Avengers: Infinity War Review

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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

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Spider-Man Homecoming Review

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The Spider-Man films have always set a pretty high bar. My least favorite one is probably Spider-Man 2 and that one is still pretty cool because of all the memes it started. This one had a lot to live up to since we’re starting fresh with a new Peter Parker/Spider-Man once again, but the film handles it well. It doesn’t make any “real mistakes” (As in issues that would hurt the score) but I do have some minor issues involving power levels to get into. On the whole I’d definitely recommend checking this film out and preparing yourself for the sequel.

Peter Parker is your average kid with super powers who looks up to the Avengers. He wants to become one of the team, but Iron Man doesn’t think that he’s ready yet. Peter decides to prove himself by taking off his suit’s limitations which backfires horribly so he is forced to go back to his old costume. Nevertheless, Spider-Man has to go back out there to find the Vulture and take him down. Will he be able to do this or was Stark right and he is actually still too young for the job?

I’ve been pretty vocal about how I think Peter is a little too young in this version, but what honestly took more time to get used to was the hairstyle. It seemed to be at conflict with the rest of his personality but I got used to it over time. I don’t think he’s quite a match for the other two yet but as he appears in more and more films and grows into the role he should be able to place proudly in their company. Peter made most of the right choices in the film as he skipped the party to go stop the villains and was pretty persistent on that note. While Tony Stark may have kept telling him not to do that, I think Peter made the right move in sticking to hit gut and following the villains everywhere. It may not have always worked, but I agreed with the moves.

Peter Parker’s always been a little like Charlie Brown as things just don’t go his way and the film was pretty accurate with that. It was a really rough road for him as he got beat up several times but it’ll help his battle experience. Lets get this part over with now, this version of Spiderman seems not to have any Spider Sense. Either that or this film just forgot about that part. He gets blindsided many times and snuck up on by villains more often than he actually sees them coming. He can’t dodge for beans and gets beat up by everyone. I don’t think he wins a single fight not counting random henchmen. That’s…a little sad for his first showing. This is easily the weakest Spider-Man yet even if he had a good physical strength feat. Ideally he’ll learn about the Spider Sense soon so we can get that hype fight with Thanos. Of course, strength isn’t essential for a hero so even if he’s weak, Spider-Man is still a good character.

Spider-Man’s only unfavorable characteristic is that he’s maybe a little too infatuated with Liz the whole time. The staring scene in the cafeteria was a bit much. I can overlook the stuttering and barely being able to talk to her since it wasn’t as exaggerated as in some films (Still a bit exaggerated though) but the first scene is still a bit much. He can also act a little too impressed and astounded by the pro heroes considering that I think he could take most of them on, but I suppose it’s like how Deku still looks up to everyone in My Hero Academia even if he could beat most of them very quickly. Beyond that, he’s the Spider-Man we all know from the comics.

Liz is a decently good main heroine. She’s not as good as Gwen, but I’d say that she’s more likable than Mary Jane. Her connection with Peter definitely seems the most random especially since he hadn’t exactly earned a positive reputation at the school the whole time and there was the interesting chant at her party. Maybe she was just being nice by letting him take her to the dance or it was a genuine first step. Either way, at least we got to see a good chunk of her personality in this film and it’s cool that she got to be the captain of the trivia team. You definitely have to be really smart to make it on that level.

I also really liked the plot because the Teacher stole the movie. The moment he ran to Peter and brought him back into the fold was brilliant. Lets face it, if the school championship is on the line, you better bring in your star student. Even if he does ditch class randomly and has been becoming a bit of a delinquent, you gotta take the win. Think more on it after you’re holding the trophy. He was also very polite the whole time and understanding of the tricky history that makes up our buildings.

The sarcastic girl who is always hanging around is easily the best schoolmate. Honestly, she’s more likable than Peter Parker and comes in second behind the Teacher. I won’t say her name since it isn’t said until the final minutes of the film so it’s practically a spoiler, but she just gets a lot of great one liners and burns. She does kind of give herself away early on with the “I’m not obsessed or anything” moment, but always has a good excuse ready. She always happens to have a reason to be around which are constructed well. One scene in particular that was fun was the fact that she was even reading her book during exercise class where you’re supposed to be super serious about working out. Everyone else had a buddy, but she found a way to game the system. She does that a lot in the film and while I suppose she can come across as a little mean spirited, she never even came close to crossing the line. That’s Flash’s job. The sarcasm is never personal, it’s just how she treats life in general. It’ll be hard to top this film’s portrayal, especially if she gets a bigger role in the next film, but you never know.

Flash Thompson…is Flash Thompson. He’s the same bully that he always was, but he never physically attacks Peter or anything in this version so maybe he’s not as bad as some of the others. We’ll see if he ends up looking up to Spider-Man or not in this version since circumstances could make that a little tricky. Happy Hogan gets a decent role in this film as he’s Spider-Man’s go to guy for getting info on the Avengers. Of course, Happy only does this grudgingly and ignores Peter. The whole film could have basically been avoided if Happy had played ball, but he’s not that kind of guy. He does make for some fun scenes though and is just a good character to have around.

Tony Stark gets a good role here as well. I had been kind of hoping to see him take on the Vulture, but I suppose that could have been a lose-lose situation no matter what happened. If Tony loses there would be a riot and if he won, then Spider-Man winning later on may not have had as much impact. Not that Spider-Man ever actually won…but I can’t go into details on the technicalities as that would be a spoiler. We can chat in the comments if anything. I was satisfied with how Tony acted here. I mean, I definitely disagreed with him on various points like just letting Vulture get away every time, but I always disagree with the “By the books” characters. To think, Tony used to be the hot headed character on the team. I guess he has gotten older. It’s always nostalgic to have him appear since it reminds you of the beginnings of the MCU, back when it was still Iron-Man and his friends. While he has drifted away from being the center of the universe he is still the heart of it.

We’ve also got another main character in the form of Ned. I honestly can’t say that I’m a fan of his. He had some good scenes like where he saved Spider-Man from imminent destruction, but I really don’t think Peter needs a sidekick. I suppose the story would be even sadder for him if he had nobody to talk too, but it just feels out of place. I don’t think Ned handled the teacher walking in on him very well even if it was a very Reddit esque excuse that he made for not being at the dance. On the positive side, I do like that he was pretty understanding about Peter having a job and being busy all the time. He didn’t act petty about it and there wasn’t some kind of dramatic sideplot as a result. I’ll give him some kudos there. Now if he can only become a slightly more likable character, then I’ll be fine with him being the guy on the chair. It slightly takes away from Peter’s genius since he is usually the one hacking the computers and such, but we’ll live.

Aunt May is certainly very different from her usual self so she is worth mentioning. I think I’ll always prefer the old Aunt May as she’s such a staple and her intense distrust of Spider-Man added some extra tension to each issue. The comics would always start with Spider-Man winking at the screen as he wonders what would happen if Aunt May knew. It’s hard to see this one having much of a problem with it as she would likely support Spider-Man. She doesn’t want Peter to be in danger, but the conversation that they would have would certainly not be as difficult. I could do without everyone trying to flirt with her as the film tries to remind us of how young she is, but as long as it’s a very subtle running gag I suppose it’s not all that bad. Honestly I half expected her to get in on the action when a web showed up and stopped the Shocker. I figured she had somehow followed Peter to the dance and grabbed the web shooter. I know this would have killed Ned’s best scene in the film, but I think it actually could have been pretty hype.

That brings me back to other hot headed characters though. The film did a good job of capturing the high school atmosphere without getting too detailed. Most films have an issue here because either everyone is constantly making out or doing drugs, or they’re using a lot of language. Both are very accurate, but just because real life has these doesn’t mean that we have to be seeing them. The film gets in the atmosphere while keeping the students respectful and more likable as a result. The Teachers ignoring the students and just taking naps is realistic. Showing videos of Captain America even though he is now a criminal is also realistic and I especially liked how the detention room was set up. It was all pretty good.

As far as the villains are concerned, there are really two main ones to deal with. The Shocker was fun to see since he has always been one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. For a while he was my all time favorite. It’s a little hard to say nowadays, but he may still take the title as long as I’ve got a grip on my nostalgia goggles. This is a very different take on the character, but I can roll with it. He’s not exactly a heavyweight, but he works well as the side villain. The Vulture was the main “threat” and he was a lot of fun. This was a good villain where while you couldn’t really feel too sympathetic after a little while, at least it was nice to see him take on the government. I never liked Damage Control and this film reminded me of why that is the case. They just don’t have much charisma and seem to do whatever they want while earning a big paycheck. Back to the Vulture though, he has a lot of fun with the role in his human form and that’s where all of his best scenes are. Zapping one of his henchmen was pretty neat and the not so subtle threats at Spider-Man in the car scene was pretty good. I’m glad that he put 2 and 2 together unlike most villains.

I would say that the film was maybe a little light on action, but honestly Spider-Man movies usually are. This one probably had the most action in one of his films aside from Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not coincidentally, those are the two best Spider-Man films to date. This one beats the first Amazing Spider-Man for me and Spider-Man 2. It’s a little hard for me to say if it beats the first Spider-Man or not, but I think I may give it the edge here. The action scenes that we do get are fun. Just ignore the fact that Spider-Man is really getting beat up the whole time and enjoy the fun visuals. I still can’t really take Vulture all that seriously, but the film did its best to improve his design from the comics. He’s not much of a threat as far as power is concerned, but he’s never been a big villain like that.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it’s okay. I didn’t care for the token lyrical song that played twice. I dunno, it felt incredibly out of place and I was imagining something a little happier and with more cheer in the background. I think that would have made more sense. The classic MCU kind of themes were fun though and we had some nice Spider-Man homage themes as well. In the end it’s all just a little forgettable and you probably won’t remember any of it by the end, but few films go above and beyond on that.

There are two after credit scenes. As per usual, the first one is plot important while the second is for comedy purposes. The first one worked well at leading into the next film and while the villain may not be all that intimidating, Spider-Man films are more about the characters than the fights so that’s to be expected. The second scene was decently amusing, but I was expecting more. Like when the character asked if there was anything more then we would cut away to Spider-Man fighting Thanos or the Guardians falling off a cliff as they head to Earth. I would have liked something extra like that to really make me ready for the next films.

On a final note, the film did a good job of poking fun at some old Spider-Man cliches. Everyone knows how the famous hero likes to throw his clothes everywhere and ditch his backpack in a dark alley. Well, he tries it here and it doesn’t go over so well. It borderline went on parody at some points with him really just throwing his clothes with reckless abandon. It wasn’t in your face or anything, but a nice little touch. Hopefully he gets better at that part of the job, but as long as Karen is around he should be okay. For an A.I. Karen can be a little slow on the uptake at times, but it’s always fun to have a murder bot at the ready. Hopefully she’ll become sentient soon so Spider-Man can effectively have backup even if he’s knocked out. I definitely like his suit quite a bit so hopefully it stays for good. I honestly don’t want him to switch into any of those “fancy” upgrade suits like the Iron Spider or a Cosmic Spider-Man design. The classic is good enough for me.

Overall, Spider-Man Homecoming is a very fun film. It’s certainly one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films overall. The stakes may have been a lot less grounded, but it was just written well and the film had a lot of fun. One key thing was that it didn’t make any real mistakes like some of the last films and played to its strengths. It’s a different take on Spider-Man from the last two universes and that’s good since they’ve all danced to a different beat so far. The ending may have been a little iffy compared to what I would have hoped for. It was one of the most expected outcomes, but I imagined it playing out a little differently and with less edge. Perhaps it would have been seen as too much, but I would have liked the ending to be Peter walking through the kitchen while eating pizza turning on the lights and noticing the person there. “So….anything you’d like to share Peter?” “Er…..it’s a long story” and then the film ends with epicly loud music playing. Obviously this includes the circumstances that made the ending a “shock” ending without going into details. I mean, maybe this is borderline spoilerish but if you haven’t seen the ending yet then I hope I kept it vague enough to make a difference. Either way what are you waiting for? While this review is pretty long I’m sure there is plenty that I didn’t even touch on. It’s time for you to go check this movie out!

Overall 8/10

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

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

U.S. Marshals Review

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A while back, I saw the Fugitive. It was a pretty good film, but I unfortunately forgot most of it. A few scenes here and there to be sure, but my memory isn’t as clear as it once was. At least, that likely won’t happen much in the future thanks to these reviews! U.S. Marshals is a pretty good film and while it may have dragged on just a bit, it was a fun watch.

The plot involves a guy by the name of Mark Roberts who is injured during a car crash. He is then arrested and accused of murdering two American agents. Naturally, they take him into custody, but a plane crash caused by a would be assassin ends up giving Mark his chance to escape. He must now find out who set him up and clear his name. Meanwhile, U.S. Marshal, Samuel Gerard, has to find Mark before he destroys more people. He has no reason to believe that Roberts is being framed after all so he has to mobilize his troops. Tagging along by request order of the government is a new agent by the name of John. (The Government actually went with John as the name….don’t they remember their lessons on how to be subtle?) Can the heroes trust him and is Mark Roberts actually guilty or has he been framed? It’s time to find out!

One character who is really hard to forget is the U.S. Marshall. Samuel Gerard makes for a very interesting lead since he’s very experienced and he doesn’t really make mistakes. By “mistakes” I mean both in duty and in character development. Samuel is just a tough customer through and through as he resists all distractions and stiff arms the government. If Sam had just let the government walk all over him, he definitely would not have been quite as cool as he was. He can also fight when the need arises as he holds his own against Mark Roberts. (Supposedly the latter is an exceptional fighter so that is major props for Gerard) Gerard’s teammates are not quite as useful or likable. I don’t think I liked any of them to be honest. I didn’t really dislike them either, but they didn’t really have a purpose in the story. You could easily cut them out and there wouldn’t be many changes. It would get rid of a certain rage moment, but that could have happened through other scenarios. In a sense, I’d say that I’ve been lucky with protagonists lately. It’s rare to find someone as good as the U.S. Marshall and I just finished watching a film where the President was pretty great as well. I’ve gotta admit that the 90’s knew how to make solid main characters. Nowadays, it’s really just a free for all!

Mark Roberts is one of the main characters as well since he’s the one being chased the whole time. He’s a decently good character, but he’s definitely not as charismatic as Samuel. I don’t think he would have been able to hold his own film, but his scenes were pretty good. He’s definitely proficient in combat and he quickly adapts to the situation. It’s a good thing that he has some contacts because I don’t think he would really have a chance otherwise. It’s just him against the whole group after all. He does have one ally who helps him throughout the film. This is Marie and she ends up helping him out at critical points during the chase. Her role isn’t very large and she only makes a few appearances here and there, but at least she decides to trust him without calling the cops as you would expect from many other films. She never betrayed him and that’s always a good thing.

John Royce is played by Robert Downey Jr, which was pretty interesting. If not for the voice, I likely would not recognize him so he’s definitely changed over the years. As for the character, I’m sure that you’ve seen his type before. He’s the experienced professional that the government has added onto the squad so everyone resents his presence and he goes on to show them up….is what usually happens. The teammates don’t really mind him and while he is a professional, they show that he’s not quite as tough as the U.S. Marshal. He doesn’t play well with others and he always disobeys orders when he feels like it. He’s definitely not someone that you can count on. For a while there, he was actually a pretty likable character. By the end, he’s an intriguing one, but I’m not sure I care for how his character arc ended. It’s not really his decision that hurt his character, but the long theatrical way that he goes about making it. Just get over it and head to the next objective! He would have definitely been more impressive that way.

One thing you may have to question is the overall strategy of the U.S. Marshal. On paper it is a very sound strategy as they cover all of the bases and leave no stone unturned. The problem is the fact that he never seems to know what he’s going to do next. After following the suspects, they continue to follow them for as long as it takes. After a while, you just need to make a move and arrest somebody. By the time the heroes go to take out the villains, it’s typically too late. An example of this is when someone goes into a church with a suitcase…followed by another guy going in. The main characters just watch in horror for a while until they run in and the villains take the time to escape. Had the heroes charged through the door right away…they may have succeeded.

Another time where things got dicey was when the main character pretended to go for some coffee. I understand the plan and it’s a good one, but he took so long. If not for the villain stopping to boast about his master’s master plan and many other things, the U.S. Marshal would have definitely been too late to have done any good. It would have been Game Over at that point.

The film lacked closure in at least one way for me. I may have missed something, but it seems like one of the main villains actually manages to get away scot free. You’ll know who I’m referring to by the end, but he had a gun and he shot at the heroes for a while from the roof. He gets arrested, but the heroes admit that they’re toast thanks to politics. Diplomatic immunity is very real, but I’m sure that the heroes could do something. Show the proof and go through the military channels. Even if the government is shady, the information would have been made public.

As far as negatives go, I think the film may have dragged on a little. It is still my official view that all films should be two hours long at the very least and your plot should be good enough to carry you all the way. Of course, if your plot can’t hold out for that long, then accept the loss and cut some time out. The film could have cut out 15-30 minutes and it would have held up better. For example, letting Roberts get away after he was in disguise was one time too many for me. They should have just captured him and the exact same ending would have played out. We would have just skipped about 15-20 minutes where the heroes really do catch him. (We would have missed the sand fight, but I’m sure that they could have squeezed it in somewhere.

The Marshal’s boss could also be a little annoying at times. She keeps reminding the main character that he works for her so she can threaten him as much as she wants. She constantly reminds him that she doesn’t mind firing Samuel and she’s always giving him some kind of order. If she had been a little more helpful in the actual case it would be okay, but she typically isn’t. She’s just there to drag them all down with government policy. She only gets one hardcore scene with another politician and it was the Marshal’s idea.

It’s more of a formality at this point, but I’ll still mention the soundtrack. Unfortunately, it was pretty unmemorable and it was practically nonexistent. I can’t think of a single memorable tune and that’s always a bad sign. I wouldn’t really expect a soundtrack in this kind of film, but it’s still disappointing to see. A great soundtrack always has the potential to raise the film up an extra star so it could have come in handy here.

One more thing to mention is how the plane crew wasn’t very smart. One of the villains asks to go to the bathroom. Suuuuuuuure he needs to go…..that’s the oldest trick in the book. After they take him to the bathroom, the two cops leave to go talk. The villain has all day to grab his gun and head for the prisoners. Granted, the cops didn’t expect any guns to be on board, but they should have been paying attention. That was a pretty sloppy job on their part and they wouldn’t last a minute in Andy Griffith’s neighborhood.

Overall, U.S. Marshals was a pretty good film. It wasn’t great, but it was a fun watch and one that I would recommend to action fans or to people who like to watch government proceedings. It is more of a one and done deal though because this film has no real replay value. Films like this one rarely do since they rely on a lot of different plot twists throughout the feature. Why watch it again when you know everything that’s going to happen? It’s different for a film like Yugioh or the Avengers, but replay value doesn’t really affect the score anyway. (It would only hurt if I forgot to review this film and had to watch it again someday…) There’s definitely a lot to like in this film and hopefully you are prepared for it!

Overall 6/10