Hello all! As promised in my monthly wrap up, I have some mini movie reviews for you today. There’s a little bit of the good, the bad and the ugly here (in that order) so sit tight, cos we’re in for a bumpy ride!
Carrie Pilby– charming, quirky and a lot of fun, this was thoroughly enjoyable. While it had indie vibes, it embraced classic storytelling. The character arcs were beautifully done- showing that even if Carrie is a genius, she doesn’t know everything after all. It also went further, showing how pain can reverberate across the years. All credit to the writers and actors, cos this was a super fun story. I’d happily rewatch it!
Rating: 4.5/5 bananas
The Woman in the Window– there are lots of angles through which to view this film: voyeuristically curious about the scandalous background of the author; from the perspective of a reader who read (and maybe even enjoyed) the book (like me); or just as someone who likes watching a good thriller. Yet none of those angles will make this film any more enjoyable. Because this film shows up all the shockingly awful decisions in the book. Without the flashy writing, the story just doesn’t seem to work. It’s convoluted, it’s poorly signposted and it’s all over the place. And none of the fancy camera work changes that. Even with modern technology, you can’t beat the likes of Rear Window (which this poorly tries to imitate). What made for an entertaining read (pre-authorial baggage) made for painful viewing.
Rating: 1/5 bananas
The Dig– eh- this wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good either. While the performances are good and the story decent, I found this forgettable. Mostly, because no one has a character arc. NO ONE. Either the protagonists or the people around them should change… but that’s not the case in this film. The protagonists have static arcs. The vague antagonists- who oppose the main archaeologist over class- continue to do so by the end. The only reason I was engaged in this movie was because Sutton Hoo is interesting- yet I don’t see why this couldn’t have been a documentary.
Rating: 3/5 bananas
Mary Queen of Scots– boy-oh-boy this takes liberties with history. It goes too far in my book, presenting Mary’s Catholicism as a marginalised belief… when it was the conservative and powerful position. To make matter worse, her faith is also portrayed as tolerant, having her say things like “we all go to the same heaven” and to a male character “you would make a lovely sister”. Even Queen Elizabeth I is oddly sentimental. It’s all in the name of woke feminism- which does not make for a logically coherent historical drama. But who cares about that when you can score brownie points, amiright?! In fairness, the history is *bonkers*. Looking up what actually happened kept me engaged throughout the movie- and damn, if they’d just gone with that, it would have been an excellent film. The problem is, they tried too hard to make Mary a flawless heroine, when she is better suited to the role of a tragic Shakespearean figure, whose fatal flaws are her undoing. BUT NO- the movie has to insist her dismissing every councillor makes her clever. And that it’s somehow everyone else’s fault when they turn against her. Oh and it’s also great to be compassionate (even if it costs lives). It’s funny, because the film is designed to be anti-English, yet to my mind, all it did was show how useless Mary was as a leader (even while carefully glossing over Mary’s plots to take Elizabeth’s throne, somehow trying to make her seem conciliatory). The juxtaposition of her rule with Elizabeth’s doesn’t help to make a case for her reign. This is exemplified in the scene where Mary and Elizabeth meet (which of course is entirely made up). Mary calls Elizabeth her inferior and says “I’m your queen”- to which Elizabeth takes off her wig and says “your gifts are your downfall”. Frankly this makes no sense- 1) because there’s NO WAY Mary could have said that to Elizabeth and lived another 20 years and 2) because the logical response would’ve been “says the woman who’s just lost a kingdom”. She didn’t lose the kingdom because she was pretty FFS- she did so because she didn’t know how to rule. It’s just so ironic that this is the best case they could come up with for Mary Queen of Scots. If they hadn’t been trying so hard to be woke and refusing to acknowledge a female character’s flaws, this could’ve been a damn good drama. Ultimately however, as much as I enjoyed how it was shot, the acting, the history, it was a colossal waste of time.
Rating: 2.5 bananas
That’s all for now! Have you seen any of these? What did you think of them? Am I being too harsh? Let me know in the comments!
(not actually trying to make a LOTR reference… though who am I kidding that’s totally a reference 😉)
Hello all! Very very very exciting news! All my work-stuff paid off and I got a new job in libraries! I’m going full time!! And I’m really, really happy about it!!! Not sure where my blogging will be at while I get into the swing of things- WE SHALL SEE (she says ominously 😉 ) Please bear with me!
Other than that, we’re also starting to see the light (okay maybe only the outside of pubs 😉 ) in England. Hopefully, hopefully things will start looking up soon! *CHEERS!*
With the application/interview, I’ve fallen into a bit of a reading slump, so haven’t got a lot to talk about this month. But there’s still some gems to share. First though, I watched a fab film:
Karate Kid– have you ever rewatched something 20 or so years later and it’s like experiencing it for the first time? Well, this is what it was like to rewatch Karate Kid. It felt faintly familiar and comforting- and yet I was delighted by how fresh it felt. Feel good and with strong characters, it’s one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in a long time (twenty years or so I’d say 😉). I loved the spirit of the story and the goodie vs baddie themes. It’s got some real depth to it as well- teaching the viewer not to simply become what we hate- but be something better. It’s very powerful stuff and incredibly inspiring 😊
The Happiest Man on Earth– you perhaps won’t expect to find a holocaust memoir to be one of the most uplifting books I’ve ever read- but that’s exactly what this is. It’s obviously hard to read at times and has some harrowing stories, however ultimately this was a beautifully life-affirming read. A real quick read, I was shocked by some of the revelations and at times wondered if this was the unluckiest man on earth. And yet- and yet– somehow he managed to survive. More than that, Jaku built a life for himself and his family. He never allowed himself to become less than human- no matter what circumstances tried to strip that from him. He is a shining example of humanity.
Rating: 5/5 bananas
Tiny Beautiful Things- compiled of letters to and from an agony aunt dubbed Sugar, this had the miraculous ability to be in part a touching life-advice and part memoir. Though I didn’t agree with every piece of advice, the warmth and sweetness behind Sugar’s every word was undeniable. I will admit that I did find I had to take some of the letters with a pinch of salt- some of the suggestions were a bit too saccharine and out of touch with (my) reality. That said, I think I got a lot out of reading this- not just for the author’s take, but the immensely powerful stories of everyone that wrote to her. And, after reading this, I very much look forward to reading the author’s fiction.
Rating: 4/5 bananas
Then She Was Gone– I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I just really like Lisa Jewell’s books. Yes, they’re not traditionally thrilling thrillers; yes, the “twists” are more than a little obvious. AND YET, even if I can sense the exact steps the narrative will take towards its conclusion, I just really appreciate the journey. Focusing more on the lives of victims than villains, this book was very much focused on the explosion of horror into a normal life. Though absorbing, it was not for the typical reasons I find a thriller absorbing. Rather I was compelled to witness an unravelling of the cruel realities that make up so many crimes. Jewell imagines lives touched by tragedy with startling empathy. And of course, Jewell always has that magic way of making her characters real and genuinely good.
Rating: 4.5/5 bananas
Court of Silver Flames– I have issues; I really don’t know why I read this book. I knew very well that I was unlikely to enjoy it- I was dissatisfied with the ending in ACOWAR and thought ACOFAS was a waste of time. So, I should’ve known this wouldn’t be for me. Still, the ending of the series had left me wanting more… And I didn’t get that here. Unless you count lots more of Maas’ infamous sex scenes. Lots and lots of sex scenes. Ones that I didn’t find particularly sexy (somehow talk of “impaling” doesn’t exactly do it for me). Unfortunately there isn’t much to say beyond that. The story was a kind of formless blob. The plot was all over the place. Apart from the “romance” (*ahem*), it’s just a jumbled mess. Many times I questioned, where the hell is this going? (Minor spoiler: in a freakishly Breaking Dawn direction apparently). I did think the ending was saved by a moment of grace and proof that the whole story had been in service of character development (even if it didn’t seem that way while I reading). This somewhat saved the reading experience for me. That and the fact that, as a character, Nesta occasionally grabbed my attention… except when she was moaning “boohoo it sucks to be an all-powerful immortal”. Honestly, I have to hold my hands up and admit it was my fault for reading this in the first place. I really need to have some s(h)elf control and stop picking up books from this author- for my own good!!
Rating: 2.5/5 bananas
That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you all had a good month! ❤
Okay, one of these days I’m going to announce a comeback and properly do a comeback. What with work, getting to see my brother for the first time in 6 months (yay!) and a few other things, I’ve not had time to do bloghopping like I wanted to. I’m gonna try and juggle things around so that I’m able to do that… *fingers crossed*.
On the plus side, I’ve been more creative lately and experimenting with new artsy ideas, which (hopefully) will mean I’ll be posting more on Instagram soon.
In other news, I rearranged my bookshelves while I was doing my spring cleaning (and I must say they’re looking rather purty… possibly cos I can see even more of my favourites when I look at them 😉)
And as you can imagine I read some *amazing* things that I’m excited to share. But first… film time!
Descendants– I don’t know if I’ve mentioned these movies before, but I rewatched the entire trilogy with my sister last month, so thought I’d mention (/remind everyone) how much I adore them! If you like cutesy and fun Disney channel movies, then I highly recommend them. It’s about the kids of Disney villains being allowed to live with heroes… and as you can imagine shenanigans ensue. Everything about these are great: the concept, the dance numbers, the songs, the characters… Even my mum (whose age I won’t disclose) loved them. By far the best kid-friendly entertainment from Disney channel 😊
Always and Forever, Lara Jean– Oof this was a disappointment for me. I know the book divided some opinions- however I personally I loved how it moved away from the romance a little, focused more on failure and captured more of a coming-of-age vibe. The movie didn’t do that for me- it was ALL about the romance. Sure, her relationship had featured in her dreams, yet it had been much more about connecting with her mother’s life and wanting to follow in her footsteps. That was taken out in favour of done-to-death themes like miscommunication and very, very important issues (like trying to find their “couple song”). I also disliked how it removed the down-to-earth aspects of having them try for more accessible colleges… instead doing the typical Hollywood thing of focusing on top unis. Call me crazy, but I liked that this was a normal, quirky couple rather than the VERY BEST MOST TALENTED HIGH SCHOOLERS IN THE COUNTRY (like we’re used to seeing in every single teen movie). If you were one of the people that didn’t like the book, I’m sure you will enjoy this adaptation more. And if you were one of the people who did like it you can still find it enjoyable… provided you lower your expectations.
A Heart So Fierce and Broken/Vow so Bold and Deadly– I actually promised myself I wasn’t going to continue with this series… and look how that turned out! Can’t say I feel bad about that, because I really liked the second book. Even though I enjoyed Harper as a main character, I was surprised to find I liked the new perspectives much, much more. It seems I wasn’t as attached to her as I thought. I thought the new princess and court was fascinating and was intrigued by the direction of the story. The issues I had suspending my disbelief were resolved… more or less. Unfortunately, the promise faded a little bit in the finale when a lot of the old characters came back. I was even less interested in them than I was before and the lacklustre villain was back (cue muted *dun dun dunnn*s all around). It was fine as a conclusion, yet I stand by my original stance that this series isn’t really for me.
Rating: 3½/5 bananas
Yes to Life in Spite of Everything– I mentioned this book briefly last month. These newly published lectures reinforced a lot of the life-affirming messages from Frankl… and took them further. It taught me about how we find happiness, even in hard times and because of the struggles we go through. We learn about ourselves from how we deal with hardship. It is a necessary and important part of life. We cannot erase our pain, for without it, we would not be who we are. We can (and should) find meaning in every part of our lives- even the parts we do not wish to look at closely. Life is in its own right meaningful and beautiful. Beyond the personal guidance, this also has a significant message for society, arguing against collective guilt (which I think is something we would all benefit from today). To put it simply: HELL YES TO THIS BOOK!
Rating: 5/5 bananas
The Fire of Joy– what a pleasure this collection was! So many of the poems lit me up with joy. And I really appreciated the (often personalised) analysis after each one. As it’s a collection of poetry that’s designed to be read aloud, I hope one day there will be an audiobook. Either way, I want a copy of my own now and I highly recommend it.
Rating: 5/5 bananas
Lovely War– I have to say I loved the tone of this book. It’s a great idea to nestle WWI love stories inside the perspectives of the Greek gods. I really liked the way the narrative was told from the points of views of all of these “witnesses”. Oddly enough, though this stylistic choice was the book’s greatest asset, it did make me feel a little distant from the mortal characters. That said, it held a certain magic and I thought the ending was truly beautiful.
Rating: 4/5 bananas
Blade Runner– I don’t read much classic sci fi and I often don’t love it… but I really appreciated this one! It was completely engaging from beginning to end and dealt with such interesting questions. Predominantly revolving around the topic of empathy, the narrative asks us where our limits are, what kinds of people gain our sympathy and where are our shortcomings. The story doesn’t give us any straightforward answers. The protagonist is rocked to his core with these concepts… and yet he is unable to move beyond the person he is at the beginning of the story, with the ending mirroring the opening. It is a very clever story. The one thing that I can say Phillip K Dick got wrong was that January 2021 wasn’t nearly as advanced technologically and was far more dull than he envisaged 😉
Rating: 4½/5 bananas
Anxious People– I have a little trepidation to say I didn’t expect that much from this book… but I’ll boldly say this blew me away! To put it simply: this is a heartwarming story of a bank robber (yes, you read that right!) The story held me hostage for a day- I could not stop reading! It was compulsive, witty and made me laugh so many times. I loved the portraits that Backman drew of so many unique types of people. I felt like I was in the room with them, getting to know them each in turn and loving them for being so delightfully human. I couldn’t stop thinking about the book afterwards (and raving about it to everyone in earshot… and dragging some people over who were just minding their own business to tell them how great this book was!) By far my favourite Backman… so far!
Rating: 5/5 bananas
I Found You– this hit me in a much more emotional way than I expected (which could also be a result of when I read it). Though it’s largely told from the perspective and (missing) memories of a man, this ended up being a striking story of women’s issues. Dealing with very dark themes, it also managed to bring some heart to the story, making me connect with the characters in a way that I don’t often do with thrillers. I think the biggest shocker for me was how I was so moved by it. It felt less like a psychological thriller and more a tale of love and loss. I’ve seen some complaints on goodreads about how slow paced it was and I get it… but I also didn’t care in this case.
Rating: 4½/5 bananas
Girl A– I don’t get what was the big deal with this book- sorry! And if I’d known what this book was actually going to be, I wouldn’t have picked it up. Largely that comes down to mismarketing. Why was it compared to Gillian Flynn??! Why was it described as a thriller when it wasn’t remotely thrilling or suspenseful? Were we reading the same book?! This was a literary fiction about child abuse… and I wouldn’t have read it if I’d known that. I don’t know why publishers constantly have to dress books up as something entirely different to what they are- all it means is that they find the wrong audience and irritate readers. And this book was not for me in any way. I didn’t enjoy the internal monologue-y style- I felt it resulted in too much telling and distanced me emotionally from the characters. I also hated how the narrative structure jolted from past to present and from perspective to perspective in the space of a paragraph- it was so confusing to read! I’ve also read the same story many times… done so much better (unfortunately I can’t give examples because of spoilers). I’ve also enjoyed many slower paced thrillers (see above)- yet sadly this one did nothing for me. I didn’t hate it, I just wish I hadn’t bothered with it.
Rating: 3/5 bananas
Thorn– this was a very sharp take on the Goose Girl. As a retelling, it was unique. It spun the tale from a different angle, laying out how the princess does not crave power and would rather escape into obscurity. This cleverly explores the question of agency, making her more than just a victim of circumstance. It is also an empowering statement- even if victims allow people to take advantage of them, they truly have the power to take back that control at any moment. It shows both sides of passivity- the strengths and weaknesses. The story itself delved deep into the idea of how survival is strength. As you can probably tell, I really appreciated how unusually developed the characters were in this YA. Definitely recommend for fans of YA retellings!
Rating: 4/5 bananas
That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you all had a good month! ❤
I’ve never shied away from sharing my unpopular opinions, so I figured I might as well go down swinging 😉 Considering this was a massive box office and critical success (and it just won an Oscar for whatever that’s worth) this could very well be my most controversial opinion. And I know a lot of people might think I’ve simply got my old-lady-monkey-knickers in a twist, because it wasn’t the same as the old movies in the franchise and it didn’t live up to my nostalgia-fuelled perceptions of what makes a good Toy Story movie annnnd… you may very well be right. BUT here’s the thing: I don’t just think this failed as a Toy Story movie- I think this failed as a film in general. Which is why you should beware the upcoming *harsh thoughts* and be warned for *scary spoilers lie ahead!*
A lot of you might be wondering why I bothered to watch this in the first place (and, believe me, I’m asking myself the same question now). Truth is, I wasn’t sure I would, but was persuaded- both by an incredibly enthusiastic sister and the fact that Toy Story 3 had exceeded expectations. That had miraculously turned out to be a marvellous movie. For me, it was the perfect way to end the franchise and a beautiful finale for our favourite toys. The message of toys moving on to make more children happy was a very positive one (and doubtless helped me be less of a hoarder 😉). When I heard about Toy Story 4, I wasn’t sure where they could go with it, but the question of “what makes toys sentient” seemed interesting enough…
Only that’s not what the movie was about. Despite all the marketing, the spork supposedly-at-the-centre of the narrative is merely a gimmick. Instead of an interesting next-chapter-of-the-story, what I got was a formless mess of a movie and a miserable-as-hell tale of existential despair. I kid you not. Because this is the story of how Woody loses his sense of purpose, gets really depressed about it, fails to turn things around, then goes off to live a life of meaningless “pleasure” (if you can call lying in wait for random children to toss you around in a park pleasure). If this mirrors the idea of kids going off to college and leaving their parents behind, then the message is… do nothing with your retirement, just drink mimosas till you inevitably die. It feels less like Woody is going off into the sunset and more like he’s being shoved into an old age home.
Weirdly enough, the villains get a happier ending. That’s right- the toy who does the equivalent of ripping out Woody’s kidney gets a sort-of-redemption arc (although I hesitate to call it that, since it’s more of a “you’ve got to understand where I’m coming from and forgive me” arc). I’m sorry, this felt unsatisfying, cos the writers didn’t do the work to justify her redemption. Rewarding the villains for their villainy just felt all wrong.
Now, as many will be keen to point out, there was always darkness in Toy Story movies. Yet this was different- because where there had always been exploration of insecurities and change and hardship, there was always a sense of hope at the end. Toy Story 3 is the best exemplar of this: it left us with the notion that your purpose doesn’t end with a new chapter. That you can find another kid and go on. Here, we get the argument that your life’s goal was meaningless all along, you weren’t all that important to begin with and you may as well just live for yourself until you eventually fall apart.
To me, that goes counter to all the messaging of the franchise. So much of those was about friendship and sacrifice and living for others. Toy Story 4 takes the meaning and wonder and positivity of the originals and spits it out. I know I’m in the minority- nonetheless that leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth.
And can we just take a moment to talk about how crap the characters are? It’s worse than that most of them get barely any lines and feel sort of neutered- they’re actively unlikeable at times. Bizarrely, the toys main goal seems to be to punish innocent humans and get the dad sent to jail?! Okay- where did that come from? I think they were trying to be funny? I guess?
Don’t worry though, the spork gets a character arc *she says sarcastically*. I mean, if you can call being suicidal and then being cured by a good talking to a character arc. Again, this is played for laughs- it’s not exactly deep. Especially since Woody doesn’t follow his advice.
On the subject of Sporky I’ve also got to say a big, fat WHAT THE HELL?!?! Cos what is wrong with those parents?!?! Why would they encourage her to hug a literal piece of trash at night?!?! It came out of the rubbish and is dirty and disgusting. When the kid falls asleep, you take it away and quietly put it back in the bin!! I’m genuinely concerned about how sanitary the people who made this movie are.
Also, just going to take a moment to get on the Bonnie-hate-train, cos she’s the worst. She was given the most amazing toy in the world, asked to take special care of it… annnnd immediately becomes infatuated with a spork. Ugh.
I know I’m focusing too much on the human characters- but that’s because this movie gives them too big of a role. Unlike all the other movies, which were so focused on the toy’s arcs, most of them don’t really do all that much. Buzz is an idiot; Bo has had a personality transplant; Woody is depressed and doggedly doing illogical things in order for the plot to work; and the rest of the gang may as well not be there.
Personally, there wasn’t a single thing I enjoyed about this movie. I thought the messages were awful and it was yet another Disney cashgrab. I wish they would stop turning (mostly children’s) franchises into nihilistic, humourless “comedies”, but here we are, I guess. Disney just can’t seem to stop raping and pillaging their old movies. I’m gonna try and do my best to turn a blind eye… until the next time I inevitably fall for this trick 😉
Rating: banana peel!
(which shouldn’t offend the creators, since they think trash is good!)
Dare I ask, have you seen it? Do you think I’m being fair or too harsh? Let me know in the comments!
It’s finally here: my super-late, overlong, fangirly reviews for the last few movies in Marvel Phase 3! I reviewed all the other movies in Phase 3 back in March (and Phase 1 and Phase 2 before that). And now here we are *dun dun dunnn*. Get ready for some HOT TAKES and (possibly) *controversial* opinions…
Captain Marvel– Okay definitely going to be *controversial* with this review, cos I didn’t like this movie at all. A lot of the criticism (and in turn praise) for this film has been its blatant political activism and similar complaints about the lead actress. Now, personally I think Bree’s a pretty good actress buuut she just wasn’t given anything interesting to do and the activism was definitely this movie’s downfall. It’s unquestionable that the agenda for this movie drove all the plot points- you can tell who the villain will be and who the goodies are just by playing the identity politics game (even if it doesn’t make any logical sense from the opening gambit, I just knew what the twist was gonna be). And of course, the main character is a woman so, by modern Hollywood standards, that means she’s a plank of wood with no personality and no weaknesses. Because of course. As a woman, I couldn’t be more bored of these bland non-characters, but who cares what I think, writing Mary Sues ticks the *strong independent woman who don’t need no man* box, so we should all stand up and applaud! Sorry, I know I’m getting salty- alas there just wasn’t anything I liked about this movie. And no, you don’t need to watch it to enjoy Endgame. It’s probably too late to spare anyone the snoozefest, but I can safely say you can ignore the marketing on that front.
Rating: 2/5 bananas
Avengers: Endgame– *spoilers*, of course, because this has been out for ages (also I have *a lot* of thoughts!) This was epic! And it felt like such a great send off for the original Avengers. From the powerful opening scenes, Endgame doesn’t pull any punches. We’re given a chance to feel brief elation and then snapped back to despair as we realise this hasn’t changed anything. For a while, we’re left stewing in that failure- which really sets the bleak tone and gives weight to everything our heroes consequently do. I love how this incredibly fantastical movie made me feel that there were true stakes at play. And that’s when we get our solution: time heist! Which allows for a super fun adventure to ensue. Of course, the emotional wheel doesn’t stop turning and there are still some tear-jerking moments to come. And while the structure of the film is unusual- relying heavily on everything that’s come before- I definitely felt the weight of every single decision. That’s the massive achievement of this film- it doesn’t just give you a rundown of the previous movies- it’s makes you invested in this last hurrah. The tension rises and rises, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the final act.
Now, having said the stakes were high, my personal preference would’ve been for Tony to risk his present timeline for the sake of the world- proving that he put the fate of the world above his own happiness and therefore experienced the greatest amount of growth… however I understand why the writers decided to table that idea in order not to have the whole story play out as “would you kill baby Thanos” (a question they answered well). And I thought that, ultimately, Iron Man’s ending made perfect sense. To me, it’s a massive part of his character that he wasn’t going to stop until it killed him- but I was glad that when he finally met his end it was for someone else’s sake.
I did also like the Cap’s ending- it was sweet and the best possible outcome for him. Black Widow’s though… ahhh!!! Sorry, lost for words. It was a heartwrenching scene and made the most of the character. Also, I’ve gotta admit, after seeing Captain Marvel I was *so relieved* it wasn’t just the Carol Danvers show. It would’ve been such uninspiring storytelling to have her just zap everything better- especially cos that would’ve taken away from all the original cast (plus, no amount of other characters saying “I like her” will make me magically like her). The new characters were incorporated brilliantly: I was ecstatic when Tchalla, Spidy and the rest came back; I was cheering them on when they were running the gauntlet and I loved the epic battle to the death!
Honestly, there was only one part of the movie I wasn’t happy with: Thor had become a shadow of his former self. And I don’t mean that he was pushed to the limit like the other characters. I mean, it felt like the writers decided they didn’t like his character much… so his entire arc consisted of gaining weight and making dad jokes. It was pretty unsatisfying and left a bad taste in my mouth if I’m honest.
Still, it was a genuinely funny movie at times, it packed so much in and it did a great job of paying off allll the creative work that had gone into this saga. Marvel really rewarded its fans for sticking with this super long serialised story. I for one was certainly glad of time I invested in the franchise.
Rating: 4½/5 bananas
Spider Man: Far From Home– okay so you should probably all know I have a soft spot for Spidy, so I had to watch this. And it was a good time! It was laugh out loud, really enjoyable and it was the best movie to follow on from Endgame. Not just cos it had a lighter tone, but because it tied into Iron Man really well. I liked that this was a way to really let us feel his sacrifice again. One downside of this movie was that the twist was SO FRICKIN OBVIOUS. I mean, it was great that Peter Parker got to be smart in this movie- but gosh how could he be so dumb!! I guess you could play it off as him being a kid- which was done well to be fair. But yeah, that villain wasn’t in the slightest bit mysterious. Having said that, it was a fun movie, with cute moments (loved every scene with MJ!) and the ending was sweet. To be honest, I could’ve let the whole predictable element slide if not for those end credit scenes… The first one wasn’t so bad- it was just frustrating knowing we’re not going to get a Spider Man movie that actually pays it off. The second one I didn’t like at all though because I liked the role Nick Fury had in the movie (even if he had acted out of character). So yeah, kinda left feeling *irritated* knowing that Spidy is out of the MCU. I was entertained though, so…
Okay, these were on the most part positive viewing experiences… whichhhh is why it’ll probably come as a surprise that I’m pretty much done with Marvel movies. To be frank, I will always be interested in any Spider Man films and I want to see the last Guardians story play out, but I’m not enthused by most of the upcoming characters. Without Spider Man taking up the helm of Iron Man and with Captain Marvel poised to take on the leadership mantel and whatever role the wizard-or-whatever Dr Strange is playing, I can’t say I’m interested. Not to say that I don’t think other people will have fun with them (and I sincerely hope they make everyone that goes to see them very happy). But personally, I think Endgame is a great note on which to bow out.
So, have you seen these movies? Do you plan to? And what are your thoughts on future Marvel movies? Let me know in the comments!
I could end this review simply stating: everything The Last Jedi does wrong, Rogue One gets right. I mean, it’s no secret that I gave The Last Jedi a banana peel in my mini review (and if it is, *surprise*, even if that was in no way surprising). Also unsurprisingly, I don’t want to spend all my precious time dwelling on a movie I didn’t like- buuut the thing is when I was watching Rogue One I couldn’t stop comparing the two movies. Because in every area that TLJ was deficient, Rogue One restored my faith in Star Wars (well, in the sense that I’ll happily go back and watch the originals, at this stage I’ll pay money not to see the new ones 😉).
Let’s start with the fact that Rogue One MIRACULOUSLY had compelling characters. I know, what a *crazy, out-there concept*. Somehow, the writers figured out that giving Jin a solid backstory and reasons for doing things would actually make me care about her 😉. One of the most frustrating things about TLJ is that it could’ve been half decent- if they hadn’t forgotten to fill us in on all the whys and wherefores and skipped straight to “subverting expectations”. In order for that to even work, you’ve got to start with the basics building blocks of characterisation. You’ve got to give them motivations and fixed personality traits. I mean, it’s the bare minimum expectation when it comes to stories: it should all make sense internally. Sadly, in TLJ characters acted with so much inconsistency it made my head spin. Doing this for Rogue One made for a far more satisfying adventure.
Funnily enough, this movie also recognised the need for characters to have different roles, making them fulfil different purposes in the story. Putting my sarcasm aside- I have to *explode with rage* for a second that in both Force Awakens and TLJ this wasn’t seen as a crucial part of storytelling, cos Rey had to kick-all-the-butts. Making Rey *all the characters* is the perfect way to create a Mary Sue- and a good way to alienate a large proportion of your audience. Far more entertaining is to do what Rogue One did: have a pilot, a rogue, a fighter and a sort of jedi. All of whom bounced off each other dramatically and organically grew together. Wowee, the main characters actually get character arcs and it works!
Paying close attention character development is the least of it though. Not only does Rogue One avoid all the little flaws that made TLJ so unbearable, it also managed to create an interesting narrative. There’s actual tension and real conflict- and not just “because the plot demands it”. There’s none of that contrived drama where the commander and subordinate bicker constantly over the need to have a plan vs let’s just wing it (JK I secretly have a plan all along). Add some genuinely *scary* villains to counterbalance the hero’s aims and you have a plot! Together with real stakes and a moving conclusion, you have an actual movie. The sole downside of Rogue One is that (obviously) if you know the original trilogy, you will guess every plot point before it happens. That said, I was predictably a blubbering mess by the end, so clearly the sense of inevitability doesn’t get in the way of its tragic delivery. If anything, it only heightened my foreboding (I would like to do an experiment and show this to someone that’s never seen Star Wars before though- I reckon it would destroy them emotionally *evil laughs*).
After seeing Rogue One, I can understand why fans are divided about these movies. Rogue One fans just wanted to see a well-structured story with fun characterisation; TLJ folk wanted something totally different. And I get that. But I would argue, Rogue One did it better, even in this regard. Yes, Rogue One is standard sci fi fare… and yet, it’s also moving, visually stunning and had a bold ending. Relying on strong storytelling principles, I was transported to a galaxy far, far away. And that tragic twist meant the story not only played the game, but did something out of this world. That’s why there’s a clear winner here. I hereby take my banana peel for The Last Jedi…
And raise it 5 bananas…
With that, all that’s left to say is: May the Fourth Be With You!
So, have you seen either of these movies? What did you think of them? Did you have a preference? Let me know in the comments!
Well, look at me being late to the party as usual. By now, if you’re at all interested in Crimes of Grindelwald, you’ll probably be aware that a lot of people have been saying that this movie was a mess. They say it was poorly structured and pointless- and they’re totally, unequivocally, inarguably right- buuut… I was surprised to find I still enjoyed it. Perhaps this was fuelled by my nostalgia, perhaps it was because I had such low expectations going in- but honestly I think this film does have a fair number of qualities to make the viewing experience a good time:
Compelling characters- check
Stunning visuals- check
Great story- ehh not so much…
I will freely admit that there were interesting parts to the story to keep me engaged- mostly stemming from the fact that the characters work well. This is particularly true of Leta Lestrange and Newt Scamander, who I love, and who demonstrate that not all heroes have to be sword-wielding Gryffindors (though a little more Ravenclaw love in these movies wouldn’t go amiss 😉). I also particularly liked the way Crimes of Grindelwald examined Leta’s view of herself as evil. And as someone that’s spent a long time asking for subtler villains, I can say I sort of got my wish… but more on that in a second. Cos before I go ahead and say anything else, I want to give this movie 3/5 bananas:
Now you have proof I didn’t hate this movie- let’s go ahead and see why it’s such a monstrous muddle. We can start where I left off: with the baddies. Once again, Rowling has embraced the Nazi metaphor- because no one else in history was evil like the Nazis. While the imagery is strong, I do think Rowling’s view of Nazis comes across as a little confused. There’s supposed to be this scary implication that Grindelwald’s followers hid behind “we’re better than that” slogans and were allegedly claiming to be pro-freedom. Problem is, Nazis were openly for state control and beating people up for being on the wrong side before they got into power. They also weren’t hiding their genocidal tendencies as people like to believe. So, no, people saying they’re pro-freedom is not code for Nazism and does not have the sinister undertones this implies. And while I’ve been begging for better villains, there is such a thing as being too subtle.
This is only a minor nitpicky issue though, particularly when taken with the fact that I do think the line “the greater good” is sufficiently shiver-inducing. What will be more troubling to general movie-goers is the way mystery and plot twists are handled. Holding this up against HP’s/Agatha Christie’s standard, it falls short. Largely because in those mysteries, the clues are such that everything can be worked out, even if it’s challenging to do so. Take the Sirius Black Easter eggs from chapter 1 of the Philosopher Stone. You get so many hints early in the series that tell you *exactly* where it’s going. It doesn’t mean you can work it out (like RAB) but that when it all comes together you have that OHHH moment (like Snape’s story). Here, the twists feel cheap, because there’s no way of knowing where it’s going before you get there. For instance, this plot point:
Leta’s brother is dead, we’re told he’s dead, except maybe he’s Credence… oh no way he’s definitely dead because Leta switched him with another random boy on the boat.
Nothing has actually changed in terms of the original information and we’ve got no clues as to who Credence is from that snippet and the audience *shrugs its shoulders*. When it is revealed that Credence is Aurelius Dumbledore, it feels even lousier. There are only two clues for this- that aren’t really clues at all: the talk of a phoenix earlier in the movie (which feels more like a movie tie-in) and Dumbledore talking about Credence needing a sibling (which only stands to reinforce the Credence Lestrange theory at that stage). These really just point to it not being a Grindelwald lie, rather than feeling like earned hints at a larger plot. More importantly, in my view, it contradicts existing canon- you know, where Dumby allegedly told Harry everything?! If this whole brother thing was so integral to that story, how come he never came up?! And couldn’t he have had a joke at Rita Skeeter’s expense, something along the lines of “that incompetent bint didn’t even know about my secret brother!” Ultimately, this feels like an inferior way to connect the two series and is something I will never be fully on board with. It’s such a curveball that I’ve found myself embracing ridiculous theories- not only to make sense of it but also cos these theories would at least make for an entertainingly bonkers story.
Speaking of ridiculous things that can only be made sense of with bad theories- WHAT THE HELL IS MCGONAGALL DOING IN THIS MOVIE!?!? And don’t try to say this is possible when a) it contradicts the fact that she says *in the books* she’s been teaching at Hogwarts 39 years. Now it doesn’t take a genius to calculate that HP was written in the 90s and that this is the 20s- so THIS DOESN’T ADD UP- GAH!) and b) they deliberately went to lengths to remove her age on Pottermore to cover up this error. The only theory that can make sense of this blunder is time turners- and we all know how well that works in HP fanfic *coughs* Cursed Child *coughs cough*. My personal opinion is that this is lazy retconning from Rowling- ie “McGonagall was over a hundred all along”. Naturally my response is ughhhh. This, together with making Dumbledore teach defence against the dark arts, is just a lazy addition that didn’t need to be there. Especially since it’s designed to make fans all fuzzy and warm inside… but will likely only succeed in driving us to *oblivate* this detail from our too-well-versed in Potterlore memories.
And, yes, this may seem petty, but the reason this is so frustrating is cos for the most part this film seems designed just for real fans. My sister didn’t know what was going on half the time and my mum gave up. I had to keep filling them in. And that’s with the confusion caused by *all of the above*. What’s ridiculous is that some of the deleted scenes can make sense of the story- eg how Credence came back, what Credence’s relationship with Nagini was etc. This is most likely due to the modern trend of trying to force movies to fit run time- regardless of content- and it’s such a huge mistake when it comes at the cost of coherent storytelling. The original opening was vital information- DON’T CUT IT! (cut one of the less important, rambly chase scenes or something)
Possibly *the worst* new addition, however, is the magical gizmo that means Dumby and Grindlewald can’t fight. The original version- and what JK implied- was that Dumbledore didn’t want to fight because he didn’t want to find out who killed Ariana. Plus had some conflicted feelings about it cos he used to be “friends” with Grindelwald. While this change can make sense of how Ariana was killed by accident, this doesn’t make up for the fact that this ruins a meaningful, moving element of the original series. Really, it doesn’t make sense to me to trample on what already existed in order to make this sub-par movie.
Forgive me if this review’s been all over the place- the truth is it’s hard to discuss a sloppy structure in a linear fashion. I hope there’s more rising action in this post than there was in the movie 😉 Again, I’d like to reiterate I had fun watching this, but that doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to its faults. And honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if this series is dead in the water.
So- dare I ask- what did you think of this film? Do you agree with any of my points or am I being a bit harsh? Let me know in the comments!
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– 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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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).
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 😉
… although my opinion on this movie is subject to change…
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 😀
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!
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– 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.
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!
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.
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!
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:
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!
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!
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– 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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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:
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!