don’t think I picked up on this in the first outing, but I love the Red Dwarf-like robots Tony has in his basement.
  • We get more Happy and Black Widow’s introduction is rather subtle for newbies, allowing them to be on side with Stark, while remaining perfect for fans in the know.
  • The CGI of the wrecked car at the Monaco Grand Prix is still as breath taking as it was on the big screen. It’s hard not to wonder what went wrong with the graphics department down the line.
  • As Tony becomes reckless, it allows Rhodey to have more to do. There’s a few scenes between Rob DJ and Don Cheadle that are rather beautiful, sincere and something I feel is missing from some of the later movies.
  • Have to give a shout out to Queen for the vocals to the fight sequence between a drunk Tony and Rhodey. THIS was a better Civil War than, well, Civil War.
  • “I don’t want to join your super secret boy band.” – I love the relationship between Stark and Fury. It’s like an angry uncle and a rebellious nephew. It’s something the film could have done with more of.
  • Okay, I briefly mentioned Sam Rockwell at the beginning but of all the anti-heroes, Justin Hammer is quite possibly my favourite. Perhaps its because his motivation is pure stupidity and a drive for power that he should never have. He’s the guy you meet wherever you work, shop or play. He’s the guy who thinks he means well, has charm but he wouldn’t think twice about throwing his nanna under the bus. He’s a big dick; a brilliant, snivelling, brown nosing dick. And who better to handle this character than Sam Rockwell?!

The Bad

  • What is with Mickey Rourke’s Corey Feldman skunk stripe?! Don’t get me wrong, Rourke has my admiration for The Wrestler and I’m sure it’s more to do with the costume department, but I want to chop it off.
  • The opening exposition wasn’t as clear as with Hulk and, as a result, I missed Ivan’s beef against Stark. It was over an hour in before I made sense of his one-man war path.
  • Paltrow’s Pepper Potts is a little too loud and shouty in this outing. Her freaking out in the car really doesn’t fit with what was otherwise a flawless scene.
  • Coulson was a bit pointless in this. It felt too forced “Hi, I’m coming to tell you I can’t stay.”…. okay. I get the feeling it was to prepare the way for the sting, but he wasn’t required in the film proper for that to happen. That said, I do love Gregg Clark so I shouldn’t really complain.
  • Happy and Black Widow! We so need more of those two together. It was the best part of the god damn movie.

The Ugly

  • I feel as if there’s a bit of a continuity error when it comes to Stark’s involvement in the Avengers Initiative. He was very much involved within the sting of Hulk, but this film seems to ignore that.
  • Its still the same ending; bigger, meaner version of the hero. Only this time they pressed the copy button. It’s already feeling stagnant when it comes to the bad guys.
  • This could be where the problems with Black Widow start. Both Happy and Tony fawn over her; even Potts mentions how it was a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Final Thoughts

My opinion has improved some what since the first, and last, time I watched this. To be fair, I was so bored that I left my boyfriend-at-the-time in the screen and went for a walk. Twice. What I will say though is that I wasn’t the hard core Marvel CINEMATIC Universe fan until Joss Whedon gave me Assemble.
It still has its faults, but I must say I actually enjoyed it much more… even if I did have to watch it in two sections.

Next up, as the sting revealed, is Thor.

Love Han x

MCU Retrospective: Incredible Hulk (2008)


Length: 2Hr 15
Rating: 12
About: Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him into The Hulk. Cut off from his true love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and forced to hide from his nemesis, Gen. Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Banner soon comes face-to-face with a new threat: a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination (Tim Roth).

The Good

  • Ed Norton, upon reflection, was quite a good Bruce Banner. He brings the angst and turns it into a fine art; guilt, longing and regret are high and it gives you all the feels. While he’s not as good as Mark Ruffalo’s Assemble/Ulton Banner, he’s much better than the clusterfuck that is Infinity War. Norton’s strength comes from him being able to show how much of a toll the change takes on his physical self; something I feel has been shelved in Phases 2 and 3.
  • I love how the film ends; yes it feels like he hasn’t made any progress by being back on the run, but I love that he seems much more at peace with himself; that smile and green tinged eyes say it all.
  • We get that Tony Stark sting. It doesn’t fit for me with what I know of SHIELD and what’s to come. That said, its Rob D J! I’m not going to sniff at that.
  • EASTER EGG!!! We get Stan Lee (Obviously), but the geek touch that adds to this is having Lou Ferrigno in a small cameo.
  • Liv Tyler is a brilliant addition to the film as Betty Ross which makes me feel like a traitor as I loved Jennifer Connolly in the original. Tyler makes the character her own, brings an element of ‘bad ass’ Connolly’s version lacked and I had a chuckle at her freak out that is reminiscent of the melt down she has in Empire Records .

The Bad

  • Tim Roth makes for an excellent anti-hero, and I welcome his presence for *most* of the movie. Unfortunately, he makes for a piss poor villain. More on this later.
  • Well, General Ross is beyond a dick and I really hate that there’s no resolution of the character. He isn’t redeemed, he isn’t completely vilified. By the end of the movie he’s asked to join Stark on a SHIELD project. This would all be fine if there was a payoff in a later movie, but there’s not. I’m just so frustrated.
  • The story is decent enough; there’s the McGuffin of Mr Blue and Banner’s desire for a cure. However, the execution feels a little too “been there, done that” when it comes to the villain, especially after watching Iron Man directly before it. Again, I’ll come back to this in a moment.

The Ugly

  • I really didn’t like Bruce Banner testing the size of a pair of pants on the backside of a larger lady. Not cool, Banner, not cool!
  • Abomination! Its an ironically apt name. As I said before, Tim Roth is a good choice and a brilliant anti-hero, but Abomination is a CGI nightmare. Riffing Iron Man’s final act; it’s the ‘bigger, scarier, more teeth’ version of the Hulk.
  • Emil Blonsky is set up as loyal military man so I just don’t understand why he goes against General Ross so quickly. When he becomes Abomination, he retains his thoughts and understanding (or at least that’s what is implied) so he is exactly what Ross wanted. So why on earth does he go on a rampage. Hulk has more motive to attack General Ross. I also don’t understand his motivation for attacking Hulk. Yes, before he doesn’t like what Hulk represents, but as Abomination they’re fucking brothers.
  • There’s no explanation of what modifications have taken place for Abomination to be so different. Why is he talking and why is the voice so shit?! And why, oh why, is it only Banner who takes responsibility for the actions that led to the existence of Abomination?!

Final Thoughts

Ed Norton isn’t too shabby as Bruce Banner, but on the whole it really isn’t the best installment in the MC universe.

Love Han x

Marvelous Movie Reviews: Iron Man (2008)

“Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.”

Tony Stark

Release: 8 May 2008
Rating: 12
Length: 2Hr 6min
About: A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armored suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism.

First Thought

I was VERY hungover when I first ever watched this film. I missed a lot as I dipped in and out of sleep. Up until watching it to review the film for this new series, I considered it a rather disjointed mess of a film that I never wanted to see again. It didn’t help that each time I’ve watched it since has been because its been found on TV mid film.
I actually wasn’t looking forward to this watch and I’ve put it off all month.

The Good

  • While my poisoned brain did not appreciate the way this film opened, I loved it this viewing. Being thrown into the action can seem a little disorientating and certainly not something done often in cinema, but it’s a device used in many tv shows to great effect. Here it gives you a snap shot of who Tony Stark is, before finding out how he got himself into the situation.
  • It’s an economically told origin story. When I compare this to others, it would have been easy for the first 40 minutes to be stretched to the full 2 hours, leaving the remainder of the plot to a sequel movie. I’m so glad that didn’t happen.
  • The relationship between Stark and Yinsen is something I slept through the first time, and it’s the strength of the movie. It gives Stark his motivation to become ‘Iron Man’ and change the mission statement of Stark Industries. It’s sincere and emotive; I only wish there was a look back to him at some point. Perhaps there is and I missed it; this rewatch will answer that.
  • What a good bad guy. It’s the one thing I don’t think Marvel gets quite right in subsequent movies. No long-winded explanation as to why, no sob story to make him an anti-hero. Just pure greed. The moment in which Jeff Bridge’s Obadiah renders Stark vulnerable is really chilling and the most sinister scene of the whole franchise.

The Bad

  • It really bugs me that Yinsen lists off all the languages that The Ten Rings speak and the one they don’t, is English. Surly if your main aim is to hold a demographic to ransom, you learn to communicate with them. However, I do like the fact that the film gives us Yinsen to translate and eliminate the need for subtitles.
  • Not sure if it’s because I’m so used to his replacement, but I’m not a fan of Terrence Howard. He doesn’t seem to gel with the rest of the cast and his scenes with RDJnr fall a little flat for me.
  • While the CGI of the suit and its construction is some of the best in the franchise, I found the CGI during the ultimate showdown a little old and ropy.

The Ugly

  • Watching it now, it makes me realise that the franchise started on such a high. It set a tone and standard that I fear I am going to watch slowly degrade as I go through my re-watch.
  • There’s not enough Happy Hogan. I’m sure directing was time consuming and explains Jon Favreau’s presence being reduced to nothing more than a cameo, but I’m certainly looking forward to him having more screen time in later films.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad I gave the film a second chance. I’ve really been missing out with not giving this installment my full attention. Perhaps I would have been Team Stark outright when it came to Civil War had I really, properly, watched Stark’s humbling journey.

Next week in Phase One of the MCU rewatch is 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, which sees Edward Norton taking up the mantel of the Toxic Avenger.

Have a Marvelous week.
Love Han x