Benz Eye View: Avengers: Infinity War

It is here.  Thanos is here.  The end is here.  The Infinity War has begun.  The culmination of all the MCU films have come to this.  Avengers: Infinity War.

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Avengers: Infinity War

Just to be clear, there are NO SPOILERS in this review.  I would be a prick if I do reveal some plot-spoiling moments.  Otherwise, Thanos would come here and kill me.  By Thanos, I mean Marvel Studios.  By Marvel Studios, I mean the fans.

Pros: 

1.) Right as soon as the film begins, the tone is already apparent: dread and hopelessness.  While there are still some comedic moments like in the last two Avengers movies, this is the most serious and dark out of all of them so far.  There are moments where it is hopeful, but it eventually goes back to being dreadful again.  The threat is serious, so these heroes have to take this fight more seriously than their previous battles.

2.) Let’s take a look at the past antagonists of the Avengers movies.  Loki is a compelling character, but he is not a great villain since he gets pushed around by each member of the Avengers (even a dying Phil Coulson).  Ultron is arguably a good character and villain, but the potential he had was slightly squandered with certain problems like being more emotional than his comic book counterpart, and even then, Avengers: Age of Ultron had some issues as well.  Then we have Thanos, and he is the best character and villain out of all the Avengers villains.  Not only he is a huge threat to the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, but he is arguably the protagonist of this film (something that producer, Kevin Feige said in one of his interviews).  I would say more, but I did say no spoilers, so I will leave it at that.

3.) There are plenty of interesting things that happen in the film that I cannot spoil.  I will say this: this is a film that anyone who has been watching the MCU up to this point will enjoy many references of the past MCU films.  However, the biggest thing is the ending.  Once again, no spoilers, but the ending is certainly…unique out of ALL of the MCU films.

 

Cons: 

1.) If you want a certain character to have more screen time than the others, then I am sorry to say that it is very likely that he/she might not be seen as much as certain major characters.  Considering that there are more than twenty-five major characters from the previous MCU films in this film, that is asking so much.  Not to mention that it is slightly distracting when one group of heroes disappears and comes back after a long while.  Also, there are five heroes who are not in it, so it is not exactly a true MCU crossover (especially considering that characters from the Marvel TV series and Netflix series are not in it).  There is so much to ask for, and it is already difficult enough have all of these heroes in one film.

2.) Some of the heroes seem out of character.  That is somewhat understandable considering that so many different directors and screenwriters are in charge of making their own interpretation of those characters into their films, and when they have to bring all those characters together, the directors and screenwriters in charge of that crossover will write their own versions.  They try their best to be close to what the original directors and screenwriters had in mind, but it is not exactly as easy as adaptation screenwriters writing from the original creators’ work (and even they struggle in there, too).  It is not enough to detract the film, but enough to be noticeable.

3.) This is a film that spans ten years of the MCU, so if you have not seen all of them or at least the essentials, you will get lost.  It assumes you have seen those other films, so they do not hold back on certain references.  You have to know these character, otherwise you will be confused/not really care at all on what is happening to them.  If you have not seen the past MCU films at this point, what are you doing reading this review?  Go watch them now.  At the very least, watch the essential ones.

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Courtesy from IGN.  

 

Overall: 

Ten years.  It has been ten years since the MCU began with Iron Man.  I was close to finishing middle school when the MCU began.  Now, the culmination of all the films/movies lead to the first part of Phase 3’s Avengers, the Infinity War.  How does all these years of build-up lead up to: success or failure?  Marvel Studios made a huge gamble, and it paid off.  This is much better than any of the previous Avengers movies.  While it may not better than certain MCU films (it still cannot beat Captain America: The Winter Soldier in my eyes), it is the most ambitious MCU film to date.  I do not know how Avengers 4 is going to top this (I do not expect Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel to make even a dent out of it), but this is a film for the fans who have been watching the MCU for ten years.  Newcomers are not going to get as much enjoyment compared to an MCU fan, but this is a film worth watching, and I cannot wait to see how they are going to top this in the next Avengers movie.

8/10

Well, until the next MCU film comes out, that is the end of MCU Marathon.  I hope you enjoyed it, and here is another great music for reading my reviews.

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Benz Eye View: Overall Update on Previously-Reviewed MCU Films/Movies

With Iron Man to Avengers: Age of Ultron reviews finished, I figured it would be a good idea to update my overall thoughts/reviews on the other MCU reviews I have done previously before MCU Marathon.  Without further ado, let’s begin with the smallest hero of the MCU:

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Ant-Man

Like I said in my old Ant-Man review, when I first heard that there is going to be a movie about Ant-Man, my response was simple: “Ant-Man?  Ant-Man?!  A guy who has the ability to shrink like an ant and controls other ants?  This sounds stupid.”  Yet somehow, they managed to make it work.  Thought, one disadvantage that movie already had is that it is a heist movie.  I am not a fan of heist movies (other than Ocean’s 11) since they are boring until the actual heist.  It also does not help that this was originally directed and written by Edgar Wright of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, but he left when he found out Marvel Studios changed his script to fit into the MCU (which I still hope that his script is better).  Looking at this movie now, it is slightly better than I remember, but it still has plenty of problems like ANOTHER lackluster antagonist, pacing issues, and forgettable side characters (except for Luis, his comedy is funny).  You probably will not miss much if you skip this movie, but it is probably needed if you watch the next MCU film.  Until then, this is a good watch if you like to watch a good superhero movie.

6/10

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Captain America: Civil War

Starting Phase 3 of the MCU proper, we have Avengers 2.5- I mean, Captain America: Civil War.  This film would not have been possible if it were not the MCU in general, because this would not work as a stand-alone movie.  As it stands, this is one of my favorite MCU films ever (but it is still not better than Captain America: The Winter Soldier).  Not only does it bring up many of the past MCU films and the consequences of those actions, but it actually gives a good compelling story.  Even new characters like Black Panther are a welcome addition to the film (although Spider-Man is slightly forced despite how much I love Spider-Man).  This is enjoyable for fans of the MCU, and a great watch indeed.

9/10

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Doctor Strange

It is interesting that they introduce magic into the MCU with Doctor Strange, because they tried to avoid that to be more realistic (then again, we have a god with a hammer and talking raccoon in this film universe).  I found this movie to be underwhelming when I first saw it, but it has grown on me since.  It gives an interesting exploration on how the magical realm works in this universe and shows interesting characters (despite ANOTHER underwhelming villain).  The movie does its job giving the audience an exciting and fun ride (especially with its special effects), and even the climax is clever despite my initial reaction of thinking it was anti-climactic.  Doctor Strange proves to be a welcome addition to the MCU, and deserves the nickname of magical Iron Man.

7/10

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

This was just as fun as the last film, though it is slight step down.  The songs are awesome, though few of them stand out for me aside most of the songs in the first movie.  I like how the family theme is explored with all the characters (Drax discusses his family with Mantis, Rocket and Yondu work together against the Ravagers, Gamora struggles against Nebula when it comes to Thanos, and Star-Lord’s reunion with Ego) except for Groot (again) who stands there being cute and ferocious when he fights against his enemies.  The characters are what hold this movie together, though not as well as their last outing.  It is still a fun ride for everyone to enjoy, especially you are a fan of the songs playing in this movie.

7/10

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Spider-Man Homecoming

As a Spider-Man fan, it is just great to see Spider-Man coming to the MCU in this film (especially with the terrible Amazing Spider-Man 2).  I still claim this is just as good as Spider-Man 2, but it comes with its own quirks.  After Spider-Man went through the events of Captain America: Civil War, he is excited for his next big mission.  However, he has to learn to be more responsible not just to himself, but with others he saves.  Add Iron Man being the father-figure/Uncle Ben to Peter Parker, and an actual great antagonist in the form of the Vulture, and you got a welcome home party for Spider-Man in the MCU.  Now let’s hope Sony does not screw it up with Venom.

8/10

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Thor: Ragnarok

After re-watching the previous Thor movies, this movie slightly bothers me.  While it is technically the best Thor movie, it certainly sacrifices a few things from the previous ones.  For one thing, when did Thor become a comedian?  There were funny moments from him in the previous movies, but they were incidental: he did not really mean to be funny.  Do not tell me there is a comic book in between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok that explains all of this, because I would be a little ticked off.  Another thing is that the comedy itself can be a distraction sometimes.  Moments that are meant to be dramatic end up being ruined with a joke (i.e Korg’s joke at the destruction of Asgard).  Lastly, this feels too much like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie when it should be a Thor movie (with Hulk tagging alongside).  I want to see more of Asgard, not another planet that the Guardians would go to in their next adventure.  There are some good things about it (i.e. Thor and Loki’s relationship, no more Earth characters, Valkyrie is a better love interest for Thor), but I cannot help but feel that this should have been a different movie instead of what we got.

7/10

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Black Panther

This film became a huge deal for various reasons (like being the first black superhero film despite the fact that we got several before this).  Whatever reason this became a huge deal, it is not hard to deny that this is one of the MCU films ever made.  Wakanda is a great world to explore (to the point where many real-life people are obsessed with it), most if not all of these characters are compelling, and the main antagonist is one of the best antagonists in film history not by how dangerous he is, but how sympathetic he is.  I watched it three times in theaters, and it certainly deserves attention for its fantastic writing, direction, and production.  There are few flaws to acknowledge (i.e. the CG and green screen are noticeable in the last act), but it will not distract anyone from enjoying this film that got better for me the more I watched it.

9/10

Finally, all of these out of the way, Avengers: Infinity War is close at hand.  To help you guys get more hyped for it, here is a video I found.  Enjoy, and wait for my review this Saturday.

Benz Eye View: Avengers: Age of Ultron

We temporarily end MCU Marathon (until Avengers: Infinity War and the overall update with the rest of the MCU films/movies) with the second entry of the Avengers movie series.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

Pros: 

1.) Once again, this movie was directed by Joss Whedon, and he still manages to do well in comedy.  There are so many comedic moments in this movie via visually or through dialogue that it is hard to pick favorites, but if I have to pick one, it would be with Thor’s hammer: Mjölnir.

This joke is used several times in the movie; one in the clip above and another involving Quicksilver trying to get the hammer.  However, the joke gets its payoff when Vision is introduced.

There is even an extra joke about Vision carry Mjölnir by the end of the movie.

These are well done jokes indeed.  It may not work in certain moments (some characters are much more comedic than usual), but this is still a funny movie nonetheless.

2.) Once again, since this is a movie with all the other superheroes joining together (except for the Guardians of the Galaxy), many of these characters have great chemistry together.  Newcomers like Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision are welcome addition to the cast (even if Quicksilver dies in this movie).  Even Hawkeye, the Avengers who has the least amount of screen-time throughout the MCU, gets some backstory.  With new characters having a chance and some old ones receiving more screen-time, the chemistry between these characters are strong, especially with Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America in the clip above.

3.) This movie is surprisingly emotional at times.  A few good plot lines are with Iron Man, Captain America, and the Maximoff Twins.  After the events of Marvel’s The Avengers, Iron Man wants to protect the Earth by using Loki’s staff to create an A.I. that can help do the job, but he accidentally created Ultron who wants to destroy the Earth to ensure peace and prosperity.  Understandably, Iron Man feels responsible and guilty for creating a problem and wants to stop him (and would be brought up in Captain America: Civil War).  While this one is brief, Captain America’s hallucination with the past and his want to be with Peggy Carter shows his internal depression of never getting what he wants.  The Maximoff Twins initially work for Ultron to kill Iron Man, but when they realize that he is going to destroy the world, they refuse and decide to work for the Avengers.  Few of those emotional plot lines give this movie a little bit of weight…

 

Cons: 

1.) …However, some of those emotional plot lines do not exactly work.  One glaring plot line is the romance between Bruce Banner and Black Widow.  When did these two suddenly have romantic interest with each other?  What about Betty Brant?  Did Bruce Banner suddenly forget about her and decided to have some slight interest with Black Widow?    I understand why he does not want to be in a relationship, but it bothers me that Bruce does not even mention Betty at all during this relationship.  The other plot lines with other characters are a little better, but the comedic tone slightly interferes with it.  A good balance between the two would probably make this work.

2.) You could make a case that Ultron is a good antagonist in this movie.  While there are certain things I like about the character, I wish that he could have been better.  They made the character to be slightly emotional, particularly when dealing with his creator, Iron Man.

I understand that are trying to give him some character, but I think it could have been better if he was just an unemotional machine who has proven to be a huge threat just like in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Not only that, Ultron’s plan in this movie is a little lame, effective but lame: lift the city of Sokovia up to the atmosphere and drop it as a meteor that will destroy the Earth.  Ultron in the animated TV show fired nuclear missiles all around the world while making contingencies on the other Avengers like making Tony Stark use only his Mk. I suit, using a beam on Hulk to turn him back into Bruce Banner, and removing the protocol preventing him from hurting Wasp.  Even in the comics with the same subtitle already had Ultron ruling the world and killing most of the superheroes.  This movie has Ultron as a somewhat crybaby with daddy issues.  While I still slightly like this Ultron (especially since he is played by James Spader), he could have been so much better.

3.) There is one scene that is absolutely forced since they need it only to foreshadow the Infinity War, and it does not fit into the movie as a whole.  That scene is Thor’s vision of the Infinity Stones.

This scene on its own is fine, but Guardians of the Galaxy did a better job since it is in context of the film.

While the Mind Stone is involved in this movie, the Infinity Stones as a whole are not, and this is a poor way to allude them in the MCU.

 

Overall: 

With the success of Marvel’s The Avengers, of course they are going to make a sequel of it.  The first one was enjoyable if you do not take the flaws into account.  With the sequel, the movie tries to be slightly more serious and dramatic than the first, but it results with the flaws being a little more apparent.  The comedic tone interferes with its dramatic tone, Ultron could have been a better antagonist instead a robot with daddy issues (even though he is technically like that in the comics, but better), and that allusion with the Infinity Stones had nothing to do with the movie as a whole (not to mention having a poor excuse to have Erik Selvig to come back for a couple of minutes).  While I cannot wait to see Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not really an age per se, but more like a week.  It is not really impressive, but it does its job.  Ultron is just another excuse for the coming of Thanos and his war with the Avengers.

7/10

If you want to see the rest of the MCU movies that I previously reviewed that are not part of the MCU Marathon, those reviews are located under the Marvel Cinematic Universe Marathon tab with brown text.  However, I will make an overall update for those films in a moment, so please be patient until then.

Benz Eye View: Guardians of the Galaxy

Returning to MCU Marathon, Marvel Studios introduces a new superhero group that no one outside the comic book fandom has ever heard of…and it succeeded.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Pros: 

1.) If it is not already noticeable already, the soundtrack is just cool.  However, it is not there just because they are trying to make an 80’s tone.  It is there to fit Star-Lord’s character.  Think about it; the songs fit into certain scenes when they are played (i.e. “I’m Not in Love” plays when young Peter Quill visits his dying mom which represents what he is feeling right now, “Come and Get Your Love” plays when a grown-up Peter Quill explores Morag and he barely has a care when dealing with danger, etc.).

Those songs are also a constant reminder of his home planet, Earth, and his mom.  This is good in a narrative sense as well as the fact that these are great songs.

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Unlike a certain DCEU movie that tried the same thing and failed.

2.) When it comes to sci-fi, the world better has something interesting to look at, and it does not disappoint here.  Aside the humans with different colored skin like yellow or blue, we have a walking tree and a talking raccoon as alien species (and cool characters).  There are some pretty cool uniforms coming from the Nova Corps and Ronan.  Even the environmental designs from Knowhere to Xandar look like a dream come true for any sci-fi fan.  I consider all of these clever designs and characters work alongside many other sci-fi fictions like Star War and Star Trek, and they are a welcome addition to sci-fi in general.

3.) Since this a superhero team film, these five characters: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket need to have good chemistry together, and it fortunately works here.  For one thing, all these characters are misfits in one way or another.  Star-Lord is a thief, Gamora is a murderer, Drax is a maniac, and Groot and Rocket are bounty hunters.  Normally, this would be an anti-hero superhero group at best.  However, despite their flaws, they would come together to save the world from Ronan’s destruction spree against Xandar.  Their character growth is good (except for Groot who just goes along with it), and it helps them change from misfits to heroes.

 

Cons: 

1.) There are certain CG moments that bother me.  I cannot figure out why since other CG and special effects areas (i.e. Rocket and Groot) do not bother me as much.  Maybe it is the environmental special effects that stand out more than the character ones.  When it blends in with real sets and people, those special effects stand out in a bad way.  I will leave it to the special effects artists for a better concrete view at this, but something about these environmental special effects bother me.

2.) There are certain backstories that are either rushed or not explained enough.  A few examples: Rocket mentioned he was experimented on but does not give much detail into that origin.  How does Star-Lord managed to keep his Walkman work for so many years?  That cannot last long for twenty-six years.  How does Rocket understand what Groot is saying when all he says is “I am Groot?”  I will admit some of them are superficial and others can be speculative, but a few of them do bother me a bit, and I cannot let it go in the context of this film.  Thankfully, I slightly forget about them in the sequel (though that has its own share of problems), but it is still worth noting.

3.) It is established that the Power Stone is so powerful that very few can even wield it, and those who cannot will be destroyed by it.  When Star-Lord manages to take hold of that stone and manages to survive, I call deus ex machina on that.  Technically, it is slightly foreshadowed in one scene when Peter’s mom was dying.

It is a passing dialogue.  She said, “You’re so like your daddy.  You even look like him.  And he was an angel.  Composed out of pure light.”  This line can easily pass by with anyone, and I would not be surprised if anyone does not remember that.  It is only after the battle with Ronan that the Nova Corps points out that Star-Lord is half human and half ancient alien.  I still call deus ex machina on that, because it was poorly foreshadowed.  They do explore this in the sequel, but I am not buying how Peter and the other Guardians managed to defeat Ronan despite how cool it looks.

 

Overall: 

Before this film came out, have you ever heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy?  I did not until this film came out.  Many people saw it as Marvel’s version of Star Wars.  Think about it: what does Star-Lord look like to you in terms of Star Wars?  If you answer Leia Organa, you clearly do not watch Star Wars, but I jokingly digress.  At best, only hardcore comic book fans would know these people.  Even when I looked them up, there are apparently two versions of this group, and the film concentrated on the newest version.  I would explain, but I recommend looking up a video from a comic book expert to fully understand (or not, because it is confusing).  However, the film itself is so much fun, and a great introduction to this superhero group.  Chris Pratt is amazing as Star-Lord (and doubly amazing considering he lost so much fat and gained muscles for the role).  Zoe Saldana as Gamora is a cool warrior raised by Thanos and wants to run away from his grip.  Dave Bautista as Drax is a tough yet funny alien who takes everything literally (except when Star-Lord said to give a s**t).  Groot is pretty much Chewbacca.  Rocket is a cute yet ravage technological genius who would probably kill you if you ticked him off.  All these characters are great in their way, and I look forward to see them in more films.  Come to think of it, this was a huge risk for Marvel Studios considering that few even knew who these guys are, and it paid off.  In the end, this calls for a couple songs from Marvin Gaye and the Jackson 5 to celebrate a great film.

8/10

Benz Eye View: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Another film as part of the MCU marathon, and this film is my favorite MCU film by far.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Pros: 

1.) As much as I like Captain America, he is a Boy Scout, and it is hard to make those characters interesting since they have little to no flaws.  However, the film takes advantage of that by having Captain America be in a timeline where not only his friends are gone, but his allies do not exactly share the same beliefs that he has.  It makes him struggle what his place is in this world, and his struggle what freedom truly means.

Add to the fact that Bucky Barnes is still alive as Winter Soldier, and you have a character with personal and emotional conflicts dealing with HYDRA…

2.) …Speaking of HYDRA, I enjoy the twist that HYDRA is still around in present time.  While having Winter Soldier around as an antagonist is a good threat, the fact that HYDRA had survived all these years by infiltrating SHIELD makes the threat level even bigger.  Not to mention that it fits into one of the themes of this film: trust.  Is Captain America’s allies worth trusting despite hiding secrets from him?  Not only that, Cap learns that HYDRA manipulates people to, as Arnim Zola said, surrender its freedom willingly, and destroy anyone who could be a threat to them.

I am just as shocked as Captain America and Black Widow when I first saw that.  It just makes the film even more compelling than it already is; a political thriller with an interesting mystery to it.

3.) I love the character dynamics in this film.  Captain America learns his place in this world.  Despite his beliefs may be old-fashioned in today’s world, it is still needed and worth fighting for in the end.

Black Widow wants to fight for SHIELD and the world, even if she has to reveal her past to do it.  Falcon wants to get over the loss of his wing-man, but when Captain America needs his help, he does not hesitate to join him.  Nick Fury trusted his friend, Alexander Pierce on SHIELD, but when he finds out that he is leading HYDRA, Fury does not hesitate to stop him in order to save the world.  With all these characters together, it is nice that their goals mesh together to stop HYDRA for freedom.

 

Cons: 

1.) For a film called Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Winter Soldier himself is barely in it.  I know it would be spoiling the whole film if it was called Captain America: The Return of HYDRA, but it would have been better to make a subtitle that hints the whole film rather than a villain that is barely in it.  It is a small nitpick, but it does slightly bother me.

2.) The main antagonist is so obvious when you first see him, especially when it comes to finding out who is the real enemy.  It probably does not help that Alexander Pierce is played by Robert Redford, who is known for political films (i.e. The Candidate, All The President’s Men, Three Days of the Condor).  This is another nitpick, but it is worth noting considering that the film tries to be mysterious about the main antagonist and failing at it.

3.) What is not a nitpick is how the action scenes are filmed and edited.  They are shot too closely on the action, and the camera occasionally shakes.  Rarely do I see what is going on, which is disappointing since I can tell how good they are due to the sound effects and choreography.  The editing does not really help with many of its fast cuts.

The few times that we actually see what is happening, those action scenes are amazing.  However, those scenes are marred with shaky cam, close-up shots, and fast cuts, resulting on action scenes that have ruined potential.

 

Overall: 

So many people consider Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be the best film of the MCU, or at the very least, I consider it to be my favorite MCU film of all time so far.  They managed to take a character who is a Boy Scout, and have his views challenged in the modern world.  Not to mention some political intrigue about HYDRA never really gone and has been controlling SHIELD behind the scenes make the theme about freedom and trust have meaning in this film.  Add that the Winter Soldier confronting Captain America, who has to fight his best friend just makes the emotional conflict greater.  There is so many things I love about this film with a few nitpicks and one slight bother preventing it from being perfect.  As it stands, the directors of this film, the Russo Brothers did an excellent job making Captain America interesting, and they would continue to succeed with Captain America: Civil War and hopefully Avengers: Infinity War.  It is worth a watch, even if you have not seen any of the MCU films preceding this one (though it is better that you do).

9/10

Benz Eye View: Thor: The Dark World

Returning to MCU Marathon, we begin with a god’s sequel that slightly improves from the original.

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Thor: The Dark World

Pros: 

1.) Remember in my Thor review when I said that the world of Asgard is interesting, but the movie never really explored it that much?  The sequel actually explores it, and it is great to see.  While it does not explore the world as much as I would have hoped, it is nice to see the culture and more of the costume and environment designs.  Not to mention the Dark Elves and their weaponry, particularly the black hole grenades.

That is frightening, but awesome at the same time.  I am glad that they explored the world of Asgard for a little bit at least.

2.) I sensed potential for many of the characters in Asgard from the Warriors Three and Sif to Odin in the first Thor, and I am happy that they have a little more exploration and screen time.  Once again, it is a shame that certain characters do not get enough screen time, but I appreciate seeing them again.  Sif is tough yet clearly cares for Thor (and hugely hints that she may be in love with him), Volstagg has a big heart, Fandral is a joker/romantic, and Hogun is not in the movie enough to give a character description.  Even Thor’s mom, Frigga gets some action to show how tough she is (until Kurse kills her).  I like to be with these characters over a certain group of characters that I will mention in the cons.

3.) If there is one character that is enjoyable to see, it is Loki.  In fact, Loki himself is the best character in this movie.  After Marvel’s The Avengers, Loki is not really in good terms with Asgard, especially with Odin and Thor.  However, Frigga is the only one who shows compassion despite Loki not sharing the same sentiment (although thanks to Tom Hiddleston’s acting, it is clear that he does care for his adopted mother).

As for his relationship with Thor, their love-hate relationship is clearly shown.  Thor still cares for Loki, but he cannot exactly trust him due to what he had done in the past MCU movies.

Loki steals the movie every time he is on-screen with his wit, character, and relationship with others, especially Thor…

 

Cons: 

1.) …Which is why the antagonist, Malakith is not only one of the worst villains in the MCU, but also the most forgettable villain ever.  Despite being played by Christopher Eccleston, there is absolutely nothing to this character at all.  If I were to describe him, Malakith is a Dark Elf who wants to cover the universe in darkness…and that is it.  There was originally some backstory mentioning that he lost his wife and children, so he wants revenge, but they had to cut it out just to make it “efficient.”  That would have at least give some character to Malakith other than he does evil things because he is evil.  This just brings the previous MCU antagonists to shame since they at least bring something to the table.  I doubt you even remember the guy’s name.  He is that forgettable.

2.) They really want this romance between Thor and Jane to work, but they still cannot do it.  Nothing about these two are compatible.  Thor is a thunder god who wants to help all the realms with peace by fixing all the damages that Loki had done, and he loves Jane, because…she is played by Natalie Portman.  Jane is an astrophysicist and wants to find Thor, because…he is played by Chris Hemsworth.  I know I brought this up before in my Thor review, but it seems to fit pretty well in this relationship.  The only reason why she is around is because she is the catalyst on learning the world of Asgard and that she has the Aether in her.  Why not have Thor be with Sif instead?  She is more interesting than Jane.  In fact, there was going to be love triangle sub-plot in the movie, but they removed it in the last minute.  Hints of it are seen throughout the movie, and part of me wishes the sub-plot was there, but I might be asking too much.  I am kind of glad that Jane is no longer a love interest for Thor anymore as seen in Thor: Ragnarok.  Who knows?  Valkyrie might be better.

3.) The movie is trying to make the Earth characters interesting, but they are still as bland as ever since the last Thor movie.  I already mentioned how boring Jane is in this movie.  Darcy is back with an intern, and she is still annoying (the intern does not help much).  They try to make something interesting with Dr. Erik Selvig by making him go crazy (I do not know how; the movie was not clear in this), but I still could not care any less about him.  I am sorry if I seem rude to these characters, but I cannot find any interesting traits about them, and I was glad when they did not appear again in the sequel (with a somewhat exception with Selvig in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but his appearance was brief).

 

Overall: 

I do not know why, but this review seems a little more negative than it seems to be despite the fact that this movie is better than the first.  With all of its faults, there are plenty of things that shine.  Loki is clearly the biggest thing about this movie since his character is still interesting.  The world of Asgard is finally explored a bit more, making me care more about the Asgardian characters over the Earth ones.  As for Thor himself, it seems that he does not really grow as much in this movie compared to the last one.  In fact, this movie would have been below average if Loki was not involved.  Ironic that the villain in Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers is the saving grace of this movie.  His chemistry with Thor and others is what saves it from being slightly boring.  As it stands, the movie is slightly better the first one, but barely.  I guess Thor should bring Loki into his movies more often despite his chagrin…and Loki’s pleasure.

7/10

Benz Eye View: Iron Man 3

With the end of Phase 1, MCU Marathon continues with the first film of Phase 2:

Iron_Man_3_theatrical_poster
Iron Man 3

Pros:

1.) I should probably find something better than “the CG is fantastic in this film,” because it has gotten better throughout the years the MCU had been around.  Once again, I will point to my first Iron Man review for the details why the CG has been noticeably great.

Benz Eye View: Iron Man

However, I would like to add more thing.  There is one scene that I believe to be fantastic in terms of special and practical effects: the airplane scene.

As mentioned earlier, it is a combination of both special and practical effects, and it is one of the best scenes in the film.  I appreciated that they used those practical effects for realism instead of using green screen.  It makes this scene all the better for it.

2.) Since this takes place after Marvel’s The Avengers, this film makes Tony Stark interesting by giving some emotional and mental problems.  Tony Stark has PTSD after surviving the Battle of New York and creates numerous Iron Man suits since he feared that an invasion is coming (which it will).  When Happy Hogan gets injured after confronting Savin, Stark is furious, and he challenges the Mandarin for a fight.  I love that Tony Stark is more personal in this fight (which is shown well when he is out of the suit the majority of the time), and he also tries to get over his PTSD in the process (I just wish that how he conquered his PTSD was written better).

3.) There is a twist with the Mandarin that fans of Iron Man absolutely hated.  When he was introduced, the guy was already menacing and intimidating.

Despite not being the same as its comic book counterpart, the Mandarin (played by Ben Kingsley) seemed to be like a good threat for Iron Man despite being a typical intimidating villain.  However, more than halfway into the film, it is revealed that the Mandarin is actually an actor.

Fans hated this since they felt that they have been ripped off from a potentially good villain.  I actually like this twist.  It is a clever way Aldrich Killian to cover his Extremis experiments going awry and using the media as a deception for terrorist acts.  While I do understand from the fans that the Mandarin himself is not the film (although the fans should be happy considering that the real Mandarin is somewhere out there as shown in the short MCU film, All Hail The King), I still found the twist clever and methodical…

 

Cons: 

1.) …It is unfortunate that the real antagonist is just another typical company CEO who was angry that Tony Stark stood him up and tries to get revenge.  There is nothing interesting about him despite being played by Guy Pearce, but he does have somewhat interesting powers and recruits.

Kind of feels odd since despite having a small role, Brandt is slightly interesting to me (especially since she is more involved with Man-Thing in the comics) due to her scarred appearance and subtle attitude.  It is also a little sad if the henchmen are more interesting than the main antagonist.  Maybe having the actual Mandarin would have helped.

2.) Since this does take place after Marvel’s The Avengers, where are the Avengers?  In fact, where is SHIELD?  They probably would be more involved since this is an international threat, but they are little to no references on what they are doing.  Iron Man would probably need help from them (though I get the feeling that he is letting his ego get in the way of that).  I can excuse this in future MCU films, but this one bothers me since the United States is in peril because of the Mandarin.  It would have been more helpful if the Avengers or SHIELD were involved.

3.) There are some questionable decisions that Tony Stark has made in this film.  Certain moments like when Tony announced his home address to the Mandarin I am willing to excuse since he was getting emotional.  However, other decisions like not using the House Party Protocol when the Mandarin sent his lackeys to destroy Tony’s house is perplexing.  There are moments when Tony is stupid, but this is dumb even for him (although Iron Man 2 is a different story).

 

Overall: 

After Phase 1 of the MCU, Phase 2 had some interesting things to fill in: what are the characters doing now that the big crossover movie is finished?  What is the MCU going to do from here (other than having Thanos coming to Earth)?  Is there anything interesting for those characters to do until that invasion arrives?  Well, Phase 2 answers the question by showing how the characters are doing, starting with Iron Man.  Frankly, I enjoyed this film.  I love that they gave him emotional conflicts: his PTSD and desperation to protect those closest to him and can still manage to take care of himself despite not wearing his Iron Man suit throughout many parts of the film.  It shows that he might not be as strong as Captain America, but he is still a technological genius who knows what he is doing (sort of).  While there are flaws in this film (i.e. the villain is still uninteresting as many of the previous villains), the pros outweigh the cons.  While it does not seem likely that we will get another Iron Man film anytime soon, I can say that it is a decent closing chapter of the Iron Man film series.

8/10

Although, if you consider the context of the MCU as a whole, Iron Man 3 is a little pointless considering the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.