Monkey at the movies – Marvel Phase 3: FINALE!

monkey at the marvel movies

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

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

avengers endgame.png

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

spider man far from home

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…

4/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

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!

My Top 5 Austen Adaptations

I’ve been in a really romance-y mood lately… which has led me down an Austen adaptation rabbithole. Watching and rewatching a crazy amount of these has got me thinking about which ones are my favourites and I thought it would be fun to share them with you lovely people. Quick note: it’ll be glaringly obvious to fans that Mansfield Park is missing- that’s not cos there aren’t any good versions, it’s cos (as is no secret) I’ve never liked the story. Now that’s out of the way, onto the list!

 

BBC Pride and Prejudice- to my mind, this is THE BEST adaptation of anything, ever! Yes, this is my completely biased view 😉 I tend to rewatch this every. year. (thank you Beebs for including this in your boxsets!) This is, in every sense of the word, PERFECTION. The acting, the first class writing lifted from the book, the wonderful choice of locations… this is always going to be my favourite.

BBC Sense and Sensibility- so, confession time: I’m not hugely fond of the movie version- though it has some sensational performances from the likes of Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant, I feel like the story could’ve done with a bit more space to breathe. Which is why I was so excited to check out the new(ish) BBC adaptation- and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed! I watched this for the first time recently and almost felt the need to rewind and watch it all again. The acting and writing was brilliantly done- but most importantly this hit me right in the *feels*!

Emma 1996- this might be an unpopular opinion, because I think most people prefer the TV version (which is understandable, because that’s a great version too). In truth, I don’t know why I love this version so much- especially since I often prefer the TV serials for Austen, given they allow the stories to develop over a greater time span. That said, I simply LOVE the performances in this- particularly Jeremy Northam who is my definitive Mr Knightley (who, yes, just happens to be my favourite Austen love interest).

Northanger Abbey– even if this wasn’t the only Northanger Abbey version that I’ve seen, it’d make the list, because it’s a lot of fun! It’s completely different to a lot of other Austen adaptations, playing on some of the themes in quite a hilariously modern way, upping the imaginative gothic levels and heroines’ fantasies… and for some reason this rather tickled my fancy.

Persuasion 1995- I watched this most recently and I was delighted with it. I’d seen a more recent version and wasn’t quite blown away (especially disappointing because at the time I watched it I probably would’ve classed this as my favourite Austen). I was so happy with this version however and would definitely recommend it for those looking for an Austen fix! 

Have you seen any of these? Which are your favourite Austen adaptations? Let me know in the comments!

Rogue One vs The Last Jedi

 

monkey at the movies 2

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…

form50030

And raise it 5 bananas…

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

With that, all that’s left to say is: May the Fourth Be With You!

jedi orangutan0009

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!

Fantastic Beasts and Where It Went Off the Rails…

monkey at the movies 2

*With spoilers*

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 tick box

Stunning visuals- check tick box

Great story- ehh not so much… cross box clipart

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:

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

are we the baddies nazisNow 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.

dumbledore confused.gifNothing 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.

mcgonagall confusedSpeaking 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)

hermione bitch pleasePossibly *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!

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

… 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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

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!

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

captain america.jpg

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 
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

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

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!