My Top Five MCU Films

With the Captain America: Civil War review up I thought I would do a brief ranking of my top five Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films.

 

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

I know many people put Civil War at the top of their list, but The Winter Soldier was able to tell a smaller story with more developed players. It was great seeing Chris Evans further develop as Captain America and this was one of the first good performances I have seen from Samuel L Jackson recently (outside of a Tarantino flick).
Although the set pieces may not be as big as Civil War or some other mcu films the hand-to-hand fight scenes are the best in the mcu. The Winter Soldier made his name as one of the MCU’s few memorable villains, alongside Loki, although he is more of a hero or anti-hero now.

 

The humour was handled well, and there was a budding love interest that did not detract from the plot.

 

The Thor films are not on this list due to these main two criticisms. The humour we get from Kat Dennings and Natalie Portman is awful, and the love story between Thor and Jane lacks chemistry but also takes up a decent portion of screen time.

 

 

  • Captain America: Civil War

 

Overall, great performances, great action and it was awesome seeing one of my favourite story arcs on the big screen (albeit in a more condensed and heavily altered version). Chris Evans cements himself as one of my favourite actors in the mcu.

Obviously, Civil War’s format was going to make it difficult to develop every character well. Some additions were handled very well in my opinion, such as The Black Panther. Spider-Man’s felt more tacked on, and that is coming from a huge Spider-Man fanboy. I also felt that Scarlet Witch could have been developed more since her character plays an important role in the story. If it wasn’t for these complaints, Civil War would be #1 on the list.

 

  • Ant-Man

 

I always thought Paul Rudd was a great actor, even though he was best known for comedic roles. He did a great job as Scott Lang and had great support from Michael Douglas. Evangeline Lilly was a bit weak at times but overall she was great too. Let’s not forget Michael Pena as Luis. That is how you do comic relief. Can’t wait to see him in the MCU again.

 

The film did a great job of displaying Ant-Man’s power and making me care about a character I knew very little about. The special effects were amazing and so were the action sequences.

 

Yellow Jacket wasn’t amazing but was still more memorable than what we got in GOTG or the Iron Man films.

 

 

 

  • Guardians of The Galaxy

 

Chris Pratt nailed it as the lead, but Bradley Cooper steals the show as Rocket. These two leads power the film, with Vin Diesel’s Groot also being a memorable piece. Even Dave Bautista, who was horrible in previous roles, does a great job as Drax.

 

The special effects, the action and the soundtrack all create a ridiculously entertaining film.

 

The villain did come across as one-note and was pretty forgettable, but he isn’t poor enough to ruin the film completely. If he was better, this film would probably have the number 2 spot.

 

  • Iron Man

 

The sequels might make people forget the original, but this film birthed the MCU. Of course, it doesn’t have the fifth spot only because of its importance. Robert Downey Jr. was perfect casting and his chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow was amazing. To be fair, RDJ could probably have chemistry with anyone or anything.

 

Although I felt like the sequels might have relied on his ad-libbing too much, it was executed perfectly here and allowed him to transition from an arrogant playboy to a slightly less arrogant, but nobler, playboy.

 

The villain, yet again, wasn’t that memorable but Jeff Bridges did a pretty job as Obadiah Stane. The special effects were weak at times but overall they were dazzling. Although there wasn’t that much action, in terms of fight scenes, the film still did a great job of making Stark’s suit tests interesting. With a less charismatic actor and weaker writing, the film could have dragged at these parts, but these scenes actually stick out as the most memorable ones.

Captain America Civil War Review

Entertainment Value: 10/10

Critical Value: 7.5/10

 

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This film is off to a great start at the box office and with critics, which is no surprise. I may be a little tardy to the party but here is my review of one of 2016’s most anticipated films.

 

As a brief overview, Civil War revolved around a new set of laws known as the Sokovia Accords, which are a proposed measure to monitor and register all superheroes. These accords are proposed after numerous incidents of collateral damage, from New York in Avengers 1 to Sokovia in Avengers 2.

 

The Avengers and superheroes as a whole, are then split on whether to support or propose the act. While Tony Stark believes the laws will help people feel safer and make heroes more accountable, Steve Rogers believes that governmental control of superheroes will ultimately lead to superheroes being puppets to government agendas. The conflict between these two eventually escalates into all out war between Team Cap and Team Iron Man.

 

I will say that reading the comic does affect my perception of this film. I know some people may say that is unfair, but we must realize that any adaptation will get compared to its source material. I will not tear the film apart simply because it didn’t follow the comics page by page but there are some things the comics touched on that I would have loved to see in the film. However, Civil War is still a great film. I have heard many people say it is the best MCU film or even the best superhero film ever. I would disagree with the assertion that it is the best superhero film ever, and in terms of the MCU it is still beat by The Winter Soldier.

 

Firstly, the film is ridiculously entertaining. The running time flew by and the action sequences continue to get better with the Captain America films. I felt that every character truly got a chance to shine, whether they were older characters like The Falcon and Bucky, or newer ones such as The Black Panther.

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The film does a great job of seamlessly integrating the different characters and bringing them together. This was one of my biggest worries and it was good to see that for the most part, character introductions didn’t seem rushed. The one exception is Spider-Man. Spider-Man is my second favourite comic book character so I wanted to make sure I was objective about his appearance in the film. His intro and the wrap up of his storyline did strike me as a bit tacked on. From what I have heard, the Russos said they always planned on Spider-Man being a part of the film. However, Spider-Man’s scenes could have been cut out and the film would still pretty much be the same. A character that is integrated better is The Black Panther. Boseman plays the character with an African accent, and I am probably not suited to judge how well he pulls it off. The accent did seem to make his dialogue more stilted when the script required him to speak in longer sentences. Despite those criticisms, I will say that Spider-Man and The Black Panther were both amazing additions to the universe and I look forward to seeing their solo films.

 

The performances are good for the most part, which was something I wasn’t worried about. While I did criticize Boseman’s accent and delivery, Elizabeth Olsen takes the cake for worst accent. Her character’s Sokovian accent comes and goes at will, just like it did in Avengers: Age of Ultron. One criticism I do have for the film is that I felt certain plot threads could have been developed more. Scarlet Witch’s character is one that I felt could have been fleshed out more, especially since her character does play an important role, arguably being the main impetus for the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. Obviously that is expected when a film incorporates this many characters but I can’t dismiss underdeveloped plot threads simply because the film has a lot of characters. This will always be a concern for any ensemble cast. Overall, Civil War handles it well but Winter Soldier still beats it due to the cohesiveness of its story.

 

While the humor in some Marvel film falls flat, I always thought the Captain America films did a better job balancing it with seriousness. Generally, the Cap movies also had better written jokes. That holds true here as well but there are times when the humor fell flat. One example (very minor spoiler)- Stan Lee’s mailman character delivers a package for Tony Stark but says “Tony Stank” instead. That is the joke, that his name was spelt as Tony Stank. While my audience was dying with laughter, I sat there thinking that the joke was the definition of kiddy humour. Fortunately, jokes like that are pretty far and few in between. Spider-Man and the other characters help to add more enjoyable comic relief that fits their characters.

 

The end is somewhat open ended but gives a satisfying conclusion to the film, while also raising questions about the future of the Avengers. I did have an issue with the ending fight scene. Not due to the fight itself, but the impetus for the fight. As a minor spoiler, the last fight scene relies on two different characters being at the same location at the same time. However, it brings up the question of how the villain knew that the two characters would appear at the same time.

 

However, that did not ruin my enjoyment of the film and I still give Captain America: Civil War a 7.5/10 for critical value and a 10/10 for entertainment value.

 

Sherlock Holmes Review

Posted on January 1, 2010

Entertainment Value: 8.5/10 Critical Value: 8/10

British director Guy Ritchie, who is best known for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch(2000) brings audiences an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes that combines the intelligent detective most audience know with the seasoned fighter that is less well known.

Sherlock Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr, and Watson (Jude Law) are caught in a battle against Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). Blackwood apparently rises from the dead after his execution and is now bent on fulfilling a nefarious plot that is revealed as the movie progresses.

Robert Downey Jr. brings the same great performance that was present in Iron Man. Casting an American was a questionable choice and lead sceptics to believe this was another case of Hollywood studios favouring American actors. For the most part, Downey is able to successfully imitate an English accent. However, he talks too fast at times to be understood and this comment is coming from someone who has lived in England for two years. Law also does an excellent job as Watson, with himself and Downey doing a great job of portraying the brotherly bond the characters share. The writing leads to humour between the two, but more solemn moments that portray the conflict created over their conflicts in the film, especially Watson deciding to marry and moving away from Holmes. Strong also portrays an intelligent and cunning villain whose screen presence possess great power. Rachel McAdams, plays Irene Alder, the only criminal ever to elude Holmes. Her performance is the weakest in the film but is still fairly impressive. Her role as a femme fatale could have been done better with a more talented actress.

One of the main criticisms that can be found elsewhere with Sherlock Holmes is that portraying Holmes as a fighter is inaccurate. However, according to some of Holmes’s literature, he was skilled in boxing and several martial arts. The fight scenes are thrilling and utilize slow motion sparingly, to illustrate Holmes’s calculated fighting style.

The dialogue lacks any lines that appear to be lazy writing or simply cheesy. However, there were some instances of jokes that did not fit with the generally polished nature of the writing. Special effects are also used sparingly but are impressive for the most part, with the exception of one scene where they appeared somewhat cartoonish.

Sherlock Holmes is a able to provide intellectual stimulation as well as thrilling action sequences which are all rolled into a film just over two hours. Those who were older fans of Sherlock Holmes as well as those whose interest was peeked by advertising will enjoy the film.