9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Knight and Day Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film that I hadn’t heard of before now. It’s definitely the definition of a cinematic hidden gem as this is a movie that can hold its own with top notch titles like Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher. It’s a blast and a half from start to finish with a good blend of action and humor. The characters are written well and I didn’t really have any problems with the movie. It was firing on all cylinders.

The movie starts with June getting ready to go on a plane as she is heading to her sister’s wedding. She bumps into a mysterious man named Roy twice at the airport and nearly doesn’t get to go onto the flight due to technical difficulties, but ultimately ends up on it. While she uses the rest room this mysterious man beats up everyone on the plane and shoots both of the pilots. He tells her to forget about him and then June wakes up at home. Unfortunately her life will never be the same as now there are a lot of people out to murder her and she may have just gotten in a little over her head.

Knight and Day really doesn’t waste any time. The opening fight scene on the plane is fantastic and the best action scene in the whole movie. Now that’s a good way to get my attention right from the jump. It was really like a Mission Impossible moment and Roy is a secret agent so it all makes a lot of sense. I think at this early stage you can feel the part parody elements kicking in a bit just with how crazy it is that June doesn’t hear any of the commotion right outside the bathroom. It makes for a very entertaining sequence though and that’s really just foreshadowing for how much action we would be getting later on. There’s always some kind of fight scene going on.

One gag that the movie uses several times is how Roy keeps using a drug to knock June out. She’ll then wake up and fall back into slumber as the drug wears off where you see bits and pieces of other crazy adventures like Roy pushing her out of a plane, beating up someone after being tied up while upside down, etc. There’s a good chunk of action scenes that we don’t even get to see because she is knocked out. June can be a bit slow on the uptake for a good portion of the film which is partially why Roy has to always be knocking her out. The gag only goes a little too far with the beach one when June finds out that she has changed attire somehow. Fortunately the movie saves itself a bit here by having June turn the tables on him later on. I think having that final scene was absolutely necessary because she did need some kind of “revenge”on him. It’s also just a good scene establishing her as a partner rather than a liability. Interestingly the film had a similarity to Coma in that respect, but completely reversed.

While June did panic a lot as I mentioned, she’s a decent character. She improves a little too late in the game for me to call her a very good character or anything like that, but contributing a bit is better than not at all. June’s reservations to a good extent are pretty valid though because Roy does seem crazy quite a lot of the time. If not for the other groups seeming even shadier then she would definitely be right to just get away from him the whole time. You really can’t trust a guy who in your first encounter just murdered a whole plane filled with people.

Meanwhile Roy is definitely a terrific character. Yeah he can be a bit dicey with all the drugging at times, but aside from the resort occasion every other time at least made some kind of sense. The villains probably would have murdered June if she was awake in one moment and in the other scenarios she would have gotten them both murdered. Roy enjoys a good fight quite a lot to the point where he does tend to go a little gun happy. The guy always appears to be a bit paranoid, but when you’re in the espionage business that’s just how it is. Roy is always one step ahead of everyone else and his boundless confidence is excellent. He’s one of the best main characters I’ve seen in quite a long time.

Then you have the supporting characters like the genius Simon. He’s definitely the weakest character here because he’s just a little too loopy. Genius characters in film are always portrayed to be rather quirky, but I’d say that this guy is just a little too far gone. He never seems to know what is happening and walks into every trap. I’d have liked him to have had a little more agency. The villains are pretty fun though. The main one is nice and charismatic, always having an answer for everything. He may be a little on the obvious side as far as villains go, but some villains just can’t hide their malice.

Another cool scene in the film is when an assassin shows up and does battle with Roy. It was a nice battle scene as well since the room is so small, making both of them really have to bring their A game. Roy is a top notch agent, but assassins are also at the top of their craft so it makes sense that this one would be able to keep up with Roy pretty well. I could go on and on with the various fights in this film, but basically what you need to know is that every action scene is top notch. There are also quite a lot of action scenes which is quite excellent and you’ll be having a blast here.

As I mentioned there is also a lot of good humor here as well. Pretty much any scene in the first half with Roy and June will have some humor as he does something crazy and she does her best to take it well. He’s pretty nonchalant about taking down guys by the dozens while June just wants to have a normal life. Then you’ve also got the scene at the diner where he makes some small talk with a fireman before having to take the shot. Even then Roy does it in such a way where the guy isn’t really all that injured and will become a hero now.

One of the more impressive scenes for Roy is at the end where it turns out that he planned out quite a few things. Almost the entire movie played into his plans in one way or another which is crazy. It’s something you’d expect from the mastermind villain of a trilogy, not the main character of a quick action film. I suppose if the film has any weak points it is that the romance is rather weak. June falls for Roy a little too quickly and appears to be a bit desperate. In her defense, I suppose Roy seems like the perfect guy, but even then 15 minutes or so is wayyyyyy too quick to be making a move.

Overall, Knight and Day is definitely a great film. I’d even call it elite. There is a lot of replay value to be found here so you can easily watch this movie at any time. Even the smaller subplots end up being quite great. There’s one involving an elderly couple that is a lot of fun as they keep winning things that they didn’t even enter. It’s just a nice plot that serves to give more development to a certain character while also letting two innocent characters get a happy ending. You rarely see a film look out for the minor characters like this so it was definitely good. The ending is great and I’d be up for a sequel someday.

Overall 9/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Infinity War Review


It’s time to take a look at the new Avengers film! This is certainly the big one. It’s the event film that we had been waiting for ever since 2012 when Thanos was teased at the end of the Avengers film. I remember going into the theaters for Avengers 2 and wondering where he was. He did get pushed back quite a bit, but the positive side of this was that it gave time for Marvel to grab Dr Strange and Spider-Man. Otherwise I suppose they would have had to miss out on this adventure. Black Panther getting a film was also fortunate since Wakanda gave the heroes a good place to fight the villains without a lot/ The film definitely lives up to the hype and is one of the best MCU films yet. I do have to say that this review will have a considerable amount of spoilers so do not read further if you haven’t seen it yet.

The film starts off rather quickly as it picks up right where Thor: Ragnarok left off. Unfortunately the fight is off screen but Thanos managed to take down Thor and the Asgardians. Hulk puts up a brief struggle, but is quickly beaten and traumatized for the rest of the film. Thanos aims to get all 6 of the Infinity Stones so he quickly sets out on this quest. He sends the Black Order over to Earth to claim 2 of them while he heads for the other 2 himself. He already has 2 so if you add them all up then he will have the six. Iron-Man, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man decide to bring the fight to Thanos while Captain America and the other Avengers engage his forces on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor is looking for a new weapon which will allow him to destroy Thanos and avenge everyone.

In a film this big it is always hard to know where to start off. Do I talk about the many characters or the technical aspects or about the plot itself? They’ll all get mentioned at some point or other so the order doesn’t matter much, but keeping the list orderly is good. As such we’ll go for technicals first. The graphics look really good as you would expect. Iron-Man’s armor is able to do a whole lot of things now thanks to his Iron Man 3 upgrade and he puts them all to use. The nanomachine animations are solid and the energy attacks really stand out. Dr. Strange’s magic is as vibrant as ever and each of the Infinity Stones have their own energy wavelength which are all unique. The character uniforms are all on point from their various films as well. The only character design that wasn’t all that good was Cap’s. Of course Rogers is undercover now so he hasn’t had much time to get a proper haircut. Perhaps in the next film. Thor’s new costume is certainly really good. Black Widow’s hair change is rather random, but not bad. It doesn’t make much of a difference.

As far as the soundtrack goes, we don’t get too many new themes. There is the classic Avengers theme that all of the films love which has still aged well and works for all of the scenes. I can’t say that I remember any of the other tunes all that much, but they work well enough in the moment which is the important part. With all of the explosions and attacks going on it makes sense that there wouldn’t be too many tunes. I’m still waiting for a solid rock/electronic theme though. Maybe even a lyrical song like in Thor Ragnarok.

One thing you’ll notice in this film is that the heroes are all a tad edgier than usual. Probably a rather normal response considering that the stakes are so high, but they definitely don’t have a problem with destroying the enemies this time around. The heroes do stay true to their word and don’t take any prisoners this time. They all also go for the tough call of choosing to destroy one ally to save many. Star Lord makes this choice as well as Scarlet Witch. Naturally I am always against this call as it’s worth it to let the world burn to save one person, but it’s not a move that I would hold against the character either. At least if the other person is begging them to do it. If it’s against the victim’s will, then that’s a whole different ballgame. I do like how Captain America is the only hero to speak out against this though as he should definitely stand true to his principle of not sacrificing anyone.

While the film never gets overly violent, it is more intense than most of the other MCU films. 2 characters get tortured and in general the heroes are getting beaten up quite a bit. The Nebula scene was probably pushing it the most, but it’s certainly not as bad visually as if she was purely organic. The Dr. Strange scene is mostly off screen. I could have done without them, but again, the film was careful not to cross the line here. It also made sure not to bring back the giant animals from the Black Panther film which I was thrilled about. No animal violence here folks and that was really the only concern I had going into the film.

Infinity War feels like one of those event films that you only get once in a blue moon. The kind of film that doesn’t slow things down for the general audience and keeps the pacing up from start to finish. Final Wars did this for Godzilla, Resurrection F for DBZ, Hell Verse for Bleach, Batman V Superman for DC and finally this film for Marvel. The whole point of a shared universe is not having to reexplain character origins and trivia for the general audience so we can skip right to the fights. That’s exactly what this film did and it’s perfect. It embraces its comic book nature to a t. The best part about having multiple plots is that if one has to slow down for any reason then we can cut away to another one.

All right, I think it’s time to take a look at the character roster. First off we have Iron Man of course. He looks really good as you would expect. I’m glad that he still uses his suit to its full potential with a lot of mixups during his fight with Thanos. Gone are the days where all he would just keep shooting his repulser blasts and call it a day. Now he throws in hand to hand and his suits ability to morph into any object that he wills it too. He doesn’t make too many objects as of course this takes away from his supply of nanites which are limited, but the ones that he does make are quite good. He makes an energy sword/gun that looks like something out of Halo. I still can’t get over how great his new armor is. No more worrying about losing a mask as it can just form more, tech being broken isn’t an issue as it can build more, etc. Considering that Tony is the original genius of the MCU I am glad that his suit reflects that. I agreed with his decision to take the fight to Thanos. Lets be honest, the Earth doesn’t need more cities blown up in a quest to stop him and the group was a fairly powerful one as well. At the very least it’s a tactically sound plan. Ironman is certainly still the true leader of the Avengers in the movies.

Then we’ve got Thor. Naturally he gets quite a lot of screen time since he’s in the center of this whole encounter. I don’t like that his fight with Thanos was off screen though. I guess it was probably very hard to write in a scenario where he loses without doing any noticeable damage to Thanos and it would also be hard to explain why the Hulk didn’t jump in sooner. Valid reasons to have it be off screen of course, but that would have been a lot of fun. All I can say is that if Thor had been at full power then he probably would have won, but since he was weakened I can accept his loss. He spends a lot of the film in a depowered state, but still shows off his other abilities such as his durability in surviving the heat of an entire star for a few minutes. Even without calculating the exact magnitude of the feat you know that this is quite intense. Most would melt instantly upon getting hit with the heat at that range. Thor certainly gets a good payoff scene to that afterwards when he finally arrives into the battle. Again, I would have liked a longer rematch between him and Thanos, but I suppose that at this point it would have been tough for Thanos to hold his own. Thor definitely tipped the scaled of battle in Wakanda.

Then we have the Hulk. Seeing as how Ragnarok kept up the situation where Hulk and Banner are completely different characters from Age of Ultron as opposed to the more “same person” route that The Incredible Hulk and Avengers used, I’ll list them separately here. Unlike Ragnarok where Bruce actively avoided fighting and just kept trying to hide he was actually useful here. At the very least he certainly did take what happened to the Asgardians quite hard and did his best to contribute in any way possible. He was even able to take on one of the Black Order members on his own which is really impressive. Considering that he doesn’t have any super powers he did good.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the Hulk. He looked decent in his initial appearance against Thanos. Sure, he didn’t quite win, but he did get some hits in and at least he tried. His character was wrecked in all future scenes though as he was apparently too scared to come out after that. The Hulk is never portrayed as a coward and I think it was a big mistake of the film to do this to his character. No matter what happens from here on out I just can’t forget this. When everyone needed him in their darkest hour, Hulk refused to step up to the plate. As far as I’m concerned he’s no real Avenger anymore.

On a more positive note, we have Captain America. Compared to Iron Man and Thor his role is quite small, but still good nonetheless. It was fortunate that he rushed over to back up Vision and Black Widow. His hand to hand skills are consistent as always and it’s difficult for any of the villains to lay a hand on him except for when they are considerably stronger. I do miss the iconic shield to go along with the costume and it does limit how effective he is here, but he always tries his best. He also won’t let himself be pushed around by the government anymore and has definitely grown comfortable in his fugitive roll. I expect to see him take on more of a leadership role in the next film, but of course that could lead to some more bickering between him and Iron Man.

Black Widow looks solid as well. She gets two fights against the Black Order and holds her own both times. Her nunchuk weapons are definitely good to have and while she may not have Captain America’s strength, she is on his level when it comes to hand to hand combat. War Machine also gets a nice little appearance as he trolls Bruce and the government. His War Machine armor is still potent although it definitely feels really behind the curve next to the others so I think he is about due for an upgrade. Falcon doesn’t get much to do as just being able to fly isn’t a huge asset to the heroes, but he contributes as best he can.

Since Black Panther’s film was pretty recent you would definitely expect him to have a nice role here. While not large, the film still shows that Wakanda is definitely the global leader in tech. Even the Black Order is unable to completely break through their force fields. It’s a shame that they didn’t have more people to also guard the back of the kingdom, but I guess that would be difficult. Opening it up a bit made sense. Panther’s suit is able to block most kinetic energy, but we finally see its limit here as he still takes a lot of damage against Thanos. I definitely had no complaints with him or his supporting cast. One of them was able to help Black Widow in her fight and his sister was going to be able to crack the code on Vision’s gem, but she simply wasn’t given enough time.

Dr Strange looks really strong which is definitely good. From the brief scene he had in Thor Ragnarok it was clear that his abilities are better than ever. Unfortunately this also leads to some power level issues which I will go into later, but for the most part I thought he was handled well. I like his usual confidence and he definitely doesn’t fear the villains. When your abilities are only limited by your imagination this attitude is certainly justified. He’s certainly one of the most enjoyable characters and in this film at least I would probably say that he is the best one.

Then we have Spiderman. Unfortunately I don’t think the film makers were really big fans of this character. He didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. The fact that he is still rather young was really played up here to the point where none of the other characters seem to respect him as a fighter. Granted, he only really got to interact with Ironman and Dr. Strange and they love belittling everyone else. Whenever we get a decent Spidey scene like him catching one of the villains’ weapon or landing hits on Thanos, we get counter scenes like him begging for his life. Spiderman should have some humor of course, but he gets serious when necessary and should be treated as a legitimate powerhouse. With his Spider Sense he shouldn’t be getting hit so easily as well.

Star Lord certainly looks like you would expect. The team still doesn’t respect him all that much, but at the end of the day he is the leader. He at least tries acting more heroic nowadays since that is what Gamora wants. He does make a rather dicey decision midway through the film which will probably not sit well with a lot of people but I can get behind it. Honestly, the others should have just completed their job sooner considering how much muscle was being used at the time. I do find it ironic how Star Lord is at his best when fighting other heroes. Where were all of his cool thunder gadgets that he used to beat Spiderman and Ironman earlier in the film? He was suddenly portrayed as a really competent fighter there. At the expense of Spiderman though as at least Ironman freed himself pretty quickly.

Gamora gets a big role as well since her backstory has a lot to do with the Titan of Terror. She still does well in a fight, but I do think rushing at Thanos was a little reckless all things considered. At that point they probably still could have avoided combat or at least gone in more prepared. She makes the heroic call in giving up the information, but things definitely don’t tend to go her way. It’s too bad we couldn’t see more of her. Rocket Raccoon is a fun character as always. He doesn’t get to do a lot of blowing up yet, but more guns are always welcome in the big fight against alien invaders.

Drax continues to be the biggest joke of the MCU as he never gets anywhere close to being considered a threat to Thanos. The guy is just deluding himself at this point. He’s not quite as obnoxious as his TV show counterpart, but at the end of the day I’m just not a Drax fan. He’s still better than Groot though. Groot is just annoying the entire film. He’s still going through his teen rebellion phase and the character should just be written out. There’s never been anything entertaining about his “I am Groot” gimmick and the character doesn’t add anything to the film. Mantis doesn’t do much here, but she always chips in when there is a fight. Her mental abilities are certainly handy after all and being able to control Thanos even for a brief period is impressive.

Then we have Vision, the worst character in the film. Everything that went wrong in this movie can be traced back to him. He should have been around in New York to fend off the Black Order but decided to go off the grid for no reason. Okay, he had a reason and it was pretty sad. He just wanted to spend more time with Scarlet Witch. They already get to hang out quite a lot though so he was just being greedy. After that he is defeated three different times by the same Black Order villain. Vision seems to have completely forgotten how to fight and the guy is supremely annoying. I couldn’t wait to see him get blasted to smithereens because just seeing the guy on screen was annoying. He kept begging Wanda to destroy him, but even that is being selfish. He could just crush his CPU himself which would save Wanda some grief and then she would have no objection to destroying the stone as she couldn’t let his death be in vain. Vision is supposed to be one of the power hitters so the heroes were counting on him. Without Vision messing everything up for everybody the heroes would have had a much better chance at securing victory. 2 of the stones would have been on Earth so Thanos would have been forced to arrive with 4 stones. Not to mention that he would be without his Black Order from the start. No way Thanos is able to defeat them without the extra stones.

Then we have Scarlet Witch who is fortunately much better than Vision. While Vision was wasting his time trying to be human and losing all of his fighting experience, Scarlet Witch was learning how to master her abilities. She is now shown to be highly proficient with them to the point where she can casually block Thanos with one arm. Unfortunately once again Vision was holding her back so she couldn’t use both arms to fight him. Scarlet Witch was also able to take down several large weapons in a single shot which was a tremendous feat of force. She is definitely a contender for top 3 strongest Avengers at this point as she could probably take down the Hulk.

Winter Soldier gets his quick guest star role and looks okay. His main problem is that he is using a normal gun while everyone else has some kind of unique weapon to help them. Honestly he should have asked some of the people from Wakanda for an energy gun instead as they looked a lot more impressive. Fighting mano a mano with Cap would have been a better idea as well. I mean….a normal gun…really? Loki’s role is small, but definitely within character. As with everyone else in the scene I have to question why he didn’t act sooner. Since he had the Cosmic Cube he could have also tried using it to destroy Thanos on the spot as well. Yeah, it could backfire but he would probably die otherwise right? Of course he was definitely out of his league in the situation otherwise so there really wasn’t much more that he could do. Heimdall definitely looked good as he at least gave Earth a fighting chance. Otherwise the heroes would have really not been prepared for the coming attacks. Wong is around for the opening fight scene and contributed a bit which was nice. I do think that hiding in the Sanctum is not a wise move though for 2 reasons. 1. If he doesn’t go help reclaim the Time Stone then the sanctum won’t be around long enough to matter anyway. 2. If people do break in since it’s unguarded…I have a feeling that they would be strong enough to stop Wong as well. Food for thought.

Nebula certainly gets one of the most painful roles in this film. Deciding to try and destroy Thanos one on one was also one of the worst plans I’ve ever seen as well. She really didn’t think that one through. Thanos mentions that she was almost successful so I have to assume that he was straight up lying to Gamora’s face. I can’t picture that either. If we trust the illusions then I guess Thanos doesn’t have a whole lot of resistance to stabbing so then a sneak attack is feasible, but I just find it hard to believe that his skin is so weak when the rest of his durability is so good. Perhaps that is the case, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Thanos definitely gets a lot of screen time and seems to be considered as one of the stand out characters. It’s definitely a very different portrayal here as he’s very emotional and even sheds some tears. It feels like a slight retcon from how he acts in Guardians or Avengers, but of course he didn’t get to do much in those movies. He certainly didn’t have much of a chance to explain why he was destroying everybody. His goal of reducing life in half is definitely an interesting one. I was waiting for someone to ask him what will prevent life from getting too large once again, but I guess it would take so many thousands of years for that to happen that it’s rather moot. Anyway, Thanos is a decent villain. I think he was a little too emotional and I wasn’t buying into the act since the rest of the time he was shown to be quite ruthless and to enjoy dishing out pain. Despite the film trying to tell us that he was genuine otherwise, I’m still not sure about that. Either way he makes for a good opponent for the heroes since he is quite strong and has a lot of energy attacks.

The Black Order are definitely a solid group of villains as well. I wouldn’t really know any of their names if not for the comics, but I suppose that isn’t important. They each have unique fighting styles and are legitimate threats. The strongest member is probably the telekinetic who fought Strange as he was holding his own even though Strange had his Time Gem at the time. Too bad he always forgets to use it. The power hitter seemed reasonably tough. He was about Spider-Man level but without the hero’s agility and spider sense. Then we had the female villain with the long spear/staff. She seemed reasonably tough, weaker than the first two members, but her hand to hand combat was solid. Finally we had the wraith like guy who kept slapping Vision silly. He seemed to be about as tough as the third member. All told, a respectable group of villains.

Now I think it needs to be said that with a film this large in scope there are bound to be a bunch of power level inconsistencies and instances of plot hax. The elephant in the room is Spider-Man of course. With his spider sense and speed there is no way that he should be getting hit so many times. He would be dodging all of those strikes. Fact of the matter is that the heroes should have won the first fight in the city rather easily. Spiderman and Iron Man were more than a match for the power fighter. Meanwhile Strange should have easily beaten his foe by manipulating time. Even without time his magical spells should be up to the task as well. He is the Sorcerer Supreme after all.

While we are on the subject, why didn’t Dr Strange use the time stone against Thanos? The time loop it can create is quite potent after all. Even just using it to think of better strategies to fight would have been useful. No point in bringing it just to hide it. Lets face it, everyone knows that the hostage trick will inevitably work on the heroes so keeping it away just doesn’t work. Then for the power levels, I think Thanos’ durability wasn’t too consistent. Blows from the Hulk were shown to barely phase him at all but then later on normal hits from Iron-Man’s group were dealing some noticeable damage. Captain America shouldn’t even be able to block Thanos in this case. Thor should have put up a better fight than Hulk as it was shown that he was more powerful. The two Order members who fought Scarlet Witch were shown to have close to human level durability so a quick blast should have finished them off.

I guess at the end of the day what I’m saying is that it always felt like the heroes were way stronger than the villains despite the narrative trying to show otherwise. Even though the heroes were racking up losses like a for glory Captain Falcon I never thought that they should be. Until Thanos got all of the gems and started cheating with the Reality Stone the heroes had the edge the whole time. I felt like they should have beaten Thanos on his home planet, Scarlet Witch should have won in the night fight, Strange and the others should have won in New York, etc. The heroes all felt nerfed at various points to an extent. Nothing crazy, but they really had this win in the bag.

Once again I have to stress just how good the fights here were. We really got 3 main fight scenes. The New York Battle, The early battle for Vision’s stone, and the fight against Thanos on his home planet. We got other fights meanwhile as well. These 3 fights were all extremely solid. What the night one did especially well was how it started very suddenly. The Black Order member appeared out of nowhere with his first stab and there wasn’t any obvious build up to his appearance. More films and even shows for that matter should do this. It’s amazing when a sneak attack actually feels like one with no giveaways. The other fights naturally looked brilliantly as well.

Again, this is because of how fast paced the film is. It’s exciting from start to finish and feels like a real comic book. The heroes all get to shine and each of the main characters get to have a quick supporting cast moment which helps make this feel like even more of a legitimate crossover film. Some crossovers don’t really put in the same amount of effort, but this one had 10 years of material to use and it definitely grabbed as much as possible. At this point, I don’t think it will ever be possible to have a comic book film match this level of crossover intensity except for a Marvel vs DC film and as much as that kind of thing has gotten easier over the years, it is hard to picture.

Another thing that this film did well is not forcing in the humor the way that it did for Age of Ultron. One annoying thing about that film was how everyone was constnantly throwing in a one liner no matter what the circumstances were. That got rather irritating very quickly. The jokes are still around here, but the balance is much better. For the record, from the humor scenes we did get I think it’s safe to say that Star Lord stole the show. He did a great job of mimicking Thor and I dare say that he won his interaction with Iron Man. This is easily Star Lord’s best film appearance and in a way it makes sense since he has left most of his bad habits behind thanks to Gamora. The character whose humor tanks the most is probably Groot. There’s just nothing funny about him at all. I dare say that Drax and Spiderman are close though, but on the positive side to keep things balanced Ironman and Dr Strange are fun as always. The writing is definitely on point. There is maybe a little more language than usual, but is never gets into super edgy territory or anything.

Naturally there is an after credits scene so make sure you stick around. It’s one that directly affects the ending as well as the next film which is great since those are the best kind of after credit scenes. This may feel like I’m taking a shot at the comedy ones which are ultimately pointless to the narrative and will never be referenced again, but that’s only because that is exactly what I’m doing. This is a real after credits scene and a hype way to end things off. Now, you might come to the conclusion that Superman is being called in and I don’t blame you, but the person they are calling in instead can certainly put up a great fight and I’m expecting to see her dish out some serious damage. Granted, there isn’t really anyone to fight at the moment, but more fighters is always good to have because the danger isn’t over.

Now it’s time to rank all of the MCU films again from best to worst. There have certainly been a bunch and some of them are quite close, but no ties can be accepted. After some thought this is how I rank them. You’ll notice that the films have been getting consistently better lately as a lot of the recent films are near the top. That’s definitely the sign of a quality franchise.

1. Avengers
2. Captain America Civil War
3. Avengers: Infinity War
4. Avengers Age of Ultron
5. Thor: Ragnarok
6. Captain America: Winter Soldier
7. Doctor Strange
8. Spider-Man Homecoming
9. Thor: The Dark World
10. Iron-Man 3
11. Black Panther
12. Guardians of the Galaxy
13. Thor
14. Iron Man 2
15. Iron Man
16. The Incredible Hulk
17. Captain America
18. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
19. Ant Man

Overall, Avengers Infinity War definitely stepped up and delivered what it promised. It brought in a ton of action and quality writing between the characters. It adapted the original comic arc pretty well all things considered. While it couldn’t literally get every character, putting off the film any longer to establish more characters would have been too much. This is a perfect way to celebrate 10 years of Marvel. I highly recommend checking out this film if you disregarded my spoiler warning and read the whole way through anyway. There are certainly a lot of ways they can go about the next film. I could probably make a whole post just discussing the possibilities. Instead I’ll just close the review here. Suffice it to say, it’s going to be tough to top Thanos in terms of power anytime soon. It may be time to shrink in scale temporarily (After Avengers 4 of course) to wind down before going to another big cosmic end game scenario. Another 10 years would be a lot of time to get in new characters so that destroying them will have more of an impact. Of course if it happens sooner you will get no complaints from me.

Overall 9/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Justice League Review


After all these years of hype the Justice League movie is finally upon us. The series has been amazing so far despite getting critically pounded. Not every film was great, but for the most part they were all solid. This film also ended up being an excellent addition to the cinematic universe. It can be a bit of a slow burner at times but one that does build up to a great climax.

After a quick scene that I actually forgot until after the film, Justice League opens up with an action scene where Batman takes down a Parademon and realizes that the invasion is closer than ever before. This was a perfect scene to kick off the film since it immediately has the aliens show up so the heroes can form the team. While I will have a bunch of critiques coming up, there is nothing I can say about this scene. It was basically perfect from the set design to the Parademon’s special effects. After this Batman decides to track down Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman so that these super powered individuals can stop the invasion. Wonder Woman has been alerted to what was happening as well and shows up to help. Can this alliance really stop the armies of Apokolips?

Let’s start with the basics. The soundtrack is really good. It’s not as memorable as Man of Steel but it does a good job of sounding epic. The Wonder Woman theme returns which is always fun. I was expecting the cool Man of Steel tune but maybe next time. The graphics are also really good for the movie and that’s one area where DC really excels. I have yet to see a CBM top BVS, or this film with the backgrounds. Man of Steel and Avengers are also pretty high up in the rankings. Essentially the whole climax of Justice League is in a fiery, apocalyptic future backdrop which makes every scene even more epic.

You also have to give the film credit for most of the outfits. Batman’s is definitely one of the best he has ever had and maybe it is the best. It reminds me a lot of his look from Justice League Heroes. Superman and Wonder Woman’s costumes also look pretty sharp. I’m still not sold on Aquaman and Flash so those didn’t hit it off for me. Cyborg’s was pretty good and I actually liked the mysterious cloak/hoodie costume.

Now let’s get on to the characters. Batman is essentially the lead here. I’d say that he looks pretty good. He is still the brains of the group although his plan is typically just to get whoever he is talking to upset. It took him quite a bit to realize that the guy was Aquaman as well unless that was part of the plan. He gets beat up and saved quite a bit but his reckless self sacrifice plans are still on point. He did have a nice contingency plan for Superman again as well. When it comes to personality he’s still my 2nd favorite character as expected but he is really going to need more power ups as the films go by or he is going to have an even tougher time dealing with the villains. That is give him some prep time once again.

Superman is my favorite character as always even if they decided to go with the edgy route for this film. I don’t mind an edgy Superman if done right after all. He was comically out of character for the entirety of his first scene when he attacks the League. Sure he isn’t too thrilled about why he is around but the Superman you’d expect would just endure this quietly or at least ask some questions. Trying to seriously injure and destroy the other heroes just doesn’t seem to be in character at all. The film played it off like he was actually going to destroy Batman even using one of Batman’s edgy lines from the last film to show how the tables have turned. Later Superman is rather reluctant to help out and must be told to do so. He then does a complete 180 ad starts cracking some jokes and laughing with everyone. It’s almost like they had two different writers and the 2nd one took over just for the climax act of the film so the scenes didn’t gel well.

What both acts really got right was Superman’s power and speed though. If you’re familiar with the characters, you’ll know that Superman is way stronger than the other League members. He could beat them teaming up without using all of his power. The film demonstrates that quite nicely. Even when he’s not been able to be in the sun for a while and was likely not at full power, the heroes just couldn’t hurt him. Wonder Woman is very strong but not strong enough to actually deal damage to him. Flash is fast, but not fast enough to actually land a hit on Superman. This is essentially how every fight with Superman and the League should go and I was incredibly impressed with how Superman looked here. I get the feeling we won’t get to see him look quite as impressive ever again so remember these scenes well.

Going back to Superman’s personality for a second, it is also weird that he holds such a grudge against Batman. It’s true that only Batman called them friends and Superman was rather cold to him throughout the climax but I thought he got over that by now. Wouldn’t Superman give him a second chance or let bygones be bygones? At the very least I’d expect him to try and arrest Batman instead. I still say that Batman should have called in Martha right away. She would have ended the whole situation right away. Despite this, Superman naturally does make the hero calls in the end and he’s still the best. In a way it probably is annoying to have to save the world every other day since nobody else can do it, but Superman will get over it and be inspired again before long.

Wonder Woman naturally gets a big role as well to close out the trinity. It’s likely only second to Batman’s. Until Superman shows up she is the only power hitter of the team so she basically has to fight Steppenwolf on her own. Wonder Woman does a pretty good job of lasting and while he is a little too strong for her just having one more ally who could fight would have been very useful and could have tipped the scales. She’s certainly a solid character as well and I wouldn’t have minded if the main 3 had been the focus of the film since the rest of the League members weren’t all that good compared to them. The only scene where Wonder Woman looks bad is when she decides to go against Batman in his master plan. I’m cool with her disagreeing with him since not messing with death can be sound advice. That being said, she immediately goes for the personal attacks and brings Superman into the discussion yet when Batman responds in kind she snaps and breaks his shoulder. She can dish it out, but evidently she can’t take it. Batman’s response was also pretty on point since she did randomly vanish for a century. We can blame DC for not thinking that plotline through since it was out of character for her, but it happened so she doesn’t have a whole lot of room to counter here.

On a side note, I would have liked to have had more scenes of Batman insulting the League. He had to play ball with them since Superman wasn’t around and he was a bit of a leader for them, but it feels like a missed opportunity. If Superman had been around the whole time, Batman could have acted like the stone cold detective he usually is with subtle burns and verbal shots throughout the film. Maybe next time though and he still got his share of memorable lines. Next up is Aquaman. He’s the worst member on the team so I won’t dwell on him too much. He’s basically just a drunk guy with slight super strength who is supposed to be funny, but never quite makes it. He contributes absolutely nothing to the film. If you take him away then the events don’t change. He feels like filler throughout and the guy seems to just be around to annoy everyone. The film also tries to use him for humor which doesn’t work too well. This guy should not have been in the film and I had a feeling this would be the case ever since the first trailer.

On the humor side, I was impressed with the film. From the trailers/ the last two DC films I got the vibe that the film was going to be over the top with humor. Adding a ton of jokes here and there to liven things up. Surprisingly, the film is still pretty serious the whole time. This does feel like it’s in the same universe as Batman V Superman and the whole opening is very grim. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the whole film was like the Batman vs Parademons scene as it’s dark out the whole time, but that brings along its own set of risks I suppose. While some of the humor can be forced, it never becomes too distracting from the film. The characters are all pretty serious during the fights as well so it’s not as if they’re distracting themselves. The film handled the balance quite well.

Our next League member is Flash and naturally the TV show comparisons will start the instant he appears. I’m not sure how they could have gotten his design and costume so wrong with the big budget. The TV show’s version looks superior in every way. I can’t speak for the personality since I never saw the Flash, but from the clips I’ve seen he also seems like a much better character. This one looks too young and the fact that he is a novice with his powers can be pretty grating at times. He doesn’t even feel all that fast compared to Quicksilver from the recent X-Men films. Flash would get decimated in a fight if we base it on the movies and while the nerf is okay if the writers felt like they would be getting into plot hax moments like Quicksilver vs Apocalypse, it sort of defeats the purpose of the Flash to an extent. He needed to be more confident and self assured. We got glimpses of Flash being quite intelligent, but they were very subtle and he never even got to fight in the film. He barely threw a single punch until near the very end and those may have just been tackles since it seems like he vibrated through his opponents. He’s essentially a Peter Parker ripoff right now so I’m hoping he improves for next time.

Cyborg is the final main member and he’s all right. He comes across as annoying and whiny for a while though as he’s inflated with self importance. Maybe it’s because he starts off as a Cyborg, but you don’t feel any sympathy for him. He would have died if the parts weren’t merged with him so I don’t think he has a whole lot of room to complain. Now, the process did look painful so if he talked about that then maybe I could buy into it, but he spends the whole time complaining and feeling bad for himself. It’s one big pity party with this guy and his plan at the end was really flawed as well. Without going into detail, he said he could stop the boxes by doing a cool magnetic pulse and all. The thing is, apparently he needs someone to actually push them apart as well and the only way to even have a chance is if you have a guy with Superman-like abilities…and Superman wasn’t around. The plan was for him to do it himself..but how? There’s no way he could have done it so he effectively led the team on a suicide mission. I still think of Cyborg as a Teen Titan and this film didn’t change that, but now that he’s accepted his powers he should improve quite a lot.

Unfortunately Lois Lane was a big miss in this film. Her depression over Superman’s passing is used as the excuse for why she’s not a daring reporter anymore, but this also doesn’t really work well with her character. While she’s never been all that great in this series, at least she took a lot of risks like in BVS where she went to get the spear or in Man of Steel where she broke into an alien ship. In this film she has completely given up on everything and has been reduced to a weak character. Her role is very small anyway, but it’s definitely not the Lois that I expected. Martha Kent is all right I guess, but none of her dialogue is particularly funny or heart warming despite that being the intent. The scenes of Martha and Lois chatting was easily the worst part of the film since it just felt like filler and didn’t add anything to the movie. You would basically just wait for the scenes to be over so we can get back to the plot. Fortunately this film was good at constantly shifting from scene to scene so you were usually not in one place for too long.

A human subplot that was actually decent was the family hiding in a cabin. Granted, this was also complete filler but at least it showed that some people were ready to defend themselves. The plot didn’t end exactly how I pictured with Superman showing up to save them and all, but it was still okay and didn’t last too long. Steppenwolf is basically the only villain in the film. He’s a miss as far as personality is concerned, but he’s a strong fighter which makes for an engaging antagonist. Not too many fighters use an axe so that was cool. He was really creaming the League and just about everyone else he fought aside from a certain hero. He definitely lived up to his hype and I’m eager to see how the films portray Darkseid. So far they’ve been very good at making the villains both strong and fast. I don’t think he will be an exception so Superman vs Darkseid could very well be the greatest fight in live action if handled right.

I do have to question the Amazonian tactics near the beginning though. So, they know that the box is vibrating and they also know more or less that it’s a bad sign since they fought the owners a thousand years ago. Naturally the Queen posts a few guards by it…and then sends the rest of the army to the other side of the island. Why would you do that? I think even a kid could have told you that you leave most of your army by the box that spells imminent danger. As a result, Steppenwolf tears through the few warriors that guards it. Showing her bravery, the Queen deserts her fellow sisters to get the box away and locks the cave behind her to seal their fate. Steppenwolf still destroys just about everyone as he grabs the box and leaves, but would he have fared as well against a whole army? I think he probably would have shredded them all pretty easily, but since the film played it off like the army was a threat, I think it was a tactical blunder.

The Atlanteans were just as bad and only left a few scrubs to block the box. Steppenwolf wrecked them pretty easily and ran off. Honestly the humans were the ones putting up the best effort when you think about it. At first I was also skeptical of how they beat Steppenwolf in the past as well, but since they had a lot of guest stars helping then I was fine with it. I was convinced once the flying warrior showed up and even more when the gods of old turned up. Lets face it, they did all of the work. The Atlanteans, Humans, and Amazonians were just there for moral support.

I can’t say that I cared for the action scenes where Steppenwolf was wrecking those two armies either. It’s just never very fun to have a big character crushing a ton of powerless ones unless it’s a character you really like or something. As I’m not a Steppenwolf fan, you’re just waiting for a hero to show up so it’ll be a fair fight. Then you just keep on waiting until the fight is eventually over.

So, how high does this film rank in the all time list? Well, it’s definitely below Batman V Superman and I’d put it under Man of Steel as well. After that, it’s close between this one and Avengers for third. I think this one will edge out so Avengers grabs the 4th spot and Civil War grabs number 5 which rounds out my Top 5 Live Action CBMs of all time. What gives this one the edge for 3rd are essentially the action scenes since the one thing Avengers lacked was any big fights. Again, it’s an underrated edge for DC as their fight scenes cannot be beaten.

There are two after credit scenes. Surprisingly the first one is the happy comedy one instead of vice versa. Probably a way for DC to be different from Marvel. It’s a decent scene even if it goes nowhere and the film was playing it too safe. We all know that the guy on the right who scrunched up his face during the scene won because he was taking it very seriously. The 2nd scene gets some setup going for future DC films. It should make for a pretty good plot although I definitely want Darkseid for film 2. The problem with having other villains is that I’m going to be asking the real questions the whole time…how can they handle Superman? Black Adam would solve that equation, but everyone else would get lolstomped inside 2 seconds. Especially since Superman has been heavily amped from his already impressive Man of Steel portrayal.

This is a pretty long review as it is. The thoughts keep on piling up but this review would be way too long if I jotted it all down. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to discuss something in more detail. As for miscellaneous thoughts, one area where Avengers does have the edge is in the fact that the characters were already established. As a result, it felt like a huge crossover since all of the characters were crossing over. It merged at 4 films, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. This one in comparison only merged two, Batman/Superman and Wonder Woman. The other League members debuted in this film so it wasn’t as big and since they were newbies who hadn’t yet had their own film to save the world, they weren’t as impressive as they should be. Marvel’s formula is certainly the right one to building up a team film, but I am ultimately glad DC skipped a few steps because I don’t want to wait 5 more years for the first Justice League. Now that this one has finally been made, we can start expanding the universe more. I wouldn’t even mind if DC forgot about the spinoffs and decided to just focus on churning out Justice League film after film. It would be a pretty unique way to go about it and I’d be on board.

While a few horses certainly seemed to get hit during the battle with Steppenwolf, the film at least had the dignity to not have them be bleeding or crying out in pain. The film was actually surprisingly tame throughout and that’s something I have to give it credit for. There is some language but it’s all very mild for the film. We get one or two mild fanservice shots for Wonder Woman but the film also managed to restrain itself in this area and at least we didn’t have random bath scenes like in BVS. On the whole you can see that this film didn’t really have any major negatives which is essential to being known as an amazing film. Most of the minor stuff I listed above barely even register on the scale. Even the boring scenes or jokes that may not have been funny weren’t bad enough either. The film was very close to being perfect and while I can think of alternate plots that would have been more fun (Like Superman being around during the whole film) the movie did a great job with what it had. Perhaps the gaps of no action will be more noticeable in a re-watch, but maybe not. As a huge DC fan I was pretty invested from start to finish and I imagine this would be the case on a re-watch as well. What can I say, at the end of the day, I’m a big fan of the Justice League so naturally I’ll get an extra kick out of this film. It’s also why I’m a little more critical on it at times, but I think I did a good job of still keeping a very positive tone on it throughout this review. At the end of the day, all films can be a little bit better, but if it’s a 7 or higher, it means that I am satisfied with the result. (Even more so with a 9)

Overall, This was a great film. Once Superman showed up, it became an amazing one. Honestly, Superman’s depiction in terms of strength was enough for me to know that this would be one of the all time greats. He’s my favorite comic book character and I’ve always considered him to quite easily be the strongest character of all as well. DC has continued to surpass my expectations when it comes to fights and power levels. They are simply unmatched and when you have a character like Superman that just makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend checking this film out. It may not be quite as intense as Batman vs Superman or Man of Steel, but it did get the end of the world vibe just right. Something is always happening and the atmosphere is always tense. I will eagerly await the next Justice League or Superman film. It’ll also be nice to see if DC can save Aquaman and Flash in future films, but I feel like sticking to films where Superman can show his stuff is the safest option.

Overall 9/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Thor: Ragnarok Review


The MCU has been consistently been getting better as the phases go by. Captain America 2 was better than 1 and 3 was better than 2. Thor 2 was better than 1 and now this latest Thor film has arrived and is the best film in the trilogy. It’s a very fast paced film with a lot of action and hype throughout. It also does a great job of showing how great of a fighter Thor is with or without his hammer. It’s going to be hard for the next Thor film to top this one.

The film starts off with Thor seemingly being held captive by Surtur. Of course, the whole thing is basically just a ruse to get information. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since think we all found it highly unlikely that Thor can be bound by mere chains. Unfortunately Thor has not stopped Ragnarok by defeating Surtur as the true source of despair shows up. Hela is the goddess of death and her abilities are the real deal as she easily beats Thor and Loki. Thor is going to have to form his own team to defeat her.

The heroes definitely get around in this film as Thor goes to Earth, Surtur’s Domain, Asgard, and the Grandmaster’s planet. It’s fun to see all of the different locales as they all worked quite well. The weakest one design-wise would be Grand Master’s HQ, but the arena looked quite good. Earth may win out since it was great to have a Dr.Strange cameo. He looked really good in that scene and they’re definitely building him up to be one of the team’s power hitters. He’s also one of my favorite Avengers in the MCU so I’m ready to see him get more of a role. He’ll have to keep his list handy since a lot of threats are certainly coming to Earth in the near future.

Thor has a lot of fun in this film as he openly mocks the villains and just tries to enjoy everything he does. He’s a good lead and this is probably the best that he’s been portrayed. He’s a lot wiser than he used to be while still keeping his strength. This is Thor as a leader in addition to being a warrior and it makes him a more complete character. Seeing him fight off an army at the end without his hammer was definitely impressive. It’ll be very hard for me to get used to his new hairstyle though. I’m going to miss the old one until it grows back, but it’s not the worst redesign I’ve seen as it’s still miles above the Joker.

Going back to Thor having fun though, it keeps showing how Marvel is just good at writing comedy. The Iron-Man films have always been pretty fun as the humor is just handled well and this film does a great job with it as well. It’s not forced and most of the jokes land. The only film I can think of in the MCU that failed at being even remotely funny was Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Age of Ultron could be really forced at times, but it was still entertaining, it would just throw you out of the movie for a second. As DC is trying to emulate Marvel with their current movies, hopefully they’ve been taking notes. Wonder Woman wasn’t funny and Justice League’s jokes don’t really seem to be working, but it’s possible they’ll turn it around in the film or by the sequel. It takes time to be funny and writing jokes has always been the hardest part of developing a script if you ask me. That’s why it’s not really a problem as long as the jokes aren’t downright terrible, but if there are a bunch in the movie, then you want them to be good. Again, Thor: Ragnarok did a really good job with this.

Loki was a fun ally to have around. Naturally you can’t trust him at all and the film’s pretty self aware on that, but at least it meant Thor didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It’s always good to have at least one companion on a journey. He didn’t look quite as impressive as usual though since everyone he meets ends up beating him up quite badly. He really took his lumps in this film but always manages to keep his confidence. I’d really be on board with him finally being an ally, not a hero as that’ll never happen, but someone who helps out once in a while and doesn’t try to destroy the world.

Now I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan. He’s a decently good character and all, but I typically just like him in his more intelligent depictions. The only exceptions are some of the really old Stan Lee era comics where he was pretty sympathetic. The film has a good portrayal of him. He’s not too annoying or anything and can put up a good fight. The writer seems to definitely know who he thinks is the stronger fighter (Thor or Hulk) and I tend to agree with him. Brute strength is great and all, but when you’re about as strong and have a variety of other techniques at your disposal, it’s game set and match. Surprisingly the film gives Hulk a backseat role for the entire climax as he doesn’t get to face off against Hela or anything, but it’s a good way to ensure he doesn’t steal the show or get humiliated in front of his fans. It was not what I expected from his role, but it worked well enough.

Unfortunately, this is probably Bruce Banner’s worst portrayal. He’s really slow on the uptake and panics about everything. He is constantly in a state of shock and just holding everyone back. You almost can’t help but wish for the Hulk to return and maybe this is why Hulk wants to stay out 24/7. It’s also interesting how each side can’t remember anything after they turn so for Bruce it’s like 2 years passed in an instant. That’s actually pretty tragic so I should feel more sympathetic for Bruce…but I don’t. I miss his self assured/over confident version from the first Avengers film. I will always look to that as the definitive Bruce Banner portrayal. The only other one that’s close is from the Indestructible Hulk mini series.

Valkyrie is the main heroine of the film and fulfills the role pretty well. She actually doesn’t get on board with the heroes until near the end of the film so her role isn’t huge or anything but she’s pretty tough. Balancing fighting and drinking is tough but she manages to pull it off. I can’t say that I was a huge fan of hers since her backstory basically involves being a traitor and turning evil. You’re sort of supposed to look past all of that, but it’s a little tricky and I think she would have worked better as a villain like Loki who occasionally helps the heroes. I give the film major props for not going for a romance angle here though. I’m sure the writers were pressured by Hollywood into doing this, but they refused.

Heimdall has his own filler subplot where he beats up a bunch of minions and helps guard the Asgardian survivors. He’s a good character even if he doesn’t get much of a role here. He’s the kind of character who makes more of an impact if you’ve seen the first two films. Since this is the 3rd one, there’s no excuse not too. I miss his classic armor, but his new Bishop redesign works quite well and he lasted quite a while considering how outnumbered he was.

Hela is the main villain and also the best character of the film. She’s a great villain because her goal isn’t crazy or just evil. It’s a pretty rational goal as taking over the multiverse makes sense to prove your supremacy. I can get behind that and I can also buy into her taking over Asgard since it is hers by birthright. She looks extremely impressive in all of her fights. I would have liked a longer round 1 fight with Thor and Loki but seeing them fight while on the light speed tunnel was certainly entertaining. I’m also glad that Thor didn’t back up when they all started hyping her up. As long as you stay on Hela’s good side you’re okay since she doesn’t seem to be in the habit of randomly destroying her minions for no reason. She may very well be the best villain in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point although I’m expecting big things from Thanos.

Scourge is her right hand man and he gets his own emotional character arc. He starts off as the guy that everyone pushes around and eventually levels up to janitor. I liked him well enough at the beginning I guess, but he’s just not my kind of character. He’s one of the weak links, but his actual scenes aren’t bad so it’s not like he hurts the film. I just didn’t care enough about him to be sympathetic. Surtur appears for a bit and gets his own fight scene, but he’s definitely not as impressive as he was in the comics. Everyone basically uses him the whole time and I have to wonder what his ultimate plan is. He better appear in Thor 4 or I’m going to have to remember him as the villain to have the worst plan in the MCU. He may not have thought it over very carefully.

The Grandmaster was interesting and way better than the Collector. It helps that his actor makes the character pretty entertaining as opposed to simply being quirky. There’s a big difference between the two and you always want to be the former as opposed to the latter. He’s definitely a villain through and through but tries to hide his evil intent through jokes. Hey, if Spiderman can do it for the heroes, why not have a villain with that gimmick as well? It does make sense after all and he was a fun guy to have around. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Korg is one of the quirky supporting characters from the Arena. While I didn’t find his voice quite as hilarious as the theater seemed too (They laughed at just about every one of his lines) it did work pretty well for the character. It’s been a while since we got a very to the point character who speaks softly but always manages to keep everyone in check. Definitely the best portrayal of Korg in all of Marvel. Stan (The Man) Lee also shows up to clean shop. His cameo may be quick, but he really sets the tone in his appearance and also shows that he fears no one. You have to have nerves of steel to have his job after all.

Ragnarok’s soundtrack is absolutely great. The themes are all very sci-fi and fast paced. They help to amplify the fight scenes and make the whole film better. Good music helps make a scene more memorable so as you would expect it also has the same effect on the movie as a whole. Most films don’t insert a big song when a fight scene starts. It’s a popular trope in anime but that’s about it despite this being a fantastic way of building up energy for the scene. Well, Thor pulls it off for both the first and last fight. The last fight in particular is handled extremely well as Thor gets one last vision of a certain character and then unlocks his true power. Aside from maybe Avengers and even that is close, Thor definitely has the best soundtrack in the MCU and is high up there for all of Marvel’s theater films.

The action and effects are certainly on point. The monsters of the fire world certainly looked very impressive and it made for a very good opening fight. Surtur’s design was modernized for the new age and while he was rather skinny I still liked it well enough. Hela’s fight scenes were solid as well and her costume was very faithful to the comics. Thor’s style of combat with his electricity will remind you a lot of Cole McGrath or Starkiller and it’s certainly the most efficient way to fight. When you’re using electricity to enhance your range and strength, it is very hard to dodge or counter that. Now that Thor can fight at this level the only Avenger who can reasonably give him a good fight would be Dr. Strange. I don’t think the others could keep up.

Naturally the film has a scene after the credits so make sure you stick around. There are 2 scenes, but the first one is really the only one you need to worry about. It’s easily one of the best post movie scenes in the MCU as we finally have a significant plot development here which works as a great tease for Infinity War. It’s hard to imagine that the big crossover film is so close, but it is certainly approaching fast. It’s also why it makes sense to beef up the Avengers roster since they’re going to need all the help they can get. I’m not sure how some of the street level fighters will be useful, but maybe they can at least distract the villains with one liners while the real fighters take them down.

Now, there is a little plot hax at the end. It’s nothing major but the final fight’s outcome should have been reversed. On one side we have a giant opponent who is extremely slow and can only attack in a straight line. On the other we have a very nimble fighter who can move quite fast and also has a lot of durability. All the character needed to do was move just a little bit and that would have worked as a dodge. I mean, the planet may not be too stable so surviving some intense energy would still have to happen, but I think the character could pull it off. At the very least, losing due to ring out would have been preferable. I’m trying to keep this review spoiler free so I’ll keep that part vague.

I’d like to say that I’ve covered everything, but with a film this big there will always be something that I’ve missed. As far as the MCU films go, It’s easily top 5. Avengers is better and I’ll also give Civil War the edge but this very well could be the third best film. Age of Ultron gives it a run for its money, but I dare say that Thor beats both Winter Soldier and Spider-Man Homecoming. Either way, it confirms that Thor is certainly top 5 and we’ll see how long it can stay there if Marvel keeps raising the bar. I’m still hoping they go all out with Infinity War and have just about everyone appear. Bring in the old villains, Agents of Shield, even throw the Netflix crew a bone with a portrait on the wall or some kind of cameo. Make this the big event that it should be.

Overall, The film was just about perfect. There’s not much to really say about the film in the negatives department. It did pretty well with keeping the power levels consistent. Not perfect, but basically no film is. I felt bad for the poor dragon who fought Thor, but at least the film didn’t destroy Fenfir as in my head canon he can certainly survive a fall. That was nice. Thor himself has also come a long way since the older films and makes a few speeches about what it means to be a hero. The action scenes are first rate and the graphics are quite good. The film’s also just a lot of fun the whole time and has a ton of replay value. It’s not everyday that you get a film as satisfying as this one. I teetered between an 8 or a 9 for this film for a while, but at the end of the day I think it definitely earns the extra star.

Overall 9/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Captain America: Civil War Review

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The Captain America trilogy ends on a high note as Civil War escalates the series to another level. I was certainly not expecting the film to take down either one of the two Avenger titles, but it manages to jump over Age of Ultron, making it the best Marvel film right behind The Avengers. While it does not manage to quite capture the level of intensity and depth that Batman V Superman showed, Civil War is easily one of the greatest live action films of all time and a title that I recommend to everyone. Whether you are a comic book fan or not, there is plenty to enjoy here. So much so that it will be difficult to capture all of my thoughts in this review, but I shall do my best so prepare for a long one. On that note, let’s get to work!

The film starts off with a fight against some terrorists led by Crossbones. Captain America and his team of Avengers manage to defeat this group, but in the process a building full of innocent civilians is destroyed by the last ditch effort of Crossbones. Scarlet Witch attempted to keep the blast contained, but couldn’t do so long enough which leads to the media wondering if the Avengers have been given too much power. They want the Avengers to become a public group that works under the United Nations. Captain America is opposed to this because the Avengers will lose their right to act without permission. Furthermore, when his old pal Bucky is framed for being the cause of another large explosion which takes the life of Wakanda’s king, Captain America is forced to go against the law to protect him.

Meanwhile, Tony Stark meets up with a lady who blames the death of her son on the Avengers. The events in Age of Ultron had a lot of fatalities during the final fight, but hearing a personal story about one hits Stark a lot more personally than any statistic would. This is what gets Tony to believe that working under the United Nations as a controlled entity is the best course of action. He doesn’t see eye to eye with Captain America and as Steve (Captain America’s alter ego for my non comic book readers) is forced to go against the government, Tony has to fight him. Neither one will back down as they are both confident that they are making the right choice here.

In the background, we have some other plots going on as well. Zemo is stirring up a lot of trouble in the background as he learns the hypnotic words to control Winter Soldier (AKA, Bucky) and keeps widening the rift between the Avengers. Meanwhile, Scarlet Witch feels personally responsible for the lives lost at the beginning of the film and is having a hard time coping with what happened. Being placed under house arrest certainly doesn’t help with this either. Finally, we have the Black Panther, who is working to avenge his father. He blames his father’s death on the Winter Soldier due to evidence showing that he was responsible for the situation. The Panther won’t stop until he is dead so Captain America will have to try extra hard to save him.

All right…where to start with this review. Let’s go through the negatives first since there really aren’t many of them as you may expect considering the positive tone of the film. It’s a 9 star title so the positives easily outweigh the negatives. One weak point in the film is…you guessed it, the extremely unnecessary romance with Sharon Carter and Captain America. You can’t even call it a romance if we’re being honest folks. They just randomly kiss as they say goodbye to each other and that’s the end of that plot. As I’ve mentioned in the past, you simply can’t develop a proper romance in the span of 30 minutes and especially when these two characters are only on screen together for maybe 15-20 minutes tops. If you want a romance done right, it’s got to be gradual like Tsubasa. It’s a super minor thing that certainly doesn’t hurt the film, but this scene really comes out of left field.

There’s a little language in the film. It’s not super excessive or anything, but worth making a slight note. It was certainly out of character for Spider-Man of all people to say the s word. I remember the good ole days of him being a nice kid in the comics who wouldn’t even dream of swearing. His portrayal is great overall though, but he is the result of several power inconsistencies…I’ll get to that in his section though. Is that it for the negatives? If we’re being a little picky I’d say that the soundtrack was pretty forgettable and underwhelming, but I typically don’t expect live action films to really sound that good. Hannah and Man of Steel are really the exceptions to the rule along witih a handful of other titles. Now let’s get to the positives!

For starters, the fight scenes are great like you would expect. In a day and age where hand to hand fight scenes can be a little dicey at times (Instantly going for the eyes) the fights here are handled well. Crossbones vs Captain America was a great way to start off the film and any fight with the Black Panther was exceptional as well. Naturally, this only gets better when you add in the super powers from the meta human fights. The battle between both teams at the airport is definitely the highlight of the film and easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best fight yet! Even before the fight starts, one of the best moments in the film was when Iron Man’s allies slowly started popping up and Captain America was outnumbered by around 5-1. You know that Cap isn’t on his own, but even then it’s just such an imposing scene. Cap would have had no shot against that group and Iron Man’s plan was quite sound. The thing is, great minds think alike and Cap has enough friends to ensure that he’s never alone against such an army.

After thinking on it a lot, I have to say that my favorite character was Black Panther. Yes, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man lost out this time. The film really handled Black Panther perfectly. He comes across as very reasonable and it certainly makes sense that he would want to avenge his father. Whenever the Avengers would get in his way, Black Panther would be forced to fight them, but he never hesitated. He stood firm in his mission and never wavered while at the same time, he kept a cool head. He certainly didn’t lose his cool as much as Cap or Iron Man and in the end he was the first one to really get away from all of the violence and make the hero call. (Sparing a villain’s life) During the final fight, you can’t say the same for Iron Man. Physically, Black Panther was able to hold his own against Winter Soldier and Captain America. In fact, I’d say that he had the edge over Bucky, but I doubt he would have defeated Captain America. The design for his suit was also really good.
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Next we have the other big guest star of the film Spider-Man! So….I was mixed on his portrayal. As Spider-Man he was great. He had a lot of witty banter during the fight which has always been his trademark and his webbing was also very strong as it was always meant to be. In today’s cartoons and comics everyone breaks through it with ease, but in the old comics even the Hulk couldn’t snap them right away. As for the part of his portrayal that I was iffy about….well, I don’t think the actor works very well as Peter Parker. He’s too young and I think that the director made him talk with a higher pitched voice than usual to make him sound even younger. When he first appeared, it almost felt like a parody. His intro was the kind of moment where I could picture everyone laughing out loud. It just felt off. It also helps that the new Aunt May looks nothing like Aunt May and is still one of the more mind boggling changes. At least she encouraged Peter to fight back against the bullies though so I like her up beat attitude here. I like to think that she already knows about him being Spider-Man by the way. I’m calling it right now, she’ll reveal that in the upcoming Spider-Man film.

Aside from Peter Parker seeming a bit off, I think Spider Man’s power level was very inconsistent. Let’s get real here folks, The Avengers are lightweights without Thor and Hulk around. Spider-Man’s worth more than the whole group put together. Maybe Vision could put up a decent fight, but Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Captain America would get speedblitzed. Iron Man and War Machine would be overwhelmed as their suits are ripped apart and Hawkeye wouldn’t land a single shot. Spider-Man’s gone toe to toe with Superman in the past and he’s had some very intense fights with Thor back in the day. To have him lose here is a cheaper cop-out than buying a slice at 7-11 instead of Europa because you didn’t feel like walking the extra block.

He’d look good in some moments and then he’d be treated like a joke the next. Here’s an example, at the airport fight, he is able to catch and repel Winter Soldier’s punch with no effort and even starts to twist it off until he is interrupted. Captain America was previously unable to stop Winter Soldier’s blow with both hands and he was flung through an elevator. So…Spider-Man’s stronger than Cap right? Well, you’d be wrong because Captain America completely humiliates him when they fight and overpowers him twice physically during the battle. That makes absolutely no sense and I was tempted to yell something from the audience like “Boooo” “Nerf alert!!” or something along those lines. I restrained myself though for the good of the movie experience.

Another iffy moment is the fact that he seemed to completely not have a spider sense here. I wouldn’t blame Marvel if they decided to get rid of it though because the ability is way too good. Still, without a mention of removing it, I will have to label it as a plot hole. There’s no way Ant Man can sneak up on Spider-Man because Spider Sense prevents such an event from ever happening. It is literally impossible to sneak up on Spider-Man without some kind of power to get past his ability or if you’re Venom and have compromised the ability by actually being Spider-Man for a bit. Every time Spider-Man got hit by a sneak attack I would wince a little on the inside. Still, aside from being treated as a bit of a joke during some parts of the fight, it was a satisfying portrayal overall. It’s great to finally see Spider-Man alongside the Avengers. This is something that fans have wanted to see for many years and now I’m eagerly awaiting the big dream team of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Cyclops against Thanos. Make is happen Marvel!

Let’s talk about the Avengers now. I’ve never really cared for Vision in any form of media so we’ll start with him. He’s somehow managed to become even more annoying than he was in Age of Ultron. He pretends to be Scarlet Witch’s friend until we find out that he’s under orders to keep her confined. If he was a true friend he probably would have mentioned something like that. He also attempts a long-shot at blasting someone from a super far distance which backfires quickly. He’s one of the strongest Avengers, but seems to forget that most of the time and actually doesn’t contribute almost at all during the airport fight. Powerful or not, Vision is simply not likable.

His fellow Age of Ultron member was solid though. Scarlet Witch gets a lot of screen time in this film so she can finally develop more of a personality. Her abilities are certainly very potent and as she grows more confident, we can expect more out of her. One good scene in particular is when she materializes an energy shield behind her while she gets the poison gas out of a building. Being able to multi task like that is critical in a fight since she’ll need to have a shield up at all times as her defense is rather low. By the end of the film she has learned to be more independent and sure of herself. She has a promising future in this cinematic universe.

I’ve never been a big fan of Black Widow although her character can vary quite a bit throughout the Marvel franchise. The movies have been one of her worst portrayals in my opinion while she tends to look a lot better in the Avengers Assemble cartoon and the Punisher animated film. She was fairly reasonable here though and while she seems to have fallen to the very bottom of the hero totem pole (I’d say that this film confirms that Hawkeye can defeat her in a fight) she is still a good hand to hand fighter.

Falcon’s role in this film is small even though he appears quite a lot. He’s the guy that Captain America can always count on, but the main problem is that he’s still very weak in the end. He basically has part of an Iron Man suit, but it leaves him very vurlnable. His character’s fairly likable though. We’ve also got Ant-Man who pitches in during some key moments. I admit that I haven’t watched Ant Man enough times to really remember the actor’s face. I knew he was Ant Man based on the trailers and plot, but he felt so out of place in this film. I mean that in a good way by the way. It would be like seeing Sandler walk into the battlefield against Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet. Ant Man’s actor strikes me as a total comedy character and I suppose that it works quite well for Ant Man. There’s really a lot that you can do with size shifting abilities. It’s not the most glamorous power, but it is effective. As for turning huge…I think that’s overrated. If you get hit by an opponent who is that slow, then it’s time for an upgrade.

I’m not really a fan of War Machine here though. It’s not because of the fact that he’s super pro registration because I was on Team Iron Man myself, but it’s why he wants to join. It feels like he’s putting the army before the team (Again…see Iron Man 2 for reference) and that’s why it’s always a little tough to trust teammates who have connections to other groups. If only SHIELD and Agent Coulson were still alive to help sort things out eh? They probably could have helped the heroes go underground as another option. Hawkeye’s role is very small, but very good as well. It was cool to see him break into the Avengers base and he did a good job during the action scenes. He’s a likable member and definitely another guy that Cap can trust.
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Time to talk about the real main characters of the film. I was on Team Iron Man coming into the film by the way and I left on that side as well. It’s not a black and white debate and I’ve always been opposed to registration. In the comics, Iron Man’s team was completely wrong. The Registration act was much worse than the equivalent that we see in the film so that’s one big change. Either way, I’m still against any agreement with the government, but I have to stay on Team Iron Man because I can’t stand Winter Soldier. More on that in a little while.

Back to Iron Man. I think that his decision to quickly go along with the documents because he was shown a picture of someone who died during one of the fights is a little forced/rushed and out of character. We needed the conflict somehow though and this is Iron Man, he would definitely start bending the rules and reshaping the agreement after it was signed. Captain America asks Tony what would happen if they saw a bad situation and weren’t given permission to act. I’m fairly confident that Tony would act anyway and the Avengers would be in agreement. Ultimately, this would lead to even more bad consequences for the team so in that sense Cap is right. They may as well just not sign. Especially due to the fact that the government always turns out to be evil in media and this film is no exception. You can also tell that Iron Man is getting a lot older though and you have to wonder how long he can keep this up. Perhaps age has dulled his reasoning, but his fighting skills are still top notch when necessary. Towards the end of the film, Iron Man goes into a fight without holding back. You can draw a lot of parallels to Batman V Superman in those moments.

Needless to say, Iron Man wasn’t taking any prisoners. Obviously, I’m always technically on the side of saving the murderer since we can’t take justice into our own hands. So, Iron Man should lose, but I’m still rooting for him in the moment. It’s like when you like a bad guy and root for him/her over the heroes. They’re evil, but at that point they are simply a lot more interesting than the heroes. I can appreciate a character who has the fortitude to make the right call because it’s incredibly difficult to make that call. So, as a viewer I’m okay with seeing the villain get destroyed depending on the reason and the method, but I’ll still be fine with another hero saving him/her because it’s the right thing to do. I just won’t be rooting for that character at the moment. An example is from the show Yugioh Zexal. The main villain murdered all of the main character’s friends, but at the end the hero tries to save him anyway and even says that they could be friends. That’s……..very forgiving and I know for a fact that I couldn’t make that call. It’s a good call (Well, saying that they’re friends is wayyyyy to disrespectful to his friend’s memories if you ask me) but if there was another character trying to destroy the main villain, then I’d be on his side. It’s like how I was on Black Panther’s side when he went to destroy the Winter Soldier. Thus, I was pretty pleased with Iron Man’s portrayal here. He even tried to be reasonable at the end until that became impossible.

Captain America makes for a great lead as you would expect. He’s a great hero and tries to always do the right thing. He’s in a bad spot since all of his friends are choosing a side. He also had to go during the initial meeting due to an emergency which was tricky since it meant that everyone chose sides while he was gone. The film did adapt his famous line from the comics about how even if everyone tells you that something wrong is something right, then you have a duty to resist. When told to move, you should plant your feet down and say “No, you move.” It was a great quote of Cap’s so it was good to see it used in the film. While I was always against Cap, he was constantly making hero calls and ultimately he is just trying to help a friend. Bucky was mind controlled into doing awful things so it wasn’t really him. Cap doesn’t want him to have to die for things that were not under his control.

He also doesn’t lose sight of the innocents in the crossfire either. He sticks up for Scarlet Witch the entire film and even goes easy on his opponents like Spider-Man. He’s careful to avoid hurting anyone too seriously and his move at the very, very end of the film was great as well. It’s really impossible not to like the guy and he’s one of the best characters in the film. I do think that his strength can be inconsistent as the expense of other characters, but I’m glad that he looks very powerful here.

As for the Winter Soldier, I really dislike the character. Sure, he was mind controlled, but he doesn’t seem very remorseful about what he has done either. He shows no regret and never resists the mind control all that much. I’d say that it’s because it is in his nature. “I won’t kill anyone” Winter Soldier says right before he drops someone to instant death, but Captain America quickly saves the guy before the murder can occur. Bucky was willing to destroy that guy and he goes all out against just about everyone. He’s constantly looking to deal a mortal blow or at least a very serious one if it will let him escape. There’s no way that I can consider this guy to be a hero or even a slightly likable character. That’s why I couldn’t be on Cap’s team. This is just impossible to like at all. Protecting him is the right move, but I don’t have to like it.

As far as the villains are concerned, there are really only two this time around and both of them are fairly minor. We have Crossbones who makes for a good intro villain for the heroes to fight. He puts up a pretty good fight against Cap and actually manages to bring in a draw by the end. Baron Zemo never gets to be in his costume which is a shame, but he does a good job of masterminding the whole film. It would have been awesome if he had actually committed a certain plan that was hinted at. It would have made for a great final fight, but his true ace was just about as good. General Ross also had his own plans in motion, but he was really not that smart. He kept overplaying his hand. Once he got half of the team to sign the document, he should have taken it slowly. Instead, he placed some individuals in a max prison with very inhumane conditions. It’s almost like he wants the heroes to turn against him. If he tried to arrest Iron Man, then a civil war would have really broken out.

Naturally, I won’t say what happened in the after-credit scenes, but needless to say they were not quite as good as I had hoped. The first one was decent since it gave the film a little closure and I definitely like the option here. The characters in the first scene are in a much better position now. As for the second scene, it is very anti climactic and sad when you think about it. The film could have made it a lot more epic and exciting with a quick shape-shift or an Infinity Gem locked inside of a chest or something. You should stick around to watch the first one, but there’s really no need to stick around for the second I’m afraid.

Part of why Civil War is so good is because it is able to balance the serious and light moments rather well. It’s a very upbeat film, but it still gets serious once in a while for something grim to happen, but not for it to be overly grim. I was worried when Zemo confronted a Hydra agent that we were going to get a super violent moment, but it was fairly tame and I’m glad that the Hydra guy stood firm. This event was a lot different from the comics of course, but it was cool to see the film adapt as much as possible and throw in references/moments when possible. The big Captain America vs Iron Man visual made it in of course and there were several more homages that I’ll let you find out through watching it.

Unfortunately, Civil War followed The Amazing Spider Man 2 in the sense that moments from the trailer were not present in the film. “YOU JUST STARTED A WAR!” remember that line? It’s not in the film. “I was wrong about you….we were all wrong about you.” That’s not in the film either. It’s a shame because those two moments were important in the trailers because they showed that things had reached a certain moment of no turning back. Instead, the lines were pure click bait. The film is still very satisfying on the civil war angle and the ending was a lot more decisive than I had imagined, but it’s still too bad that some trailer scenes weren’t present in the end. I feel like a trailer should always have all of its content be in the film.

All right, we’re near the end now. Aside from power level inconsistencies hurting the film’s logic, I’ve depicted how Civil War was just about perfect. Well, why did it lose to Batman V Superman? Here’s why Batman V Superman was the better film. The soundtrack was infinitely better than Captain America, the latter of which had no significant themes of note. Batman V Superman’s fights were significantly better. Cap’s were amazing though and Marvel’s best, but they simply can’t come close to DC’s. Third, as interesting and engaging as Captain America was, Batman V Superman just obliterated it there. The film has you at the edge of your seat for most of it. Granted, as a much bigger DC fan than Marvel, that will almost always be the case since Batman and Superman make for very engaging leads even when they aren’t written as well as they could be. (Batman lacking in intelligence and Superman being a pushover) So, Civil War was great, but I feel like it loses to Batman V Superman in just about every way. Civil War does beat it with having less unlikable characters and no random bathtub scene though.

Be warned though that Civil War’s ending is a little intense. It was so intense in fact that nobody clapped when the credits started rolling and I had to personally start it all off. I think everyone was in shock or something, but I can’t blame them. It takes a while to get used to these things. After all, Civil War was a thrill a minute and there was never a dull moment during the entire movie. The closest scene to being boring would be the very first one, but it still wasn’t that bad. The pacing is quite excellent for this film. I was the only one who clapped after the final extra credit scene as well, but it was pretty underwhelming so I don’t blame the audience for the silence this time.
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Overall, Captain America is a great film though and no live action film will be able to defeat it for a very long time. In the near future, the only films that may have a shot are Infinity Gauntlet Part 1 (Which I think will actually lose unless Thanos gets his big fight) and Justice League. (Which I’m also a little skeptical of) If you haven’t seen this film yet then I highly recommend that you check it out ASAP. Even if you somehow don’t know who Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are, you’ll be in for a treat. Considering how well the team fight went, I’m ready to see a full blown Avengers vs Justice League fight in 20 years. Hey, nobody thought that we’d ever get Spider-Man and the Avengers. Given time, I’m sure that a crossover film is bound to happen! Of course, we’d need Thor and Hulk this time around to keep the fight from being too one sided

Overall 9/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

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The first Avengers film was one of the greatest movies of all time. I knew that it would be extremely difficult for this film to match up to it. Still, I had high hopes when I walked into the theater and I was ready for anything that the film could throw at me. Would it be able to live up to the hype or would it ultimately crumble and make me go re watch Man of Steel? Also, what happened to Thanos? In the first film, it ended with him getting ready to attack Earth or at least think about it..yet he isn’t in the trailers so what happened. Behind the scenes drama? These questions at the ready…I saw the film!

The Avengers may have split up after they saved the world from the invasion, but they are back together to reclaim Loki’s scepter. After embarking on many missions to find it, they finally find it at a Hydra base. It seems like peace has finally returned and the Avengers can disband once more, but that is when Ultron strikes. Ultron wishes to destroy the human race and the Avengers must now deal with their toughest threat yet!

There is certainly a lot to say about this film so let’s launch right into it! The tone is identical to that of the first film, which is a great thing. There is a nice balance of humor and action in this film, which makes for a very enjoyable watch. Replay value is not a problem either as I could easily watch this film again tomorrow. There is so much action that you will likely notice extra details each time you watch the film.

Following up on that, the writing for the film is excellent. Avengers: Age of Ultron has numerous jokes throughout the film and with bad or even average writing, it would have gotten old very quickly. As it stands, the jokes come at good times in the film and you’ll be sure to laugh a few/lot of times throughout the film. It can be a little iffy to see the heroes joking during life threatening situations, but I suppose that it takes their mind off of what is happening. I would be upset if the heroes were joking around after someone had been killed or if a friend was in mortal peril, but they typically control themselves in those situations. The film even puts some twists on old jokes from the first title by switching things around a little.

As for the soundtrack, it is essentially the same as the first film. I only noticed one new theme, which played during a somber scene. It was a good theme and the soundtrack holds up just as well as in the 1st film. Admittedly, I would have liked some more new tunes, but for those of us who haven’t seen the first film since 2012, it was likely very nostalgic. I’ve seen the original film around a half dozen times at this point so I am very familiar with the music at this point.

Since there is a lot of action, the visuals need to look very good. I can safely say that they are convincing and I have no real issue with them. This film has more energy blasts than usual, which is great since those really make this feel like more of a comic book film. A certain triple attack towards the end looks really sweet as a result. The only time that the CGI may look a little iffy is the Cap vs Ultron scene during the daytime, but it may just be because he looks so lifelike that it ends up being a little out of place. If anything, you can think of that as a positive since it was so realistic.

Time to look at the main characters. Captain America was my favorite Avenger here so let’s look at him first. He is the noble hero that we would expect him to be and I thought that his portrayal was fairly spot on. From his point of view, I can see why he would disagree with Tony Stark on the A.I. issue. While the captain may have overreacted a little after Ultron struck, it was understandable that he would be upset since his history with secrets hasn’t been a good one. A running joke in the film arises from a scene where Captain America reprimands Tony for using a swear word. That was cool because while it was played for laughs, it was nice to see. Superman and Captain America are two characters who I have always imagined to not use such language. The way that the joke ends could have been better though. Either way, fans of the first Avenger will be pleased with how he looks here. Captain America shows off his fighting skills throughout the film and he makes for a very good leader.

Tony Stark is naturally as charismatic as ever and he is my second favorite Avenger. His heart was in the right place for project Ultron, but messing with A.I. programs never seems to end well for our heroes. I was wondering how Iron Man’s role would be since he blew up his armors in Iron Man 3, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. He just continued to build since then and it makes sense since Tony would never give up on robotics forever. It’s his life after all. He gets a lot of great scenes and Iron Man has shown that he still has what it takes to be the leader if Steve Rogers ever decided to give up the position. With Captain America: Civil War coming up, that could happen sooner than expected.

Thor rounds out the main three and he is still the power hitter here. It is nice to see his strength displayed as he takes on dozens of opponents throughout the film. His combo attacks with Captain America prove to be very effective and having someone who’s Hulk level in strength with the ability to fly is extremely handy. His reaction times are also given their due credit as he manages to counter-throw an opponent who had rushed him. Thor has also grown more competitive as he is consistently trying to outdo Tony Stark and the others. Some friendly competition is always fun and it shows that Thor is really getting close to the team.

As for Bruce Banner, I was thrilled with his role in the first film. I thought that it was perfect and that Bruce Banner’s portrayal was the definitive version of the character. I don’t think that he looked quite as good here and he would actually be my least favorite member of the team. What happened to him being able to control the Hulk? It seems like a rather big plot hole here as the Hulk needs to be calmed down by the Black Widow every time and then he is left as an emotional wreck for a little while. It seems to really contradict the first film. He doesn’t get to act rebellious or get nice banter like in the first film, which hurt his portrayal here because that is why I liked him a lot. I really think that Whedon messed up here, but Banner still had his moments. He just wasn’t the hero that I remembered from the first film.

Black Widow has upgraded her tech for this film so that she is ready for the Ultron onslaught. She looks good in the film as she helps out a lot in many key scenes. Widow gets shaken up at one point, but due to the visions it was understandable. How she copes with it is really my issue. The plot between Bruce and Widow really came out of the blue and I don’t think that it was necessary here at all. Widow just acted out of character when he was around, but the ending of the film seems to have rectified that. She is more likable than Bruce here, but I think she could have been better.

Hawkeye ends up being the best Avenger after the big three and his role here was fun. Hawkeye fans will likely be worried at the beginning since he is taken out of action rather easily, but things go up from there. We get to see how professional he is and why he is the lead archer. Hawkeye means business here and he deals a lot of damage to Ultron’s army, but he still knows how to make a nice wisecrack. He certainly gets a lot of character development here and that is sure to help Hawkeye’s character throughout his future appearances as well.

Age of Ultron had a nice amount of guest stars, which was cool. Some of them you may be aware of and others not so much. I won’t mention any names, but each of the big three get a supporting character who gets a decent role in this film. Nick Fury and Maria Hill are also here of course and they contribute. It makes you wonder how this film will affect the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. It’ll be fun to see how that handles this event. The ending is fun and leaves a lot of potential for future installments. Also, you’ll want to stick around for the end credits scene. It’s rather short, but still really good and gets you set up for Avengers 3.
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Still, I’m getting ahead of myself. Now, let’s look at some of the other characters to appear in the film. First up, we’ve got Quicksilver. After his solid role in X-Men Days of Future Past, it was going to be tough for this version to match up. Luckily, I can say that the character was still fun and his speed was handled well for the most part. He’s rather unlikable for the first half of the film, but he does have some solid moments. It’s easy to root for him as the film goes on and even the accent grew on me. His speed is something that the Avengers didn’t really have an answer for and film writers have to be very careful with it since plot hax can ensue. Some did occur of course, but not too much.

Scarlet Witch has interesting hex powers involving probability, which can be tough to show so the film decided to take a solid approach to this issue. They mainly focused on her telekinesis and telepathy. By using these abilities effectively, she can emit energy and create barriers. I much prefer this to her hex abilities so I’m fine with the change. She’s a better character than I expected and I look forward to seeing her become one of the heavy hitters on the team. I would already say that she could take on Captain America and possibly Iron Man. Her abilities should definitely not be underestimated. I don’t care for her in the comics, but the film version was good so I can safely say that this is one of those rare times where the comics were surpassed. I also did like how the film borrowed from the horror playbook during the scene where Scarlet Witch takes on Captain America. We get a Paranormal Activity stutter step as Scarlet Witch demonically backs up and closes the door. It’s hard to describe, but if you have watched a lot of horror films, you will know what I am talking about here.

Ultron is the main villain here so there should naturally be a lot to say about him. His portrayal will likely be controversial and some will like it while others won’t. As an Ultron adaption, I think you will be disappointed. He is nothing like the cold, calculating machine that we are used too. So, if you are to like him, you will just need to think of him as an original villain. With the…intriguing design, that should make things easier. The film decides to give him Tony Stark’s personality so he is a fun villain, he just isn’t Ultron. As this “new” villain, I liked the portrayal. He has some witty banter to be sure and who doesn’t like a good “eradicate the humans” plan right? His strategy was sound and once again it shows how easy planet busting can be. Just wait until Thanos arrives on Earth someday, the stakes will really get high! Ultron was a little weaker than I expected and I’ll get into this a little more in a second, but he was strong enough to still be a fun villain. Loki was probably still more fun, but Ultron was more of a threat, which is a fair trade off.

All right, we’ve looked at the characters and a lot of the positives to the film. So, let’s look at some questionable moments. One scene that I disagree with is Thor’s hammer being lifted. The actual scene is a fairly important one so I won’t mention who does it. You’ll know what I’m talking about once you see the movie, but I completely disagree with the film. There’s no way that this character should be able to pick up the hammer unless Captain America can. After all, being worthy is something that I can certainly agree with. I don’t agree with technicalities that can sidestep the enchantment…simply isn’t possible if you ask me.

Age of Ultron has a lot of action and it is one of the reasons why it is so much fun. The film starts off with a bang in the epic intro scene and the film rarely lets up as more and more action scenes appear. While this is an overwhelming positive as you will never get bored, most of the action scenes are simply action scenes. Like the first film, the Avengers are dealing with armies and no real 1 on 1 fights occur. When some appear, they are fairly short since the villains can’t handle the heroes. There is a point where Ultron is actually defeating Thor handily, but Ultron had been getting served by Iron Man earlier so I still wouldn’t say that he was immensely powerful. I’m assuming that Thor was simply caught off guard. Ultron didn’t get his iconic power up here so he was only a little more durable than the average machine. I’m assuming that Avengers 3 will finally have the big fights that I’ve been looking forward too so that will be fun. I can see some people listing this as a negative since the climax is very similar to the first film’s, but who doesn’t like a nice invasion battle? It gives the heroes a lot to do.

The 1 on 1 fight that we did get was the Iron Man vs Hulk battle. It was a fun fight and while I still prefer Iron Man’s standard gear for combat, the Hulkbuster looks powerful. I’d say that Hulk is still portrayed as the strongest Avenger by a longshot, but with this new armor, Iron Man can now fight alongside Thor for the second spot. The other Avengers are going to need to keep on improving or they will be left in the dust before long.

I won’t say his name for the fans who don’t know about this character, but a certain other android appears besides Ultron. His abilities are certainly potent and I’m glad that the film kept most of them in. The only one that they didn’t show will likely be shown in a future film. I’m not a huge fan of the character here as his personality isn’t really my style, but he’ll be a good ally to have on the team. His abilities will definitely make him a powerful ally and maybe he’ll grow on me. There’s certainly a lot of time for that since he just joined.

I just finished seeing this film about an hour or two ago so I’m trying to make sure that I get down all of the major points that I wanted to discuss before wrapping up the review. With a film like this, you can’t really get all of your thoughts down on a review so I at least want the big ones to be there. It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend watching a big movie like this one on opening day or the night before opening day at least once for the sheer experience. It is a lot of fun to watch such an exciting film with other fans who are hyped for it as well.

A minor thing, but Quicksilver is probably a little too fast in this film. At the speed that he is going, I don’t think that Hawkeye’s attack should have surprised him or that Captain America could have even hit him. Even when Quicksilver tried to grab the hammer, he should have been able to have escaped since it would have pulled him very slowly even considering the speed of the throw. That being said, he is a speedster so I would always find some plot hax there. The film handled it better than most and the plot hax in general wasn’t that bad. Your usual action hero moments at times where humans dodge lots of point blank energy attacks, but no scenes that stuck out in particular, which was great.

The film seems to be rather unchanged from the trailers, which is good. Unfortunately, one of the changes was the scene where Iron Man is trying to pick up Thor’s hammer. I preferred his old line about ruling firmly, yet in a fair way. I also seem to recall Bruce Banner being in a straight jacket or at least something that resembled that kind of gear more than what was in the film, but I’m less sure about that so it really could have just been a trick of the eyes. A lot of things are set up here for future films so you’ll definitely want to continue watching the solo films to get a feel for what will happen next.

All right, I think that’s a good amount of reviewing for now. I made sure to keep this review spoiler free so if you have a question relating to a topic that has spoilers, feel free to drop a comment since I made sure to avoid those topics in the review. Although, I hinted at some because I wanted to mention my take on them so I merely left out the names when necessary. I highly doubt that any film will be able to come anywhere close to this one from this year’s roster, but it will be nice to see them give their best shot. It is too bad that Whedon won’t be around for the next Avengers film, but I trust that it will be excellent as well.
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Overall, Avengers:Age of Ultron was a great follow up to the first film. The first Avengers will always be my favorite Marvel film, but this one is the second best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It possesses just about all of the same qualities as the first title while having even more action. The only real negative would probably be the plot between Bruce Banner and Black Widow. The hammer scene along with many of the other things that I noted aren’t really negatives so much as things that I noticed. I still find it a little ironic that the Ultron minions had a more accurate design compared to the comic Ultron than the main body, but it helps that point I made earlier about looking at Ultron as a different villain. It was tough deciding between an 8 and a 9 to be honest, but this is the kind of film that really doesn’t come by all that often. I believe that it earned the 9. Granted, I typically score films a little more generously when I just finished watching one in theaters so you may want to take that into account. (I got the full IMAX 3D experience, which was incredible!) Still, I think that I’ll be able to stand by this rating and I will certainly be watching this film more times before Avengers 3. I probably won’t see it quite as much as the first one, but still more than most. If you haven’t seen this film yet, I highly recommend checking it out as the earliest opportunity!

Overall 9/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Godzilla Final Wars Review


Godzilla is easily one of the most popular franchises of all time. Just about everyone knows about Godzilla and he has spawned countless parodies. (The latest one being PacZilla) Godzilla has been around since the 50’s and he’s adapted to the different ages. Back in the old days, he was a cheerful monster, but by the 90’s he grew darker to fit the culture. This is the final Godzilla movie (At the time of this article anyway) so let’s see if they did justice to his name.

Well, the film starts out with the army defeating Godzilla in the opening minutes. (I’m sure that many Godzilla fans wanted to leave the theater at that very moment) While that is a very edge way to start off the film, at least it shows that the movie is willing to take some risks. Years later, some hum-mutants are sparring in a dojo. They seem slightly stronger and a bit quicker than an average human, but that’s about it. One character almost goes too far during the training exercise and the other one seems to be the main character since he held back at the end. We learn that Kaijus are now hunted by the EDF to protect the world from their threat. They quickly take down Ebirah and we are reminded that some of the Kaiju have not aged well. If the Kaiju are unable to defend themselves from the army, they definitely live in a dangerous world.

Out of nowhere, A large array of Kaiju attack the earth. They manage to hit just about every corner of the globe and it makes you wonder when the Kaiju all learned how to work as a team….The Earth is saved by a friendly alien race. Aliens have been a very frequent plot point in Godzilla, so it was good to see them. The main characters also find out that aliens currently live among them as undercover agents. They uncover the plot, which leads to the aliens sending out all of the Kaiju. Earth counters with the Mighty Godzilla! That’s basically the story for the film. Can Godzilla take down every last kaiju!?

All right, let’s go over the human side of things first. I didn’t really care for any of the heroes. The main character had one decent moment where he attempted to punch one of the top ranked aliens, but after his attempt was effortlessly blocked, (And he didn’t attempt to continue fighting) the scene went to waste. Technically the human scenes were a lot more explosive and action packed than most Godzilla films, but I found myself missing some of the old Showa plots. The humans there knew how to have a good time even when they were in peril. The voice acting was also a lot more intense. Still, I am glad that Final Wars attempted to have some very epic human scenes. I think that the scenes are a lot better the first time around, but they’re still all right. At the very least, it’s still a fight.

The Aliens make for interesting villain. The initial leader is pretty generic and I doubt that he would have been the best choice. The guy who replaces him is pretty cool for the most part and his fight scene is the best (human one) in the film. Also, the main character looks a bit like Goku (DB Evolution) so when he fights with Kumasaka (The villain) it feels a bit like a DB Evolution sequel.

Of course, the meat of the movie is the Kaiju scenes! Not literally since they don’t get an abundance of screen time, but the monster scenes are the best part of the film. Once Godzilla is freed, the movie picks up tremendously. His opening fight with Gigan is a great way to start the monster battles. This is also my favorite incarnation of Godzilla (GMK being a close second) since he’s always ready to fight. He also doesn’t forget that the army tried to put him on ice and the movie doesn’t forget this. Godzilla seems to have gotten more skilled with his Atomic Breath and he uses it pretty frequently. It also has a lot more power than usual and the blast looks very impressive. It’s definitely the best shot that he’s ever taken. (The Meteorite shot)

Gigan got a very cool design upgrade and it made him seem that much cooler. He got several different fights in the film and he even took on the mighty Godzilla. His attack power is about average and his defense is very low, but he makes up for that with his ability to fly. Gigan’s first battle against Godzilla was definitely his highlight. Kumonga makes an appearance and I thought that it was a pretty accurate one. The outcome was how I had originally pictured his first fight against Godzilla to end up. Kamacuras gets a brief cameo, but he doesn’t look so good. At least they remembered to add him.

Zilla easily got one of the best roles in the film and I gained a lot of respect for him as a fighter. For those of you who are unaware, Zilla is the American monster who appeared in the 98 film. His intro is dynamic and he’s sent from the ship to attack Godzilla right off the bat. A great song by the name of “We Are All To Blame” plays during their battle and it still ranks as one of the best Godzilla battles of all time. Zilla’s speed is truly immense.

Hedorah gets a small cameo as well and he gets tied up with Ebirah. His fight scene wasn’t as fun as Godzilla’s and I think that he was pretty under powered. Ebirah looked pretty bad for most of the film and he actually lost to the army. Manda appears pretty early on in the film, but blink and you’ll miss him. Minya also returns, but his scenes are very boring. No cool Kaiju fights for him I’m afraid.

Godzilla’s old friends Rodan, Anguirus, and King Caesar team up to take him on. It was good to see some of the monsters try and team up to take the King down, but Godzilla was definitely far too strong for them. They’re nowhere near his level of power, so even teaming up it wouldn’t work. Anguirus can roll, but overall he’s one of the weaker monsters out there. Rodan has some pretty good flying abilities, but his attack power isn’t the best. King Caesar is pretty nimble, but his attacks seem to have no power behind them.

Mothra is the only monster to help Godzilla in this film. Once again she outshines his other friends and actually manages to take on Gigan. It’s a pretty epic scene, even if it’s a little tough to buy. A mysterious challenger attacks Godzilla as well. While I won’t say who it is, I will say that he’s pretty powerful and one of the coolest Kaiju out there.

Final Wars is definitely a film that all G fans should check out. The soundtrack for the film is pretty great and it’s easily the best Godzilla soundtrack to date. While the film missed out on four key monsters, Mecha Godzilla, Orga, Destoroyah, and Space Godzilla; They did a pretty good job making sure that most of the monsters came back. It was a great way to end the Godzilla movie series and I highly recommend it.

Overall 9/10

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Man of Steel Review

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Superman has gotten quite a few films over the years. I have enjoyed all of them (Excluding Superman Returns) but none of them had the explosive fight scenes that today’s films contain. This film was a good opportunity to show that Superman can have a dynamic action sequence. Plus after the big disappointment that was Superman Returns, we needed a real Superman film!

Before we get into the action segments, let’s go over the plot. Right off the bat you know that it won’t be your average Superman origin story. Krypton looks like something out of Star Wars and it’s definitely a good way to start off the film. General Zod and his minions come into play almost immediately and take on the Council. Jor El takes them on while Superman heads to earth. It was a solid beginning and I liked Jor El’s robot assistants. I could have done without Superman being born into the world scene (It definitely dragged on) but it’s a little thing that won’t hurt the experience. After that we get to see Superman as a fisherman and save people from drowning, but it’s only once Kal El dons the legendary costume that the film picks up again. (On a side note, the new Superman costume is definitely pretty cool. I wouldn’t say that it beats the traditional one, but I have no problems with it. It beats the costumes that most superheroes have)

Now, you won’t want to go into this film comparing everyone to how their DCAU counterparts would act. The characters are definitely different and while they aren’t awful…they aren’t that great either. Lois Lane wasn’t quite the brave reporter that she usually is and her (very brief) romance with Superman comes out of left field. Their scene together definitely wasn’t necessary and I could have done without it. Perry White seemed off during the whole film and the rest of the Daily Planet staff never got to do anything important. Jor El was a pretty good character and he was a good fighter. (Although he let his guard down at a critical time) Jonathon Kent was one of the worst characters in the film. Not only does he tell Superman that he should have let a bus full of innocent kids die so that he could hide his super abilities, but also risks his dog’s life for the “greater good”. Almost every line that Pa Kent said made me cringe a little deep inside. This definitely wasn’t the character that I grew up with and unlike Superman, it wasn’t a good new version. While I wouldn’t say that Superman’s new attitude is better than the classic personality, it’s not a negative change. Jonathon Kent is no longer a character that can be looked up too or admired. Superman’s a good character as always and I didn’t mind his new personality. He doesn’t tend to mock his opponents or brag as much as he used too, but he gets the job done.

Let’s check in with the villains. General Zod made for a good opponent, but was a pretty two dimensional character. I wouldn’t call it a negative thing and I’d still take him over (Sorry folks) the Joker and Loki. General Zod talked a big game, but he could back it up and trade blows with one of the strongest superheroes on the planet. His two main minions, Faora and the power hitter of the group (No idea what his name was though) were also pretty interesting characters. Faora stole the show in hand to hand combat and definitely put up an excellent fight against Superman. (Faora taking on Wonder Woman would make for a great fight) Faora got more screen time than the 3rd minion and even rivals General Zod. Zod may have gotten the final fight scene against Superman, but Faora fought Superman as well as terminated many of the army grunts. The 3rd minion didn’t get much of a role, but had a pretty good fight with Superman and I thought that he was a pretty good fighter.

Now, would the villains have been as cool without the epic fight scenes? I highly doubt it! The fight scenes in Man of Steel are definitely top notch and definitely the best fight scenes in any live action film. There is no film that can even compare with Man of Steel’s action scenes. Avengers, Godzilla, even Spiderman, none of them had the speed and power that the Man of Steel’s battle scenes brought to the table. The soundtrack also gave the battle scenes an extra boost as the music complemented the scenes perfectly. They definitely reminded the audience that these fight scenes had high stakes. As for General Zod’s ending…I can definitely see how it would be controversial. I don’t think that it absolutely needed to happen and I’m maybe a bit skeptical that such a thing would be done to Zod, but hey…it happened in the comics (Albeit in a similar way) didn’t it? So, it wasn’t an extremely shocking thing to me.

The one problem about being a great film is that it puts more pressure on the sequel. We’re going to need more than Lex Luthor if the next film is to match up against this one. Doomsday or Darkseid would make for a pretty great villain, but there aren’t many other Superman villains who could help the sequel surpass this one. General Zod and his men were the perfect adversaries for Superman since they could (almost) match him blow for blow. Still, I will hold out hope for the sequel, after all I hadn’t thought that this film had much potential after seeing the first trailer.

Overall, the Man of Steel is a film that you’ll definitely want to check out. It’s easily the greatest film in a looooong time. Definitely top 5 material and excluding a certain Kaiju series…it is the greatest (live action) film of all time. I highly recommend checking out this film while it’s still in theaters. You won’t regret it!

Overall 9/10