Posts tagged ‘Disney’

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Sigh.  Word of mouth told me going into this that it wasn’t quite as good as the first one, so this is another film that I went into with lowered expectations.  Apparently I didn’t lower them low enough.  It was good, and bits of it were excellent, but it could’ve been so much better.

(Incidentally, I almost did not bother seeing this in the cinema.  The quickest way to kill my desire to see something on the big screen is to tell me that an extended cut will be released later on disc.  In retrospect, considering how choppy some of the storytelling was here, I should’ve stayed home and waited for the blu-ray.)

I would’ve loved to have seen Whedon’s original cut of the film.  First of all it would’ve fleshed out Thor’s silly cave sequence.  Hopefully it would also provide a better explanation for Quicksilver and his sister flip-flopping allegiances so quickly and how Nick Fury was suddenly able to pull a helicarrier out of his ass.  (Okay, yes, I know there’s a throwaway line or two in Agents Of SHIELD referencing that, but it still doesn’t explain how Coulson & Fury were able to cobble it together get it on station to help the Avengers that fast.  Consider it a suspension of disbelief problem for me here.)

Do I have good things to say about it?  Yeah.  It was fun.  The early scenes of the Avengers just hanging out were the best bits in the film.  I would love Marvel to make an Avengers film that consists entirely of them spending time together in their off time.  Avengers: Downtime, maybe?  And James Spader frakkin’ nailed it as Ultron – I adored his level of snarkiness.

So … yeah, worth watching, could’ve been a lot better, hopefully the rumored forthcoming extended cut will make up for it.

 

Iron Man 3

I really should’ve posted this weeks ago, but life got busy.  Blame my workstation dying, having to take the time to build a new workstation, family issues, a trip to the North American Taiko Conference and more family issues.  But now I’m (once again) able to work through my backlog.

I went into Iron Man 3 with some pretty low expectations.  Friends told me it wasn’t a great Marvel movie, but my family and I felt the need to sit down and watch it before we went out to see Avengers: Age Of Ultron.  So I lowered my expectations down to somewhere around Iron Man 2‘s level and got comfy.

Y’know what?  I enjoyed it.  A lot.  Far far more than I expected to.  I’m not that familiar with The Mandarin from the comics, so the film’s twist there did not bother me the way it bothered some die hard comic fans.  Downey Jr’s take on PTSD was pretty refreshing for a comic book adaptation.  And overall I think it’s a much better film than Iron Man 2.

Is that a matter of improved storytelling or my significantly lowered expectations?  I’m not sure about that, but I am sure that I’ll definitely take the time to rewatch Iron Man 3 again before I bother rewatching Iron Man 2.

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy

More catching up here – yet another flick that I saw quite a while back and I never posted the review.

Now this was an extremely pleasant surprise.  I went into this film knowing absolutely nothing about the source material.  The comic is a Marvel title that I had never bothered to read.  When the first trailer was released, I heard mixed messages – people I knew who were familiar with the source material didn’t like it because they said they were playing it too much for laughs, but people I knew who had not read the comics were really looking forward to seeing it because it looked like a fun sci-fi romp.

What did I think of it?

It was a fun sci-fi romp!  With a fantastic soundtrack!

Up until now, I had considered Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film.  Now it’s tied with Guardians Of The Galaxy.  I think Winter Soldier is a better film than Guardians, but I also think Guardians is a whole lot more fun.  Winter Soldier is a well-made paranoic thriller at heart, whereas Guardians is more of a happy-go-lucky romp through sci-fi tropes that is elevated several levels by the impeccable soundtrack, Michael Rooker, and two fantastically realized CGI characters.

Guardians 2 cannot get here fast enough.  Again, this is making me less interested in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.  I’m really hoping that a future Avengers film will bring the Guardians together with the rest of the team.  We’ll see.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Time to play catch-up again – here’s another flick that I saw a while back and I never posted the review.

Up until now, I had considered The Avengers to be my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film.  In the words of John Hurt’s Doctor, “No more.”  Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit all the right notes at all of the right times, and it had a devastatingly beneficial effect on the first season of Agents Of SHIELD.

I really appreciate them playing up the ’70s style political thriller aspects, and I think the highlight of the film for me was the supercomputer that Cap and Black Widow stumble across that is cobbled together out of ’70s era computing equipment.  Plus a certain epitath on a certain tombstone at the end – that was a particularly nice touch.

The heck with Avengers: Age Of Ultron.  I, for one, can’t wait until Captain America 3 comes out!

 

Thor: The Dark World

I just realized I never posted my thoughts about Thor: The Dark World.  Or Prometheus.  I really need to catch up on these things.  I wrote up a good-sized rant about Prometheus way back when I first saw it, but for the life of me I cannot find the file.  The last thing I want to do is sit through that fetid pile of bitter disappointment again, so let’s start with Thor 2, only let’s retitle it Thor: The Meh World.  Or better yet, Thor: Meh Meh Meh.

This has got to be the worst film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far.  And I’m saying that because I only have vague wisps of memories of The Incredible Hulk.

Okay, where to begin?  Natalie Portman: boring.  Kat Dennings, the #1 scene stealer of the first Thor film: had all of her scenes stolen from her.  Stellan Skarsgard: totally wasted, in more ways than one.

I was excited about seeing this film because the first film was such a blast and I was stoked that they signed Christopher Eccelston as the baddie.  But nope, he was utterly wasted too.  WTF?!?

I’m holding onto hope there is some sort of director’s cut lurking out there that will eventually work its way onto disc.  It feels like there were huge chunks of the story that were missing.  I heard rumors that a significant portion of Malekith’s backstory was left on the cutting room floor.  That’s a damned shame, because I think it would’ve seriously improved the film.

Honestly, I really would’ve rather watched a two hour farting contest between Thor and the Warriors Three than have to sit through this so-called Marvel Cinematic extravaganza.  That would’ve been a lot more enjoyable.  Imagine the campfire sequence from Blazing Saddles redone with Asgardians.

At least Idris Elba still kicks ass as Heimdall.

 

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ooooh, what a great show.  Just watched the first two episodes (Pilot and 0-8-4), and ABC really should’ve played them back-to-back as a 2 hour premiere.

Nice writing, nice pacing, neat li’l in-jokes, great chemistry between the leads — tho I’m somewhat reserved on Chloe Bennet as Skye, but I think that’s probably deliberate on the producers’ part.  I really liked the “hacked our RSA implementation” references.

This is the first TV premiere since The Walkng Dead that makes me want to sit down and make time to watch this show on a regular basis.  I need to start doing that.

Great start, let’s hope it holds up in the long run.

Tangled

Wow.  Tangled was great.  The best animated film I’ve seen since Avatar.  The first film I’ve seen on DVD in a very long time that I really wish I had seen on the big screen.  And, in retrospect, I feel justified — back in November of last year when my family wanted to see Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 1, I fought back the urge to skip to a different screen and see Tangled instead.  Note to self: in the future, listen to that instinct and follow it.  I ended up enjoying Tangled far more than any Harry Potter film since Prisoner Of Azkaban.

It was especially refreshing to see animal characters in a Disney film that did not speak.  Tangled is a beautiful story, gorgeously rendered and surprisingly entertaining.

My only complaint with the film is the insipid and unnecessary narration by Zachary Levi.  The best Disney films don’t talk down to their audience, and removing Levi’s dopey narration would elevate Tangled from great to fantastic.