Spider-man Homecoming review

So I have had some time to think about whether or not I loved Spider-Man Homecoming or not and while I absolutely loved a lot about it, there were things about it I thought could have been done a lot different.  Beyond this point there are spoilers.  One of the more clever moments in the movie happens at the beginning when we see Peter creating a home video of his mission to Berlin to fight with the avengers in Civil War essentially making a movie inside a movie.  I had a ton of fun watching these scenes mostly because it was clever but primarily because it captures the essence of the wonder of what it might be like to be a teen asked to help out the Avengers on a mission.  Tom Holland does a great job as a hyper teenager with over exuberant need to be more than just a teen.  After the mission Peter is told “we’ll call you if we need you” but instead of treating it like the brush off it is, he uses it as an excuse to hound Happy, Stark’s chauffeur, into letting him in on an Avenger’s mission.  Stark does let Peter keep the suit

The movie takes place after the battle of New York.   A construction team, headed up by Adrian Toomes( The Vulture) is recovering Chitauri weaponry from wreckage sites when Damage Control, Tony Stark’s clean up crew, takes over and steals the job from Adrian but not without retaining some of the technology that they keep to sell to other criminals.

Spidey finds out about this by thwarting a bank robbery that causes a lot of property damage when the technology malfunctions.  

It becomes Peter Parker’s mission to thwart the weapons ring much to the chagrin of Tony Stark.  Eventually, Peter’s desire to do something big creates a situation where he could be more of a harm which causes Tony to take back the Spidey suit saying ” if you’re nothing without the suit, you shouldn’t have it.”

The side plot is Peter’s adolescent crush with Liz who we later find out is part of the twist in the movie.  I didn’t love the character of Liz Toomes.  It would have been a great plot point but we have seen the “I can’t be happy because I’m Spidey plot line in previous movies and I wanted him to get the girl.  There is another woman in the movie but to reveal her identity would ruin the surprise.

So what was the beef I talked about earlier in this post?  Spidey kicked butt in Civil War.  He was a force to be reckoned with,but for the majority of the movie Stark knocks Parker down a few pegs.  It seemed a bit heavy handed and at times excessive.  Especially since the movie’s hero spends much of the movie being made to look like a fool to propel a plot line about whether or not Parker will get back up when he gets knocked.  That part of the movie seemed a bit contrived.

However, the rest of the movie was really fun.  Keaton did a great job as a disgruntled blue color worker trying to stick it to the Man.  Some of the scenes in the movie painted The Vulture as a truly terrifying villain.

Peter’s best friend in the movie, Ned, might be one of the best things about the movie.  He’s the perfect blend of smart, dorky, voice of reason for Parker.

I enjoyed this movie very much but it changes one or two things in the Canon that I don’t think can be changed ( it has to do with Aunt May)

The music in the movie is good including an orchestral version of the original cartoon theme song in the beginning of the film.  I can’t say this was the best Marvel movie of the bunch but it’s up at the top.  Grade: B

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 Review of Marvel Studio’s Ant Man

Some Spoilers but not enough to ruin the movie….

So…people who have read my reviews of past Marvel movies know that I don’t sugar coat how I feel about them.  I have some pretty high standards when it comes to these movies.  Most have been pretty good but there have been some huge flops too( Iron Man 3 and Fantastic four, both of them, and Spider-man 3 which was a disaster).

On a scale of 1-10 this one lands about an 8.  First off, I think it’s important to recognize that even though Ant Man has played a huge part in the Marvel Comic book universe, what most people know of the character comes from Hank Pym.  Hank is in this movie but he is not Ant-Man.  He has retired and has turned over the reins to Scott Lang.  Michael Douglas did a great job playing Hank.

Paul Rudd does a commendable job as a hero with a checkered past who is trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his ex-wife so he can spend time with his daughter.  The movie spends a very short amount of time setting up that he was a thief who is trying to go legit.  Of course he gets sucked back in but for a mostly noble cause.

The movie did a pretty great job with the Origin stories of each of the characters.  Enough emotion was put into the movie that you have a very clear picture of the motivations of each character.

Evangeline Lily was also enjoyable as Hank’s daughter and plays the strained relationship very well. 

As far as the humor is concerned, there were very few times where the jokes didn’t hit.  There are a lot of jokes in the movie and some very funny moments that worked really, really well.  But I also thought there were moments that elicited giggles where it was clear the writers wanted big laughs.  I was a little disappointed that the humor wasn’t a bit more consistent.

The special effects are great.  However, because it’s a movie about a guy who has command over ants, you have to give yourself a minute to get over the absurdity of that statement.  For the most part, you get to the point where it all seems pretty cool.  But if I’m honest, I found myself asking the question about its cheesiness a lot.  As I mentioned I thought most of it was very cool.  One way that the writer helped that along was by giving us an entomology lesson on what different kinds of ants can do.  

I think the only big gripe I had about the movie is that it took too long for us to meet Yellowjacket and once we meet him there is not enough of him in the movie.  The fight scene at the end was great and there are some awesome visuals that are both very funny and great to watch.  That and I would have enjoyed seeing more of Michael Pena who steals every scene he’s in.

This was a very fun movie.  Would I have liked it to be a bit better?  A little.  I enjoyed this movie a lot more than Age of Ultron.  There are some areas in the movie that could have used some polishing but not enough to keep me from enjoying it.  Oh, and stay through the credits.  There are two scenes and one of them teases another movie franchise.  Grade: B

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron Review( Spoilers)

There will be spoilers 
As a person who reads comic books, I have certain expectations with the movies that there is going to be some semblance of purpose of latching on to the true origin story of the characters portrayed in the comics.  This really only met some of those expectations.    I also have a certain expectation that when a Marvel movie has the same title as a major Marvel comic book event that there are some similarities between the two.  That expectation was not remotely reached.

In the comic book Ultron is an A.I. that was created by Hank Pym. For those of you not familiar with the term, A.I. means artificial intelligence.  In the movie Ultron is an idea that Tony Stark and Bruce Banner have for creating an A.I. that will be a defense system so that the Avengers are no longer needed.  The problem?  They have not figured out how to give it life.  Until now.  

Enter Loki’s scepter.  Baron Von Strucker is using it to experiment on humans.  The Avengers are sent to recover it.  They experience resistance in the form of Scarlet Witch and quicksilver, two differently abled humans that have been experimented on.

They recover the scepter and they find that The power in the gem located at the top of the scepter contains an AI that, Tony Stark posits, could be used to jump start Ultron.  He has 3 days to make it work before Thor brings the scepter back to Asgard.

Stark finishes Ultron without telling the rest of team but it backfires when Ultron attacks J.A.R.V.I.S and the Avengers.  He escapes the Avengers base with the scepter and he goes back to the hydra base where Von Strucker was and begins to create an army and upgrades himself with Vibranium he stole from Wakanda.  One of his soldiers is Vision and he imbeds his creation with the Infinity gem found in the scepter.  He creates Vision to destroy the avengers( that is the correct origin story part) but Vision would rather help the Avengers because he doesn’t believe the world needs to be destroyed.  The mere fact that the AI was created causes a rift in the team and Ultron uses that disent to drive a further wedge in the team.  In what I thought was a hokey plot line, the Avengers determine that if they try to fight Ultron separately they will lose but if the fight as a team they can beat Ultron.

There are other plot lines in the movie and some of them were effective but others were not.  The movie spent time on making the characters more human than Super hero.  While it was good to get Hawkeye and Black Widow’s back story, I found myself wondering if those back stories were good or if they interrupted the pacing of the movie.  I thought it was good to show that the characters have lives beyond the Avengers but a movie that showcases the team kind of buries the need to know much more

One plot line I thought was awful was the Natasha Romanov/ Bruce Banner love interest plot line.  Apparently, the two have fallen in love and we are supposed to just accept that it happened.  We have seen no hint of it in any other of the other movies and, as a result, I was left with the question: “When did that happen?” We don’t get much of any answer.

Perhaps, in my opinion, the biggest mistake that Whedon made in this movie was not giving us any scenes in any other movies where Stark is working on Ultron.  Instead, Ultron is introduced to movie-goers as “You know that thing I’ve been working on?”.  There is no background given except one small conversation.

They should have picked someone else to play Ultron,  There are a handful of actors that are instantly recognizable when you listen to them or watch them.  James Spader is one of them.  The cadence of his voice is the same in everything.  As a result I was jarred out of the fantasy of the movie.  I kept waiting for Ultron to turn around dressed like Red Reddington from The Blacklist.

As much as there were things I didn’t like about the movie, there were also things I really liked.  The Hulkbuster Iron Man Vs. Hulk fight was almost worth the price of admission.  It was very cool to watch and had a very humorous ending.  In addition, it was not too far outside the canon of the characters.

They also absolutely got Vision right.  Paul Bettany did a great job portraying The artificial life form.  I am really hoping to see more of him in the future.

I also thought Elizabeth Olsen did a great job as Scarlet Witch.  She is absolutely a bad ass.  

I talked to my friends about the movie and they liked it more than I did.  It seemed to me that Whedon was trying too hard to fit too much into the movie.  It also seemed that he was tired of the movie because it didn’t have the same urgency and vibrancy of the first movie

Did I like the movie?  Yes.  Did I love it?  No.  I’m giving this movie a very weak grade of B

Big Hero 6 movie review

There is no doubt that when Marvel and Disney work together that they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to movies. If Disney’s only influence over Marvel was movies, I’d be a very happy man.

Big Hero 6 was a very good movie with only one flaw which I will touch on later. There are Spoilers in this review.

According to articles I’ve read, Big hero 6 was first a part of a Marvel comic book called Sunfire and Big hero 6. They also made appearances in Thunderbolts.

The movie focuses on Hiro, a brilliant young kid who is wasting his talents on robot wars. His brother rescues him from a situation where he is about to get arrested and becomes a sort of guardian for him.

One night, while on his way to a robot duel with his brother, his brother makes a detour to stop at “nerd school” where Hiro meets his hero( the head of the school, Mr. Callaghan) who encourages him to enroll. But he has to audition for the school by creating something that will impress the professor and show it off at a science fair.

Through a series of montage moments , we see Hiro developing the idea of miniature robots that respond to the thoughts of individuals who are wearing a sensor band worn on his head. Hiro not only gets offered admittance into the school, he gets offered a job from his hero’s biggest rival.

That night as Hiro and his brother are celebrating, the building where the science fair is held catches on fire and the professor is trapped inside. Hiro’s brother goes inside to save him and the building explodes killing his brother and the professor.

Hiro vows to find out what happened and stop the villain behind it all. With the help of the classmates from the “nerd school” and a health robot named Baymax, they track the villain down.

Almost everything about this movie was excellent. The animation was pretty incredible and the scenes with Baymax were both hilarious and heart felt

The movie felt like a Marvel movie but that may have been a slight disadvantage. Origin stories for Superheroes seem fairly rote. This is no different. A geeky teen finds confidence in tragedy and finds unknown power to fight his enemy.

In hindsight, the flaw I mentioned above, is not as big as I may have thought. I was not a big fan of how quickly the villain’s back story was developed. There were hints of it but it was not enough

Other than that, I can’t find anything wrong the movie. The Stan Lee cameos are great.

Oh, stay past the credits. It’s well worth the wait. Grade: A

My Review of Amazing Spider-Man 2

Seeing that I’m running a review site of comic books, I thought that this would be a good chance to review of Amazing Spider Man 2. First off, let me say that I love going to the movies. There’s nothing quite like sitting in a room with a group of others and being transported into a world of fantasy and wonder.

I also am a comic book reader that loves going to movies about comic book heroes. That doesn’t always serve me well. Knowing what I know about these characters, I have to remind myself that movie studios are not making movies for collectors of comic books as much as they are making movies for the public that may also enjoy comic books. I can usually let things slide when there are inconsistencies between the two. And there are a few of them here. Rather than go through them, I’ll just say they are there

There is a trap that most Superhero movies fall headlong into. This movie is no different. For whatever reason, that I’m not sure I completely understand, movie directors seem to think that focusing on only one Super villain is never enough. In this movie, the main focus is on Electro.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Max Brooks, who is an employee of Oscorp, is saved early in the movie by Spidey and becomes obsessed with the hero. On his birthday Max is asked to stay late to fix a power fluctuation and through a series of mishaps becomes Electro. This scene is one of the best in the movie. It is dark and disturbing and very cool.

Jamie Foxx is excellent as the villain and it was fun watching the scenes with him in it but there were some difficulties with it too. The best scenes in the movie are the darkest. Electro is very creepy and really well rendered. But this is a Marvel movie owned by Disney and, as a result, the darker scenes aren’t dark enough because the Studio is holding back on what could have been a very evil bad guy

The movie should have stopped there. Instead, there is a developing story throughout the movie where Harry Osbourne eventually becomes Hobgoblin. The explanation is interesting and I kind of liked it. And although that’s a spoiler, if you don’t know Harry is Hobgoblin by now there is a rock that needs to be climbed out from underneath. The truth is I liked Harry better as a bad guy than the villain he became. His alliance with Electro was interesting. This is just my opinion but Hobgoblin shouldn’t have been introduced yet.

There are other things to really like about this movie. We learn a lot about Richard Parker and why he left Peter behind. These scenes are at times heart felt and other times thrilling.

There are references throughout the movie toward future bad guys( and maybe a bad girl).

The movie suffers from lack of focus. We get a look at Electro, then we get a look at Hobgoblin and then we get a glimpse of Rhino and as a result the movie is about 20 minutes too long.

Let me say this: I liked a lot of this movie a lot but I didn’t love it. The special effects are incredible and Jamie Foxx was incredible as Electro but the movie flirted with being very dark and then pulled back leaving the viewer confused about the direction the director wanted to take. I’m giving this movie a weak B. It has some very good moments but not all of them are good

My Review of Captain America: Winter Soldier

When the first Captain America came out in movie form, I didn’t know what to expect.  As a comic book reader I knew enough of the story to have a very basic idea of what to expect but I wasn’t so familiar with Steve Rogers that the movie wasn’t surprising for me.  That is actually one of the things that made the original movie one of the best of the Marvel movies up until that point.  The movie did an excellent job of telling the fictional story of Captain America while capturing the real symbol that he came to be during Hitler’s reign.   I also liked the fact that the special effects in the movie furthered the story rather than being too overbearing.

The second movie, Captain America Winter Soldier spends some time visiting the same misgivings that Captain America was feeling at the beginning of Avengers.  He is still having difficulty adjusting to the new world.  Steve Rogers is used to a world where things are black and white.  Things are not that way anymore.  S.H.I.E.L.D. has the challenge of anticipating problems before they happen.  As a result, it appears that they are becoming guardians of earth through intimidation and fear.  Captain America doesn’t like that and starts questioning whether  or not he is doing the right thing.

There is a lot of action in this story and it is well choreographed.  Most of the scenes are really fun to watch.  However, there are times when the action seems to cover the fact that the moviegoers are not told who the Winter Soldier is and why he is who he is until half way through the movie.  When we finally learn about The Winter Soldier, it is less than satisfactory of an explanation.  Despite that, the pacing of the movie seemed to fall back into place in the second half of the movie.

The second half of the movie was a joy to watch.  There are enough swerves and intrigue to make up for the awkward pacing in the first half of the movie.  There is plenty to like about this movie.  I love that Colbie Smulders actually got to be a bad ass in this movie as Maria Hill.  Anthony Mackie was fun as Falcon too.  As far as Marvel Comics go, I still liked it better than most of the Iron Man saga but not as much as Avengers.  It was a fun movie.  3 out of 4 stars