philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Remember how in the mid-credits sequence at the end of Thor 2, Benicio Del Toro explains that the Ether was just one of six planet-destroying magic stones? Well it turns out he wasn't kidding. Here in "Guardians of the Galaxy" they really do just find another sparkly magic rock with very little to distinguish it from the one we found in 'Avengers' and the one we found in 'Thor 2'. And speaking of indistinguishable, we also get a villain who is basically a stand-in for Loki, only with none of the charisma.

All that being said, "Guardians of the Galaxy" looks gorgeous. The design of the world in which the characters live is fantastic. I feel like I'm damning with faint praise here (just like when I said that "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" was better than "Battle for the Planet of the Apes"), but it has to be said that "Guardians of the Galaxy" comes across rather like a Star Wars movie and, to my mind, it wipes the floor with the Star Wars prequels. We see a variety of awesomely designed environments building a full world in which the characters can exist with flying vehicles and technology for them to use.

Sadly the characters themselves seem incomplete. It seems to me that the more important the characters were, the less interesting they were. The big surprise actually was Groot the humanoid tree-person. Actually one reason why he wasn't as goofy as I'd been expecting is because he's basically Swamp Thing. Sure, he's more like Swamp Thing before John Constantine comes along to tell him he's essentially a nature god, but there's still time for Groot to develop that way. Marvel actually have their own more clear-cut Swamp Thing clone, but that's Man Thing (a name I cannot imagine catching on) and he's already had one of their least impressive movie outings. Anyway, the variety of plant-based powers exhibited by Groot is by far the most creative element of the film. And he's not really the most central of the characters.
Click here for the rest of the review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Doesn't everyone know that there's always an after credits sequence at the end of Marvel Studios movies by now? Everyone left the screening room, the lights turned on bright as they could, the cleaning crew appeared to be waiting for me to leave (I explained to them why I was 'hanging around'). And lo and behold there wasn't only a mid-credits sequence. There was a short sequence after the entire credits had finished too. Admittedly the final after-credits sequence wasn't terribly impressive, but it was cool to see all the same. Even if you're the last one left, it's probably still worth the embarrassment.

To a certain extent this sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger" is a bit of a retcon of the previous movie. Less of a retcon, it turns out, than I'd been inclined to believe at the time. There were two elements that I felt were particularly inconsistent. Firstly, the claim that the Howling Commandoes had fought many battles with Captain America. Secondly, the revelation that Bucky Barnes could have been retrieved by the scientist Zola (played by Toby Jones) after he fell off the train.

Click here for the full review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Okay, in short, it was great. Some were a little concerned that this would be a dark and gritty tale since, let's face it, we've come to expect our Marvel movies to be sweet and cheerful. The first "Thor" movie was very much a sweet and cheerful film overall, particularly the fish-out-of-water stuff with Thor wandering around in modern day America trying to purchase a horse at a pet shop. Anyway, I'm here to put your minds at rest and confirm that this film is of a similar tone to the other Marvel movies.

That being said, Marvel Studios are still raising the bar after "Avengers Assemble" (I'm going to keep using that title while it continues to be the title on the all the DVD boxes over here, okay?). I had big problems with "The Incredible Hulk" and "Captain America - The First Avenger". Also, though I thought "Thor" was good, it still wasn't great. Superhero movies in general have tended to be far from masterpieces, but Marvel Studios seems intent on really raising the bar now and I must admit, I'm feeling quite impressed now.

I felt "Avengers Assemble" was overrated, being touted as one of the most fantastic films of all time rather than, as I saw it, a better than average supehero film. However, I still thought it was great fun and gave it an A+. Unlike Nolan's Batman films it wasn't really aiming for intense atmosphere with dark and gritty visuals. Marvel Studios movies have all been more about the comedy - and Avengers Assemble was very funny. (Not as funny as "The Amazing Spider-Man", but I'll refrain from re-opening that can of worms.)

With comedy now the main deciding factor in my opinion of Marvel Studios movies, it is perhaps unsurprising that I ranked "Iron Man 3" as the best Marvel Studios movie yet. So the question now should presumably be, was "Thor 2" funnier than "Iron Man 3"? Well no, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was any worse.

Click here to read the rest of my review of "Thor: The Dark World"... )

If you are interested in my views on Iron Man 3 (along with a quick rundown of the other Marvel Studios movies) click here...

For my Avengers Assemble review, click here...
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Before I start going into my review here, I feel that I need to provide some perspective. Let's note first that the hype has been absolutely INSANE ever since Joss Whedon released "Avengers Assemble" (that's the title on all the versions released over here and yes, you shall continue to share my pain). Let's also remember that "Iron Man 2" was somewhat compromised so that the Iron Man franchise could be used to tie together the various other Marvel superheroes.

Now let's backtrack all the way to the first 'Marvel Studios' movie. Naturally I am referring to "Iron Man". In that year the two big superhero movies were "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" and the big appeal of "Iron Man" was that Robert Downey Jr's character was completely different from Nolan's cold and brooding hero. "The Dark Knight" was serious and angsty, but "Iron Man" was light-hearted and fun.

Read more... )

Ranking the Marvel Studios movies:
7. Captain America: The Last Avenger

I was seriously disappointed with this one. The characters felt flat, the action sequences were unengaging, and I was far too aware that Captain America's bright blue and red costume was ridiculously poorly suited to the stealth mission he was inexplicably pulling off by the end. In the end, I think this movie was taking itself far too seriously. It was a campy scenario and yet the movie decided to play it straight. I felt that was a mistake.

(My review of Captain America here)

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Spoiler-free review, as always.
(Though there may be some mild spoilers for Lord Of The Rings.)

I must admit that I was initially rather sceptical about this one. How hyped people were for this film must have some relation to how familiar they are with the comics and how much they enjoyed the past five Marvel Studios movies. For me that comes to "not at all" and "middling to good levels of enjoyment", so I wasn't exactly buzzing with excitement. When everyone else started raving about it though, you can be damn sure I was keen to see what I was missing.

Read more... )

philosoraptor42: (Default)

I'd imagine there are people reading the title thinking that I've just picked a random bit of poor dialogue from the Captain America movie for the title above. Actually "nope" is a line from Captain America which seems to receive some of the biggest fanfare towards the climax of the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, I suspect that the way you are imagining the delivery of those lines is quite a bit more impressive than they way they appear in the movie itself.

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)

The Town (2010)
A really interesting movie about a group of armed robbers in an area called Charlestown. I'd recommend that non-Americans watch it with subtitles on. While you can mostly hear what they are saying, subtitles make it a lot easier to keep up with the slurring regional accent.
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Iron Man 2 (2010)

There were a lot of fairly lacklustre reviews for this, with a lot of people saying that Thor was a step up. I'm not sure I see it.
Read more... )

The Way Back (2010)

The story of a group of prisoners in a Soviet camp in Siberia. They make plans to escape, but not all of them will survive.
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Abel (2010)

The problem with this movie is that the central plot seems to come out of nowhere. There's a rather slow start where the dysfunctional family has to deal with the young child Abel coming back into their home from the psychiatric care institution where he'd previously been staying. Then, all of a sudden without any clear explanation, Abel changes. The thing that annoys me most about this is that Abel hadn't even been speaking up until this point. The idea that he should suddenly be able to gain a sense of authority fails to match up with what we'd seen earlier on in the movie.
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Of Gods And Men (2010)

I didn't quite have the guts to write this review when I first saw it. This was raved about by Mark Kermode and a number of other reviewers, so I was expecting something special. I think perhaps these reviewers had their expectations too low and I had mine too high, because I was spectacularly dissappointed.
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The Fighter (2010)

I've never been terribly keen on Mark Wahlberg as an actor, but perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised to find this role suited him much better than others in the past. There's something very passive about his character in this (which feels like an odd thing to say, considering he's playing a boxer). He doesn't give the impression of being terribly bright and he's led around by other family members. His rather more introverted role is in stark contrast to the parts of Melissa Leo, Christian Bale and even Amy Adams.
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Thor Review

May. 9th, 2011 06:41 pm
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Okay, I actually saw this a couple of weeks ago, but I just haven't been in the mood to do a review. Still with two different people on my f-list now offering reviews (which I haven't yet read), I feel like I ought to contribute sooner rather than later.

Read more... )


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