Monday, May 9, 2016

Captain America: Civil War (2016): Review

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This weekend the new Capsicle movie came out and to me the title would be more apt to be Captain America V. Iron Man than Captain America: Civil War. Going into this movie I was trying not to get my hopes too far up because the more I expect a movie to be good the more I can be disappointed  when it doesn't meet my expectations. That being said it is a good movie and I have seen it twice(once on Friday because I couldn't wait and again on Sunday as a Mother's Day activity with the fam).  Civil War was not as good as Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) but was definitely better that Avengers: Age of Ultron (21015). This movie was more of what I would have preferred to see as an Avengers movie and with all of the brought back Marvel characters and the new ones introduced it easily could have been another Avenger's movie (the only reason it wasn't was the lack of Thor and Hulk).

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Civil War carries on with the Phase Three of the Avengers movies and with Captain America, played by Chris Evens, leading the current Avengers Team consisting of Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson; Falcon, played by Sam Wilson; Wanda AKA Scarlett Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Also thrown into the mix are War Machine, played by Don Cheadle, and Vision, played by Paul Bettany. If you are unfamiliar with the these and other Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters you will have a difficult time understanding and following the movie as my mother can attest to (who is that? Ant-man. Who is that? Ant-man. Who is that? ANT-MAN). The movie starts with the current Avengers Team on a Mission that has some unwanted casualties. This continues to throw the Avengers into a negative limelight and Secretary of State Ross, played by William Hurt, is leading the Sokovia Accords, to put the Avengers under United Nations control. Iron Man, played by Robert Downy Jr. is all about this as he is very down trotted this movie about the deaths of innocents during the previous movies. Captain America isn't for this as "the best hands are still our own." While these accords are being introduced it appears as if Bucky Barns/ Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan, bombed the summit, which really sparks the discord and opposing sides of Captain America and Iron Man. Also in the movie are Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Anthony Mackie as Black Panther; Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Tom Holland as Spider Man, Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, Daniel Bruhl as Zemo, and Martin Freeman as Everett Ross (Sorry if I missed anyone there are a bucket load of characters).

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Although there are lots and lots and lots of Marvel characters in this movie they bring them in in a way that I do not have a problem with. That is introducing them slowing and giving each a moment instead of throwing them all at you in one go where they all muddle together. That being said there are so many that besides the main three (Captain America, Iron Man, and Winter Soldier there is not a whole lot of character development, just general excitement for each character as a character. There is a bit with Black Panther (looking forward to and independent film of him) and Zemo (main antagonist). I did continue to really enjoy Paul Rudd's Ant-Man and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this version of Spider Man. The casting was good and there wasn't anyone who didn't seem to fit as their character.  Although the casting was very good and overall great rapport and chemistry between the characters and their sub pairs, there is absolutely no chemistry between Chris Evans' Cap and Emily VanCamps Carter. This was pushed at us without a lot of development (which is fine as a lot is happening in this movie) but I couldn't look over this because there was no tension or chemistry between these two on screen, their interactions were very wooden and without the underlying tension doesn't work. I like having a love interest for Captain but there needs to be chemistry for me to care.

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Before I continue on with talking about the cinematography and other aspects of this movie, I am glad to say that Chris Evens continues to be super attractive as Captain America and I especially appreciated the seen showing his physics where he is holding the helicopter on the rooftop.
Civil War does the action sequence technique of very tight, fast cuts, a lot in this movie and it does it in a way that I hate the most in this movie. The first action sequence at the very beginning of the move (stop this movie makers, I like a build up to the action sequences not going full speed immediatley) felt like it was not only jumping around quickly but that it was speed up. It was like fast, fast, slow, fast, fast, slow, fast, fast, fast, fast, fast, fast, with all of this my brain cannot process what is happening and has to fill in the blanks. It would have been better to back up the action sequence and slot it down a bit. I know that this is possible because it is what was done in the main sequence between Team Cap and Team Iron Man later on in the movie.  This sequences was AWESOME and knowing that I was going to see this again removed any concern I had about seeing the movie again. I cant wait until I can see this again as it is exactly the kind of thing I love in big budget action movies.

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A lot of the CGI in this movie was distracting, especially the major CGI. I found it distracting when people obviously became CGI or when cars were obviously CGI, I think this might be related to the continued 3D stuff in movie, which to me doesn't really add much and makes everything less look real. The smaller details (such as Scarlet Witches powers) were done very well and added a lot to the movie. Although a lot of the action sequence CGI was distracting the overall production value and cinematography was good and I liked how the score was incorporated throughout the movie. It is interesting for me to see how the different themes are used.
Before I finish I once again want to point out that this was a Captain America V Iron Man movie and to me the most non specific character focused movie that is billed as one. If I didn't know it was a Captain America movie I very easily could have thought it was an Iron Man movie, even with the focus on Winter Soldier it still could have been an Iron Movie by how they worked it. The only thing to me that made it more a Captain movie was having Sharron Carter and not Pepper Potts as the girl.

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If you like the Marvel Movies you will like this one and if I were to rank them all this would be one of my more favorite ones. It drags on for a while and continues for longer than I feel it could have. There was a fight sequence that felt like the natural climax of the movie but then it kept going and threw in a smaller scene in order to keep the Captain America V Iron Man thing going.  Basically I recommend this as one of the better half of the Marvel movies. I continue to like how the Captain America Movies set up movies that follow it but are still good in their own right

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My Rating: 3+

P.S. If you need to be told to wait until the end of the credits in a Marvel Movie, like come on. However make sure to stay through the end of the credits, there is a mid credit scene as well as an end credit scene.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016): Review

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This weekend the much anticipated movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out and I am happy to say that it was much better than I thought it would be. If you know me, you know that I tend to like big budget action movies and that I don't expect too much from these superhero movies (especially DC) so going in, as long as there wasn't anything really bad I was ready to be entertained and enjoy the experience. I think that this one is a good kick off to the spring/ summer movie season and did get me really excited to see what they will do with the Wonder Women and eventual Justice League movie.

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice incorporates the Superman timeline, established in Man of Steel (2013) but brings Batman into the mix.  Batman (AKA Bruce Wayne), played by Ben Afflick, witnesses the destruction resulting from the battle between Superman (AKA Clark Kent), reprised by Henry Cavill, and General Zod in Man of Steel. During this time he is hardened against The Superman and does not believe that he is to be trusted because powerful good man don't stay good. They are brought together and become at odds due to pursuing their own agendas for justice and those around them, especially Lex Luther, played by Jesse Eisenburg.

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This movie has a great ensemble cast but doesn't do a lot with many of the characters you are suppose to just know.  on the Superman side there is Amy Adams as Lois Lane, who in this movie is just fodder to keep the plot going and seems to make just stupid decisions and is around just to have Superman save her (I have been told that that is all Lois really does but I keep forgetting this about the charactering hoping for her to be likable). I could have used this movie without her and think that it would have easy to have her plot forwarding points without her. Laurence Fishborn as Perry White who was fine but nothing special and seemed there just to nag Clark that he is too focused on the Batman vigilante. Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Superman mother, she was able to bring in some emotion and caring to the movie and I can see why she furthered the movie. On Batman's side you mainly had Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Bruce's butler and helper, who for me was a fantastic version of Alfred. He was the only side kick/character for me that added to the movie and added some much needed humor to a completely too serious movie (they are superheroes people, this isn't Shakespeare).

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Also involved was Holly Hunter, as Senator Finch, who is the character who creates strife for Superman as he tries to hold him accountable like humans have any control or say over what a basically invincible alien does and gives Lex someone to interact with in his attempt to scheme. One of the gems of this movie was the inclusion of Wonder Woman played by Gal Godot, who actually had some intrigue. I think the movie could have used more of her and I am now really really hoping the Wonder Women movies does justice to the excitement I now have for the possibility of this character.

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This movie starts by establishing the Batman origin which I don't get why because at this point, who seeing this movie doesn't understand the Batman origin story. But then it expects you to remember what happened in Man of Steel and if other movie goers are more like me I know a lot more about the basic Batman origin story than Man of Steel which I haven't really watched since it came out in 2013.  Ben Affleck did a decent job as Batman, but I found Henry Carvil's Superman a bit annoying and superficial.

One great thing about this movie is it was great to watch and listen to. The cinematography, staging, choreography, sets, and specially effects were all of very good quality. I usually complain that the special affects take away from the movie and I can tell where they are but with this it was worked in very seamlessly and works very well. I think that it was shot well and even when it had close up shot fight sequences I didn't really notice until the second viewing (yes I saw it twice this weekend).  The music was well used and I think it was a great score. The only real complaint is that if you were watching this movie without knowing weather Lex was good or bad the music mad it clear.

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The plot wasn't great but wasn't anything too annoying, the main complaint is that that the fight sequences were drawn out too much (not as much as Man as Steel), and when these sequences are drawn out the intensity plateaus for me and I don't get the emotional journal that I would like, I get a bit bored and just want it to continue on. While it dragged out the battles it did fast forward through some character developments or moments that could have been even more fantastic (I'm especially taking about the wonder woman role, and the Clark/ Bruce meet. It also tried to pull at your emotional heartstrings but did not connect with me as I didn't really believe what was happening and I hadn't connected to the person in the forefront with the emotion reaction (although usually the actor is very likeable and you care about their experiences, in this movie it just didn't work) [I hope that makes sense as I am trying to express my thoughts without giving away a major spoiler].

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Overall, I think the movie was good, and slightly above average. There was nothing super annoying about it and it was enjoyable to watch. It will be one that I can watch multiple times and thinks it has potential to build momentum in the following DC movie series. I am hoping that this is trigger more good movies to come and not the height of what can be expected. For anyone who is very particular about their love of certain aspects/ renditions of Batman movies you will not like it or are a comic book snob you will not like it. For those looking to like it and are ready to be pleased it is definitely worth seeing.

My Rating: 2+

Shutout to Detroit where it was filmed! And there is nothing after the credits (boo DC)

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Deadpool (2016): Review

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This Valentine's weekend my first choice of movies was Deadpool. Deadpool is a character that before this last week I did not really know much about but is one that I feel I could always name on sight. I was always able to say that's a Deadpool cosplay when I have been out and about, but if asked anything more about him I could not say.  Based on the excitement I have gotten from some of the people I know and the movie sights that I follow piqued my interest especially when the consensus was that Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool and that everyone wanted to forget the not so goodness of his rendition in X Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).  Several of the youtube stations I follow also did some origin and facts about Deadpool videos that helped with this.

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Deadpool is a Marvel Character who was created in the 1990s and quickly became very popular, initially as a villain and then as a sort of anti-hero. He is snarky and breaks the 4th wall (talks to the audience and makes real work pop culture references) and is desired as the Merc with a mouth. I was trying not to expect too much from this movie but was expecting the standard Ryan Reynolds portrayal and I can completely understand why he was thought to be great for this part. Although it seemed like there was some inconsistency within the character (loving partner/ wisecracking juvenile) for the uninitiated (aka me) it was a great movie. I am looking forward to seeing it again as I know that I missed lot of the references and wisecracks.

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In Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds plays the title characters also known as Wade Wilson. He is a for hire mercenary who likes to have fun with everything/everyone around him. He is diagnosed with cancer and then has the opportunity to be experimented on to save his life. In being experimented on he develops the ability to regenerate and essentially become immortal but this also allows the cancer to infuse with his cells (I hope I am close in this description) which results in him not being so pleasant to look at although I think it was mentioned that he was hideous looking more then he actually was to look at. I didn't think he looked that bad. While this is happening he is juxtaposed against his nemesis Ajax, played by Ed Skrein, who is unable to feel any pain due being experimented on himself. Deadpools self appointed mission is to find and then kill Ajax. The movie also stars Morena Baccarine, as Wades love interest Vanessa; T.J. Miller as Weasel Wades friend; Stefan Kapicic as the voice of Colosses; Brianna Hidlebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead; Karen Soni as Dopinder a taxidriver;  Leslie Uggams as Al; and Gina Carano as Angel.

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Overall I think that this move was well cast and I enjoyed how the ensemble was together. I think that there was a lot of characters that didn't necessary let for any real character development, it didn't even seem like there was any development for Wade just confliction due to his new appearances but it was a fun movie. That being said I was still able to keep track of the main characters and didn't think who were all those people.

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This movie is definitely rated R and not appropriate for younger kids, it is not just due to violence and from what I have heard it is needed for this character to be able to have a free range or it will not really be true to himself. For some who likes a fun, big budget, action movie this was right up my alley. I don't always like things that go for a cheap joke but it was not pushed too far with this movie and besides the two sides of Wades personality it was consistent in essentials. Like I said I am looking forward to seeing it again to try and understand more of the references and slid in jokes that I missed the first go around. This is definitely a movie made to see multiple times.  Also I know that since I saw it there has been a lot of buzz about Ryan Reynolds being naked and seeing his junk in the movie but I noticed that he was naked but come on people it wasn't that big of a deal (you only think it is because he is male).

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The CGI at times looked a bit video game and I could tell that it was CGI and am not just talking about those moments that were made to be artistic but those things that were just worked into the movie.
I enjoyed the 4th wall breaks but actually wanted more of them, I really would have like the character hamming it up even more and going really over the top. If this had been done I wouldn't have felt that Wade was two different people mushed together with no real transition/ integration between the two facets. I wanted more of the wise cracking mouth that I had heard Deadpool is characterized by. This also could have had something to do with the non linear format of the movie and how it jumped around but it still could have worked out really well as I can see why this was chosen to do some of the meta moments.

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That being said I think if you are old enough, not easily offended, and like big budget blockbusters you should go and see this movie and as it is a Marvel movie make sure to wait through all of the credits and see the extra scene (but if you don't know this already, like way too many people in the theatre with me, you don't know anything about the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

My Rating 3

PS: How does he end up with the swords? It doesn't go into this in the movie

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