2016 Summer of Movies: Is It The Greatest Comic Movie Of All Time?

Captain America: Civil War 5/5

I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just say this:

This is easily a contender for the best comic book based movie of all time.

How the Russo brothers directed a movie that had like 10 movies inside it, and upwards of 15 significant characters, and it doesn’t feel like a mess is one of hell of an accomplishment.

This isn’t sparring. This is fighting. This is characters ideologically opposed and motivated. And it all works.

I already feel like this is the best Spider-Man we’ve ever seen and he’s only in it as much as Hawkeye plus a post-credits scene.

I wondered thoughts before the movie that I thought would be kayfabe breaking in the film, but they explained those away in ways that actually make sense and get you to buy in.

For instance, if you’ve followed Tony Stark through the films then you understand his decision making, so you buy it. If you’ve followed Captain America, you understand why he opposes this, so you buy it. You understand why the teams are split as they are.

I’ve seen some flak tossed towards the villain Zemo in the film, but he isn’t the villain. He’s a villain. To be honest, who you define as the Big Bad in the movie is up to your viewing experience.

The first act works to establish the film. The second act with airport scene is the greatest, peak-est, lit-est, straight fire comic book scene of all time. The third act dials things back down in scale, but keeps the stakes high just as you think they were going away.

There is some really creative action sequences and inspired action scenes. The humour is perfect. And it even gets dark and intense, without feeling jarring and gross.

I’m going to see this multiple times. Its so excellent.

I will literally answer all your questions.

nod

Previously:

To Come:

  • Keanu (April 29)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (June 3)
  • Popstar: Never Stop Singing (June 3)
  • Warcraft (June 10)
  • Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
  • Star Trek Beyond (July 15)
  • Jason Bourne (July 29)
  • Suicide Squad (August 5)
  • Sausage Party (August 12)

Maybe’s of the Summer

  • Money Master (May 13)
  • Neighbours 2 (May 20)
  • The Nice Guys (May 20)
  • Now You See Me 2 (June 10)
  • The Legend of Tarzan (July 1)
  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (July 8)
  • Ghostbusters (July 15)
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Summer Movie Reviews: Now With 100% More Ants

Ant-Man 3.5/5

Let us get something out of the way. I am a comic book fan boy, and even I had my doubts about Ant-Man. However, this a legitimately good movie.

It won’t light the world on fire, but if we’re ranking single-hero movies (aka not Winter Soldier, Guardians or Avengers), this is the best Marvel flick since Iron Man.

It doesn’t feel like a “big, dumb action CGI” movie as much as it does feel like a heist movie with a ridiculous concept. Some of my favourite movies are heist movies (Oceans 11 & 13 and The Italian Job come to mind, both classic and modern versions). This is a comic book heist movie.

The concept is ridiculous. A man who talks to ants and can shrink to ant size. But it is taken seriously and it is executed well. The shrinking effect looks good and lets you know what is happening on screen. The fighting makes sense.

The villain (Yellow Jacket/Darren Cross) does his job well and it makes for the best mirror villain (ie. Iron Man vs Iron Monger, Cap vs Red Skull) we’ve probably had in a Marvel movie.

The plot is what it is. It moves along, makes you want to see the next scene and provides you with enough reason to go “Yeah, my belief is suspended.”

I also enjoyed the little easter eggs to Ant-Man “lore” and how they may have foreshadowed Giant-Man. The history of Hank Pym makes sense and where they are taking it with concern to the Avengers and Civil War is exciting.

I have nothing bad to say. It isn’t dumb. It builds steam throughout the movie. And it was nice to see a movie that, while there were big repercussions at stake, didn’t feel like the world/galaxy was at stake.

Just go watch it! 🙂

Previously:

To come this summer/year:

  • Trainwreck, July 17
  • Fantastic Four, August 7
  • Straight Outta Compton, August 14
  • Hitman: Agent 47, August 28
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, December 18

Maybe to come this summer/year:

  • Pixels, July 24
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, July 31
  • Goosebumps, October 16

Top 10 Best Movies of 2014

These are my best “get off your butt and go see them please!” movies of 2014.


10. Big Hero 6 
– It is not a comic book movie. It uses the name of a comic book but it is super loosely related. Its really just a Disney property. It was fun to watch and it gave you feels. I need to watch more Disney animation movies. They’re always awesome.


9. Birdman 
– Michael Keaton was really good in this sorta-biopic of himself. But Ed Norton steals the show. Emma Stone rocks in it. It has a good story. Its nice to watch a movie that just has actors doing their acting thing without all sorts of ish going nuts. I really enjoy movies when they just have great actors doing great acting.


8. 22 Jumpstreet 
– I need a comedy and this was the best comedy I saw this year. It avoided turning into a giant turd, huge accomplishment. I’m usually bothered when movies make nods to the sequel, like a lot, but here they were legitimately funny and not hamfisted like Dumb and Dumber To or the Pirates sequels. It was funny and fun and I like Jonah Hill.


7. John Wick 
– I find Keanu Reeves kind of laughable as an actor. He’s really good at being clueless and I find he needs to lean on other actors in his movies to get to a high level. Well, here he kills it primarily on his own. Suspense, thrill, action. Fun stuff.


6. The Lego Movie 
– EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A TEAM! EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! WHEN WE’RE LIVING OUR DREAM!

This movie is awesome.


5. Guardians of the Galaxy 
– I love how hammy this movie is, but still somehow keeps it serious. Ronan playing it straight is a great juxtaposition to our group of alien misfits. This is a movie that really should have only been “okay” but everything clicks. I’m always impressed when a movie manages to fit everyone in without cutting anyone short.


4. Nightcrawler 
– I’m fascinated by sociopaths. This movie stars a sociopath and follows that descent as it gets worse and worse. So neat to see all the moral issues and qualms others have that surround Gyllenhaal. It makes me wonder just how close this is to real life, and considering some of the crazy stories I’ve heard it doesn’t seem very far off.


3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
– The best Apes movie I’ve ever seen. The way the apes talk but its all in their own language. I really liked how it depicted society post-apocalypse, which is something I love to see. I like seeing different “end of the world” scenarios. I think this movie is legitimately worth of an Oscar nomination for best picture (especially since they’re opening the voting to 10 films). Caesar rules.


2. Snowpiercer 
– Post-apocalypse. The world sucks. Everyone lives on this train. Poor people vs rich people. Revolution lead by Captain America! And instead of messing up dudes with a shield, he ruins their day with an ax! AN AX! HE STRAIGHT UP PUNKS PEOPLE WITH AN AX! Furthermore, the concept is just so cool and well executed. You gotta see it.


1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 
– This is probably the best Marvel movie ever made. Non-Joss Whedon Black Widow is best Black Widow. I love this kind of action where it is punches and kicks (Cap definitely doesn’t skip leg day) as it has so much more impact than Iron Man blasting dudes. It was so well directed and written. I can watch this movie on repeat.

Ranking the Modern Marvel Movies, 7-1

Into the best of the best. And quite honestly these movies are more or less interchangeable at the top.

7. X-men: Days of Future Past

Plot holes, shmot holes. It was so great as a turbonerd to see the entire cast, except Nightcrawler, all together. It also replaces all the poo taste left in your mouth from X3 and Origins: Wolverine. Hitting the rest button in such a way is really risky, but they did it in a very satisfying and interesting way while still leaving the door open for both sets of X-casts. I love timeline stories. Enjoyed how it made Wolverine less of THE super hero and more of a dude and put a lot of focus on the rest of the cast. The great layering of social commentary that is so important to Xmen was handled well and the scale/scope was really given its due.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy

One of the best parts of this movie is that it is very accessible. It as easy to understand  for comic nerds and regular mutants alike. Its going to be silly, its going to be convenient, but its going to be fun. The music is perfect. Everyone in the movie does a good job at doing their own thing and hitting their notes. Arguably the best performance comes from Michael Rooker as Yondu. It’s your standard McGuffin plot where the baddy wants it and the good guys are all “No, stop! Bad!” but it’s done in such a hammy and campy yet excellent way of adjusting the standard underdog story formula. Lee Pace nails Ronan the Accuser. In a movie so hammy and campy, the way he plays it straight and simple is an excellent contrast. The camera work and visual design is well done and original, while still holding some familiarity in style for Star Wars and Star Trek nerds. The movie feels up your feels, and it sets up the Marvel space universe so that Nova and Ms Marvel can get their due. Standing ovation for Marvel Studios.

5. X2

For one whole year we had the gold standard for comic book movies. Now, we just have the benchmark for every Xmen film for eternity to aspire towards. I don’t think I can pick anything out in this movie that wasn’t excellent. Nightcrawler’s implementation was perfect. Still might be Hugh Jackman’s best Wolverine performance to date. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart could not have possibly done any better in their roles. And Brian Singer was able to nail the subtext/social commentary while balancing it with the action and avoiding some annoying and preachy movie with special effects. The expanded cast of mutants was great to see and even though many had only a scene or two, it was worth it and not at all cluttered. What a joy to watch.

4. Iron Man

This and Batman Begins are the holy grail of super hero origin stories. Just nailed it. One of the best parts is that the relationship with the villain is established early in the movie versus “meeting” them halfway through. This film launched Marvel into the universe they are in now and has launched Tony Stark as a character much the same way that Jack Sparrow became as big/bigger than the films. There is excellent chemistry between characters and they trade witticisms like real people versus comedy characters. Iron Man is as perfectly cast as any movie on this list. Robert Downey Jr nails the rockstar flippancy of Tony Stark, as well as the character arc from playboy to responsible playboy. Lastly, Iron Man is basically the only Avengers era movie where the hero kills and it isn’t cheap. That is an accomplishment in super hero fiction.  Jeff Bridges was an excellent cigar munching fatcat. The ending serves as an excellent contrast of motives. Best of all? They got the suit right. Nothing could have saved this if the suit was wrong. A++

3. Spider Man 2

Stop smashing your keyboard that this is not #1. From here up, its literally a case of 1a, 1b ad 1c. This stole the mantle from X2 as the gold standard and took almost a decade to topple/be met. It has every element from the comics that makes Spider Man so great. The angst, variety of emotions, goofiness, melodrama, romance, and intensity and has it all spun (like a web!) together expertly. Every scene is a perfect compliment to every other scene and fully reached and surpassed the potential that anyone could have forseen for the super hero “genre” of movies. The only thing, and this is minor, is that Kirsten Dunst still just isn’t up to par with the rest of the movie but she still holds her own well. Toby McGuire perfectly captured Peter Parker in this movie in a way I’m unconvinced Andrew Garfield ever will. I haven’t even touched on Doc Oc yet, which was masterfully done. The train scene, pictured, is my favourite scene from any Spider Man movie. The perfect Spider Man movie.

2. The Avengers

The fact that this movie didn’t crash and burn is unbelievable. Just think about the task at hand here, then realize that they pulled it off and the only crap scenes in the entire movie are when awkward dialogue about “red in my ledger” is brought up. The rest? Flawless, especially the smaller character dynamics that only someone familiar with the cartoons/comics would recognize. Such as the various bromances, who has animosity with who, character pairings, etc. It hits so well on so many little things. Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk steals the show and satiates a lot of the hunger for a solo Hulk film. I never understood a lot of the hype behind Joss Whedon but with this film I got it. The little things are done as well as the big things and the character interaction all seems so natural. Its long, but it never feels as long as it really is and everything in the movie, and other bits from other films, come around in a nice full circle here to make a completely satisfying and exhilarating experience.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

One of the things that is so impressive about this movie is how different it feels compared to The Avengers, Thor: TDW and Iron Man 3. There is a lot more plot and considering how heavy it is into espionage and thriller, versus CGI action movie, it had to be that way. You’ve got double and triple crosses, Nazi’s, a boatload of assassins and politics. You’re also taking a guy who’s only powers are incredible fitness, a shield and punching dudes really really hard and taking him so far and away from the ground-level hero that you’d expect the execution to fall apart. Except it doesn’t. The action is a great blend of CGI action (Falcon) and dude-punch-dude (Cap/Widow). Evans delivers Captain America so well, and the rest of the cast supports him and the movie in their unique way. Lastly, it established Cap as a moral compass globally and not just as America man fighting for America and the American Way for all of America’s interests of protecting and promoting America.

Marvel movies 29-19

Marvel movies 18-8

Summer Movie Review: Now with 100% more Godzooki!

– Godzilla 5/5

Extremely well put together. One of the reasons I liked Pacific Rim so much compared to Transformers is that you knew what was going on. There wasn’t just a bunch of visual and audible noise going nuts all the time. Legendary kept that up in this film.

The sense of scale was very well done to show just how helpless we’d be. Like when a human pours ant-killer in an ant-hill. They can’t do jack because we’re just so much bigger.

Also well done was the fact that the monsters really paid no attention to the humans, let alone the main hero guy. There was only 1 scene where he made eye contact with the monster. One, and it wasn’t long and drawn out and to show how tough humans are. It just happens, and dude craps his pants like all of us would.

The movie does take a while to get going although I didn’t really mind the way I do with other films. There were also tons of small imagery things that I’m not sure how many people but the biggest super-nerds would pick up on.

Note: Imagine if Godzilla/monsters reacted to humans the same way that some people do that are scared of bugs? That would be hilarious.

Note note: I would have loved to be in the pitch meeting. “Okay, Pacific Rim went over well. We did giant monsters v giant robots! Yeah woohoo! So, now, the logical next step is… MONSTERS ONLY AND NO ROBOTS!” (Yes, I know. Godzilla and all but still.)

– A Million Ways to Die in the West 0/5

Awful.

  1. Seth McFarlane isn’t a good actor.
  2. The script sucks.
  3. The jokes repeat themselves repeatedly over and over by being retold repeatedly over and over.
  4. Classic “sequel” issue. “Wow the guy who made Ted! Here’s a bunch of money and ALL THE FREEDOM!” and oh boy it does not work. Ted had a lot of charm to it, this movie is just like having Godzilla blast your ass with his atomic fire breath.

Do not watch.

Other reviews:

X-Men: Days of Future Past  4/5
The Amazing Spiderman 2 1/5
Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It 4/5
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 5/5
The Raid 3/5
Need for Speed 3/5
300: Rise of an Empire 3/5

To Come

– Son of Batman (DVD) May 6
– Transformers 4: Age of Extinction June 27
– Hercules July 25
– Guardians of the Galaxy August 1
– Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles August 8
– 
Batman: Assault on Arkham (DVD) August 12
– The Expendables 3 August 15
– Sin City: A Dame to Kill For August 22