Monkey at the Movies: Marvel Phase 3

monkey at the marvel movies

Alrighty then- I guess this is my last session of being a Marvel fangirl (…for now 😉). You know the drill now- I get dressed up and there will be spoilers. And since this is such an explosive part of the story, let’s start this with a *bang* shall we? (cos heads up: I have a lot of controversial opinions coming up)

captain america civil war

Captain America: Civil War– yeahhh there’s no easy way to say this- this wasn’t exactly what I wanted. All the reviews told me that “it’s so hard to pick a side” and “both of them have a point”… and I didn’t think that at all. I was *freedom* and #teamCap all the way. I know a lot of people like this movie, cos they say it’s nuanced, but I just thought Stark was wrong and that was that. I think after all the trouble Stark caused in Age of Ultron, he could have taken a step back, rather than screwing everyone else over for his mistakes and robbing them of their rights. Also, again I’m on the POOR BUCKY train. And I ain’t ever getting off. Again, I get that people see why Stark is angry with the Cap/Bucky- but IT’S NOT HIS FAULT (and maybe if Tony got his head out of his arse he’d see that) (oh gosh I’m gonna have all the Iron Men coming after me for that, aren’t I?) So yeah, I’m still a tad frustrated with this movie. I think I expected wayyy too much out of this one, thinking there would be some serious debate, and it didn’t deliver. One massive plus though was the introduction of Holland’s Spiderman 😀 And it does set up plenty for Infinity War and that’s not a bad thing.

3½/5 bananas

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spider man homecoming.jpg

Spider Man: Homecoming– I’ve gotta admit, cos the Spiderman market is so oversaturated of late, this was one of the movies I was least keen to see… and it ended up being one of the best! Go figure 😉 But who’s complaining? This was a great Spiderman story. From the moment that Marvel logo rolled in, I realised Spiderman had come home. Thankfully, there were no origin stories, no campy villains. This was just pure fun. Finally, finally Spiderman felt like a proper kid. It did feel a little choppy with the opening and I wasn’t crazy about how wrapped up it was with Tony Stark. I probably could have done without it being quite so high tech (even if I get why it was used). However, it was cool that he created the web himself, like in the comics. And omg Stan Lee telling off Spidy was hilarious. It’s genuinely the funniest rendition of Spidy I’ve seen. The characters were also superb- both MJ and Peter were so cute. And it really ends on a high- especially with that end credit scene where May finds out! I even loved Donald Glover’s small role. Basically, there’s an awful lot to love about this movie!

4½/5 bananas

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black panther

Black Panther– this movie was clearly a labour of love- and I loved it for that! From the beautiful aesthetic to the way the soundtrack blended with the setting, this movie came together in a charming way. Some people have been saying that it’s typical superhero fare- and that’s true- yet that’s all I’ve ever wanted from my superhero films. The opening was intriguing and set up for some surprisingly deep drama. I liked how it reflected real world issues, dipped its toes into some dark waters, yet didn’t become overshadowed by these themes. Instead, the focus of the movie was on taking the mantle of the father and trying to be better. All of this tied in so well with the villain- who was both relevant and unhinged enough to be entertaining. I especially loved how it presented the “monsters of our making” idea. For me, this went beyond being a simple action flick. The tension and emotions were all on point. I was moved by the lovable characters and on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. I’m happy to say Black Panther more than lived up to expectations. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the (slightly unpopular opinion) that I enjoyed it more than Infinity War… though we’ll get to more on that in a minute. *This* is how you do a superhero movie!

5/5 bananas

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guardians of the galaxy vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2– first off: I LOVED the villain in this movie. I know a lot of people don’t think this is as good as the first one… but I think it’s better. The journey is so personal. And it’s ridiculously emotional. What’s clever about these movies is how they consistently add the family drama element to this saga. Not only does it explore the found family element so well, it also makes me more invested in the characters and ties in spectacularly with Infinity War (…more on that soon I promise…). All of this coupled with the fact it’s packed with funny, cute, emotional moments meant this was an out of this world experience!

5/5 bananas

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doctor strange

Doctor Strange– this was very average for a Marvel movie, but an interesting start. Personally, I found Doctor Strange an okay character- not too enthralling, not too dull. I think my main takeaway was that he’s a poor man’s Tony Stark- slightly egotistical, allegedly very special. And I say allegedly cos aside from being a proven surgeon, there isn’t actually an explanation as to *why* he’s so special. It’s (rather frustratingly) repeated throughout the plot, there’s no explanation for his magical talent. Is it his intellect? Determination? Random natural selection? I just wanted to be given something. Ultimately, there was enough to this movie that I didn’t have a bad time while watching it, yet it failed to blow me away. The villain was meh, however, I do kinda want to see more of this character to get to the heart of what makes him tick.

3/5 bananas

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thor ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok– unpopular opinion: I wasn’t crazy about this movie. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just super fussy with movies- cos everyone loved this movie, and I just didn’t. The tone and subject matter were endlessly jarring. I kept getting muddled about what I was supposed to be feeling in a lot of really intense action end-of-the-world scenes that were played for shits and giggles. A lot of the jokes didn’t land for me- it was too weird to take the subject matter of Ragnarok, with all its emotionally hard-hitting elements, and slam it into a buddy-comedy vibe. There’s an outstanding review for this movie over on Re-enchantment of the World, where they get into a lot more detail about why this doesn’t totally work- but one thing that they brought up that I will mention is how it was funny, but weightless. I think that about sums it up. There could have been *a lot* more substance to this movie. As much as it occasionally made me laugh, I came out of this feeling disappointed and empty (I do like the soundtrack though).

2½/5 bananas

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avengers infinity war

Avengers: Infinity War– it’s probably pretty clear to you from all these reviews that I’ve become a little obsessed with this movie. I can’t help but mention it in virtually every other review. It’s a testament to the power of this movie. So let it be said, for the record, that I really liked Infinity War… but it felt like half a movie. I feel like I’m reserving judgement on it until I see how it ends. Months after I watched it and I’m still uncertain about some elements. It does blend the multiple storylines pretty well, but a lot of the ideas for defeating Thanos seemed jumbled together. There’s simply so much going on and a lot of it is too inconclusive for me to make my mind up about it. That said, this has some emotional punch. I mean… wow. I can’t believe they went there. Most of my favourites ended up dead. For that alone, it’s going to be remembered as a landmark movie. And it’s definitely got me looking up all the fan theory videos and wondering who made the worst decision (I’m going with Peter- yeah Thor had the chance to win and failed, but obviously the real fault lies with Peter losing his head… though can you blame him? He’s only human- let’s hope he redeems himself in the next movie). Of course, I really loved the fact this was very much about Thanos- he’s such a domineering character. Even if I still can’t make total sense of his logic (I mean, the population will continue to grow and resources will continue to diminish… so surely it makes more sense to focus your effort on increasing resources?) I liked that this focused on his sense of family and loss. It was super well done. My only issue that remains is I don’t think I can judge this as a standalone movie… please don’t snap me out of existence for saying as much 😉

4½/5 bananas

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… although my opinion on this movie is subject to change…

ant man and the wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp– Yeesh- this one really allows us to see the accords in action and I KNEW I WAS RIGHT. It sucks so much. At the risk of returning to my rant at the start, Stark was wrong, he made a Frankenstein-style error and then decided to rectify that by punishing all of humanity. It makes sense that he had the arrogance to play god and then thought that he could rectify his mistakes by being an authoritarian… BUT GAHFJFJJKND WHAT A DOUCHESCHNOZZLE!!! So, back to the movie. Iron Man has forced a bunch of (more or less) innocent people on the run and made the best father ever have to hide out in his house. Much like the first one, I loved the shrinking tech in this film- they do it in such a fun way. The villain had a personal connection to the story- alas also pretty forgettable. This was definitely what I’d class as an entertaining romp of a movie… until that end credit scene- when HOLY HELL we see what’s at stake for Infinity War! (yes, it had to go back to that again 😉) If you do like Marvel movies, I can safely say this is enjoyable and a great place for me to end these reviews 😀

4/5 bananas

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Alrighty then- I know I’ve gone against the grain on a couple of these- so I’m curious to know: do you agree or disagree with any of my thoughts on Marvel Phase 3? Let me know in the comments!

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Marvel Avengers Book Tag

orangutan tag 2

Cos I’m in the Marvel mood, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do a themed bookish tag! And fortunately there’s a tag on every topic, so I didn’t have to look for long 😉 Thanks so much to the wonderful Sam @Rivermoose Reads for (rather conveniently) tagging me to do this one!

Iron Man – a book that made you laugh out loud: 

AHA! This book is a hilarious fake-memoir, based around Steve Coogan’s fabulously funny character Alan Partridge. 

Captain America – a book that sends a positive message:

This is a wonderful book full of vital, life lessons- if you haven’t read it, I can’t recommend it enough!

Thor – a book with a character’s strength you admire:  

I just love the strength of the women in this book. 

Black Widow – a book with a kick-ass female protagonist: 

I feel like I mention this book every other week now- but I can’t help it! Nona typifies *the best* attributes of the kickass character! Edgy and sharp and with hidden depths, she is an awesome heroine!

Hulk – a book that made you incredibly angry:

This. Is. Terrible.

Hawkeye – an underrated book you think more people should pay attention to:

So sad how few people have read this gem of a poetry collection outside of Hungary.

*BONUS* Loki – a book with a twist or surprise that tricked you: 

*No spoilers*- even if this book is by no means new, I still think the impact of the twist will blow most readers away! (plus it’s a book with evil Phaeries- need I say more? 😉 )

That was a fun one- hope you enjoyed- I tag:

Mim Inkling, Reading Hobbit, Bibliophalgist, Hammock of Books, Arubun Written, The Candid Cover, CJR the Brit and The Storyteller

And anyone else that wants to do this! Also, on the subject of great team-ups, what’s your favourite cast of ensemble characters? Let me know in the comments!

 

Monkey at the Movies: Marvel Phase 2

 

monkey at the marvel movies

Okey dokey I’m back- as promised- with phase two of my Marvel mini reviews. I’ve donned my superhero getup again and I’m ready for action! Again, spoiler warning- though really you should know I’m gonna spoil it- you’ve had enough time to watch them by now 😉

iron man 3

Iron Man 3– the great thing about this film is it really sets up the idea we create our own demons– which is a clear theme for phase 2. The flashbacks are okay in this one- the only problem being that they set up a very clear “misdirection” with a super obvious villain. I did really like that this features a less sure Tony Stark and that there’s a real sense of character development- lacking in Iron Man’s last instalment. It’s especially great that there’s a double meaning to the idea that Iron Man creates his own enemies. BUT there’s no way around the fact that I loathe the plot twist- taking a sinister-seeming villain and swapping it out for a lacklustre loser? GAH! Not good. In fact, this very stupid, dumb, not-smart shift might be one of the worst in the whole Marvel cinematic universe. I also feel like it *has to* be a plothole that no one has figured out the Mandarin is a fake- when he’s literally just chilling in a mansion in the US. With plenty of people coming in and out to deliver him whatever he wants. Pure nonsense. Add to that the villain’s motivation is weak (dude, if someone doesn’t meet you on a rooftop on New Year’s Eve, don’t you think there could be a million explanations?) Plus, the barrel of monkeys was just silly (and offensive to us monkeys 😉). In the end, I’m a little torn on this one, cos there’s definitely upsides to this movie and it’s vital to the series… but I didn’t actually enjoy it all that much.

2½/5 bananas

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thor the dark world

Thor: The Dark World– or as I like to call it- Loki 3 😉 And yeah, I keep thinking of Loki as the main star in all the movies he’s in, cos he’s often the most interesting character, with the best arcs. Especially cos, sadly, Thor doesn’t have a very good arc in this one. In fact, my favourite part he had in the movie was in Loki’s death scene… which makes me just sound like a Loki fangirl again- I can’t help it!! By far the worst part in this was how dull and impersonal the villains were. It does make sense that this movie is important for the MCU- especially with regards to the infinity stones- it’s just a shame it wasn’t explored in a more interesting way. That said, I did largely enjoy this movie- it’s not great, it’ll never go down as one of the better Marvel movies, but I think it’s entertaining (even seeing some London landmarks get destroyed… I’ll admit just about killed me when they smashed up Wren’s masterpieces!). Naturally, I also liked the captain’s cameo in this one!

3½/5 bananas

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captain america the winter soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier– I rewatched this one the most recently… and I have the least to say about it. I just got too absorbed in it to write notes. This is one of my favourites of every movie they’ve put out. Obviously, I knew the twists going in, and yet they still wowed me. I still felt the emotional punch. And I will admit, it made me cry (again)- cos POOR BUCKY!! I also really like the espionage element and how central Black Widow is to the plot. It really expands and develops on the themes of friendship- which I think are so integral to Cap’s character. Heroes- real heroes- like him make me all warm and fuzzy inside. As cheesy as it sounds, they’re a symbol for hope and justice- and that’s what I want in my superhero movies.

5/5 bananas

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guardians of the galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy– what an entertaining movie! I mean, everyone knows it is, so I’m kinda stating the obvious. I will admit, when I first watched this, I thought it was a tad overhyped, cos everyone and their mother told me it was *the best* superhero film ever. And in my opinion, it’s not that… it’s a hella lot of fun though! I love the comedy in this one and even the silly villain works in this kind of film. In fact, it’s thanks to him playing the straight man that the dance off for the universe works so well (easily the best bit of the movie). And somehow it manages to have emotional depth as well- particularly when it introduces the conflict between the daughters of Thanos. This was solid on the rewatch and I’ll happily give it another whirl soon. Plus, the fact it has an awesome soundtrack doesn’t hurt!

4½/5 bananas

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age of ultron.jpg

Avengers: Age of Ultron– I never liked this movie as much as the first Avengers. Annnd to be honest, my opinion hasn’t changed. It’s just okay. There’s not much about this that makes me excited. I did think Ultron’s voice is great. Also, seeing people’s weaknesses and faults was a great part of the movie- thanks to the fantastic inclusion/portrayal of the Scarlet Witch. Sadly though, the story didn’t feel cohesive enough for me. While I liked the quiet scene in the middle, I think it adds to that fragmentary feel to the whole piece. Despite all the explosions and destruction, I often felt distant from the stakes. I was pretty frustrated with the fact this brought in new characters just to kill them off- I feel it could’ve been more impactful if I’d had a chance to get to know them. In the end, this felt like just another sentient-robot-tries-to-destroy-the-world story- not a bad tale, yet one that I’ve come across a few too many times. I wish I enjoyed this movie as much as I want to:

3/5 bananas

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ant man

Ant Man– I will admit I had such low expectations for this… that said, this is a movie that fortunately doesn’t take itself too seriously- and ended up being awesome because of that! The style is vibrant and had a lot of laugh out loud moments. This movie definitely shows how Marvel has got its successful formula down. I also liked Hope as a character and Rudd was *fab*. Of course, I knew who the villain was the second I saw him, however he fulfilled his role sufficiently so I had no real complaints… until it was revealed he was a part of hydra (really?!) That unnecessary detail aside, I appreciated the other curveballs the story threw at me and thought there was great deal of excellent setup for the next movie… which you can hear about next time!

4/5 bananas

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Okay, I know there are probably a few more contentious points in this volume, so it’s with somewhat more trepidation that I ask: do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said here? Let me have it in the comments!

Monkey at the Movies: Marvel Phase 1

monkey at the marvel movies

I’ve always been a fan of superhero movies- from the old Christopher Reeve Superman to the Toby Maguire Spiderman (which I snuck into the cinema to see, cos I wasn’t quite 12 #whatarebel 😉). So obviously the last decade of Marvel films has been fun. I’d like to say that I kept up with all the exciting developments and stayed on track with all the releases… buuut that wouldn’t be strictly true. Let’s be real though: men in spandex can always coax me back 😉 (that sounds so much worse than I intended lol!) That’s why over the course of the last 9 months I’ve been *finally* catching up and rewatching all the Marvel movies (technically speaking I didn’t havae to rewatch the old ones, but hey, that just goes to show what a motivated monkey can do when they set their mind to something 😉). Which brings me to today- since Infinity War is just around the corner (and I don’t want all my aimless movie watching to be for nothing) I’ve decided that once a week for three weeks, I’ll pick up Cap’s shield and whizz through reviews for each phase. Enjoy!

(oh and *spoilers* of course- these films have been out for ages)

(also if I get the order slightly wrong according to the timeline… I don’t care)

(I’ll stop using brackets now I swear! onto the reviews!)

iron man

Iron Man– let’s get this party started with hunk of metal! I have to point out the obvious: Downey Jr is amazing in this role. He is a huge part of why this was a massive success- and consequently why Marvel was able to get this massive project off the ground. It’s a clever story too. Yes, we may be familiar with a lot of the now-typically-Marvel techniques of misdirection and framing- but no matter how many times I’ve seen this film, I still find it absorbing. All the components work so well, it’s emotional and there’s a *huge* amount of foreshadowing for Avengers 2 and even Civil War. It’s so cool to watch it back now and think “I know where that’s heading”. I’m not going to say this is a personal favourite- but it’s a great movie.

4½/5 bananas

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Captain America: The First Avenger– okay confession time: I am #TeamCap all the way. I will save you time accusing me of bias- I AM BIASED. And a huge amount of that is thanks to this first movie- cos I *love* it. The framing is fantastic, the plot is simple but effective and there is plenty of tension. This is thanks to having a really solid villain- a guy that is both too evil for Hitler and matches the hero in strength. I also love Bucky (aww poor Bucky!) and am forever moved by the emotional ending- it gets me every time! This is a story of real sacrifice and heroics- and is basically one of the reasons I got into this genre in the first place. There is another movie by DC (that shall go unnamed) which does try to do all of these things again- but I can safely say, having watched this more times than is healthy, Marvel did it better #sorrynotsorry

5/5 bananas

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incredible hulk

The Incredible Hulk– yes, I even watched this one, cos I am just that committed. No, it is not a good movie. It does have kinda cool visual effects and I love Edward Norton… However my love for him can only stretch so far- and as good as his acting is, giving real psychological depth to the character, the movie is boring because of these diversions. And what little there is in terms of plot makes next to no sense, because I can’t make head or tail of his motivations or plan (at one point he wants to prove to his daughter the hulk is dangerous by getting him to hulk out… therefore putting his daughter in danger?!) Ultimately, I just didn’t enjoy this one. The Stan Lee cameo is brilliant and I liked the end credit scene though.

2/5 bananas

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iron man 2.jpg

Iron Man 2– this is one I’m also not crazy about. I like the opening, the introduction of Black Widow and the end credit scene is a treat… Everything else is not great. Pepper does wayyy too much screaming. This one has to win the award for the most annoying villain (actually I think Iron Man might collectively have the worst villain). No one talks like a person in this movie either. And there’s not much character growth, making this feel unnecessary. Oh and the ending was godawful. This is turning into a list of complaints, so I’m gonna say I liked the link to the Thor movie and just move on from this messy movie.

2½/5 bananas

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thor

Thor– or as I like to call it, Loki 1 😉 I’ll be the first to admit, this is not an incredible movie. That said, I’ve always enjoyed it. Maybe it’s cos I’m okay with campy fantasy-style settings or more likely it’s cos I think there’s actually some real depth in some of the characterisation. Most notably, Loki’s arc is fascinating- since it all begins with a lie/half-truth that he could be king… which Odin knew full well wasn’t a real possibility. All the actors really pull their weight in this movie- it has a star cast and it shows. That said, Thor’s friends are a bit boring at times and there’s a lack of chemistry in the Thor/Jane relationship. Because of that, Thor’s transformation into a hero isn’t easy to buy. Other than that, there’s a couple of technical issues with the structure- such as the use of too many frames at the beginning and they’re not all employed well. If you’re not focusing too much on that though, I reckon most people can have a good time with this movie. So here’s my first (of many) unpopular opinions:

4/5 bananas

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avengers

Avengers Assemble– this movie rocks! From that tune dropping at the start and the opening credits rolling in, I always feel excited to see this movie. It’s pretty much the movie that will determine whether you’re gonna get into these movies or not. Sure, it’s not perfect- but it’s damn good fun! It’s a simple story, packed with humour and lovable characters (I’m still rooting for Cap). I really like how this allows so many characters from Fury to Black Widow to shine. Of course Loki is great value as a villain too- even if his plan is flawed (I mean, I get that he’s trying to infiltrate their base and make them fight each other… but he’s got an alien invasion coming anyway and they weren’t a team before that point so *not a great plan*). I do kinda get why Loki, who revels in chaos, would come up with a plan like that though. As much as he postures, he’s not so keen on actually leading, rather on stoking the flames… And being able to get into this about the character is one of the reasons it’s so great: there’s so much depth here! Even with a large cast, there seems to be plenty of room for the characters to develop (except for Hulk- I still don’t understand the whole “always angry” thing- what does that mean?!) As much as I like Loki, my favourite part is when Hawkeye outsmarts him and Hulk SMASH! While this movie falls into the category of summer blockbuster, I still believe there’s something groundbreaking in the way Whedon was able to bring such an ensemble together and balance emotion with entertainment. Well worth the rewatch:

4½/5 bananas

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So what are your thoughts on these movies? Are you a fan of Marvel? Do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said here? Let me know in the comments!