Chris Evans Weekend – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Joe Simon, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders

 

Plot: As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.


Tagline – In heroes we trust.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Pure Action Comic Book Movie

 

Story: Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts as Steve Rogers (Evans) is recruited to help Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) on her latest mission, he being a soldier will help any civilian in danger, which does seem him cross paths with Nick Fury (Jackson) who he feels is using him for the dirty work to clean up SHIELD’s secrets.

When Nick is killed by the Winter Soldier (Stan), Steve must learn who he can trust as he looks for answers as SHIELD has become compromised, Steve is joined by Natasha and starts investigating SHIELD’s connection including Nick’s friend Alexander Pierce (Redford).

 

Thoughts on Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is still learning to adapt to the modern world, he hasn’t been able to make any friends yet and is starting to deal with his own guilt from his time at war, he is getting used to help save people in need for Fury. He must investigate the murder of Fury only for to need to learn ho to trust and clashing with a friend from his own past. Nick Fury has been pushing the SHIELD’s latest plan to be pushed back, this sees him having the attention drawn to him and turning to the only person he knows he could trust, Steve. Natasha Romanoff has been working with Steve on mission, she still keeps to herself and is the only one that Steve can trust while searching for answers. Alexander Pierce is Nick’s connection to the world committee being the old friends, he has been going against the Nick’s wishes looking to use his own place of power for control. Winter Soldier is a new deadly assassin, one that even Steve can’t fight against, he does have a connection to his past too. Sam Wilson is a former soldier that Steve meets, he has been running groups for soldiers who have been struggle since returning from war and can related to where Steve is, while dealing with a friend’s loss.

PerformancesChris Evans gives his best performance in this leading role here, he gives us a character we believe is trying to do the right thing throughout the film. Samuel L Jackson continues to be the inspiration leader of the group. Scarlett Johansson shows us once against that she is wonderful in the Black Widow role. Robert Redford steps into becoming the villainous figure in the film which is unexpected and he delivers in it. Sebastian Stan returns, this time in a more prominent role and as a threat. Anthony Mackie is a welcome addition to the cast never looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows Steve Rogers as he looks to learn about the modern world, unlock the truth about who to trust and investigate who has been working from within SHIELD to create more problems than they are meant to be solving, while dealing with an old friend. We get a much straight drawn out action story here which does deal with a political side of having superheroes in the world. we do get to see just how Steve will always put the people ahead of anything else in his life. The idea of how Steve learns to cope in the modern world is shown strongly here as he does have help, he does see similar problems people could be suffering from too. The return of Hydra is great to see because we see a more calculated villainous force that keeps everything human, showing that the heroes will need to deal with their own battles before worrying about ones coming from space.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film feels more like a pure action movie, with it including car chases, street shoot outs and more of a pure hand to hand combat, yes, we do get the big action set piece at the end, but we rarely look at explosions as part of the superpowers. We do dive into sci-fi once again by looking at a future we could face with technology being a major part of it.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in and mostly around Washington, which helps play into the political side of the story that is going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are not needed as much as most of the other films in the franchise, the ones we do get work very well never taking us out of the set pieces.


Scene of the Movie –
Car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Stephen Strange reference doesn’t make that much sense in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best action film in the Marvel universe, it keeps most of the action grounded staying away from the big time explosions others have had in the past.

 

Overall: The action superhero movie we wanted.

Rating

 

 

Chris Evans Weekend – Captain America: The First Avengers (2011)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Joe Simon, Jack Kirby (Comic Books)

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage

 

Plot: Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a “Super-Soldier serum”. But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Origin Story

 

Story: Captain America: The First Avenger starts in the middle of World War II as Steve Rogers (Evans) a rejected military soldier because of his size is living in New York where his best friend Bucky (Stan) is about to go back into conflict and America is treating the war as a display. Steve is desperate to help his country, he is given an opportunity by Dr Abraham Erskine (Tucci), which sees him being trained in military training by Peggy Carter (Atwell) and Colonel Chester Phillips (Jones).

Steve is selected for a procedure which will make him a super-soldier because his desires to be a soldier show him to be braver than any other soldiers. Johann Schmidt (Weaving) has been searching for power during the war and this will end up making his search organisation Hydra known to the world. Steve becomes Captain America who will lead the fight in the war inspiring the soldiers and looking to stop Johann attempts at becoming a powerfully enemy.

 

Thoughts on Captain America: The First Avenger

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is a small guy from Brooklyn, he wants to join the army, but his size is holding him back, he shows all the strengths of a hero, but this will only get him so far. Given a chance to be a guinea pig for a procedure he gets transformed into a super soldier an icon America can look for war. Once he shows his skills he gets to lead an onslaught on Hydra. Peggy Carter is part of the British side of conflict, she sees the potential in Steve, sees him as different to the normal soldier, while also relating to him as somebody trying to break walls down. Bucky is the best friend of Steve’s he has always stood up for him whenever he needed help, encouraged Steve when everybody doubted him, him being captured is one of the main reasons for Steve to show of his new abilities. Johann Schmidt is the leader of Hydra, he was part of the Nazi war effort, but he has turned to his own desire of power becoming Red Skull a psychotic leader who will kill anyone who fails him as quick as his enemies.

PerformancesChris Evans is great in the leading role, he shows the transformation he takes his character through he goes from the shy want to be soldier to the super soldier. Hayley Atwell is strong playing a woman who has already broken boundaries in her own time. Sebastian Stan is solid enough as the best friend, he best times will come later in the franchise. Hugo Weaving will always make an entertaining villain, which Red Skull is for this franchise.

StoryThe story here follows Steve Rogers transform into Captain America a super soldier designed to help fight the war against the Nazis and Hydra, as he must learn to be accepted in the war effort despite being different. This is the origin of Captain America, we see how he went from the skinny short young man, to the super soldier and ever after that needing to go from icon for America to leader of soldiers in the fight. We get to bring in a new villainous group in Hydra which will one day become one of Captain’s biggest enemies, while also playing into the idea of scientific experiments being part of World War II. For an origin story this is everything you need, seeing the hero become the stronger version of themselves only helps us support his cause.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in this film comes from the large scale battles which are war based that Captain America finds himself in, they get to show off all his skills, while keeping most of the action in the realms of possibilities. The sci-fi side of the film shows how the technology would come to make conflict on a different scale.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we see the New York setting for the Brooklyn boy, while also jumping into the war like situations Captain America finds himself preparing to fight in.

Special EffectsThe effects through this film are wonderful, from the CGI used to make Chris Evans small, to the explosive power involved with the new weapons the world could be about to experience.


Scene of the Movie –
Captain’s first mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A kiss goodbye.

Final ThoughtsThis is another entertaining origin story, it brings us yet another character with his own qualities that makes him stand out from the others and continue to world build.

 

Overall: Origin story with a bang.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – A – Ant-Man (2015)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Macke, Michael Pena

 

Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.


Tagline – No shield. No armor. No problem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Heist Movie

 

Story: Ant-Man starts when Scott Lang (Rudd) gets released from prison, he wants to try and go straight to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, but is struggling. When his best friend Luis (Pena) offers him a score which could fix the problem he jumps at the chance. the job is to break into a house and open a safe, which he does finding a suit.

The suit is the Ant-Man suit which Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) invented and planned to keep secret, until his student Darren Cross (Stoll) has learnt of the technology and has been looking to create his own form of it. Hank wants Scott to use the suit to stop Darren from using the technology that could be dangerous in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man

 

Characters – Scott Lang is a cat-burglar that is freshly out of prison searching for a job, so he can rebuild his relationship with his daughter, who still loves him. He can’t get employment, which sees him return to a life of crime, which sees him get an opportunity to work for Hank Pym that see him use his skills to help him steal his own technology back before it gets in the wrong hands. Scott can see this as a chance for redemption. Dr Hank Pym created the shrinking technology that made Ant-Man, he has seen the danger involved in it and has been gone into business for himself, he needs somebody to make sure his technology doesn’t get sold into the wrong hands, he doesn’t want his daughter to do the job because he knows the danger involved in it. Hope is the daughter of Hank, she has remained in the company watching over Darren’s research, reporting to her father if thing go wrong. She wants to go on the mission no matter how risky it could be. Darren Cross was mentored by Hank, he has always been waiting to step out of the shadow and after learning the secret about technology involved in creating the shrinking technology.

PerformancesPaul Rudd does get to bring us a fun character that has been left with nothing and still remains positive and isn’t the smartest person in the room. Michael Douglas fits his role perfectly as the inventor figure. Evangeline Lilly is strong in her role, even if she does a lot better in the sequel. Corey Stoll does make for a strong villain which is needed in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a former criminal that gets recruits to steal a piece of equipment from his own office that could one day create a new army becoming a threat to mankind. This story does go in a different direction to the previous outings of creating a new superhero, most before hand had been experiments or self-created heroes. Scott is given a chance to improve his life to step into a suit that was once just an experiment. We also have a heist going on which is always entertaining to watch as we do get the colourful characters involved in the film. this might get references for previous Avengers movies which shows how Ant-Man will be part of the universe too.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action in this film has a unique look because it deals with the ideas of most of the fighting happening within the miniature world. the film does target plenty of laughs which with the supporting cast come off regularly and once again we see how the sci-fi side of the film is used for the technology being used in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does bring us to a new city for a superhero movie which is refreshing to see.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are amazing when you think of the world that is created with the ant army being used.


Scene of the Movie –
Training the ants.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We needed more of Luis.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun heist movie with a superhero spin on it which lightens the mood the previous films might have had.

 

Overall: Entertaining Superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Director: Shane Black

Writer: Drew Pearse, Shane Black (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Warren Ellis, Adi Granov (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley

 

Plot: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.


Tagline – Unleash the power behind the armor.

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Superhero Movie with Consequences

 

Story: Iron Man 3 starts in the aftermath of The Avengers, Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is still dealing with the side effects from going through the worm hole, to make matters worse Pepper (Paltrow) is getting tired of his action, a new terrorist known as the Mandarin (Kingsley) is bombing the world.

After Tony challenges him to fight him, Tony finds his mansion destroyed, with Tony getting stuck in a small town, when the true identity of the Mandarin is revealed and the man who is controlling him Aldrich Killian (Pearce) a man that Tony once rejected working with.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 3

 

Characters – Tony Stark is back, this time he can’t sleep because of what happened in New York in the Avengers. He can’t cope with knowing he could know lose somebody he loves in Pepper, he keeps busy by improving his suits and challenge the new terrorist. He must go on a journey of self-discovery before fighting the latest enemy. This is one of the best character arcs in the franchise. Pepper Potts is still running the company, but is getting more distant from Tony, she learns how Tony feels about her by his actions in this film. Rhodey has become the lead guardian turned to for his newly rebranded Iron Patriot. He lets Tony get the important information required to learn the truth. Aldrich Killian is the man that Tony once forget or rejected, he has gone on to master a way to fix limp loss, which has helped him grow a group of soldiers that can explode if not treated properly, he has put a mask on his attacks making it seem like he had nothing to do with it. Maya is another lady from Tony’s past, she has her own reasons for returning, where she plays partly as a love rival for Pepper and somebody who still wants her work to mean something. Trevor is the Mandarin, through to be the big threat in the film, while we get a twist in his purpose in the film which has divided fans ever since.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr gives one of the best performances in the Marvel Universe because he must deal emotions unlike any other hero in the franchise to date. Gwyneth Paltrow gets to bring her own stamp to this role, getting more involved in the action this time around. Don Cheadle continues to make his character more likeable than ever. Guy Pearce does make for a strong villain, he keeps up guessing to what he will do next hanging on his words. Rebecca Hall struggles, but this is mostly because the character is written poorly. Ben Kingsley gives us one of the funniest performances in the franchise to date.

StoryThe story involves Tony Stark facing consequences of The Avengers, while dealing with a new threat terrorising the world. This way of looking at the story is impressive because we have seen many superhero films that have never looked at dealing with side effects of the previous films, this brings Tony on a character arc which is easily one of the best in the franchise. The idea a villain has created a way for people to recover from limp loss that could end up becoming deadly weapons is strong because it continues to show rival inventors in Tony’s world. This is one of the stories which does get questions over a certain serve in the story, but it only adds to the way we are getting too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is a terrorist that uses explosive to destroy or fight Tony Stark. Which does show us how the sci-fi world of technology is making a new threat to the world.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show Tony stuck in a town where he wouldn’t ever visit, the action scenes do take us to new settings though which does help.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film show how flawlessly Tony can get in and out of his suits, the way the characters look when they could look to explode or regenerate, which fits the style of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The plane save.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Failure to use Maya well enough.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best character arcs in the franchise to date, we see how he must learn from his mistakes and fight a new threat.

 

Overall: Best character arc to date.

Rating

 

 

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.


Tagline – It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Iron Man 2 starts in the world where Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr) Iron Man has seen the world in peace for the longest time in modern history, the government however isn’t happy with the device and the world is trying to build their own versions of the Iron Man suit. With Tony’s device slowly causing more damage than it should, he is looking for a way to stop the affects being caused.

With Tony searching for answers, he must deal with new member of the law team Natalie Rushman (Johansson), giving Pepper (Paltrow) the CEO position, a rival inventor Justin Hammer (Rockwell) and a jilted victim of his father’s work Ivan Vanko (Rourke) better known as Whiplash, who has his own form of weaponised equipment and wants revenge.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 2

 

Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

StoryThe story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

SettingsThe film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a small pacing issue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.

 

Overall: Fun sequel.

Rating