Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies: Part 3

My list of the MCU movies continues with the final part of the list. 

At this point in the list, numbers two, three, and four could easily be interchangeable. These are the top tier of the Marvel films, and they fully deserving of the title "Earth's Mightiest Heroes." 

Click on the following links if you missed the first two parts of the list: Part 1 and Part 2.

4: Iron Man
Before The Avengers, Thor, and Captain America, Marvel studios made a film that would be the foundation for all other Marvel movies to build on in the future, and they could not have kicked off the franchise any better than with Iron Man.

Casting veteran actor Robert Downey Jr. in the role of Tony Stark remains the best casting decision ever for any comic book film. From his chemistry with Paltrow to the adlibbed dialogue, Iron Man elevated every aspect of the film. Even after re-watching at least eight times, the movie never gets old, and that’s largely thanks to Downey.

Words cannot even express what it felt like to see Nick Fury stepping forward to say, “I am here to talk to you about the Avengers initiative.” At the time, it was only something that I could have dreamed about, and as a geek, it was about as good as it gets. To this day, it remains one of the defining moments of my movie watching experience.

3: Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy defied all expectations. Not only did it become highest grossing film of the year domestically, it shocked both fan and critic alike with its complete disregard of the conventional.

James Gunn's writing and direction is bold. He did not care about what audiences expected or even wanted. He told us exactly we wanted, and we all loved every minute of it. His style is in-your-face and unforgivingly his own, and that is my type of filmmaking!

Thanks to the stellar chemistry between the cast and Chris Pratt's innate goofball charm, GotG assembles a team of misfits unlike any other. It is like a combination of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Mass Effect, and Firefly, packed full of 80s references, action, and absurdly lovable characters. Even if you have never seen a Marvel film, there is so little connection to the main universe that it does not matter, yet there are still plenty of Easter Eggs for the fans.

Guardians of the Galaxy is bold and audacious filmmaking at its finest with James Gunn's complete disregard of typical genre conventions that care more about making a unique film than a generic crowd pleaser, yet it surely does please. GotG is like a cult classic with lovable quirky characters and endlessly quotable dialogue, except with box office success and a big budget; what more could you ask for?!

However, I feel as though I need to watch it yet another time before ranking it at number two, which could very well happen in the near future.

2: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier truly took me by surprise. I expected a fun action packed adventure with my favorite comic book character; what I actually got was something far superior.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a thematically strong film loaded with meaningful social commentary on the various aspects of politics, freedom, and government control. It uses the fact that Captain America is an unwavering force of freedom to convey the themes without ever coming off as pretentious. Everything expressed in the film is a core aspect of Cap's character, and that is exactly why it works so well.

Upon my second viewing, I watched the film with the intent of finding something wrong with the film, and yet I could not find a single noteworthy flaw. Of course, no film is absolutely perfect, but it is one of the most well crafted films that I have ever. Each scene flows into the next effortlessly. It takes big risks, and yet never falters. The plot functions like a well oiled machine, and yet it has an emotional core. While I am sad to see Joss Whedon not directing Avengers: Infinity War, the film is left in good hands with the Russo Brothers.

1: The Avengers
Could there be any other? Joss Whedon accomplished the impossible with The Avengers and that makes him mighty (Firefly reference). Never before has a comic book film been so bold and unforgiving in the fact that it is based on a comic book. It perfectly captures the spirit of the comic, while still being easily accessible to the general public, an impressive feat in and of itself.

Somehow every character is given their moment to shine, and Whedon's expertly written banter is pure perfection. Among the previously established characters, Whedon even managed to build Black Widow into a far more fascinating character than anyone could have ever realized, and The Hulk, who, at the time, never received a proper film adaptation, nearly stole the show.

The Avengers could have easily been a disaster if left in less competent hands. Behind all of the spectacle and humor, ultimately, the film has heart; that's the real reason The Avengers is a classic that will go down in history as one of the defining films of the our generation. Will Age of Ultron be able to best it....

What do you think of choices? Please comment below and let me know!

P.S. As before, please do not post spoilers or even opinions about Age of Ultron, or at least use a *Spoiler* tag first. If you have not seen the film, do not read comments by "MarvelFan4Ever," he/she is the spoiling the film in the comments, and how the person seems to be using anonymous comments to spoil the film. 

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies: Part 2

My Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies list continues with Part 2. If you missed the first part, you can click here to read it.

8: Thor
Of all the Phase 1 films, Thor had the most potential for disaster! In fact, before watching the film, I feared that there would be no way that a Thor film could work in live-action. Thankfully, to my surprise, Thor turned out to be one of the films in a long line of Marvel productions that defy expectations against all odds.

Kenneth Branagh's Shakespearean background lent itself well to the film's theatrical family drama and archaic dialogue, which were one of the film's strongest aspects. The "fish-out-of-water" comedy with Thor is full of unforgettable lines that I still quote today, and the Final Act brought Thor’s character arc full circle. Branagh did use a few too many dutch angles for some reason. But as a whole, he managed to capture Thor and the world of Asgard in a satisfying manor!

7: Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger is distinctly different than the other Marvel films in both tone and style. Director, Joe Johnston, gave the film a retro period look that is reminiscent of older serials, while still being serious. The blend of styles works for the most part. However, the standout is Chris Evans as Captain America himself. As a Captain America fan since childhood, there was no character that I wanted to see done right on the big screen more. However, when Evans was cast, I was confused. He was a decent funny guy in Fantastic Four, but could he play Cap? And the answer was an astounding yes! The First Avenger was far from his best work as the character, but he really nailed the physicality and heroic personality that the character required.

In retrospect, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter turned out to be pitch perfect casting with her spinoff series, Agent Carter, being one of Marvel's best works to date. Actually, if I were to rank Agent Carter versus the films, it would probably be number five (unless Daredevil counts).

6: Thor: The Dark World
Despite Thor being the titular character, we all know that The Dark World is the Tom Hiddleston show, as he steals every second of his screentime. Sure, his screentime may be limited to the first two Acts, but he eats it up.

However, of all the MCU movies, I have the least to say about The Dark World. There is nothing controversial or world shattering; it is a straightforward and entertaining adventure. The best aspect is the brotherly interaction between Thor and Loki, and visually interesting Asgardian world. I would say that it is about tied with Captain America and Thor on the list with Hiddleston's performance being the thing that barely edges the other two out, although could change upon later viewings. The Dark World place in the grand scheme of the Marvel universe has yet to be seen with the film's final twist setting up for Thor: Ragnarok in 2017.

5: Iron Man 3
Easily the most divisive of Marvel films, Iron Man 3 continues to leave the community split. Some continue to say that the film is a failure, while others, like myself, say that it is an excellent character study of Tony Stark, despite a few nagging issues.

However, the main point of contention is the big twist *Major Spoilers* that the Mandarin is a fake. Many viewers were sorely disappointed that Ben Kingsley's long anticipated role was all just a facade created by the trailers. For me, and a few others, the deception is one the best twists that I have seen in cinema. Right up until the release, the whole thing was kept underwraps; it is a real feat in today's world of trailers that spoil major plot points (*coughTerminatorcough*). For the first time, I was truly shocked by the turn of events, and for someone that often predicts what is going to happen next, it was a real pleasure to be genuinely surprised.

However, the Third Act suffers from a lack of a great antagonist. A better way to do the twist would have been to replace Guy Pearce with a Chinese actor, so that when he says "I am the Mandarin" the dragon tattoos and other things all make sense. However, considering the latest Marvel One-Shot about the Mandarin, there is a real one out there that we might see in the future. *End Spoilers*

As for the movie itself, Shane Black's witty script and Downey’s brilliant delivery make for an exceptional combination. Even if the plot is not as well crafted as the first film, the interaction, character development, and pure entertainment make it one of the most fun Marvel films to watch.

What do you think of my choices? Please comment below, let me know, and check back tomorrow for the final part of the list.

As before, please do not post spoilers or even opinions about Age of Ultron, or at least use a *Spoiler* tag first. If you have not seen the film, do not read comments by "MarvelFan4Ever," he/she is the spoiling the film in the comments.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies: Part 1

With Avengers: Age of Ultron right around the corner and Marvel's Phase 2 coming to a close, it seemed like no better time than the present to rank the Best and Worst films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 
Marvel has revolutionized the film industry with the concept of a shared universe with characters from one film appearing in another, to the point where supporting even received their own television series! Ever since The Avengers swept the planet with its success, every other studio rushed to make their own cinematic universe and no other franchise is even close to Marvel's financial and critical success. In fact, the idea of a shared universe is essentially bringing the idea of the comics to the visual media. One key factor in the MCU's success is that there has yet to be a bad film. Not all of them have been great, but with two exceptions (both are below), the MCU is consistently high quality. The films establish these characters and the various films allow the audience to watch them grow and change throughout the course of several films. Now, without further ado, let's get this started.

10: The Incredible Hulk
The black sheep of the MCU, The Incredible Hulk has faded into obscurity almost to the point where it is barely considered canon. Sure, it is occasionally referred, but many aspects of the film just do not fit with the rest of the MCU. Part of this is due to Edward Norton not returning in The Avengers, which led to Mark Ruffalo redefining the film version of the Hulk/Banner to astounding success.

As for the film itself, The Incredible Hulk is a fun film. Nothing about it is remarkable, but it tells a classic Hulk story of Banner running from them military. For the type of on-the-run Banner that the film required, Edward Norton did a fine job in the role. Unfortunately, the film starts to fall apart towards end with the introduction of Major Emil Blonsky, aka the Abomination. The final battle between the two is entertaining for some CGI Hulk smashing, but that is about it. The other issue is that the budget and technology at the time could not create a Hulk comparable to the one in the comics. Overall though, it is a solid comic book flick.

9: Iron Man 2
Receiving more hate that it ever deserved, Iron Man 2 is very much a mixed bag. Certain elements are fantastic, while other aspects disappoint. The film tries to use the palladium poisoning as a substitute for Stark's alcoholism arc from the comics. While a few parts of that story as Tony tries to discover what is truly important is effective, it is ultimately buried by uneven pacing and too many subplots. Thankfully, Robert Downey jr. being himself is always a pleasure to watch, and his ad libbed banter keeps things interesting. 

The most notable criticism is that Iron Man 2 tries to be the bridge that sets up for The Avengers, and at the time, the executives at Marvel still had yet to figure out exactly how everything would come together, which is apparent in the film. The building blocks are there, but it is not integrated with the any form of subtlety like later the films. However, it is a necessary evil of sorts for use to get us to the ultimate payoff that is The Avengers. Oddly enough, I basically agreed with the majority that it was a disappointment upon my first viewing of the film (before I became a critic). However, after multiple viewing, its importance in the overall road to The Avengers and Downey's innate charm made me like the movie so much more the second and third times around, despite the messy narrative and apparent flaws.

What do you think of my picks thus far? Please comment below and let me know. 

Also, please do not post spoilers or even opinions about Age of Ultron. Some guy has already spammed this website with spoilers that I had to remove, and while I managed to avoid most parts, what he revealed really made me angry. So, please no spoilers, or at least post a *Spoiler* tag first. If you have not seen the film, do not read comments by "MarvelFan4Ever," he/she is the spoiling the film in the comments.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Coming Soon: May 2015

Dear Lord...what a busy, busy month this is. Legitimately one of the busiest I have ever seen. Before we get into May, let's briefly recap what April had to offer:

Furious 7: While not the best or my favorite in the franchise, it was a ton of fun, featured some inventive action, and provided a perfect tribute to late star, Paul Walker. (Rath's Review Score: 8.5/10)
The Longest Ride: I predicted a dud and a dud it was. Critics and audiences pretty much both ignored it.
Ex Machina: A superb analysis and thriller surrounding AI. It's a technical marvel and very nearly a masterpiece. (RRS: 9.5/10)
Child 44: Surprisingly not very good according to critics, despite the cast. Poor Russian accents and a meandering plot seem to be to blame for the boring WWII "thriller".
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: It was a sequel that no one asked for and it was ripped to shreds by critics (most likely a little overly so). Either way, this is one best caught on TV.
Unfriended: While not as scary as I would have liked, it was definitely a unique experience at the theater and opens the door for a lot of potential (RRS: 7/10)
The Age of Adaline: It's romance is nothing to write home about, but the human drama is poignant. Oh and Blake Lively is gorgeous. (RRS: 7.5/10)

Most Disappointing: None
Most Surprising: Unfriended
Worst Movie: Probably Paul Blart -- though I didn't see it
Best Movie: Ex Machina

Now let's get into a packed (PACKED, you hear me?) month of May. Seriously it's ridiculous. Remember to click movie titles for the trailer!

Why It's Worth Seeing: It's the sequel to the 3rd biggest movie of all time, a film that many hold in regard as a comic book classic, and Marvel is at a point right now where they seemingly can do no wrong (see their most recent Netflix adventure, Daredevil for further proof). AOU won't be anything less than "great".
What Could Go Wrong: I worry that this is a stop-gap (read: filler) film to get us to the beginning of the end with Civil War next year. Ultron is an enemy that really comes from no where and I'm curious to see if this film plays into the bigger picture at all. The last time Marvel had a filler film, it was Iron Man 2, which is arguably their weakest film to date.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The trailers seem funny enough and the comedy team behind the film have a good track record. Vergara and Witherspoon also seem to have a fun chemistry together.
What Could Go Wrong: Vergara is best in small doses sometimes and the film looks awfully predictable/structured. Hopefully there is a funny twist somewhere in there.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The premise is highly interesting; it's about a father trying to save his daughter as she slowly transforms into a zombie. It sounds wacky but it's actually being displayed as a very intense dramatic character piece with Arnold himself providing what seem like some outstanding acting chops.
What Could Go Wrong: Arnold's casting could be a smokescreen for a story that isn't all that interesting or well constructed. In other words, if they got an actor's actor in the role...would anyone be paying attention?

Why It's Worth Seeing: The trailers have been some of the best I've ever seen and the action looks intense, non-stop, unique...just every way that action can be praised. Tom Hardy looks awesome as Max and I've got a good feeling about this one (and I know I'm not alone).
What Could Go Wrong: I found the first Mad Max to be terrible, the second one to be highly improved, but still a tad rough, and I didn't see the third one. The question remains: will the decades of separation helped cure some of the pitfalls of the earlier films?

Why It's Worth Seeing: The first was a HUGE surprise hit that I fell in love with (as did many other guys and girls). It was funny, had some great musical numbers, featured some hot newcomers, and just had a lot of "right" going for it. The second looks to be more of the same and that is aca-awesome.
What Could Go Wrong: It could fall into lazy sequel-itis territory which would mean lame music, bad jokes, and a cast full of people who want to move on. I don't see that being the case here though.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Horror remakes have a lot going against them. This film looks to have some genuinely creepy moments but...
What Could Go Wrong: On top of all the usual horror suspects, you're retelling a story that people know the general ending to. There has already been some stiff competition this year (It Follows, Unfriended), so I'm not sure a useless remake will do much to stand out above the rest. Especially in this crowded month.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The trailers are great, Brad Bird is directing (most recently responsible for the phenomenal Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), and the story is pretty much completely shrouded in secrecy. Look for this to be the surprise hit of the year.
What Could Go Wrong: Not much to be honest. Unless the movie's ending falters, I don't see this one being having any issues.

Why It's Worth Seeing: In a month full of superheroes, action, and sci-fi, a little human dramedy will feel like a breath of fresh air. The initial trailer for this one is great and it looks to have an amazing cast with a lively setting in Hawaii.
What Could Go Wrong: If it ends up being more rom-com than dramedy I'm not sure I'll be so eager to see it. And if it has a poor script, it could always buckle under the weight of that issue too.

Why It's Worth Seeing: It's been a decent amount of time since we've had a good disaster flick. I have a pretty good feeling about San Andreas, starring Dwayne Johnson, based on the tone of the trailers. It looks like it might try to take a dark approach to the mayhem.
What Could Go Wrong: Often these films are way too long and the endings are incredibly predictable. I'm hoping this film tries something different with the formula.

Must See (in order...which was much easier said than done this month): Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, Aloha, San Andreas
On My Radar: Hot Pursuit, Maggie
Predicted Duds: Poltergeist

I told you this month was crazy! I feel like I'll be in the theater almost twice every weekend! At least I'll get good use out of my MoviePass :-) As always, I'd be really appreciative if you came and followed me through Blogger at RATH'S REVIEWS and like me on Facebook HERE! I follow-for-follow 100%. Thanks again!   

Hey, James the Reviewer here, be sure to back here tomorrow for the beginning of my Top 10 Marvel movies list.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jared Leto's Joker Revealed in Suicide Squad

What the heck!? Jared Leto's take on the Joker has finally been revealed for the upcoming Suicide Squad, and it nothing like anyone expected. What is going on here!? He looks like some punkrock drug dealer! Of all the upcoming DC films, Suicide Squad is the one that I am most hyped for, and this new photo isn't doing my hype any favors. 
Despite initial impressions, there are some interesting aspects of this photo. For one, Jared Leto is, again, unrecognizable in a role, and I have no doubt that he will kill it as the character (pun intended). The skull jester looks somewhat sinister, and the mouth on the arm is not a bad idea. The "HAHAHAHA" everywhere isn't terrible I suppose, but just like Jeremy Jahns said, these tattoos look like something a Joker fan would get, and the "Damaged" on his forehead is not something the Joker would do to himself (maybe he didn't?).

His eyes look insane, and the green hair is a good throwback to the classic look, so those elements are not bad. What I absolutely hate is the grill on his teeth, or are silver replacement teeth. Hopefully, the Joker will wear a snazzy purple suit like the original Joker, so that the tattoos are not as prominent. Or maybe this will look a lot better in the film. With such a punkrock look for the Joker, I am afraid of what that might mean for Harley Quinn's appearance; will she also be a punk rocker? Of all the DC movies, I really want this one to be good! David Ayer has had some ups and downs with his films, but he has had several critical hits, and I hope this is one of them, because a movie about villains is exactly what I want to see. 

On a side note, this version of the Joker reminds me of Jake Martinez (picture below) from Tiger and Bunny (I highly recommend the series for superhero fans). From how he is portrayed in the series, Jake is a very Joker like to the point where he has an assistant that refers to him as "Mr. Jake," much like Harley and the Joker.

To a lesser degree, his small build and tattoos remind me of Jonny Lee Miller's take on Sherlock Holmes in Elementary (not that’s it s positive or negative thing).

What do you think of this new Joker? Please comment below and let me know, and do not forget to check out my Avengers Countdown post by clicking here.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Countdown!

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is premiering in theaters in less than a week (unless you live outside North America), and to countdown until its release, I will be ranking the Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, starting on Tuesday. Below you can watch an interesting video that chronicles every Avenger to join the team, as well as discussing some of the history of The Avengers comic. However, there are spoilers from the comics, which could turn into movie spoilers if they are adapted. Also, please refrain from discussing any reviews or opinions of the films in the comments. I have avoided all reviews, trailers, and spoilers for the past several months in order to essentially go in blind so to speak.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Agents of SHIELD Spinoff: Mockingbird and Hunter

A new Agents of SHIELD spinoff is in the works, and it will follow Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, and her ex-husband Lance Hunter.

Well, this is rather unexpected. When hearing that an AOS spinoff was in the works, I expected something that focused on a possible new team of superpowered characters. With that said, this is not a bad idea. However, I am curious as to if this is going to be a prequel about the couple before the events of The Winter Soldier or will it follow the characters following whatever happens in this season of AOS? Bobbi and Hunter are two of the best new aspects of the current season of AOS, so a television series about them should be fun, since their dynamic is very entertaining. On the other hand, if it is a prequel, I do not see the purpose of it. Actually, I am not sure if I see the purpose of this at all, especially considering that AOS is not doing that well in the TV ratings. Granted, the ABC execs are idiots for pitting it against NCIS: New Orleans. Otherwise, AOS would be among the highest rated shows on television. Regardless of what they do, I am interested, and you know that I will be watching it.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Movie Music and More #8

In anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron next, today's Movie Music and More features the soundtrack from Thor, by Patrick Doyle. Now this is an epic soundtrack. It may be considered derivative from other works, but its classic orchestral theme in "Thor Kills the Destroyer" works well for Thor's heroic turn at the end of the film. On the other hand, "Sons of Odin," fits well for the family drama element of the earlier parts of the film. In fact, all of the tracks are rather fantastic, and after watching the film, I listened to the entire soundtracks many times back in 2011. Listening to it again for this post reminded just how excellent of a soundtrack Patrick Doyle composed for the film. Maybe, I will rank the soundtracks from Marvel's Cinematic Universe films; that could be a fun post (no promises). 

However, I do have some special things planned for a countdown to Age of Ultron starting next week. Also, please refrain from mentioning anything about the film in the comments. Whether it be someone else's review or your opinion, please do not say anything about it. I have avoided most trailers and I want to go in without the bias and expectations of others holding back my opinion.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jurassic World Trailer 2 Review

The trailers keep rolling in with Jurassic World next to hit the internet! Jurassic World's second trailer appears to be more of the same with Chris Pratt stealing every second of it. With that said, there are some potential issues. For one, it seems that Chris Pratt has trained the raptors to be hunting dogs for him. It is kind of a strange idea, but if anyone can make it work, it’s Pratt. Also, Pratt asks the question that we are all thinking about the genetically modification: "Their dinosaurs, that's wow enough." Seriously, why try to create something new when dinosaurs are cool enough, but hey, the reasoning from a corporation perspective seems good enough. However, my main issue is that the CGI is not impressive. The original Jurassic Park's main appeal was the wow factor of something that audiences had never been done before, and while that is nearly impossible to recreate, World has to do something to set it apart from the rest of the sequel. However, Chris Pratt's innate likability goes a long way in making the film look so much better than it could have been otherwise. Other than that, we will just have to wait and see, but rest assured that I will be in the theaters to watch it.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fantastic Four Trailer 2 Review

The trailers keep coming with Fantastic Four. Something about this film just feels right. Josh Trank's direction is visually intriguing and different than other comic book films. It feels like a sci-fi flick that happens to have superheroes in it, and as much as I would love to see a MCU take on the F4, this is an exciting direction as well. With a cast that includes, Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan, and Kate Mara, how could the acting be anything less than Fantastic (yeah, I went there). The character all seem more real than expected, and while it still somewhat fits within the X-Men verse, it is very different than expected. The CGI, especially for the Thing, stills needs some work, as it appears to be below average for a superhero flick. Otherwise, I am starting to get hyped for the film!

My main issue is that Victor Domashev, aka Doctor Doom, is yet again directly connected to the F4's origin, instead of being a ruler of a country, just like the previous film. Doctor Doom is one of Marvel's more notable villains. He is even credited as one of the inspirations for Darth Vader, and yet we have not seen a good version of the character. Hopefully, Toby Kebbell can deliver an interesting take on the character.

What do you think of the trailer? Please comment below and let me know.
While the trailer looks great, this poster is kind of awful. It looks like a cheap fan photoshopped one.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top 10 Movie Villains: Part 3 (Final)

The final part of my Top 10 Movie Villains list is here. If you missed the previous parts you can click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

3: The Joker (The Dark Knight)
Quote: "You wanna know how I got these scars?"
How could Heath Ledger's Joker not make the list? Anyone who does not include him in the Top 10 would effectively be lynched by the internet! With that said, there is no denying that The Joker is a legendary film villain. Ledger’s performance is the highlight of The Dark Knight. For me personally, he is at least 90% of the reason The Dark Knight is entertaining to watch. Christian Bale's Batman is fine, but Ledger steals every scene he is in. My only minor issue with the Joker is that he is more of an antagonistic force opposed to a fully fleshed out character, and that definitely works perfectly for what the film required. 

2: Loki (Marvel)
Quote: "All humans crave subjugation."
Despite the fangirl raving, Loki is an incredibly complex character with well developed motivations and understandable actions. Starting with his first appearance in Thor, many viewers not familiar with the comics were apparently surprised that Loki turned out to be the villain in the film. In the comics, Loki was always present but rarely as memorable as Marvel's other villains, and after his appearance in The Avengers, Loki turned from a mid-tier Marvel villain to one of the most popular characters. In fact, I would go as far to say that the film version of Loki is better than the one in the comics at that time, or at least the ones I read (which were not many with him in it). Tom Hiddleston changed the character's image from a trickster into a tragic and likable villain that is still ultimately villainous. Loki is not just a compelling villain, but a well crafted character with just as much development as many protagonist, something rarely seen in film villains. Before anyone makes the argument that Loki is becoming more of an anti-hero than a villain, remember, his seemingly heroic actions in The Dark World *Spoilers* were ultimately to enact his plan to take the throne of Asgard from Odin. *End Spoilers* However, he can still be considered a "tragic villain." 

1: Darth Vader
Quote: "You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me."
Could there be any other? Along with the Joker, Death Vader is easily the most iconic villain in the history of media. Whether or not Anakin in the prequels counts as Vader is debatable, but to me, Darth Vader is James Earl Jones voicing someone in the iconic suit, or at least after Anakin was dubbed Vader by Palpatine. In Star Wars (1977), Vader's entrance is unforgettable, and arguably the best villain introduction. At first, Vader served as the imposing antagonist against our lovable heroes. While his past is hinted at the first film, even more is revealed until the ultimate plot twist is revealed. (If, for whatever insane reason you do not know what the twist in Empire Strike Back is, continue to the comment section.) Darth Vader is Luke's father, and the entire dynamic of the character changes, which all comes together with his ultimate redemption in Return of the Jedi. Darth Vader is not just my favorite villain; he is always vying for number one spot as my favorite character of all-time. 

Who are your favorite movie villains? What do you think of my top picks? Please comment below and let me know! 
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Batman v Superman Trailer Review/Breakdown

After the ridiculous amount photos and posters, the teaser trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is here, and it is presents some interesting things to discuss. 

Opening with a narration by Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and others that discuss how Superman is a savior, and maybe someone like him is too powerful to be allowed free reign. For one, Eisenberg's voice starts out different than expected, but as he talks more, all I can see is the usual Eisenberg that we have seen so many times. At this point, I need to see him in action before I make my judgment. 
The more interesting aspect of the trailer is the Superman statue. Sure, Superman is virtually an all powerful being, but he is responsible for countless deaths in Metropolis, which Man of Steel completely glossed over. So, are the masses praising Superman out of fear or out of gratitude? Or maybe both. Thematically, the movie raises an interesting idea of Superman essentially being worshiped. The comparison to others with power that people follow, like Hitler or Stalin, presents potentially fascinating ideas. However, considering how poorly Man of Steel implemented its themes, I have a feeling that the movie is going to turn out to be a pretentious mess, thematically at least. Of course, the DC fanboys will praise it for being "dark" and "edgy" but it will just fall flat on its face. On the other hand, you never know, maybe the movie will surprise us. 

Another issue I have is that Superman as a character is painfully bland. He lacks any charm or relatable humanity. Watching this trailer made me realize just how unlikable this version of Superman is. I am not the type of Superman fan that complains about changes to the comic book, but I do like the character in the general. Unless Kal-El is developed quickly, there will be no reason for the audience to care about him or his fight against Batman. Even though I know very little about this version of Batman, I am already on his side. 

Ultimately, do I think this is going to be a amazing movie? Probably not, unless the script is a significant improvement over Man of Steel, but it should at least be a good movie that is fun to watch. If Zack Snyder is good at one thing, it is action sequences (even if they are repetitive).

Ironically, I am more excited about the new episodes of Arrow and The Flash this week than I am for this movie. With that said, I still want to see if BvS crashes and burns or rises up the ashes. Below are screenshots with my commentary.

My guess that this is Mexico, which makes it seem like Superman goes on tour.

Something about the special effects here look off. Hopefully it will be fixed in the film.

Now this is an interest picture. It is difficult to see, but if you look at the shoulder patches on the soldiers, you will see Superman's "S" logo. Now this is an exciting idea, because Superman appears to have a task force specifically for him, and maybe he did not even want it in the first place.

Who is that looking up at Superman? Is he just a random guy that Superman saves or someone important?

Now this is where the trailer gets really interesting. Superman being worshiped is an intriguing idea. While I have my doubts about the execution of the concept, it is very reminiscent of The Dark Knight Returns in certain respects, although Superman is almost portrayed as villainous.

*Broody Ben Batfleck is brooding.* Could Affleck look any more brooding? With that said, I am on board with Affleck as Bruce Wayne. He definitely has the jawline and the actin talent.

Since Superman has his own task force, this gives Batman some lackeys to fight, and that is exactly what this shot looks like.

Our first look at Batfleck in the normal Batman suit. As expected, this is heavily inspired by The Dark Knight Returns' version of Batman. I assume Affleck's costume is majorly bulked up because he is not nearly that big in real life.

The classic Batman looking over the city. However, this is another failed effects shot. It looks too stiff, and the cape is just wrong.

"I am Iron Bat!" Bruce Wayne takes a page out of Tony Stark's book by creating a mechanical suit to battle a superpowered being. Also, his voice changing tech is exactly what Batman needed, which is similar to CW's Arrow.

"Tell me, do you bleed? You will." Now this is the money shot of the trailer. The big confrontation of between Batman and Superman. Somehow, the movie must introduce a reasonable explanation for how Batman is going to fight Superman. Superman can move faster than the speed of sound to the point where he can dismantle Batman's mechanical suit before Batman even realizes it. Without Kryptonite or a similar plot device, Batman stands no reasonable chance. Maybe, they are going to have a brooding contest to see which of these emo guys can be more depressed (just kidding).

My impression of the logo is kind of meh. It looks too fat, but it is fine.

What did you think of the trailer? Please comment below and check back tomorrow for the final part of my Top 10 Villains list.

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